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Real estate brokers have known the benefits of aromatherapy for years. Want to sell a house quickly? Have a fresh batch of cookies baking in the oven when you show it. The warm, heavenly aroma will transport potential buyers back to a pleasant place from their childhood. They'll associate that cozy feeling with your home, and bingo , you have sold your house !

Although aromatherapy has been in the spotlight lately, it's anything but new. Religious ceremonies throughout the ages have included the burning of special incense as part of their sacred rites. And European doctors in the eleventh century often used essential oils to prevent and to heal disease.

It's only recently, however, that researchers have discovered what our ancestors seemed to know instinct all along : certain aromas are more than just pleasant to our noses. They can actually alter our brain waves, which in turn can profoundly affect our moods. Scents can make us more alert. They can calm us down. they can lift our spirits. They may even be able to stimulate our immune systems. Scientists can actually study the different parts of the brain that each scents affects. Orange, jasmine, and rose, for example, alter brain waves in a way that produces calming sensations and increases your sense of well-being, while oils like rosemary and black pepper are more stimulating and increase your energy response. Because they're so good for you in so many ways, many of the recipes in this book call for a drop or two of essential oils of all kinds.

Ever wonder why one whiff from a bakery, a hay field, or a familiar after shave open the floodgates for long-forgotten memories ? It's because the olfactory nerve - the one found in the upper regions of the nasal cavity - provides the shortest, most direct route ton your limbic system, the brain's emotional mainframe and the warehouse for stored memories. The limbic system also is directly connected to those parts of the brains that control your heart rate, blood pressure, breathing , memory, stress level, and hormone balance. No wonder many holistic health practitioners incorporate aromatherapy into their practices.

As if  that weren't enough, you also can use many of these fragrant healers topically. For example, their astringent, antiseptic properties make them good killers of infectitious germs on cuts and abrasions on the skin. They also are great for nourishing mature, dry, or cracked skin.

If you're new to aromatherapy , however, you 're best off exercising caution when applying oils to your skin . For one thing, most of them are very strong and should be diluted with water before application. They can also cause allergic skin reactions, particularly among people with fair skin or freckled complexions. If you want to use an essential oil topically, perform a skin test first. Simply place a drop of oil on a cotton swab and dab it on the inside of your wrist or inner elbow. cover it up and keep it unwashed for twenty-four hours. If you don't experience any itching, redness, or rash , you should be able to use the oil topically\. Caution : Pregnant women should not use any oils topically.

you can buy essential oils at many pharmacies. But you 'll often end up paying a lot of money for a little bit of oil. Instead , you can make your own essential oils by soaking herbs, flowers, or roots in vodka or rubbing alcohol for ten to fourteen days. You then pour a small amount of the oil in a potpourri burner and enjoy the effects. The following primer will guide you through the most commonly used essences and their best uses.

Basil : A favorite in recipes of all kinds, basil is uplifting and refreshing. Using basil in a bath is popular in Ayurvedic medicine for cooling and warming the skin simultaneously. It also may be used as a bug repellant.

Black Pepper : Though inhaling too much at once can make you sneeze, black pepper is good for increasing energy levels. It's derived from the unripe fruit and berry of the peppercorn.

Cedar wood : Popularly used to scent wardrobes and dresser drawers, cedar wood is a sweet fragrance that clears the mind. Some people use it to relieve topically itchy skin. It is also an astringent for oily skin.

Citrus Oils : the next time you come home growling from a bad day at work, diffuse some citrus essence into the air. Citrus oils can chase away foul moods and create a bright, uplifting atmosphere. orange, lemon, lime, or grape fruit will do the trick.

Clary Sage : Another fine herb for combating depression, menstrual pain, and premenstrual syndrome. when diffused into the air or used as a massage oil, this essence is said to make you feel euphoric.

Eucalyptus : Popularly used in cold and flu chest rubs and cough drops, eucalyptus helps clear stiffness and congestion. It's also a classic antiviral and expectorant essence in aromatherapy.

Floral Oils : We love the way flowers look. And we love the way they smell. hands down, floral oils are the best for stress relief. They are also the fragrances that people tend to like best. experiment with flower essences of all kinds from the most basic rose to exotic wild flowers.

Geranium : Geranium is among the floral essences that relax you. It also has special properties as an antiviral and antifungal agent. It's gentle on the skin and works well topically.

Lavender : The queen of essential oils, lavender may be the most healing of all the fragrances. Researchers in hospital intensive care units have found that this sweet essence can improve moods and relieve stress.

Mandarin : Made from the sweet mandarin orange, this citrus essence is one of the most popular for alleviating anxiety and for lifting bad moods.

Patchouli : Cool and invigorating , peppermint is popularly used to relieve symptoms of cold, flue, and sinus congestion. Just place two or three drops of peppermint essence in a bowl of hot water and inhale. Peppermint also is a great mental stimulant.







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