Aromatherapy for Pigmentation, Enlarged Prostate, Impotence?

Ask the Aromatherapist:
I have browsed your site and found it very
informative.I am an aromatherapist from Mumbai,India.I
would like to have your guidence regarding
pigmentation,BPH (enlarged prostate),and
Impotency.Kindly let me know effective formula
(recipe) and how to use the same.

It's great to know that there are vistors all over the world interested in aromatherapy!

Darkening of the skin, called hyperpigmentation, can occur because of age, sun exposure, or because of hormone fluctuations. The best defence is to avoid tanning and over exposure to the sun, and to wear sunscreen. I do not know of essential oils that may be effective for reducing hyperpigmentation. However, certain essential oils, especially bergapten-containing bergamot, may be very phototoxic and can cause severe hyperpigmentation when they are used on skin that is then exposed to sunlight. To avoid more hyperpigmentation, potentially phototoxic essential oils should be used carefully or not at all.

For enlarged prostate, I am not aware of aromatherapy remedies that are well-known to be effective. The herb Saw Palmetto has been shown helpful for many men who experience benign enlargement of the prostate that occurs with age.

Because impotence (erectile dysfunction) can have different causes ranging from emotional to physical, it is difficult to give general suggestions for how aromatherapy might be useful. For impotence that is caused wholly or in part by anxiety, aromatherapy may help induce relaxation. Ylang ylang is particularly helpful because it is both an aphrodisiac and emotionally soothing. Sandalwood and Atlas cedarwood essential oils may have similar effects. A full body massage using the following blend may be helpful to soothe anxiety:
  • 4 drops ylang ylang essential oil
  • 5 drops sandalwood essential oil
  • 5 drops Atlas cedarwood essential oil
  • 2 ounces sweet almond oil
For more information about how aromatherapy may help with sexual dysfunction, I refer you to these articles:


How to Make Infused Oils with Herbs?

Ask the Aromatherapist:

Infused herbal oils are a more peripheral tool in the aromatherapy tool box, but useful nonetheless and valued for their own healing properties. An infused oil is NOT the same as an essential oil. Essential oils are usually distilled from plant matter, and require a very large amount of plant matter to produce tiny amounts of essential oils, which are very concentrated substances. Infused oils are made by placing a small amount of plant matter in a carrier oil and allowing molecules of the plant to infuse into the carrier oil.

Infused oils are quite easy to make, and can be used as carrier oils for essential oils. Herbs that can be used to make infused oils include:
  • lavender
  • calendula
  • peppermint
  • chamomile
  • St. John's wort
Suitable carrier, or base, oils to use for infusing are those with little or no scent and with a long shelf life. You might want to try:
  • olive oil
  • jojoba oil
  • coconut oil
  • or some combination of these, perhaps with small quantities of other oils
You can use either fresh or dried herbs, though dried may be more convenient if you don't grow your own. The dried herbs shouldn't be too old, and they should be slightly crushed (but not powdered) for infusing. In most cases you would use the flowers and small stems, or in cases where there are no flowers, use the top, more tender leaves and stems. For some herbs, the roots should be used, as these parts of the plant have most therpeutic value. You may need to do a bit of research to find out what part of the plant you should use.

Use 1/2 (dried) or 1 cup (fresh) herbs, in 2 cups of carrier oil. You can heat the mixture very gently (not more than 100 degrees F) for a few hours in a crock pot. Or, you can allow the infusion to take place over several days (allow up to a month) at room temperature. After the infusion is done, strain out the plant matter by pouring the mixture through a funnel with cheesecloth or a piece of muslin lining it. Collect the infused oil in a clean jar, and be sure to store it with the lid tight.

Though you mentioned evening primrose, this botanical is usually more valued as evening primrose oil, which comes from the seeds of the plant. Of course, you can certainly try making an infusion using the foliage.



Can I use essential oils as preservatives?

Ask the Aromatherapist:

I am going to try making some body products at home (such as lotions). I want to avoid using chemical based preservatives in my products because I want them to be all natural. I've read that essential oils kill bacteria and molds etc so can I use them instead of regular preservatives since I want to put essential oils in them anyway? How do I use them this way?

You are correct, essential oils do have germ killing properties: they may be antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, or all three, depending on the oil. However, essential oils do not make good preservatives in body/skin care products. Some essential oils are strongly antimicrobial when used in their fully-concentrated forms (i.e. when used undiluted), but when diluted to the extent that would be appropriate in a body lotion, for example, the essential oil would not be concentrated enough in the lotion to act as a preservative.

