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Common Scents That Give Your Health a Boost

Common Scents That Give Your Health a Boost

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By    |   Monday, 12 December 2016 03:41 PM

Aromatherapy is a form of alternative medicine that's been used for centuries to heal the mind and body. Aromatherapy uses essential oils from plants that are either rubbed into the skin, inhaled, or put into baths. Even prestigious institutions like the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center uses aromatherapy to bring about mental and physical changes in the body.

Below are five common scents that can give your health a boost.


Peppermint. Peppermint is one of the most useful scents in your aromatherapy arsenal. First, sniffing peppermint oil can help you lose weight. A study conducted by neurologist Alan Hirsch of the Smell & Taste Treatment and Research Foundation in Chicago, found that people who used inhalers infused with peppermint lost nearly five pounds a month.

Hirsch says that peppermint has a direct effect on the area of the brain that tells you when you've had enough to eat.

Peppermint combats pain. A placebo-controlled study published in the International Journal of Clinical Practice found that migraine patients who applied oil of peppermint and menthol topically had less pain or were pain-free more often than those who were given a placebo. An earlier German study found that peppermint oil reduced pain as well as 1,000 mg of acetaminophen.

Peppermint has been used for centuries to ease tummy troubles, and a report published in BMJ found that 75 percent of people with IBS who took peppermint capsules twice a day reported fewer symptoms within four weeks. Other studies have found that peppermint increases alertness and concentration.

Eucalyptus. Eucalyptus has been used for centuries by Australian Aboriginals to kill germs. It has been used in ointments to relieve congestion, and when used in a steam inhalation, helps to loosen and relieve the congestion of coughs, bronchitis, and the flu. Aromatherapy advocates believe eucalyptus is good for the entire respiratory system and encourages deep breathing.


A study published in BMC Immunology found eucalyptus oil strengthened the immune system by boosting the response of macrophages, white blood cells that kill microbes and other foreign invaders.

Lavender. Lavender lessens anxiety and promotes relaxation and sleep. A study published in Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practices found that lavender aromatherapy reduced the symptoms of anxiety and depression in women at high risk for postpartum depression.


Researchers at the University of Leicester found that when the aroma of lavender was diffused into the room of elderly patients with insomnia, patients slept better and were less restless during the night.


Lavender may also protect against the risk factors for diabetes. A 2014 study found that treatment with lavender essential oil helped protect rats against diabetes by keeping blood glucose levels and weight gain in check.

Another animal study conducted by Germans in 2012, found that inhaling lavender vapor protected rats against oxidative stress, which is believed to be an underlying cause of cancer and many chronic diseases, including complications of diabetes.

Rosemary. British researchers discovered that merely sniffing a sprig of rosemary boosts learning skills and mood, showing for the first time that blood levels of 1,8-cineole, a chemical found in rosemary, improved cognitive performance.

The study, published in the journal Therapeutic Advances in Psychopharmacology, found that the higher the concentration of 1,8-cineole in the blood, the better the participants scored on tests in both speed and accuracy.

A study published in Psychogeriatrics examined the effects of aromatherapy in elderly people with dementia (more than half had Alzheimer’s). After inhaling rosemary and lemon in the morning, and lavender and orange in the evening, patients showed significant improvement in "personal orientation."

Rosemary is also calming. A Japanese study of healthy adults found that sniffing rosemary and lavender for five minutes lowered levels of cortisol, the "stress" hormone that's linked to chronic disease.

Vanilla. Vanilla helps ease nervous tension. When the Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center tested the effects of fragrances on people undergoing MRI scans, patients exposed to a vanilla-like aroma reported 63 percent less anxiety than those who didn't inhale vanilla.

Vanilla may also help in the romance department. A study by the Smell & Taste Treatment and Research Foundation found that vanilla could increase penile blood flow over 40 percent in men, and was especially effective in older men.

 

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Aromatherapy is a form of alternative medicine that's been used for centuries to heal the mind and body. Aromatherapy uses essential oils from plants that are either rubbed into the skin, inhaled, or put into baths. Even prestigious institutions like the University of...
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2016-41-12
Monday, 12 December 2016 03:41 PM
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