Aromatic plants and their healing properties have been used for centuries, but not until a couple of decades ago was it discovered that, when distilled into essential oils, their intrinsic aromas contribute to many benefits. This discovery became an important part of holistic wellness in the form of aromatherapy – the healing practice of using natural essential oils to enhance psychological and physical well-being.
You’ve probably heard it before: scent has a strong connection to the nervous system, and memory and smell are closely intertwined. By using aromatherapy and scent rituals we can set the tone for a moment in our day. Whether we want to increase alertness and stimulate our energy or soothe and calm our senses, the properties of different essential oils can be used for different needs: lavender essential oil is known to help calm the body and mind, providing a sense of ease; frankincense’s grounding woody aroma imparts feelings of spiritual well-being and enlightenment – quite fitting for contributing to overall wellness – and orange blossom’s fresh and floral scent is a mood-booster.
However, many mainstream products use fragrance oil which is not the same as essential oil. The difference comes from the ingredients that compose each oil, and the source of those ingredients: essential oils are volatile plant extracts made from steam distilling or cold pressing various parts of a plant (flowers, bark, leaves or resin) whereas fragrance oils are synthetically made chemical scent compounds manufactured in a lab, and they can dry and irritate skin or cause other potentially harmful health problems. Fragrance oils can also be problematic for the environment due to the chemicals they contain.
At Leaves of Trees we take pride in sourcing only ethical, sustainable and high-quality ingredients for our all-natural skincare. For instance, to obtain our organic rose essential oil (used in our Rose Cardamom Lotion and Rose Argan Oil) we travelled to Morocco to buy the oil directly from a local cooperative that produces it by steam distilling rose petals to obtain the finest quality oil. It takes tens of thousands of rose blossoms, picked as they are unfolding in the early hours of dawn, to yield just one ounce of rose essential oil, making it one of the most expensive oils in the world and the rightful owner of the title “Queen of Oils.” This luxurious, sensual oil also contains a complex array of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants which result in excellent emollient properties for moisturizing dry skin, as well as antiseptic and astringent properties to treat acne and anti-inflammatory properties to combat redness and inflammation.
These are only a few examples of the benefits of essential oils and how they can set the tone for your day. Those small moments of nurturing self-care and intentional rituals will become gentle reminders to commit to kindness. Embrace them!