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Essential Oils: a Gift for Life

Gifting essential oils, or preparations made using them, is an act that in medieval times may have saved the life of the recipient. In the 14th Century it is recorded that French thieves would rub themselves with essential oils such as rosemary and cloves before robbing the dead victims of the Black Death. Apparently this protected them from contracting the fatal disease. They must have been very desperate, but they appeared to have chosen the right substances if the story is true.

Such essential oils have many uses in perfumery, aromatherapy and in cosmetics, but their antibacterial properties should not be underestimated. Even though the Black Death and Great Plague are thankfully epidemics of the past, by using a cream containing essential oils on your face and body you can help to prevent bacterial infections such as those that cause acne and other similar conditions.

Essential oils are named such, not because they are ‘necessary’ in any way, but because they were believed to provide the ‘essence’ of the plant from which they were taken. They are extracted by pulverizing the plant and then distilling the essential oil using hot water or a technique known as steam distillation.

Another technique, known as ‘expression’ is used in some cases such as citrus fruits, and after scraping off the rind, or zest as it is sometimes called, it is then pressed to extract the liquid which is left for the oil and water to separate. The oil can be poured off the top, being less dense than the water.

Although such oils were used in days past to avoid infections of various kinds, they are used today for a number of more mundane purposes, such as in scented candles and aromatherapy. However, they are also used in preparing a variety of cosmetic shampoos, creams and deodorants that make use of the perfume and the antibacterial, cleansing and revitalizing properties of the essential oils of a wide variety of natural sources such as lemon, rosemary, juniper and sandalwood.

What better gift to offer than an essential oil in the form of a divine nourishing cream that offers anti-aging and antibacterial properties for your loved one’s face and body, or a fabulous hair care set enriched with essential oils that removes all traces of dandruff and gives her hair a beautiful erotic aroma. Essential oils come in many forms and fragrances.

Speaking of hair care, essential oils can be used as the basis of a wide range of hair care products from shampoos and conditioners to hair masks, each designed and carefully formulated to protect your hair from the damaging effects of excessive sun and exposure to the salt water of the sea and the chlorine of swimming pools. Perhaps the antibacterial properties of the essential oils used here are secondary to their wonderful fragrance and vitalizing properties.

Irrespective of which property of an essential oil is the primary purpose of its use, there are no doubts that these natural substances do what it says on the tin. They offer protection and fragrance, and give your skin a vitalizing boost that renders the products fashioned using them such marvelous gifts for special occasions such as birthdays and even during these coming Holidays. Christmas or Hanukkah or any other celebration at this time of year is a good time to get looking around the shops or go online for some of the fabulous essential oil products that have packed natures best into small jars or bottles for you or your friends and relatives to enjoy.

Relax in an aromatherapy bath, using essential bath oils of lavender to relax you and borage to keep your skin moist and supple, maybe washing with a bath gel containing geranium and tea tree oil, and finish with a shampoo and conditioner containing angelica and ylang-ylang to repair your damaged hair. Finish off by smoothing a heavenly night serum into your skin containing the essential oils of geranium, sunflower and the anti-aging Helichrysum to keep your skin youthful and supple.

Imagine all of that and then decide to offer it to a friend as gift during the seasonal month as a loving indication of your friendship. Or perhaps you are a guy reading this, in which case you know what you must do – she will love you for life with such a display of understanding and thoughtfulness. As she relaxes in the comfort of her aromatherapy bath, she may be thinking only of you.

So don’t think that essential oils and the preparations containing them are personal items: on the contrary, you can purchase them for others and they will be appreciated, and if you want to have that proved then do it yourself this holiday time and buy your special friends some essential aromatherapy oils, skin creams, fragrant oils or even a fabulous divine skin care set.

A lavender essential oil spa set for your friends and relatives or even that special girl in your life will earn you thanks or even a kiss for your sense of style in your thoughtful gift. Essential oils may no longer save your life, but they can sure make you a friend for life.

P.S.: Guys love essential oils as well, even though they will never admit it!

More details on how essential oils are used to fashion fabulous gifts for your friends and relatives are available from L’Occitane’s pages on Essential Oils and the wonderful products manufactured using them.
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