Need a pick me up? Cure the common cold? Rest the anxious mind: Welcome to the world of herbal medicine and aromatherapy!
Herbs and medicines have for long been used all around the world to treat various ailments – be it aches or pains, beauty solutions, digestive tract diseases or as immunity builders.
In the current age, however, life in its swirling fast pace allows us to be almost averse to slow herbal remedies and before we know it we are heavy reliant on medication and over prescribed antibiotics – however, the side effects of these medications are numerous – serious medical conditions being the exception. Our body in its very primal state is a creation of nature, through evolution it has learnt to survive with nature: hunting, medical pastes and often our roots need to be grounded in nature to heal within deeply. One may say that the connection between a human’s soul and spirit is inextricably and infinitely linked to nature – and in healing both these can we really benefit from the vast world around us.
Historically, penned down in hieractic Egyptian scripture in 1500 BC is a mammoth record of ancient Egyptian herbal medicine practise. The ‘Ebers Papyrus scroll’ stretches up to 1 20 meters and has over 700 medicinal remedies for ailments ranging from skin problems, diabetes, birth control, beauty herbal potions, and even mental disorders such as depression, anxiety and dementia. More relatable, in ancient India exists the historic world of Ayurveda – invented as early as 4,000 BC. Ancient Sanskrit writings such as the Rig Veda, the Atharva Veda were sources for hundreds of medical and mineral healing and are very much used in modern day life, now.
The world of medical herbs and aromatherapy is linked to one another, as the latter derives from the former – although a pseudoscience, it uses aromatic flowers, fruits, herbs to produce essential oils for both improving psychological and physical wellbeing. Like many, I did not know fully about the benefits of natural medicine and aromatherapy, however suffering from an anxious mind and insomnia, I made some lavender and chamomile oil blends – with phenomenal results!
To this day, whether its flying anxiety or general anxiety, racing thoughts, I take religiously to my roller oils and keep small versions handy to be able to use them when needed.
Basic oil blending knowledge:
Some of the many essential oils are lavender, ylang ylang, motia (jasmine), peppermint, frankincense, chamomile, bergamot, patchouli, eucalyptus and fennel. Carrier oils/ base oils are to mix and dilute which can be vegetable, olive, nut or seed oil as they all have therapeutic properties of their own and do not overpower the aroma of the essential oil since they are mostly odourless.
Finding oils and plant based medicines in Pakistan:
A lot of you must be wondering where one can find essential oils in Pakistan, whether they’d be pure and have the same properties and the answer is YES & here is a list of a few places:
Botal Gali and Empress Marker, Saddar: If you’re feeling ambitious and adventurous, you can search the oil and perfume shops there
Saeed Ghani: If you’d like to keep to commercial reputable chains. SG stock desi smelling essential oils (motia is a WIN!). Fav products: sandalwood soap, jasmine hair oil, rose water spray, neem cream and pure black eyeliner pencil even!
Necos: Go Natural is a brand available at most supermarkets, their orange oil is dreamy and floats you to the south of spain in minutes, Conatural, a Lahore based brand is also available at big supermarkets (must try: intense hair growth oil and better than ubtan box along with the carrier oil).
Farmer’s markets: Both in Lahore and Karachi every weekend – some products here to die for and are not available in supermarkets!
If you are a sucker for old school traditional medical and skincare remedies, I swear by Hamdard, Marhaba – for Espagnol (husk – a great fibre supplement) and carrier oils by Marhaba.
Some DIY remedies with oils and herbs (tried and tested):
Calming Pillow Mist for Comfort Sleep and Anxiety:
• Empty spray bottle – 2 oz
• 4 drops ylang ylang essential oil
• 12 drops lavender essential oil
• 8 drops bergamot oil
• Distilled water / rose water
• Some pure alcohol (works to disinfect the pillow too)
Keep in fridge for maximum coolness and effectiveness in the hot humid climate!
Genda ka Phool & Motia (Calendula/Marigold/Jasmine) tea blend for fever, sleep, regulating menstrual cycle, gastric problems:
• 1 cup water
• 1 tbsp dried genda ka phool and 2 tbsp motia (dry in larger quantities to keep in zip lock bags)
Dry petals outdoors and in dark places (10-20 days) – look for a less humid environment. Please use organic flower petals. Bring water to the boil as normal and then add the petals in a tea ball strainer for a few minutes until infused. Remember you can also put this tea in the fridge to cool down in the hot summer months.
A blend for smell good feel good summer night (aromatherapy):
• 8 drops orange oil
• 2 drops olive oil
• 7 drops motia oil
• 1 drop rose oil
Buy empty roll on bottles on Daraz and store in dark place.
Glowy skin face oil:
• 4 drops carrier oil (sweet almond, jojoba, argan, olive oil)
• 3 drops rosehip/evening primrose
• 2 drops apricot oil
Mix and store in a glass dropper bottle in a dark place.
The world of natural herbal medicine and aromatherapy, although pseudoscience, have great benefits for the skin, health and overall wellness. Give it a try and research more into local products! It will be life changing – that I promise. There are also short courses on websites like coursera to get some basic information! Happy oiling!