For those suffering from insect bites, stings or sunburn, some of the natural plant oils used in aromatherapy may offer relief. To the uninitiated, aromatherapy is a lot more than candles and potpourri, reports Correspondent Mary Ann Childers of CBS station WBBM-TV in Chicago.
Experts say the essential or pure oils of some plants can relieve sunburn and calm insect irritations when applied directly on the skin in carefully measured amounts.
"We need something that is going to take the pain away, something that is going to take the inflammation away, something that's going to protect and hydrate the skin," says Carolyn Sajdecki who owns a shop called Auroma in Chicago.
She says essential oils, like lavender, peppermint and chamomile have been used to soothe and disinfect the skin for thousands of years.
"When you've had a nasty bite you want to get the pain down, you want to get the inflammation down, get the redness away, cool it and stop that itching," she says.
One of Sajdecki's best remedy ingredients is peppermint.
"Peppermint is wonderfully cooling in small amounts," she says.
About four drops of peppermint blended with lemon grass, tree oils, and water is Sajdecki's remedy for insect bites. She uses a piece of gauze to apply it to the sore area.
For treating sunburns, she uses pamarosa, true lavender, and German chamomile combined with two other oils. She puts them in a spray bottle for easy application.
"I could feel the heat go away almost immediately," says sunburn sufferer Heather Jerome.
As with any topical treatment, it's a good idea to consult a doctor before using oils on irritated skin. If you choose to try an unfamiliar aromatherapy treatment, test it first on a small area of non-irritated skin to make sure you are not allergic.