Hints and Tips for Physical Well-Being

Allergies (Atmospheric)
Ruth Gilbert writes:

Just for your interest, I have been using a combo of equal parts Inula graveolens, Ravensara and Frankincense in the diffuser for long term, allergic congestion (with additional aggravation from viruses) both nasal and chest, with spectacular results.

Other clients have reported fantastic results using ou Blue Tansy (Tanecetum anuum) in the aromalamp every morning.

Anti-Virus / Anti-Flu

A couple of weeks ago, one evening, I felt exhausted…and I hurt all over. My joints ached, my bones ached…my HAIR hurt. Obvious signs of a virus of some sort trying to take over. I put about 20 drops of Ravensara in the diffuser in my bedroom, but didn’t want to fall asleep to its medicinal scent. I discovered a wee bit of Colleen K. Dodt’s Christmas Potpourri blend. I don’t know what else is in it…but I remember sending her some Cinnamon Bark last autumn for that blend. My nose says there’s a bit of clove, as well. I added perhaps one drop of that spicy blend to the Ravensara, and turned on the diffuser. The room smelled wonderful…and by morning whatever I was fighting off had disappeared. Does this prove the oils killed whatever virus it was? Nope…anecdotal evidence isn’t worth much to the scientists. But I plan to mix some Cinnamon Bark and Clove Bud into MY stash of Ravensara, for future use. Maybe some Lemon Myrtle (Backhousia citradora), as well, for its powerful antibacterial effect? (October 1999)

From an online friend:

For my nose when it got raw from blowing, I put on Heli 10%, waited a bit for it to soak in, and then shea on top of that. After the second time, the pain went away and it didn’t hurt to blow anymore. Now tonight I’m going to try MuscleEase in the tub to see if it will help the soreness in my stomach and chest from coughing. They *feel* like muscle cramps but I’m not sure if that’s what they really are.

My comment: When I’ve had a bad cough, my diaphram ends up really hurting, and I’ve found MuscleEase helps ease the pain. Courtney isn’t fond of the smell of the MuscleEase massage oil, but swears by our MuscleEase Bath Salts for aches, pains, and congestion. (The high amount of Eucalyptus in it probably helps with the decongestant effect.)

Years ago June Curtis wrote the following:

My order arrived on Wednesday and got put to immediate use since we both have colds. I quickly concocted your “Hints and Tips” blend of Ravensara, Clove Bud, Cinnamon Leaf, and Lemon Myrtle for the diffuser. Relief was swift and the room smelled wonderful! This is a definite “keeper” to stave off the New Mexico bacteria and viruses that are new to our immune systems. Thank you too for the sample of Clove. I hesitated to order that without testing lest my blends turned out to smell like Easter Ham! My fears were groundless since it’s a pleasant oil, much softer fragrance than expected, but a little goes a long way.

A month or so ago, Kristi Kusek wrote:

I just wanted to drop you a little note to tell you how much I love your Manuka oil! I have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, and noticed it was recommended for use with CFS — so I gave it a try well over a year ago. It has become a staple oil for me that I use in almost any blend in some quantity. I definitely feel that the use of essential oils, especially Manuka, has helped to keep me from getting those nasty recurrent viruses that I had suffered from for years prior to this. In fact, my poor husband has the flu right now and I am diffusing a blend of ravensara, manuka, cinnamon bark, clove, and lemon myrtle to help him get better faster and to keep me well! I feel confident that it is helping to clear the air of those nasty germs.

Old Time Sore Throat Remedy (not aromatherapy, but sounds helpful so we’re passing it along):

Sore Throat? Just mix 1/4 cup of vinegar with 1/4 cup of honey and take 1 tablespoon six times a day. The vinegar kills the bacteria.

