“It was Rene-Maurice Gattefosse’s observation of the dramatic healing effect of Lavender Oil, when he burnt his hand in a laboratory accident, that led him to research essential oils in greater depth, and eventually to coin the word ‘aromatherapie’.”
Source: Aromatherapy an A-Z, by Patricia Davis, page177.

Essential Oils and Burners

For hundreds of years (some say thousands) essential oils (or their flower derivatives) have been used to help people relax, enhance mood, refresh and inspire.

We have seen general supporting evidence of  the following range of essential oils assisting with insomnia, stress relief, restlessness and irritability, anxiety, mood elevation or clearing the sinuses.

Aromatherapy may not be a solution in itself, but it can be used in conjunction with your other strategies, and will add a sensuous dimension to your recovery.  In fact, be drawn to use the oils whose fragrance is most appealing to you for the purpose you put them to.

We encourage you to do further research on the essential oils listed, and recommend the book Aromatherapy an A-Z for a comprehensive review of essential oils, including a myriad of uses for them – far beyond those described here.

The oils can be added to baths, used with the vaporizers or lamp ring, used in steam inhalations, massaged into your body, etc.

In this book:

  • Sleeplessness and insomnia have been linked with lavender oil, neroli oil and vetiver oil;
  • Depression in the form of restlessness, irritability and inability to sleep with sandalwood oil and lavender oil;
  • Depression and anxiety with neroli oil and vetiver oil;
  • Insomnia with associated depression and anxiety with bergamot oil (bergamot, an ingredient in Earl Grey tea, lifts the spirits, but is relaxing – rather than being a stimulant);
  • Neroli Oil has been used in the treatment of shock;
  • Colds/catarrh/sinuses have been linked with eucalyptus oil and lavender oil.

Lavender Oil – reputed to be the most versatile essential oil.  It is calming, soothing and balancing.  It is reputed to be an analgesic, antidepressant, antiseptic, insect repellent, decongestant, sedative etc.  Some say lavender massaged into the temples can relieve a headache.  Alternatively, you could make a cold compress of lavender to place on your forehead or the back of your neck.

Sandalwood oil apart from being sedating, can be used for soothing sore throats, by using it as an inhalant or externally applying it to the chest and throat.  It is extremely bitter, and is not recommended for use as a gargle.

Vetiver Oil (its Indian name means ‘Oil of Tranquillity’) is apparently an immunostimulant, and increases our ability to withstand stress without becoming ill. It has a dark aroma, and it may appeal to men even more than to women.  Some may find it more appealing in dilution (it mixes well with sandalwood oil and lavender oil).  A vetiver bath can be a very de-stressing experience!  It is extracted from roots, is very grounding, especially for those who ‘live in the clouds’, feel insecure, or are intellectually wired!  It could be useful in times of shock, trauma, separation or bereavement.

Essential oils can be mixed; be guided by what smells good to you.  Aromatherapy an A-Z also explains many other uses for essential oils, apart from what has been listed above.  Some recommend that you vary the oils from time to time.

There are a number of other essential oils you may consider. They include (but are not limited to) chamomile, geranium, clary sage, rose, ylang ylang and jasmine oils.

Be guided by smell.  If something doesn’t smell good to you, it probably isn’t good for you.


Establish an Electric Oil Vaporizer (the safe, electrical type) in the bedroom, office, bathroom or family and living area.  Add calming and/or uplifting Essential Oils to permeate the space. The electric vaporizers are safe to leave on permanently, even without an oil top-up, and they do away with the need for messy candles, naked flames and black char.

Ceramic Lamp Ring
Not electric, and economical to purchase, the Ceramic Lamp Ring can be placed over any standard light globe to heat essential oils.

The Car
For the car, we’ve seen car scenters – a fabulous idea –  just remember not to use sedating oils here, so you don’t get too relaxed while driving! Look for stimulating oils if you are tired.