The watery, itchy eyes, stuffy nose, scratchy throat, and sneezing that come with seasonal pollen allergies, or hay fever, affect an estimated 40 to 50 million Americans. While antihistamines, decongestants, and steroids are the conventional treatments for symptoms, they can also have side effects, including drowsiness, heart palpitations, and arrhythmias. Natural remedies exist that may go a long way in reducing symptoms and making the spring allergy season more bearable.
For both parent and practitioner, there’s often no greater frustration than being unable to soothe a child’s pain, especially an infant. A 1-year-old child’s cries tell us so much, and yet so little. Body language is often the biggest clue as to what ails him. And while Tiffany Field, a researcher at Miami’s Touch Research Institute, and others have scientifically proven that massage can provide great comfort to a young child, touch can be an even stronger therapeutic tool when combined with aromatherapy.
In the past few years there has been a seeming explosion of interest in aromatherapy. From scented candles, incense, air fresheners, and potpourri to organic essential oils and massage and skin care products, the consumer is presented with a vast array of aromas to tease the sense of smell. Some of these products are marketed as ways to improve your home and work environment. Others are assigned special significance for healing or as ways to enhance the quality of your physical or emotional health.
For soreness, aches and pains associated with exercise, some people use muscle rubs (often medicinal-smelling), aspirin or other over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers, while others just tough it out. These remedies can be quite costly, as well as having unpleasant side effects. Fortunately, these are not the only options. Herbs and their volatile aromatic oils — essential oils — can be useful in relieving the aches and pains of inflammation. These remedies are simple to make, effective, without side effects when properly used, and in the long run are much less costly than OTC remedies.
Whenever I consider aromatherapy treatments for women who have been traumatized by painful sexual, psychological or physical traumas, I think of the supreme woman’s oil, Spikenard, and its angelic sister oil, Rose. These two oils are consummate healing agents with remarkable purifying powers. Together, they are spiritually uplifting and capable of encouraging pure love and true forgiveness. Where Spikenard is grounding and calming, Rose is angelic in its ability to help one rise above personal pain. These oils are powerful vehicles for healing women’s emotional wounds.
When I go into my garden with a spade, and dig a bed, I feel such an exhilaration and health, that I discover I have been defrauding myself all this time in letting others do for me what I should have done with my own hands. — Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1849
It’s difficult to find a gardener who doesn’t agree with Emerson. The reward, avid gardeners say, of cultivating the earth is nothing short of sublime. So what exactly is going on in the backyard plot that has captivated more than 85 million Americans? Well, in a word, healing.