If you plan to sell or give away the body care products that you make, you should include appropriate preservatives to prevent the growth of bacteria and fungi. Any body care product with water or water-based ingredients in it has the potential for microbial growth. Only very small amounts of parabens, such as methyl paraben and propyl paraben, are needed for preserving your body lotion.

If you are just making body care products for yourself and don't want to include preservatives, try packaging them in small containers, so that you will use up the quantities in a shorter time and therefor reduce the chance of contamination and microbial growth, and keep them refrigerated to discourage microbial growth.



Aromatherapy Blends for Home

Essential oils are a valuable germ-killing addition to cleaning solutions, and of course they make great air fresheners.

All-Purpose Cleaner
Add the following to a chemical resistant spray bottle (this is important, as essential oils may dissolve regular plastic) with at least 10 oz capacity. Shake the bottle before spraying. Don't use essential oils on varnished surfaces, wood furniture, or treated surfaces, since they may damage the surface. This cleaner is best for ceramic and porcelin surfaces, but you might want to test a small area before using it on large areas.
  • 7 oz water
  • 2 oz concentrated liquid non-bleach cleaner
  • 20 drops Lemon essential oil
  • 10 drops Grapefruit essential oil
  • 10 drops Cinnamon Bark essential oil
  • 10 drops Bergamot essential oil
Aromatherapy Air Cleaner
Use this blend for nebulizer diffusing. Essential oil diffusion with a nebulizing diffuser has been shown to reduce the amount of allergens and germs in the room.
  • 7 drops Eucalyptus Radiata essential oil
  • 5 drops Bergamot essential oil
  • 5 drops Lemon essential oil
  • 5 drops Tea Tree essential oil
  • 7 drops Cedarwood essential oil
  • 5 drops Cinnamon Bark essential oil


Relaxation Aromatherapy Blends

Send Me Your Aromatherapy Questions!

The following blends can be used in a number of ways:
  • For massage, dilute essential oils in a carrier oil (such as sweet almond oil): 3-5 drops of essential oil(s) per ounce of massage oil.
  • For diffusion, use the pure essential oil blend (undiluted) in an electric nebulizer; for passive diffusion, place a few drops on a tissue or cotton ball.
  • For an aromatic bath, use 1-4 drops total essential oil(s) mixed with 1/4-1/2 cup bath salts, or in 1 ounce of bath gel or bath milk.
Soothing Essential Oil Blend
Add these essential oils in a small glass container, and then use the blend in one of the ways described at the top of this page.
  • 4 drops Lavender essential oil
  • 2 drops Geranium essential oil
  • 2 drops Ylang Ylang essential oil
  • 2 drops Jasmine essential oil
  • 4 drops Rosewood (or substitute Atlas Cedarwood) essential oil
  • 2 drops Sweet Orange (or substitute Tangerine or Mandarin Orange) essential oil
Balancing Essential Oil Blend
Add these essential oils in a small glass container, and then use the blend in one of the ways described at the top of this page.
  • 3 drops Sandalwood essential oil
  • 3 drops Frankincense essential oil
  • 2 drops Geranium essential oil
  • 4 drops Lavender essential oil
  • 2 drops Rose essential oil
  • 2 drops Angelica essential oil
Deep Relaxation Essential Oil Blend
Add these essential oils in a small glass container, and then use the blend in one of the ways described at the top of this page.
  • 6 drops Spikenard essential oil
  • 3 drops Lavender essential oil
  • 2 drops Jasmine essential oil
  • 3 drops Tangerine (or substitute Sweet Orange) essential oil
  • 1 drop Ylang Ylang essential oil
  • 2 drops Patchouli essential oil

Cold & Flu Aromatherapy Recipes

Send Me Your Aromatherapy Questions!

Essential oils can help alleviate discomfort from sinus congestion, sore throat, and cough. Essential oils are known for their antibacterial and antiviral properties.

Inhalation for Sinus Congestion
Place the folowing essential oils in a glass dish filled with steaming water:
  • 1 drop Eucalyptus essential oil
  • 1 drop Myrtle essential oil
  • 1 drop Tea Tree essential oi
Drape a towel over your head, close your eyes to avoid eye irritation, and lean over the bowel and inhale the fragrant steam through your nose and mouth. Keep the towel over the bowel to trap the steam and essential oil vapors for inhalation.

Sore Throat Blend
Add these essential oils to 2 ounces of sweet almond or other carrier oil:
  • 3 drops Peppermint essential oil
  • 3 drops Eucalyptus essential oil
  • 3 drops Bay Laurel essential oil
Gently rub a small amount of this blend onto the neck and throat. This blend can also be used as a chest rub.

