It’s no surprise that people feel better when wandering through a garden. Fragrant flowers and herbs can lift our spirits. Sometimes these scents can even magically transport us to a place that offers a brief respite from our workday world.
Using essential oils can give us the same uplift.
Essential oils are concentrated and undiluted extracts that are steam distilled. These substances are often used as part of massage, baths, facial steaming and facial masks. They can also be used in household tasks involving laundry, cleaning and air-freshening.
Here are three essential oils that smell great while increasing your wellness quotient. Note: Incorporate a carrier oil when using essential oils on skin.
Lavender. Essential oil of lavender is produced from the flowering tops of the plant (Lavendula officinalis). Named for the Latin word lavera, which means to wash, this versatile essential oil has a gentle balancing effect on the skin, soothes skin irritations and eases sunburn pain.
Peppermint. With its invigorating green aroma, peppermint essential oil is steam-distilled from leaves of the peppermint (Mentha piperita) plant. The main volatile components of peppermint oil are menthol and menthone. Its leaves also contain phenolic constituents including rosmarinic acid and flavonoids such as hesperidin and luteolin.
Tea Tree Oil. First used by the Australian aborigines in the 1700s, tea tree oil is steam-distilled from the leaves of the Melaleuca alternifolia tree. It’s often used for cleansing the skin, hair and scalp as well as for overall skin health. Tea tree oil contains terpenoids – chemicals naturally produced by the plant as a possible defense mechanism against predators. The main active constituent, terpinen-4-ol, appears to be responsible for the benefits of tea tree oil.
What’s your favorite natural way to smell great? Share it with us in the comments below.
Laurie Steelsmith, ND, LAc, is a naturopathic physician and licensed acupuncturist who specializes in women’s health. She is the co-author of Great Sex, Naturally: Every Woman’s Guide to Enhancing Her Sexuality Through the Secrets of Natural Medicineand co-author of Natural Choices for Women’s Health: How the Secrets of Natural and Chinese Medicine Can Create a Lifetime of Wellness.