How Does Aromatherapy Work

Essential oils stimulates the powerful sense of smell. It is known that odors we smell have a significant impact on how we feel. In dealing with patients who have lost the sense of smell, doctors have found that a life without fragrance can lead to high incidence of psychiatric problems such as anxiety and depression. We have the capability to distinguish 10,000 different smells. It is believed that smells enter through cilia (the fine hairs lining the nose) to the limbic system, the part of the brain that controls our moods, emotions, memory and learning.

Studies with brain wave frequency has shown that smelling lavender increases alpha waves in the back of the head, which are associated with relaxation. Fragrance of Jasmine increases beta waves in the front of the head, which are associated with a more alert state.

Scientific studies have also shown that essential oils contain chemical components that can exert specific effects on the mind and body. Their chemistry is complex, but generally includes alcohols, esters, ketones, aldehydes, and terpenes.

The sense of smell is connected to the sense of taste. Our tongue will only taste sweet, sour, salt, and bitter. The other tastes are in fact only odors. There are at least twenty sensations normally referred to as tastes that are really odors. Aromatherapy is one factor that is used in connection with sense of smell and taste.

With aromatherapy, the brain will respond to the aroma of the essential oil by using a past memory with the smell. If the aroma is not familiar, the brain will create a new memory with it. Different scents will activate certain brain waves, which are sensitive to the thought and the emotions that we have.

Essential oils are going to have so many aromatherapy benefits to the mind and the body. The will help with memory, clarity, and also help with pain. You will generally have a feeling of well being and relaxation that you are looking for.

There are so many different scents that you can use in aromatherapy. You will find that you can have different pleasures with the different essential oils that are available to you. There is no better way for a relaxing and enjoying experience than to have the essential oils that are out there. You will want to use all the techniques and uses that are available to you.

You can use the essential aromatherapy oils for a massage, a bath or in a diffuser. Any way that you decide to use these delicious smells will help you and give you body the benefits that you are looking for. You will have less pains and aches to deal with as well as give your body the defense that it needs against illness and other problems for the body.

Aromatherapy Discussion

Aromatherapy means “treatment using scents”. It is a holistic treatment of caring for the body with pleasant smelling botanical oils such as rose, lemon, lavender and peppermint. The essential oils are added to the bath or massaged into the skin, inhaled directly or diffused to scent an entire room. Aromatherapy is used for the relief of pain, care for the skin, alleviate tension and fatigue and invigorate the entire body. Essential oils can affect the mood, alleviate fatigue, reduce anxiety and promote relaxation. When inhaled, they work on the brain and nervous system through stimulation of the olfactory nerves.

The essential oils are aromatic essences extracted from plants, flowers, trees, fruits, bark, grasses and seeds with distinctive therapeutic, psychological, and physiological properties, which improve and prevent illness. There are about 150 essential oils. Most of these oils have antiseptic properties; some are antiviral, anti-inflammatory, pain-relieving, antidepressant and expectorant. Other properties of the essential oils which are taken advantage of in aromatherapy are their stimulation, relaxation, digestion improvement, and diuretic properties. To get the maximum benefit from essential oils, it should be made from natural, pure raw materials. Synthetically made oils do not work.

Aromatherapy is one of the fastest growing fields in alternative medicine. It is widely used at home, clinics and hospitals for a variety of applications such as pain relief for women in labor pain, relieving pain caused by the side effects of the chemotherapy undergone by the cancer patients, and rehabilitation of cardiac patients.

Aromatherapy is already slowly getting into the mainstream. In Japan, engineers are incorporating aroma systems into new buildings. In one such application, the scent of lavender and rosemary is pumped into the customer area to calm down the waiting customers, while the perfumes from lemon and eucalyptus are used in the bank teller counters to keep the staff alert.

Aromatherapy had been around for 6000 years or more. The Greeks, Romans, and ancient Egyptians all used aromatherapy oils. The Egyptian physician Imhotep recommended fragrant oils for bathing, massage, and for embalming their dead nearly 6000 years ago. Imhotep is the Egyptian god of medicine and healing. Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, used aromatherapy baths and scented massage. He used aromatic fumigations to rid Athens of the plague.

The modern era of aromatherapy is dawned in 1930 when the French chemist Rene Maurice Gattefosse coined the term aromatherapy for the therapeutic use of essential oils. He was fascinated by the benefits of lavender oil in healing his burned hand without leaving any scars. He started investigating the effect of other essential oils for healing and for their psychotherapeutic benefits.

During world war II, the French army surgeon Dr. Jean Valnet used essential oils as antiseptics. Later, Madame Marguerite Maury elevated aromatherapy as a holistic therapy. She started prescribing essential oils as remedy for her patients. She is also credited with the modern use of essential oils in massage.

Aromatherapy works the best when it works on the mind and body simultaneously.

