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Killer Weed

About the author: 

Aromatherapist Andrea Butje offers her favourite recipes to eliminate pain of all varieties

It’s not easy to feel good if you’re laid up in recovery with a broken leg or have a chronic condition that causes daily discomfort. At times like these, the effects that essential oils can have on your mind and heart—and, yes, on your body too—can offer a lot of support.

Simply surrounding yourself with aromas you love can help keep your mind calm and your heart uplifted. It’s a good way to care for yourself during times when you’re particularly susceptible to feeling overwhelmed, afraid or anxious. Staying relaxed may be more difficult when you’re in pain, but it’s just as important, if not more so. So if you can relax, it will help to reduce stress levels in your body and create more room for healing to take place.

Many ‘healing’ essential oils combine their special talents for reducing inflammation and easing pain with their emotional qualities. If you make an oil for a sprained ankle, it can help to support your healing and keep you feeling happy. If you make a joint salve for painful knees at night, it can also help you rest and sleep peacefully. You can even make your blend with ingredients that won’t get all over your bedsheets!

It’s a good idea to consider how long you’ll need to use a pain-relief blend before you make it. Some of the recipes below are best used for ‘acute’ symptoms that don’t last very long, such as a sprained ankle or an infection. These blends are often made with higher concentrations of essential oils.

Other recipes are helpful for conditions that need ongoing support over longer periods of time, such as chronic joint inflammation. These recipes use lower concentrations of oils, and also include skin-nourishing ingredients that won’t cause irritation when applied over a long period of time.

Unless your discomfort is chronic, you often won’t know when you’ll need a pain-relief blend until you actually need it—when the last thing you may feel like doing is making an aromatherapy blend. That said, you can sometimes plan ahead and anticipate your potential needs.

If you enjoy running, make a few blends for sore, tense muscles or sprained ankles to have on hand. If you’re going camping, make a few emergency blends ahead of time for soothing cuts and scrapes.

But before you make any of the following recipes, be sure to check the shelf-lives of your ingredients, so you’ll know how long your product will keep, and be aware of any safety concerns with these essential oils.

Also, pay attention to the directions for use of each recipe, and use only blends specifically created for cuts or scrapes to apply to broken skin.

A special carrier oil for trauma

Trauma oil is a blend of three herbs—Arnica, St John’s wort and Calendula—infused in a carrier oil—usually olive oil. These herbs are known for their ability to relieve pain and inflammation, which makes trauma oil an ideal ingredient for blends intended to soothe injury and support recovery. Trauma oil is also skin-nourishing, which makes it safe for long-term use. Its shelf-life will depend on the carrier oil used as the base, but it’s usually about a year.

Spike Lavender ‘Sore Muscle Miracle’ Oil

If you’re the type of person who loves to run, jump, swim, hike, climb mountains and dance your heart out, this is the perfect recipe for an oil to massage sore muscles after a whole day of fun.

1 oz (30 mL) trauma oil

7 drops spike lavender

4 drops black spruce

4 drops myrtle

3 drops ginger

DIRECTIONS

Take a 1-oz (30-mL) glass bottle, pour the trauma oil into it, then add the essential oils.

FOR KIDS

1 oz (30 mL) trauma oil

3 drops lavender

2 drops black spruce

1 drop orange

Gingergrass ‘Ease-Up’ Muscle Oil

If you do yoga every day and your muscles feel sore afterwards, then gingergrass is the master of strong, flexible, happy muscles, and this massage oil will help you care for them. Use this recipe to ease tight, painful muscles and encourage flexibility.

1 oz (30 mL) trauma oil

8 drops gingergrass

4 drops saro

3 drops cardamom

2 drops geranium

DIRECTIONS

Take a 1-oz (30-mL) glass bottle, pour the trauma oil into it, then add the essential oils.

FOR KIDS

1 oz (30 mL) trauma oil

3 drops gingergrass

1 drop lavender

1 drop cedarwood

1 drop geranium

Juniper ‘Jumping for Joy’ Joint Gel

Many people rely on juniper oil when their joints feel inflamed and inflexible. Use this recipe to soothe painful and swollen joints.

1 oz (28 g) aloe vera gel

6 drops juniper

4 drops German chamomile

4 drops palmarosa

4 drops lemon

DIRECTIONS

Take 1-oz (30-mL) glass bottle, pour the aloe vera gel into it, then add the essential oils. Shake the blend gently before each use to distribute the essential oils throughout the aloe. I recommend making this blend fresh every few weeks.

FOR KIDS

1 oz (28 g) aloe vera gel

3 drops juniper

1 drop German chamomile

1 drop palmarosa

Rosemary ‘Easy Focus’ Headache Inhaler

This inhaler is particularly useful for students who have studied too long and so have developed a tension headache. It eases pain and helps you maintain concentration. Use this recipe to relieve a tension headache and encourage mental focus.

9 drops rosemary ct camphor

3 drops spike lavender

3 drops basil ct linalool

DIRECTIONS

An inhaler is a small lip-balm-sized tube with a cotton insert that absorbs the essential oils. You can carry it around with you in a pocket or bag, so it’s very convenient. Use a dropper to deliver the essential oils directly onto the cotton insert in the inhaler sleeve.

