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"Libraries: The medicine chest of the soul."
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The later years of life can present a number of health problems; use aromatherapy as an aid to both physical and mental problems in the senior years.

Essential Oils for Seniors

“Baby boomers”, who are now reaching the later years of life, are today more active than their elderly parents of the past;  in addition, people are living longer.  However, there are still certain health problems that trouble a lot of seniors.  Essential oils in aromatherapy can often help or control the difficulties encountered late in life.

Aromatherapy for Arthritis and Rheumatism

Arthritis and rheumatism are both common complaints of seniors; pain and stiffness in aching bones can cause a great deal of discomfort, affecting the quality of life for a senior.  Essential oils can help relieve some of the pain associated with arthritis and rheumatism; suitable essential oils include:

–rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) – analgesic and anti-inflammatory
– roman chamomile ((Chamaemelum nobile) – anti-inflammatory
– lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) – analgesic and anti-inflammatory
– sweet marjoram (Origanum marjorana) – analgesic.

Aromatherapy for Constipation, Diarrhea and Incontinence

Constipation, diarrhea and incontinence are distressing and upsetting; the cause of each problem may differ from person to person and may be the result of stress, anxiety or medication.  However, whatever the cause, essential oils may be able to provide relief and restore dignity to a senior's life; suitable essential oils include:

–ginger (Zingiber officinale) – analgesic, stimulant and general tonic for constipation
– mandarin (Citrus reticulata) – calming and digestive for constipation
– peppermint (Mentha piperita) – anti-inflammatory and digestive for diarrhea
– lemon (Citrus limon) – astringent and useful for stomach ulcers and diarrhea
– cypress (Cupressus sempervirens) – astringent for incontinence.

Aromatherapy for Poor Circulation

Poor circulation and circulatory problems, including thrombosis and varicose veins, can be the result of a number of problems in the elderly.  Exercise may help to relieve some problems of poor circulation but essential oils can be used for less mobile seniors; suitable essential oils include:

–clary sage (Salvia sclarea) – for varicose veins and circulatory problems
– lemon (Citrus limon) – for thrombosis and poor circulation.

Aromatherapy for Influenza and Bronchitis

Influenza, bronchitis and other respiratory diseases are not only common amongst the elderly but can affect seniors to a greater degree than someone that is younger; suitable essential oils that may help these conditions include:

–eucalyptus (Eucalyptus smithii) – anti-infectious and anti-viral for influenza
– lemon (Citrus limon) – anti-infectious and anti-viral for influenza
– pine (Pinus sylvestris) – anti-inflammatory, decongestant, breaks down mucus for respiratory infections and diseases
– peppermint (Mentha piperita) – anti-inflammatory and breaks down the mucus of respiratory disease.

Aromatherapy for Alzheimer's Disease

Alzheimer's disease is distressing and confusing for seniors; mental capabilities are diminished and quality of life is compromised.  Although essential oils in aromatherapy use can not cure mental diseases such as dementia and Alzheimer's disease, there are some essential oils that can help seniors to cope with the disease; suitable essential oils include:

–rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) – a neurotonic for concentration and loss of memory
– peppermint (Mentha piperita) – mental stimulant for concentration
– basil (Ocimum basilicum) – a neurotonic for mental strain.

Using Essential Oils for the Elderly

Essential oils with similar properties can be substituted for the above conditions; in addition, essential oils can be used to help with other problems associated with the elderly.  If a senior is taking medication prescribed by a doctor, or has other contra-indicating conditions for using essential oils, such as high blood pressure, consult both the doctor and a qualified aromatherapist before using any essential oils.

In addition, reduce the quantity of essential oils used for those in the later years of life.  For further advice, contact a suitably qualified and experienced aromatherapist.  However, if used correctly and safely, essential oils in aromatherapy use are a helpful tool for helping seniors cope with the health problems associated with the later years of life.


– Price, Shirley 2003 Aromatherapy for Women UK: Southwater
– Price, Shirley, Price, Len 2002 (2nd Edition)  Aromatherapy for Health Professionals UK: Churchill Livingstone

This article was written by Sharon Falsetto and appeared in its original format on Suite101 as Essential Oils for Seniors

It is expressively prohibited to copy or use this article in any way unless written permission is given by the author Sharon Falsetto.  If it is discovered that copyright laws have not been complied with, legal action will be pursued by the author Sharon Falsetto.

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