USE IT FOR: BOOSTING BRAINPOWER
To prep for demanding mental tasks- like revising your budget or sorting out all the characters from Game of Thrones- treat yourself to the aroma of rosemary. In a 2012 study from the Northumbria University in England, researchers exposed participants to varying levels of the scent, then measured their blood levels of 1.8 cineole (one of the herbs main chemical components) and tested their cognitive performance. Those with the highest levels of cineole did best.
LAVENDER, CHAMOMILE + NEROLI
USE IT FOR: DE-STRESSING
Each of these oils is know for having soothing effects. If your goal is to unwind after a hellish day, a blend of all three may be ideal. A 2013 study found that this combo significantly dampened anxiety levels in intensive care patients and helped them get better, more restful sleep, too.
USE IT FOR: RELIEVING A STUFFY NOSE
A German study showed that the piney scent of eucalyptus reduced congestion in people with sinusitis. The menthol-like smell provides a cooling sensation that can make breathing seem easier. Several times a day, add a few drops of eucalyptus oil to boiling water and breathe in the vapor. Bonus effect: the oil has antimicrobial properties, so inhaling particles may help fight off infection in your nasal passages.
USE IT FOR: DECREASING ANXIETY
Who would have thought that the humble orange could be so potent? When Brazilian scientists had people inhale with sweet orange essential oil, tea tree oil or straight H20 before a stressful test, those who sniffed the orange aroma were able to stay calmer under pressure than the others. What's more, a 2013 study found that orange oil reduced nerves in kids at the dentist's office, lowering pulse by 6.7 beats per minute on average.
USE IT FOR: EASING NAUSEA
You've probably heard that eating ginger can help with motion sickness. But simply inhaling the scents quells nausea as well, per a 2013 study. Cancer centers use the essential oil to treat queasiness in patients who have undergone radiation.
USE IT FOR: EASING PAIN
Last year, Iranian researchers discovered that this ancient analgesic helped children who were recovering from surgery. In the study, one group of kids were given aromatherapy with damask rose oil every three hours, while another group inhaled the scent of almond oil placebo. After 12 hours, the pain scale for the kids in the flower group was significantly lower.