By Ed Barillas
Aromatherapy is the use of essential oils to treat ailments and conditions ranging from such physical and emotional issues like headaches to infections to dry skin to acne to arthritis and asthma to name a few. The essential oils of aromatherapy are extracted from aromatic plants, flowers and herbs, root, twig, seed, berry, rhizome, or leaves generally through a process of steam distillation. These oils may be inhaled or massaged into the skin, after combined with a seed, nut or vegetable oil.
Our sense of smell is more complex than you might think. Your nose actually contains thousands of olfactory nerves that is part of your brain’s limbic system which is not under conscious control. In association the limbic system controls digestion, libido, and emotions. The study of scent and its ability to change human behavior for its function in everything from medicine to memory loss, migraines and revitalization to relaxation has been an interesting and fact finding pursuit for many scientists, therapists and contemporary healers for the last 4,00 years. It is recorded that ancient Egyptians used aromatic botanicals for medicine embalming, cosmetics and massage. In the 10th century, the Arabian culture invented the process of distillation, which allowed more efficient and precise extraction of the essential oils found around them in seeds, nuts and flowers to name a few. In other parts of the world people have inhaled aromas or wore aromatic amulets to protect them from harm and to make them smell good as well. Essential oils can be inhaled with the help of a vaporizer, an electric diffuser, specific incense and an aroma lamp as these aromas actually trigger the release of chemicals in the brain that create a feeling of well-being. Scientists say your body’s response to an aroma takes just four seconds and can last for minutes some even lasting for hours. Lavender, orange, marjoram, and chamomile are particularly effective aromas in the use of aromatherapy.
Each essential oil is comprised of different hormones and vitamins, which combine to create different effects. Furthermore, the effects of each essential oil can vary depending on the botanical species and where it is grown. The effects of particular aromas also vary among cultures and individuals, so the results of aromatherapy are not universal. Still, aromatherapists have developed a roster of scents with relatively predictable effects.
Here are some suggestions on what essential oils to use to affect your mood. If you want to feel happy and more alert and improve your self esteem try Bergamot, Cypress, Grapefruit, Jasmine, Orange or Rosemary. Want to feel less stressed? Try Lavender, Bergamot, Chamomile, Lavender, Lemon, Orange, Patchouli or Vanilla. Want to enhance your memory try Basil, Cypress, Lemon, Peppermint, Rosemary. These are just but a few suggestions that can help you improve your moods and will give you a brighter outlook on life.