The Fragrant Pharmacy

I have a book called The Fragrant Pharmacy by Valerie Anne Worwood (who someone once suggested should be called Valerian Wormwood, for obvious botanical reasons…). It’s a guide to aromatherapy and essential oils.

I stumbled upon The Fragrant Pharmacy in a second hand bookshop. I was reluctant to buy ANOTHER medicinal plant book to add to my existing unused collection but I couldn’t resist. And it was only eight dollars! As it turns out, it was some of the best eight dollars I’ve spent. The Fragrant Pharmacy doesn’t live in the bookshelf with all the other plant books. No way. It’s on the kitchen table, coffee table, sideboard, or spread open next to the draw containing my essential oils.

Yep, since buying the book I have built myself a small collection of oils. A fragrant pharmacy, even…

The reason I love the book is that the remedies are super easy, and once you have a few basic oils you can make a whole bunch of things. I now have a collection of small vials with all sorts of different mixes – from mosquito repellant, to chest rubs for colds, hair oil, and stress relief formulas. I have no idea whether they could be scientifically proven to have fixed any of my (rather trivial) ailments but I really don’t care. They smell great, they make me feel good, and there is a real sense of empowerment in making my own fix-alls!

Valerie Ann Worwood suggests a basic care kit of the following essential oils:

  • Lavender
    A natural antibiotic, antiseptic, anti-depressant, sedative and more.
  • Tea Tree
    Anti-viral, antiseptic, anti-bacterial, and anti fungal.
  • Peppermint
    Digestive, good for respiratory system and circulation. It even helps keep mice, fleas, and ants away, according to Worwood!
  • Chamomile
    A disinfectant, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antiseptic. It also has analgesic, diuretic, sedative and calming qualities.
  • Eucalyptus
    Cooling, anti-inflamatory, antiseptic, antibiotic, durietic, analgesic and deodorant.
  • Geranium
    Works on emotions as well as the skin. It also smells wonderful!
  • Rosemary
    A physical and mental stimulant. Great for treating muscular conditions.
  • Thyme
    Must be used in moderation. It has strong antibiotic, antiviral, antiseptic and diuretic properties.
  • Lemon
    Antiseptic and antibacterial – great for insect bites and tension headaches.
  • Clove
    Antibacterial, antiseptic, and analgesic. It’s a good oil for the prevention of disease and infection.

Various combinations of the above oils can be used to treat a range of ailments. Here are a few common fixes:

Cuts & Wounds: Add 5 drops of lavender and 2 drops of tea tree oil to 500ml of warm water. Bathe the wound with this mix and then put 3 drops of lavender on a piece of gauze (I assume you could put it straight on a band-aid) and place over cut. Renew twice daily and remove after the third day if possible.

Chapped Skin: Dilute the following oils in 30ml of almond oil and massage over affected area.

  • 10 drops geranium oil
  • 10 drops chamomile oil
  • 5 drops lemon oil
  • 5 drops lavender oil

Common Cold: Run a bath and add the following oils. Inhale deeply. Mmmmm

  • 2 drops thyme oil
  • 2 drops tea tree oil
  • 1 drop eucalyptus oil
  • 3 drops lemon oil

Hay Fever: put one drop of chamomile and lemon essential oils on a handkerchief or tissue and inhale. Or, massage the chest and back with the following oils diluted in 1 teaspoon vegetable oil.

  • 2 drops chamomile oil
  • 1 drop geranium oil
  • 1 drop lemon oil

These recipes are just the tip of the iceberg! The book covers EVERYTHING you could ever think of doing with essential oils including body oils, shampoos, kitchen cleaners, clothes washing, and pet care. It’s rather brilliant.

NOTE:  The recipes above are from The Fragrant Pharmacy book. I am no expert on essential oils and would suggest you undertake your own research before delving too deeply into experimenting with oils. Visit the International Aromatherapy and Aromatic Medicine Association for more info and a guide to accredited professionals in your area.