Basics Of Pharmacy: Aromatherapy Using Essential Oils

Wednesday, November 3, 2021

Aromatherapy Using Essential Oils

Aromatherapy is the type of holistic therapy in which essential oils or aromatic compounds of plants are used to improve physiological and emotional health.

Or in simple words, it is the treatment using scents.

It can also be defined as the type of therapy in which aromatic extracts from plants are used to improve health.

Origin  Of Aromatherapy

This term was introduced by Grattefosse in 1928. He accidentally discovered that aromatic oils have healing effects. He was working in a lab and his hand was burnt. He suddenly put his hand in lavender oil and noticed that lavender oil had a healing effect on his hand. Essential oils were also used in world war II for treating injured persons.

In recent years with advancements in techniques, it is proved experimentally that aroma or scent or essential oils have a direct effect on the human brain just like medicines.

What Are Essential Oils

Essential oils are the scents or aromas extracted from different parts of plants. This oil can be extracted from the following parts,

  • Flowers 

  • Leaves

  • Barks

  • Seeds

  • Fruit etc

Essential oils are a mixture of many complex and small compounds like ketones, ester, terpenes etc.

Essential oil consists of very tiny droplets and can penetrate the skin easily and enter into the bloodstream.

Essential oils have therapeutic and physiological effects.

Effects Of Essential Oils

Essential oils have the following properties,

  • Healing effect

  • Antiseptic effect

  • Anti Inflammatory effect

  • Antiviral 

  • Relaxing effect

  • Improve digestion 

  • Pain killer

Mechanism Of Action Of Aroma Oil

As we discussed earlier that the smell has a direct effect on the brain, here will discuss how it acts to give the required effect.

  • When we experience any smell or aroma it enters the nose and comes in contact with cilia in the nose. The receptors in cilia are attached to the olfactory lobe which is situated at the end of the smell tract. This end tract is attached to the brain.

  • So smell through cilia is transferred to the brain in the form of electrical impulses and reaches the limbic system of the brain. The limbic system is associated with moods, learning, memory and emotions.

Examples Of Essential Oils

Following are some main examples of essential oils,

  • Lavender oil

  • Lemon oil

  • Rosemary oil

  • Peppermint oil

Method Of Application

Essential oils are safe to use and can be applied as follow,

  • Application To Skin

  • Ingestion

  • Inhalation

Application To Skin

The use of these oils by applying on the skin is very common and easy because essential oils penetrate the skin easily and enter into blood circulation.

Some people may be sensitive to these oils so it is recommended to use aromatic oils in the form of dilutions. This means it is mixed with some carrier oil and then is applied to the skin.

Essential oils can be applied in the form of perfumes, cologne or ointments.

By mixing these oils in carrier oils or honey it can be used for bathtub or foot baths


The essential oil can be used in the form of aerosols through the nose or throat for treating respiratory problems. It gives rapid effect through this route. 

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