For other senses, like sight and touch, visual or sensory input goes to your brain’s main “switchboard,” the thalamus.
Not so for scents, which wind their way through your nose and into brain regions responsible for emotions and memory, before they wind up in the thalamus.
Psychologist Johan Lundstrom, PhD, a faculty member at the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia, explained it this way to the American Psychological Association:[i]
“For olfaction, you have all this basic processing before you have conscious awareness of the odor.”
This is one reason why certain odors – the scent of your mom’s apple pie, freshly cut grass, the ocean – can quickly bring up powerful emotions and nostalgic memories.[ii] It also explains why aromatherapy – the use of aromatic essential oils to enhance your physical, psychological and spiritual well-being – is so effective.
Whether you want to relieve stress, boost your mood, sleep better or enhance your energy level, there’s an essential oil that can help. The scents that follow are particularly beneficial for enhancing energy; they’ll even give your cup of coffee a run for its money.
Want to Boost Your Energy? Try These 5 Scents
Jasmine is another uplifting oil with a pleasant floral scent. Research published in the journal Natural Product Communications revealed that jasmine essential oil led to increased autonomic arousal (such as increased breathing rate and blood oxygen saturation) and was associated with feelings of increased alertness and vigor.[iii] In this case the oil was used as part of a massage oil. Researchers noted:
“ … our results demonstrated the stimulating/activating effect of jasmine oil and provide evidence for its use in aromatherapy for the relief of depression and uplifting mood in humans.”
The scent of peppermint is crisp and energizing. Research shows peppermint essential oil has stimulant-like effects,[iv] so take a whiff whenever you desire increased alertness, mental clarity and invigoration.
Sandalwood has a woody, sweet aroma that’s known to uplift the mind in a calming manner, allowing you to gain mental clarity and focus. It has anti-depressant properties and is valued for relieving mental fatigue.
4. Black Pepper
Black pepper essential oil has warming qualities that are at the same time invigorating. Often used to enhance mental clarity, black pepper is the perfect scent for anyone with an active lifestyle. It works particularly well when combined with other scents, as it helps to enhance other oil aromas.
One study published in the Japanese Journal of Pharmacology even found inhaling essential oils including pepper led to a 1.5- to 2.5-fold increase in sympathetic nervous system activity and a 1.7-fold increase in blood adrenaline concentration compared with the participants’ resting state.[v]
The scent of lemon essential oil is invigorating and uplifting. It’s often added to natural cleaning products because it has cleansing properties, but it works just as well for brightening your state of mind. Other citrus essential oils, like grapefruit, orange and lime, may also have energizing effects.
As for how to use essential oils for aromatherapy, there are endless options. You can, for instance:
- Put a few drops of oil into a room diffuser
- Blend it with water in a misting bottle and use it as a room or fabric freshener
- Put a few drops on a cotton ball and keep it in your pocket
- Sniff it right out of the bottle
- Add it to your bath water
- Add a few drops to unscented body lotion or massage oil
In aromatherapy, a combination of oils is often used to provide a synergistic effect that’s even more powerful than the use of one essential oil scent alone. For invigoration, try Eden Garden Energy Boost Synergy Blend Essential Oil, which contains a mix of sandalwood, black pepper and lemon essential oils to ward off fatigue, enliven your body and provide increased mental strength.
[i] American Psychological Association February 2011, Vol 42, No. 2
[ii] NBC News July 19, 2015
[iii] Nat Prod Commun. 2010 Jan;5(1):157-62.
[iv] Phytother Res. 2012 Jun;26(6):884-91.
[v] Jpn J Pharmacol. 2002 Nov;90(3):247-53.