Tag Archives: natural treatment

Essential Oils for Summer Ailments


Summer is a season of fruition and beauty and many herbs, flowers and trees are at their peak. As we spend more time outdoors, the effects heat and humidity, insects and the sun are affecting us. Essential oils and hydrosols can bring relief to common ailments such as burns, sunstroke, bites, stings, sore muscles, poison ivy/oak contact and allergies.

Most citrus essential oils are photosensitive, so direct sunlight should be avoided, after their use. As some essential oils decrease the amount of time the skin takes to burn, others protect our skin. Many vegetable based carrier oils, and rose essential oil, have a natural sun protection factor of SPF 6 – SPF 8. These oils include coconut, sweet almond, olive, safflower and sesame. If a burn does occur, recommended essential oils and hydrosols include lavender, chamomile (German or Roman), helichrysum (immortelle), geranium and witch hazel. Hydrosols can be sprayed directly on the area. Note that these plants can help with other skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, cuts and bruises.

Hydrosols can bring quick relief, as there is not always the need to dilute as with essential oils. Use liberally on the face, arms and legs for relief from a specific ailment, from the heat or to refresh. A small bottle can be kept on you, in a purse, a bag or the car. Hydrosols can be taken internally, with 30ml diluted in 1L of distilled or spring water, and enjoyed throughout the day. A three-week course, with one week off, is recommended.

Natural Insect Repellent
Natural insect repellents such as cedar, citronella, eucalyptus, fleabane, geranium, lemongrass, peppermint, rosemary and sweet gale essential oils and hydrosols can be used, as oppose to the controversial chemical known as DEET (N, N-diethyl-m-toluamide). A combination of the above can be used in a water, lotion or oil based repellent. Some, including children, find the oil based repellent sticky and do not like the feel of the oil on their skin, but it has longer lasting effects. Essentials oils generally do not deter stinging insects such as bees and wasps. After being bitten, the essential oils of tea tree, lavender, geranium, lemon and peppermint, lemon juice and witch hazel can be applied to sooth and take away the itch.

Poison Ivy/Oak
If you are unfortunate and come into contact with poison ivy, it is important to wash the sap (urushiol) from the area as soon as possible. Be sure not to take a bath, which will spread the urushiol to other areas of the body. Tea tree essential oil can be applied neat on the rash and taken internally in hydrosol form. Sweet fern and yarrow are other hydrosols, which can be applied topically. These plants, as well as geranium, will relieve the itching and irritation.

Allergies can affect sufferers in late summer and into the autumn. There are essential oils and hydrosols that have anti-histamine, anti-inflammatory and expectorant properties.  Essential oils, combined with the internal use of hydrosols, can bring relief. These include chamomile, green myrtle, elecampane, eucalyptus, niaouli and peppermint.

First Aid Kit
A basic first aid kit, for the summer, can be made easily and should include the following:

Tea tree essential oil
Lavender essential oil
Witch hazel hydrosol

Tea tree is anti-fungal, anti-bacterial and anti-viral, and can be applied to cuts, insect bites, scrapes, warts and cold sores. Lavender is anti-septic, soothing and sedating, and can be used for burns, sunburns, insect bites and headaches/migraines. Witch hazel is anti-inflammatory, anti-septic and astringent, and can be used for burns, sunburns, bruises and insect bites.

As you enjoy the summer, keep essentials oils and hydrosols in mind. A pampering peppermint foot lotion may even be in order, for those dry, overworked feet!

Michelle Reynolds, CAHP


1. An in vitro evaluation of various Rosa damascena flower extracts as a natural antisolar agent. Tabrizi H, Mortazavi SA, Kamalinejad M. Int J Cosmet Sci. 2003 Dec;25(6):259-65. PMID: 18494908
2. An experimental study of the effects of Matricaria chamomilla extract on cutaneous burn wound healing. Jarrahi M. Nat Prod Res. 2008 Mar 20;22(5):422-7. PMID: 18404562
3. Anti-inflammatory efficacy of topical preparations with 10% hamamelis distillate in a UV erythema test. Hughes-Formella BJ, Filbry A, Gassmueller J, Rippke F. Skin Pharmacol Appl Skin Physiol. 2002 Mar-Apr;15(2):125-32. PMID: 11867970
4. Repellency of essential oils to mosquitoes (Diptera: Culicidae). Barnard DR. J Med Entomol. 1999 Sep;36(5):625-9. PMID: 10534958
5. Bioactivity against Tribolium castaneum Herbst (Coleoptera: Tenebrionidae) of Cymbopogon citratus and Eucalyptus citriodora essential oils grown in Colombia. Olivero-Verbel J, Nerio LS, Stashenko EE. Pest Manag Sci. 2010 Jun;66(6):664-8. PMID: 20205230
6. Efficacy of the botanical repellents geraniol, linalool, and citronella against mosquitoes. Müller GC, Junnila A, Butler J, Kravchenko VD, Revay EE, Weiss RW, Schlein Y. J Vector Ecol. 2009 Jun;34(1):2-8. PMID: 20836800
7. Biological activities of yarrow species (Achillea spp.). Nemeth E, Bernath J. Curr Pharm Des. 2008;14(29):3151-67. PMID: 19075697
8. Hydrosols: The Next Aromatherapy. Suzanne Catty. Healing Arts Press, 2001.


