Indications 40 common ailments supported by aromatherapy

Indications of conditions potentially benefitting from aromatherapy treatments  

Appendix 1 Indications of 40 common conditions

Conditions of common interest to health professionals

Stress and related disorders
Anxiety, depression, sadness, grief, anger


Digestive disorders, cramping, nausea
Muscular problems


Mental Agitation

Premenstrual syndrome, menopausal problems
Slow wound healing

Conditions and Treatments


Definition: Chronic skin disease affecting practically all adolescents.
Possible Causes: Over-activity of the sebaceous glands, which
produce the oily secretion called sebum. These glands are controlled
by testosterone in boys and hormones produced by the adrenals in
girls. Stress worsens the condition, as sufferers tend to pick their
spots more when under pressure. There is often a presence of microorganisms.
General Signs and Symptoms: Sebaceous glands become blocked
and infected. This leads to small spots or lumps on the face, back
and chest. The face is usually affected most due to the greater
number of sebaceous glands.
Methods of Use:
facial steam
Suggested Oils:
tea-tree, lavender
rosemary, geranium
lemon, lemongrass
juniperberry, petitgrain
niaouli, bergamot
may chang
Holistic Advice: Requires a good skin hygiene routine using non-
greasy, unfragranced products. Reduce intake of refined and fatty
foods e.g. cheese, cakes and white bread. Calendula cream is a
good carrier for the essential oils due to its vulnerary action. Jojoba is
also a useful carrier as it is anti-inflammatory. Lavender helps to
reduce scarring. Geranium balances the production of sebum.


Definition: A sudden and generally temporary patchy loss of hair.
Possible Causes: Stress, shock or food allergies. May occur
following an illness. May be a sign of thyroid or pituitary deficiency.
General Signs and Symptoms: Significant patchy loss of hair.
Methods of Use:
shampoo (dilute oils in a
shampoo base)
Suggested Oils:
thyme (white)
Holistic Advice: Use a blend of the suggested oils, diluted in a
carrier, and massage into the scalp. Consider the whole person and
identify the cause of any stress. Baldness itself can lead to stress, so
the emotional needs of the person are paramount. The treatment and
prevention of stress must be considered when selecting the
appropriate oils and methods of use.


Definition: Respiratory disorder.
Possible Causes: Allergic reaction. Sensitisation to bacteria
responsible for chronic or repeated infections e.g. tonsillitis and
sinusitis. Allergies to pollen, cats and dogs. Occupational exposure to
chemicals. Stress. Hereditary factors.
General Signs and Symptoms: Difficulty breathing due to muscle
spasm in the bronchi (small passages in the lungs). Intermittent
wheezing. Coughing. Restlessness. Can panic and turn pale during
an attack.
Methods of Use: Suggested Oils:
massage frankincense, rose
bath chamomile (German)
inhalations chamomile (Roman), lavender
lotions/creams bergamot, clary-sage
diffuser marjoram (sweet), melissa
tissue/handkerchief may chang
Holistic Advice: Use inhalations with care for only very short periods
of time. Always take advice from a doctor as well as a qualified
Aromatherapist. During an attack, always calm and reassure the
person. Sit them in fresh air, leaning forward, resting on their arms.
Seek medical advice if condition worsens or persists. Yoga and
gentle exercise can help keep the whole body in balance, thus
helping it to cope with asthma. Frankincense slows and deepens the
breathing. Lavender relaxes. Clary-sage is anti-spasmodic.


Definition: Fungal disease of the skin between the toes.
Possible Causes: Fungal infection which can be a type of ringworm
caused by the fungus dermatophyte, or other infections picked up in
places such as swimming pools and changing rooms. Can also be
caused by the constant sweating of the feet.
General Signs and Symptoms: In the area of the infection the skin
tends to be inflamed, moist, flaky, itchy and painful. Sometimes it has
small blisters or a rash. Toe-nails can be affected and may crumble
and separate from the nail bed.
Methods of Use:
foot bath
Suggested Oils:
clove (bud)
may chang
Holistic Advice: It is best to dissolve the oil in vodka at the onset of
treatment as this assists with the drying out process. Then, when the
moistness has gone, use a cream or lotion. Foot powder preparations
can be bought without prescription to help the drying out. Change
socks everyda.! Calendula makes a useful carrier cream as it is anti-


