ChatGPT Offers a Remedy for Reducing Anxiety Through Aromatherapy

FlowersChatGPT is a free Artificial Intelligence software where you can ask questions and a computer will give you an answer. I was intrigued and wanted to see how it might handle a question on aromatherapy. So I asked the question: What is the best mixture of aromatherapy essential oil fragrances to help reduce anxiety?

There are several essential oils that are known for their calming and anxiety-reducing properties. Here are a few options that can be combined to create a relaxing and soothing aromatherapy blend:

  1. Lavender Oil: Lavender is a popular essential oil known for its calming effects. It can help reduce feelings of anxiety, promote relaxation, and improve sleep quality.
  2. Bergamot Oil: Bergamot is a citrus-scented essential oil that is known for its mood-boosting properties. It can help reduce stress and anxiety and promote feelings of happiness and relaxation.
  3. Ylang Ylang Oil: Ylang ylang is a sweet and floral essential oil that can help reduce feelings of stress and anxiety. It has a calming effect on the nervous system and can promote a sense of peace and relaxation.
  4. Roman Chamomile Oil: Roman chamomile is a gentle and soothing essential oil that can help calm the mind and reduce feelings of anxiety. It has a relaxing effect on the nervous system and can promote restful sleep.

To create an anxiety-reducing aromatherapy blend, you can combine a few drops of each of these essential oils in a diffuser or dilute them in a carrier oil such as jojoba or sweet almond oil and apply to the skin. However, it's important to keep in mind that essential oils should be used with caution and may not be suitable for everyone. If you have any concerns or medical conditions, it's always best to consult with a healthcare professional before using essential oils.

Great Gift Ideas for the Holiday Season

Happy holiday





Are you stumped for a great gift idea this year? Here is my list for a range on interesting and illuminating experiences for a very special person in your life ... including yourself.

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The Complete Book of Essentials Oils and Aromatherapy, Completely Revised and Expanded: Over 800 Natural, Nontoxic, and Fragrant Recipes to Create Health, Beauty, and Safe Home and Work Environments

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How to Turn Plants Into Tinctures, Like an Ancient Alchemist

Flower_Essences_1Jessica Leigh Hester of AtlasObscura offers a beginner’s guide to extracting flavors from herbs and flowers.

Hieronymus Brunschwig had a cure for whatever ailed you, and it all came down to plants. More specifically, it hinged on coaxing things from them.

In the early 1500s, the German surgeon-alchemist was sure that distillation could do some very heavy lifting when it came to human health. Brunschwig believed that distillation—one method of extracting flavors from flowers, herbs, and other plants, by boiling and condensing water—could calibrate the body, which was frustratingly prone to falling out of whack.

A tall order, but Brunschwig was not one to shy away from an encyclopedic effort. In his book one of the first printed distillation manuals, he arranged plants alphabetically, and noted their sneaky synonyms. He tallied the afflictions that various plants could defeat, and annotated which portions of flowers, stalks, and leaves were especially potent. He even indicated the months when each plant species were at their most formidable.

“Water of lekes,” distilled from roots in June, may be a balm “after the byrth of a chylde,” he wrote. “Water of lettys,” swallowed at “mornynge and nyght,” could comfort the “lyver.” The book promises drinkable salves for nearly any malady from head to toe, however ineffable. You could distill a remedy for headaches, marital discord, or bad dreams. You might chug some water of dill, or dab a bit on your temples.

There’s a long history here. Ancient Arabic alchemists made tinctures by macerating flowers and herbs, accenting them with spices, and setting them to boil and condense in glass vials over wood fires. By the Middle Ages, distillation was widely practiced by physicians, botanists, and apothecaries. The Victorians were enamored with tinctures, and during the Prohibition era in the United States, when alcohol was hard to come by, moonshiners applied the principles of distillation to make high-octane booze. (In the U.S., it’s still very much illegal to craft your own hard liquor at home, though Americans are permitted to buy and use distillation paraphernalia for other purposes.)

We asked Sarah Lohman, a historic gastronomist and the author of Eight Flavors: The Untold Story of American Cuisine, to lay out a recipe for making simple infusions at home.

1. Collect your materials

No need to overthink this—most any herb or flower will do. “Lavender, thyme, basil, you can create whatever you want to add into baked goods, dinner, ice cream, whatever you’re thinking,” Lohman says.

“I guess if you’re really foolish, you could infuse something that’s poison—but just don’t do that,” Lohman adds. Only use plants you recognize. If you’re scouting for wild edibles, use a guidebook or go with a seasoned pro. “If you stick to herbs you find in the grocery store, you should be in good shape,” Lohman adds. You’ll also need a container. Plastic, snap-top takeout containers work nicely for the initial infusion.

The process is pretty, and fairly hands-off.

2. Measure out the ingredients

Besides your plant material, you only need high-proof alcohol. The higher the proof, the faster the infusion happens, Lohman says—and if it’s really high, around 180-proof (meaning it’s 90 percent alcohol and 10 percent water), you’ll likely need to cut it with water in order to douse the burn. Vanilla extract, for instance, is 70-proof, so it’s 35 percent alcohol. “You make the infusion at a higher proof, and then you usually add water to bring down the proof to a comestible level,” Lohman says.

If you have a cup of Everclear and a cup of water, for instance, you’ve slashed the proof in half—from roughly 90 percent to 45 percent. For flavored spirits, such as things you’d add to cocktails, you’d want to hover around 20 or 25 percent. Keep on adding splashes of water until you get there.

