INSIDE: Certain aromas can be called “spiritual scents” as they have the ability to deepen our meditations and improve our subconscious state, enabling us to better progress on our spiritual journey.
Both psychological and physiological reactions are necessary for the brain to process smells, regardless of the emotion it causes, whether that be pleasure, fear, or anything in-between.
Smells are capable of bringing back emotions and memories from long ago, like the calm and comforting feeling of the smell of your grandmother's house or the joyful playtime memories from the scent of a long-forgotten stuffed animal.
While some still aren’t fully sold on the effectiveness of scents as medicine, Mayo Clinic’s own studies prove it does have benefits, such as easing the feelings of depression, lowering anxiety, and overall improving quality of life for those suffering from chronic illnesses.
This unique ability of smell to to easily and passively affect our feelings and connect to memories can be intentionally and purposely used to invoke moods and mental states that can help us become more fruitful in the spiritual aspects of our lives.
Read on as we dive into what we call “spiritual fragrances” to help you do just that.
Spiritual Scents: The 6 Best Aromas to Soothe Your Mind, Body & Soul
The spiritual scents on this list all have their own unique abilities and advantages, while collectively being useful for the same thing, which is spiritual and mental advancement and improving well-being.
This list is in no particular order, but it is fitting that lavender is first, since it is one of the most well-known scents in aromatherapy. Lavender, like most spiritual scents on this list, reduces stress and anxiety by attaching to the receptor cells in the nasal passage and sending signals to calm the brainwaves and relax them.
This amazing physical interaction between the nose and brain can actually be replicated and recorded under lab conditions.
Lavender is a perfect spiritual fragrance for meditation due to its calming effects. It can help put your mind at ease so you can reach mental clarity before, during, and after meditation. Lavender also assists in re-balancing us, so if you’re having difficulty meditating for some reason, it can help you stabilize and re-focus.
Also known as the cananga tree, ylang-ylang is a tropical tree that is native to Thailand, Vietnam, Indonesia, and the Philippines, among other places.
It has stress-relieving effects like those of Lavender, but the thing that makes ylang-ylang special is its energy-boosting effects. Initially, increasing your energy may not seem useful when speaking of spiritual scents, but when an excess of positive energy is directed towards meditation, or say, a breathing exercise, it’s easy to see and feel the benefits.
In a 2006 study, participants inhaled ylang ylang essential oil paired with lavender and the next spiritual fragrance on our list, bergamot, everyday for a month. They showed a significant reduction in blood pressure along with lower stress and cortisol levels.
Bergamot is one of most expensive and most versatile spiritual scents on our list. Coming from the fruit of the bergamot tree, its lovely sweet-smelling fragrance is due to its origin as a hybrid of a lemon and orange tree.
Like with other citrusy aromas, such as sweet orange, bergamot is commonly used as a mood regulator and uplifter because of its ability to increase serotonin.
One key to all spiritual improvements is balance, and bergamot is perfect for use at times when you feel like you're being taken off your path. A few minutes of reset with this spiritual scent can work wonders.
There are many types of sandalwood out there, but if we’re talking quality, Indian Sandalwood (santalum album) is the best. Hawaiian Sandalwood, like Indian, is a bit expensive in its oil form, but not as effective. Australian Sandalwood is more commercially used but not as credible as far as proven benefits.
Sandalwood has a long list of uses, such as an anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, astringent, disinfectant, and diuretic. The abilities that makes this a spiritual scent are its superpowers as a memory enhancer and sedative. It increases concentration and enhances memory.
Sandalwood is connected to the root chakra. Burning sandalwood chips or wearing the essential oil helps to first open, then clear, and realign this chakra. It is said that the woody, sweet aroma of sandalwood is a favorite of kindhearted spirits.
If frankincense sounds familiar, that could be due to its inclusion in popular Christmas tales. One of the three wise men brought it as a gift to newborn Jesus. Back in those times, its spiritual significance was due to the belief in its ability to purify one’s aura, and the ascending smoke from burning frankincense resin was a perfect representation of prayers rising to heaven.
The fruity, spicy, and woody spiritual scent of frankincense aids in cleansing and realigning the chakras, leaving us feeling balanced and whole.
We classify jasmine as a spiritual scent due to its ability to aids in meditation by helping to wake us up when we’re feeling tired and promoting more positive feelings. Meditating with jasmine oil after a stressful day can easily and quickly bring you back to center.
Research shows that jasmine oil has a sedative effect on mood states and nerve activity, which helps to relax those with chronic sleep problems and anxiety. Using jasmine scented oil to help keep a more regular sleeping routine can prove very beneficial in the long run.
We couldn’t complete this list without including peppermint, because it is one of the most universally loved scents. Many of us have childhood memories of the fresh scent of peppermint from holiday celebrations.
But what may be surprising to know is that peppermint is a powerhouse when it comes to spiritual scents. As far as its scientifically proven uses, it is regularly used in hospitals to relieve vomiting caused by chemotherapy, for relief of nausea and vomiting due to pregnancy, irritable bowel syndrome, and many other ailments.
Spiritually, peppermint vastly increases mental clarity and focus. It is the ultimate choice of scent to use for meditation, as it aids in concentration, increases feelings of oneness, and it helps open the sinuses and airways, clearing away mucus and reducing congestion. After all, the most important part of any meditation practice is deep breathing, and anything that can help us in that area is a welcome addition.
Many scents can be used topically and internally in the form of flowers, tinctures, and diffuser oils. But be very cautious, oils that are suitable for use in a diffuser may not always be suitable for skin application and ingestion. Be sure to research the approved uses for your particular oils.
While there is scientific evidence that certain smells do elicit or ward off certain emotions, it still isn’t exactly clear or universally agreed upon how or why these spiritual scents have these magical powers. But what we do know is that just as smells can attach themselves to memories, they also offer a wonderful array of benefits and abilities.
Whether you believe in the science or tend to lean towards the esoteric side of things, we all can agree on the results. It's up to us to put them to good use and continually move ourselves further and further along our spiritual path in life.