Aromatherapy is a type of alternative medicine that uses essential oils aimed at improving a person’s health and mood. It works because our sense of smell can trigger powerful emotional responses, and you’ll be surprised to learn about the wide range of uses for these essential oils:
- Reduces Anxiety
Frankincense, rose, lavender, ylang ylang, and bergamot can help reduce anxiety with their calming aromas. A study done by the Iran University of Medical Sciences was conducted to compare the aromatherapy effects of rose oil inhalation and footbath for pregnant women who were close to delivering their first baby. Results found that during delivery, women who were exposed to rose oil aromatherapy reported lower stress levels compared to the control group who did not receive aromatherapy.
- Ease Depression
Using clary sage can uplift and calm your mood and frankincense is great for treating anxiety and depression because it provides tranquil energy and spiritual grounding. Chamomile can decrease over-thinking, irritability, and worry. Ylang ylang oil helps with increasing cheerfulness, optimism, and soothes fearfulness. Jasmine is commonly used as an anti-depressant and produces a feeling of confidence and optimism.
- Reduce Nausea
According to a study done by the University of Rochester Medical Center, ginger can help reduce nausea commonly experienced from chemotherapy. Peppermint oil is also an effective antiemetic for nausea from chemotherapy. To reduce the feeling of nausea, you can simply put a few drops of peppermint or lavender oil on a tissue and inhale the aroma or add to an oil diffuser to fragrance your home.
- May Boost Cognitive Performance
A study conducted by the Department of Neurology by the Oregon Health & Science University found that aromatherapy using lavender oil significantly benefited cognitive performance, physiological responses, and subjective stress. Lemon oil promotes concentration and has calming properties that will decrease anger and anxiety.
- Can Induce Sleep
Lavender, chamomile, marjoram, frankincense, clary sage,valerian root and bergamot all help induce sleep. Valerian root has been utilized for hundreds of years because the valerenic acid has sedative and calming effects. Frankincense has been known to alleviate anxiety and depression due to a compound present in frankincense, which is called incensole acetate.
- Strengthens the Immune System
A study done by the Medical University of Lodz found that clary sage was effective against staphylococcus aureus because of its active natural antimicrobial properties. Tea tree oil is also commonly used as a topical antiseptic and is an effective treatment against any skin problems like rash or irritation caused by insect bites. One study done by the Medical University of Silesia in Katowice, Jordana found that tea tree oil is effective against fluconazole resistant candida, which causes yeast infections. Similarly, eucalyptus oil has been shown to have antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal properties.
- Reduce Pain, Speeds Healing and Recovery
Nutmeg oil can alleviate chronic inflammatory pain from diseases such as cancer and diabetes. Nutmeg oil was found to have anti inflammatory qualities and reduced joint swelling and externally can be used to reduce rheumatic pain. Clove oil can also be used in emergency treatment of toothache. Tea tree and coconut oil can be used to speed up the healing process for any skin ailments like rash or minor cuts and scrapes.
- Improve Digestion
Smelling the aromas that come from herbs we put in our food kick starts our digestive system by stimulating the release of digestive fluids in the mouth, stomach, and small intestine. Basil can help overcome nausea and sandalwood and chamomile can soothe stomach ulcers and acidity. Alternatively if you are experiencing difficulty in digestion, adding more black pepper and juniper berry will increase stomach acid production.
- Increase Circulation
Lavender can be mixed with a carrier oil such as almond or coconut oil and used to massage the arms and legs to increase circulation. A study conducted by the Department of Nursing for the Qom University of Medical Sciences found that massage with lavender oil was effective to improve restless leg syndrome (RLS) in hemodialysis patients and suggests that it be used along with routine treatment of RLS in hemodialysis patients. Ginger, thyme, black pepper, rosemary and sage help to improve circulation when consumed.
- Can Relieve Headaches
Rosemary, eucalyptus, peppermint, spearmint, and lavender oils are all good headache remedies which have been used for thousands of years. Instead of painkillers, using essential oils is a gentle and natural treatment without side effects. Lavender and rosemary oil relieve pain and ease tension and stress, which are some of the leading causes for headaches. When applied topically peppermint oil has a long-lasting cooling effect and has the ability to inhibit muscle contractions and stimulate blood flow if applied topically to the forehead.