Summer vacation is finally here! You’ve checked the list and everything’s packed. Did you remember the first aid kit? Aromatherapy has multiple uses when traveling by land, sea or air. A kit consisting of 5 (5 ml) essential oils, two (2 oz) hydrolats, and 1 (4 oz) carrier oil is compact and is easy and safe to use on the whole family, including your pet.
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Lavender oil is like a first aid kit in a bottle. It can be used neat on most skin, but you may want to dilute it for young children and elderly folk. Lavender can be used for many minor skin irritations, including blisters, cuts, scrapes, bruises and burns, including sun and windburn. The scent is calming and relaxing. Try it in a bath after a long day to melt away a headache and stress. Sprinkle some on the sheets. Calm crying babies and agitated children with the scent.
Tea Tree oil has antiseptic, antifungal and antitoxic properties, making it the perfect oil for insect and spider bites and stings. A drop or two on a cut or blister can prevent infection. Sprinkle some on the shower floor to prevent athlete’s foot fungus. Replace your expensive dandruff shampoo by adding a few drops to a gentler formula such as baby shampoo.
Peppermint oil has a refreshing scent, useful for staying alert while driving long distances. Try breathing some on a tissue to relieve symptoms of jet lag, nasal congestion, nausea and headache. If you suffer from motion sickness in a car, an airplane or boat, breathe peppermint from a tissue or massage a diluted mixture on your abdomen. Add to a carrier oil and use it zap the itch out of insect bites. If you have stomach upset, including diarrhea, add a drop or two to a teaspoon of carrier oil and massage on your abdomen. A compress placed on the forehead or the back of the neck can help reduce fever. Mix with lavender oil in coconut oil for an insect repellent.
Ginger and peppermint oils have several common uses such as for motion sickness, digestive upsets, nausea, and for its fever reducing properties. Some people prefer the warm feeling of ginger to the cooling sensation of peppermint, and vice versa. Ginger increases circulation making it ideal for bruises, sprains and strains. I once used ginger on a broken toe that became dark purple. After the third day the bruising was nearly gone. The pain ….. well, that lasted a lot longer.
Sandalwood oil has diuretic properties, making it useful for swollen ankles after a long drive or flight Try a 5 minute calf massage for tired legs. Add a drop of peppermint to the mixture for a quick pick-me-up. Mix with a carrier oil, then massage on your abdomen and lower back for relief of PMS symptoms. Rub a diluted mixture on the lymph nodes under your chin for sore throat relief. Apply to the chest for bronchitis. For cystitis, apply to the kidney area of the back. As an after-sun hair conditioner, use coconut oil, jojoba oil and a couple of drops of sandalwood.
If you have babies or family members who are elderly, you may want to use hydrolats instead of the essential oils. Collected as steam from a distillation process, hydrolats contain micro-particles of the essential oils but are much gentler. Catnip hydrolat is recommended as an insect repellent. Neroli and lavender are noted for their skin healing properties but are invaluable when used to calm crankiness and tantrums. Even inter-island flying can be difficult with a screaming child. Neroli can be used as a compress on the stomach for digestive upsets.
I recommend virgin coconut oil and jojoba as carrier oils. They both have an indefinite shelf life. Try mixing the two together for silky smooth skin.