The art of using aroma to influence thoughts and inspire various moods or even to promote concentration, dates back to the beginning of civilization. As with a lot of early cosmetics and makeup, the ancient Egyptians seem to be one of the pioneering civilizations that manipulated scent for benefit of the human experience.
There are of course plenty of other civilizations that utilized natural plant essences for a variety of reasons, including for use in beauty products and medicines. India and China for example have historical ties to aromatherapy, however, since we’ve unearthed so much from ancient Egyptian times due to the lure of the period, we know for sure they crafted special containers to house these precious and rare oils.
Essential oils were considered rare back then, just as some of them are today hard to come by. If you can imagine how much plant material is needed to produce small amounts of essential oil today, and the sophisticated extraction method and machinery to get the oil, imagine how difficult it was back then. They had remedial technologies, and it likely took quite a bit of human intervention to produce these precious oils.
Frankincense and Myrrh
These two resins come from trees, and their essential oils are a little on the pricier side of things in today’s world. They were greatly prized and spoken of in biblical times (Myrrh even have a spot in one of the most popular Christmas songs ever – What Child Is This, as the gift of the three wise men to the baby Jesus). These two resins were used in a huge variety of applications, and were considered to be just about worth their weight in gold.
Another gift spoken of in this popular Christmas tune was incense, which was considered a luxury and highly regarded for its medicinal and recreational purposes. They could be used as medicinal remedies, for beauty purposes, and even served to seal surfaces making them waterproof. Related: Emotional Impact of Scent
Frankincense and myrrh essential oils are known to promote a deep and rejuvenating sleep when used as aromatherapy. The earthy fragrance of these two resin essential oils also promote peaceful thoughts and calm the nervous system. They also have a reputation for being a great aromatherapy to enjoy while engaging in spiritual activities like meditating or praying.
Aromatherapy for Comfort
Think of scents that immediately bring you comfort. This means something different to just about everyone. One person may think of the smell of a turkey cooking or cookies banking brings comfort and security. Others may think the scents of cinnamon, vanilla and other “warming” spices evokes feelings of peace, security and comfort.
If you grew up on a farm, you may think the familiar scents of hay and grain bring feelings of warmth, security and familiarity. A lot of the feelings that aromatherapy can bring come from nostalgia, experience and associations to times in life that brought comfort, peace and joy. This is a big part of why so many people have taken to collecting candles and other scented products that can fill the house with any smells which are desired.
Aromatherapy for Focus and Concentration
Fragrances can also help us to reach our potential cognitively. Lavender and rosemary essential oils have been studied for their impact on the brain specifically for enabling deeper focus and concentration. Lavender essential oil has been studied for potential in reducing anxiety, stress and depression in addition to helping the mind zero in and focus single mindedly, blocking out the internal chatter that typically interferes with the deepest concentration. Lavender has also been studied for its impact on sleep.
There are even supplements with edible versions of lavender oil that purport to facilitate better nights of sleep and deeper relaxation. Rosemary has been studied for its impact on focus and concentration also. There are some compelling findings in these rosemary essential oil studies, so it's definitely worth a look. Rosemary essential oil has multiple therapeutic benefits in addition to this.
Essential Oils for Easier Breathing
Do you have a cold, a sinus infection, or persistently stuffed up nose or sinuses? You may be able to breathe easier if you inhale a few different types of essential oils. The first and most obvious are those in the camphorous/minty family. The obvious camphorous essential oils would be the mint family like peppermint and spearmint, however you'd get the most bang for your buck with eucalyptus if you're looking for something that seems to have an immediately noticeable impact on clearing your sinuses.
Other oils in the camphorous family are rosemary essential oil (found in our Natural Shine Enhancing Shampoo product), tea tree oil (found in our natural deodorant product), and bay laurel. Another oil you will want to consider for clearing sinuses as well as for its potential for reducing breathing issue duration associated with colds, is oregano oil.
You can take this oil orally, or use it in a diffuser. It actually has additional benefits when taken orally. It is known for helping to clear up candida (yeast overgrowth) and also has a reputation for helping to clear up infections and help keep colds at bay. Related: Best Antibacterial Essential Oils for Killing Bacteria Without Drying Skin