Over the years they’ve more than earned their weight and place in my suitcase on journeys all over the world…though I haven’t been to Berlin or the South Pole.
Here are those 5 must-haves…
1) Pass the Peppermint please
A few years ago in India, I thought I was doing pretty well 2 weeks in, when all around me had already succumbed to…yes, you’ve guessed it…Delhi Belly, until I woke with a cramping stomach and fever. A day in bed, sleep and peppermint essential oil (Mentha piperita) diluted in lotion and rubbed onto my abdomen at regular intervals, and I felt loads better.
Peppermint has a refreshing aroma and you could find it useful to uplift yourself after your journey. It’s a pretty good all round essential oil, and can be used for colds, aches and pains, travel sickness, and headaches.
The essential oil is extracted from leaves of the herb, and has a strong, fresh and minty aroma.
2) Lemony Lemongrass
Have you ever stayed in a hotel room or apartment and the smell that greets you seems less than fresh? Yes me too. As well as being pretty good at repelling insects, Lemongrass (Cymbopogon citratus) refreshes and deodorises. Quickly changing any stale smells. It’s also reviving and uplifting after a long flight or roadtrip.
The essential oil is extracted from the grassy leaves, and has a lemony odour that’s quite strong, clean and fresh.
3) A Eucalyptus by any other name
Everyone knows the use of the more common Eucalyptus (Eucaplyptus globulus) as an aid to respiratory infections like coughs and colds. Not everyone has come across the lemon-scented eucalyptus (Eucalyptus citriodora) though. With its lemony, not menthol, odour it is becoming more known in recent times for its insect repelling properties especially against mosquitos. I can tell you this has been extensively tested by me during meditation outdoors on a mountain retreat in Thailand! It’s also been shown to have anti-fungal properties.
The essential oil is extracted from the leaves of the tree, and has a lemony, fresh, slightly sweet odour.
4) Lavender the stalwart
When you think of aromatherapy do you think lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)? It’s probably the most well known essential oil and the plant itself is flowering abundantly in lots of gardens right now. So what can you use it for? This is another insect repellent, it’s soothing for burns including sunburn, it helps you sleep, it’s healing for bites and grazes – that reminds me of a time when I badly cut my right leg by falling down a drain in the Seychelles. Don’t ask! Well ok then…it was pitch black and I was on my way to a hotel for evening cocktails. Shock must have played a part as I pulled myself out of the drain and made it to the cocktail lounge as if it was completely normal to drink cocktails on a beautiful, balmy evening in the tropics watching the sunset, with blood gushing down my leg. Needless to say, more sensible people than I brought me to my senses, performed necessary first aid and sent me packing.
The essential oil is extracted from the flowering tops and leaves of the plant, and has a distinctive floral, herbaceous aroma.
5) The ubiquitous Tea Tree
Another very well known essential oil is Tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia). Another one forcuts and grazes, bites and stings, and also for coughs and colds, sore throats from summer colds or maybe being in aircon a lot. It can be used with lavender for burns after first aid has been administered.
The essential oil is extracted from the leaves of the tree and has a strong, medicinal aroma.
Why restrict yourself to just five essential oils?
I normally throw in a couple more too…geranium (Pelargonium graveolens) and rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis).
N.B. if you’re using essential oils, please do check out their safety issues first, and how to dilute them to apply. If in doubt consult a qualified aromatherapist.
Home or away – happy aromatic holidays, enjoy!
Doreen and Dympna