I was at The Spice Market in Eminönü in Istanbul to go to an old famous restaurant called Pandelli. It is a very old restaurant that you may find the name of in the city guides for Istanbul. My father used to take us there, and I guess he used to go there in the 50s and 60s. I remember it in the 70s and 80s. It is not in its most elegant state now, but it is still a landmark of the area. Anyway, I was there with a friend eating some sea bass and the Istanbul style aubergine salad. We had its special flour cookies with our Turkish coffees. It was a lovely Thursday. After the lunch we walked around The Spice Market. I like coming to this part of the old city at times. It feels like another city. Maybe it is because of the mosques. Or maybe it is because it has been lived in and the energy of that period still lingers there. The smell of the different spices really makes your head turn. I must admit that of course it is more charming with an empty stomach. Anyway, as I was looking at all these spices and seeing some of the natural essential oils, I could not help but think of their use in old home remedies. Essential oils are remedies that are still being very commonly used at homes and by complementary therapists. I have written about aromatherapy once before in Land of Lights. However, having been captured in the world of spices and herbs, I would like to give some information on some of the essential oils that are widely known and used around the world.
Use of extracted oils of various flowers, plants, bushes and trees in healing is called aromatherapy. It is a method that I use often, for others as well as for myself. When I am agitated or upset, a put a few drops of lavender essential oil in a burner. It calms me down and always helps me feel better. For insomnia, you may mix about 200 ml. of water with 4 to 6 drops of lavender essential oil and spray it to your pillow or your pyjamas or nightgown. Lavender is one few of the essentials that are gentle enough to be used on your skin directly. Yet, I recommend you mix with water, or for a massage mix it with a massage cream or massage oil such as olive oil or sweet almond oil. Apart from its positive effects on the nervous system, lavender oil is used clear acne and athlete’s foot and accelerates the healing of burns and eczema.
Geranium essential oil is effective in balancing our hormone levels. For women, it may be helpful for premenstrual syndrome and even problems due to menopause. This oil also may relieve discomfort due to sore throat and tonsillitis. Also, it is a good insect repellent and can help relieve head aches.
I am hearing over and over again from other therapists that Jasmine essential oil is helpful to strengthen contractions in childbirth and help out with the pain. Of course pregnant women should not use this oil. It is always every important to consult with a doctor or at least a trained aromatherapist before using these essential oils on your own, especially if you are pregnant. If you have varicose veins, or high or low blood pressure, also please check with your medical health care professional before using any complementary treatments. What I sometimes recommend when you have such conditions is not to use these oils with a massage, but to use them with a burner. Jasmine oil is also since it has confidence increasing properties. It also helps regulate respiration and is beneficial for spasms and sprains. In ancient times and may be even today the Chinese used jasmine to clean the atmosphere around a sick person. Like lavender, it is known to be helpful for insomnia and headaches, although in a different fashion.
Bergamot essential oil is known to be used in Italy as a home remedy. The name comes from the town of Bergamo in Italy where the tree was originally cultivated. It is one of the most commonly used essential oils. Bergamot has a soothing and uplifting effect. It helps with feelings of grief and depression. Its effects are commonly described as cooling and refreshing. It is an insect repellent, and also helps regulate the spread of infections. It is advised to avoid exposure to sunlight after using bergamot oil since it increases the photosensitivity of our skin.
Lemon essential oil may be used for relieving colds and coughs. It stimulates the production of red and white blood cells. It helps remove dead skin and brighten the complexion. Yet, I need to point out that the use of essential oil directly on the skin causes irritation since essential oils are very concentrated. Always dilute them while using.
Neroli essential oil is good for circulation and is an antispasmodic for the intestines. Lime oil refreshes and uplifts a tired mind. Ylang-ylang oil seems to be beneficial in emotional conditions related to lack of confidence. It calms anger and is good for panic and fears. Frankincense oil helps relieve indigestion and helps ease the discomfort of cystitis. It also helps regulate heavy monthly periods in women. Rose essential oil balances and strengthens the digestive system. It helps relieve vomiting, constipation and nausea. It is known since ancient times to help with feelings of suffering, grief and anger. Rose oil opens up the heart chakra for sincere communication. It has also antidepressant qualities.
And maybe next time, we will look into spices and herbs. There are many natural remedies that have been used in villages for centuries and some of them are still being used. I find it sad that almost all of the recorded information on essential oils is from books and sources in English and other languages.
We learned about a few ways to help our body. Let us look at some messages for our soul. This week the words are from the “Manual of the Warrior of Light” by Paulo Coelho. I believe that we are all here to carry the torch of light as much as we can, and as far as we can. I am one of those who believe that we all have a mission in life, whether it is to help and protect, to spread knowledge or to learn how to love. Here is what Coelho has in his manual for us:
A warrior takes every opportunity to teach himself.
The warrior of light sometime fights with those he loves.
Every warrior of light has felt afraid of going into battle.
The warrior of light knows that it is impossible to live in a state of complete relaxation.
The warrior of light always manages to balance Rigour and Mercy.
A warrior of light who trusts too much his intelligence will end up underestimating the power of his opponent.
The Way involves respect for all small and subtle things. Learn to recognize the right moment to adopt the necessary attitudes.
A warrior of light is never predictable.
Before embarking on an important battle, a warrior of light asks himself: “How far have I developed my abilities?”
A warrior of light respects the main teachings of the I Ching: “To persevere is favourable.”
The moment that he begins to walk along it, the warrior of light recognises the Path.
With lots of love and light to you all.
Affirmation of the Week:
“I know that old, negative patterns no longer limit me. I let them go with ease.”
By Louise L. Hay
Quote of the Week:
“The events in our lives happen in a sequence in time, but in their significance to ourselves, they find their own order… the continuous thread of revelation.”
Book of the Week:
“Light Emerging” By Barbara Ann Brennan.
The Turkish translation of this book is available under the name “Işığın Doğuşu.”