Six years ago, Dorothy Murphy shared this formula on an aromatherapy discussion list:

  • 2 drops Ravensara
  • 1 drop Euc. Radiata
  • 1 drop Palmarosa
  • 1 drop Myrtle

Dilute in 10 mls of carrier oil, preferably a combination of ones high in Vitamin C like Rosehip Seed Oil. Put on chest and throat and lymph node areas under the ear/jawline and on the lung reflex area of the feet.

Another flu/cold bath formula from a client who asked not to be named:

Colds and Flu Energizer

  • 10 drops Ravensara
  • 10 drops Eucalyptus
  • 4 drops Peppermint
  • 8 drops Rosemary

Blend together, add one quarter (8 drops) to a warm bath. This would be a stimulating blend for when you can’t afford to just go to bed. The peppermint and rosemary will help you get moving again.

(January 2005)

Athletes Foot Remedy?

Marlene Smith, of Canada writes:

I previously made a essential oil blend based on a Study done at Warwick University in England and had great results. I haven’t had the same results using just Tea Tree (maybe it was too old). The oils I used were Lemongrass (10%), Niaouli (20%), Mandarin (10%) and Palma Rosa (60%), in a sweet almond oil base. Because it was localized and I was treating my husband we justified using that much, but I do not recommend anyone else use this dilution. I used a high dilution for one week at 20%, 2nd week at 15%, and 3rd week at 10%. I kept a log and after the first 24 hours the itching completely stopped, spots where not as inflamed and pink only. By the 3rd week there was no sign of spots or itching. That was in December 2002.

My comment: I’d not start with the 20% dilution, but the blend sounds like it would be very effective. (July 2003)

Aromatic Showers

Idea…from Barbara Lucks (almasol@sopris.net), respected aromatherapist, a way to use oils that are not generally “skin friendly” in your morning shower.

Says Barbara: “I drop 4–6 drops on the shower floor with the drain closed, and the oil is carried up in the shower steam. I love starting the day this way.” Barbara goes on to add that if you use the decongesting oils, one of the Eucalyptus species, for example, the aromatic steam really helps loosen congestion. (Thu, 06 Jan 2000)

Backache Blend

Another recipe that some of our clients have found giving relief from chronic back pains and various forms of arthritis/rheumatism/joint pains: Calophyllum inophyllum as a carrier, with a blend of Helichrysum italicuum, Black Pepper and Lavandin Super essential oils. I’ve not offered this massage blend online yet. It has always been a custom product; however if the demand is there we could add it to our list of physically healing blends. (Aug 24, 1999)

Bug Bites / Spider Bites

First aid tip from one of our client’s…email just received from Lisa:

Hi Marge, in my last order, i requested a sample of the Bulgarian Lavender (the more perfumery one, in case i got the name wrong). i got a very large, itchy spider bite on my leg. i thought i was going to have to *not move* all day because when i walk, the itchy/burniness is tremendous. then i remembered the sample. in about 15 minutes, the itching went away and just a moment ago, i forgot it was there! isn’t THAT fun!?

Fun indeed! And good to know. Thanks, Lisa, for letting me share it. (June 2000)

Burn Remedy

From one of our clients, who gave us permission to share:

I would also like to tell you how wonderful your infused calendula oil is.
Yesterday my daughter got steaming hot soup on her arm and hand, so I immediately poured some calendula in a glass and added a few drops of lavender (I can work really fast under pressure ;). Well I applied the blend and I could actually SEE the burn healing!!! I have done this before on a burn and I have never seen such a fast healing:) As I was using my regular lavender I completely thank your calendula!!


My friend Mary Jane writes from Michigan:

I woke up this morning and could hardly walk. I have bursitis in my right hip. I used a mixture of Helichrysum, Vetiver, Black Pepper, and Jojoba Oil. The pain decreased in about 10 minutes. I could walk without a limp for six hours. It was great!
I have also been in a horrible mood for the last few days. I must say, the synergy did wonders for my attitude. I walked around relaxed and on cloud nine all day.
Maybe you could pass along the recipe to fellow sufferers.

