Essential oils for beginners Botanical Boss

If you’re looking to take your homegrown pharmacy to the next level, essential oil making opens a whole new, exciting gardening doorway. Like all new adventures, trial and error is what learning is all about, so don’t be afraid to try something new. Life is a Garden, with help from industry experts at  Amorentia Estate & Nursery have provided an epic beginners guide to essential oil gardening for the whole family to benefit from. 

 

Get started: Choose a carrier oil

When using essential oils, it is important to dilute them with a carrier oil such as jojoba, rosehip, baobab, marula, almond, or coconut oil before applying to the skin. It is also recommended to do a patch test on a small area of skin before using a new essential oil to check for any allergic reactions. Essential oils are used in low doses because they are extremely potent, and safety should also be researched for medical conditions as well as pregnancy and breastfeeding. There are many other applications for essential oils like candle burners, room sprays, steaming, and bathing.Lauren Strever

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Get growing: Top plant picks

1. Rosemary is one of those mighty medicinal powerhouses! This plant helps to alleviate muscle pain, improve memory, boost the immune and circulatory system, promote hair growth, act as an antifungal, antibacterial, and antispasmodic. When inhaled, rosemary is effective against respiratory infections because of its antiseptic properties.

2. Lavender is well-known for its calming and relaxing properties. These plants have been used for centuries to help to reduce stress and anxiety, promote restful sleep, soothe headaches, and even keep bad vibes away. It is also a great anti-inflammatory, insect-repellent, antifungal, and remedy for a huge variety of skin ailments.

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3. Cape jasmin (Gardenia augusta) is known in perfumery to be one of the most well-balanced oils and can be used as a top, middle, or base note. Its properties include anti-anxiety, immune boosting, digestive support, and antiinflammatory. In addition, this powerful plant may also assist with arthritis and stimulating probiotic activity in the gut.

4. Lemon has a refreshing and uplifting scent, making it a popular choice for boosting mood and energy levels. It can also help to detoxify the body and promote healthy digestion. In addition, lemon trees often produce an abundant harvest, giving you a chance to experiment with plenty of resources. Lemon oil can also assist with morning sickness.

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5. Lemon verbena (Aloysia citrodora) has a long medicinal history owing to its digestive health benefits. Plants provide anti-spasmodic qualities which can relieve symptoms of indigestion, cramps, bloating, and flatulence. It also treats insomnia, muscle pain, lethargy and depression. Used as a pick-me-up, this oil is all-round uplifting!  

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Get using: How to apply essential oils

  • Perfume: This is a truly magnificent area of essential oils to explore and not at all as hard as you may think. Purchase some glass roller vials and a carrier oil that will remain in a liquid state if chilled (jojoba, baobab, and rosehip work well, whereas coconut oil will not work as well). Make your very own fragrances by adding up to 5 drops of your essential oil to the carrier oil and roll on as perfume. These also make for very special gifts.

 

  • Topical: You can add a few drops of essential oil (start with 3) to 3 tablespoons of your chosen carrier oil. If no reactions occur, you can up the essential oil amount and play with different consistencies and carrier oils. To make body oil, a coconut oil mix works well, whereas a rosehip infusion works well for a more targeted area. 
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  • Diffuser or burner: Add up to 10 drops of essential oil to a tea candle burner or room diffuser. The powerful scent released is more than just flagrantly pleasing; essential oils stimulate the nervous system and activate multiple functions in the body, from digestion to cognition. Think of this method as breathing in your medicine, amazing!  

 

  • Bathing or steaming: Start off with 5 drops in your bath and see how your body reacts. Some oils such as peppermint and tea tree can cause skin to burn. Other oils such as carrot seed can even induce vomiting. To open up a congested respiratory tract and chest, add 3 drops to hot water and cover your head and chest while inhaling. Bathing and steaming with calming herbs are also effective against anxiety and panic attacks.
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Natural Medicine, Essential Oils, DIY Essential Oils, Garden Remedies, Gardening For Health, Herbal Medicine, Plant-Based Healing, Garden Therapy, Green Medicine, Holistic Health, Herb Garden, Aromatherapy, DIY Garden Essentials, Healing Herbs, Nature Cures, Self Sufficiency, Herbal Remedies, Wellness From The Garden, Sustainable Health, Garden To Table, Herbology, Life is a garden

Aromatherapy, or essential oil therapy, is the medicinal use of specific aromatic plant compounds that stimulate and promote holistic healing. Holistic medicine or holistic healing is not just a ‘New Age’ term, but actually refers to a method of healing that focuses on the person as a whole (and all the factors that may be contributing to sickness) instead of only viewing the symptom of sickness as an isolated event in the body. 
For more flu-busting remedies from the garden, check out this article: Top 3 Flu Busters From The Garden

 

Get buying: Where to purchase top-quality plants  

If you’re in Polokwane near Tzaneen, visit Amorentia Estate and Nursery for a splendid variety of medicinal plants to use for oil making, infusions, and teas. Their Garden Centre is surrounded by breathtaking beauty and 2 world-class, commercial forest trails where visitors can enjoy the peace and tranquillity of a high-canopy rainforest (with plenty of  birdlife and plant species) www.amorentia.co.za
If you’re a tad far from them, access our free Garden Centre Association (GCA) Directory online and give one of our award-winning nurseries a call for specific medicinal plants and growing advice.

 

Get making: How to extract oils from plants

This DIY is so special that we had to give it its own article. Access this link for a step-by-step guide on the different ways you can make your own essential oil extractions: Making Essential Oils DIY

 

Life is a Garden provides information about beneficial plants, not pharmaceutical advice. This content is shared for the love of our natural world and is not intended to be used as a medical prescription.

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