Power of Scent
Did you know that our sense of smell has a powerful effect on our brain’s functions? Studies have shown that scents can affect the limbic system in the brain, which governs our emotions, motivation, learning and memory. Inhaling the scent of essential oils activates the brain’s limbic system and is the reason why aromatherapy is increasingly used as a complementary and alternative medicine.
Essential oils have been used since ancient times as natural medicine and healing perfumes.
The ancient Egyptians and Greeks used aromatic oils made from plants in medicine, skincare and rituals.
Hippocrates (460-377BC), known as the ‘Father of Medicine”, believed in the healing power of nature and used plants and herbs as treatment. He was quoted as saying that, “The way to health is to have an aromatic bath and scented massage every day”.
The ancient Romans not only used aromatic plants as medicines but also extended their use in beauty and cleansing rituals. Essences from these aromatic plants were added to baths and used in massages.
During the 14th century, the bubonic plague arrived in Europe and aromatic plants were used as antiseptic protection against the disease at that time.
Traditional Indian medicine, also known as Ayurveda, has been using plant extracts since 5000 years ago.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine, aromatherapy has been used to expand one’s consciousness and to balance the body’s yin and yang.
Today, there is a wide variety of scents to enjoy. Lavender essential oil is often used for its calming and soothing effect. Popular for helping one to relax, it is also known to ease insomnia. Bergamot also helps lower stress and anxiety levels.
Need an instant ‘perk-me-up’? Lemon essential oil has been known to energize and help one focus. It is also believed to boost the immune system and promotes digestion. Sage essential oil is well-known for its cleansing and antimicrobial properties.
What’s your favourite?