So I did 😉 (February 2002)

Carpal Tunnel Relief

From my friend Pattye Z:

One thing i forgot to tell you in my last message—the Immortelle is just great on my carpal tunnel in my right wrist. I’ve been using it when i get those pains and within about 10 minutes the pain is completely gone for hours. i can type and write pain-free. i have been taking motrin and using rubs on this but without complete pain removal. this product does it. thanks (is there NOTHING Helichrysum isn’t good for? I believe it is the most healing of all the oils, even more so than Lavender!) (18 Jul 2000)

Carla is a professional chef, and all the slicing and dicing has given her carpal tunnel that wakes her in the middle of the night with the pain. I blended some of our BackEase Synergy into our St. John’s Wort infused oil. Within a few days she was pain free. It’s not an instant magic wand cure-all…but the combined anti-inflammatory ingredients really helped. (July 2000)

Children’s Bedtime

In New England, school didn’t start until the Thursday after Labor Day. Here in Middle Tennessee the children have been back to school for a couple of weeks now. If your little ones are having some problems going to bed earlier to catch an early school bus, you might try a few drops of Bulgarian Lavender, or Roman or English Chamomile in a bedtime bath to relax them and help them fall asleep. If getting them up and moving in the mornings is a problem, I suggest diffusing or spraying a water and EO spray in their room….our FogCutter is the most energizing synergy I have experienced. (August 1999)

Chamomile Baths (One Relaxing, One Sensuous)

This blend for an insomnia bath includes my favorite Neroli (I want to try this one tonite!)

  • 4 drops Roman Chamomile Oil
  • 2 drops Lavender oil (I would use Mailette, I think, but any true Lavender should work)
  • 4 drops Neroli Oil
  • 2 drops Sweet Marjoram Oil

A relaxing and sensuous blend for the bath, massage, or diffuser:

Angel Wings

  • 12 drops Bulgarian Lavender
  • 6 drops Blood Orange
  • 4 drops Roman Chamomile
  • 4 drops Ylangylang Complete
  • 3 drops Sandalwood Sri Lanka or Tamil

(October 2004)

Ear Infection Prevention

From Amy Sikes:

I asked you what to use to prevent my baby (just turned 1 last weekend) from getting ear infections and you suggested diffusing Eucalyptus smithii. I’ve been using that anytime he is congested and so far so good, no ear infections! I diffuse it and mix it with epsom salt and put in his bath. I’m so pleased with this, because the last time I was at the pediatrician’s with him she was talking about tubes for him and I really don’t want to go that route. I just can’t thank you enough!!!

My children had constant ear infections when they were small, so I know how miserable they can make both the baby and the mom. Wish I had known about Eucalyptus Smithii thirty years ago!

Energizing Bath

Elizabeth Millar recommends a blend of equal parts Thyme Linalol, Pink Grapefruit, and Rosemary for an energizing bath that carries with it “the optimism of a sunshiny day.” (August 2003)

First Aid Spray / Wound Care

Mix 2 drops of lavender, 3 drops of tea tree, and 2 drops of cypress in 8oz saline water. Spray wound and cover with band-aid on which 1–3 drops of lavender has been placed. Repeat 2 times daily. After 3 days expose cut to air. (September 2004)

Focus Blend

My good friend Lane comes up with strange and wonderful blends. I fell in love with this one. It’s in the aromalamp next to this desk, and I think is going in my car diffuser soon.

Lane’s Focus Blend

  • 6 Melissa
  • 6 Basil
  • 6 Rosemary
  • 6 Lemon
  • 6 Peppermint
  • 3 Cistus

Wonderful sunny uplifting stuff! Not as physically energizing as our Fog Cutter, so that I can stay at the computer. (With Fog Cutter in the diffuser, I can’t sit at a desk!)

