Soothing HerbsAs the holidays approach, people find added stress in their lives and hope to eliminate the adverse feelings that go with it. Lavender, Peppermint, and many other plants can help! Many are learning that aromatherapy, the therapeutic use of pure essential oils extracted from plants, can definitely have an effect on emotions. According to the aromatherapy literature, lemon stimulates one's sense of humor and sense of well being, Lavender eases nervousness and insomnia, and Jasmine and Peppermint soothes a headache.
Many of the same plants that feed us, make clean air, beautify our lives, enhance our health and can even soothe us! Besides eating them, drinking teas made from them, bathing in them and enjoying their fragrance, we can use them as a form of aromatherapy.
Ever since the first early man touched a fragrant leaf or bloom and enjoyed its scent, plants have soothe and healed those who used them. Lavender was a favorite in the baths of the early Greeks and Romans, and they carried it wherever their troops went. Even then they knew the value of this plant to soothe and relax a weary, stress-filled person.
Today people are again realizing that plants can help with one of the worst problems of modern man, stress. I have always found gardening to be the most relaxing form of activity I know. In the winter a garden is in the window with the fragrance of the herbs and blooming plants that grow there.
In winter, plants such as Sweet Olive, Jasmine, Orange Blossom, and scented Geraniums take up on the window sill where the frost left off outside. Tending these plants is half the reward, with their beauty and aroma being the rest.
Essential oils, made with extracts of the fragrant plants can be used in baths, teas, or as a rub to soothe or stimulate one's personality. Many good aromatherapy tools are available. Little clay "dip sticks" that can be hung in cars and homes can be saturated with the oils that will then permeate the air surrounding them. I have found that little clay pots can also be saturated with oil and then even filled with dried herbs or potpourri for an attractive source of fragrance. Dabs of oil can also be placed on light bulbs, heater vents, neat wood stoves of fireplaces on pine cones, and in little simmer pots. Heat releases the oil into the air.
A small pot filled with dry Lavender blossoms (pictured) and saturated with the oil can be placed near the bed for a relaxing sleep aid. This technique can also be used with other herbal fragrances. Although there is more interest in Europe about aromatherapy, it is also starting to become known and used here.
So I guess when we were told to "take time and smell the flowers" there was something in that old word of wisdom! Take time to smell the evergreens!