Definition: Viral infection of the nose and throat that can lead to
respiratory conditions.
Possible Causes: Virus (approximately 30 different strains). They
then often give rise to secondary infections e.g. sinusitis and
General Signs and Symptoms: High temperature, runny nose,
cough, congestion, shivers and lethargy.
Methods of Use: Suggested Oils:
bath tea-tree
inhalations eucalyptus (blue gum)
diffuser orange (sweet)
tissue/handkerchief lavender, peppermint
foot bath rosewood, pine
creams/lotions marjoram (sweet), lemon
Holistic Advice: Take plenty of fresh air but keep warm. Garlic and
vitamin C supplements can be beneficial. Drink plenty of fluids,
especially water. Eat a light diet containing plenty of fresh fruit and


Definition: Small blister, commonly on the lips or face.
Possible Causes: Herpes simplex 1 virus that is often triggered if
tired or run down.
General Signs and Symptoms: Small blister(s), itching and
ulceration of the skin, usually around the mouth.
Methods of Use:
1.dab on neat
2.dilute in a vodka base and
apply topically
Suggested Oils:
1.tea-tree or lavender
2.blend of tea-tree and bergamot
Holistic Advice: Apply oils as soon as the cold sore can be felt
‘brewing’. Colds sores are highly contagious so avoid all forms of skin
contact e.g. kissing. Use separate towels, face cloths and pillows.
Restrict refined foods and sugar. Increase intake of fresh fruit and
vegetables. Vitamin C, A, B3, B5, and B complex can help.


Definition: Moods of sadness and despondency.
Possible Causes: Life events such as bereavement, divorce, illness
and stress.
General Signs and Symptoms: Moody, sad, restless, irritable,
fatigued, lethargic and, in extreme cases, suicidal, with no sense of
Methods of Use:
foot bath
Suggested Oils:
rose, neroli
jasmine, ylang ylang
geranium, bergamot
patchouli, sandalwood
grapefruit, vetivert
chamomile (Roman)
may chang
Holistic Advice: Listening skills are very important. Often being able
to unload problems helps to lift the mood. The different levels of
depression will greatly affect the choice of oils. If in any doubt about
the person’s safety, refer them to their doctor. If the person is already
receiving counselling, get written permission to treat. It is important
that everyone involved in the case liaises.


Definition: A reaction of the skin to a wide range of stimulants or
irritants, both physical and emotional. Can be acute or chronic.
Possible Causes: Allergy to chemicals, dust, detergents, soap and
cosmetics. Stress. Poor diet. Family history of allergies. Detoxifying
through the skin.
General Signs and Symptoms: Itching, redness, dryness, scaling
and weeping of the skin, crusts and secondary skin infections.
Methods of Use: Suggested Oils:
bath chamomile (Roman)
lotions/creams melissa, lavender
compress (cold) geranium
foot bath neroli
massage (for stress, not over juniperberry
actual eczema) myrrh
Holistic Advice: Ensure a good balanced diet of fresh fruit and
vegetables. Drinking plenty of water can help to keep the skin
hydrated. Jojoba and evening primrose carrier oils can be beneficial.
If dealing with very sensitive skin always do a patch test. Sometimes
the skin will get worse before it gets better. Childhood eczema can be
a result of parental tension.


Definition: Pain in the head.
Possible Causes: Stress, tension, tiredness, sinusitis, concussion,
head injury, alcohol abuse and eating problems. In extreme cases,
brain tumour or meningitis.
General Signs and Symptoms: Tension in muscles of the scalp,
neck, and shoulders. Pain and throbbing in the head. Possibly
blurred vision.
Methods of Use:
massage (light)
inhalations (if headache is due to
sinus problem, catarrh, cold or
Suggested Oils:
marjoram (sweet)
Holistic Advice: If headache persists or frequently recurs, consult a
doctor. Drink plenty of water. Avoid eating cheese and chocolate.
Allow the client to choose the oils as often strong aromas can set off
a headache. Cool compresses of lavender and peppermint and a
light massage of lavender on the temples may help to relieve the


