Feeling tired and low after Christmas?
If you're feeling a bit tired and lack lustre after a busy Christmas why not get blending with some of our fatigue beating essential oils.
What is fatigue?
Fatigue ranges from low level 'tired all the time' through to serious medical conditions. Aromatherapy is helpful for lifestyle related and low level fatigue but if the fatigue symptoms are more serious then we advise visiting your GP.
There are three main reasons for lifestyle related fatigue:
- Physical - over exertion, both mental and physical
- Physiological - can be related to other illnesses or poor diet
- Emotional reasons – often stress related
Is it an illness?
It is a complex state which may or may not be diagnosed as an illness depending on the individual’s perception of its impact and its physical or mental cause. For many people it will not be diagnosed as an illness and yet its effects can have a devastating effect on their lives, particularly if it persists for a prolonged period.
What is the conventional treatment?
If the condition is a straightforward case of fatigue, that is unrelated to any other factors, then there are drugs that can be prescribed. This happens extremely rarely as there are almost always other factors and lifestyle changes that are relevant. Exercise, nutrition, stress levels, workload, mental and physical health issues and alcohol intake are just some of the factors that may be examined, manipulated and ultimately have a positive effect on the state of fatigue.
How can aromatherapy help?
Aromatherapy, which is a form of herbal medicine using the essential oils from plants, can be very effective in managing fatigue symptoms. There is considerable evidence to support the value of using essential oils as a safe way of achieving mental and physical stimulation. The best-known stimulant is probably essential oil of Peppermint (it is not in your early morning toothpaste, your mid-conference mint or your after-dinner chocolate without reason). Other stimulants include citrus oils (the Japanese have always dispersed citrus oils into the atmospheres of their factories where close, detailed, electronic circuits or components are assembled because it is believed to maintain concentration). Other popular stimulants include Rosemary and Eucalyptus essential oils.
Our favourite, stimulating, fatigue beating essential oils...
Rosemary has a stimulating effect on the nervous system and is commonly recommended as a tonic during periods of stress. It is clinically proven to improve memory and concentration and can help combat work related fatigue. Rosemary has a similar action to Eucalyptus so it is an excellent oil for treating colds and flu and clearing the sinuses. It is also a warming oil which is helpful in treating muscular aches and pains and arthritis. (Avoid in pregnancy and if epileptic).
Rosemary from two words “Ros” “Marinus” meaning Rose of the sea was considered a Sacred plant by the Romans. Christians believed that the flowers were originally white but turned blue when the Virgin Mary hung her cloak on a bush on the journey to Bethlehem. Throughout the ages Rosemary has been carried to ward off evil spirits and protect against illness. Its medicinal properties were documented as early as 1370 and it has been used throughout the ages ever since. In the West Rosemary has always been associated with the love of friends as in Ophelia’s much quoted line from Hamlet “That’s rosemary for remembrance”.
Lemon, in common with Orange and Lime, is a refreshing and mentally and physically uplifting essential oil. It is an ideal stimulant to be used in the car to maintain concentration and alertness. Lemon has an affinity with the respiratory systems and is therefore commonly used for treating breathing problems such as asthma. Research has also shown that Lemon essential oil stimulates the white blood cells which are responsible for fighting infection.
The lemon tree originated in India and was brought to Europe in the Fifth century. Lemon has long been respected for it’s ability to lift the spirits and it’s antiseptic properties have always been put to good use. The Essential Oil of Lemon is pressed from the outer rind of the lemon fruit and it can take as many as 3000 Lemons to produce a kilo of essential oil.
Peppermint, distilled from the flowers and leaves of the herb, is an inexpensive and very useful essential oil when used to treat stress related conditions. It is believed to have “cephalic” properties. It stimulates the hippocampus at the centre of the brain, facilitating focused concentration and clarity of thought. It is therefore ideal for individuals whose stress symptoms are overwhelming them to the point where they cannot think straight or concentrate. The other benefit of Peppermint as a stimulant is that it can help counteract feelings of fatigue. It is particularly useful to use in the car to maintain driver alertness. It is also an effective painkiller and is frequently cited by Aromatherapists as an excellent remedy for tension headaches and migraine.
Evidence from the interior of Egyptian tombs dating back to 300BC has shown that the medicinal properties of Peppermint have been recognised since early civilisation. The name Peppermint is derived from the Latin word 'mente' meaning thought, as the Romans used Peppermint as a tonic for the brain. The Greeks however, claim that the name Peppermint is derived from Mintha who was a mythological lover of Pluto and whom Pheresphone in a fit of jealousy beat to the ground and killed. On the spot where she died the herb sprung up which has since borne her name. Because of this the Greeks believed that the herb could “stir up passions” and they forbade their warriors to eat it in case it diverted their attentions from battle. Conversely the Jews historically scented the floors of their synagogues with mint because they believed that it helped to “purify” the mind in readiness for prayer.
Frankincense, distilled from the gum which seeps from the bark of the Frankincense tree, is a particularly useful oil in treating anxiety and hyperactivity. It has a warm, spicy scent and is known to be almost overwhelming in its ability to relax the mind whilst inducing a higher state of consciousness. It facilitates deep thought which can lead to a form of self hypnosis. Indeed the Germans became so worried about the apparent addictive effect that it was having on alter boys in church in the early eighties, that they carried out research for safety reasons. They found that it was safe, although when combined with the chanting, meditative qualities of formal prayer in church plus the physical inactivity that long masses necessitated, it did engender a hypnotic state in some individuals. Frankincense is known to slow down and deepen breathing which is why it is so conducive to prayer. Deeper breathing can help those suffering from stress related asthma or fatigue because it enables the body to acquire more oxygen. It also helps to slow down speech which in some people can be enough to slow their minds down and reduce feelings of panic and overwhelming emotions. It has a balancing effect on the skin so many Aromatherapists use it to treat people whose skin reflects stress related problems such as eczema or breaking out in spots.