avocadoPersea americana, Persea gratissima

Family: Lauraceae

Parts Used: flesh of fruit

Base oil: use as an addition to a base, 10 percent dilution

Avocado is an evergreen tree native to the Americas. The tree grows to a height of about 30 - 60 feet, has dark-green oval leathery leaves and greenish-yellow flowers that develop into yellow, green, red, or purple, or black fruit. The pulp is soft and buttery with a large kernel inside. Avocado grows in many tropical regions.

Contains: vitamins A and D, protein, lecithin, fatty acids

Practical Uses: all skins, especially dry and dehydrated; eczema. The carrier/base oil is used to dilute essential oils in aromatherapy for massge oils and other formulations. For massage oils, it is best to mix 10 - 20 percent of avacado oil with another carrier before adding the essential oils.

Therapeutic Properties: abortifacient, hepatic, rejuvenator, restorative, tonic, vulnerary

Note: for massage oils it is best use 1 part Avocado to 3 parts of a lighter carrier oil before adding the essential oils.

In Mexico and Arizona, the oil from the flesh of the avocado pear has been used for hundreds of years. Avocados contain the skin-nourishing vitamins A and D, as well as linoleic acid, which strengthens cell walls, making the skin stronger. On its own, this oil is viscous and absorbs slowly into the skin, making it difficult for massage. However, if you combine Avocado oil with lighter oils, it provides a rich emollient treatment for dry skin. It has been shown to slow down the signs of skin-aging and even acts as a mild natural sunscreen.

*Special Tip: For split or damaged nails, soak the fingertips in 20 ml / 4 tsp pure Avocado oil for 10 minutes each night; wipe off any excess and then rub the nails really well to encourage absorption.

Special Blends

Add these essential oils to 15 ml / 3 tsp basic carrier oil, plus 5 ml / 1 tsp Avocado oil:

To moisturize very dry skin:

  • 2 drops Melissa, 4 drops Rose Geranium, 4 drops tangerine

To soothe sunburn:

  • 6 drops Lavender, 2 drops German Chamomile, 2 drops Yarrow

*Source: Harding Jennie, The Essential Oils Handbook. Duncan Baird Publishers, 2008

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Making a Skin Mousse

Take a clean glass jar that is big enough to hold up to 20ml/4 tsp of the finished mousse. Add 15ml/3 flat tsp Aloe Vera gel, then 5ml/1 tsp jojoba carrier oil and stir the mixture with a small spoon. The oil and gel will start to combine and thicken. At this point, add another 2.5ml/ ½ tsp Aloe Vera gel and keep stirring. The mixture will suddenly go smooth and slack, taking on an opaque, pale cream colour. You will have approximately 20ml/4 tsp mousse in total – enough for around ten applications to the face.

You can use the mousse unfragranced, or you can add essential oils to the mousse blend and stir again. The mousse will last between four and six weeks at a cool room temperature and will leave your skin feeling calmed, restored and soft.

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Skin Oils and Lotions

The essential oils are prepared in much the same manner as they would be for a massage, except that the base oil should include the more nourishing oils such as jojoba, avocado or apricot kernel oil. The focus here is on treating the skin itself and dealing with particular problems. A gentle circular movement of the fingertips is often enough for the oils to be absorbed; it is important not to drag the skin, especially in the delicate areas of the neck and around the eyes.

Rose and neroli are good for dry or mature complexions; geranium, bergamot and lemon can help combat acne and greasy skin.

A few drops of essential oil can also be mixed into a bland cream or lotion, or added to a basic face mask, which might include oatmeal, honey, or clay together with the pulp of various fruits.

In some conditions, such as cold sores (herpes) and athlete’s foot, it is better to use an alcohol-based lotion instead of an oil or cream. This can be made by adding 6 drops of essential oil to 5 ml of isopropyl alcohol or vodka. This mixture can be further diluted in a litre of boiled and cooled water for treating open cuts or sores, such as those caused by chickenpox or genital herpes.

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