Definition: Higher than normal blood pressure.
Possible Causes: Cause still obscure. Possibly due to spasm of the
smaller arteries, obesity, stress, excitement or symptomatic of a
chronic disorder. Hereditary factors may play a part.
General Signs and Symptoms: Often no symptoms but can have
headache, dizziness and tinnitus. Long term hypertension can result
in kidney failure, strokes and heart disease.
Methods of Use: Suggested Oils:
bath Hypotensive oils such as:
lotions/creams marjoram (sweet), lavender
diffuser ylang ylang
tissue/handkerchief melissa
foot bath niaouli, neroli
hyssop (adaptogen for blood
Holistic Advice: Always get permission to treat from doctor. Blend
the oils with sedative, anti-depressant and uplifting oils but ensure
that they are not hypertensive. Reduce intake of animal fats. Garlic is
a good supplement. Reduce the intake of tea, coffee and alcohol.
Regular exercise, meditation and yoga can be very beneficial.


Definition: Lower than normal blood pressure.
Possible Causes: Can be symptomatic of a chronic disorder such as
a haemorrhage.
General Signs and Symptoms: Prone to dizziness or even fainting.
Can feel cold and tired more readily. Supply of blood to the brain may
be interrupted momentarily if the pressure falls below normal.
Methods of Use:
foot bath
Suggested Oils:
Hypertensive oils such as:
peppermint, pine
black pepper, cinnamon (leaf)
thyme (white), clove (bud)
hyssop (adaptogen for blood
Holistic Advice: Always get permission to treat from a doctor.
A brisk massage is a very good way to stimulate the circulatory
system. Take regular exercise. Although low blood pressure is
generally less serious than high blood pressure it should be
monitored in the same way.


Definition: Sleeplessness.
Possible Causes: Noise, stress, caffeine, pain, tension, depression,
worry and over-tiredness.
General Signs and Symptoms: Not able to sleep, or go to sleep
immediately but wake up shortly afterwards. Tension and irritability.
Methods of Use: Suggested Oils:
massage (marjoram and lavender lavender
before bed) chamomile (German)
bath (neroli), foot bath neroli, chamomile (Roman)
lotions/creams (chamomile and rose (cabbage), may chang
lavender on chest before bed) orange (sweet)
diffuser, tissue/handkerchief marjoram (sweet), vetivert
Holistic Advice: Keep regular sleeping hours. Reduce the number of
hours sleep to start with then gradually increase them. Take plenty of
fresh air and exercise. Practice relaxation techniques. Ensure
bedroom is well ventilated. Try a warm (not hot) bath before going to
bed but do not take stimulants e.g. tea, coffee and cola drinks. Put
the bedside clock out of sight. Listen to relaxing music. Note sleep
patterns in a diary to try to identify any contributory factors.


Definition: Inflammatory skin disorder.
Possible Causes: Often a family disease. Can be seasonal, in which
case it is especially prevalent in spring and autumn. Can be triggered
by depressing influences such as stress.
General Signs and Symptoms: Raised, reddened areas covered
with silvery scales, chronic inflammation and an increased production
of epidermal cells. Often appears on elbows, front of knees, scalp
and face. The disease is divided into several varieties according to
the shape and distribution of these patches.
Methods of Use: Suggested Oils:
creams/lotions bergamot
massage (for stress relief but not chamomile (Roman)
over the areas affected) chamomile (German)
Holistic Advice: Stress must be treated. Use a light, moisturising
carrier oil such as evening primrose or calendula. Emollient creams
help to reduce scaliness, so try a fine oatmeal one. Naturopathic
techniques that cleanse the whole body of toxins can be successfully
combined with Aromatherapy. Eating raw vegetables and fresh fruit
and drinking plenty of water can also be beneficial. Vitamins C, B
complex and E and evening primrose are good supplements.


