I’ve been learning, researching and writing about natural remedies for the past decade or so. The more I learn, the more I want to know. Recently when I was researching my newest mystery, I delved into the practice of aromatherapy, which is the practice of using essential oils to improve health and well-being. Aromatherapy can ease stress, insomnia, anxiety, depression, aches and pains, and more.

It’s fascinating to discover how aromatherapy works. You see, plants produce essential oils for a variety of reasons to attract pollinators, to protect against bacterial and/or fungal invasion, to deter pests, and to inhibit other plants from growing near them. Through a process of distillation these essential oils are removed from plants.

Essential oils can be extracted from the leaves (eucalyptus), grass (lemongrass), seeds (fennel), fruit/zest (mandarin), flowers (rose),
wood/trunk of tree (cedarwood), roots (ginger), resins (frankincense), and herbs (rosemary). Three of my favorite scents are lavender, jasmine and roses, so I thought I’d share a few simple tips on how to use them today.

Dried lavender herb and essential aromatherapy oil

Dried lavender herb and essential aromatherapy oil

Lavender

Not only does Lavender (the Latin verb lavare means “to wash”) smell terrific, it’s calming and soothing and good for cuts and burns, insomnia, diaper rash, tension headache, PMS and cramps (use with clary sage and Roman chamomile). The phytochemicals (plant-based chemicals linalool and linalyl acetate) in lavender are absorbed in the skin and in the membranes inside your nose, slowing nerve impulses, and reducing stress. An easy way to start using lavender is to put five to ten drops of essential oil in your bath. Add the oil after you have filled the tub so you can enjoy the full benefits of this wonderful aroma.

Jasmine flowers and leaves

Jasmine flowers and leaves

Jasmine

The aroma of jasmine (Jasminum officinale v. grandiflorum) is intoxicatingly sweet, exotic, and floral. It’s also incredibly therapeutic for a variety of conditions. Jasmine essential oil eases mild depression, anxiety, and tension. It also balances energy and helps you feel more optimistic. It calms coughs and laryngitis, soothes sore muscles, stiffness, and sprains. You can apply it topically, use it on a warm or cool compress, put it in the bath, inhale it from your palm, or put it in an electronic diffuser to disperse small aromatic particles into the air.

roses

roses

Roses

I love the rich, sweet floral bouquet of roses and the approximately 275 compounds have a myriad of therapeutic uses. For example, if you apply it topically, rose oil can help banish eczema, wrinkles, and acne. If you feel blue, rose essential oil will naturally lift your mood. If you have painful periods, it helps to balance hormones (just put the oil on a warm compress and apply to your lower abdomen). Rose oil also eases nervousness, anxiety, anger, sadness, and grief and can be helpful if you have respiratory problems such as allergies and hay fever. You also use rose oil to help you sleep better and feel happier. For all these conditions, simply put some on your palm and inhale it or put rose essential oil into a diffuser. Your bedroom will smell like an English garden.

To make an aromatic spritzer with any of these scents, just add 10 to 25 drops of essential oil per 4 ounces of water in a squirt bottle. Be sure to shake it each time before you use it.  The effectiveness of aromatherapy depends on the quality and wholeness of the essential oils you use, so it’s important to use the very best essential oils possible. You want to avoid any  synthetics, reconstructions, perfumes, and other adulterated versions. One of my favorite places for essential oils is Floracopia www.floracopia.com.

Chrystle Fiedler, author

Chrystle Fiedler, author

Start with one essential oil that appeals to you and see how you feel after using it. The wonderful thing about natural remedies like the practice of aromatherapy is that they are, in most regards, safe and easy to use (don’t take internally though, and keep away from children) and the varieties are endless. Enjoy!

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Scent to Kill by Chrystle Fiedler

Scent to Kill by Chrystle Fiedler

Here’s the scoop on Scent to Kill: A Natural Remedies Mystery:Willow McQuade, naturopathic doctor, along with her hunky ex-cop boyfriend Jackson Spade, attend a party for a psychic TV show that is filming on Long Island’s idyllic East End. Before the party is over, Roger Bixby one of the producers is dead and the police suspect murder. To find the killer, Willow has to deal with ghosts in a haunted mansion, a truly dysfunctional family, death threats and “accidents,” while trying to untangle a homicide identical to one committed during prohibition. Thankfully, Jackson has been hired to provide security and is there to watch her back and help Willow solve this spooky mystery. As a bonus, you’ll find dozens of natural aromatherapy cures throughout the book that can improve health and well-being.  Visit www.chrystlefiedler.com.