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Diet & Nutrition

The essential essential oils

Although there are hundreds of different essential oils, all you need are the following three — calming lavender, stimulating eucalyptus and delectable rose — to create a variety of natural health and beauty treatments and recipes for your home.
Lavender
A versatile all-purpose remedy and an ideal choice for treating burns, bites, stings and other minor skin injuries, lavender oil is a helpful ingredient in homemade lotions, toners, and massage blends.
Lavender promotes healing and minimises scarring. Its natural antibacterial, antiseptic, and oil-regulating effects make it useful for treating acne and other inflammatory skin conditions, including pimples and swelling, while its decongestant and antimicrobial properties make it effective in inhalations and chest rubs for treating colds and coughs. It is also an effective insect repellent for both personal and household use.
A natural sedative, using lavender essential oil in inhalations or oil burners or just sprinkling a few drops on your pillow will improve the length and depth of sleep. Massaging a few drops neat into the temples may help to relieve a headache. Above all, its scent is balancing, calming and soothing.
Eucalyptus
Well known as a trusty natural remedy for respiratory ailments, this also has many household uses, thanks to its potent infection-fighting and insect-repellent abilities. As well as being an effective decongestant, it has powerful medicinal and fever-reducing effects, specifically against cold and flu viruses and common disease-causing bacteria like staphylococcus.
Use it as a fumigant in sick-rooms, in topical remedies for skin disorders, including minor burns, cuts, and scratches; viral infections such as cold sores; bacterial infections, including boils, abscesses, and ingrown hairs; stings and insect bites; and in massage blends and compresses for muscular and circulatory conditions, such as bruises or sprains, and nervous system disorders, including neuralgia and headache. Eucalyptus' cooling effect makes it a helpful addition to a tepid bath or compress for a patient with a fever.
Rose
This essential oil was created by the famed Arab doctor and alchemist, Avicenna, in 10th-century Persia, and it has enjoyed great health, household, and cosmetic significance ever since. Rose oil's overall effect is warming, uplifting, sensual and nurturing; it is reputed to be an aphrodisiac. It has antidepressant, anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic and sedative properties, and is thought to act as a tonic for the heart, stomach and uterus.
Much loved for its feminine fragrance, rose essential oil may be included in facial, body and bath treatments; it is particularly recommended for mature, sensitive, or fragile skin in need of rejuvenation. Its hormone-balancing qualities make it effective in treating female reproductive system disorders.
It also has the ability to support the spirit. Burn it in an oil burner to ease stress, or use it in a massage blend to counter feelings of shyness or poor self-image.
October 4 to 10 is National Aromatherapy Awareness Week. Visit www.endeavour.edu.au to find out about free public seminars on this and other natural therapies.
Note: Avoid using essential oils during pregnancy or while breast feeding unless on professional advice from a qualified aromatherapist. Some essential oils may affect hormones and stimulate the uterus. Keep essential oils out of reach of children.
Never ingest essential oils; they are toxic. Do not let essential oils get into your eyes or your mouth. Only use essential oils in very low dilutions, eg: five to 10 drops in three or four tablespoons of an unscented "carrier" oil, such as sweet almond oil. Always patch-test any homemade skin treatments before use to ensure the oils do not cause irritation. Do not store essential oils or oil blends in plastic containers, only in glass.

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