Ask the Pharmacist: Surprising health benefits of winter essential oils
Essential oils, when used correctly, have profound and potent actions on the body and impact your metabolic pathways similarly to drugs and dietary supplements.
If you inhale a specific oil, or put it into a diffuser and aromatize it, you will be harnessing a natural healing modality. If you apply an oil, for example tea tree oil, you will be utilizing very strong anti-fungal and antiseptic benefits.
Today, my focus is on some winter essential oils which can help restore balance to the dreary, cold winter months ahead. Here are the best EOs derived from trees and plants which thrive in winter and high altitudes:
Cypress (Cupressus sempervirens)
The clean, fresh scent of Cypress will ‘wake’ you up and make you feel more energetic. In my opinion, this EO could be inhaled or applied to your legs (in a carrier lotion or directly) a half-hour before you go out for a run, or to the gym.
You may be able to run faster, or take on more weight during leg lifts. Apply one or two drops to your feet or legs prior to working out.
Be mindful of others and do not apply too much of this EO because it has a strong scent, and it contains “camphene” (a strong antiseptic) which may be off-putting to other gym members.
Juniper berry (Juniperus communis)
The berries of the coniferous tree called Juniper give us this beautiful, calming essential oil. It has a strong woodsy but clean aroma. It is thought to support urinary tract health and issues related to the kidneys. It may have a use for reducing pimples and improving complexion. You could put a drop into your face moisturizer.
Because of the clean scent, most people diffuse Juniper berry EO. It has a grounding effect so think about putting three drops in your diffuser and keeping it in your office.
Siberian fir (Abies sibirica)
The Siberian fir tree grows very tall and in harsh, cold weather like Russia and Canada. The strong woody scent has instant calming and relaxing properties. Essential oil of Siberian Fir may be helpful to calm the emotions and provide a sense of grounding when you feel like things are out of control. It’s akin to taking a hike in the forest and smelling the clean, fresh aroma of the fir trees growing along the path.
Peppermint (Mentha piperita)
Peppermint gives us that zingy, fresh aroma that most people associate with mint. It’s from the high menthol content, which is great for throat lozenges, mints/candies and also breath fresheners and toothpaste. The peppermint tree actually grows best in temperate climates, where it doesn’t get super hot or cold. But it’s very popular at winter time, especially because of candy canes and other minty deserts at the holiday table.
Diffuse peppermint or apply a dab to your temples if you have a headache. You can also put a drop into your smoothie for a unique, refreshing flavor.
Suzy Cohen is a registered pharmacist. The information presented here is not intended to treat, cure or diagnose any condition. Visit SuzyCohen.com.