Spring is just around the corner, but the month of March has a way of stretching itself out like a lazy cat that doesn’t want to relinquish its cozy spot. The first day of spring is official on the 20th of March, with the Spring Equinox, but the warmth and growth we associate with spring doesn’t make itself readily apparent until April. Essential oils, which are highly concentrated plant extracts, are a natural choice for banishing the last of the winter blues, as what could be more effective than smelling and applying the essence of plants just as the world outside is breaking its dormancy?
Essential oil therapy, commonly referred to as aromatherapy, is a natural healing modality that involves topical applications and inhalation, of pure plant oils. Essential oils are easily distinguished by their chemical copies, as true essential oils will not smell all that pleasant if whiffed straight from the bottle. They are usually diluted in an appropriate medium and then applied to the body. While their inherent smell is therapeutic in its own right, it would be a mistake to limit their effectiveness to only mood elevation through scent. Essential oils will exert different healing actions on the body depending on the oil used.
Because the month of March is so devoid of greenery, oils derived from flowers have an especially beneficial effect on the mood. The oils of rose, geranium, and neroli, for example are specifically anti-depressant. Rose petals (ingested), have been used in herbal medicine for centuries to ease depression, and the application of rose oil externally for nearly as long. Using one or two drops of one of these oils in the bath, as an inhalation when dropped on a tissue, or mixed into a oil and applied as a moisturizer, can go a long way in uplifting the mood, particularly when used with other measures.
Citrus oils, such as bergamot, lemon, orange, mandarin, and tangerine are an excellent choice for this time of year. Citrus oils are high in antibacterial and antiseptic constituents, which help banish germs and keep late season viruses at bay. They also tend to have an astringent, slightly diuretic, and toning effect on the cells, which make them excellent for all around everyday use, but also effective for tackling cellulite. Citrus oils in general are cheerful and have a dispersing energy, (think of peeling a fresh orange that “sprays” it’s oils as it is peeled), which is useful for those that tend to dwell in less than positive spaces.
For enhancing energy for the burst of activities that spring will inevitably bring, the circulation enhancing oils are relied upon. Basil, marjoram, and rosemary are excellent oils for invigorating the circulation, stimulating the brain, and getting rid of accumulated toxins. The most effective way to utilize these oils is in a hot bath or shower, with the oils diluted in a bath gel or mixed into abrasives such as sea salt or sugar to enhance their effects. Scrub vigorously to aid the oils actions. Essential oils have a small molecular structure, and are readily absorbed through the dermal layer of our skin. Basil, marjoram, and rosemary oils should not be used by individuals with very high blood pressure, as they could be too stimulating.
When using essential oils, seek high quality products labeled as 100% pure essential oil. Spend some time researching both the company and the oils effects. If you prefer to simply buy products labeled as aromatherapy, read the label to ensure the company is adding real essential oils, and not simply the chemical fragrance.