Whether your holiday tradition is to sing carols, light the menorah, walk the spiral, or tell stories around the fire while eating homemade s'mores … this time of year is all about bringing warmth to those dark winter days.
By Dorene Petersen, Erika Yigzaw, and Lauren Shapiro
Our favorite way to warm up is with amazing aromas that invoke happy memories and cheer. Here are our “12 Essential Oils of the Holidays," our aromatic spin on the 12 Days of Christmas! Feel free to sing along!!! (At the bottom of this article is a little bonus, so keep reading. Wink wink.)
The 12th Oil of the Holidays is… Sweet orange!
Sweet orange (Citrus sinensis) essential oil has a pleasant sweet, fresh, and fruity scent. It is used extensively in aromatherapy, and commercially in soaps and floral perfumes. It harmonizes well in a blend at about a 5% concentration. Sweet orange volatilizes quickly (tis a top note) and does not store well, so blend in small quantities and keep in the refrigerator if possible.
The 11th Oil of the Holidays is… Fir needle!
Fir needle (Abies balsamea) essential oil has a characteristic, fresh, and woody aroma, which makes it a frequent addition to aromatherapy seasonal blends, air fresheners, disinfectants, detergents, and household cleaners.
The 10th Oil of the Holidays is… Black pepper!
Black pepper (Piper nigrum) aromatherapy essential oil has analgesic properties which make it great for pain relief, stiffness, hangovers and headaches. Its spicy, fresh aroma blends well with cardamom, frankincense, lavender, marjoram, and rosemary.
The 9th Oil of the Holidays is… Anise!
Anise (Pimpinella anisum) essential oil is very effective in balancing digestion. It is particularly helpful for indigestion, nausea, and appetite stimulation. It also has demonstrated antibacterial and antifungal properties. Anise has a warm, soft, spicy, sweet, and rich fragrance. It blends well with lavender, pine, and rose attar for aromatherapy blends.
The 8th Oil of the Holidays is… Cinnamon!
Cinnamon (Cinnamomum zeylanicum) essential oil has a characteristic odor and taste of cinnamon - which just sings holidays!!! It blends well in aromatherapy blends with rosemary, pine, and thyme.
The 7th Oil of the Holidays is… Spearmint!
Spearmint (Mentha spicata) essential oil has a minty aroma that is similar to peppermint, but sweeter. Spearmint blends well in aromatherapy with anise, basil, cedarwood, cajeput, eucalyptus, lavender, lemon, lime, grapefruit, peppermint, and rosemary.
The 6th Oil of the Holidays is… Lavandin!
Lavandin (Lavandula x. intermedia) essential oil is highly antiseptic, antifungal, and antibacterial. It has a similar aroma to lavender (Lavandula x. angustifolia) but offers camphor as a major constituent, making it a great antiseptic and a stimulating rather than sedating oil! Great for holiday parties when you don't want grandpa falling asleep during Twister!
The 5th Oil of the Holidays is… Clove!
Clove (Syzygium aromaticum) essential oil has a fresh and fruity top note. Clove blends well in aromatherapy blends with bay, bergamot, black pepper, clary sage, lavandin, lavender, vanilla, and ylang ylang. Plus don't forget to grab bags of whole cloves and stud some oranges for home made pomanders - a great activity for kids that last all year!
The 4th Oil of the Holidays is… Ginger!
Ginger (Zingiber officinale) essential oil has antibacterial and antifungal properties. Ginger has a warm, fresh, woody, spicy, almost citrus top note, and blends well in aromatherapy with cedarwood, coriander, frankincense, grapefruit, lime, neroli, orange, patchouli, petitgrain, rose, sandalwood, and vetiver. Plus you can use ginger essential oil in cooking - just a drop in gingerbread brings a new depth to a winter classic!
The 3rd Oil of the Holidays is… Petitgrain!
Also known as bitter orange, petitgrain (Citrus aurantium var. amara) essential oil has a woody, slightly floral aroma and blends well in aromatherapy with grapefruit, rosemary, and tangerine. It gives you the citrus hit without the sweetness, so tends to be a favorite with the guys.
The 2nd Oil of the Holidays is… Myrrh!
Myrrh (Commiphora myrrha) essential oil has been used to help soothe coughs and colds. Myrrh has an earthy, woody aroma, traditional for seasonal aromatherapy blends!
And .... Drumroll please....
The #1 essential oil of the holidays is… Frankincense!
Frankincense (Boswellia spp.) essential oil has a balsamic, slightly spicy and fruity aroma, and is a common ingredient in perfumery and incense. Frankincense also makes a great additional to aromatic holiday blends!
Why not start a new tradition this year? Use these 12 Essential Oils of the Holidays to create your own aromatherapy blends for seasonal get-togethers. Blending is a fun hands-on activity and a great way to spend quality time with loved ones. Get started now -- anise, black pepper, cinnamon, fir, and sweet orange essential oils are the key ingredients in ACHS President Dorene Petersen’s Holiday Ambience Blend -- download the recipe here.
May your holiday season be merry and bright! And filled with light, love, and wonderful memories!
Dorene, Erika, and Lauren
PS: Remember we promised you a bonus? Now through Noon on Friday December 21, get 20% off any or all of these oils when you shop through this link and use the code 12OILS at the College's Apothecary Shoppe College Store!