Stop and Smell the Calm - How to De-stress with Scents

Our sense of smell can be profound, often triggering deep-rooted memories and emotions. Yesterday while on a walk with a girlfriend, we were talking about her late father who passed away when she was a young child. She told me how he used to smoke a pipe, and to this day, she absolutely loves that smell. For her, it connotes masculinity and strength, the qualities she most strongly associates with her dad.

This connection is not just a coincidence … it is due to brain anatomy. Smell is initially processed by the olfactory bulb, which begins inside the nose and runs along the bottom of the brain. The olfactory receptors are directly linked to the limbic system, the most ancient and primitive part of the brain also associated with emotion and memory. This is likely why smell sparks emotions and memories more than other senses, which do not pass through these areas of the brain.

Because of this activation of emotion through smell, scents can also be an effective way to improve our mood and overall wellbeing.  Aromatherapy can reduce stress and anxiety as well as positively impact hormone production and brain chemistry. It appears most effective when incorporating both smell and touch together, like using essential oils in baths or during massages.

Specifically, lavender has been shown to reduce crying in infants and aid in sleep for infants and adults. Rose and jasmine offer relief from depression and stress. And oud (or agarwood) is used by Tibetan monks to increase inner energy and bring serenity to their minds and souls.

In the over-scheduled world we live in today, it is important to find rituals to help de-stress. Whether you are a busy mom juggling your kids’ extra-curricular activities while still trying to get a healthy dinner on the table that everyone will actually eat, or a career woman aiming to cut down on late afternoon meetings in order to make it to that cycle class twice a week (or both!), we could all benefit from slowing down a bit to focus on our emotional well-being. Here are a few ideas to help you unwind:


  1. Take a relaxing bath with a few drops of our Jasmine Body Oil
  2. Mist bed sheets with our Lavender Flower Water
  3. Ask your partner (or roommate!) to give you a shoulder massage using our Rose and Oud Body Oil and then offer to return the favor
  4. Dab a few drops of our Woodland Perfume on your wrist and transport yourself to the Swiss Alps with the scents of high alps lavender and cedarwood

Or you can check out the entire Forager Botanicals’ product line here, all of which are vegan, color/paraben/sulfate free, not tested on animals, and hand-crafted in small batches in our Brooklyn studio.

Just breathe in and release the day. Namaste.