by Mary Ellen Dorey
Everything we breathe goes into the nose, passes through the sinuses up to the olfactory bulb and sends nerve impulses to the limbic brain, which houses the seven glands that control emotional responses. By inhaling specific essential oils, we can stimulate these glands to release hormones that will stimulate our creativity.
Euphoric odors from essential oils such as grapefruit, clary sage, jasmine and rose otto stimulate the thalamus to secrete the neurochemical enkephalin. Not only are enkephalins pain killers, but they can also induce feelings of well-being or euphoria, making us feel uplifted.
Aphrodisiac odors from flowers such as ylang ylang, clary sage and jasmine stimulate the pituitary gland to secrete endorphins. Endorphins are the happy hormones which are not only relieve pain, but produce euphoria and sexual arousal. Of course, the pituitary also governs other glands in the body, such as the adrenals, thyroid and sex glands.
Feeling euphoric probably means feeling mighty creative, too. Those with mental fatigue, difficulty concentrating or forgetfulness can take a whiff of essential oil of black pepper, lemon, peppermint or rosemary. These oils stimulate the amygdala and hippocampus to give better concentration, recall and focus.
If feeling bored and lethargic, try inhaling pure essential oil of cardamom, juniper, lemongrass or rosemary. These oils stimulate the locus coeruleus, which releases noradrenaline into the brain to wake us up and feel invigorated. That will get the creative juices flowing.
Essential oils are extremely concentrated; a little bit goes a long way. To inhale and keep the essential oil fresh, take a few drops onto a cotton ball and keep it in a plastic bag or use an inhaler. Refresh as needed. For topical application, make a palm blend. Use a small amount of unscented cream or botanical oil in the palm of the hand. Add one drop of essential oil and rub hands together to blend. Inhale and apply to the center of the chest and the back of the neck and shoulders.
From a sustainability standpoint, great amounts of plant material are required to produce a tiny amount of essential oil, so with increased popularity and usage, many plant species are becoming endangered. To use them safely and sustainably, always dilute before applying to the skin; don’t apply to babies or animals (even diluted); and don’t ingest essential oils.
Registered Clinical Aromatherapist Mary Ellen Dorey is the owner of Dorey Aromatherapy, in Plano. For more information, visit DoreyAromatherapy.com.