When I was in high school, I took an entrepreneurship class. For the final project, my partner and I had to construct a business proposal and present it to the class and some guest judges.
My partner’s mother, a psychiatrist, suggested we think about an aromatherapy business. At the time, we had no idea what she was talking about, but after she explained it, we thought it was a really cool idea.
Aromatherapy is the practice of using different scents, such as oils, flowers, spices, or herbs, to treat symptoms of common illnesses and potentially offer long-term health benefits. Aromatherapy used to operate on the fringes, but now it’s a big business. If my friend and I had actually started that business, we might’ve been rich!
I believe in the benefits of aromatherapy—and not just for medical uses. In fact, sometimes when I get hungry or crave chocolate or other sweets, I sniff a chocolate-peppermint loose-leaf tea. I find that it almost instantly satisfies my cravings and even offers a little bit of stress relief.
Studies have shown that peppermint oil, whether as a rub, tea, or scent, can offer therapeutic effects. Peppermint can relieve stress by dropping cortisol levels (the stress hormone) and creating feelings of calm and relaxation. It’s worked for me, and I’m hoping it will work for you, too!
Other scents that can offer short-term remedies, and ultimately prevent more serious, long-term issues, are sage, orange, cinnamon, and lavender. Each can offer a little something different for your health, while providing your home with a fresh scent.
Lavender can help with enhanced memory, mental function, and sleep, while cinnamon, another scent that is common in my home, can help take care of some everyday maladies. Some studies have shown the aroma of cinnamon can improve focus and alertness, and I can attest to this. I often brew coffee with fresh cinnamon and the aroma fills my home, providing me with the focus I need to get my work done (even if I don’t drink the coffee)!
While the primary use of aromatherapy sprays, candles, or scent diffusers is the treatment of health conditions, these aromatherapy aids can also help you to relax or recharge when needed. Always talk to a doctor before beginning any alternative treatment. Also, make sure the sprays and diffusers aren’t chock-full of chemicals; you don’t want to be breathing that stuff in all day!
Lastly, if you decide to use aromatherapy, don’t breathe in the scents for more than an hour per day; too much of certain scents can cause some negative side effects.
Sources for Today’s Article:
Moss, M., et al., “Aromas of rosemary and lavender essential oils differentially affect cognition and mood in healthy adults,” Int J Neurosci. 2003; 113: 15–38.
Lewith, G.T., et al., “A single-blinded, randomized pilot study evaluating the aroma of lavandula augustifolia as a treatment for mild insomnia,” J Altern Complement Med. 2005; 11: 631–637.
“Professor’s Study Finds That Peppermint and Cinnamon Lower Frustration and Increase Alertness in Drivers,” Wheeling Jesuit University web site; http://www.wju.edu/about/adm_news_story.asp?iNewsID=1484, last accessed June 3, 2014.