Tag Archives: nausea

Peppermint (Mentha x piperita)

Family: Lamiaceae (Labiatae)

Synonyms: Mitcham mint, balm mint.

Aroma: Piercing, refreshing, sharp, menthol.

Colour: Pale yellow or pale olive

Plant: Grows to around 100cm with underground runners. Purple blossoms grow from the axis of one or two leaves and form spikes at the end of each stem. It rarely seeds as it is a hybrid except in Japan where it seeds freely.

Main Growing Areas: USA, India, England, France, Australia.

Major Constituents: Menthol, menthone, pulegone, 1,8 cineole, sabinene hydrate, limonene, neomenthol, isomenthone, beta-caryophyllene.

Interesting snippets: Peppermint was used as a digestive herb and to scent the bath water by the Greeks and Romans.
Peppermint is thought to be a hybrid between spearmint (Mentha spicata) and water mint (Mentha aquatica).
It was used in the14th century to whiten teeth and later to mask the smell of tobacco.

Part of Plant used / Extraction: Flowering tops and leaves by steam distillation. Distillation of the dry material takes 45 – 60 minutes. The average yield is around 0.4% but can go as high as 1%.

Therapeutic actions: Small doses warm and tend to stimulate while large or frequent doses cool and tend to relax. Shock, sinus pain and congestion, indigestion, tension headaches, colds and flu, nausea, colic, flatulence, stomach pains, diarrhoea, muscular aches and pains, joint pain, bruises, insect bites.

Emotional and Spiritual: Clears the mind and stimulates clear thinking. Mental fatigue, motivation and self-confidence.

Robbi Zeck writes that peppermint assists in reconnecting you to your vital passion, whisking you away upon the winds of purpose. Being unfocused can turn you away from your bigger dream and when you are living passionately on purpose, the direction of your life will change.

Gabriel Mojay writes that while the oil enhances concentration and absorption on one level, it works on another level to facilitate the digestion of new ideas and impressions. Acting on our psychological “stomach”, peppermint is conducive not only to study and learning but to developing emotional acceptance and tolerance. We can think of it for those states characterised by the phrase, “That’s something I just can’t stomach!”

Keim and Bull write that peppermint promotes healthy self-esteem, integrity and ethics. Helps us to discover our hidden gifts and strengths.

Aromatherapy Insight Card:
Peppermint helps you connect with your purpose in life. Keeping your vital passion potent and ready to meet life’s challenges questioning your purpose and direction. Do not get caught up in other people’s games. Stay on your path, be true to yourself, go out on that limb and enjoy taking those risks to succeed.

Fragrant Change Healing Card: I stay true to myself and my highest potential.

Safety: Non- toxic, possibly sensitising, and may cause irritation in people with sensitive skin. Avoid in cases of cardiac fibrillation and G6PD deficiency. Don’t apply to or near the face of babies or children. If taken orally it may exacerbate gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD)

Note: Peppermint is frequently adulterated with cornmint oil (M. arvensis) also known as Japanese peppermint (Hakka)

Battaglia S, The Complete Guide To Aromatherapy. The Perfect Potion, Australia (1995)
Battaglia S, The Complete Guide To Aromatherapy. 3rd edition Volume 1.The Perfect Potion, Australia (2018)
Bowles E.J, The A to Z of Essential Oils. New Burlington Books (2003)
Hodges C, Fragrant Change Healing Cards (2015)
Jefferies J, Osborn. K, Aromatherapy Insight Cards. Living Energy, Aust. (2nd Ed. 2005)
Keim Loughran J, Bull R, Aromatherapy & Subtle energy techniques, Frog Books (2000)
Kerr J, Peppermint Essential Oil Profile. Aromatherapy Today, Vol.9 (1999)
Mojay G, Aromatherapy for Healing the Spirit. Hodder and Stoughton (1996)
Tisserand R and Young R, Essential Oil Safety Second Edition, Churchill Livingstone Elsevier, 2014 Pages 387 – 388
Zeck R, The Blossoming Heart. Aroma Tours (2004)

Patchouli (Pogostemon cablin)

patchouli header

Family: Lamiaceae (Labiatae)

Synonyms: P. patchouly, patchouli oil

Aroma: Rich, sweet, herbaceous, aromatic, spicy and woody balsamic. Patchouli gets better with age.

