& First-Aid with Essential Oils©
Aromatherapy with a First Aid Travel Kit
By Jeanne Rose and Diana Badger
Perhaps you're an old hand at frequent-flying, or you're
regularly on the road commuting or for business or education
purposes, maybe you're one of those who can only manage to tear
themselves away from home for a summer camping trip to the
mountains. Whatever the case, it's a wise practice to have a good
first-aid travel kit on hand and at all times. It can save you or
your children a lot of hassle and anxiety to have the simple
remedies you need right at your fingertips – or at the end of your
Assembling a first aid kit need not be a complicated
endeavor, or an expensive one. Basic first aid can be both simple
and cheap, and even aromatic! With a few of the most broad-acting
and effective essential oils -- Eucalyptus, the oil of respiration;
Tea Tree, the oil of first aid; Rosemary, the oil of stimulation;
Peppermint, the oil of digestion; and Lavender, the oil of soothing
sedation -- you can treat just about any ailment that should happen
If your stomach or nerves typically go topsy-turvy come take-off
time, a blend of Peppermint (Mentha x piperita) and Rosemary (Rosmarinus spp.) oils -- one drop of each inhaled from a hankie —
can be used for nausea and motion
sickness, as well as a whiff of Lavender for anxiety.
Upon arrival, you might need something to ease your jet lag, if you are traveling far from home. That
same blend of Rosemary and Peppermint oils can help stimulate and
clear up any lingering lag you may feel upon arrival, or throughout
the trip. Later on,
Lavender oil (Lavandula angustifolia) will calm your nerves and ease you into sleep
at night; just sprinkle a few drops on your pillow case at bedtime,
or freshen your room with some diluted in water in a spray bottle. A
hot bath with a few drops of Peppermint or Lavender oil will also
help unwind tousled thoughts and prepare you for sleep. Another good
treatment for insomnia, jet-lag related
or not, is a warm compress of Lavender oil applied on the forehead
Aches & Pains:
If you have a busy schedule of conference events or tourist
attractions in a big city, you may find yourself suffering from tired
feet or aching muscles. Rosemary, Peppermint, and Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus
spp.) oils are all effective diluted in vegetable oil as a rub
for sore muscles and limbs. If your legs and arms feel weak or
swollen, give them a rejuvenating Peppermint oil bath.
Feet threatening to collapse? Take off
your shoes and try a rub of Rosemary oil with Bruise Juice to
put some spring back in your step. If too much roving in your new
walking shoes has given you blisters,
apply Tea Tree (Melaleuca
alternifolia) oil neat and cover with moleskin.
A good foot
soak with salts will help those feet of yours.
Sprains and Injuries:
Whether you lose your footing ambling down the Parthenon steps, slip
into a mountain stream while blithely jumping rock to rock, or fall
head first over a curb chasing after a New York City bus, a sprained
ankle or other serious injury will heal more rapidly with immediate
and appropriate treatment. The best approach is RICE--not the sushi
kind--but Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. Combine this with
gentle massage with Rosemary and a carrier oil like Bruice Juice.
Headaches: For the
all-too-common stress or tension headache rub the temples with 1
drop Rosemary oil, and slowly sip on 1/2 a glass of water to which
another drop of Rosemary oil has been added. Alternatively, dab one
or two drops of Peppermint and/or Eucalyptus oil at the back of the
neck, or apply as a compress. With
cramp-related headaches or
themselves, Lavender is your oil of choice. Dilute it in a massage
oil and rub on cramped area.
many of us, travel can be a somewhat harrowing adventure for the
digestive system, since we can be exposed to all manner of foods
(and food look-alikes!) and preparation techniques to which we may
not be accustomed. Peppermint oil is a remedy par excellence for stomachache or bowel
distress. Just add one drop to a glass of water, sip slowly,
and let the uplifting mint relax you! If the condition is a more
serious one of vomiting,
increase the dose to two drops of Peppermint, and apply a
soothing compress of Rosemary oil on the forehead and stomach. You
should also always carry a small bottle
of activated Charcoal. Whenever
intestinal distress is imminent,
take 4-5 capsules with
that glass of Peppermint water.
congestion: Eucalyptus oil is an excellent remedy for all
respiratory problems. Put a few drops in a hot bath and inhale
deeply, or better yet, do a steam treatment: boil 2 cups of water,
pour in a bowl, let sit a few minutes, then add 2-4 drops of oil.
