What happens if you don't like the smell of lavender, but every time you look for a "relaxing" blend or oil, this is the first recommendation that comes up?
It can be very frustrating and even put you off using a certain brand or product because the scent is so yucky that sniffing it is far from relaxing.
Lavender: A divisive scent
I love lavender, but I quickly learned it is very divisive. As a certified aromatherapist, part of my training was the chemistry of the oils and the breakdown of their components. While this can not predict how an oil will smell, it can identify the active structure that most likely gives it therapeutic properties.
Why asking an aromatherapist can help when choosing an alternative oil to lavender
This is where consulting with an aromatherapist can be very helpful. Depending on your preference, scent-wise, as well as the intended use of the oil, I recommend various alternatives that fit in with your liking. This makes using an aromatherapy product so much more enjoyable.
What is the chemistry of lavender?
Before delving into these alternatives, it's helpful to understand what makes lavender such a potent relaxant. The primary chemical constituents of lavender essential oil are linalool and linalyl acetate. Linalool is known for its calming effects on the mind and body, while linalyl acetate is recognised for reducing feelings of anxiety and stress.
4 alternatives to Lavander
Aroma: Woody, Floral, Earthy.
Contains high levels of linalool
Stabilises the heart and mind
Traditionally used for hormonal imbalance and related issues
Fills you with optimism and comfort in times of distress.
Great oil for balancing out emotions and lifting your spirits.
Aroma: Minty, Fresh, Citrus
Contains high levels of linalyl acetate.
Immune-supporting, calming and stress-relieving without leaving you sleepy.
Gives you a feeling of being centred and able to face situations with an optimistic outlook.
Aroma: Fresh, Sweet, Herbaceous
Coriander seed essential oil is high in linalool
Clears mental blocks and brain fog
Immune stimulant and calming of nervous energy.
It invokes tranquillity and is fantastic for a busy mind and racing thoughts.
Aroma: Herbaceous, Sweet, Floral
Contains terpinene-4-ol and Linalyl Acetate
Promotes relaxation and sedation, lowering stress and anxiety.
Can help with respiratory conditions and pain relief
Great as a sleep aid with its comforting and warm scent
Lavender is not the only relaxing oil.
You never need to force yourself to like a blend or use a product you are unhappy about. A big part of the enjoyment of aromatherapy is the joy you can get from the scents. Nature provides us with an endless array of choices. We need to pick the ones that suit us best.