Black Mustard – Benefits and Uses Overview
Black mustard (Brassica negra) is also known as brown mustard, California rape, Chinese mustard, Indian mustard, white mustard, and wild mustard. This plant is cultivated in many parts of the More...
When you’re stressed out and your head starts to pound, you can gulp down a pain-reliever – but what if you could make your headache go away by simply sniffing a fragrance? Research has proven that certain scents calm us, banishing headaches and even lowering blood pressure. This is the basis for aromatherapy, an ancient art that’s made a big comeback in the alternative medicine world.
Aromatherapy is the use of scents—often in the forms of essential oils distilled from herbs and flowers—to heal or soothe some part of the body or mind. Aromatherapy was popular with the ancient Egyptians who embalmed with essential oils and also offered them as sacrifices to the gods. Archaeologists have also discovered evidence that the Eqyptians and ancient Greeks used scents, or aromatherapy, for medicinal purposes, too.
Our sense of smell is closely linked with some very primitive and very important parts of the brain. Doctors have found that people who lose their sense of smell—through sinus infections or brain injuries—often develop psychological problems. The limbic system, which allows us to detect some 10,000 different aromas, is also the part of the brain that controls emotions, moods, memory, and learning.
And studies have proven that specific aromas affect us in specific ways. For example, the scent of jasmine stimulates beta brain waves, which are good for alertness and problem-solving. That means a whiff of jasmine might help you do better on a tough test. Lavender, on the other hand, triggers more alpha brain waves, lulling us to sleep—or possibly banishing that stress-related headache.
Many people use aromatherapy to manage stress and the symptoms of stress, including high blood pressure, anxiety, and insomnia. Most essential oils contain more than 100 component ingredients, and each can have a different effect on the body. Essences that contain esters, like chamomile, are soothing to the body. Those that contain terpenes, like citrus and black pepper, are stimulating. Some aromatherapy oils also have antibacterial, anti-viral, and antiseptic properties.
Aromatherapy essential oils are often available at health food stores and online vitamin outlets. The best value will be in oils that are pure and not mixed other oils. Look for certified organic aromatherapy oils, which are untainted by pesticides or other contaminants.
Aromatherapy is considered a relatively safe alternative medicine practice, so you can safely experiment to see how different scents affect you. Lavender, lemon, peppermint, and chamomile are scents you might find pleasing and therapeutic. Try lemon when you first wake up, and peppermint when your mind feels muddled. To treat yourself, pour a few drops onto a cloth handkerchief and inhale the aroma. Don’t use aromatherapy oils on your bare skin, though; most would need to be mixed with a carrier oil before use so they won’t irritate your skin.
Aromatherapy can be fun to use. You might even find that you work more efficiently with a pleasant scent in the air: a Japanese study found that workers exposed to the invigorating scent of lemon cut their number of errors in half! And of course, your new aromatherapy hobby will make your house smell great.
The information on this site it intended for general inquiry and informational purposes only and should not be considered a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you think you, or those under your care, are ill or in need of health care, please seek immediate medical attention. Always consult a doctor or other competent licensed clinical for specific advice about medical treatments for yourself or those under your care. Any use of, or reliance in any way upon, the information contained in the AlternativZ site and/or accessed through this site is solely at your own risk.
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