Colour: Deep orange red

Patchouli flowerPlant: Evergreen herb with large fragrant leaves and hairy square stems that grows to a metre tall. On axillary and terminal stems flower spikes of clusters of tiny white to purple flowers form. As these fade fine brown seeds form in small capsules like tiny knots on the spikes.

Main Growing Areas: Indonesia, the Philippines, Malaysia, China, India, Mauritius, East and West Indies, Paraguay, Vietnam

Major Constituents: patchouli alcohol, alpha and beta patchoulene may contribute to anti-itching properties of the oil, beta-caryophyllene – anti-inflammatory, beta-elemene – antitumour

Interesting snippets: In the 18th and 19th centuries Chinese traders travelling to the Middle East used patchouli to treat carpets and fabrics to prevent moths laying their eggs in the cloth and fungal deterioration.

In the 1960’s hippies used patchouli to cover the smell of burnt cannabis.

During the Vietnam War, American soldiers used patchouli to mask the smell of the graves of enemy soldiers killed in combat.

Dried patchouli leaves were placed amongst the folds of Indian cashmere shawls in Victorian times to protect them from moths.

Part of Plant used / Extraction: Dried fermented leaves by steam distillation.

Therapeutic actions: nausea, headaches, colds, vomiting, diarrhoea, abdominal pain, haemorrhoids, cracked sore skin, eczema, psoriasis, tinea, acne, impetigo, herpes

Emotional and Spiritual: depression, anxiety, stress, insomnia, nervousness

Patricia Davis writes that patchouli is especially valuable for dreamers and people who tend to neglect or feel detached from their physical bodies. Patchouli helps to ground and integrate energy and keep us in touch with our physical selves.

Robbi Zeck writes that the rich, musty, wood scent of Patchouli awakens within the soul a deep yearning for the comforting presence of peace, bringing Spiritual insights to all realms.
Patchouli’s slow peacefulness brings about a state of mind and wholehearted feeling where unification occurs with the soul on all levels.

Gabriel Mojay writes that patchouli is good for those who, due to excessive mental activity and nervous strain, feel ‘out of touch’ with their body and their sensuality.

Aromatherapy Insight Card:

Patchouli Insight card

Feeling trapped in one of many areas of your life and feeling like those areas are not working together? Patchouli unites all levels of your existence, allowing you to focus and bring heart and head to work together, rising above self-imposed barriers and enjoying all that life presents. Patchouli awakens a sense of peace that reaches into all areas of your life. Don’t get ruffled and caught in the false ego. Stay self-assured, and realize your real strength lies in being you.

Fragrant Change Healing Card: I feel a sense of peace in all areas of my life.

Contemplations for the Soul:

Patchouli CFTS

Is your mind on a continual loop making you unable to think clearly due to worry?
Have you imposed limits on what you think you can achieve?
Do you feel you have to be someone else to achieve your goals?
Do you long for peace in your life?
Realize that worry will not improve the situation and will banish peace from your life.
Try grounding yourself by going outside and putting your bare feet on the ground.
Breathe slowly in and out until you feel calmer then look at what action you can take to reduce your worry.
Know that you can be yourself and still achieve your goals.
Peace be with you.

