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Aromatherapy First Aid Basics

By Mindy Green
August 24, 2010
File under: Aromatherapy, Essential Oils, Natural Remedies


Like most families, you probably have a home first aid kit, but have you thought to incorporate natural remedies among the bandages and thermometers? Essential oils (EOs) offer fast and easy solutions for a variety of day-to-day ailments that are easily treated at home.

The nice thing about using essential oils for home remedies is that they do double duty by calming the user with a variety of therapeutic scents.

Follow these guidelines for diluting essential oils and you will be amazed at the efficacy of these aromatic remedies. Relief from skin ailments such as insect bites, sunburn, strained muscles and rashes can be almost immediate.

But, did you know that essential oils are also an effective remedy for headaches, sore throat, fatigue, bruises and more? All of these oils are meant to be diluted and for external use only.

For Safety’s Sake

  • Do not use EOs undiluted – add to a carrier oil such as, hazelnut, grape seed, almond, olive, etc.
  • Some citrus EOs are photosensitizing; avoid sun exposure for 12 hrs after application
  • For skin and eye irritation dilute with plain vegetable oil
  • Some EOs are irritating; study well before use and use a low strength dilution
  • Do not use EOs orally
  • Avoid EO use during the first trimester of pregnancy. After the first trimester, use the gentle floral oils such as, lavender, rose, ylang, jasmine, chamomile and neroli. Safe exceptions to the flower oils are mandarin, orange, frankincense and spearmint; use in one-half to one percent dilutions for external use only.

Dilution Guidelines

EOs must be diluted before application to the skin.

  • One percent dilution: five drops of EO per ounce of carrier oil.
  • For children, the elderly or convalescing or facial care, use two to three drops EO per ounce of carrier oil.
  • Two percent dilution: ten drops of EO per ounce of carrier oil (for general use).
  • Never exceed 15 drops EO per oz of carrier oil.

Methods of Application

  • Massage oil:  one to two percent dilution
  • Bath: two to ten drops EO

(Irritants: peppermint, citrus, lemongrass, spice oils and others)

  • Foot bath: five drops EO per gallon of water or herb tea
  • Compress: four drops EO per quart of water
  • Gargle or mouthwash: one drop EO in one-half cup water
  • Inhalant: five drops EO in a bowl of hot (not boiling) water with towel tent; or three drops on a cloth handkerchief


Aromatherapy, A Complete Guide to the Healing Art, Crossing Press ©Kathi Keville, Mindy Green, 1995

Essential Oil Safety, Churchill Livingstone Press, ©Robert Tisserand, Tony Balacs, 2005

Natural First Aid, Storey Publishing,LLC ©Brigitte Mars, 1999

Your Herbal Home Medicine Chest, Keats Publishing ©David Hoffmann, 1989

Mindy Green an author, consultant, speaker and nationally recognized authority on botanicals. Facebook Mindy

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