Evening Primrose

Evening Primrose

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 Latin Name: oenothera biennis

Forms Available: oil

Evening Primrose Oil – Oenothera biennis – This is a pale yellow oil with a pleasant, light and nutty taste. Its color may vary based on growing conditions and batch. Extremely helpful in treating menstrual and pre-menstrual problems, eczema and psoriasis; useful in treating allergic skin problems. Add up to 10% of the carrier oil for massage and to any creams and lotions. Its healing action results from its high content of gamma linolenic acid, an essential fatty acid that is vital to cell and body functions and not produced by the body itself. It goes rancid quickly and should be stored in a cool place or refrigerated.

Aromatherapy & Health Uses: can be used in base oil in percentage of up to 10%

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Latin Name: gnaphalium obtusifolium
Alternative Name: rabbit tobacco
Forms Available: essential oil, leaf, flower,

Everlasting – gnaphalium obtusifolium – A herbal remedy for colds, flu and respiratory ailments. Has been smoked or put into a tea. The leaves and flowers have been chewed to alleviate mouth ulcers. This herbal tea has also been used in poultices for bruises and abnormal growths.

Aromatherapy & Health Uses: Cold, flu and respiratory remedy. Sedative propterties.

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Latin Name: euphrasia officinalis
Alternative Name: euphrosyne, red eyebright, euphrasia
Forms Available: flower, leaf, twig

Eyebright – Euphrasia officionalis – A Druid sacred herb. This semiparasitic annual extracts its nutrients from the roots of certain grasses found in poor meadowland. It has tiny oval leaves and small, scallop-edged, white flowers with yellow spots and red veins, resembling a bloodshot eye. The slightly bitter leaves have been used in salads. A whole plant infusion or strained juice from crushed, fresh stems is a general eye tonic treating strain and infections, and is a popular cosmetic wash, giving sparkle to eyes. Its antiseptic, mildly astringent, inflammation-and phlegm-reducing properties ease the irritated eyes and runny nose of hay-fever and sinusitis.

Aromatherapy & Health Uses: Used as a compress, eyebright relieves conjunctival inflammation of the eyes.

Other Uses: Burn as incense for clairvoyance and divination. Carry when you need to see the truth in a matter.

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Clove Bud Essential Oil

Latin Name: syzgium aromaticum

Forms Available: essential oil, ground, whole, leaf, flower, bud

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Clove Bud Essential Oil is derived from the slender evergreen that grows up to 12 meters in height (approximately 36 feet). At the start of the rainy season, long buds appear that change color over time and are beaten from the trees and dried. These are the cloves sold that are sold commercially. The word ‘clove’ comes from the Latin word clavus, meaning nail, because the shaft and head of the clove bud resembled an ancient nail. Cloves were among the most precious of spices of Europe during the 16th and 17th centuries, and were worth more than their weight in gold. They continue to be used in Ayurvedic medicine, traditional Chinese medicine, western herbalism, and in dentistry.

Cloves have a strong spiciness that flavors foods and prevents nausea. The flowers are used to soothe aching eyes. Clove oil, from the distillation of leaves and flower buds, is an antiseptic numbing agent for toothache and indigestion. It is added to cosmetics, perfumes, and cigarettes.

Visit for more information on the traditional ayurvedic and aromatherapeutic uses of Clove Bud Oil. Learn about the natural chemical components that give Clove Bud Oil its fragrance and therapeutic characteristics.

Aromatherapy & Health Uses: Nausea; Flatulence; Asthma; Bronchitis; Arthritis; Rheumatism; Toothache; Diarrhea; Infections; as an Analgesic and Antiseptic; Insect Repellent. Key Qualities: Tonic; Stimulating; Revitalizing; Aphrodisiac; Warming; Comforting; Purifying; Active.

Other Uses: Use for:  Divination; Love; Lust; Banishing; Releasing; Inspiration; Wisdom. Burn for Wealth; Purification; to ward negative thoughts; or to stop others from gossiping about you.

Thought for the day:

And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom. – Anais Nin

Suggested Reading:

  1. Clove Oil! Discover The Essential Oil Of Cloves Health Benefits For Toothaches, Acne, Hair & Much More: A Book On Clove Oil Secrets (Natural Health Books Series) by Tina Cody
  2. Scents Of Life: Use And Effect Of Essential Oils by H. M. Schemske
  3. The Modern Ayurveda: Milestones Beyond the Classical Age from CRC Press
  4. Ayurveda & Aromatherapy: The Earth Essential Guide to Ancient Wisdom and Modern Healing by Dr. Light Miller, Dr. Bryan Miller
  5. The Fragrant Mind: Aromatherapy for Personality, Mind, Mood and Emotion by Valerie Ann Worwood

Reference Links:

  1. Clove by Wikipedia
  2. Health Benefits of Clove Oil by Organic Facts
  3. Cloves and Clove oil by Healing Naturally by Bee
  4. The Health Benefits of Cloves by The Global Healing Center
  5. Traditional Uses of Clove by Natural Standard, The Authority on Integrative Medicine
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Latin Name: foeniculum vulgare
Alternative Name: fenkel, sweet fennel, wild fennel
Forms Available: essential oil, ground, whole, leaf, root, seed

