5 Aromatherapy Scents to Help You Unwind

1
Vanilla

vanilla.jpg
Getty Images

Aromatherapy—a noninvasive, affordable, and safe form of complementary treatment—may result in a myriad of health benefits, including decreased stress and increased relaxation. Although most can benefit from aromatherapy, such effects may be especially important to those in palliative or end-of-life care.

The explosion in vanilla's popularity has been unprecedented and now it is found in most perfumes. Apparently, long before retailers picked up on its popularity, vanilla had been the go-to "pleasant scent" for medical researchers and psychologists alike. Some research suggests that vanilla may help alleviate anxiety and stress in people with cancer undergoing MRI. Other research suggests that vanilla reduces the startle reflex in research participants and calms them down.

2
Lavender

lavender.jpg
Getty Images

Lavender collectively refers to 30 species belonging to the genus Lavandula. It's an evergreen shrub with light pale flowers indigenous to areas bordering the Mediterranean. Romans used lavender in their baths. And, for centuries, dried lavender flowers have been used to scent closets and chests. Lavender oil, an opaque liquid used for aromatherapy, is procured by distillation of the plant's purple flowers. Limited research suggests that lavender oils might help alleviate anxiety.

3
Peppermint

peppermint.jpg
Getty Images

Peppermint is a perennial herb whose flowers sport a pied pink and white alternating pattern.  Although indigenous to Europe and Asia, peppermint has since become naturalized along streams, springs, and other watery environments throughout the world. The menthol in peppermint gives its oil a pungent, sweet, cool smell. In addition to aromatherapy, the essential oil of peppermint is also used to flavor gum, candy, and medicine. According to the FDA, peppermint oil might help improve symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome and, along with caraway oil, relieve indigestion.

4
Citrus

citrus.jpg
Getty Images

The distinct smell of citrus is attributable to limonene, an odoriferous compound found not only in citrus fruits but also in pine trees. Interestingly, limonene comes as two isomers: d-limonene, which gives off a citrus scent, and l-limonene, which gives off a pine scent. Citrus oils are extracted from the rinds of citrus fruits. Citrus refers to a genus of plants including limes, oranges, lemons, and citron which all belong to the rue family. All members of the rue family have pulpy fruit with thick rinds. 

5
Tea Tree

tea_tree.jpg
Getty Images

Tea tree oils are derived from small subtropical trees or evergreen shrubs. Tea tree kind of smells like nutmeg. Please remember that tea trees are nothing like tea plants which are used to make black and green teas. In addition to scenting homes and workplaces, tea tree oil is also used in a variety of medicines and healthcare products like shampoos. But, even though tea tree oil is used in a variety of personal products, don't eat it—it's toxic. For that matter, you should not ingest any of these oils.

Sources

Encyclopaedia Britannica. Encyclopaedia Britannica Online Academic Edition. Encyclopædia Britannica Inc., 2015.

"Aromatherapy for stress reduction in healthy adults: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized clinical trials" by MH Hur and co-authors published in Maturitas. 2014. 

Continue Reading