Sit over the steaming bowl and wrap a towel around both your head
and the bowl. Breathe to
loosen bronchial secretions so they can be coughed up. Continue for
5-10 minutes, taking breaks as needed. For sinus
Eucalyptus, Peppermint, and Lavender oils which are all
effective as a steam inhalant. Alternatively, put a few drops on a
hankie and sniff throughout the day.
Colds & Fevers:
If due to climate change or too much going on you find
yourself under the weather, try inhaling a blend of Peppermint, Tea
Tree, Rosemary, and Eucalyptus oils.
Also, apply a compress of these to the chest, diluted with
vegetable oil. Of course, the old standbys of rest and high doses of
Vitamin C work wonders as well.
far removed from the frantic pulse of the city, even the serene
landscapes of sea, field and forest (to which many of us like to
escape) can pose another set of challenges to our bodies. It is easy
to forget to cover up as much as we should with hats and sunscreen.
If not regularly exposed to the sun's rays, apply cooling Tea Tree
and Peppermint oils which provides welcome relief for sunburn pain.
First, cool the burned area with a damp cloth. In a spray bottle,
mix the oil/s with cool water or hydrosol and spray. The hydrosols
of these two oils are quite effective as well.
Peppermint can also soothe overheating
due to weather or hot flashes. Apply diluted in water as a
compress to the forehead. (Never apply Peppermint oil neat around
the eyes as it can irritate!)
Many of the assaults of nature are only skin deep, but they can
still be painful or annoying! For all of these, be they cuts & scrapes, insect stings
or bites (including tick), bruises, deep wounds, athlete's foot,
poison oak or other rashes, or road burns, Tea Tree oil and
Bruise Juice is a superior remedy. For most of these problems, wash
the area if needed and apply the oil neat. For deep or infected wounds, first apply a mud or clay poultice to
drain the infection, and then apply neat oil.
Essential Oils Needed: Peppermint, the oil of
Digestion; Rosemary, the oil of Stimulation; Eucalyptus, the oil of
Respiration; Tea Tree, the oil of Healing; Lavender, the oil of
Soothing and Sedating; and Bruise Juice, the all-purpose carrier
Definition of Terms:
Aromatherapy: healing with essential oils (from plants) through the
sense of smell by inhalation or through other applications of these
therapeutic volatile substances.
Compress: an application technique using a cloth soaked in a
combination of water, vegetable oil, or a bland lotion to dilute and
spread herbs or essential oils over an area of skin. The size of
compress, number of drops of essential oils, and amount of solvent
used depends on the size of the area treated.
Essential Oils: volatile materials contained within plant cells and
derived by physical processes from the plant. Some essential oils
are not in the living tissue but are found during its destruction.
Hydrosol: the water from the distillation process, which contains
water-soluble parts of the plant material and micro-droplets of
Inhalation: a method of treating mental and physical problems
through the breathing in of the volatile, essential oils of aromatic
and medicinal plants rather than the drinking of the herbal tea or
the ingestion of the oils. Standard methods include inhalation,
undiluted through a room diffuser, or diluted in bath or massage
Rose, Jeanne. The Aromatherapy Book: Applications & Inhalations.
Berkeley: North Atlantic Books.1994.
———- The Aromatherapy Studies Course. San Francisco: Herbal
———. The Modern Herbal. Jeanne Rose Herbal Library. 1978
Price, Shirley. Aromatherapy for Common Ailments. New York: Simon
Herbal BodyWorks has an Aromatherapy
First-Aid Kit for Travel and Minor Emergencies for
$26. Includes the five (4
ml each) basic oils + Bruise Juice and a laminated card describing
uses in a beautiful tapestry traveling bag — for all home needs.
Write them at 219 Carl St., San Francisco, CA 94117, or call
All rights reserved 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006. No part of this article may
be used without prior permission from Jeanne Rose.
© Authors Copyright Jeanne Rose,