Latin root gratia, meaning grace, graciousness, or gratefulness.
All derivatives from this Latin root “have to do with kindness, generousness, gifts, the beauty of giving and receiving, or getting something for nothing”
(Pruyser, 1976, p. 6)
Excerpt: Journal of Personality and Social Psychology (Feb. 2003)
Listen to this blog in 9 minutes below.
In Part I, I presented six reasons why “emotions in a bottle” are legit. These included:
- Smells can trigger an emotional response based on previous associations of the sniffer.
- Odors have been demonstrated to effect psychology, physiology, and biochemistry through their interactions with receptors in the body.
- The ability to detect odors has been correlated to neurological disorders and longevity, indicating how the sense of smell is intricately linked to health outcomes.
- Certain odors can also trigger memories based on one’s previous associations and evoke specific behavioral responses. These reactions can affect social interactions through the emotions they trigger. This psychological influence interacts with the odorants properties to additionally alter physiological responses.
- There are odor receptors throughout the whole body. This means that beyond smell, odorant molecules excerpt their own biochemical and physiological effects independently.
- Smell can impact emotional intelligence (EI), a determinant of social connection. (see references in Part I)
In summary, essential oils have the ability to modulate our mind and body due to their biochemical properties, the influence of their odorants on our receptors, and the scents’ association to the subject. Emotional oils blends combine synergistic single essential oils that are intended to create a specific effect on mood.
Due to the fact that we are knee deep in the holiday season, I choose a specific essential oil blend to exemplify these concepts.
How Emotions Be Stirred from the Sniff of a Bottle
‘Tis the season for gratitude! Still, there are those who are struggling from a loss, family triggers, or just being stressed out from the extra hassles. Basically, we all may need a little “olfactory boost” of gratitude at certain times.
Below is a list of essential oils that display how asynergism of oils, and their constituents, can combine to assist your body-mind to become more thankful.
The Oils Recipe for Feeling More Grateful
1. A Mix of Comforting Conifer Trees: Balsam Canada (Abies balsamea†) needle and Northern Lights Black Spruce (Picea mariana†)
I’ve previously discussed how phytoncides from conifer trees can uplift the mind, decrease stress, and support immune function. You can read about that here. This connection between the benefits of fir trees, a holiday season tradition of decking our halls with them, and our need for immune support during this sniffly time of year, must have been a common scents gift from nature .
You can learn 5 additional ways why “black sprucing” up your home for the holidays can make you burst even more with contentment here.
2. A Sacred Duo for Emotional and Physical Balance: Frankincense (Boswellia carterii†) oil and Myrrh (Commiphora myrrha†) oil
These sacred oils of the Bible have been used for religious and spiritual traditions throughout the century. The combination makes for a powerful duo physically and emotionally. Both oils contain sesquiterpenes, a class of terpenes that consist of three isoprene units. These compounds are known for their calming properties, ability to act as antioxidants, support for immune function, and assistance in cellular repair. Furthermore, there is some evidence that these constituents are able to cross the blood-brain barrier to benefit neurological health.
3. The Calming Citrus Scent of Bergamot (Citrus aurantium bergamia†) (Furocoumarin-free) peel oil
Bergamot is a member of the calming citrus oil family, which were highlighted for their beneficial immune support for back to school that kids and teachers alike could appreciate.
Bergamot essential oil has many studies supporting its effect on mood and resultant physiological correlations. Below are a few examples.
One study of 41 women demonstrated inhaling bergamot oil with water vapor influenced parasympathetic nervous system tone (the “rest and digest “response). Heart rate variability was used as a measurement for this. Bergamot also was shown to modulate stress, as measured by salivary cortisol. This was in reference to rest alone. Finally, improvements in subjective ratings of well-being were also reported.
An in vivo study with rats demonstrated the rodents who inhaled bergamot displayed less depressive behaviors.
Another study tested bergamot oil’s effect on mood in 57 subjects in a waiting area for a mental health treatment center. The researchers found that feelings of positivity improved after 15 minutes of diffusion.
4. The Balancing Chemistry of Coriander (Coriandrum sativum†) seed oil
In a 2015 literature review of coriander published in Filoterapia, it was stated, “Subsequently, coriander seed and herb essential oils have been actively investigated for their chemical composition and biological activities including antimicrobial, antioxidant, hypoglycemic, hypolipidemic, anxiolytic, analgesic, anti-inflammatory, anti-convulsant and anti-cancer activities, among others.”
This oil was shown to decrease anxiety-like behavior in rodents in this in vivo study. This is a nice change considering most experiments don’t cause stress relief of our four-legged friends.
5. The Heart Supporting Scent of Ylang ylang (Cananga odorata†) flower oil
This is one of my go-to oils for calming the nervous system and keeping blood pressure in a healthy range. It also has influence on brain activity.
6. The “Reset Refresher”, Vetiver (Vetiveria zizanoides†) root oil
Vetiver oil has been studied for its effects in vivo on calming and causing a “refreshing, alert” state.
7. The Tonifying Tension Relief of Geranium (Pelargonium graveolens†) flower oil
Geranium has been associated with the ability to decrease stress, tension, and enhance a state of calm. Its scent was even put to the test for helping moms to cope with the demands of labor. Geranium is also part of patenable PMS solution due to its hormonal balancing, tonic, and stimulating properties of organs.
This synergistic blend of essential oils can enhance gratitude by its aromatic effects of calming the mind, easing tension in the body, and promoting a refreshing and alert state. Furthermore, it enhances our sense of well-being with the addition of conifer tree blends whose scent reminds us all of the spirit of the season as the odors themselves modulate our physiology. Finally, adding in spiritual oils, high in sesquiterpenes, the ability to impact our brain and neurological system is enhanced.
All emotions can be treated as a guest and we can learn to embrace them, but sometimes we need a little help moving through them. That’s where essential oils come in!
That expression, “There’s an oil for that…” doesn’t sound so much like a marketing ploy from your oil enthusiast friends anymore, does it?
I’ll leave you with one of my favorite poems, in gratitude, by Rumi…
The Guest House
This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice.
meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.
Be grateful for whatever comes.
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.
— Jellaludin Rumi,
translation by Coleman Bark
What essential oils blends will you be using this holiday season?
Disclaimer: This information is applicable ONLY for therapeutic quality essential oils. This information DOES NOT apply to essential oils that have not been tested for purity and standardized constituents. There is no quality control in the United States, and oils labeled as “100% pure” need only to contain 5% of the actual oil. The rest of the bottle can be filled with fillers and sometimes toxic ingredients that can irritate the skin. The studies are not based solely on a specific brand of an essential oil, unless stated. Please read the full study for more information.
This material is for information purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, or prescribe for any illness. You should check with your doctor regarding implementing any new strategies into your wellness regime. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. (Affiliation link.)
Thanks for the images Pixabay!