Definition: Vital activity is profoundly lowered.
Possible Causes: Severe injury or emotional trauma.
General Signs and Symptoms: Pale skin, copious perspiration,
pallid lips and ears and whispering voice. Pulse is often rapid and
almost imperceptible. Respiration is irregular and accompanied by
sighing. Sufferer is often very thirsty.
Methods of Use:
First Aid: Inhale lavender from a
tissue/handkerchief or directly
from the bottle.
Subsequent treatments:
Suggested Oils:
Holistic Advice: Keep the person lying down and warm (but not too
warm). Use a hot water bottle if necessary. Give plenty of hot fluids.


Definition: Inflammation of a sinus.
Possible Causes: Cold, hay fever, catarrh and infection in the nasal
mucous membranes.
General Signs and Symptoms: Pain, headache (especially when
the head tips forward), chronic dull ache around the cheek bone and
possibly a raised temperature.
Methods of Use: Suggested Oils:
inhalations tea-tree
tissue/handkerchief lavender
massage (only if no infection) eucalyptus (blue gum)
lotions/creams pine
bath peppermint
foot bath thyme (white)
Holistic Advice: Take garlic supplements and fresh garlic. Avoid
dairy and wheat products as they provoke excessive formation of
mucus. Consider regular massage to boost the immune system.
Facial massage, concentrating on the sinus points, can help to clear
the congestion. If the condition is due to an infection, massage is
restricted to the sinus points only. Acupuncture can be beneficial.


Definition: Stress and stress related illnesses are when the mental
and physical health of an individual are unbalanced.
Possible Causes: Stress factors may be physical, mental, emotional
and environmental e.g. accident, injury, financial worries, relationship
problems, pollution and work concerns.
General Signs and Symptoms: Depressed immune system. Sense
of being out of control. Physical complaints such as headaches,
muscular pain and lethargy.
Methods of Use:
Suggested Oils:
rose, neroli, melissa,
sandalwood, orange (sweet),
rosemary, basil (European),
lavender, marjoram (sweet),
geranium, chamomile (German),
palmarosa, jasmine, vetivert,
frankincense, patchouli, lemon
Holistic Advice: The origin of the stress needs to be identified and
addressed. Time should be allocated for relaxation and exercise such
as yoga. Regular massage treatments can also act as a preventative
therapy. Stress management/counselling courses are available in
most areas.


Definition: Fungal infection.
Possible Causes: Candida albicans fungus, stress, unbalanced diet,
steroids, long term use of oral contraceptives and a reaction to
antibiotics. Can accompany diabetes, pregnancy, auto-immune
deficiency syndrome (AIDS) and leukaemia.
General Signs and Symptoms: Thrush thrives in warm, moist
areas. The inflammation, itching and white flaky patches can affect
the mouth, vulva, skin folds, groin, armpits and the skin under the
Methods of Use:
Suggested Oils:
Holistic Advice: Avoid sugary foods, yeast, starches and
mushrooms. Avoid wearing tights and nylon underwear (cotton is
better). High dosage of vitamin C can be of benefit. Natural yoghurt
can be taken orally and used externally. Eat plenty of fresh garlic and
take garlic supplements. Dilute all oils to 0.1% when applying to the
affected mucous membranes.


Definition: Small horny tumour of the skin.
Possible Causes: Papova virus.
General Signs and Symptoms: Common warts are rough and horny
occurring on the hands. Soft warts are soft tags of skin found on the
face, neck, chin and eyelids. Plantar warts (verrucae) are found on
the sole of the foot. They grow into the skin rather than outwards.
They are more painful than other types and spread rapidly, especially
in pools and sports halls. Venereal warts are found on the genitalia.
Methods of Use:
foot bath
Suggested Oils:
Holistic Advice: Warts will generally disappear as quickly as they
arrive. Vitamin E and a balanced diet help. Tea-tree and lemon can
be used neat on a wart (except venereal, when they must be diluted
to 1%) or verruca. Apply one drop and then cover with a plaster. Use
grapefruit, juniperberry and geranium in a massage oil to boost the
immune system. If a wart is brown, feels soft, suddenly changes its
shape, itches, bleeds or produces a discharge it may be a melanoma
so consult a doctor.