Safety: Non-irritating, non-sensitising, non-toxic

Sources: Battaglia S, The Complete Guide To Aromatherapy. The Perfect Potion, Australia (1995)
Bowles E.J, The A to Z of Essential Oils. New Burlington Books (2003)
Davis P, Subtle Aromatherapy. The C.W.Daniel Company Ltd. (1992)
Hodges C. Contemplations for the Soul (2016)
Hodges C, Fragrant Change Healing Cards (2015)
Jefferies J, Patchouli Essential Oil Profile. Aromatherapy Today, Vol.39 (2007)
Jefferies J, Osborn K, Aromatherapy Insight Cards. Living Energy, Aust. (2nd Ed. 2005)
Mojay G, Aromatherapy for Healing the Spirit. Hodder and Stoughton (1996)
Zeck R, The Blossoming Heart. Aroma Tours (2004)


Spearmint (Mentha spicata)


“Smell of rain, smell of spearmint, smell of soil.
And smell of boughs that are wet of gentle spring rain and shining clean”
Ali Shariati

I prefer to use spearmint rather than peppermint for children. There are also adults who prefer her to peppermint as she has a gentler aroma and energy. This is due to the different chemical constituents of spearmint and peppermint.

Family: Lamiaceae (Labiatae).

Synonyms: Common Spearmint (M.viridis), Garden mint.

Aroma: The aroma is similar to but less potent than peppermint.

Colour: Pale olive to pale yellow.

spearmint-leaves-and-flowersPlant: Grows to 75cm in height with oval or lance shaped bright green leaves. Slender spikes of small aromatic white, pink or lilac clustered flowers appear from summer to early autumn. It has a system of underground runners that grow outward from the buds situated at the base of the stem. If the roots are not contained it will overwhelm other plants and rapidly crossbreed with other nearby mints.

Main Growing Areas: Native to the Mediterranean but grown in many countries with the USA being the largest producer.

Major Constituents: Carvone, limonene, linalool, 1.8 cineole. (-)-carvone gives spearmint its typical aroma. As with other oils the aroma can vary due to differences in temperature, humidity, soil fertility and time of harvest. Spearmint contains very little menthol in comparison with peppermint.

Interesting snippets: The ancient Greeks used it in their bath as both a tonic and scent.
The Romans introduced spearmint into Britain where it was used it to stop milk from curdling.
In medieval times it was used to heal sore gums and whiten teeth.
Mentha comes from the Greek meaning mint or the Latin mente meaning thought.
Spearmint is thought to be the oldest of the mints and named spere mynte in the 16th century.

Part of Plant used /Extraction: Flowering tops and leaves. The plants are usually harvested after the plant has flowered but before the seeds have ripened. Steam distilled from the flowering tops but the leaves and stem can also be steam distilled. The process can take between 35 and 50 minutes.

Therapeutic actions: Alleviates digestive disorders, nausea, wind, constipation, diarrhoea.
Relieves hiccups and nausea by relaxing the stomach muscles. Can also be used for travel sickness.
Because of her anti-inflammatory, decongestant and expectorant properties she is good to use as an inhalation at the first sign of a cold.
Research has shown spearmint to be effective against both gram+ and gram- bacteria and fungi and so could be considered in a blend for infected skin.

Emotional and Spiritual: Mental stimulant that cools and uplifts, good for tired minds, mental fatigue,  lightness of being, stress induced nervousness, nervous exhaustion, soothes the nervous system.

Aromatherapy Insight Card:

spearmint aromatherapy insight cardINVIGORATION
Spearmint invigorates all levels of our being. Fresh and tingly, cool and soothing, Spearmint lifts heavy emotions and helps keep a clear intention to preserve and utilise your energies efficiently. Live the invigoration that Spearmint can bring to your life.

Contemplations for the Soul:Spearmint CFTS card

Are you feeling emotionally, mentally and physically fatigued?
Do you feel too tired to complete your tasks or face the day?
Are you building walls around your emotions in order not to feel them?
It’s time to start rebuilding your energy levels and bring joy back into your life.
Look at your diet. Is it draining or energising you?
Deal with what’s worrying you. Resisting or hiding emotions you consider too painful or shameful uses a great deal of energy.
Bring them into the light, face and feel them and free up your energy for more important things.
Be vulnerable, feel your emotions and see your energy levels soar.

Safety: Non-irritating, non-sensitising. Advisable not to use neat on children under 18 months of age.

