Aromatherapy, Essential Oils and Hydrosols to Help Cool You Down When You're Hot
Two of my two favorite essential oils to use on unbearably hot days (or anytime that I'm feeling uncomfortably warm) are Peppermint Oil and Spearmint Oil. These oils, however, are really potent, so it's important to use them sparingly, dilute them adequately for any topical applications, follow all safaty guidelines and avoid if contraindicated.
For cooling down, I prefer to use Hydrosols instead of essential oils as they make it easy to create wonderfully aromatic and refreshing body and room mists that can be used to help keep cool when you're hot. Hydrosols can be safer and easier to use than essential oils. By storing your hydrosol sprays in the fridge, they can help cool you even further.
Cooling and Refreshing Hydrosols
A hydrosol is the aromatic water that remains after producing an essential oil via steam or water distillation. Some plants are specifically distilled for the resulting hydrosol instead of the hydrosol being simply a byproduct of the distillation.
Hydrosols are gently aromatic, soothing and are a wonderful addition to room mists and body sprays intended to help keep you cool and refreshed. Store them in your refrigerator to help maximize their shelf life and to make them even more refreshing to use on hot days. Unlike essential oils that should be adequately diluted prior to application to the skin, hydrosols are water soluble, are much more gentle than their essential oil counterparts and can be used directly on the skin without further dilution.
My personal hydrosol favorites for use in cooling and summertime products are Neroli Hydrosol, Lavender Hydrosol and Peppermint Hydrosol. So many other hydrosols are also wonderful to use as a basis for a personal spray or room mist. Bulgarian Rose, Roman Chamomile, Frankincense and Helichrysum are a few others that come to mind. Quality hydrosols can be hard to find. Look to the Hydrosol category of AromaWeb's Global Aromatherapy Directory for a list of suppliers.
Cooling Essential Oils
Essential oils belonging to the mint family, especially those with higher percentages of menthol like Peppermint Oil, will help make the body feel cooler.
I'll spare the chemistry lesson, but menthol apparently has the ability to trick receptors in the brain into thinking that the body is cooler than it really is, most particularly the part of the body that is in contact with the menthol. The eucalpytol in Eucalyptus Oil acts similarly.
Peppermint Essential Oil contains a significant amount of menthol. Besides its cooling sensation, menthol is known to help relax and ease tension headaches and muscular aches and pains. Peppermint Oil is quite stimulating and may interfere with sleeping.
Although Peppermint Oil contains significantly more menthol, I personally prefer the aroma of Spearmint Oil. I often substitute Spearmint Essential Oil for some of the Peppermint Essential Oil in a blend.
Eucalyptus acts as a nice alternative or complement to Peppermint and Spearmint oils in cooling blends. In addition to its ability to provide a cooling sensation, Eucalyptus globulus and Eucalyptus radiata Essential Oils contain a significant quantity of the oxide 1,8-Cineole. 1,8-Cineole is said to act as both an anti-inflammatory as well as an expectorant.
How to Use Essential Oils and Hydrosols to Help Cool the Body
- Always dilute essential oils adequately before applying them to the skin (Read the Guide to Diluting Essential Oils to learn how to properly and easily dilute essential oils.)
- Learn about each essential oil that you intend to use and follow all safety precautions.
Cooling Aromatherapy Room Mists
Use AromaWeb's Air Freshener Recipe and one or more of the above essential oils as a basis for creating a cooling room mist.
Cooling Aromatherapy Body Spray
Mist cooling hydrosols onto your body throughout the day to keep cool.
Cooling Body Powder
Explore AromaWeb's Body Powder Recipe as an additional way to stay cool.
Cooling Diffuser Blends
Peppermint, Spearmint or Eucalyptus oils possess a refreshing aroma that can make you feel cool and revived. Select one or more of the above listed essential oils and add several drops to your diffuser by following the manufacturers instructions. Be sure to use Peppermint Essential Oil sparingly as its aroma is incredibly strong. Spearmint Essential Oil is also rather strong, but it's typically not as tenacious as Peppermint Essential Oil. Try blending a tiny amount of Peppermint Oil with a Citrus Oil (i.e. orange) or a floral oil (i.e. Lavender Oil) for a refreshing blend. For more information on the different ways that essential oils can be diffused, read All About Aromatherapy Diffusers.
Seek Medical Advice
Important Note: It goes beyond the scope of this article to describe all the conditions that can make you feel unbearably warm. The tips mentioned here will not remedy or "cure" any underlying medical issues. If you feel unbearably hot when the weather (or indoor situation) should be comfortable, discuss your situation with your doctor and ask for his/her guidance.