By Beverley Gray
Article first published in Alive Magazine
Winter holidays can be fun and relaxing getting together with friends and family to eat, drink, and make merry. Aromatic botanicals are traditionally a significant part of winter celebrations, from aromatic mulled wine to spicy gingerbread cookies.
Scents of Tradition
Mouth-watering spices like cinnamon, cardamom, and ginger are yummy in holiday baking. Essential oils of these spices can be used to scent a room or added to a bath or carrier oil for massage.
Cinnamon (Cinnamomum zeylanicum) essential oil gives a room a spicy, fresh-wood scent which helps arouse the physical senses and creativity. It is warming and stimulating and is useful in strengthening and toning the respiratory, circulatory, and digestive systems. The essential oil of cinnamon is very powerful and should not be used directly on your skin without a carrier oil. When blending cinnamon essential oil, remember it is a base note which holds the blend together but does not overpower.
Cardamom (Elettaria cardamomum) is a wonderful spice. It has a pleasing camphoraceous scent that is sweet and spicy. The essential oil is comforting, refreshing, and uplifting. Cardamom oil is an aphrodisiac and relieves cramps and flatulence. It can be added to the bath with a carrier oil such as sunflower oil. Or add a couple of drops to your aromatherapy diffuser to make a room smell like holiday baking is in the oven.
Ginger (Zingiber officinalis) essential oil smells almost identical to fresh ginger root. Ginger targets the digestive and immune systems and is probably best known for relieving indigestion and flatulence. It is also helpful for arthritis, rheumatism, muscular pain, cold and moist conditions, and poor circulation.
Oils for Spirit, Strength, and Courage
When the Christ child was born, it is said that three wise kings knelt down beside Him and offered gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Frankincense is known as the oil of spiritual calm, while myrrh amplifies strength and courage.
Frankincense (Boswellia carteri)
Known as the oil of meditation, frankincense’s aroma helps produce a heightened awareness of spiritual calm and can assist in fortifying and quieting a busy mind, while encouraging deep breathing. In the face of adversity or hardship, frankincense helps to reduce tension and give strength. It can also be used in a diffuser for symptoms of colds and flu such as coughing and congestion. Added to carrier oil such as sunflower or olive oil, frankincense can be used topically to help alleviate flatulence. Simply massage over the lower abdomen.
Myrrh (Commiphora myrrha)
Myrrh resin has a spicy-balsamic scent. It is purifying and restorative, amplifies strength and courage, awakens the spirit, and calms fears. In ancient times it was commonly used as a perfume, incense, and medicine. Myrrh is an anti-inflammatory and antiseptic, which makes it great for treating skin conditions and infections. It is also helpful for treating respiratory infections, catarrh (nasal discharge), chronic bronchitis, colds, and sore throats. Topically, myrrh oil can act as a digestive tonic to help with diarrhea, flatulence, hemorrhoids, and loss
Enliven your home and family with these scents of the season.
An Ancient Tradition
Traditionally, Christmas trees were considered a symbol of new life and hope. Their greenery was seen as a sign of life when all other plants lay dormant for the winter. The first Christmas tree in Canada was recorded in 1781 in the home of German settlers. It wasn’t until the late 1800s that the Christmas tree became a popular family tradition in this country.
Today many families choose to use an artificial Christmas tree. Essential oils of spruce, pine, or fir can be sprinkled onto the tree or into an aromatherapy diffuser to make the whole house smell like a Christmas forest.
Oh, Christmas Tree!
4 drops spruce (Picea mariana)
4 drops fir (Abies balsamea)
4 drops pine (Pinus sylvestris)
Add essential oils to your aromatherapy diffuser and enjoy the Christmas tree aroma in every room of your house.
Holiday Spice Room Spritzer Blend
Spray this blend of essential oils around your home to liven up your holiday season.
20 drops orange (Citrus sinensis)
10 drops clove (Eugenia caryophyllata)
8 drops cinnamon (Cinnamomum zeylanicum)
1 tsp (5 mL) vodka
1/2 cup (125 ml) distilled water
Add vodka to empty spray bottle, add essential oils, and then add distilled water. Shake well before use. Avoid contact with eyes.