Sources: Battaglia S, The Complete Guide To Aromatherapy. The Perfect Potion, Australia (1995)
Berkowsky B, Berkowsky’s Synthesis Materia Medica/Spiritualis of Essential Oils (2006)
Hodges C, Contemplations for the Soul (2016)
Jefferies J, Osborn. K, Aromatherapy Insight Cards. Living Energy, Aust. (2nd Ed. 2005)
Kerr, J, Spearmint Essential Oil Profile. Aromatherapy Today, Vol.29 (2004)
Price L, Spearmint. The Aromatherapist, Vol 5, No 2 (1998)
Zeck R, The Blossoming Heart. Aroma Tours (2004)

Safely Addressing the Discomforts of Pregnancy

Safely addressing the discomforts of pregnancy

Essential oils when used in low dilutions are safe to use during pregnancy. Some therapists prefer not to massage with essential oils until the second trimester but there is no problem using these oils in a vaporizer or the bath.

Essential oils can help with morning sickness, lower back pain, insomnia and other discomforts that can occur throughout the pregnancy.

It is important to use good quality essential oils from a reputable company and not from a $2 shop. If you have any concerns speak to your aromatherapist.

I do not recommend using essential oils internally during pregnancy. The oils below are for external use only.

Following are some common discomforts and the essential oils that can be used to help them.

Discomfort Essential oils
Anxiety Bergamot, frankincense, geranium, lavender, neroli, sweet orange.
Colds Eucalyptus, tea tree.
Constipation Sweet orange.
Haemorrhoids Cypress, geranium.
Headaches Roman chamomile, lavender.
Insomnia Bergamot, roman chamomile, lavender, mandarin/tangerine, neroli, sandalwood.
Irritated skin Roman chamomile, lavender.
Morning sickness Roman chamomile, ginger, lemon, mandarin/tangerine, peppermint, spearmint, sweet orange.
Muscular aches and pains Roman chamomile, eucalyptus, grapefruit, lavender, sandalwood.
Stress Roman chamomile, frankincense, geranium, neroli, sandalwood, sweet orange.
Stretchmarks – to prevent Frankincense, geranium, lavender, mandarin/tangerine.
Swollen ankles Cypress, geranium, grapefruit, lemon, sandalwood.
Varicose veins Cypress, geranium.

Note: Bergamot, grapefruit and lemon are photo sensitive so don’t use in areas exposed to the sun.

Skin Irritation
The following oils are best avoided in pregnancy massage because of the possibility of skin irritation. They are fine to use in the vaporizer.
Black pepper, cinnamon, clove, lemongrass, may chang, melissa, tea tree, ylang ylang. It is also wise to avoid using old, oxidised citrus, pine, fir and spruce oils.

Massage oils, creams and lotions: Up to 7 drops of essential oils in total to 25mls or grams of cold pressed vegetable oil, aqueous lotion or cream. Don’t blend in baby oil or sorbolene cream, as the essential oils will not be absorbed into your skin.

Vaporizer: 3 or 4 drops of essential oil.

Personal inhaler: You can buy or have made a personal inhaler containing the essential oils that help with your nausea.

If you don’t have a personal inhaler take a small bottle, 5 or 10 mls is large enough and place a few cotton balls in it. Add 2 or 3 drops of essential oils and close the lid. Whenever you are feeling nauseous remove the lid, have a couple of whiffs and replace the lid. The aroma should last the length of your pregnancy.

Bath: 4 -5 drops in half a cup of full fat milk. Add to bath and swish.

Ginger (Zingiber officinalis)

Ginger header

With the courage encapsulated in ginger’s fragrant breath, we can utter that one crucial word, or think that one crucial thought, that changes our direction and starts the walk along a new and brighter road.
Valerie Ann Worwood

Family: Zingiberaceae

Aroma: Rich warm and spicy. The CO2 distilled oil smells more like the ginger root than the steam distilled.

