the plant-powered benefits of essential oils and how to use them

Think of your grandmother’s perfume, rain on hot ground, freshly brewed coffee or sea air on a summer’s day. Every scent evokes a feeling — but why?

While vision is often thought of as the strongest of the senses, and the power of our knowing nose is often eclipsed by our ability to see the world around us, we’re far more likely to remember something we smell over something we see, hear or touch. Harvard neuroscientist, Venkatesh Murthy, explains that this is because of our brain’s anatomy. Our olfactory system (sense of smell) is directly connected to the limbic system — a structure in our brain that houses the hippocampus, which is linked to memory, and the amygdala, responsible for our emotions, behaviour and motivation.

Put simply, scent, memory, emotion and mood are all intertwined and have a reciprocal relationship with one another. Given that human noses have over 400 scent receptors, our sense of smell is stronger than you might think — and for that reason, makes it somewhat of a super sense when harnessed in the right way. Insert: aromatherapy.

Sentimental scents

Aromatherapy is a time-tested practice that uses the aromas of essential oils (extracted from the leaves, flowers and stems of plants) to enhance our physical and mental wellbeing — and when you consider how highly emotive our sense of smell is, it’s not surprising to learn that aromatherapy has mood-boosting benefits. Beyond the function of fragrance, some essential oils have antifungal, antibacterial and antiviral properties which means they’re a great way to promote health and healing in your life.

Here are a few ways to enjoy the benefits of aromatherapy:
Soak yourself in an aromatic bath

​​Is there anything better than a bath? A simple yet often overlooked antidote to a long day, baths are a great way to relax (away from screens) and recreate that spa-like serenity at home. Up the relaxation ante by adding six drops of an essential oil into the tub to soothe both your mind and muscles, and help encourage a restful night’s sleep. To ensure suitability for your skin and refrain from irritation, dilute your essential oil with a carrier oil. We recommend Rosehip Oil for its hydrating benefits.

Scent your space with a candle

The soft illumination of a candle’s flame calms us on a primal level, and the aroma-filled flicker of a scented candle can transport us to a meditative state — prompting our body to relax, both physically and spiritually. 

A perfume with purpose

One of the easiest and quickest ways to experience the therapeutic benefits of essential oils is by using them topically*, which you can do in a number of ways. Place a few drops of your favourite blend into your palms and inhale slowly and deeply, or gently dot onto pressure points (such as your temples, wrists, forehead and nape of your neck). Pulse point rollers such as our De-stress Roll-on help to relieve anxiety at a moment’s notice.

Elevate any room with an essential oil diffuser 

The dappled light and delicate fragrance dispersed by an essential oil diffuser have an immediately calming quality. Transform your home into a haven with our most-loved Essential Oil Diffuser and enjoy its soul-soothing effect (there’s a reason it’s a best-seller).

Alter your mood

With the right blend, aromatic oils work with the olfactory system to shift your mood in a matter of minutes. Whether you want to feel calm, focused, energised or sleepy — there’s a scent for that. 

Scents to lift your spirits

For an instant mood-booster, try the zesty and sunny scents from citrus-based oils — think: orange, lemon, mandarin, frankincense and bergamot. Given their uplifting quality, these are ideal to incorporate into your morning ritual, stirring the senses and putting you in a great mood for the rest of the day. When used topically, citrus oils support the formation of collagen in the skin — which is no surprise given the restorative role vitamin C plays in our skincare.

Try our Clarity Blend

Scents to improve mental focus

Characterised by its sweet, woody scent, sandalwood has been used since ancient times to promote grounding and a sense of clarity — especially useful during meditation and chakra work. Similarly woody but slightly muskier is patchouli which is believed to boost focus and quieten a busy mind.

Try our Signature Blend

Scents to aid relaxation

Trouble switching off? Forget counting sheep. Oils with lavender, chamomile and cedarwood have mild sedative properties to promote relaxation and healthy sleep, as well as calming qualities that help settle emotional imbalance. 

Try our Spirit Blend

Scents to relieve stress

The sweet, soothing scents of ylang ylang, geranium and petitgrain stimulate the nervous system and are used to reduce tension and discomfort. 

Try our Calm Blend

Scents to help heal

Whether you’re experiencing nausea, indigestion or butterflies, peppermint helps settle the stomach — and when applied topically, peppermint oil can relieve pain, aches and itching. To treat congestion, eucalyptus works wonders on the respiratory system. Used together, peppermint and eucalyptus invigorate the senses, clear your airways and alleviate cold symptoms.

Try our Breathe Blend

It’s evident how much of an impact scent has on us. In terms of memory recall and the changes to mood and emotions, your body behaves differently when met with a certain scent. And so by harnessing the power of aromatherapy, you can really start to transform your day-to-day life and improve your overall wellbeing. For other ways to transform your day, read our blog on self-care rituals that you can easily incorporate into your daily routine.

* Essential oils are highly concentrated, so we recommend patch testing before finding the right blend for you.