Before I started working with essential oils and studying the different properties of herbs, I thought aromatherapy was just a bunch of junk. I mean really… smelling different things can make you feel differently?
But our sense of smell is one of our strongest senses. Smell triggers so many memories, and such strong reactions. How about the scent of fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies? That makes me think of being a kid, especially at the holidays. Fresh tomatoes? Brings me right to summer, especially when mom used to have a garden and we would sneak tomatoes off the vine to eat while we played.
And believe it or not, aromatherapy is all around us.
Those cough drops that clear out the nasal passages when you have a cold? They have eucalyptus in them. You may also find eucalyptus in mouth washes, aftershaves, vapor rubs, and products for oily skin and hair. Eucalyptus has a soothing, cooling sensation, and an unmistakable scent.
Do you ever have a cup of peppermint tea if you’ve got an upset stomach? It’s a good tummy-soother. Mint is another one that cools… and is a popular choice for foot rubs.
And if you like your outside time in the summer but hate the bugs, you probably have a citronella candle or two. The scent is a natural insect repellant, and not terribly heavy like the scent of some chemical repellants. (Plus it doesn’t have the potentially dangerous DEET chemical!) I find that my homemade citronella/eucalyptus lotion works better as a bug repellant than any store brand! As we get closer to the buggy months, I’ll give you a quick and easy recipe for homemade bug repeller that’s safe for the whole family.
But actually, none of these things convinced me that aromatherapy was the real thing. Here’s my story — I had mice in my apartment when I lived in Vermont. And when I see a mouse, I turn into that lady from the Tom & Jerry cartoons, who hopped up on a chair and screamed her head off every time she saw Jerry Mouse. I freak out! Now, to me, dead mice are just as bad as live ones, so traps were out. I wanted a natural way to get rid of them. A little internet research found that mice don’t like the smell of peppermint. I didn’t believe it, but I bought some peppermint essential oil and put a few drops on cotton balls and tucked them into the corners of my apartment.
I never saw another mouse in the house!