Heat Relief

If your climate is anything like ours, here in Middle Tennessee, you have been sweltering for the last few weeks, with little or no relief in sight. Other than never leaving the air-conditioning, I’m finding a chilled atomizer of Spearmint Hydrosol the most refreshing aromatic relief. Somehow when the heat index is out of sight, Mint is the most refreshing scent I know. A tepid bath with just two or three drops of Peppermint EO is also a wonderful “cool-down.”

Insect Repellant / SkeeterBeater

A recipe from a Florida client who found that a carrier oil based insect repellant just sheeted off her in the Florida heat: She adds our Lemon Teatree (about 40 drops) to 2 ounces of witch hazel (the alcohol in the witch hazel dissolves/disperses the EO quite nicely) and then adds another two to four ounces of distilled water to the blend, pours it into an atomizer bottle and sprays all her exposed skin and, sometimes, her clothing. Says it keeps the Florida “skeeters” away better than anything. (Aug 24, 1999)

SKEETERBEATER….this stuff really works, folks. Was at a campfire meeting Sunday evening from just before sunset until quite late. Everyone around us was slapping at mosquitoes, until I shared our SkeeterBeater. Just a few drops of the diluted blend on my wrists and forearms kept me bite free all evening. Hope has been putting a drop of the diluted synergy (15 drops per ounce) on her dogs, just a bit on the back of their necks, once or twice a week. Not only has she not seen any fleas, but they are not bringing ticks into the house either. Now, I don’t know if this blend will repel ticks. But neither she nor I have seen any, and they are usually a real problem with our outside dogs. If you plan to spend any time outdoors, you NEED some of this. A lot of you are already using it; if you are finding no ticks when you normally would expect them, please let me know. We love feedback!

Tip from my daughter the groomer…if your dog has one of those woven collars, rather than a leather one, add two or three drops of undiluted SkeeterBeater to his collar to keep him pest free. She says it works as well as commercial products and it’s a lot cheaper. (And SHE gets a discount on the commercial stuff!) (July 2000)

Read about, and order,  our SkeeterBeater Blend here.


Years ago June Curtice shared two of her favorite blends for those sleepless nights when your brain just won’t stop running:

  • 6 drops Himalayan Lavender
  • 8 drops Sweet Marjoram
  • 3 drops Lemon


With either, we’d use a drop or two on a tissue inside the pillow case—or an aromalamp, or an aromastone. Both blends are lovely. For me, the first is more relaxing/sedating; the second just makes tension melt away. (March 2005)

Labor / Delivery

Mari also used our Ylangylang essential oil to control her daughter’s blood pressure during labor and delivery. Says it worked quite well. Mari writes, “She didn’t moan, groan, yell, or scream once during her labor. The physician and nurses were very interested in the Neroli, as they could hear other mothers screaming while they were giving birth. But not Spring, my daughter. Afterward, she said, she felt very relaxed and there was pain, of course, but she felt she could handle it. And handle it, she did. We both swear it was the Neroli. I would just spray it on her each time she asked.” (March 2000)


More feedback from friends using our Peppermint essential oil for migraines. Sniffing Peppermint straight from the bottle at the first sign of the aura seems to stop a lot of migraines in their tracks. Handy to know! October 1999)

Oral Care / Plaque Removing Blend

Our friend Barbara, of Alma Del Sol recently gave us permission to share this. It has proven so very effective that she wants to get the word out.

