Complementary or “Voodoo” – Aromatherapy which is it?

Complementary or “Voodoo” – Aromatherapy which is it?
Kim Ewertz


When my children were in grade school (20+ years ago), I would study different properties of essential oils to make my own blends.  I studied aromatherapy in order to keep my children well.  My husband called my oils “Voodoo Medicine”.
I didn’t want “our” children to use antibiotics unless it was absolutely necessary, so I made my own blends.  The first blend of Cedarwood, Cypress, Rosemary, Peppermint, and Eucalyptus kept them well through the school year – no missed days due to colds or flu.  Today my children are grown and use essential oils on their own children or for relaxation, concentration, and illness prevention.
Some say essential oils are complimentary and some say “voodoo” or a hoax.  However, aromatherapy and the use of essential oils have been around for centuries.
aromatherapyLet’s visit a brief history of essential oils and the uses.  Essential oils do not fall into the category of western, mainstream medicine.  However, looking back to biblical times, oils were used to maintain health and wellness.  Frankincense, myrrh, cinnamon, and other oils provide antibiotic, antifungal and wound healing properties.  Ancient Egyptians, Grecians, and Babylonians understood the importance of essential oils in hygiene, perfumery, as well as spiritual aspects.  Hippocrates, the father of medicine, recognized the benefits of aromatherapy with aromatic baths.  Early Europeans began using essential oils for massage and therapeutic purposes resembling aromatherapy today.
Essential oils are produced from the essence of plants in the same manner that early pharmaceuticals were developed.  With similar properties, essential oils and pharmaceuticals will have similar effects on the body.  Pharmaceuticals have a greater impact on the infection, illness, and body.  Essential oils work delicately on the body, but with similar actions as pharmaceuticals.
Educating healthcare teams as well as the general public is key to validating complementary methods into western medicine.  Part of this education process is building partnerships with primary care providers.  Also, educating the general public on potential interactions with medications currently taken or possible side effects of oils is necessary in building a trusting relationship with healthcare providers.  Eventually aromatics will truly be complementary to traditional western medicine with education and time.
As for the nay-sayer husband, NOW he asks me for blends that will help with headaches, chest congestion, hair regrowth, anxiety, and pain.  Hmm interesting….. He believes in them.
Schnaubelt, K. (1999).  Medical aromatherapy healing with oils.  Berkeley, CA.  Frog Books.
Tisserand, R. (1988).  Aromatherapy to heal and tend the body.  Wilmont, WI.  Lotus Press.

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