March 5th, 2015

Wake Up and Smell the Rosemary!


Did you know that by simply inhaling an essential oil or putting a drop of essential oil on your ear, you could invigorate and balance your brain? Peter Holmes, L.Ac., of Snow Lotus Aromatherapy, Inc., an expert on essential oils, suggests that this is just one of their potential health benefits. An essential oil is simply the oil extracted from a particular plant. Mr. Holmes notes that the smell of essential oil is absorbed by the nasal dendrites and then spreads with neural transmission to the limbic and other centers of the brain. And that smell is usually wonderful; not only do they present a pleasant sensory experience, but essential oils are also easy to use and can be very healing for your mind, body and soul. Let me explain a bit more about them and their effects by discussing three of my favorite oils: rosemary, bergamot and lavender.

Rosemary originated in the Mediterranean basin and has been used by ancient European and Middle Eastern cultures for centuries. It was believed to have had purifying properties and was utilized for religious rituals, weddings, state meetings and festivals. Currently, rosemary essential oil is considered a cardio or nerve tonic and can help with scholarly learning and making important decisions. When you inhale the rosemary essential oil, notice the potent evergreen aroma. Doesn’t the smell wake you up? The next time that you are looking forward to an especially intense day at the office, try breathing in some rosemary essential oil instead of drinking coffee.

Another valuable essential oil is bergamot. Bergamot is produced in Southern Italy and in the Ivory Coast in West Africa. This essential oil has a sweet and lemony-citrus fragrance. A really wonderful benefit bergamot can offer is balancing the brain. By placing a drop of bergamot oil on the triangular fossa, or top part of the ear, you can balance the corpus callosum, the area that connects the right and left hemispheres of the brain. If you have been too logical and “too much in your head,” or you have been especially creative and suddenly don’t feel grounded, try a drop of bergamot essential oil on your ear; it is a really fantastic way to begin to feel more centered.

The last noteworthy essential oil is lavender. Can you picture the lovely lavender fields in Provence, France? There is a well-known story about how the French chemist, Rene Gattefosse, quickly healed his badly burned arm by using lavender essential oil. Lavender is not only produced in France but also in Italy, England, and in the Western Hemisphere, most notably in Argentina. Lavender essential oil is sweet, floral and fruity, with a slightly dry balsamic aroma. This particular oil is very popular today and known for its relaxation and anxiety-reducing properties. Lavender essential oil, as noted by Gattefosse’s serendipitous story, also speeds up the healing process of a bruise or sprain (Gattefosse is considered the father of Aromatherapy).

Let’s recap what these three essential oils have to offer: rosemary can awaken your senses, bergamot can balance your brain and lavender can calm your mind and body. Aromatherapy has grown in popularity since Gattefosse coined the term almost a century ago; it is an easy and pleasurable way to reduce stress and maintain a calm, centered balance in your life.