Essential oils offer an exquisite, beautiful and powerful way to enhance the results of any treatment or may be used as a treatment modality of its own. Today we are lucky that modern technology makes high quality oils widely available at fairly reasonable prices.
France and Essential Oils
In my country of origin, France, essential oils are used in a therapeutic way and you can actually order essential oil prescriptions in pharmacies. We owe that to two famous people in the history of aromatherapy.
The first one is an engineer and chemist who specialized in dermatology and cosmetology., René-Maurice Gattefossé, born in 1881. He was a very indépendant spirit who loved science, progress and technology as well as what he called “forgotten technics.” His dream and endeavor always were to link both.
In 1910, while experimenting in his laboratory, he is badly burned by an explosion. In spite of hospital care, he begins to develop gas gangrene in his arms. He then decides to use pure lavender oil on his infected wounds. The results are amazing. His arms heal and he is more than ever convinced of the benefits of essential oils, and more particularly of the healing and antiseptic properties of lavender.
The name of the second major player is Jean Valet, a French army physician, who, during second world war, resorted to essential oils with great results to help wounded soldiers on the front after running out of antibiotics and disinfectants. After the war Jean Valet was one of the first strong voices to warn of the dangers of the consistant overuse of synthetic chemicals and strong medications for both the human body and the planet.
Jean Valet today is considered the father of what is called phyto-aromatherapy. His influence has remained strong to this day and essential oils, as a result, have been taken more seriously in France than in other countries.
Jean Valet is therefore known as the founder of the “French” school of aromatherapy as opposed to the “English” school, which is more what Americans are familiar with. The English school uses essential oils more as tools of relaxation and well-being while the French school uses them more in a therapeutic way in “essential oil prescriptions”
When I in France I often go to a local “pharmacie” to order custom-made essential oil mixes for a variety of problems for myself and my patients: prescriptions for colds, urinary tract infections or sinus infections are common. Of course, the oils need to be top quality in order to be totally safe for internal use. The pharmacist goes in the back of the shop, mixes the oils and puts them in capsules that are easy to take, telling me how much and how often the mix should be taken. Easy and quite reasonably priced.
Please note that not all oils are proper for consumption and that some can badly burn such as cinnamon, clove or thyme. Do not attempts to take oils on your own without proper guidance and training.
Here are some of the essential oils I most frequently use. They are very powerful and effective when applied on specific acupressure points:
- For insomnia, hyperactivity, overstress: lavender, sweet orange, mandarin
- For colds, lung problems, sinus infections, allergies: Thieves (a power blend of lemon, rosemary, 3 types of eucalyptus, clove and cinnamon), eucalyptus (for lung and respiratory disorders), peppermint (magic oil to open blocked sinuses), ravinsara, pine
- For hormonal and menstrual disorders: geranium and clary sage
- For foggy brain and concentration problems: rosemary
- As disinfectant: lemon, Thieves, Ravinsara
- For insight and clarity: frankincense, palo santo
- For body pain: peppermint
- For stomach problems or nausea : ginger essential oil
- We recently added a new blend called Immortal Immune that does wonders! A few drops on wrists or under the feet can ward off a cold. I use it when I arrive in gray and damp Paris straight from Arizona!”
Did you Know?
- During times of epidemics, to protect yourself or your loved ones, to protect your child when the flu is “around,” use a diffuser in your house, your office or the classroom, choosing blends such as Thieves or your own blend with similar oils, focusing on ravinsara, eucalyptus and lemon
- Much better than bacterial soap for your hands and great to disinfect compromised surfaces: lemon essential oil! if you must use a computer touched by someone who had a cold or the flu, to disinfect your table or a surface when you visit the hospital, use it liberally.
- Essential oils are also wonderful for people confined in a room. My father was so thankful when I brought a diffuser in his hospital room. We used oils to disinfect but also delightful scents of orange, mint and rose to get rid of all the unpleasant smells that drifted into his room and permeated the atmosphere. A nice diffuser with some pleasant smells are a nice alternative to flowers since those are not recommended at night especially in a closed room.
- If you are working on a project or at the computer, if you need a sharp mind and clear thinking, sniff Peppermint and Rosemary. Peppermint is stronger to open nasal passages and therefore help oxygenate your brain. Rosemary is great for providing clear thinking.
- Have you noticed that almost all liniments and ointments for body pain contain “menthol,” a synthetic compound from peppermint. Go directly to the source and use peppermint essential oil instead!
The world of essential oils is infinite and full of discoveries. It is a unique world that provides healing, comfort and sensual pleasure.
I personally recommend a wonderful line of organic Snow Lotus essential oils. www.snowlotus.org
History of Essential Oils
The roots of Aromatherapy can be traced back more than 3,500 years.
The Egyptians used them as medicine, for embalming, mummification. Frankincense, myrrh, cinnamon and cedar wood were among their favorites. Aromatic medicine crossed the centuries, used by all nations from the Babylonians to the Greeks, the Romans, Arabs, Chinese or Europeans.
Cinnamon essential oil for example was highly prized and traded across the Meditarenean between European and Arabic nations.
“Thieves”, an essential oil that we mentioned earlier and reconstituted by Young Living Essential Oils, actually comes from a French story. it is said that during the plague in the Middles Ages, 4 thieves were arrested who were systematically entering houses where the plague had struck in order to pillage the house and rob corpses of their jewelry and belongings. Of course, this was in stark contrast to everyone else, who avoided any contact with those affected by the plague and even more so corpses that had died from it. However, those thieves were alive and well and did not seem affected nor overly worried about catching the dreaded disease. When they were finally arrested, they were asked what their secret was and were promised a “lenient” death, meaning that they would be strangled before being hanged and, one supposes, not subjected to torture if they revealed their secret. And so, the story goes, they revealed the magic oil combination with which they covered themselves and put on a cloth to cover their noses. This is how “Thieves” came to us!