Fennel – Foeniculum vulgar – Sacred to the God. This biennial or perennial herb has finely cut feathery foliage, umbels of midsummer flowers, curved, ribbed seeds and a thick root, all with a fresh anise seed flavor. The seeds are chewed to allay hunger and ease indigestion. They are brewed for constipation, to increase breast milk and regulate menstruation; with root extract, they are detoxifying and diuretic. Research indicates Fennel helps repair the liver after alcohol damage. Seed and leaf steam aids deep skin cleansing, and the essential oil is used in a muscle-toning massage. Fennel oil should not be used by epileptics or young children.
To help with indigestion and gas, pour boiling water over crushed fennel seeds -one teaspoon seed to a pint of water. The seeds are simmered in syrups for coughs, shortness of breath and wheezing. Powdered fennel seeds repel fleas from pets’ sleeping quarters. Place fennel inside a fish when you cook it to make it more digestible. The seeds and root help clean the liver, spleen, gall bladder, and blood. The leaves and seeds when boiled with barley increase breast milk. The tea and broth of this herb are said to help in weight loss programs. Fennel is eaten in salads, soups, and breads. Fennel oil mixed with honey can be taken for coughs, and the tea is used as a gargle. The oil is eaten with honey to allay gas and it is applied externally to rheumatic swellings. The seeds are boiled to make an eye wash: use one half teaspoon of seed per cup of water, three times a day, and be sure to strain carefully before use.

Aromatherapy & Health Uses: Bruises; Dull, Oily, Mature Complexions; Cellulitis; Obesity; Edema; Rheumatism; Asthma; Bronchitis; Anorexia; Colic; Constipation; Dyspepsia; Flatulence; Hiccoughs; Nausea; Menopausal Problems; Insufficient Milk in Nursing Mothers.

Other Uses: Hang over doors with St. John’s Wort at Litha to repel evil spirits. Carry fennel to influence others to trust your words. Use for: Protection; Healing; Health; Purification.

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Latin Name: athrythium filix, capillaire commun, dryopteris filixmas, adiantum pedatum, pteridium aquilinum, polypodium vulgare.
Alternative Name: male fern, lady fern, maidenhair fern, de montpellier, hair of venus, oak fern, bracken
Forms Available: leaf, root

Ferns, e.g. Male Fern, Maidenhair Fern, Bracken, Lady Fern, Polypody, or Oak Fern. The Druids classified ferns as sacred trees. Uncurled fronds of Male fern were gathered at Midsummer, dried and carried for good luck. The mysterious regeneration of ferns led to the ancient belief that their seed could confer invisibility. The root was added to love potions and the fronds eaten by those embarking on love quests.
Male Fern: The fall gathered root is a remedy for tapeworm. A few hours after it has been ingested, a purgative is given. Begin the vermifuge process by eating fresh garlic. Take one to four teaspoons of the liquid extract of the root, or of the powdered root, on an empty stomach and follow several hours later with castor oil. Caution: do not ingest alcohol while taking this herb. Overdose can result in blindness and death.
The roots are added to healing salves for wounds and rubbed into the limbs of children with rickets.

Aromatherapy & Health Uses: The roots are added to healing salves for wounds and rubbed into the limbs of children with rickets.

Other Uses: Fern “seeds” are said to render one invisible if gathered on Midsummer’s Eve. Ferns are also said to be an herb of immortality. Moonwort is especially effective if gathered by moonlight.

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Latin Name: tanacetum parthenum, chrysanthemum parthenium, pyrethrum parthenium
Alternative Name: featherfoil, febrifuge plant, flirtwort, featherfew, bachelor’s buttons
Forms Available: essential oil, leaf, flower

Feverfew – Tanacetum parthenum – Also known as Featherfoil or Flirtwort. Semievergreen Feverfew has pungent, divided, medium to yellow-green leaves and white daisy flowers appearing in summer. The leaves add a bitter tang to food and are found in digestive apéritifs. They relax blood vessels, reduce inflammation and are mildly sedative. Feverfew’s importance lies in its success in reducing some migraines. Chewed daily its accumulative effect is to reduce headache pains and inhibit the secretion of a compound implicated in migraine and arthritis; infused flowering tops are applied to ease headaches and arthritic swellings. A tea is taken for tinnitus and irregular periods. Warning: Fresh leaves can irritate the mouth.

Aromatherapy & Health Uses: Feverfew has been used to relieve headaches, migraines, menstrual irregularities, and stomachaches. It is also a mild sedative and antispasmodic.

Other Uses: Travelers carry it as a ward against sickness or accidents during their journeys. Protection; Purification; Defense; Cleansing.

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Latin Name: aureolaria pedicularia, gerardia pedicularia
Alternative Name: yellow false foxglove
Forms Available: leaf

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Feverweed – aureolaria pedicularia – a sedative and diaphoretic herb. This herb induces perspiration and has been used, as such, in the relief of inflammatory diseases.

Aromatherapy & Health Uses: A sedative and diaphoretic herb. This herb induces perspiration and has been used, as such, in the relief of inflammatory diseases.

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