Adventures in Aromatherapy: An Introduction

© 2002 LH White, AKA Athena

 Note from the author:

What I hope to accomplish with this column is practical information on aromatherapy, essential oils, and creative ways to put the knowledge to use.  I am not in any way a professional in this field, nor have I taken any courses;  I simply had a desire to try something new, and wish to share what I have discovered along the way.  Some of it is good; some not so good, but all of it was useful.  I am also not advising anyone to forsake medical treatment from a licensed health practitioner in favor of aromatherapy, herbal, etc treatments.  I can simply offer ideas, and the responsibility is yours to decide how it is used.


Aromatherapy tidbit:


Scents of the past – some fragrances have been highly prized since antiquity.  Myrrh has always been considered a potent and valuable aromatic.  It is reputed that the Queen of Sheba ensnared King Solomon by using oil of myrrh.  Such was the value put upon the essence that it was one of the precious gifts presented to the infant Jesus by the Three Kings, along with frankincense, a sacred scent widely used by ancient Egyptians and the Chinese in religious rituals.  Both frankincense and myrrh were discovered in Tutankhamun’s tomb when it was opened in 1922.


~ excerpt from “Aromatherapy: Revitalizing mind & body with natural fragrances” by Jo Richardson


It’s everywhere; it’s almost unavoidable.  Aromatherapy is the chic “in” thing, but many have no idea how something of this nature works.   We buy soaps, bath products, candles all geared towards “relaxation”, “revitalization”, and “passion”, but wouldn’t it be nice to know exactly what oils and scents actually induce those types of effects?   You would question the effectiveness and safety of a medication or medical treatment, why not look into something that has much the same effect on us?


Aromatherapy has very real physical effects, but beyond that it can be argued that its realm extends beyond the physical into the emotional, mental and yes, even spiritual.   For me, the idea of creating my own  scents, and bath products was intriguing, but at the very least overwhelming.  A lot of the books that I read stated that I needed funnels, metal measuring spoons, etc., so I decided to start small – with body sprays.  Christmas was coming and I figured that I would try the sprays and see what the feedback was (my family is nothing if not brutally honest!).


First step was to decide on which oils to buy – I had limited funds and I knew that I couldn’t afford to buy bottles of oils that I would never use again.  So, at the very least they had to have more than just the one purpose for me (the present).  I spent a few weeks smelling different oils, doing a lot of reading, and finally I chose some that I thought would not only be pleasing to me, but would be enjoyed by others as well.  So I picked up a bottle of peppermint, lavender, tangerine, sandalwood, fir, and cinnamon.  I couldn’t resist the cinnamon;  every time I smelled it my mouth started to water – all I could think about was apples!


After bringing home my precious cargo, I spent some time getting to know each scent – what it smelled like, the texture and feel of it, what feelings it evoked when inhaled, etc.  I also researched the healing virtues of each, and incorporated that into what I already knew.  Then I began by mixing different combinations of the oils to see which ones complimented each other, and which did not.  Doing that, it became increasingly clear that my nose became ineffective after a few inhalations of a couple of oils.  One began to smell very much like another, and I had to learn to take several breaks between bottles, in order to get an accurate picture of what the oils were like when mixed.  Finally I was ready to create!


But wait - I had no carrier solution, and no bottles to use for the sprays!  The carrier solution was fairly simple, just use distilled water or vodka (vodka because it is odorless).  The bottles posed a slightly more difficult problem.  I went to a few of my favorite spots – the Christmas Tree Shop, crafts stores, dollar stores, but I could not find a bottle that I liked.  They were either not pretty, or not functional.  I had about given up, but one day when I went to one of my favorite new age stores (where I had actually purchased some of the oils) I decided to ask them if they knew of any place to get small spray bottles.  They were nice enough to contact another shop (another favorite of mine by the way) and got the name of a website that distributed all sorts of bottles and containers.  The only problem was, that the company dealt in bulk, so even now I still have bottles left over, but I know that I will eventually use them.  I will provide the web address for the distributor at the end of this piece, if you wish to visit it.  My advice to you though, is unless you will be producing aromatherapy products in large numbers, you might want to go in together with some friends on the containers.  That way you each get the number of bottles or containers you need, but can still take advantage of the bulk pricing.


Well to make a long story short, the sprays were a hit – I even have requests for them now and again.  The best thing is that I can make them fairly quickly, easily, and all I have is one funnel, a bottle of vodka, a gallon of distilled water, and about 10 different oils.   


When you decide to experiment with essential oils, just remember to keep it simple;  go with what smells good to you and use that as a springboard.  It doesn’t matter if you are following one of the leading aromatherapist’s recipes – if it doesn’t appeal to you, then it won’t do you any good.


Here is a sample recipe that I put together.  It isn’t very involved at all (at the most I have used 3 ingredients), but it worked wonders.


15 drops peppermint  e.o

10 drops cinnamon e.o.

2 oz distilled water


I have this spray at work, and when things get a little tense I spray it – and it really seems to do the trick for alleviating the mood at hand.  I also mixed peppermint and lavender oils together in a spray and gave it to someone that I worked with that was pregnant.  It went into her travel bag that she took to the hospital, and she used the spray as a focal point during labor.


So this is the beginning of our adventure together.  If you want to travel with me, then I will be each issue writing about my discoveries in aromatherapy, as well as try to answer any questions that might come up.


I welcome any comments or suggestion for future topics at

Athena  - SKS Bottle and Packaging, Inc.