Add as bookmark

Enjoy Winter With Plants and Aromatherapy

by Barbara Payne(more info)

listed in aromatherapy, originally published in issue 131 - January 2007

At the end of one year and the beginning of another, most of us look back at the previous year’s proceedings and reflect on the mixed bag of happenings that we have lived through. After this we start to look forward, perhaps with a view to making some changes. It may be something personal like a new diet or embarking on exercise, or we may want to change our environment as in a change of career or a house makeover.

Whatever the changes are, there are some strategies utilizing plants and aromatherapy which can help one leave last year’s baggage behind, dispel stress and create positive feeling.

The Uplifting Power of Plants

Plants have played a major role in the lives of humans for as long as our existence. Without plants there would be no life on earth. On every special or unusual occasion, plants, usually ones with flowers (angiosperms), are involved. Weddings, special teas, processions, the sick room, acknowledging love and appreciation, even death, all are involved with displaying or giving of flora. These things and many more are made more special by this.

From plants, we can even have pleasure from those that have been dried out to be used in cooking, or dried flower arrangements or even pressed flat and put into pictures!

At this time of year there are not many plants around, but evergreen plants are wonderful for colour, and their smell. Some herbs such as the herbs rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis), myrtle (Myrtus communis), and bay (Laurus nobilis), make beautiful displays with just a few bought flowers. Primula or brightly coloured polyanthus all of which smell delicious, are available at this time of year and are wonderful for brightening a room and mood by setting them in a well chosen pot. Bulbs in bowls can also bring perfume and colour to any setting and of course there is the obvious – indoor plants.

Why bother though? Well, it is because plants are such an integral part of our lives. We recognize their power to uplift without really realizing it. Their vitality and vigour is evident in their glossy leaves and growth. Plants remind us of life. Bring in a few leaves, rose hips, winter jasmine, or whatever you have available and see how vibrant they make you feel.

For those of us blessed enough to have a garden, the joy is enhanced because we can, on milder days, go outside and be among the plants in their natural state. Starting from the beginning of December all manner of tiny shoots of spring flowers begin to appear. It can be very exciting and elevating to check these and ascertain what is coming through. When I do this my mind starts to envision the coming year in the garden with renewed vigour. The thing is, not to look so forward so as to miss out on the delight of being innovative with less, at this time.

Essential Oils in Winter to Stay Cheerful

Over the years, research in aromatherapy has shown that essential oils have various properties, which in turn can affect mood. These properties are a result of different combinations of an assortment of natural chemicals which make up essential oils. Some of these properties are documented as being antiseptic, analgesic, calmative, anti-inflammatory, and stimulating, but there are many more.

Lethargy is dispelled using stimulating oils, and stress is abated by calmative ones, but which ones are which and how does one use them?

A selection of energizing oils might include some of the citrus range such as lemon (Citrus limon), orange (Citrus aurantium var, sinensis), bergamot (Citrus bergamia) and mandarin (Citrus reticulata) or herbal ones such as thyme (Thymus vulgaris), and rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) all of which smell delicious and are antiseptic.

One simple method of using essential oils is to put one drop on a cotton wool ball which can then be deposited in various places around the house such as the dirty/clean linen basket, behind radiators, in a needlework bag or inside cushion covers. As the aroma molecules are inhaled, the nature of the olfactory system changes the message from a chemical one into a neurological one, and so has the mood enhancing effect; it also reaches the lungs and eventually passes into the blood stream via the alveoli thereby giving physical benefits too, such as renewed energy. Essential oils can also be added to hot soapy water for cleaning, for example, lemon or lime (Citrus aurantifolia) for the fridge or the floor.
After the effort of making our New Year changes, it is good to relax and take stock. Put five drops of calming essential oil such as chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile), or lavender (Lavandular angustifolia), in the bath and luxuriate in it for ten minutes. If you have not got a bath, a foot bath or spa, with two drops of the above, for the same amount of time will suffice.

Whatever your changes are, they will be made more pleasant by including plants and aromatherapy in your plans.

If you are pregnant, check with a qualified aromatherapist before using essential oils.


  1. No Article Comments available

Post Your Comments:

About Barbara Payne

Barbara Payne taught clinical aromatherapy in various hospitals in the North of England, for School of Health, University of Hull, and was principal of an IFA and IFPA accredited college of clinical aromatherapy, for many years. She served as an inspector and examiner and was Chair of Education for the ISPA, (now IFPA). Barbara had regular interviews with BBC radio and appeared on national television occasionally and lectured annually for the RHS. Having contributed to Positive Health over many years, Barbara has now decided to retire from her PH Expert Regular Column after Issue 154 in Jan 2009. She can be reached on Tel: 01482 835358;


    Aromatherapy creams & candles. Heal naturally No side effects. Holistic treatments, powerful courses

top of the page