7 Essential Oils with Serious Health Benefits
Use these scents to conquer any situation effortlessly, from a workout to a job interview
At face value, aromatherapy might seem a little kooky. But there's no denying the science: Study after study shows that scents have real brain and body benefits, including the ability to tame tension, boost energy, ease pain, and more. So we rounded up the perfumes with the most powerful study-backed perks that will help you breeze through any situation. Find out what to sniff when to guarantee success.
Before a Job Interview: Lavender
Dabbing a few drops of lavender essential oil behind your ears before a job interview may give you an edge. Not only can the calming scent ease your pre-interview jitters, it can make you appear more trustworthy, too, according to a new study in the journal Frontiers Psychology. (Or try making this Homemade Body Scrub with Coconut Oil and Lavender instead.)
Before Your Workout: Peppermint
Research shows that just smelling peppermint can boost your alertness and mood, perfect for a pre-gym pick-me-up. For an even bigger effect, try munching a piece of mint gum: People who drank peppermint oil-spiked water before a treadmill test were able to run about ¼ mile farther than they could after drinking normal water, according to a study in the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition.
During a Busy Day: Rosemary
After sniffing rosemary oil, people perform much better on cognitive tasks, U.K. research finds. The study authors believe that the aroma makes you feel happier, which in turn makes you more focused and productive.
On Your Commute: Cinnamon
Stash a bottle of this spicy in your car or purse and take a whiff when your commute gets stressful: People who did so reported feeling less frustration, anxiety, and fatigue, according to Wheeling Jesuit University researchers. They found that the scent even made the ride feel 30 percent shorter. (Read about 4 Health Benefits of Fall Spices, including cinnamon.)
Before a First Date: Grapefruit
Before your next date, skip the makeup and slather on some grapefruit-scented lotion instead. The citrus-y aroma makes women look about six years younger to men, researchers from the Smell and Taste Institute in Chicago claim. This trick won't help you with guys who, like us, find crows feet sexy, though. (Check out Sheryl Crow's Secrets to Looking and Feeling Ageless.)
When You're On a Diet: Olive Oil
Dieters that ate zero-fat yogurt that smelled like olive oil consumed about 176 fewer calories a day than those that snacked on plain no-fat yogurt, German researchers report. The most effective olive oils are Italian ones, which tend to smell grassy; keep a small bottle on hand and take a whiff before eating.
During Your Period: Rose
Rubbing rose oil into your abdomen can ease menstrual cramps better than unscented almond oil or massage alone, research in the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology finds. This leads the study authors to believe that the scent of rose, as well as the abdominal self-massage, has pain-relieving properties. (These Yoga Poses to Relieve PMS and Menstrual Cramps can also help.)