Essential oils in aiding the prevention of the ‘flu

Each year a growing number of people are concerned about the possibility of contracting the ‘flu. The essential oils mentioned here can be used for common ‘flu strains. What many are starting to discover is that there are a number of holistic alternatives to protect themselves and their families. For some there are personal reasons for avoiding vaccines, for which holistic remedies may provide an alternative.

One such branch of holistic medicine that can aid in the fight against the ‘flu is Essential Oil Therapy. Essential oils have many chemical properties, which have been shown to be an effective treatment, both preventative and post infection, against influenza. These chemical properties, such as being antiviral, antimicrobial and antiseptic, protect against influenza and/or shorten the duration of its symptoms.

For example, oils from the Myrtaceae family (niaouli, ravensara, tea tree) are effective against viruses, due to their high levels of terpenes, terpineol and cineole. Terpenes are antibacterial and antiseptic. Additional essential oils with antiviral, antimicrobial and/or antibacterial properties include cinnamon, clove, eucalyptus, lavender, peppermint, rosemary and thyme. Some of these same essential oils also help to boost the immune system, helping to protect you and your family from a myriad of ‘flu season viruses.

The wonderful thing about essential oil therapy is that there are several methods to use and apply the essential oils, which, in most cases, mean that use and application of essential oils are both convenient and flexible. Some methods of application include using an aroma pot, which includes placing a few drops of oil in water and heating it; the oil evaporates into the air and is inhaled as well as attacking any airborne viruses; adding a few drops to the bath, which not only gives direct contact with your skin, but also allows for a relaxing method of inhalation; putting a few drops on your pillow at night, providing you with both inhalation and killing any viruses or bacteria found in and on your pillow; adding a few drops to a plain, unscented lotion and rubbing it onto the back, neck, chest and soles of the feet; or using an inhaler. Where the influenza virus is concerned, the best methods of application are through inhalation and/or topical application to the body.

A natural hand sanitizer can be made using aloe vera gel and 10% essential oils. Alcohol can also be added, but this may dry out your hands. Add 24 drops of essential oil to 240g of aloe vera gel and mix well. The gel can be put into small squeeze bottles and should be used within six months.

To prepare for this cold and ‘flu season, we have our Cold & Sinus formula with pure essential oils and the milder Children’s Cold & ‘Flu formula. Our two newest products are an Antibacterial Spray and Cold & ‘Flu Essential Oil Inhaler.

Michelle Reynolds, CAHP


In vitro antiviral activity of Melaleuca alternifolia essential oil. Garozzo A, Timpanaro R, Bisignano B, Furneri PM, Bisignano G, Castro A.

Screening of the antibacterial effects of a variety of essential oils on microorganisms responsible for respiratory infections. Fabrio A, Cermelli C, Fabio G, Nicoletti P, Quaglio P.

Antibacterial activity of essential oils and their major constituents against respiratory tract pathogens by gaseous contact. Shigeharu Inouyea, Toshio Takizawab and Hideyo Yamaguchia.

Inhibitory effect of cinnamaldehyde derived from Cinnamomi cortex, on the growth of influenza A/PR/8 virus in vitro and in vivo. Hayashi K, Imanishi N, Kashiwayama Y, Kawano A, Terasawa K, Shimada Y, and Ochiai H.

Medical Aromatherapy, Kurt Schnaubelt, PhD.

