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Aromatherapy Blending Considerations

essential oil bottles sunset with a candleAromatherapy blending is an art and a science.
For blending to be effective it takes a strong foundation of aromatherapy knowledge and a basic intuition to determine the best essential oils and carriers for yourself and others. It is suggested that you consider all the factors when formulating an aromatherapy blend.

Once you have taken a complete health history and are aware of the complaints, precautions, and any medications of the individual you are blending for, then you can get started on the other basic blending factors of who, what, when, where, and how.

Who are you blending for?
This will determine the precautions and dilution factors that you will follow.
As research continues in essential oil safety there are increased numbers of precautions to be aware of. The basic safety factors include: allergies, skin sensitivity, photosensitivity, pregnancy, children, elders, overall health, and the use of any medications.

General dilutions of essential oils:
Children and pregnancy 0.5-1% (3-6 drops in 1oz. of carrier oil)
Healthy adults 2% (12 drops in 1oz. of carrier oil)
Acute situations up to 3% (18 drops in 1oz. of carrier oil)

What determines the intention of the blend and the essential oils that you will choose.
You may want a blend to calm stress, invigorating, hormonal balancing, wound healing, or the myriad of other intentions that can be covered by aromatherapy.

When you are going to apply the blend determines if you what to use more calming essential oils or more stimulating essential oils.

It has been found that some essential oils create a more calming and soothing effect to the autonomic nervous system (ANS), while others are more stimulating to the ANS. It is better to use more calming and soothing essential oils overall for those who are type A personalities, i.e. those with a tendency towards headaches, digestive problems, sleep disorders, and nervous tension. Use more stimulating essential oils with people who are prone to depression, heart issues, and severe muscle spasms in the back.
As a general rule it is advised NOT to use stimulating essential oils 4-6 hours before bedtime, to encourage a restful sleep.

Calming

Top Notes

Calming

Middle Notes

Calming

Base Notes

Stimulating

Top Notes

Stimulating

Middle Notes

Stimulating

Base Notes

Bergamot

Black Pepper*

Benzoin

Basil

Fennel

Cinnamon

Cardamom

Chamomile

Cedar

Caraway

Geranium

Clove

Clary Sage

Cypress *

Frankincense

Eucalyptus

Hyssop

Jasmine

Coriander

Fir *

Ginger

Lemon

Peppermint

Nutmeg

Grapefruit

Howood

Helichrysum*

Oregano

Pine

Patchouli

Lemongrass

Juniper*

Linden Blossom

Sage

Rosemary

Mandarin

Lavender*

Neroli

Spearmint

Myrtle

Marjoram

Sandalwood

Orange

Melissa

Tarragon

Palmarosa

Valerian

Petitgrain

Vetiver

Tea Tee

Ylang Ylang

Thyme

* “Adaptable” essential oils can either be calming or stimulating depending on the other essential oils they are blended with. Adaptable essential oils include black pepper, cypress, fir, juniper, lavender and helichrysum.

Information used by permission from my amazing aromatherapy teacher, Jennine Stromkins, author of The Autonomic Nervous System and Aromatherapy, New Westminster, BC, International Essential Oil Corp., 1998.

Where determines the area(s) of application and choosing the correct essential oils.
For digestive complaints the blend will need to be applied to the abdomen. 
The “spice” essential oils can often be a good choice for digestive issues: like coriander (Coriandrum sativum), cardamom (Elettaria cardamomum), black pepper (Piper nigrum), ginger (Zingiber officinale) and thyme (Thymus vulgaris ct. thymol).

For respiratory complaints the blend will at least need to be applied to the upper chest and upper back.
The “tree” essential oils can often be a good choice for respiratory issues: black spruce (Picea mariana), cypress (Cupressus sempervirens) frankincense (Boswellia carteri) and white fir (abies alba).

For circulatory or lymphatic congestion the blend will need to be applied to the whole body to be effective.

How determines the variety of applications this same essential oil blend will be used.
These applications might include: a topical blend in carrier oils, bath (only for blends with non- skin irritant essential oils), Dead Sea salt shower scrubs, nasal inhaler, diffusing, and/or room or facial spritzers.

carrier oilsCarrier Oils
Another thing to consider for blending is choosing the carrier oils. The carrier oils create a nutrient foundation for the blend. It is much like choosing a vase for a beautiful flower arrangement.  There are some carriers that are more emollient, some more warming, some more cooling, and each one has specific nutrients, vitamins, and benefits.

For example: If you are intending to make a blend for stimulating the circulation and lymphatic systems, and decreasing inflammation then a combination of safflower (Carthamus tinctorius), sesame (Sesamum indicum), and arnica (Arnica montana) infused oil could be good choices.

Once you have chosen the essential oils and carrier oils, the next step is the formulating.

  • First, take a few deep-calming breaths.
  • Center yourself without distractions.
  • Combine one drop of each essential oil on a test strip. Then, ask yourself, “do these oils combine well together?” Does this scent remind you of the person you are blending for? If the answer is yes, then this is the time to combine all of the essential oils into the carrier(s).

Labeling
The last step is labeling. Include the essential oils, carrier oils, instructions for use and any precautions.

Enjoy your amazing aromatherapy formulation!

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