One fast, simple, inexpensive, yet effective, method is to inhale them, and this is what I want to focus on today. Inhalation can be accomplished in a few different ways. Perhaps the easiest way is to simply place five drops of your oil choice(s) on a tissue or a cotton ball, then sniff for five minutes. Of course you can always diffuse oil(s) in a burner or a light ring, but this will disperse scent throughout a room, and is perhapse better suited for mood altering treatments rather than acute treatments. Another inhalation method is steam. Steam can be used for both the aromatherapy benefits and/or skin care treatments. For acute issues, such as headaches or cough and congestion due to colds, steam is an excellent delivery system [for the therapeutic benefits of the essential oils]. The oils are carried deeply and immediately into the lungs, as well as being absorbed through the skin pores. As part of routine skin care, steam should be used once a week because it deep cleans the face. It opens the skins' pores, extracts impurities, and increases the blood circulation to facial capillaries. There are several combinations of essential oils to benefit various types of skin issues, and skin types. See this old post for some recipes and suggestions. For today however, I want to concentrate on acute issues that can be relieved by utilizing the steam method of inhalation.
To begin with, let's understand how to prepare, and then how to use a steam. Take one gallon of spring or distilled water and place it in a pan, heat until it is almost brought to a boil. Set out a glass bowl large enough to hold the water. While your water is heating, prepare your oil blend in a small glass dish/cup. Do not use metal as it may cause an unwated chemical reaction. Know that heat breaks down some essential oils, therefore you may need to allow the water to cool slightly before you mix in those oils,in order to maintain their full therapeutic value. Once the water is properly heated and the recipe prepared, carefully pour into your glass bowl. You will then need to place a towel over your head and lean your face over the bowl, keeping about 12 inches away from the water. Relax as you breath in the vapors and your skin absorbs the steam. Make sure that you exercise extreme caution so that you don't scald your skin. When you first breath in, if the inside of your nose feels like it is burning, uncover and wait a few minutes for the water to cool down before you try again.
Now that you are all prepared, I have listed some essential oils to help you get you started. These lists are by no means all inclusive, they are not even all that I have categorized in my personal notebook. But, since there are over 300 known essential oils, I had to pare it down! Just be sure to use only therapeutic grade essential oils. While you can blend several oils together, you will want to keep the total drops to about 8-10 per gallon of water. Until you get comfortable with mixing essential oils, I suggest that you use equal parts of the oils that you select. The combinations are endless, so use what smells good to you, and learn what works best for you.
For Headache Relief
For Cough Relief
For Migraine Headache Relief
For Sinus Headache Relief
Eucalyptus *Not for children*
For Congestion associated w/ colds and flus
Rose Tea Tree
For Sinusitis Relief
* Clary Sage- for Whooping Cough
*Cedarwood is good for respiratory infections
**Please read this page for an important disclaimer and warnings related to essential oils**
*Essential oils have several indications, and can accomplish multiple outcomes. While I have narrowed the lists to only address these few acute ailments, each oil fits onto several lists, in several categories. For instance, Eucalyptus is an antiseptic, antiviral, deodorant, and has insecticidal properties. It also fights mental fatigue. Tea Tree works well for sinus relief, sore throats, and chest-colds, and is an excellent inhalant for asthma, bronchitis and other respiratory conditions, yet it also works well as a topical antiseptic for skin injuries, and in rubs for arthritis. Lemon Grass has invigorating and antiseptic properties, is an anti-depressant, and tones and fortifies the nervous system. In a bath it is used for soothing muscular nerves and pains. And, while Ginger rids the body of flu-type symptoms and respiratory ailments, it is also a good stimulant and cleanser. So, as you can see, the blending of oils can be quite intricate. Even a simple, one or two ingredient steam can offer you several benefits.
To illustrate my point, consider the Rosemary Peppermint Facial Steam. It is used as a facial steam to open the skins' pores and extract impurities. In fact, it is highly recommended for skin with acne problems. However, this steam will also clear the sinuses, alleviate headaches, and reduce bronchitis, cold and flu symptoms. It also helps relieve muscle spasms. So, if you happen to have a cold or headache, using this steam for your weekly skin care treatment, will make you feel better and cleanse your skin at the same time. Many birds, one stone! If you want to make this recipe, simply add 4 drops of peppermint and 4 drops of rosemary essential oils to the water, but make sure that you allow the water to cool slightly before doing so. Steam for 10 minutes before patting the skin dry.