Aromatherapy suggests that you can extract volatile compounds from plants (known as aromatic compounds) and deliver them to the body via vapor or a topical solution for the purpose of altering mood, cognitive function or health.

Essential oils were traditionally used as antiseptics to prevent infections. But over time, the focus on the benefits of aromatics has shifted from their uses as topical treatments to their influences on the brain. It is believed that aromatic compounds are absorbed through the olfactory system and interact with the brain’s limbic system, creating a minor and temporary change in brain chemistry.

How does this happen?

Aromatics is one of the more fascinating areas of organic chemistry. Before studying aromatic compounds myself, it was somewhat difficult for me to imagine that aromas each have a chemical structure all their own: One of the more distinct aromas from a pineapple is created by the presence of methyl butyrate. Roses smell lovely thanks to the compound geranyl acetate. The refreshing scent of lemongrass is due to the chemical compound citronellal. It’s all rather incredible, isn’t it?

Understanding aromatic compounds makes it easier to see why aromatherapy is such a perfect complement to other wellness strategies. By using certain aromas in conjunction with activities such as reading, massage therapy or meditation, aromatic compounds can actually influence your brain’s chemistry to heighten your mood or sharpen your mind in a way that’s safe and all natural.

It should be noted that the quality of an essential oil is important for its efficacy. Different brands use different aromatic concentrations and not every brand places an emphasis on organic growing practices.


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