Colour: Clear yellow to orangey yellow with a hint of green

gingerPlant: Reed like erect leafy perennial growing up to one metre with a branched thick, pungent tuberous rhizome (root) growing horizontally near the surface. Flowers are small, yellow-green with purple lips.


Main Growing Areas: Jamaica, China, India, Africa, Australia

Major Constituents: camphene, beta-sesquiphellandrene, zingiberene, curcumene, gingerin, gingenol, gingerone. There can be a significant variation in the main constituents depending on where the ginger is grown and distilled. This may affect the aroma and could possibly influence the therapeutic actions.

Interesting snippets: Ginger’s use predates written records. It was and still is used as a spice.
In India, it is said that ginger awakens “agni”, the inner fire of divinity and creativity.
In the Middle Ages ginger was used to counter the Black Death.

ginger rootPart of Plant used /Extraction: Root / Steam distilled from the dried, ground, unpeeled rhizome. It takes between 20 and 30 rhizomes to produce 1 kilo of essential oil.

Therapeutic actions: Nausea, travel and morning sickness. Poor circulation, cold hands and feet, muscular aches and pains. Eases menstrual cramps. Coughs, colds and sore throats. Poor appetite.

Ginger teaGinger Infusion/Tea: Cut very thin slivers from the ginger root, and simmer them for 10 minutes using about 6 thin slivers from a root of average thickness, to each cupful of water. Add a little honey to make a drink to quell travel and morning sickness, stomach cramps and for colds and flu. (Recipe from Patricia Davis)

Emotional and Spiritual: Activates willpower, stimulates initiative, restores determination. In those with poor vitality it can help to boost their confidence and morale. Helps when you are feeling emotionally cold and flat. Nervous and/or physical exhaustion.

Energizes the aura and encourages inspiration, enlightenment and the replacement of continued futile struggle with a knowing acceptance and transformation.

Gabriel Mojay writes that ginger is indicated for those who may have clear plans and good intentions, but who lack the personal drive and optimism to manifest initiative and take real or immediate action. They are frequently disconnected from their physical body, and may shy away from vigorous and sustained activity.

Aromatherapy Insight Card:


Ginger releases you from procrastinating so that you can just get on with what has to be done.
For the emotionally cold-hearted, warm yourself and draw on those hidden reserves of energy. Stop waiting for the right time to do things, as the right time never comes. Take the initiative and complete the hard tasks, and you will feel energized and free. Utilise Ginger to draw on those hidden reserves of energy and stamina, reviving yourself physically with Ginger’s warmth.

Fragrant Change: I have the strength and endurance to move forward and succeed.

Ginger FCHC

Contemplations for the Soul Card:

Ginger CFTS card

Are you procrastinating, waiting for the right time or people before you begin a project?
Do you lack the courage and conviction to put your ideas out there and act on them?
Do you spend more time talking about what you will do rather than taking action?
Do you have good ideas, make plans but fail to put them into action due to self-doubt?
Make the decision to begin acting on your ideas.
Take one small action step today towards achieving your goal.
Continue each day to take another step until you have reached your goal.
Have the courage and confidence to do what’s right for you and put your plans into action.

Safety: Non toxic, non irritant but may cause sensitisation in some individuals.

Sources: Battaglia S, The Complete Guide To Aromatherapy. The Perfect Potion, Australia (1995)
Berkowsky B, Berkowsky’s Synthesis Materia Medica/Spiritualis of Essential Oils (2006)
Davis P, Aromatherapy An A-Z The C.W.Daniel Company Ltd. (1996)
Hodges C, Fragrant Change Healing Cards (2015)
Hodges C. Contemplations for the Soul (2016)
Kerr, J, Ginger Essential Oil Profile. Aromatherapy Today, Vol.22 (2002)
Jefferies J, Osborn. K, Aromatherapy Insight Cards. Living Energy, Aust. (2nd Ed. 2005)
Mojay G, Aromatherapy for Healing the Spirit. Hodder and Stoughton (1996)
Worwood, V.A, The Fragrant Heavens. Doubleday Publishing UK (1999)

5 Essential Oils For Summer

5 essential oils for summer

Essential oils are very useful for the minor ailments of summer especially if you spend a lot of time outdoors. Below are 5 oils to help you deal with these minor inconveniences.

