The Aromatherapy Capsule Collection - Part One

What does your aromatherapy cupboard look like? Have you just started using essential oils? Feeing overwhelmed, where an earth to start, there are so many! Or you have been using them for sometime, the cupboard maybe be overrun, unruly and need sorting out, time to get organising!

It is pretty easy to buy lots of oils, but the skill is in the selection, many will do a similar job.

How much of anything do we really need? Probably not much. Not to get too philosophical, but it's certainly something to consider with environmental concerns around plastic in the ocean, waste disposal, inhumanly cheap labour to keep profits high and costs low, fuelling our desires to buy buy buy. 

Decluttering and streamlining can be a great reminder not to buy too much.  During my decluttering journey, I developed a new obsession - The Capsule Wardrobe. I started following various people blogging on the subject. The idea that people are carefully and beautifully curating these simple, but stunning wardrobes really blew me away and inspired me. My current favourite bloggers on this subject are Hej Doll and www.un-fancy.com check out their sites and feel inspired to create a beautiful minimal space and organised wardrobe.

What is the Aromatherapy Capsule Collection?

Inspired by this fashion trend in capsule collections, I decided why not have an aromatherapy version? I have collated 12 essential oils which will allow you to treat a range of ailments and symptoms. Of course it can often be a matter of preference and finding what works for you, or your family, with some oils more versatile than others. However, you don’t need every variation if you are using oils in a non-professional capacity.

When selecting oils, I like to think in rough terms of the body systems and break it down that way. It’s not an exact science, but allows one to vaguely group things, I haven’t covered every system, and just focused on the ones we tend to treat using oils most often. 

For easiest reference please refer to my table of carefully selected 12 oils creating the Capsule Collection. The ticks indicate which systems they can be used for and the coloured blocks denote the top oil by system. 

However, you can substitute different oils of your preference using the grid system. To keep it to 12 download my printable worksheet later in the post. You can eliminate a body system and add in a more relevant one for yourself or switch up some of the oils. For example, if you are a chronic sinusitis sufferer you may want to substitute Lemon for Ravintsara and in turn can use Lemon instead of Grapefruit for the lymphatic system. 

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Brief summary of the oils

Respiratory

Eucalyptus (Globules for adults, Radiata for kids)*

An essential decongestant for respiratory infections, soothing a wide range of symptoms, provides relief from coughing, breaks down mucous and it said to have a regenerative effect on the pulmonary tissue (more research needed on this).  Finally it can be used in muscle ache blends as it has anti-spasmodic properties.  (Stimulant)

Please note for Eucalyptus, if you have young kids you should buy Eucalyptus Radiata, not Globules for safety reasons.

Ravintsara (Cinnamomum Camphora)

Use for a range of upper respiratory infections and symptoms, also good when convalescing from illness and chronic fatigue (Regulating)

Wild Thyme (Thymus Serpyllum) 

Good for all infectious diseases and especially respiratory. Recommend using in a diffuser when there is sickness in the home. Avoid using on the skin of children, as its high in phenols, which is a skin irritant, use with caution in skin blends, if you wish you use on skin please use an alternative Thyme - Thymus Vulgaris CT linalol - this has similar properties but gentler on the skin. (Stimulant)

Top Oils: (Eucalyptus, Ravintsara, Thyme)

Skin / Integumentary

Lavender – (Lavandula Angustifolia) 

This really is the queen of oils. Very powerful in the treatment of many skin conditions, insect bites and burns.  Great for symptoms associated with the nervous system, muscular aches and a general tonic. (Light Sedative – Regulating – light stimulant)

Tea Tree (Melaleuca Alternifolia) 

If Lavender is the queen, then this is the king of oils. Can be used on a huge range of skin issues. Strong antibacterial to fight many external infections and even used as an internal douche for vaginal infections too. It’s like a natural antibiotic (not to say it takes the place of antibiotics!) Good for feeling of burn out and very high stress situations too. (Stimulant)

Roman Chamomile (Anthemis Nobilis)

Good for any nervous system disorders, skin conditions especially for babies. Also high in esters, so good for musculoskeletal issues, analgesic and anti-inflammatory (Sedative)

