Simply put, aromatherapy is the use of pure essential oils to enhance physical and mental well-being. Essential oils are aromatic, highly concentrated distilled essences of plants. These oils can be used in many differently ways. They can sometimes be used as a natural adjunct to, or substitute for prescription or over-the-counter drugs. We can also use them simply to make ourselves feel better. It is believed that particular fragrances evoke particular moods and cause secretion of the brain chemicals that are associated with those moods.

Aromatherapy uses the sense of smell to enrich our experience of the world. Smell plays a significant role in our daily perceptions and how we react physically, emotionally, and mentally to what is going on around us. Various scents help us orient ourselves to the season of the year, our location, and situations of danger.

Essential oils not only affect the physical but also the mental and emotional aspects of our lives. The inhalation of certain essential oils have been associated with the release of brain chemicals that stimulate various emotions. For example, lavender oil has the ability to evoke and increase the release of serotonin, thus producing a calming effect on the body. Some essential oils also have healing properties when applied topically to the skin.

When buying essential oils, make sure they are 100 percent pure botanical extracts, not chemical reproductions of different fragrances. Chemical reproductions may smell pleasant but are not as effective in aromatherapy because they do not evoke the same biochemical response as natural pure essential oils.

CBD Oil for Relaxation

Essential oils containing medicinal cannabis or CBD (Cannabidiol) can trigger the endocannabinoid system (ECS) and help an anxious person relax. The endocannabinoid system is a wide network of receptors found throughout the body and brain. These receptors respond to cannabis compounds in the same way as they do to natural cannabinoids produced by the body itself. The effects are felt quickly, especially when taken orally.

Purchasing essential oils

  • Buy in small quantities
    • the oxygen in partially filled bottles deteriorates the oil
  • Read the label carefully and make sure it says ‘pure essential oil’
  • Keep in mind that the availability of different plants and extraction methods used affect prices.
    • There can be great variations in the costs of different oils.

Below is a list of fragrances, the moods they evoke and the brain chemicals they stimulate.

Moods They Evoke
Brain Chemicals they stimulate
lavender calm, happy serotonin
chamomile relaxed serotonin
majoran calming serotonin
orange blossom relaxed serotonin
cardamom energetic norepinephrine
juniper optimistic adrenaline
rosemary optimistic norepinephrine
lemongrass refreshed norepinephrine
jasmine warm dopamine
clary sage friendly dopamine
patchouli outgoing dopamine

Not sure which essential oil is best for you? Download and print the image below. Then record your results after using a specific oil. This will help you determine which oil is best to use for pain, anxiety, frustration, restlessness, and insomnia.