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When we inhale through the nose, airborne molecules interact with the olfactory organs and, almost immediately, the brain.
During inhalation, odor molecules travel through the nose and affect the brain through a variety of receptor sites, one of which is the limbic system, which is commonly referred to as the “emotional brain.”
The limbic system is directly connected to those parts of the brain that control heart rate, blood pressure, breathing, memory, stress levels, and hormone balance (Higley & Higley, 1998). This relationship helps explain why smells often trigger emotions. Knowing this, we can hypothesize how inhalation of essential oils can have some very profound physiological and psychological effects!
Lavender essential oil is known for its anti-inflammatory, antifungal, antidepressant, antiseptic, antibacterial and antimicrobial properties. It also has antispasmodic, analgesic, detoxifying, hypotensive and sedative effects. Lavender oil is one of the most well-known essential oils in aromatherapy.
Frankincense essential oil can immediately induce the feeling of peace, relaxation, and satisfaction. Add a few drops of frankincense oil to a hot bath for stress relief. You can also add frankincense to an oil diffuser to help alleviate anxiety or to experience a more relaxed atmosphere in your home. The fragrance of frankincense is said to increase your intuition and spiritual connection.
Peppermint essential oil acts as an expectorant and decongestant, and may help clear your respiratory tract. Inhale it to help clear nasal congestion and relieve cough and cold symptoms. Inhaled essential oil of peppermint helped to rapidly regress tuberculosis inflammation, with researchers suggesting it may help prevent recurrences and exacerbation of the disease.
Sage essential oil is known to boost libido and may improve sexual performance. It can even help treat psychological problems related to loss of libido and impotence. It’s believed that sage resembles rosemary in the way it can enhance memory and brain function. In a research study involving 20 healthy volunteers, sage oil caused suggested improvements in speed and phrase recall of interest. Meanwhile, the action of sage and its particular components are being investigated within the hunt for new medicines for the medical treatment of Alzheimer’s with promising results.
Lemon essential oil diffused in the air can lift mood and fight depression. A study was published this past March that evaluated how lemon aromatherapy affects pregnant women during bouts of nausea and vomiting. Astoundingly, of the 100 women that participated in the study, reports of symptoms dramatically decreased just after 2 days compared to the placebo group. After 4 days the essential oil group experienced an average of 33% decrease in nausea and vomiting!