Nature has blessed us with a treasure trove of sweet-smelling liquid essences, gems with many facets. Hold one to the light, and admire its antimicrobial features, turn it again and recognize its anti-inflammatory benefits, turn it again and see how it can positively affect mind, mood, and emotion. Each essential oil, like a prism, contains a rainbow of possibilities. (Valerie Ann Worwood, 2016)
What is aromatherapy? Simply put, it is the use of aromatic plant extracts. When we take the oil from the plants, they may be utilized for many benefits. In order to extract these oils, a person would need large amounts of the plant, which is why some oils are expensive. Because a plant may be difficult to acquire, something like Sandalwood for example, the oil can be pricey.
The human being has five senses, all of which are very important and serve many different purposes. The sense of smell, however, acts on a more subconscious level. The olfactory nerves are directly connected to a more primitive part of our brain known as the limbic system. The limbic system was originally referred to as the rhinencephalon or the smell brain. This part of the brain regulates the sensorimotor activity and deals with the primordial drives such as sex, hunger, and thirst. Stimulation of the olfactory bulb sends electrical signals to the area of the limbic system concerned with visceral and behavioral mechanisms. Oftentimes it is stated that the brain’s electrical responses to odors is about the same as the one correlated with emotions (Marcel Lavabre, 1990).
There are many oils that are beneficial for your overall mental health. Traditionally, oils such as; neroli, lavender, marjoram, rose, and ylang-ylang have been used for their calming effects in stress reduction. Jasmine has been noted as helpful for uplifting mood, as well as citrus type oils tend to have the same uplifting effect.
There are many ways in which you can use essential oils. For those starting out, be wary of your allergies to a plant or fruit. If you are naturally allergic to something in particular, you will be allergic to the oil. Fruits are part of the citrus essential oils and some examples would be; grapefruit, lime, lemon, etc.
If you are a new essential oil user, consider purchasing a diffuser. They are not expensive. Note that it is recommended that you utilize distilled water. A little bit goes a long way, as only one or two drops of the desired oil is needed. The smell will be strong. Too much oil in the diffuser can be irritating to the senses.
When purchasing oils ensure that they always say 100% therapeutic grade. It is tempting to purchase cheaper versions, but you will not get the therapeutic benefit you are seeking. You can purchase oils from Eden’s Garden. They are outsourced out of California, the prices are reasonable, and the oils are of good quality.
Most of these oils are very potent. If you intend to put them topically on the skin, you will need a carrier oil. Examples of these could be; coconut oil, jojoba oil, almond oil, or grapeseed oil. Without a carrier oil, you may irritate the skin. These oils should be used externally and not internally.
If you are in chronic pain, consider taking ten drops of peppermint oil. Rub it in your hands. You can mix it with a carrier oil to dilute the oil, which is recommended as this oil can be an irritant. Rub the peppermint oil on the area that is in pain. There is a high possibility the pain will decrease. DO NOT bathe in it the essential oil.
A common go to oil is lavender, as it helps with calming and relaxation. This oil should generally not be an irritant.. A little fun fact – the feet have the largest pores on the body. With this in mind, the oil will get into your system faster thus working faster if you start with your feet. Consider rubbing 2-3 drops on your feet and see how relaxed you will become.
Lavabre, M. F. (2020). Essential Oils & Aromatherapy workbook. Healing Arts Press.
Worwood, V. A. (2016). The Complete Book of Essential Oils and aromatherapy: Over 800 natural, nontoxic, and fragrant recipes to create health, beauty, and safe home and Work Environments. New World Library.