Make sure you buy pure essential oils and not fragrant oils. Also note the botanical name of the oil so that you use the same oil in the recipes below. There are many different lavenders, chamomiles and geraniums, etc. Each bottle of oil will contain the botanical name below the name of the oil.

GERMAN CHAMOMILE (Matricaria recutita)
German Chamomile flowersGerman chamomile is a good oil to have on hand for summer. Use to treat inflamed, irritated skin including dermatitis, boils, acne, nappy rash, eczema, psoriasis and dry itchy skin. She can also be used to relieve the pain associated with burns, sprains, cramps and insect bites.
Emotionally German chamomile helps calm the body and mind and can be used to help stress related symptoms including insomnia and headaches.

Insect bite relief
Mix together German chamomile 3% 6 drops and lavender 2 drops and apply directly to the insect bites to ease the itch. German chamomile hydrosol applied directly to the area can also ease the itching.

EUCALYPTUS (Eucalyptus radiata)
Eucalyptus treesEucalyptus is useful for bringing down fevers and treating the symptoms of summer colds. She can also be used for easing muscular aches, pains and strains, wound healing and insect bites.

Summer Cooling Mist
Add lavender 10 drops, peppermint 3 drops and eucalyptus 2 drops to 15 drops of oil-to-water dispersant. Add this to 50 mls still, spring or distilled water or lavender hydrosol in a spray bottle. Shake well before each use if you don’t have or use oil-to-water dispersant. Keep in the fridge when not in use to keep cool.

LAVENDER (Lavendula angustifolia)
Lavender FlowersLavender can be used in a wide variety of situations including minor burns, sunburn, rashes, bruises, wounds and insect bites. She’s helpful for easing sore muscles and headaches. Apply to minor burns as soon as possible to ease the pain and prevent blisters. Emotionally lavender is nurturing and helps with anger, worry, fear and insomnia.

After sun spray
Keep this in a spray bottle in the fridge and use it to ease the pain of sunburn. Mix lavender 20 drops to 20 drops of oil-to-water dispersant. Add to 50ml still, spring or distilled water. Shake well before spraying onto the skin. You could also use lavender hydrosol.
After sun bath
Add lavender 5 drops, German chamomile 3% in jojoba 6 drops to 11 drops of oil-to-water dispersant. Add the mixture to a bath filled with lukewarm water. If you don’t have any oil-to-water dispersant be sure to swish the water vigorously or add oils to some full fat milk and add that to the water.

PEPPERMINT (Mentha piperita)
Peppermint leavesA drop of peppermint essential oil rubbed into the soles of your feet can help bring your temperature down if you are suffering from the heat. Peppermint is also useful for headaches due to digestive issues and sinus congestion as well as relieving the nausea associated with travel sickness. Use peppermint to help keep you alert when you feel mentally fatigued due to the heat or driving long distances.

Nausea/travel sickness relief
Add peppermint 2 drops to 5mls of cold pressed vegetable oil and gently massage over the stomach area. It is best to do this 30 minutes before you travel.
You could also fill an empty small glass container (essential oil bottle, pill bottle) with a couple of cottonballs to which 3 or 4 drops of peppermint essential oil have been added. Open the bottle and take a few sniffs whenever you feel nauseous. Make sure to keep the lid on when not in use. You could also use a personal inhaler if you have one.

ROSEMARY (Rosmarinus officinalis)
RosemaryRosemary is good to have on hand to ease those aches and pains from too much sport or gardening. It is also useful for headaches and tiredness caused by the heat.

Muscular Aches and Pains
Add rosemary 4 drops, lavender 2 drops and eucalyptus 4 drops to 15 mls of cold pressed vegetable oil and gently massage.