Cough Blend
Add these essential oils to 2 ounces of sweet almond or other carrier oil:
  • 2 drops Peppermint essential oil
  • 4 drops Eucalyptus essential oil
  • 2 drops Pine essential oil
  • 2 drops Marjoram essential oil
  • 2 drops Lemon essential oil
Rub onto the chest to help sooth coughing. For inhalation, combine the essential oils neat (without diluting them in a carrier oil) in a small glass container, and inhale 1 or 2 drops placed on a tissue.


What Are Some Good Beginner Essential Oils?

Ask the Aromatherapist:

I recently became interested in Aromatherapy, and I wanted to know what are some good essential oils for a beginner to buy. I want to buy maybe 5 or 10 to start with, and see how I do with them.

It depends on what you plan to use the essential oils for, but since you didn't specify whether you want them for health applications, for skin care, or simply for their natural aromatic properties, I'll suggest some oils that may fall into all three of these categories.

Please make sure that in addition to buying some essential oils, you buy one or two aromatherapy books with good safety guidelines, and that you thoroughly research the oils you want to use before you use them.

Don't forget to dilute essential oils well if you plan to do any topical applications. Remember that in almost all cases, "less is more" when you're using essential oils. When you buy essential oils, also buy at least one carrier oil, such as sweet almond oil, and use it for dilutions. Add only 1-5 drops of essential oil(s) total per ounce of carrier oil, body lotion, bath/shower gel, etc.

10 Essential Oils to Start Your Aromatherapy Collection:
  1. Lavender (Lavendula augustifolia)
  2. Geranium (Pelargonium graveolens)
  3. Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulus)
  4. Peppermint (Mentha piperita)
  5. Bergamot (Citrus bergamia), be sure to buy furo-coumarin free
  6. Lemon (Citrus lemon)
  7. Myrrh (Commiphora myrrha)
  8. Jasmine (Jasminum officinale)
  9. Roman Chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile)
  10. Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis)
A few more that you might want to try, if you decide to invest in more than 10: Atlas Cedarwood (Cedrus atlantica), Tea Tree (Melaleuca alternifolia), Frankincense (Boswellia carteri), Ginger (Zingiber officinale), Marjoram (Origanum majorana), and Black Pepper (Piper nigrum). Have fun exploring essential oils! :-)



How to Make Aromatherapy Bath Salts?

Ask the Aromatherapist:

Hi, I want to make some bath salts with essential oils, and I was wondering if you could give me some ideas - what to use, how much, etc. Thanks!

I love to use bath salts for their detoxifying properties, and essential oils make a great addition to a soak. I like to make a mixture of about 1/3 baking soda and 2/3 sea salts (you can use Epsom salts instead). To about 1/4-1/2 cup of this mixture, I add 2-4 drops total of one or more essential oils.

Essential oils I use for bath soaks include neroli (orange blossom), lavender, cedarwood, or chamomile for relaxation. For a more invigorating soak, try ginger, rosemary, or geranium.

You might also want to try adding a tablespoon or so of honey for skin conditioning, or 1/4 cup of fine-ground oatmeal for its soothing properties.


Ask the Aromatherapist!

What questions do you have about aromatherapy? Send me your questions, and I might feature them in Ask the Aromatherapist. Don't worry, I will maintain your privacy: none of your personal information, including your email address, will ever be seen by or shared with anyone else, and should I feature your question your information will not be used. I look forward to hearing from you!

Send your aromatherapy questions to: Ask the Aromatherapist

Important note:
When you write, please use as your subject line:
"Aromatherapy Question: [topic of your question]"
Blank or vague subject lines may get mistaken for spam!

Past Ask the Aromatherapist Questions ~

How do I make an aromatherapy body powder?

What is the shelf life for carrier oils?
Aromatherapy for hyperpigmentation, enlarged prostate, impotence?
How do I make herbal infused oils?
Can I use essential oils as preservatives?
What essential oils should aromatherapy beginners try?
How do I make aromatherapy bath salts?
How do I make an essential oil reed diffuser?

Can I diffuse essential oils in an office or waiting room?


Aromatherapy Recipes & Blends

Try These Aromatherapy Recipes:

Aromatherapy for Cold and Flu

Aromatherapy for Relaxation

Aromatherapy for the Home

Send Me Your Aromatherapy Questions!


Aromatherapy Dictionary


Combining different essential oils and carrier oils for balance, safety, and effectiveness.

