The calming effect of essential oils

nature's fix
Last Updated : 30 September 2016, 18:34 IST
Last Updated : 30 September 2016, 18:34 IST

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When we think about herbs and spices, we think about the fragrance that they carry. Have you ever wondered what gives these natural substances their intoxicating aroma? The answer is simple: it is the essential oils that they contain.

These oils present in flowers, seeds, bark, grains, roots and leaves contain the vital energy of the plant and thus can have a healing effect on your body, mind and emotions. And instead of relying on cosmetic brands, you can grow various herbs at home to make your own dose of essential oils.

One of the most important benefits of growing herbs in your garden is the aroma they exude as you sit by them. Additionally, you can also consider extracting oils from the plants. Essential oils can be used as  salad dressing, ointment and bath lotion; for cooking, skin and hair treatment; and for home care as well. Let’s take a look at four herbs and how they can be used for various purposes at home.

Relaxing carnations

Known as the flowers of poets and writers, carnations have been cultivated for at least 2,000 years and have their origins in ancient Greece. They have been used to brew tea that is known to help alleviate stress, nervousness, lethargy and minor depression.
In ancient China, carnations were widely used to help the mind and spirit relax and reinstate vitality and vigour in the body. In India, people used carnations as a diuretic. It also aids in mitigating menstrual cramps.

Carnations contain anti-inflammatory ingredients that calm the nervous system and aid in reinstating hormonal balance in women. When used in massage oils, carnation extracts are a great way to induce skin healing. They promote skin vitality by softening and replenishing it while soothing your senses with their aroma.
When used in oil form, this flower acts as a skin conditioner and is used in a lot of oils and cosmetic products. Simmer some carnation leaves in water and use the solution to wash your skin. Make your own cleansing creams and lotions from this herb that removes dirt and grime and moisturises dry skin and cracked lips.

Aromatic ylang ylang

This flower is an excellent antiseptic and aphrodisiac. It regulates heart rate and controls anxiety, tension and high blood pressure. Used for its amazing aroma, this flower balances oil production in all skin types, especially oily skin.

Ylang ylang is known to stimulate hair growth. It can be used in hot oil treatment: mix three to four drops of ylang ylang oil in two to three tablespoons of olive oil or any other oil of your choice. Heat this mixture and apply it to your hair. The concoction prevents hair loss and stabilises the production of scalp oil. It is also very useful if you want to grow thicker hair and treat split ends.

If you are looking to uplift your mood, ylang ylang is the way to go. Just add a few drops of the oil to water and keep it aside, or spray the mixture in the air whenever you feel down. Ylang ylang is also used as a flavouring agent in food.

Fragrant frankincense

Acknowledged for its antiseptic and deodorising nature, frankincense has several health benefits. If you want smooth and soft skin, mix frankincense oil in floral water and apply it on the skin. It also helps in removing stubborn acne marks, stretch marks and surgical scars and rejuvenates the skin.

If you have persistant dandruff, application of frankincense oil is the perfect treatment for you. Frankincense also relives joint and muscular pains and improves concentration. Since it has rich antiseptic properties, it can be used to clean home spaces such as kitchens and bathrooms.

Frankincense helps a great deal in killing viruses and bacteria, and disinfecting all indoor spaces. Add a couple of drops of the oil to a mixture of baking soda and lemon essential oil and scrub your kitchen sink. You will see how smoothly it removes all the grease, leaving the surface squeaky clean and fragrant.

You can also add a few drops of frankincense oil to a little water and use it as a last rinse while cleaning your fridge. Use frankincense as a room freshener by mixing a few drops of its essential oil in water and spraying the mixture around the house for a fresh feel.
Calming tuberose

Though not a very popular herb, tuberose has a wonderful aroma and only blooms at night, which is why it is called raat ki rani. You can use this flower as a deodorant, stress buster, sedative and to reduce inflammation. It also stimulates and increases blood circulation, especially in winters.

Tuberose is excellent for smoothening hair, keeping it frizz-free and giving it a natural sheen. Its moisturising properties make hair silky and lustrous.

The oil extracted from this flower is used to relax and calm the brain and muscles. Since it soothes frayed nerves, it is effective in treating insomnia and stimulating blood circulation in the body. Add two to three drops of tuberose oil in your water and take a warm, aromatic bath. You can also spray it in your room for a floral aroma around you.

Due to its long-lasting aromatic properties, tuberose is excellent for dealing with body odour and can be used in soaps as well. Use tuberose essential oil as a massage blend to treat dry skin and cold during winters. It also has anti-inflammatory properties to deal with skin infections.

Add a few drops of tuberose oil in lukewarm water and massage the skin. This helps in keeping your skin soft and young. Use this mixture as a moisturiser for long term benefits. Inhale tuberose oil for a few minutes to treat nausea.

With a little time and effort, you can grow a home garden of herbs that benefits you in multiple ways. The aroma that fills your senses when you enter your home after a long day at work will sure make it worth the effort.

(The author is chairperson, Blossom Kochhar Group of Companies)

Published 30 September 2016, 15:28 IST

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