Here at Luk Beautifood, we treasure our time out, our time to relax, unwind and do…well nothing. But with so much going on with business, family and life in general do you find it’s hard to get the most out of that time and really feel rejuvenated and ready for another day? So, we’ve discovered a way you can combine your ‘kitchen garden’ and bit of aromatherapy into a tranquil haven.
By choosing the right aromatic plants, you’ll be surprised at the impact their gorgeous scents will have on your mood. There have been countless studies done over the years showing the significant links between our sense of smell and our emotions. Whilst the scent of a natural plant may not be as potent as an essential oil there are some simple techniques you can use to reap the same benefits while expanding your ‘kitchen garden’.
The scent of peppermint is a natural stimulant that can increase your ability to concentrate and boost energy during times of fatigue or stress. Studies have also shown that peppermint also has mood elevating properties making it the perfect herb to ease feelings of anxiety or sadness and enhance mental performance and promote happiness. Take a couple leaves off the plant, crush them between your fingers and gently rub on your temples (you can also obviously use peppermint oil) or run a hot bath and simply sprinkle some of the leaves into the hot water.
Tips for growing: Peppermint does best in rich soil, high in loam and placed in partial to full sunlight. It’s best to plant the seedlings indoors in late winter or early spring (so now is the perfect time!) and once plants reach about 10cm tall, they can be moved outside.
Rosemary is one of the most popular plants in aromatherapy for its array of health benefits. It has the ability to boost mental activity, relieve respiratory problems and reduce muscular pain. Aside from the relaxing nature of simply inhalation of rosemary [plant or oil], it has also been proven to decrease the level of cortisol, one of the body’s main stress hormones which can contribute to stress. Simply smell the leaves of your rosemary plant every few minutes, or gently rub the fresh herb on your temples.
Tips for growing: Rosemary plants love a warm, sunny spot with good soil drainage and can cope quite easily in the hot, dry Australian summer. They thrive in alkaline soils and love lime. If your rosemary isn’t looking too healthy and you know your soil is acid, apply some lime and see what happens!
Lavender is well known for it’s relaxing sedative properties and can aid in treating migraines, headaches, and nervous tension. It is also ideal for those who have difficulty falling or staying asleep throughout the night as it improves the length and quality of sleep. In terms of it’s mood elevating properties, lavender is an excellent tonic for the nervous system and can relieve feelings of anxiety, nervousness and depression whilst promoting relaxation and a sense of calmness.
Tips for growing: Most varieties of lavender need dry heat to grow well and are extremely drought resistant but don’t be afraid to give them a handful of compost from the kitchen and keep them regularly watered while it is first growing. Lavender, like rosemary appreciate the addition of lime to the soil. Alkaline chalky soil will also enhance lavenders fragrance.
Image source: Pinterest via Bersa Blog
Almost every part of the orange tree can be used for aromatherapy; the leaves, the flowers and the fruit. The scent of orange is incredibly uplifting and is used commonly in aromatherapy as an antidepressant and to relieve anxiety disorders. Orange essential oil also has mild aphrodisiac properties. You can use the orange peel in a brew of tea or cut the leaves and flowers to make a small arrangement next to your bed or the bath. You can even create your own essential orange oil by infusing dried orange peel with a simple carrier oil and use it for a DIY aromatherapy massage.
Tips for growing: As orange trees mature quite quickly, they are best planted in the garden rather than in pots. Citrus will grow in most soils from sandy to adobe clay, provided it drains well but it must be watered and fertilised frequently. Even though the orange tree needs full sun exposure for proper growth, it can also suffer heat stroke during a summer planting so you may want to put up a temporary sun shade during those hot months.
Image source of oranges: Pinterest
On another note…
We love giving ‘thank you’ bunches of herbs from our garden instead of flowers – the fragrance of lemon, kaffir, cardamon, rosemary and thyme leaves, (to name a few) create a stir, especially when they go to an air conditioned artificially lit office! You should try it too.