Essential Oil Therapy and Cancer

This article is one I’ve been meaning to write for some time. Six years ago, my mother was diagnosed with colorectal cancer. In an effort to help her ease the discomforts she had to endure, I spent countless hours researching essential oils and hydrosols to learn how they can be used to aid the symptoms of various cancers. I used a number of essential oils and hydrosols topically and internally with my Mum, to help ease the side effects of chemotherapy and radiation, calm her stress and anxiety levels, and alleviate her insomnia and nausea. Four years after her death, I feel that I’m able and ready to share some of that knowledge.

Cancer will be the world’s number one cause of death by the end of 2010. It is estimated that $1 billion USD is donated to cancer research each year. As Jeffrey Yuen once said, ‘We finance cancer by the amount we dread it’. Now if that money were to be spent on cancer prevention, how different would that statistic be?

It now seems as though our air, soil and water are filled with toxins, but there are factors we can control. If we were to improve our diets, exercise regularly, reduce some of our UV exposure and read the labels on the products we use, specifically personal care products, then we can reduce our risk. The Environment Working Group (EWG)1 reports that the average person uses 9 personal care products per day, which contain 126 chemical ingredients. For 1 out of 4 women, that number is 15 or higher. Choosing natural products and paying attention to the ingredients in the products you purchase, is one way to decrease these statistics. If you are unsure whether an ingredient is safe, the EWG has a website which lists over 25,000 personal care products and their safety level.2

For most people, aromatherapy and essential oils do not usually come to mind as a complimentary treatment, when someone hears that they have cancer. The oils are very powerful though and their effects are surprising even to those who believe that conventional treatment is the only option. Essential oils and hydrosols can also aid with the emotional and psychological issues that arise when faced with a life threatening diseases, such as cancer. Aromatherapy is just one holistic modality, meaning that you treat the whole person, not just the disease. Essential oils and hydrosols, unlike conventional medications, are selected for the individual being treated, not as a one size fits all for general use.

It was once believed that any type of massage would promote cancer metastasis. Research now shows that massage can be very beneficial to those with cancer, specifically for managing pain and depression.3 The gentle massage used during an aromatherapy massage promotes relaxation and helps to eliminate toxins from the body. Even a simple hand massage can have a positive effect.4

The essential oils of grapefruit (citrus paradisii), orange (citrus senensis) and lemon (citrus limonum) contain D-limonene, which has shown to have anti-tumour properties5, chemotherapeutic activity and low toxicity.6 It is particularly beneficial for breast and colon cancer.7 Note that these citrus oils are phototoxic and should not be used topically on people with skin cancer. When possible, organic essential oils should be used. These citrus oils, as well as neroli essential oil, are also antidepressants and help with anxiety. The hydrosol of neroli can be used as a body, room or linen spray.


In addition to the citrus oils, other essential oils and hydrosols, which aid with side effects and killing of cancer cells include:

Ginger (zingiber officinalis) essential oil can be inhaled or taken internally in water, to ease nausea.8

The essential oil and hydrosol of frankincense (boswellia carteri) has shown anticancer, antimicrobial and antioxidative activity.9 & 11 Frankincense can also distinguish the difference between normal and cancerous cells and suppress cancer cell viability.10

Sweet fern (comptonia peregrina) and sweet gale (myrica gale) hydrosols can be combined and used topically as a compress or diluted in water and drank throughout the day. Both plants have shown to be cytotoxic (toxic to cells) against human lung and colon cancer cell lines. 12 & 13

Greenland moss, aka Labrador Tea (ledum greonlandicum) is one of the most powerful therapeutic hydrosols and only needs to be about 10% of the blend to be effective.14 It is currently in experimental stages for use with liver cancer and has shown anticancer activity against malignant lung and colon tumours.15 Marsh Labrador Tea has also been shown to protect against gamma radiation.

The hydrosol of niaouli (melaleuca quinquinervia CT viridiflorol) can be used if you are undergoing radiation treatmentto help to prevent burns and protect the skin.14

Vitamin D also plays an important part in our health. There have been numerous studies which show that vitamin D supplementation aids with cardiovascular disease, musculoskeletal health, autoimmunity and cancer. A study release this month showed that a vitamin D deficiency enhances the growth of tumours.

My main focus has been on the essential oils and hydrosols I had used with my mother, to ease her symptoms. There is also research available on the use of essential oils and hydrosols for bladder, breast, liver, lung, prostate and skin cancers and the treatment of malodorous ulcers. Essential oils and hydrosols are currently being reviewed at Princess Margaret Hospital in Toronto, by Dr. Claire Edmonds and Dr. Alastair Cunningham, in coping with a cancer diagnosis.