Dear All—
I have come upon a blend that is getting such great reviews that I have to share it, along with a brief case history.
Tea tree x 8 (Germicidal)
Myrrh x 1 (Germicidal/anti-inflammatory/astringent)
Clove x 1/2 (REALLY germicidal)
Cardamon x 1/2 (Keeps plaque from sticking, honest)
Put 2 drops on toothbrush with toothpaste and brush as usual, or use in an irrigation device or put 2 drops in a shotglass full of water and use as a mouthwash (try not to swallow, but it won’t hurt you if you do).
Dentists saying things like “What are you doing differently?” or “Well, I don’t know what you are doing, but it looks like you may actually be able to keep your teeth.” or “I don’t think we really need to do that gum surgery after all.”
Me, of course, and NO, I am not going to launch into another round of trials. I’m getting enough positive feedback from my dentist and my clients to know it works.
My entire family just seems to accumulate plaque easily and we all need to have our teeth cleaned frequently. In the last few years, I was losing the battle even with daily brushing, flossing, irrigation and professional cleanings every 4 months. My dentist lectured me relentlessly, even though I really was religious about dental hygiene.
I finally got fed up and decided that the solution was not going to be entirely mechanical. I wised up and decided to view my mouth as a part of my body and my dentist as a medical professional. My dentist confirmed that I was dealing with inflammation and bacteria buildup that was eroding gum tissue. He also told me that some people have systems that are too alkaline, which causes more buildup, as well as “sticky bacteria.” I did a quick personal history and immediately thought “What am I doing brushing with a baking soda toothpaste?” (is this an evil conspiracy between the dentists and the manufacturers?), and I also recalled the chronic problems that I and my mother and five sisters have had with bladder infections, another “sticky bacteria” situation.
So I cooked up the blend listed above and mixed it 2% in a solution of vinegar—1 part—and strong cranberry tea—2 parts (here in the US you can get straight cranberry tea bags at any health food store from Traditional Medicinals—it is sold for bladder health). Used it as a mouthwash. Yum-yum. Kept up with the brushing and flossing as usual. I also did research into anti-inflammatory diet, and did some pretty radical diet changes, which were a great improvement in lots of ways.
Six months later, my dentist said “What are you doing differently?” I had actually reversed the periodontal decline.
So for the next four months I just used the blend on my toothbrush and dispensed with the vinegar and cranberry. I held my own. I gave the blend to a couple of friends who called a few months later with “Great news! I don’t have to have the gum surgery.” I have resumed the vinegar and cranberry, and the improvement has continued, but the blend works very well on its own.
Barbara Lucks

Thanks for sharing, Barbara! (October 2003)

Poison Ivy

From Danielle:

I read your article on poison ivy on Agora. Something I tried recently is some essential oil of Citrus aurantium leaf, and Petitgrain. I had poison oak on my hand and it was starting to get to me, seriously. I grabbed the first bottle of essential oil I found, which happened to be Petitgrain. So much for enlightened therapy. Some kind of aromatherapy roulette… I applied it neat. It stopped itching immediately and never itched again. I could not feel it at all. It started oozing right away, and the day after, it was completely dry. A friend of mine tried it, same result. That was impressive. A wider guinea-pig pool would help validate this use for Petitgrain essential oil. If you ever try it, let me know if you have similar results.

Now, I would NOT recommend using Petitgrain neat, especially on broken or disturbed skin. But perhaps a compress of cool water with a few drops of petitgrain floated on top?

Respiratory Blends

Some time ago Donna Groom shared her Respiratory Protection Blend:

This sounds like a wonderful blend for the diffuser or lamp. Thanks for sharing, Donna! (January 2004)

And, my personal favorite — from my mentor Michel vanHove:

Equal parts:

Best used in a nebulizing diffuser. My note, this is best used in daytime, energizing, as well as decongesting! (February 2008)

Frankincense is the first oil I reach for when coughs or congestion come down in my chest. I like to blend it with Black Spruce, our Sweet Spanish Eucalyptus, Atlas Cedarwood, and a bit of Hyssop.

Perhaps two drops of Frankincense, Eucalyptus, Black Spruce, and one drop of the Cedarwood and Hyssop, either in the lamp, or added to a carrier oil and rubbed into the throat and chest. (November 2004)

SARS Suggestion

SARS has to be one of the most frightening health threats to emerge in this new century. With the global community, it can be brought anywhere; and those who are forced to travel regularly are especially at risk.

