actually a bit of a misnomer. Aroma-
seems to imply that the therapeutic effects derive from the sense of
scent, and while it's true that many people are psychologically
effected by certain odors, in aromatherapy, the therapy derives from
the active ingredients of the essential oils used. The active
ingredient may be transmitted by inhaling it, as in a steam diffuser,
but is more often applied topically, in lotions, oils and creams
applied directly to the skin. The active is then absorbed
'transdermally', or through the skin.
When working with essential oils, please be aware that most of them are
too concentrated to apply directly to your skin, but must be diluted in
a suitable carrier oil, such as grapeseed, apricot kernal or jojoba.
You also need to be wary of allergic effects, and possible drug
interactions. Yes, essential oils have many of the same ingredients in
them that perscription medicines do, and they can and do interact in
your system the same way. St. John's Wort, for instance, can interfere
with anti-coagulant medicines, and many essential oils should be
avoided by pregnant women since they might induce premature labor.
This section features articles on aromatherapy, and recipes for making
your own oils, perfumes and lotions.
Aromatherapy - a Primer, part I
I've always thought 'aromatherapy' was a
misnomer. It makes it sound
like the therapeutic effects derive from the scent, and not the actual
botanical material. It also makes it sound like the effects are
achieved solely through inhalation of the scent. Not so. What people
blithely call 'aromatherapy' should more correctly be called 'essential
botanical oils therapy'. Artificial scents will not have the same
effect, no matter how close they come to the original plant's scent.
The chemical components of the plant-derived oil is what makes them
effective, and some of the most effective oils don't necessarily 'smell
FEATURED ARTICLE: A Recipe for Solid
Make your own solid perfumes by mixing your
favorite essential oils into this simple base: (more)