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That Smells Good: At-Home Aromatherapy

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I was walking home from yoga class the other day with “Sally” (not her real name), one of my students. She’s an eighty-four-year-old firecracker, but still sweet as candy. She told me that every morning she eats an orange and boils the peel in water. Not only does it put much-needed moisture into the dry winter air, but it also infuses the house with a wonderful scent. 


Great idea. When I got home I went on a search for my supply of essential oils, purchased on a (fabulous) trip to Thailand a few years ago. I’m not sure how I ever got out of the habit of using them, but I’m glad Sally got me back on track.


Aromatherapy literally means “treatment using scents.” Essential oils have been known to affect one’s mood, alleviate fatigue, reduce anxiety, and promote relaxation. They also can be used to alleviate a wide-variety of physical complaints, including aches and pains, nausea, colds, insect bites, insomnia, and burns.


Below are some of my favorite oils and their uses.


The information below is provided for informational purposes only. I highly recommend consulting a trained professional before using any essential oils for therapeutic purposes. 


Chamomile
A calming oil. Relieves baby’s teething troubles. Treats burns, psoriasis, eczema, asthma, hay fever, nausea, fever, and sprains. Also helpful for anorexia nervosa.


Citronella
A physical and emotional purifier to restore inner harmony. Acts as a natural mosquito repellent.


Eucalyptus
A tension-relieving scent. Antiseptic, antibiotic, anti-inflammatory properties. Effective against colds, cough, and sunburn. Also repels insects.


Lavender
A natural antibiotic, antiseptic, and immune enhancer. Reduces irritability and depression, alleviates insomnia. Effective treatment for burns and the shock of injury.


Lemon
Stimulates the digestive system. Effective for insect bites and tension headaches.




Peppermint
A stimulant that counters insomnia and mental fogginess. Excellent for concentration. Anti-inflammatory and antiseptic. Used to treat digestive problems, varicose veins, headaches, toothache, and rheumatism. It will also repel ants.


Rose
An anti-depressant oil that reduces PMS.


Rosemary
Relieves muscle tension, fights fatigue and migraine. Improves clarity of thought. Good for muscular strains, arthritis, depression, memory loss, headaches, and coughs.


Tea Tree
A powerful antiseptic, antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal oil used to treat a variety of conditions—including infections of all kinds, athlete’s foot, sunburn, acne, and ringworm.

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