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Lotus essential oil can be used in aromatherapy, or to add scent to personal care products, such as body lotions, massage oils or bath soaps. Both the actual lotus flower and the essential oil have historically been connected with the concepts of spirituality and relaxation. Prized for its intense scent, this aromatherapy oil is believed to create a sense of serenity. The fragrance is often described as floral and earthy. This oil can be used as a single note scent, or as part of a blend, in a variety of aromatherapy products.
Frequently associated with ancient Buddhist, Indian, and Egyptian mythologies, the lotus blossom has deep roots in Eastern history. The life cycle of this aquatic perennial has been connected symbolically to the concept of spiritual enlightenment in Buddhism. An Indian creation myth includes the unfolding of a lotus to represent the origin of the universe as it is dreamed into existence. Egyptian mythology has a similar creation myth, although the flower in this tale is the blue lotus. Aromatherapy practitioners sometimes attempt to connect similar ideas of spiritual enlightenment to lotus essential oil effects.
The scent of lotus essential oil is thought to encourage the body to breathe more deeply. Ancient Romans are believed to have used it in compresses and plasters to help with respiratory problems, like asthma. Lotus oil is sometimes used in conjunction with meditation. The combination of deep breaths and the perceived effects of relaxation from the scent are thought to increase feelings of tranquility.
Essential oils from the lotus, or Nelumbo nucifera, flowers are usually obtained through a process of solvent extraction. The resulting oil is so highly concentrated and potent that very small amounts can be used for aromatherapy purposes. Due to the high cost of the extraction process, it is one of the most expensive aromatherapy supplies on the market. This essential oil can be purchased wholesale, usually from companies that specialize in aromatherapy or Ayurvedic supplies.
This essential oil can be found in a variety of commercially-available personal care and beauty products. It can also be easily added to homemade bath or masssage oils, lotions, and candles — or used in an aromatherapy diffuser. It tends to work best when used in small amounts. Undiluted lotus essential oil should not be applied directly to the skin or ingested, as the solvents used to make it leave trace chemicals in the final product.