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Curiosity inspired this post, Scents that Promote Wellbeing. I recently read that inhaling jasmine’s sweet and intoxicating scent has health benefits equal to taking sedatives and relaxants.
Intrigued, I researched the science behind the power of scents, known as aromatherapy.
I present the results of my study, with the top scents that promote wellbeing and health.
The Science of Aromatherapy
Aromatherapy involves inhaling scents that stimulate the olfactory system, which includes the nose and the brain. Scent creates nerve impulses that travel to the limbic system in the brain. This region is most connected to survival, instincts and emotions.
Scent triggers emotional and physical responses, causing mood changes by altering brain chemistry.
We are familiar with these triggers. The scent of raw potatoes, for example, triggers memories of my mom buttoning up my coat as I headed outside to play. Her hands carried the homey scent of the potatoes she had peeled for dinner. Roses remind me of the perfume my grandmother wore. Both scents create feelings of love and the sense that all is well in my world.
The following scents possess powerful properties that help us feel better.
Among scents that promote wellbeing, this versatile herb ranks high for calming and soothing the mind and body. Lavender reduces stress, lowers blood pressure, relieves headaches and relaxes the body into sleep.
Derived from the inner bark of trees in the Cinnamomum family, this spice sharpens the mind and improves balance and motor skills. Cinnamon is especially helpful for drivers. The scent reduces fatigue and road rage while increasing alertness. Cinnamon stimulates the central nervous system, enhancing performance and motivation.
One of the most beneficial herbs, peppermint’s distinctive scent boosts concentration, instills confidence and clarifies thoughts and emotions. Peppermint relieves stress while easing fatigue and eliminating chocolate cravings!
The tangy scents of lemons, limes, oranges and grapefruit energize the mind and body and boost mood. Citrus regulates hormones, supports the immune system and eases depression and anxiety. Often included in household cleaners, that citrusy scent ramps up the joy we feel as we clean house. Clever, huh?
This warm and seductive scent, derived from the vanilla bean, elevates mood while reducing anxiety. Vanilla eases fatigue, induces calmness and soothes an upset stomach.
The scent from this beautiful flower has powerful properties. Jasmine eases depression, lowers anxiety and improves cognitive function. Like lavender, jasmine quiets the mind and relaxes the body into sleep. Recent studies of the benefits of this plant provide evidence of a scientific basis for aromatherapy.
I’m familiar with the many health benefits of the simple apple. However, inhaling the scent of this fruit reduces the symptoms of headaches and shortens the duration of migraines. Amazingly, the crisp, tart scent of an apple triggers hormones that signal the body that hunger is satisfied.
Known as an aromatic herb, inhaling sage’s characteristic scent reduces blood pressure, slows respiration and relaxes the body. Sage eases stress while improving memory and attention.
Scents that Promote Wellbeing
I’m fascinated by my findings and yet not surprised to discover the power of aromatherapy. Scents are strongly connected to emotions and memories. They possess the ability to shift brain chemistry and create positive changes in the body as a result.
Essential oils are one way to receive the benefits from aromatherapy. Apply one or two drops of lavender or citrus essential oils to a cotton ball and inhale the scent. Or add drops to a bowl of hot water or to a diffuser. Allow the diffuser to run for 15 to 60 minutes. Connect with my friend Marijo to learn more about Young Living Essential Oils.
Other ways to enjoy increased wellbeing through aromatherapy include:
- inhale the scent from fresh apples, lemons, sage, peppermint, lavender and jasmine for several minutes
- keep a potted lavender, sage or jasmine plant in the house
- add sticks of cinnamon and vanilla beans to a pot of water simmering on the stove
- create sachets filled with dried sage, peppermint, lavender or jasmine
- brew tea from fresh or dried sage, peppermint, lavender or jasmine and inhale the scent from the steaming cup
I keep a tiny lavender filled pillow on my bedside table. The words “this is bliss” are printed on it. Eyes closed, preparing to sleep, I love to hold it beneath my nose and breath in deeply. As I inhale, I breath in calm, peace and relaxation. I exhale any stress from the day, tension and busy thoughts.
This is bliss, indeed.
Click photo below to order lavender sachet kits.
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This post is linked on Senior Salon #20