On stress & oils (Part 2)

****** First published March 18, 2019 *****

[Continued from last week.]

There are a number of other oils that are beneficial for reducing stress, anxiety, and the concerns that accompany them.

Palmarosa - Cymbopogon martinii


Palmarosa oil is steam distilled from the grass and is a relative of lemongrass and citronella. It is usually pale yellow to pale olive, non-toxic, and like bergamot and melissa, is both calming and uplifting. Palmarosa is considered to be a wonderful tonic for the nervous system, combating both nervous exhaustion and general stress. Both the herb and the oil are used in Ayurvedic medicine, and the oil is considered to be 'cool' and 'moist', clearing heat and strengthening yin (Traditional Chinese Medicine). It centers and comforts the Heart (4th) chakra, and can encourage adaptability and feelings of security, as well as helping those who have trouble with change. Being antiseptic and hydrating, palmarosa is also beneficial for numerous skin conditions, many of which can be worsened by stress.

Sandalwood - Santalum album


Sandalwood has been used for centuries for its wood, its oil, and as incense. It is actually a semi-parasitic plant, as the young trees need to attach to another to properly root in the earth. Only the mature trees are harvested, as the essential oil is said to not be as potent when the trees are still young. It is used in many religions in a variety of ways, as the scent is extremely calming, grounding, and aids in meditation. In Hinduism, the wood is ground into a paste and used to note religious utensils and icons, as well as being applied to the neck, chest, or forehead of devotees. The oil is also used in Ayurvedic tradition and is thought to bring one closer to the divine. In Buddhism, sandalwood is a popular incense burned as an offering to the Buddha. The scent is believed to keep a person's alertness while meditating. It lessens the need to overthink things and helps us to accept reality as it is. Sandalwood links the Root (1st) chakra and the Crown (7th) chakra and assists us to be present in our daily lives. The oil helps to clear the mind and opens our highest spiritual channels.

{NOTE- S. album has been severely overharvested, and populations of the plant are dwindling in India. The oil is produced from the heartwood of the mature trees, so the tree needs to be cut down in order to make the oil. Santalum spicatum (from Australia) is a great alternative to the at-risk S. album from India. }


Neroli comes from the blossoms of the bitter orange plant. It has a remarkably strong scent, so it is best used sparingly. The oil is a gentle tonic for the nervous system, helping to address nervous strain, anxiety, fear, depression, and anger. Neroli can calm heart palpitations, restlessness, and counter insomnia. It is useful for people who are easily agitated and gives strength and comfort to those suffering from emotional problems and deep emotional pain. The oil is uplifting to the spirit and eases away our mental and emotional tensions. On an energetic level, neroli can be used for self-purification and subduing negative thoughts.

Cedarwood - Cedrus atlantica


Cedarwood is another oil that has a rich history. The Egyptians used it in the mummification process as it resisted decay; as well as for incense, perfume, and cosmetics. The oil is steam distilled from the wood or sawdust and is a yellowish, viscous liquid. Cedarwood is a wonderful overall tonic for the body, but is extremely beneficial as a sedative. It is very soothing to the mind and relieves tension, general stress and anxiety, as well as helping us with insomnia. The oil can also help us to overcome general lethargy and poor concentration. Cedarwood is especially useful as a meditation aid, as it gives us a sense of balance and can be used to deepen our connection to the divine. The scent is very grounding and can offer us strength and stability in a crisis, along with boosting our confidence and overall morale. Cedarwood's energy is considered to be 'warm' and 'dry'.

Jasmine - Jasminum grandiflorum


Jasmine used in aromatherapy treatments is typically in the form of an absolute. This is obtained through solvent extraction, as opposed to steam distillation. Jasmine oil has a thick consistency and is a dark orange in color. It is another scent that can be used as an overall tonic for the body, however, jasmine is often used for relaxation. Jasmine's heady scent can help release tension, calm nerves and nervous anxiety, and restlessness. It is frequently utilized as an anti-depressant, often treating women suffering from post-natal depression.

Jasmine is also considered to be an aphrodisiac. As many sexual insecurities can stem from anxiety, tension, fear, and stress, jasmine's ability to relax us may explain how it came to be known as such. Jasmine has other associations with the reproductive organs - specifically for women. It reduces menstrual cramps, and in China is used to aid in childbirth.

The scent of jasmine dissolves away our insecurities. It supports and relaxes the Qi of the Heart, as well as heightening our spiritual awareness. Many have said there is "divine energy" contained in its scent, and it is often referred to as "King of the Night" (referencing the night bloming jasmine). As Culpepper stated, " It disperses crude humors."

Helichrysum - Helichrysum italicum


Helichrysum is another wonderful oil that has a myriad of beneficial properties. The oil is yellow, sometimes with a reddish tint, and is considered to be non-toxic. It can be well tolerated by those with sensitive skin. Helichrysum (or Everlasting as it is sometimes referred to) can lift depression, reduce stress and stress related conditions, as well as treat nervous exhaustion. It can be extremely useful in helping with drug detoxification, as it will help calm the nervous system during the stressful time. Helichrysum can also be used to balance stagnant Qi and move us through "stuck" conditions and emotions. It can help us restore compassion, both to ourselves and to those around us.

Stress, anxiety, and their brethren affect everyone. Thankfully, there are plenty of natural ways to ease our tensions and relax our minds. We can incorporate these oils in so many different ways: massage, diffusers, inhalers, cosmetics and beauty aids. Using these oils on a regular basis will assist us in taking a larger part in our own well-being, as well as helping us to make "scents" of our daily lives.