The essential oils that can calm emotional inflammation on the spot


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Photo: Getty Images/ JGI/Tom Grill

One of the fastest ways to alter your mood is by simply sniffing an essential oil. The botanical extracts are small-but-mighty tools that can do everything from de-stress you from a hectic workday to lull you into a peaceful sleep (I’m looking at you, lavender) or add some pep to your step, no caffeine needed. But there’s one situation for which I haven’t yet found the perfect scent: sadness.

And then I learned about blue essential oils. I already knew that blue ingredients in skin-care products are great for inflammation, but, as it turns out, those essential oils are also particularly healing for emotional inflammation, as well. “Any time you use an essential oil that’s blue, it’s great for the skin—de-puffing, reducing swelling, itching, all of that. And it’s really reparative,” explains Amy Galper, board-certified aromatherapist and founder of the New York Institute of Aromatic Studies. “It’s not only for our skin, but for our moods. There’s something about the scent of blue oils that really just calm downs any emotional inflammation.” This means everything from heartbreak to grief or just, well, feeling sad.

“There’s something about the scent of blue oils that really just calm downs any emotional inflammation.” —Amy Galper

To reap this benefit, look for yarrow, blue tansy, or blue (AKA German) chamomile—but yarrow is a special pick. “In traditional herbal medicine as well as in aromatics, yarrow is known as one of the best wound healers out there—it has this real reputation,” says Galper. “Not only emotional wounds but physical wounds. The botanical Achillea millefolium is named after the story of Achilles, who was dipped into this stream but his heel was missed and that was the one part where he was vulnerable and got wounded. So yarrow is really about protecting and healing us from wounds.”

Maybe there’s a connection between feeling blue and turning to something blue for comfort (or maybe that’s a reach). Either way, next time you’re, say, crying at your desk (just me?), sniff one of the all-powerful, emotionally stabilizing blue essential oils for a soothing refresh.

As for other EOs, this is everything you need to know about bergamot essential oil. And these essential oils alleviate PMS symptoms (yes, please). 

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