Carrier Oil
Also known as a "base oil" or "fixed oil" (because it is non-volitile, or does not evaporate). Examples of carrier oils include almond, grapeseed, olive, sesame, wheat germ, and canola oil. Used to dilute essential oils so that they may be used safely. Many carrier oils have their own valuable, unique therapeutic properties.

Passive diffusion simply allows essential oils to evaporate. Heat diffusion utilizes steam or a heat source to volatilize the essential oils more quickly, but may damage or alter essential oil constituents. Nebulizing diffusers do not use heat, but create an extremely fine essential oil mist that disperses into the room, and which can be easily absorbed via the lungs when inhaled.

Reducing the strength of an essential oil by using a few drops in a larger volume of carrier oil or other diluting substance. It is important to dilute essential oils before applying them, as they can be irritating when used neat, or undiluted.

Usually steam distillation, the method by which most essential oils are extracted. In steam distillation, steam is passed through plant matter. The heat and water break down the plant material, releasing the essential oils. The steam and volatized essential oils are then cooled and condensed, and the essential oil is separated from the water phase and collected.

Essential Oil
The main material used in aromatherapy, volatile aromatic oils aquired through extraction of organic matter, such as flowers, bark, resin, leaves, and fuit peels.

Extraction method used to aquire essential oils of citrus fruits, where the fruit peel is pressed to release the essential oil.

Separating essential oil constituents from the organic material.

Fragrance (Perfume) Oil
Synthetic, or man-made, aromatic substance. Synthetic or fragrance oils are usually used in perfumes and cosmetic products, and have no therapeutic value or uses. Only natural plant oils are used in aromatherapy.

Water phase coproduct produced through steam distillation. Sometimes referred to as "floral water" or "hydrolat." Many hydrosols have their own unique therapeutic properties, but there is little information about using hydrosols in aromatherapy.

Patch Test
A test, usually performed on a small area of skin on the inside of the elbow, to ensure that essential oils to be therapeutically will not cause any adverse reaction.

An adverse immune response that may develop through repeated exposure to a substance, that may manifest as a rash, itching, or more serious reactions. Some people may be come sensitized to certain essential oils. If this happens, those oils may no longer be used.

Synthetic Oil
See Fragrance (Perfume) Oil, above

Describes a substance that evaporates. Essential oils consist of mostly volatile molecules, so bottles should be kept tightly closed.


Introduction to Aromatherapy

Many people think that "aromatherapy" is just smelling a relaxing or pleasing aroma. So first, let's talk about what aromatherapy isn't:
  • Smelling a boquet of roses, while enjoyable, is not aromatherapy.
  • Using synthetically scented air fresheners, despite what the packages may claim, is not aromatherapy.
  • Using lavender soap in the shower is not aromatherapy.
Aromatherapy is using pure, natural essential oils, hydrosols, and a few other natural substances, in a therapeutic manner. Contrary to what the word implies, aromatherapy involves many different methods of application of these natural substances, some of which do not rely upon inhalation.

Essential oils are the primary and most important substances used in aromatherapy. Essential oils are made by extracting volatile oils from organic plant matter. Some common essential oils are: lavender, extracted from lavender flowers and stems; lemon, extracted from lemon peels; eucalyptus, extracted from eucalyptus leaves; frankincense, extracted from tree resin.

Essential oils are used in many ways, in addition to simple inhalation. Aromatherapy application methods include diffusion for inhalation, steam inhalation, dilution in a carrier oil for massage, dilution in the bath, use in a masque or salve, among others.

Essential oils are also used as fragrance ingredients in beauty products and perfumes. In these cases, the essential oil often is used for its fragrance properties. While essential oils may make the products may smell nice, in nearly all cases there is no significant medical "therapy" taking place when these products are used or applied.

You may still be wondering: why might I want to use essential oils, and what are the health benefits of aromatherapy? Many people have used aromatherapy to help relieve problems such as head and chest congestion, fungal infections, muscle pain, anxiety, and acne.

Last, but not least, it is imperative to familiarize yourself with safety guidelines before you begin doing any aromatherapy on you own. In most cases, essential oils should be well diluted in a carrier oil, such as almond oil or even olive oil. There is always the potential that an essential oil could cause an adverse reaction, and it is always possible to become sensitized to essential oils. Please do your research before using essential oils.

If you're ready to start exploring the world of aromatherapy, browse the Essential Oil Encyclopedia or delve into Aromatherapy Recipes.

Recommended Resources ~

More Aromatherapy Basics:

Aromatherapy Extraction Information:

Aromatherapy Application Methods:

Health Benefits of Aromatherapy:

Aromatherapy Safety Information