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3 Healing Scents for the Holidays

by Alisa Rutherford-Fortunati on December 10, 2011

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Of all our senses, there is only one that is directly hard-wired to the brain, making it one of the most powerful and often underrated of our senses: our sense of smell.

Amazingly enough there is still a good deal of debate over how our sense of smell actually works, but there is little debate over its significance. To begin with, seventy to seventy-five percent of what we perceive as taste comes from our sense of smell alone! It gives us cues to understand if something is toxic, pleasant, yummy, or rotten. But it can do more than stimulate our appetite or warn us of spoiled food. Our sense of smell vividly links us to memories, eases tension and stimulates both body and mind.

During the seasonal change that we are currently experiencing, bringing warm or bright scents into your home can reawaken pleasant moments from the past, stimulate the immune system, and provide a welcoming atmosphere for guests.

Cinnamon’s sweet, warm, spicy scent is reminiscent of mulled cider and pumpkin pie.  This wonderfully rich essential oil provides for a cozy feel while stimulating the mind and uplifting the spirit.

Perfect for diffusing before guests arrive or simply adding to your natural household cleaners, cinnamon is a surprisingly useful oil to keep around the house.

Cinnamon: Cinnamonum zeylanicum

Health benefits of Cinnamon essential oil:
Highly anti-microbial and anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-viral, cinnamon is an antidepressant, a powerful antioxidant, an anti-inflammatory, anticoagulant, emotional stimulant, and general tonic.

Uses:

·      improves digestion, and calms spasms, colitis, flatulence, diarrhea and nausea
·      reduces depression and the pain and frequency of headaches
·      eases painful rheumatic joints as well as general aches and pains
·      can be used to treat bronchitis, asthma, Athlete’s Foot, Candida, diarrhea, coughs, and fungal infections
·      increases blood flow, and is a stimulating and uplifting aphrodisiac
·      it may even be able to regulate diabetes and high blood pressure

Words of Caution: If applied topically, cinnamon must be highly diluted, as it is  a very “hot” essential oil, and can easily burn the skin. The common recommendation is a dilution of less than 1% concentration in a carrier oil. Always do a small test spot with your diluted oil to check for sensitivity or allergic reaction. If pregnant or under a doctor’s care, consult your physician. Not to be used with children less than 5 years old.

Rather than cutting down a tree to bring back memories of childhood holidays, enjoy the sweet, spicy, woody and citrus notes of pine essential oil.

Besides the enjoyable smell, pine essential oil is wonderful for stress relief, helpful in cleaning and can give you a boost of energy!

Pine: Pinus sylvestris

Health Benefits of Pine essential oil:
Antibacterial, analgesic, diuretic, energizing, antiseptic, and aromatic. Contains powerful phenols (acidic chemicals that have germ-killing properties.)

Uses:
·      improves energy, concentration and mental clarity, as well as relieving stress, anxiety and nervous tension
·      is used as a diuretic, to help urinary tract infections, and to treat intestinal problems
·      soothes arthritis and other joint issues
·      treats infections and injuries, helps respiratory problems
·      increases metabolism and acts as a stimulant
·      kills germs and mildew
·      is also used in skin care and cosmetics

Words of Caution: Pine oil has a low human toxicity level, but it can irritate skin and mucous membranes. Always test a small amount of essential oil first for sensitivity or allergic reaction. Be cautious with using pine essential oil topically for small children and elderly individuals, as it can possibly cause hypertension. If pregnant or under a doctor’s care, consult a physician.


Who doesn’t love the smell of a fresh orange being peeled? The bright, sweet, citrus scent of orange essential oil is a wonderful addition to any day.

This light and cheery oil is also a perfect blend with cinnamon when you’re looking for a delicious, energizing and soothing blend.

Orange: Citrus sinensis*

Health Benefits of Orange Essential Oil:
Anticoagulant, antidepressant, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antispasmodic, bactericidal, carminative, cholagogue, digestive, diuretic, expectorant, fungicidal, hypotensive, stimulant, stomachic, general tonic.

Uses:
·      can be used to boost immunity, and treat colds, the flu, stress-induced asthma, and coughs
·      eases indigestion, constipation, dyspepsia, and flatulence
·      helps to maintain healthy skin, and treat dermatitis, dull skin and wounds
·      can help ease symptoms of depression, insomnia, tension, and hypertension
·      treats infections, muscle aches and pains, slow circulation, and disorders of the mouth and gums
·      can also used as an aphrodisiac (another reason it’s a great partner for cinnamon)

Words of Caution: Orange oil has photo-toxic properties (if worn on the skin, it may cause a reaction in sunlight). The taste of orange oil is bitter, and if ingested in excess can result in vomiting, nausea, or loss of appetite.

*Sweet Orange Essential Oil is the oil produced from the fruit peel of the orange tree and is not to be mistaken for other orange essential oils such as ‘bitter orange’, petitgrain (produced from the leaves of the orange tree) and neroli (produced from the blossoms).

Enjoy the season and all the wonderful sights, sounds and smells there are to be had!

Related Stories:

Nettles: Health Tonic and Organic Fertilizer
Holy Basil: The Queen of Stress-Reducing Herbs
3 Essential Oils for Your Herbal Medicine Cabinet

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