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Aromatherapy from Basil to Ylang-Ylang

Aromatherapy from Basil to Ylang-Ylang

Aromatherapy, the use of scents from the essential oils of plants to alter mood and promote healing, is an ancient art currently enjoying a booming revival. While many common garden plants are used in essential oils—peppermint, basil and lavender, to name just a few—the quantities of flowers or leaves needed to produce the oil (It takes 1,000 pounds of jasmine flowers to make one pound of oil) means that even the most prolific gardeners would be better off buying their essential oils from catalogs or stores.

Most commonly, the oils are used in the bath (The water should be no more than l00°F and the oils should be put in at the end) or in a diffuser or placed on a handkerchief and inhaled when you need a lift. Since essential oils are very potent, they should always be diluted with a base oil such as sweet almond or grapeseed before being put on your skin. And don’t ingest any or get any in your eyes.

If you are pregnant or have a chronic illness of any kind, consult your physician before using any.

Here are some of the most common oils and their qualities:

Basil: Uplifting, clarifies thought processes.
Bergamot: Uplifting, yet calming.
Cedarwood: Relaxing, stress reducing.
Chamomile: Soothing and calming, excellent to use after an argument.
Fennel: Relaxing, warming, calming.
Fir needle: Refreshing, cleansing.
Frankincense: Calming, helps release fear.
Geranium: Balancing mood swings, harmonizing.
Juniper: Purifying, stimulating.
Lavender: Calming, soothing, relaxing.
Lemon: Uplifting, refreshing, mental alertness.
Lemongrass: Stimulating, cleansing, tonifying.
Lime: Invigorating, refreshing.
Mandarin orange: Uplifting, refreshing.
Marjoram: Very relaxing, anxiety reducing.
Myrrh: Strengthening, inspiring.
Orange: Uplifting, refreshing.
Patchouli: Inspiring, sensuous.
Peppermint: Stimulating, cleansing, refreshing, invigorating.
Pine: Refreshing, cleansing, stimulating.
Rose: Emotionally soothing.
Rosemary: Stimulating, cleansing, good for studying, invigorating.
Sage: Cleansing, purifying.
Sandalwood: Stress reducing, sensuous, soothing, helps release fear.
Spearmint: Refreshing, stimulating.
Ylang-ylang: Uplifting, sensuous.

Adapted from Every Garden is a Story: Stories, Crafts and Comforts by Susannah Seton (Conari Press, 2007).

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Annie B. Bond

Annie is a renowned expert in non-toxic and green living. She was named one of the top 20 environmental leaders by Body and Soul Magazine and "the foremost expert on green living." - Body & Soul Magazine, 2009. Learn Annie's latest eco-friendly news on, a website dedicated to healthy and green living.


+ add your own
8:54AM PDT on Apr 10, 2013


1:01AM PDT on Apr 7, 2013

Aromatherapy so nice! thanks

1:00AM PDT on Mar 16, 2013


7:00AM PDT on Oct 11, 2012

Great article! Thanks for the info.

10:55AM PDT on Sep 18, 2012

Judging from the listing, I need more basil and lemon!! ;-)

10:19PM PDT on Sep 29, 2011

Excellent article. Thanks.

3:49AM PST on Jan 25, 2011

Thanks for the article.

6:12AM PST on Dec 28, 2010

Thanks for the info.

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1:11AM PDT on May 31, 2010

Thank you Annie
Would you have an inexpensive recipe to make room diffusers that use the cane sticks? I have accumulated lots of these bottles and sticks that you buy and would like to 'recycle' using bamboo sticks or even the wood in oriental fans as the diffuser. I tried just using the essential oil however it didn't work.
Thank you Catherine

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