Did you know that humans can distinguish about 10,000 scents? Olfaction, the ability to smell, is one of the strongest senses in the human body as it can influence mood, memory, emotions, and the immune system. Therefore, it makes sense (“scents” haha) that inhaled aromas are used to enhance psychological and physical health.

Aromatherapy is the practice of using natural oils to promote healing and enhance well-being. This therapy can be done by inhaling the oils, rubbing it on your skin, using a diffuser or placing a few drops in a humidifier or bowl of steaming water. Even putting a few drops in the shower can help. Aromatherapy has many benefits including promoting long-term health, relieving pain, lowering anxiety, relieving nausea and improving mood. Essential oils are also beginning to be used for the treatment of cancer, HIV, and asthma.

However, it is also important to not overuse essential oils as some of them can have negative effects. Make sure to follow the instructors on the bottle and if you have a medical condition, consult your doctor before using them. The best place to buy essential oils is at your local health food store. Plant Therapy and Now Foods Essential Oils are both reliable brands with no synthetic properties.

Here are Five Great Essential Oils for Everyday Use:

  1. Tea Tree
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If there is one essential oil you should own, it is Tea Tree oil. Tea Tree has many properties including an immune system booster and fighting viral, bacterial, and fungal infections. Just a few drops before you get in a shower or bath is enough to enhance these benefits. Tea Tree oil also heals skin conditions, burns and cuts, muscle pains, athlete’s foot, and dandruff.

2. Lavender

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This essential oil smells great and has stress-reliving properties. The scent produces the body’s rest and digest response of the parasympathetic nervous system, meaning the oil is great for relaxation, pain relief, and insomnia. If you are having trouble sleeping, rub some lavender on your pillow before bed and prepare for a restful night. In addition, the smell of lavender can also help decrease anxiety and migraine pain.

3. Orange

The citrus scent of orange essential oil contains some of the same properties as lavender as it is used for decreasing anxiety and elevating mood. It may be helpful to smell or rub on your skin before a big exam as the scent allows people to stay calm under pressure. The oil is also used to soothe inflammation, provide relief from gas, aid the immune system and remove toxins from the body.

4. Eucalyptus

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The easily recognizable scent of eucalyptus contains many healing properties including enhancing concentration and treating respiratory diseases. The oil contains anti-inflammatory, anti-septic, decongestant, and cooling properties; therefore, it helps migraines, fevers, muscle pain, and intestinal bacteria. However, not everyone can use the oil as it has interactions with epileptic, narcoleptic, and ADHD medications.

5. Peppermint

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This essential oil produces a refreshing effect that promotes mental alertness through its energy boosting properties. It reduces the body’s cortisol levels, which help with stress relief and fatigue. Other benefits of the oil include combating irritation, congestion, and nausea, while also helping with digestion. The cooling effect of the oil is also good for alleviating sore muscles.

For more information about essential oils and their healing benefits, check out the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy website (https://naha.org/).

Written by: Claire Klement, WPE

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“Aromatherapy.” University of Maryland Medical Center. N.p., n.d. Web. 03 Mar. 2017.

“Most Popular Essential Oils.” Aromatherapy — The Balance & Harmony of Body and Mind. N.p., n.d. Web. 03 Mar. 2017.

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