When we talk of aromatherapy and essential oils the first oil that generally comes to mind is that of Lavender. It could be because it was one of the first few plants to be grown for commercial production of essential oil and also because of the versatility of the lavender essential oil- soothing, calming, wound healing and pain relieving. It has universal application.

However, having grown up in a sea-side city in South India which has a tropical humid climate, I had never seen Lavender (which grows in higher altitudes and cooler climates) until a few years back and neither had I any idea of its aroma except for the lavender perfume in commercially produced talcum powder. So, when I first smelt lavender essential oil, I was disappointed. Having read so much about it I expected it to smell different. Yet, when I accepted it as it was, I found that I reached for it more often.

There may be times when we do not really connect or like the aroma of a particular oil at first instance. But like songs, it may eventually grow on us. We also connect certain aromas to our childhood. For instance, the aroma of sandalwood and Holy Basil always reminds me of prayers and the temples I used to visit as a child.

It really helps to understand, explore and appreciate aromas around us. An essential oil need not always smell like the plant, bark or leaf from which it is distilled. Yet, there is almost always a connection between the aroma of the plant part and the distilled oil.

How to explore and connect to new aromas?

 Try smelling a slice of freshly cut or grated ginger, a spring of rosemary, a piece of cinnamon, a bunch of vetiver, a bit of fennel, the rind of lemon, and then smell their respective distilled oil. This helps us connect the plant to the oil and appreciate the aroma better. It is also possible that you may appreciate the aroma of essential oils of plants that are indigenous to your area better because of the lifelong connection that we have with plants that grow around us. This is not to undermine the aroma or effectiveness of other oils but to appreciate and perceive aroma of the ones that are readily available to us.

Written by Nirupama Ravindran

Nirupama is an Aromatherapy practitioner and makes aromatherapy products esp. for women and kids.

For Aromatherapy workshops you can connect to

Nirupama at Instagram @aromatherapyandyou

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