I’ve always been ambivalent about aromatherapy’s claims and was skeptical about fragrances, perfumes, scented candles and aromatherapy. I love perfume and scented candles, but I’ve never expected them to improve my state of mind or, as some believe, influence my behaviour. But I had a surprisingly positive experience with a lavender candle while investigating sleep cycles, and the academic research I read at the time made me reconsider my scepticism.
People have been using the essential oils distilled from plants and flowers to calm and heal for millennia. Lavender, the plant most studied for its psychophysiological properties, is wider accepted to be an effective sleep aid. Meanwhile, most people agree that a spritz of lemon or peppermint will perk you up.
Here we delve into the science behind fragrances and aromatherapy, its benefits, the key ingredients and some false claims that you should be aware of.