FOR KIDS

4 drops orange

1 drop lavender

1 drop basil ct linalool

Cardamom ‘4/9 Joint Care’ Oil

Cardamom, rosemary, camphor, geranium and peppermint oils all play an equal role in making this blend, and all of them are good at soothing pain, reducing chronic swelling and encouraging circulation. Use this recipe to encourage circulation, reduce inflammation and bring relief to painful joints.

2 oz (60 mL) Arnica oil

9 drops cardamom

9 drops rosemary ct camphor

9 drops geranium

9 drops peppermint

DIRECTIONS

Take a 2-oz (60-mL) glass bottle, pour the Arnica oil into it, then add the essential oils. Massage into swollen joints.

FOR KIDS

2 oz (60 mL) Arnica oil

4 drops cedarwood

4 drops orange

4 drops geranium

Roman Chamomile ‘Extra-Helpful’ Headache and Belly Oil

When you’ve got a headache or nausea, apply this soothing oil to your neck, belly and chest. Use this recipe to relieve headaches accompanied by nausea.

0.35 oz (10 mL) trauma oil

2 drops Roman chamomile

2 drops frankincense

2 drops ginger

DIRECTIONS

Take a 0.35-oz (10-mL) glass roller-top bottle, pour the trauma oil into it, add the essential oils, then snap the roller-top in place. Apply to the neck, belly and chest.

FOR KIDS

0.35 oz (10 mL) trauma oil

1 drop Roman chamomile

1 drop frankincense

Piñon Pine ‘Minus the Sinus Headache’ Inhaler

If you develop a sinus headache, these three essential oils dropped onto an inhaler can relieve both tension and pressure from your sinuses. Use this recipe to ease headaches and pressure in your sinus cavity.

8 drops piñon (pinyon) pine

2 drops hemlock

5 drops Kunzea

FOR KIDS

3 drops piñon pine

1 drop hemlock

2 drops cedarwood

‘Band-Aid in a Bottle’ Gel

Keep a bottle of this blend within reach in case of cuts or scrapes. Wash the area, apply the gel and your mind will be at rest, knowing that the gel is antiseptic and the damaged skin will heal well. Use this recipe to help small cuts and scrapes heal more quickly.

1 oz (28 g) aloe vera gel

7 drops frankincense

3 drops lavender

5 drops cedarwood

3 drops Helichrysum

DIRECTIONS

Take a 1-oz (30-mL) glass bottle, pour the aloe vera gel into it, then add the essential oils. Shake the blend gently before each use to distribute the oils throughout the aloe. Cleanse the wound, then gently apply the gel directly onto the cut or scrape. I recommend making this blend fresh every few weeks.

FOR KIDS

1 oz (28 g) aloe vera gel

2 drops frankincense

1 drop lavender

2 drops cedarwood

1 drop Helichrysum

German Chamomile ‘Ouch-Away’ Hydrosol Spray

When kids fall down and scrape their knees, this well-known Ouch-Away spray, made with German chamomile, can ease a lot of the pain. Hydrosol is the distillation water that becomes infused with the water-soluble components of plant essential oils. The hydrosols created during essential-oil distillation are pure, aromatic waters with their own therapeutic properties. Use this recipe to soothe the pain of fresh cuts, scrapes or bruises.

2 oz (60 mL) German chamomile hydrosol

1 oz (30 mL) tea tree hydrosol

1 oz (30 mL) vetiver hydrosol

DIRECTIONS

Simply blend all the hydrosols in a 4-oz (120-mL) glass spray bottle, and gently spray the blend directly onto cuts or scrapes. I recommend making this blend fresh every few weeks.

FOR KIDS

The recipe for kids is the same as the one for grown-ups.

Lavender ‘Easy Earache Relief’ Oil

No pain is easy to handle, but earaches can be especially painful. This blend helps to ease the pain and relax the muscles in the surrounding area. Use this recipe to relieve the pain of earaches.

1 oz (30 mL) trauma oil

7 drops lavender

6 drops Eucalyptus

2 drops juniper

3 drops palo santo

DIRECTIONS

Take a 1-oz (30-mL) glass roller-top bottle, pour the trauma oil into it, then add the essential oils. Roll it gently behind the painful ear and onto the neck on the same side. Essential oils should never be used inside the ears.

FOR KIDS

1 oz (30 mL) trauma oil

3 drops lavender

1 drop cedarwood

1 drop juniper

1 drop palo santo

‘No More Black-and-Blues’ Bruise Oil

If anyone has bruises and feels down in the dumps, this healing blend can clear up the bruises almost as quickly as it clears up the blues. Use this recipe to help bruises heal quickly.

1 oz (30 mL) trauma oil

9 drops Helichrysum

5 drops lavender

4 drops German chamomile

DIRECTIONS

Take a 1-oz (30-mL) glass bottle, pour the trauma oil into it, then add the essential oils. Apply gently to the bruise as often as needed until the bruise disappears.

FOR KIDS

1 oz (30 mL) trauma oil

4 drops Helichrysum

1 drop lavender

1 drop German chamomile

Excerpted from The Heart of Aromatherapy by Andrea Butje (Hay House, £14.99)


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