Itching is something of a mystery - we all know that we may itch in response to some external irritation, such as an insect bite, a nettle sting or any substance to which we might, as individuals, be allergic. What nobody has yet understood is how this happens. There are no nerve-endings which can be identified as 'itch' receptors, though it seems likely that very mild stimulus of the nerves which are pain-receptors gives rise to the sensation of itching, and this is why scratching gives some relief, as the mild pain of the scratch is a more powerful stimulus than the original itch. What is still a complete mystery is how we can itch simply through thinking about itching. For example, when somebody talks about head-lice and you can immediately have an urgent need to scratch your head. The fact that many people with allergies and other itchy skin disorders suffer more when under stress may be linked to the same response.

Camomile, more than any other essential oil, has the ability to relieve itching, though Bergamot, Lavender and very dilute Melissa are all very good choices. Camomile and Lavender combined are more effective than either of them alone, and Blue Camomile is the best of the various Camomiles to use. Depending on the location and the extent of the itching, you can use these oils in the bath - especially if a large area of the body is affected as in some allergic conditions -in a cream or lotion, or even, for a very small itchy area, one or two drops of the neat oil rubbed directly onto the skin.

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