Evergreen: Perfect For The Holidays And Your Steambath
The scent of evergreen often brings the holidays to mind. It's also a perfect essential oil to use in your steambath.
Memory And The Smells Of The Season
Among the joys of the holiday season are the wonderful aromas wafting from all the rooms of your home. Whether it’s the delectable smell of baking cookies, or the warm, familiar smell of frying latkes, the holidays always take us back to memories of childhood and to the excitement of the season, the anticipation of unwrapped gifts, and the fun of being with family and friends.
There’s a reason why odor evokes memories. Studies have shown that the olfactory cortex – the part of the brain where smell is decoded – is tucked inside the brain’s limbic system and amygdale, where we store emotional memories. This is one reason why aromatherapy is such a powerful therapy – because smells, feelings and memories are so closely aligned. Smell can bring us back to a more innocent time, a time when the world was waiting for us to unwrap it, akin to all those gifts of the season.
Of course one of the most distinctive aromas of the season comes from the greenery we bring inside our homes - from the stately pines, firs and spruce, to name a few, that we craft into twinkling Christmas trees and decorative wreaths that we hang outside our doors.
These scents evoke memories from the trip we made to pick out the freshest tree with children jumping around, filled with anticipation and joy. The aroma that a newly cut tree brings to the house is, quite simply, unbottled holiday excitement.
Evergreen: More Than Just A Holiday Aroma
It might surprise you to learn that the evergreen’s essence has deep-rooted healing properties.
The Canadians tell a nearly 500-year-old story of how French explorer Jacques Cartier and his crew were marooned in the ice flows near Quebec - where scurvy threatened to kill them all. However, a tribal chieftain named Donacona, brewed pine tea, which saved all their lives. How could a simple tea have such an effect on dying men? Scurvy is primarily a lack of vitamin C; pine bark and needles actually contain vitamin C.
Winter, of course, is the season of colds and congestion and the aroma of evergreen can help provide relief for those blocked sinuses. Evergreen essence is also beneficial for acute and chronic bronchitis, coughs, sinusitis, arthritis, muscular aches and pain, rheumatism, colds and flu. This essential oil, when added to your steambath and inhaled through your mouth and nose, can work wonders!
A long-standing Japanese tradition, shinrin-yoku, translates to “taking in the atmosphere of the forest” and consists of a walk in the woods to ease the day’s stress. A Kyoto University study explored this custom, sending out two groups: one which walked in Japan’s ancient pine tree forests twice a day and one which didn’t. The effect on those who took the stroll through the woods was dramatic, with their hostility and depression dipping significantly.
Evergreens are also an analgesic, offering penetrating warmth to ease the pain and soreness often present in overworked or tired muscles. It is a particularly effective essential oil for those suffering from arthritis, rheumatism and other joint and muscle discomforts. And let’s face it, the holiday season can create its own brand of aches and pains – whether we’re cooking overtime in the kitchen, pushing through the crowds in the stores, or keeping up with over-excited kids and grandkids.
Dropping a little evergreen essence into your steam shower is a wonderful corrective to all that running around!
Evergreen And Other Scents Used In AromaTherapy
Aromatherapy has existed for thousands of years, but it wasn’t until the 11th century that steam distillation first made it possible to properly remove the essential oils from plant materials. Evergreen essential oils are produced by the steam distillation of needles or scales, twigs and even cones of the fragrant evergreen species.
Infusing your steam shower’s steamhead with a few drops of evergreen essence turns the steam shower into a holiday celebration of your own. The wonderful smell and the seasonal memories it suggests makes it a natural choice as you relax in the steam.
And don’t forget, the full variety of MrSteam’s aromatherapy essential oils offer several major health benefits:
- Relieve Stress. Just as the Kyoto University study demonstrated, aromatherapy is a popular form of stress relief, helping to soothe and reduce anxiety. It can also help combat depression.
- Aid Memory. It makes sense that aromatherapy, invoking our sense of smell which resides near the memory portion of our brain, can help us fight memory loss. Aromatherapy is often used as a supplemental treatment for dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
- Boost Energy Levels. We all need more energy during the holidays! The shorter days and all the rushing around we have to do can sap our energy levels. Essential oils may increase circulation, raise energy levels, and generally stimulate the body and mind.
- Help Healing. As stimulants, essential oils can help increase how quickly our bodies heal. This can be due to increased oxygen and blood flow to wounds as well as more internal healing processes like those following surgeries or illness.
- Soothe headaches. A possible side effect of holiday craziness are those pounding headaches that pop up at the worst possible time! Aromatherapy can not only soothe away your current headache, but possibly reduce the stress and anxiety that prompted it in the first place.
- Promote Sleep. With everything we have to do and the celebrations that go on long past our bedtimes, we might find it difficult to settle down for a good night’s sleep during this season. Luckily, aromatherapy can help us sleep restfully through the night, letting us wake with renewed energy each morning to face the day.
- Relieve Pain. Aromatherapy is useful in relieving a wide variety of pain. All those sore muscles and joint pain can be reduced or eliminated through this therapy.
Finally, as you breathe in the scent of our evergreen essential oil in your steambath, you might recall that among the gifts the Magi brought were frankincense and myrrh, both used as perfumed scents during the Biblical age. So it’s no wonder we all love the aroma of evergreen during this season!