Every aromatherapist needs a wide selection of carriers in which to mix their essential oils (read why in my Blending Dilutions Guidelines blog post).
No single carrier is going to be right for every aromatherapy application, so it’s logical that you’ll have a choice of different bases in your aromatherapy blending kit. I’ve used many different carriers over the years like luxurious vegetable and nut oils, rich creams, light lotions, and heavy body butters. One of my favorite essential oil carriers, especially in the summer, is the versatile organic Aloe Vera gel.
When purchasing your Aloe vera gel, it’s important that you get the real thing. Never buy the aloe vera gel sold in big box stores or local drug stores as it is probably full of synthetic chemicals and color dyes. To ensure you get the real plant extract, and hence the healing benefits, buy your Aloe vVra gel from a company that sells natural wellness or aromatherapy products.
In the box below you can see the list of [nasty] ingredients from a bottle of “Aloe Vera gel” I found in a popular local drugstore.
This is the Aloe Vera gel I now use in the Classroom and at Home
How is natural Aloe Vera gel made?
High-quality commercially-sold Aloe Vera gel is made by pulverizing the translucent inner “meat” of organically grown Aloe Vera plants. This plant material is then filtered to produce a clear aloe gel that may contain very tiny bits of pulp. The consistency is thin enough to render it pourable which I love because it can be added to a spray bottle for sunburns or making your own hand sanitizer. The odor should be fresh and clean and the shelf life is about 2 years if kept cool. I keep mine in the fridge. When it gets old and past its shelf life or left in a warm environment, it begins to oxidize and takes on an awful aroma somewhat like sour milk. I used to keep an old bottle for students to do a comparison smell of fresh from old.
Below are 5 ways you can use organic Aloe Vera gel as an essential oil carrier to bring topical relief PLUS some easy recipes:
1. Topical Burns – This is the carrier of choice when addressing a burn; any kind of burn. There are a lot of ways we can burn our skin: sunburn, windburn, touching hot metal such as a motorcycle muffler, stove or iron, when splashed with hot oil while frying. Even an electrical burn. The Aloe Vera plant alone helps heal the skin from a burn and when you add Lavender essential oil the blend is incredibly effective for cooling and healing the area. For adults, use 10-12 drops of Lavender for every ounce of the Aloe Vera gel for a 2% dilution. For children under 6, go with 5-6 drops for a 1% dilution. Read this post for more Essential Oil Blending Guidelines and Dilutions.
2. Topical Fungus – Aloe vera gel is my go-to carrier for topical fungal conditions. Fungus issues will worsen when covered, so avoid heavy carriers that occlude, like oils and butters. Aloe vera gel is perfect for topical fungal conditions because it is light and doesn’t offer a heavy, thick covering, but safe enough to protect the skin. For fungal conditions of the skin like ringworm, athlete’s foot or the very common Tinea Versicolor, try my favorite recipe below. It has always shown great results getting rid of fungus on both children and adults.
10 drops of Lemongrass essential oil (in the Aldehyde Chemical family which is great for addressing all fungal conditions)
5 drops of Palmarosa essential oil (in the Monoterpenol Chemical Family which is great for nourishing the skin).
The Palmarosa helps to protect the skin from the irritating effects of the Lemongrass, and it also has anti-fungal properties.
Spray the affected area of skin 2-3 times a day.
Pour the Aloe Vera gel into a 1 oz glass spray bottle
3. Itching – Aloe vera gel will offer relief from itchy conditions like poison ivy or mosquito bites and the cooling aspect feels delightful on hot itchy skin. If the itch is caused by something other than just being overheated, try adding 10 drops of Tea Tree and 5 drops of Peppermint to help calm the maddening itch. For Poison Ivy, Poison Oak or Hives, I suggest this awesome recipe for a DIY Homemade Calamine Lotion.
4. Eczema – Aloe vera gel will help minimize the inflammation and puffiness from eczema. In 1 oz (30 ml) of Aloe Vera gel, simply add 5 drops each of the following essential oils: German Chamomile or Blue Tansy, Lavender (L. angustifolia) and Helichrysum (H. italicum).
5. Hand Cleanser/Sanitizer Simply pour 1 oz (30 ml) of Aloe Vera Gel into a small spray bottle and add 20 drops of your favorite essential oils for an instant, all-natural hand sanitizer. My favorite essential oils to use for this purpose are Laurel Leaf, Ravintsara, Lemon, Orange, Clove (not more than 2 drops). Your hands will smell divine! After you spray it into your palms, it may feel sticky for a minute until it dries.