One of my mentors, Dr. Jane Buckle has shared the following suggestion. (At least one client asked if we made such a blend…we don’t, but we certainly offer all the oils called for.)

As SARS is a corona virus and closely related to the virus that causes flu and colds, I would recommend a mixture of Ravensara Aromatica, Cymbopogon martini (Palma Rosa), Lavandula augustifolia and Eucalyptus globulus. Place a couple of drops on a handkerchief and inhale deeply every half an hour or so. This is particularly important when you are flying or in any crowded environment! (May 2003)

Shingles Relief

I’ve seen a lot of requests on various lists recently for shingles remedies. I’ve not read of an outbreak sweeping the country, but it surely seems that way from here. The “classic” aromatherapy remedy for shingles is Ravensara aromatica (the most strongly antiviral essential oil that I know of) in a base of Calophyllum inophyllum, a rich green sweet-scented base oil from Madagascar. We have made the switch to Ravintsara in Calophyllum recently due to not being able to obtain a trustworthy source of Ravensara that meets our standards of quality.

Pet Skin Care Using Hydrosols

Jeanine Stanley wrote a few months ago about her use of our Hydrosols in caring for her family’s service dogs:

Just a note to let you know that I wouldn’t be without your hydrosols and to give you just a few uses for them that might help others.
This spring and early summer have been especially warm and wet in my locale. With 2 golden Retrievers and a newly fenced in yard, we’ve had our share of hot spots and wet smelly ears. 3 of your hydrosols come in so handy that I’m recommending them to all of my guide dog friends as essentials.
Tea tree hydrosol is the best thing to dry out, disinfect and generally clear up oozing nasty hot spots, those patches of skin your dog just loves to chew until raw. Tea tree hydrosol is also an incredible ear wash for killing yeast in dogs’ ears. You can tell if your dog has yeast as a part of the gunk in the ear if the discharge coming from the ear has a sweet almost rancid smell and is crusty.
I saturate several cotton balls with the tea tree hydrosol and clean the ear as usual. If the ear is very crusty or moist, I will apply the hydrosol directly to the inside of the ear. You want to do this outside and allow your dog to shake its head to clear the debris and excess liquid.
Both of our dogs are male, but friends tell me the Tea Tree hydrosol also works to rid female dogs of yeast infections in the vulva. Simply wash that area thoroughly with the hydrosol. For male dogs, some hydrosol on a cloth can help decrease the urine smell around the back legs and stomach.
I also use tea tree hydrosol as an overall body wash for the dog. Just spray some onto your favorite brush or comb and groom your dog as usual. I find the best grooming implement for this is the rubber Zoom Groom brush. Always wash your grooming gear after using any hydrosol, waterless shampoo, etc.
Oregano hydrosol is a life saver for cleaning cuts, insect bites, stings and even those hot spots that have become infected. I will wash the spot first with oregano then apply the tea tree hydrosol as a drying agent. Yes, your dog will smell like a pizza, but he or she will be much happier sans infection.
Finally, as a drying agent and to keep the skin inside the ears at an appropriate PH balance, I love the witch hazel hydrosol. It smells good, is soothing and helps prevent what we affectionately call swamp ears.
As our two dogs are guide dogs, they must be in some pretty tight quarters in public, airplane cabins, elevators, crowded store lines. Using the hydrasols keeps them fresh and clean and free of infections.
Thanks for the great products! (Sept 2004)

Swollen Glands

A client caught mononucleosis from her college-aged daughter. Had lived with swollen glands for some time, and was tired of it. She started applying Cistus Essential Oil to the glands. According to her reports it seemed obvious that the Cistus was “stirring something up.” She started coughing up a lot of nasty mucous, green stained, indicating an infection. She said she just felt that a lot of things were “moving around and loosening up.” After about five days she started feeling much better, and the swelling is almost gone. (I had forgotten that Cistus is sometimes recommended for treating swollen glands; I always use it for spiritual/emotional purposes.)