The key to more energy and can be quiet in front of your face. Before going crazy trying to figure out – take a deep breath. Part of the solution is just a deep breath. Now that combines action with essential oils from flowers, fruit peel and leaves and you have a powerful natural remedy known as aromatherapy. My health promotion tip of the day is to inhale your way to a better state of mind.
Over the years many people have the view that “real medicine” must be unpleasant to be effective. On a superficial level, this makes perfect sense. Think of all the bitter pills and cough syrups taste horrible we all have experienced at one time or another. Even benign tasting medicines often on the negative connotations due to related adverse events. It’s really no wonder why we feel the way we do. Fortunately, this bias is not always accurate.
Stopping the “smell the roses” is not just a commentary on how mankind should slow down long enough for the simple pleasures of life to enjoy. It also speaks to the sensory stimulation that floral scents to give. In July 2010 issue of the journal Phytomedicine provides a recent illustration of how aromas can directly affect behavior and mood. A group of Brazilian researchers examined the psychological effects of an essential oil component, linalool, in mice. Linalool is a volatile monoterpene present in many aromatic plant species, including citrus and lavender flowers. The mice receiving inhaled linalool demonstrated a reduction of the aggression, anxiety, and an increase in social interaction. A separate experiment from May 2010 found the same “acute anxiolytic activity” of sweet orange essence in excited rats. (1,2,3,4)
Scientific studies in animals can provide valuable data. However, human studies always preferred. Fortunately, there are several studies recently that have examined the effect of aromatherapy in human subjects.
- A study unveiled at 340 dental patients who are spreading a lavender scent appointments with the dentist significantly reduced anxiety levels as assessed by objective measures such as a state guarantee Trait Anxiety Indicator and a Modified Dental Anxiety Scale. (5)
- A hybrid form of lavender is known as lavandin inhibited anxiety in 150 adult surgical patients. Researchers at United Hospital in St. Paul, MN said “lavandin is a simple, low-risk, cost-effective preoperative intervention with the potential to improve results and increase patient satisfaction.” (6)
- Younger patients seem to respond equally essential oil interventions: a) the use of ginger and lavender oil was recently shown to reduce distress in children with and without developmental- b) the stress of 36 female high school students decreased after the inhalation of bergamot oil – a kind of orange oil known for its soothing properties. Blood pressure, cortisol (a stress hormone) and heart rate were statistically lower in the student receiving bergamot aromatherapy compared with placebo. (7,8,9)
A trial even positive effects of aromatherapy discovered in older patients living with Alzheimer’s disease (AD). A combination of lemon and rosemary oil was provided to study participants in the morning. An essential oil blend consists of lavender and orange was administered in the evening. In the course of 28 days, a crossover study in 28 men and women, 17 of them were diagnosed with AD. All of the study volunteers benefited from aromatherapy care, but only the patients with AD found significant improvements in a number of specific measures of cognitive performance: The Gottfries, Brane, Steen Scale and the touch panel-type Dementia Assessment Scale. No adverse effects were noted during the aromatherapy part of the investigation. (10)
You may have noticed that the majority of studies with aromatherapy tend to evaluate its potential in promoting a more relaxed state of mind. But what about the energy boost that I in the first paragraph? It is important to keep in mind that anything that helps you feel more relaxed the potential to provide you with more energy. Anxiety and stress are “energy vampires”. The less reactive you are to the stressors in your life, the more energy you have to live as you want. I want the energy levels as a bank account. If you spend less anxious and stressed, have more energy to use the money for other activities.
That said, if you have more energy than you might have to consider experimenting with jasmine oil. A current study of the effects of topically administered jasmine oil studied 40 healthy volunteers. The recipients of the jasmine therapy showed an increase in respiration, blood oxygen saturation and systolic and diastolic blood pressure. The men and women also reported feeling more alert and more powerful on the emotional front. The authors of the experiment concluded that, “our results the stimulatory / activating effect of jasmine oil demonstrated and provides evidence for its use in aromatherapy to relieve depression and uplifting mood in humans.” (11)
There are several ways to administer aromatherapy in your daily life. You can diffusers and inhalers at many health food stores and online. Some people prefer to wear a bottle of essential oil in a backpack or bag instead. They simply add a drop or two to a tissue and inhale when they feel the need. But before embarking on a serious test using essential oils, you must first determine how they affect you as an individual. I think beginners should start by experimenting in a safe, controlled environment, such as your home. The last thing you want is to feel relax or stimulate while driving, at school or at work. Please note than a substance powerful enough to change your mind-set should be treated with respect.
Update: December 2010 - The term refers to essential hypertension high blood pressure that there is no identifiable cause. An article published in the October 2010 issue of the Journal of the Korean Academy of Nursing reported that a specific blend of essential oils can help to address this common condition. Researchers for the St. Mary’s Hospital in Seoul, Korea enrolled 42 hypertensive participants in an experiment that the effect of aromatherapy on the aortic pulse wave activity, blood pressure and heart rate variability assessed. Half the group was asked to a mixture of aromatic oils, consisting of a 2:02:01 ratio of lavender (Lavandula augustifolia), lemon (Citrus limonum) and ylang ylang (Cananga odorata) over a period of 3 weeks inhale. The placebo group was given an “artificial lemon scent ‘as a comparative model. Both groups were asked to the respective formulas inhalation twice daily for two minutes longer. The results of the study indicate that only the aromatherapy oil group significant differences in blood pressure” sympathetic nervous system activity “demonstrated. The findings suggest that these aromatic blend can be useful in case of long or short-term stress that might otherwise lead to negative physiological responses (12).