What is Aromatherapy? Aromatherapy is the controlled use and application of natural plant essences called essential oils. These oils are extracted from different parts of the plant, for example, Geranium uses the flowers, Frankincense – the resin, Mandarin – the peel. The oils are absorbed into our blood stream through the skin or by inhalation. The plants and their oils have complex chemical structures, sometimes thought of as the *life force*, which interacts with the chemistry of the human body: pharmacologically, physiologically, and psychologically. We don’t know exactly how this chemistry works fully but we know the oils have therapeutic properties and can produce a healing effect. For example, Lemon (Citrus limon) contains limonene which is antiviral and bactericidal, cleansing and stimulating the immune system, lowering blood pressure and reducing pain and inflammation.
It is Mental Health Awareness week and there are many oils which can help lift our emotions, and alleviate anxiety and stress. Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) is a beautiful oil with a fresh, sweet, mildly camphoraceous aroma. It is easily available online or from most pharmacies and health food shops, and can be used in a variety of ways to help relieve tension and soothe the nervous system. You can add 6-8 drops into an evening bath, or put 1-2 drops in a oil burner with with teaspoon of water (or 6 drops into a diffuser), or just add a drop to your pillow at night. Any of these methods will help you relax, and promote deep, restful sleep.