We have all dabbled in aromatherapy before, diluting tiny bottles of essential oils into diffusers, or scented our bedrooms with a room spray — even celebrities such as Victoria Beckham, Jenna Dewan and Miranda Kerr are fans! Whether you’re looking for an essential oil blend that calms your nerves or to boost mental function, there are countless ways essential oils can be combined and used as mood boosters or to bring about a sense of well-being.
Besides, essential oils have been used for centuries in ancient homeopathic remedies including Ayurveda. So the next time you go out shopping for something for your home, instead of going, “Ooh I like!” or “Nah, it’s not for me” at the various blends you find available on the market, here are the ingredients to look out for to quieten your mind and relax your senses:
One of the most popular essential oils available in the market, it is easy to walk into a spa and be greeted by its calming scent. This is because when inhaled, lavender helps to decrease the blood pressure, heart rate, skin temperature as well as slows down brain activity so you feel more relaxed. Which explains why many body lotions, shower gels and even skincare products designed for nighttime use are often scented in lavender. You can also rub lavender oil on your temples and wrists for an instant calming effect.
Used for centuries in Asia to alleviate depression, anxiety, emotional stress and insomnia, jasmine oil has also been proven to help with infection as well as to boost libido. Often used to formulate massage oils, jasmine has an effect on the central nervous system to improve the mood.
Those with sensitive skin might be familiar with chamomile as a skincare ingredient commonly used in products to soothe irritation-prone skin and promote healing. This is because chamomile has antimicrobial and antioxidant properties to calm skin inflammation. In addition, chamomile essential oil has also been used to counter anxiety as it serves an emotional trigger to calm nerves and promote relaxation. It has even been used to improve the quality of sleep in ICU patients in some hospitals.
There’s a reason why rose has been used in countless skincare products. From shower products, fragrances, skincare and even makeup, rose and its extracts are known for their soothing and hydrating properties as they help keep skin soft and smooth. Yet, many people use rose essential oil as well for its therapeutic benefits too. When inhaled, messages are sent to the brain’s limbic system, which is responsible for regulating emotions. As a result, rose essential oil can be beneficial to lowering blood pressure, heart rate, stress levels and also slow down the rate of breathing.
Thanks to its rich, floral scent, it is ylang ylang is one of the most commonly used scents that can help to increase one’s sex drive. Beyond that, it is also widely considered as a good sedative, antidepressant and anti-inflammatory. Often found in bath and body products, ylang ylang essential oil helps with irregular heartbeats, lift one’s mood and to create a conducive environment for a restful sleep.
Extracted from the resin of trees that are commonly grown in Somalia and some parts of Pakistan, frankincense, or sometimes known as olibanum, is an essential oil that is used widely in aromatherapy. Thanks to its host of health and wellness benefits, frankincense has been used to aid with relaxation for centuries, especially in the form of incense, perfumes and aromatherapy. Beyond its calming properties, frankincense also has anti-inflammatory and skin-rejuvenating benefits, which is why it is also used in anti-ageing skincare products.
Just like the other essential oils, clary sage also acts on the nervous system by reducing blood pressure and heart rate, as well as promoting a feeling of relaxation. But its benefits don’t just stop there. If you’re using a clary sage scented body lotion, the diluted clary sage essential oil provides anti-bacterial benefits to protect against skin infections. Some studies have also shown that it helps to reduce menopausal hot flashes and menstrual pain.
Native to many Asian countries, including China, Vietnam, Indonesia and Malaysia, patchouli essential oil is extracted by the steam distillation of the leaves. And as a result of its strong olfactory profile, it has been a common ingredient in perfumery for centuries and incense. When diluted in skincare products, it has been said to be effective against treatment of eczema and athlete’s foot, thanks to its anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties. In addition, it can also help with the treatment of dandruff and oily skin.