I am not claiming that essential oils and hydrosols will cure cancer, but they will aid with the side effects of chemotherapy and radiation and have shown to kill cancer cells. Throughout the majority of my mother’s treatments, while she was taking the citrus and ginger essential oils, and Greenland moss and sweet gale hydrosols, she was still able to enjoy life. She was able to go salsa dancing which was a passion of hers. She felt free while dancing, and no one could tell she was ill. I believe this speaks volumes for how much the essential oils and hydrosols helped her to overcome the side effects of her chemotherapy and radiation treatments.

Michelle Reynolds, CAHP

1. Environmental Working Group: http://www.EWG.org

2. Skin Deep – Cosmetic Database: http://www.cosmeticsdatabase.com

3. A Review on the Effects of Aromatherapy for Patients with Depressive Symptoms. Yim VW, Ng AK, Tsang HW, Leung AY. J Altern Complement Med. 2009 Feb 13. PMID: 19216657

4. Effects of aroma handmassage on pain, state anxiety and depression in hospice patients with terminal cancer. Chang SY. Taehan Kanho Hakhoe Chi. 2008 Aug;38(4):493-502. PMID: 18753801

5. Identification and characterization of limonene metabolites in patients with advanced cancer by liquid chromatography/mass spectrometry. Poon GK, Vigushin D, Griggs LJ, Rowlands MG, Coombes RC, Jarman M. Drug Metab Dispos. 1996 May;24(5):565-71. PMID: 8723738

6. Phase I and pharmacokinetic study of D-limonene inpatients with advanced cancer. Cancer Research Campaign Phase I/II Clinical Trials Committee. Vigushin DM, Poon GK, Boddy A, English J, Halbert GW, Pagonis C, Jarman M, Coombes RC. Cancer Chemother Pharmacol. 1998;42(2):111-7. PMID: 9654110

7. Medical Aromatherapy, Healing with Essential Oils. Kurt Schnaubelt, M.D.

8. A Phase II/III Randomized, Placebo-Controlled, Double-Blind Clinical Trial of Ginger (Zingiber officinale) for Nausea Caused by Chemotherapy for Cancer: A Currently Accruing URCC CCOP Cancer Control Study. Hickok JT, Roscoe JA, Morrow GR, Ryan JL. Support Cancer Ther. 2007 Sep 1;4(4):247-50. PMID: 18632524

9. Studies of the in vitro anticancer, antimicrobial and antioxidant potentials of selected Yemeni medicinal plants from the island Soqotra. Mothana RA, Lindequist U, Gruenert R, Bednarski PJ. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2009 Mar 25;9:7. PMID: 19320966

10. Frankincense oil derived from Boswellia carteri induces tumor cell specific cytotoxicity. Frank MB, Yang Q, Osban J, Azzarello JT, Saban MR, Saban R, Ashley RA, Welter JC, Fung KM, Lin HK. BMC Complement Altern Med. 2009 Mar 18;9:6. PMID: 19296830

11. LY294002 enhances boswellic acid-induced apoptosis in colon cancer cells. Liu JJ, Duan RD. Anticancer Res. 2009 Aug;29(8):2987-91. PMID: 19661305

12. Composition and cytotoxic activity of the leaf essential oil of Comptonia peregrina (L.) Coulter. Sylvestre M, Pichette A, Lavoie S, Longtin A, Legault J. Phytother Res. 2007 Jun;21(6):536-40. PMID: 17326040

13. Chemical composition and anticancer activity of leaf essential oil of Myrica gale L. Sylvestre M, Legault J, Dufour D, Pichette A. Phytomedicine. 2005 Apr;12(4):299-304. PMID: 15898708

14. Hydrosols: The Next Aromatherapy. Suzanne Catty. Healing Arts Press, 2001.

15. Antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anticancer activities of methanolic extracts from Ledum groenlandicum Retzius. Dufour D, Pichette A, Mshvildadze V, Bradette-Hébert ME, Lavoie S, Longtin A, Laprise C, Legault J. Phytomedicine. 2005 Apr;12(4):299-304. PMID: 15898708

Essential Oil Therapy; treating ADHD

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) is a neurobiological disorder. Note that the term ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) is no longer used. ADHD is now classified into three categories, one of which is formerly known as ADD, and is based on three core symptoms: inattention, hyperactivity and impulsiveness. There are a number of chemical properties in certain essential oils, which may be effective in treating ADHD. These oils include basil, cedarwood, chamomile, frankincense, lavender, mandarin, melissa, neroli, rosemary, sandalwood, vetiver and ylang ylang. Below are some of the essential oils best suited for treating ADHD:

  • Basil (ocimum basilicum); a cerebral stimulant, enhances concentration and aids with mental fatigue.
  • Cedarwood (cedrus atlantica); a sedative, has a relaxant affect on the parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous systems.
  • Frankincense (boswellia carteri); also contains sedative properties, can be used for nervous tension and anxiety, and is often used during meditation.
  • Lavender (lavandula angustifolia); one of the most popular oils and is known for it’s sedative, calming and soothing properties.
  • Mandarin and Neroli (citrus reticulata/aurantium) essential oils; known for their anxiolytic properties, which relieve stress, anxiety and depression.
  • Vetiver (vetiveria zizanoides); a sedative for the nervous system, is used for stress related ailments and is very relaxing.

A pure essential oil blend, which may be effective in working with ADHD, is our Mental Clarity inhaler. This product contains peppermint, rosemary, lemon and basil essential oils, in an essential oil inhaler, which is a convenient way to use essential oils, especially for children. This particular blend of essential oils are known to aid with concentration, memory and retention, and alertness. There are also a number of applications in which essential oils can be effective. If a pure essential oil blend is being used, a few drops can be added to the bath, to a carrier oil or to a natural, unscented lotion and then massaged onto your back, chest and feet. Essential oils can also be added to a diffuser, or a few drops put on your pillowcase, a cotton ball or tissue.

The same combination of essential oils will not be effective for everyone. Certain oils compliment each other and their synergy enhances the effect of the other oils. Each of us are unique, which is why a custom formula may be right for you. As well, take a close look at your child’s, or your own, diet, environment, stress levels, and happiness, which all have an affect on their/your behaviour. In the end, it may not be ADHD at all. Research related to nutrition shows that a diet high in essential fatty acids and vitamin C improves the symptoms of ADHD. Another study published in The Lancet medical journal, has shown that artificial food colouring and additives have been linked to ADHD like behaviour.

Essential oil therapy can be an effective complementary treatment for ADHD. Along with a proper diet and a healthy lifestyle, the symptoms of ADHD can be greatly reduced, and for some totally eliminated. Please visit our website (http://www.aromatichealth.ca) to view our Mental Clarity inhaler. Should you feel that you need a custom formula for you and your specific needs, feel free to contact us at info@aromatichealth.ca.

Michelle Reynolds, CAHP


1. CADDAC – Centre for ADHD/ADD Advocacy, Canada http://www.caddac.ca
2. Medical Aromatherapy, Healing with Essential Oils. Kurt Schnaubelt, M.D.
3. Autonomic responses during inhalation of natural fragrance of Cedrol in humans. Dayawansa S, Umeno K, Takakura H, Hori E, Tabuchi E, Nagashima Y, Oosu H, Yada Y, Suzuki T, Ono T, Nishijo H. Auton Neurosci. 2003 Oct 31;108(1-2):79-86.PMID: 14614968
4. Effects of aroma hand massage on pain, state anxiety and depression in hospice patients with terminal cancer Chang SY. Taehan Kanho Hakhoe Chi. 2008 Aug;38(4):493-502. Korean. PMID: 18753801
5. Stimulative and sedative effects of essential oils upon inhalation. Lim WC, Seo JM, Lee CI, Pyo HB, Lee BC. Arch Pharm Res. 2005 Jul;28(7):770-4.PMID: 16114490
6. Essential oils and anxiolytic aromatherapy. Setzer WN. Nat Prod Commun. 2009 Sep;4(9):1305-16. Review.PMID: 19831048
7. Observational study: Matricaria chamomilla may improve some symptoms of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. Phytomedicine. 2009 Apr;16(4):284-6. Epub 2008 Dec 20. Niederhofer H.
8. Supplementation with flax oil and vitamin C improves the outcome of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids. 2006 Jan;74(1):17-21. Epub 2005 Nov 28.
9. Essential fatty acids and the brain. Haag M. Can J Psychiatry. 2003 Apr;48(3):195-203. Review.PMID: 12728744
10. Food additives and hyperactive behaviour in 3-year-old and 8/9-year-old children in the community: a randomized, double-blinded, placebo-controlled trial . The Lancet, Volume 370, Issue 9598, Pages 1560 – 1567, 3 November 2007