Psychosomatic Responses to Essential Oils

I’ve long been fascinated with the properties of essential oils and their uses for mental, physical, spiritual healing and stimulation. My kids tend to tease me a little—don’t worry, I’ve been around long enough to throw that shade back—about my fascination with essential oils, and I’m aware of the stigma some folks might have regarding medicine that might not typically be included within the scope of modern medicine. But, I’d like to think that the Western medical world is, finally, taking some cues from long-established (I'm talking like 700 BCE) non-Western medical practices that come from Africa, Asia, North America, South America, etc. While maybe not all these regional practices use, what we now understand as, aromatherapy, but regardless—excuse my language—, this shit works! Science, and thousands of years of practice, literally say so!

 Anyways, I decided in this blog I wanted to dedicate some time to write about how our body and mind respond to essential oils to better understand the benefits of aromatherapy. Now, I’m not going to claim to be an expert in scientifically measuring bodily responses to essential oils, but thankfully there are some other smart people out there in the world who went to school for this! So after some careful research, I’ve compiled my findings from reputed medical journals that give us insight into how our body responds to specific essential oils. 

 

Essential Oils:

 

Lavender:

At this point, I'm sure we’re all well-acquainted with lavender. You’ll find it in about every hand soap, countertop spray, and candle you could get your hands on at Whole Foods. But, lavender is one of the most well-cited essential oils for producing what scientists call an “anxiolytic effect,” reducing anxiety, raising levels of calmness, stabilizing blood pressure, and relaxing your respiratory system. 6 studies, starting in 2004 and now up until last year, all cite this anxiolytic effect (here)!

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Ylang Ylang: 

Properly pronounced “Lang Lang,” the benefits of this essential oil are nothing short of incredible! One study demonstrated that upon inhalation or absorption via skin, Ylang Ylang reduced subjects’ heart rates and blood pressures while increasing attention/focus levels. Slower heart rates and lower blood pressure levels thus affect your nervous system, producing an overall relaxing sensation that helps stabilize moods (here). 

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Fun Fact: dried flowers and pastes made from the Ylang Ylang flower are commonly used to treat malaria, asthma, pneumonia, and stomach aches (here)! 

Rosemary:

Rosemary is arguably my favorite of the bunch! This essential oil includes anti-epileptic, anti-neurodegenerative, anti-anxiolytic, and anti-depressive properties. Meaning, rosemary essential oil can help raise dopamine levels, boost your memory, improve cognitive function, reduce seizure severity, and reduce seizure onset (here). Oh, and it also smells amazing!  

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Lemongrass:

Doubling as a great tea flavor, lemongrass essential oil also provides many noteworthy healing properties! Lemongrass has proven to be antimicrobial—helping us combat the flu and colds—, improves digestion, and can help cool down our body temperature in hot weather. This essential oil is also shown to reduce body aches and relieve muscle pain—for all you athletes and gym-goers out there (here).

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While this may not be the most comprehensive list of essential oils and how they might benefit our bodies and minds, I hope this shows how plant essential oils and aromatherapy can be a particularly useful practice throughout our lives. Make sure to check out Sleep Swag’s Aromatherapy collection in addition to our Crystal Mists and Room & Body Mists where we offer high-quality therapeutic-grade essential oil blends! 






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