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Manage (and Boost!) Your Mood with Essential Oils
This article originally appeared on beauty and wellness guru Nitika Chopra's blog, in honor of National Stress Awareness Day.
Over the last year I have been incorporating essential oils into my health and beauty routines (yes, I have more than one!) more and more. I find that a little bit of lavender goes a long way with helping me sleep. Rose oil mixed with sandalwood essential oil helps me connect to my feminine side while also keeping me grounded. And I’m totally loving the combination of lemon essential oil and frankincense essential oil because it instantly lifts my mood!
So when I met Shrankhla, the founder of UMA, I was instantly intrigued. Not only because she’s a fellow Indian girl making a difference through beauty, but also because her family owns a farm in India where they harvest the ingredients that they put into their incredible oils. Since essential oils have become so important to me over the last year, I knew she had to share her expertise with all of you! Check out her insights, tips, and more below in the first ever NitikaChopra.com guest post.
Born into a family of essential oil cultivators and Ayurveda practitioners, I naturally went through a phase where I shot down every ‘holistic’ lifestyle practice out there.
I told myself I knew better. I had a degree in engineering and a MBA, after all, But then, my precious department store creams and prescription topicals stopped working almost completely. I was breaking out despite the latest anti-acne formula and sleeping less and less each night.
Pushed to the edge, I let my mother’s advice – and natural essential-oil treatments – back into my life. Totally impressed by the transformation – in a few short months – I went back to learn that there truly is rich science and experience behind many of these long standing remedies.
Here are the fascinating facts!
Fact #1: Natural oils contain many powerful organic compounds that are commonplace in traditional medicine. For example, Eugenol – a compound that clove oil is very rich in – forms the very backbone of the painkillers commonly used in dentistry. When applied to the skin it delivers similar benefits by naturally working with the body to harmonize its normal functions and neutralize bodily crises, such as anxiety or pain.
Fact #2: Over 80% of what we put on our skin is absorbed and assimilated into our bloodstream – for better or worse. The active ingredients of essential oils go directly to work in the brain and nervous system.
Fact #3: The nasal passageway links directly to the part of our brain that controls emotion, smell, and memory. It’s responsible for forming our positive and negative associations toward scents. That means scents affect our psychological well-being in a big way; something that’s pretty clear when we smell something that quite literally transports us back to a memory.
Now let’s explore specific essential oils and how they can work – miraculously – for your mood.
- Calamus can help manage your cortisol levels and reduce stress symptoms and anxiety. Your increased heart rate, blood pressure, and respiration rate will fall back down into normal range, allowing you to calmly address any situation with a clearer mind.
- A few drops of peppermint essential oil is believed to support focus and mental acuity, and aid overall alertness – giving you that much needed clarity in times of stress
- Sandalwood oil has a deeply grounding effect on the mind and body. Believed to regulate body’s limbic function, this oil promotes balance and calm while also stimulating a healthy sense of confidence
- Rich in esters and acetates, Lavender has a very stabilizing effect on mood. It also soothes muscles and relieves fatigue.
- Chamomile contains the extraordinary chemical Azulene that acts as an anti-inflammatory and calms nerves, creating a sense of balance when you need it most.
- Rose and geranium essential oil have long been celebrated for their abilities to give you an emotional lift. These oils create a balancing effect on the mind and when applied to the skin.
- Jasmine’s sweet aromas can have a very pleasing and uplifting effect on the mind. Slightly sedative, a dash of jasmine can also promote restful sleep and help the body regulate its natural clock.
- The real worth of sage, a staple in many kitchens, may be in its mood-enhancing abilities. Sage aroma compounds may moderate Acetylcholine, an excitatory neurotransmitter whose disruption is a primary cause of depression.
Blending oils together takes the benefits up a notch! They draw on the top properties of carefully selected essential oils and significantly multiply the goodness that each oil delivers alone.
Sandalwood, for instance, is a great “wingwoman” oil, in that it lengthens the staying power of other essential oils and their aromas, and also boosts their therapeutic properties.
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