Monday, June 13, 2011

Herbal Medicine Carrier Oils for Essential Oil Blends

Essential oils are most commonly used by the drop, added to another carrier oil such as Sweet Almond, Jojoba, or even Olive oil. Sometimes certain oils may be used “neat”, or undiluted, on the skin, but this is usually reserved for specific therapeutic purposes, and some essential oils can be irritating to the skin when undiluted.

Essential oils are extremely concentrated herbal medicines. For example, one drop of essential oil is equivalent to 30-50 bags of herbal tea. Energetically, the essential oils are tightly contained within each drop. Upon adding a drop of essential oil to carrier oil, the energy will burst open, released, freed to expand and unfold the ultimate experience of its essence for us!

As a general rule of thumb, if you use an essential oil straight out of the bottle, undiluted, you will commonly experience a very physical result. This is great for trauma, injuries, and acute symptoms.

When the essential oils are released into a carrier oil, the experience will travel into the physical, emotional, and spiritual realms, providing a much different result. This is perfect for providing life enhancing insights, changing moods, and working with chronic and deep levels of our mindbodyspirit.

Many carrier oils can be used – any that are appropriate for massage, plus most cooking oils. You do want to avoid carrier oils that contain petroleum jelly or mineral oil in any form as these substances create a barrier and don’t allow the essential oil to penetrate the skin.

However, we can use very specific carrier oils to enhance the therapeutic properties of the essential oil blend we are using. When we apply the carrier oil AND essential oil characteristics to the Five Element Method in Chinese medicine, we can work with Element Energy and Element Relationships in an exciting and highly effective way. Remember that Chinese medicine is mindbodyspirit based – there is no separation between these aspects.

For example, as a massage therapist/Oriental medicine bodyworker, lets say I have a client come in presenting the chief complaint of low back pain. The health history intake shows a pattern of fatigue, unusual hair loss, unfulfilled creativity issues, and occasional anxiety attacks. I might identify that the Water Element is out of balance and it’s affecting the Fire Element.

Here, I can choose an essential oil blend to tonify Water – maybe Ginger, Juniper, and Frankincense. Then I want the carrier oil to be nurturing – Earth, with a touch of passion – Fire. I might mix Sesame and Safflower together as the base carrier oil.

I have the choice of blending the oil for a full body massage (2% dilution) or maybe a little stronger for a spot low back treatment, rubbing it only into the lower back and applying acupressure to the Bladder-23 Kidney Shu points. I might also apply it with acupressure to Kidney – 1 Yong Quan at the feet, Pericardium – 6 Nei Guan at the wrist, and combining Governing Vessel 20 - Bai Hui at the crown of the head while energetically holding Kidney 27 – Shu Mansion points at the top of the chest.

We can go even deeper into this method by using herbal infused oils as a portion of the base carrier oil. An herbal infused oil is made by steeping packed plant material in a carrier oil, like Olive oil, leaving it in the sun to infuse for a few weeks, and straining the resulting oil out. To make a base carrier oil with this, use 20% herbal infused oil and 80% carrier oil.

Some examples of common herbal infused oils are: Rosemary, Plantain, Peppermint, and Calendula. Mountain Rose Herbs is a good source for quality organic pre-made herbal infused oils, or you can experiment with making your own. I prefer to infuse my oils with the spirits of local plants, but not everything grows well in Alaska so I order what I can’t grow.

Again, the characteristics of the herbal infused oils are associated with Five Element Method, and this becomes part of the relationship that the essential oil blend will work out of.

You can blend Ginger essential oil in Sweet Almond carrier oil because you always use Sweet Almond for massage, or you can blend Ginger essential oil in Sesame carrier with 20% Rosemary herbal infusion because you want to warm the lungs and stimulate the Wei Qi energy.  It’s a beautiful art!

Learn tons of great information - including using carrier oils according to 5-Element Theory - from my On-Line Essential Oils Course series.  You can study here at our school in Alaska from anywhere in the world!


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dolly jenny said...

Thank you for sharing valuable information.Relaxing Massage Oils by HealthAid combines lavender & patchouli with chamomile.