We’ve all been here. That place where we want to relax, but our minds decide to race onwards instead. One beautiful antidote for such situations is aromatherapy; the art of using essential oils to shift energy and support healing.
As humans, our sense of smell connects directly to the limbic system of the brain – which deals with both our memory and emotions. This means we can use essential oils to relax, as well as to focus. They can help our digestion, hair growth, immunity and improve our skin. This has been understood across history and cultures – and many spiritual traditions (including yoga) have used essential oils to enhance devotional and meditative practice.
We can add a few drops to our temples, room diffusers, cleaning sprays, or even yoga mats. We can seek out natural massage oils, or pure essential oil candles (such as these, made by me!). Fortunately essential oils are now everywhere, so we’ve listed a few key ones to look out for.
Many of the herbs used to ring in the festive season possess medicinal benefits, frankincense among them! Also known as olibanum – this essential oil is derived from the resin of the Boswellia tree which grows in the mountainous regions of India, Africa and the Middle East. It carries a spicy, earthy and calming scent.
Frankincense is known for its ability to rejuvenate skin, promote cellular health, and produce a healthy inflammatory response. In traditional Ayurveda, this essential oil is thought to improve arthritis, digestion, and asthma.
Tip: Dry hands or skin? Frankincense can help! Simply add a few drops of Frankincense oil to your moisturiser for increased hydration.
With its crisp and uplifting aroma, Lemon essential oils will brighten the day. You may have noticed that when you use lemon-scented products for cleaning, you feel more relaxed. While cleaning tends to have this effect… there’s also a high chance that the lemon scent is playing a part.
One study performed revealed that lemon essential oil was a powerful mood-improving agent during stress test experiments. The same study concluded that lemon essential oil was more effective at relieving stress than other essential oils like rose and lavender.
Tip: Add one or two drops of Lemon Essential Oil to water to create a refreshing and citrusy boost you can reach for throughout the day. A great tip to help reduce snack cravings.
With its distinct floral aroma and jillion uses – Lavender has been treasured for centuries. Derived from a herb native to northern Africa and the Mediterranean, the Ancient Romans and Egyptians used its oil as perfume for bathing. This essential oil can be used topically for skin, as well as to promote restful sleep. Its medicinal benefits include anxiety treatment, hair loss, and fungal infections. Note that Lavender essential oils are toxic when ingested!
Tip: Trouble with hair loss? One study showed that lavender essential oil promoted hair growth by up to 44% after seven months of treatment! Simply mix a few drops into a carrier oil such as jojoba or grapeseed, and massage into your scalp.
Rosemary has uses that go far beyond festive meals. This essential oil promotes healthy hair, digestion and relaxation. Its chemical makeup evokes renewing properties that can be both energising and settling – particularly when diffused in oil. It’s the perfect essential oil for focus.
Tip: Seeking relaxation? Adding essential oils to a warm bath can promote a calming environment. Combine Rosemary, Frankincense and Epsom salt into your bath for a rejuvenating experience.
Throughout history, this herb has been valued as a multi-purpose plant and essential oil. In fact, the peppermint plant’s first recorded appearance dates back to 1000 BC, where peppermint was found entombed in Egyptian pyramids!
When ingested, it’s understood that Peppermint helps alleviate digestive disfunction as well as promote healthy respiratory function. Peppermint oil can be used aromatically to evoke a feeling of energy. This powerful oil is beneficial on its own, but when you add the right combination, a synergy will lead to even more benefits. My personal favourite is peppermint with lavender!
Tip: Instead of reaching for artificially flavoured gum, look to Peppermint oil to freshen your breath. Mix a drop of in water, and you’ve made yourself a natural mouth rinse!
Nisha is a freelance writer and astrologer, based in the magical Byron Hinterlands. As well as running her little candle business, her life and loves involve writing, yoga, gardening and spirituality.