Yesterday was a beautiful sunny 50 degree day that whispered of spring. Today is 36 degrees and there is sideways rain coming down. Brrrr! I have been fighting the winter blues this week and it seems like the full moon has everyone on edge. And that’s OK – it’s a season and it will pass. Until it does I am loading up my essential oils diffuser with Bergamot and Joy and Citrus oils because they help so much. I find that Bergamot is very effective for occasional winter blues and the smell is heavenly.
I was doing some research on essential oils for winter blues and came across a couple Scriptures to remind me that these really are God’s original design for us. Oils are referenced in the Bible many times and these stuck out for me today.
- Proverbs 27:9 “Oil and perfume make the heart glad…
- Psalm 45:7 “You love righteousness and hate wickedness;
therefore God, your God, has set you above your companions
by anointing you with the oil of joy”
Just think about how GOOD the Garden of Eden must have smelled with all the odor molecules of the plants and herbs and everything in pristine condition. We can only get a little bit of that now – but I know how different smells affect my mood. Good smells make me feel more cheerful. The chemical molecules in plants were created to help us feel stable and our sense of smell is a great way to experience that.
*note – I am only talking about pure, theraputic grade oils which are carefully distilled from plants. Fragrance oils and products containing them are often cut with synthetics and chemicals that are not good for us.
And now for some condensed science for the other research geeks out there, I also learned that only smells can stimulate amygdala in the limbic part of the brain – the emotional center. The stimulated limbic system can then activate the hypothalamus which in in control of our hormone levels.
Tracing the path of an essential oil’s fragrance through the olfactory system:
When a fragrance is inhaled, the odor molecules travel up the nose, and are trapped by olfactory membranes (see the Yale School of Medicine study for an excellent graphic of this). These membranes are very tiny, and well-protected by the lining inside the nose. They contain about 800 million nerve endings, that receive the micro-fine, vaporized oil particles, carry them along the axon of the nerve fibers and connect them with the secondary neurons in the olfactory bulb in the brain.
Each odor molecule fits like a little puzzle piece into specific receptor-cell sites lining a membrane, known as the olfactory epithelium. When stimulated by odor molecules, this lining of nerve cells triggers electrical impulses, which are then transported to the limbic system and olfactory sensory nerves at the base of the brain. The olfactory bulb then transmits the impulses to
- the gustatory center (where the sensation of taste is perceived),
- the amygdala (where emotional memories, such as fear and trauma, are stored), and
- other parts for the limbic system of the brain, passing between the pituitary and pineal glands.
Because the limbic system is directly connected to those parts of the brain that control heart rate, blood pressure, breathing, memory, stress levels and hormone balance, the fragrance of an essential oil can have profound physiological and psychological effects.
I’m sure it gets way more complicated than that, but all I need to know is that these oils make people feel really good! The reports from our Oil a Month Facebook group have been amazing. Uplifted spirits, less crankiness, beating the winter blahs, and even calming down pets who are scared of storms. All from one little bottle of oil.
If you would like to try some oils out, you can learn more and order at www.youngliving.org/vhelser