Scents With Healing Power
Essential oils have been an integral part of the daily lives of people for over ten thousand years. They have been used to heal the body, mind and spirit since before the time of record keeping as we know it. I am always excited and eager to try anything natural that is healing and nurturing to my temple.
In the Bible’s Book of Genesis, Adam and Eve are located in a magnificent garden filled with the scents of healing flowers, trees and other plants. God, created everything we need to heal on an emotional, physical, mental and spiritual level, including wonderful aromatic plants and essential oils! Familiar scents of biblical times were:
Ready, Set, Sniff!
A diffuser is the most effective way to unleash essential oils into the air, but if you don’t have one (they run from $25 to $200), you can drip oil into a bowl of steaming hot water. In either case, use one or two drops of one oil at a time. Stand a few feet away and take 10 deep breaths, then breathe normally. If you stick within the safe time limit and open a window when you’re done, you can practice aromatherapy every day. (At work or, say, in your car? Place one drop of one oil on a cotton ball, put it under your nose, and inhale normally for one to two minutes.)
Essential Oil: Sage
Best for: Blood-Pressure Reduction
In a July 2013 study, women who smelled clary sage experienced reduced blood pressure and breathing rates; they were also able to relax during a stressful medical exam.
Bonus perks: Helps amp up memory and attention
Essential Oil: Peppermint
Best for: Stress Relief
Research shows that breathing in eau de peppermint can decrease the body’s levels of cortisol, a stress hormone.
Bonus perks: Reduces both fatigue and (score!) chocolate cravings
Essential Oil: Orange
Best for: Decreasing Anxiety
A study found that people who sniffed it before a stressful test were able to stay calm under pressure, sans anxiety spikes, possibly because the scent can help slash stress hormones.
Bonus perk: Elevates mood
Essential Oil: Rosemary
Best for: Enhancing Brainpower
Breathing it in can improve speed and accuracy during demanding mental tasks, per a 2012 study. Other research found its scent left people feeling refreshed and mentally stimulated.
Bonus perks: Boosts energy; lowers fatigue
Essential Oil: Cinnamon
Best for: Improving Focus
It may stoke the area of the brain that governs alertness. For example, research found that drivers were more focused and less flustered after breathing in cinnamon-oil scents.
Bonus perks: Increases concentration; reduces frustration
Essential Oil: Lavender
Best for: Relaxation; Relieving PMS
The scent can trigger the body’s “rest and digest” response, promoting relaxation. A 2013 study found that it also eases pre-period symptoms such as mental confusion and depression.
Bonus perks: Decreases anxiety, insomnia, and migraine pain