by Karen Page | December 15, 2015 10:58 pm
Ever walk under a eucalyptus tree and find yourself wanting to linger because the smell is so invigorating? Ever peel an orange and have the fragrance from the rind cause you to take deep breath and smile? What’s happening is your body is responding to the gift of essential oils from nature and taking you on a sensory journey to lift your spirits, ease tension and enhance your emotional well-being.
Essential oils have been used for thousands of years for both their uplifting properties and for health-promoting reasons. They can make people feel better with no side effects and no chemical toxins.
Winter lifestyles may not always create optimal conditions for physical wellness. Wind and cold, holiday overindulging, lack of exercise, and the stress of cold and flu season can leave us feeling unbalanced and diminish our energy levels.
Each essential oil is unique and the pleasant scent activates your senses in a different way. I gained in-depth knowledge about the healing powers of essential oils through my work with Olbas, a company offering a specific blend of essential oils extracted from the six medicinal herbs which have been the basis of healing in cultures around the world for centuries. But, if you are new to a journey with essential oils, I’ve compiled a list for you to try. These are my picks for the very best comforting scents sure to warm your body and spirit this winter.
The powerful essential oil is synonymous with respiratory health, and it is found in many popular remedies, including chest rubs, liniments and balms. The essential oil of Eucalyptus is well known for providing immediate respiratory support and promoting healthy lung function. The herb tea made from Eucalyptus Leaves is also a traditional remedy for soothing scratchy throat.
The brisk, energizing scent of Eucalyptus also clears the mind, enhances focus, and increases mental alertness.
The stately Eucalyptus tree has found various uses over the centuries. Eucalyptus Tree Historically, the Australian Aborigines relied on Eucalyptus to relieve minor joint discomforts and sore muscles. That traditional application continues today. Once Europeans were introduced to Eucalyptus, they too quickly recognized its many benefits.
Although Eucalyptus is native to Australia, it is now cultivated in other parts of the world including: California, South America, Spain and Portugal. It is also known as Tasmanian Blue Gum and Australian Blue Gum Tree because of the haze produced by the essential oil from the blue-green leaves.
• Lavender Oil
Not only is the color beautiful, the lovely scent of lavender gently soothes stress and tension as well as depression. Its extracts are also used as fragrances for bath products and perfumes.
The oil is thought to be calming and thus can be helpful as an alternative to counting sheep when you need to sleep but have insomnia. One study of elderly people with sleeping troubles found that inhaling lavender oil was as effective as some commonly prescribed sleep medications. Similar results were seen in another trial that included young and middle-aged people with insomnia. Lavender’s slightly herbal-woodsy overtone blends well with citrus & floral oils.
Eastern European countries, particularly Bulgaria, as well as France, Britain, Australia, and Russia grow large quantities of lavender.
• Juniper Berry Oil
The aromatic berries of the Juniper tree yields an essential oil a pine-like, fresh, woodsy scent. The legendary purifying oil imparts a rejuvenating aroma that refreshes and revives, especially if mentally exhausted. Aromatherapists suggest using Juniper’s uplifting scent to ease tension and stress, as well as to clear the thoughts.
The woodsy, pine-like aroma of Juniper Berry oil evokes images of the rustic outdoors. Perhaps this explains why it is a common fragrance in men’s colognes and aftershaves.
Juniper Berry oil has a long history of use in massage therapy to soothe back, joint and muscle discomforts. The penetrating essence enhances the breathing passages and supports healthy respiratory function.
Juniper is an evergreen shrub native to Europe, North Africa, Canada and Northern Asia. Just about every part of this versatile plant has been utilized. The berries serve as a popular flavoring for gin, the stems and leaves are a traditional Native American remedy for joint health. At one time, the twigs of Juniper were burned in French hospitals to help purify the air.
• Peppermint Oil
The penetrating minty aroma awakens the mind, revitalizes the body and refreshes the spirit. Peppermint is recognized the world over for its signature minty, fresh aroma. The essential oil, distilled from the fresh leaves of the Mentha piperita plant, retains that powerfully refreshing fragrance.
Peppermint herb is a time-honored remedy for promoting healthy digestion and soothing upset stomach. In fact, it’s currently listed in several European pharmacopoeias as an effective digestive aid.
Peppermint oil is equally valuable. The peppermint flower penetrating vapors work quickly to enhance the breathing passages and maximize respiratory function. Peppermint’s primary compound, Menthol, produces a cooling sensation that relaxes tense muscles and alleviates minor strains and muscular discomforts.
Aromatherapists also recommend Peppermint oil’s invigorating scent to enhance mental focus and concentration, increase alertness, as well as to ease tension and stress. For athletes, these unique properties may significantly help to improve athletic performance, not only by increasing mood and motivation, but also by enhancing the breathing passages, thereby maximizing oxygen intake.
Peppermint is native to the Mediterranean region but is now widely cultivated throughout Europe, Australia and parts of North America.
The essential oil of Cajeput is distilled from the fresh leaves and twigs of the Cajeput tree. It has a slightly medicinal aroma that is reminiscent of camphor and eucalyptus oils. As an aromatherapy agent, Cajeput oil stimulates the mind and promotes clear thinking.
In Southeast Asia, the Cajeput tree grows abundantly. The people of Vietnam and surrounding countries highly regard Cajeput as a traditional remedy. It is known in their healing culture primarily for its use for muscular and joint discomforts. It is also used for promoting healthy skin, as well as for its benefits to the throat, sinus and respiratory tract.
The Cajeput tree is indigenous to Southeast Asia, and grows in Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam, Java, and the tropical regions of Australia. It is related to the Melaleuca species, and is also known as White Tea Tree, White Tree, and Swamp Tea Tree.
Cajeput essential oil is produced by steam distillation of the fresh leaves and twigs from this tall evergreen tree, which grows up to 30 meters high. It has thick, pointed leaves, white flowers, and a flexible trunk with whitish spongy bark, hence the Malaysian name ‘caju-puti’ or white wood.
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