Herbal remedies keeping noses busyAs the “well-being” craze continues to grow in Korea, aromatherapy is gaining popularity. Natural scents are said to enhance the immune system and relax mind and body, but squeezing in time for a retreat to the mountains amid hectic schedules and traffic-clogged roads is no easy task for city dwellers.
Herbal remedies are one way to inhale nature’s scents without having to venture into the woods. Burning herbal candles or sticks is the most common way of enjoying herbs.
Another popular option is to put a few drops of herbal oil in a pot of water, then heat the pot to generate a pleasant scent. Now, in addition to natural herbal sticks and oils, scented as lavender, bergamot, rose and peppermint, you can also find herb-scented cosmetics and other body care products on store shelves.
Lavender and chamomile are said to release tension and promote sleep. Putting a few drops of these oils on a cloth and laying the cloth beside your pillow is believed to induce sleep. Another way to relax those muscles is to put 10 to 20 drops in hot water during a hot bath.
Aromatherapy rituals like placing an herbal-scent emitting stone into a humidifier or air conditioner, or spraying herbal scents in the air, are also growing in popularity.
Medicinal uses of herbs are also gaining recognition. Some physicians are recommending aromatherapy as a supplementary measure to strengthen metabolism and blood circulation and treat medical conditions.
“Aromatherapy not only helps suppress inflammation and bacterial growth but also strengthens one’s immune system, and is an effective supplementary procedure to treat colds,” said Dr. Kim Jong-ung, an internist.
Computerized herb scent dischargers are being installed in some apartment complexes in Korea. The dischargers emit different scents depending on the room. The scents emitted in the bedroom are devised to promote sleep while those in a study are intended to reinforce concentration.
“Some apartment dwellers with respiratory conditions such as chronic nasal ailments have noticed improvement in breathing after using a eucalyptus scent,” said Ahn Mi-sook, an official at Aroma Solution, the manufacturer of the dischargers.
Gynecologists have waved the aromatherapy banner too, using it to reduce mothers’ pain during delivery. Doctors at the CHA General Hospital chain reported that oil massage applied to the stomach or waist have a tranquilizing effect on the mother and cut down the average delivery time. At Hyemin General Hospital in Seoul, some patients suffering from severe menstrual cramps have been successfully treated with aromatherapy.
Despite its benefits, aromatherapy needs to be used with care. Herbal oils must not be applied directly to eyes. Excessive use of herbal therapy could also aggravate asthma.
Orange, lavender Relaxes body and mind and eases anxiety
Rosemary, peppermint Clears mind and enhances concentration and memory
Chamomile, lavender Stabilizes nerve system, relieves fatigue and assists sleeping
Bergamot, lemon Relieves depression and lifts mood
Marjoram Soothes headaches and clears mind
Ylang Ylang, peppermint Stabilizes mood and creates a romantic atmosphere
Fennel, patchouli Increases appetite
Lavender, peppermint Boosts energy
Chamomile Reduces menstrual pain
Lavender, eucalyptus, Enhances immune system and prevents colds
Tea tree, thyme Drives away insects such as mosquitoes or flies
Geranium, eucalyptus Suppresses bacterial activity
Source: Aroma Solution Co.
by Limb Jae-un