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Volume III
November 30, 2012

Weekly Home / Cook'n & Eat'n

Feeling Stressed? Turn to This!

By Alice Osborne

There's so much evidence that odors and fragrances actually have real physical and emotional health affects on us. They can comfort, enthuse, invigorate, inspire, and even relieve stress. Think of the times you'd walk into the house afterschool and smell the aroma of the homemade bread or cookies your mom had baked while you were away.

Or think of the exquisite pleasure of burying your face in the laundry dried on the line outside, and smelling that fresh air aroma that lingered in the fabrics.

Remember the feelings connected to those experiences? It's with this in mind that I suggest we turn this holiday season to the stress-relief lovely aromas can provide. And I'm speaking especially of LEMON. Lemon is known to relieve stress, anxiety, headache, nervous tension, insomnia and depression.

So why not make your own pocket-sized aromatherapy helper-in-a-bottle? It's such a convenient way to have some sweet-smelling stress-relief always close at hand.

The main ingredient, lemon balm, is affordable and easy to find in your local natural foods store, Walgreens, etc. All you need is a small screw-top jar or bottle, a cotton ball, lemon balm essential oil, or dried lemon balm herb.

Soak the cotton ball in essential oil and place in jar, or fill the jar with dried herb. I like to use a small bottle with an eye-dropper so that I can actually place a few drops of the oil on my wrists or under my nose.

But you don't even need to apply it to skin to experience its effects. Whenever you need a breath of relief, simply uncap the jar and take a gentle whiff. When the fragrance fades, simply add a few more drops of essential oil, or use a chopstick to stir and gently crush the dried balm.

One other thing I like to do with lemon balm essential oil is add it to my coconut oil. I melt the oil (either in the microwave for a few seconds, or in a small glass dish I set in very hot water for a few minutes) and add the oil and stir the mixture well. I apply this to my legs when shaving and all over after my showers. (Coconut oil contains high concentrations of lauric acid, and is easily absorbed by the skin, so it's an amazing skin moisturizer.) The lemon aroma lingers on my skin and is so soothing to the nerves.

'Tis the season for so many things, including some added stress, so do yourself a favor and turn to lemon balm. And here's an idea: This natural remedy would make a nice gift for those friends or family members that could use a little relief as well!


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