Immortelle/Everlasting – (Helichrysum Angustifolium) 

Effective for many skin conditions, to name a few bruises, eczema, dermatitis. Due to its chemical constituent neryl acetate it is also anti-inflammatory helping ease various muscular aches and things like arthritis and rheumatism. (Sedative)

Top Oils: Lavender, Tea Tree, R Chamomile

Musculoskeletal

Vertiver/Valerian/Birch (Vertiveria Zizanoides, Valerian Officinalis, Betula Alba)

Birch is a very strong oil to be used with caution but excellent for musculoskeletal pain and inflammation. Vertiver and Valerian are root oils and can be powerful sedatives for anxiety and depressing the nervous system when needed, for conditions like insomnia and panic attacks. They are both anti-spasmodic so also a good choice for muscle aches.  (Sedative / Grounding)

I have given my top three recommendations, you must select which is the most appropriate also bearing in mind their multiple uses. As an example, if you suffer from chronic muscle pain and arthritis or do a lot of heavy exercise you may need a strong analgesic, so birch would be your choice. However, if you also suffered from insomnia you may prefer to select valerian, which can treat both. 

Top Oils: Birch/Val/Vert, R Chamomile, Lavender, Peppermint

Digestive

Spearmint / Peppermint (Mentha Piperita / Mentha Spicata)

Good for a wide range of symptoms. Would recommend using it for nervous tension resulting in headaches, exhaustion, great properties for many musculoskeletal conditions, activates the lymphatic system and cab be used to alleviate discomfort with fever.  Traditionally used for toothache and as a digestive.  (Stimulant)

(Spearmint has lower menthol content and is a gentler version. Do not use on kids younger than 2, can irritant the skin)

Mandarin (Citrus Reticulata)

Good for digestive issues blend with lavender and inhale or rub around belly area. Kids love it too, can be used as a calming blend for them, helping with hyperactive symptoms (sedative)

Top Oils: Peppermint, Mandarin, R Chamomile

Lymphatic

Grapefruit (Citrus Paradisi) 

High content of monoterpenes and d-limonene giving it antiseptic properties and helping to stimulate the lymphatic system. Also known to be a digestive and general tonic when immunity low, especially loved by children. An alternative to use could be Lemon (Citrus Limonum) (Refreshing)

Top Oils: Grapefruit, Tea Tree, Sweet Mandarin

Gynaecology

Clary Sage (Salvia Sclarea)

Has been used for reproductive issues in herbal medicine for a long time. It is said to be estrogen like therefore good to use at the beginning of a cycle to help regulate. It also has anti-spasmodic properties so good for stomach cramps. Used to relieve stress and nervous tension too. (Sedative)

Top Oils: Clary Sage, R Chamomile, Lavender (Rose)

In summary

The above list is a very brief summary, please do take some time to read up on my suggestions. You may want to swap in some alternatives and you might also want to include a bonus 13th oil. Specifically a precious flower oil, which I haven't included, as they can be pretty costly and will be very dependent on your own preferences, but something like Rose, Jasmin, Hyacinth or Neroli. 

What about issues related to the nervous system?

Because the range of issues and symptoms associated with our nervous system is so vast and varied, it's hard to give top oils. However, those ticked on the grid will address a wide range of ailments from headaches, stress, anxiety, to depression and so on. 

What if I don't like some of your selected oils?

It's true, scent is a very personal thing and what can trigger the most wonderful memory in one, can revolt the next person! No problem if you want to change it up a bit, although in anyone's cupboard, they must have Lavender, Tea Tree and Eucalyptus, those cannot be substituted. If you fancy creating your own capsule collection, use my printable grid below.

Go ahead and enjoy cooking up a storm with your capsule collection, if you have any questions, comments, please email me. Always play safely and keep out of reach of little hands, dilute sensibly and don't use internally without medical supervision. 

Anything else?

YES! With all this stream lining, we need to store our oils efficiently and safely. Do you have lots of dusty bottles at the back of the cupboard? Can you use them still? How many to take when you travel? This will be covered in Part Two of The Aromatheraphy Capsule Collection...