Essential Oils: The Autumn Years
Having recently stepped into my seventh decade, I can affirm that the journey through life is bittersweet. I am constantly a moment, a whispered distance, from the veil of my future and the shadows of my past, its shades flickering in my memory. In reality, all I have, or am, is just as it is as I stand in this moment, here and now. In the moment age seems irrelevant. Yet when I glance in the mirror at the reflected face of the woman smiling back at me, lines tellingly etched around her eyes, I am acutely aware of time, or rather the rhythm, the momentum of life; each line as if the hands of a ticking clock, heralding my passage. Age is an inevitable process; our bodies are finite, life is transient.
Marguerite Maury (1895-1968), the Austrian-born biochemist and aromatherapist, eloquently delves into the subject of aging in her book “The Secret of Life and Youth” (1964), in which she explores the psycho-emotional-spiritual process of ageing and the natural relational qualities of essential oils and plants.
She speaks of the rhythm of life: “to live, to be alive, means to be in motion, to evolve, to transform oneself and transmute things according to the alchemy of the spirit and the body… a man must perceive his own rhythm and respect it” (p 19).
She believed it vital to allow this rhythm expression, free movement and continuity according to the individuals natural unimpeded pace, each person owning their own rhythm; to view age as a friend and not an enemy, ‘another country visited’ along the journey of life, a new, exciting, untapped landscape still holding the possibility of adventure.
Maury was especially fascinated by the rejuvenating qualities of essential oils, observing the similarity in composition of human and plant cells and their life cycles and restorative ability. She observed the dynamic role essential oils can play as regulators that are capable of maintaining, healing, restoring, balancing, linking ethereal, spiritual and physical dimensions – sustaining the organisms dynamic vibrancy and vitality. Her aim: to restore and sustain body, mind and emotion in their natural state of balance.
Essential oils work ‘with’ the body, alleviating and improving minor ailments and skin conditions. They uplift mood and emotion, are grounding and calming, can quell ruminating thoughts and aid memory. Wonderful ‘journeying’ companions.
Chamomile Roman, frankincense, geranium and lavender provide a valuable starting kit. They can be used singularly or may be blended together, depending on the desired outcome. Chamomile Roman (Anthemis nobilis) is useful for arthritis, muscle pain, dry skin, and is calming; frankincense (Boswellia carterii) respiratory conditions, ageing skin, and eases feelings of anxiety; geranium (Pelargonium graveolens) supports the immune system to fight infections, and is emotionally balancing; lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) eases headaches, improves sleep, aids skin healing, and is sedative – among many other qualities.
Remember, do not take essential oils internally or apply them neat to your skin. Dilute in vegetable oil or non-perfumed cream, lotion or ointment (1-2 drops in 5ml).
Maury, M. (1964: 1989: 1995) The Secret of Life and Youth: Marguerite Maury’s Guide to Aromatherapy: Forward by Daniele Ryman: The C. W. Daniel Company Limited: Safron Walden.
by Heather Godfrey Fellow Member IFA