Pleasant fragrances not only help to create a positive ambience, but can also be therapeutic and help the brain to relax. Aromatherapy is the practice of using fragrant oils or essence of plants, to aid good health.
“A home that smells fresh, makes its occupants and guests feel good. Smells are linked directly with emotions. A pleasant smell can enhance and uplift one’s mood, after a hard day at work,” points out Manita Bajaj, founder and CEO of Sattva Life. There are many ways to make a home fragrant – with reed diffusers, air freshening sprays, candles and potpourri.
“Although air sprays can be used to freshen up fabrics and the house, they are made of chemicals and may not be good for the health. Instead, one can light a non-scented candle and let it burn for a few minutes, until some molten wax forms. Then, add a few drops of essential oil of your choice and the aroma will spread around the room. This is an affordable and healthier way to have aroma at home,” suggests Bajaj.
Aromas for various purposes
Diffusers, which heat essential oils and allow their molecules to be released into the air, can also be used. Essential oils can freshen up and cleanse one’s home, adds aroma therapist, Dr Blossom Kochhar, chairperson of the Blossom Kochhar Group of Companies. “Some essential oils can have a relaxing effect. Some oils can be uplifting and stimulating, while others even have aphrodisiac properties,” explains Kochhar. Sandalwood has a pleasant, woody smell that instils a sense of inner peace and helps meditation. Jasmine is a subtle and evocative fragrance, which acts as a stimulant, anti-depressant, anti-spasmodic and antiseptic.
“Jasmine generates a good feel, while revitalising and restoring one’s energy. Lavender has calming properties, which help the body and mind to relax and helps fight insomnia and headaches. Ylang Ylang (extracted from a star-shaped yellow flower) oil is ideal for the bedroom. Its aroma peps you up, acts as an aphrodisiac and also helps reduce fatigue and stress. When the flu is in air, add a few drops of eucalyptus essential oil to a diffuser, to prevent coughs and respiratory problems,” adds Kochhar.
“The fragrance of essential oils, can alter your mood, help concentration and rid the area of airborne bacteria,” adds Bajaj. The aroma of lotus (which is used in religious offerings), has medicinal properties and creates a spiritual ambience. The fragrance of the sacred plant Basil (Tulsi), has cleansing properties and strengthens the immune system. Lemon promotes purification and love, refreshes the mind and soothes one’s nerves, Bajaj elaborates.
Meena Patil, a home maker from Pune, who is fond of essential oils, shares “When my kids have their exams, I use aromatic oils at home. Rose oil eases stress and anxiety, while rosemary oil increases focus and concentration. Neroli oil (made from the flowers of the bitter orange tree) is a stress buster and relieves mental exhaustion.”
Tips to use essential oils at home
- For your drawers and closets, place cotton balls with a few drops of lavender oil.
- You can buy readymade potpourri or make it at home, by using dried rose petals and orange slices, mint, cinnamon and clove. Place the potpourri in corridors or on side tables.
- To clean kitchen counters, use tea tree and lavender essential oils, as these have antibacterial properties.
- For wiping floors, add few drops of lemongrass essential oil to a bucket of water. Lemongrass oil wards off insects. You can also freshen the bathroom, by adding a few drops of lemongrass oil into the toilet bowl.
- To rid clothes of a musty smell, put a few drops of lavender oil in a small spray bottle and spray it on the clothes, before ironing it.
- Using peppermint essential oil in a diffuser, helps to ward off red ants and cockroaches.
Approximate prices of products:
- Aroma oils (10 ml): Rs 250
- Herbal incense sticks (pack of 12): Rs 275
- Fresheners (350 ml): Rs 525
- Reed diffusers: Rs 700 – Rs 2,000
- Sandalwood oil (20 ml): Rs 600
- Lavender oil (20 ml): Rs 275
- Rose oil (20 ml): Rs 400