3. Walk away

Place the plastic container in a sunny windowsill, and then leave it alone for at least 24 hours.

4. Sample and adjust

Since high-proof alcohol kills whatever microbes cross its path, you don’t have to worry about things getting funky the longer you leave your concoction stewing. “The worst-case scenario is that you make something you don’t like the taste of and you throw it out,” Lohman says. That said, you’ll want to test your infusion daily so that the flavor doesn’t get stronger than you like.

A little clove goes a long way, while something like basil or thyme will be more subtle. To get a punchy flavor, you’ll either need to begin with more plant material or let the infusion sit around longer.

This is where tasting is crucial. A delicate flavor, such as wheatgrass, might take a few weeks to develop, while a more-aggressive lavender comes through in just two or three days—anything beyond that might be overbearing. On the other hand, if the flavor is too toothless, you can keep adding more of the ingredients—one vanilla pod here, a clove there. “It’s a little bit of trial and error,” Lohman says.

As you experiment, keep a log of the tweaks you make. This makes the whole thing replicable, if things go well—and if they don’t, you know what to change in the next go-around.

5. Decant it

Once you’ve arrived at the flavor you want, you’ll need to fish out or strain the plant material so that the flavor doesn’t keep evolving.

After that, you might want to pour it into a pretty glass jar. (There are lots of apothecary-aesthetic shops online.

The finished product makes a creative, inexpensive gift. “At this point, you’ve bought a bottle of vodka, plucked some stuff from the garden, and that’s it,” Lohman says. “It’s a very low-risk at-home hobby.” Not to mention a delicious way to tap into an ancient practice, with a modern twist.

Does the Smell of Citrus Lower Street Fights?

OrangeIn Stratumseind, a street in the Dutch city of Eindhoven known for its nightlife, cylinders on lamposts and balconies dispense aromatherapy to deter brawls. After an experiment showed that the smell of citrus helped calm prisoners at police stations, the city is experimenting with this aromatherapy to help police break up fights an average of 400 times a year.

Now as some groups feel the need to protest in the streets, maybe a splash of citrus will calm them down.

Essential Oils From Around the World

In these stressful times, the ability to find ways to reduce stress is greatly valued. Here, from the Discoverer blog are some ideas for essential oils from around the world.

Essential oils have been used around the world for centuries, and they're an easy way to bring the scents of the world into your home during a time where you can't go outside or travel as much as you might like.

Before trying any essential oils, you'll want to do some background reading, such as this article from Johns Hopkins Medicine, to see if using essential oils is suitable for you and your family. Healthline also has a number of helpful articles specific to particular essential oils, such as this one about ylang ylang, and this one about peppermint. In short, the health benefits of essential oils are inconclusive, but they're still a great way to make your home smell nice.

You'll want to ensure that you choose a pure oil, with no additives. Regardless, essential oils should never be ingested. Instead, you’ll need a Diffuser to use them to best effect. There are many types that you can buy but it’s also possible to make one yourself.

If you plan to use essential oils in the bath, always use a carrier oil to dilute the essential oil; this is vital so that the concentrated oil doesn’t come into contact with your skin. Blend five drops of essential oil with a tablespoon of jojoba, grapeseed or almond oil. Do a patch test first, and never use on broken skin. Add the oil after you have run the bath so that the tub doesn’t get too slippery and the impact of the oil’s aroma isn’t lost before you get in.

Here‘s what you need to know about some of the most popular essential oils and where they’re from.


A lavender field in France. Photo: prochasson frederic
A lavender field in France. Photo: prochasson frederic

Suggested for: anxiety and fatigue

Lavender essential oil is distilled from the variety Lavandula angustifolia, commonly known as English lavender or spike oil lavender. These dense evergreen shrubs bloom in mid to late summer and their fragrant purple flowers add a vivid pop of colour to many gardens. The plant is also grown on a commercial scale, particularly in the south of France and across the Mediterranean region.


Peppermint oil. Photo: Tatevosian Yana
Peppermint oil. Photo: Tatevosian Yana

Suggested for: digestive issues and headaches

Peppermint, a hybrid of spearmint and water mint, was originally found in the Mediterranean and Middle East. It even gets a mention in Greek mythology: the nymph Minthe tried to seduce Hades, causing the enraged Queen Persephone to turn her into a mint plant. These days the fast-growing herb is cultivated throughout North America, Europe and Japan. It has distinctive leaves with a serrated edge and when it flowers, the blooms are pink and mauve. A process of steam distilling its leaves, fresh or dried, creates the essential oil.


Patchouli plant. Photo: wasanajai
Patchouli plant. Photo: wasanajai

Suggested for: skin conditions and stress

Patchouli, botanical name Pogostemon cablin, is native to Asia. It’s cultivated in countries such as China, Indonesia and Vietnam as well as the nations of South East Asia and some Indian Ocean islands. The bushy herb grows to between 2 and 3 feet tall, and has tiny pink-white flowers; to produce the oil, it needs to be extracted from dried leaves. Its heady scent makes it popular for perfumes as well as essential oils.

Ylang Ylang

Cananga tree flowers. Photo: SiNeeKan
Cananga tree flowers. Photo: SiNeeKan

Suggested for: high blood pressure and depression

Steam distillation of the yellow, star-shaped flowers of the Cananga tree creates a potent essential oil. Because of its strength, some people find it can cause headaches or nausea, so it’s often combined with other essential oils before use. Nevertheless, it has its fans, particularly of the subtler, less pungent version known as Cananga oil. You’ll find this tropical species in countries such as Malaysia, Indonesia, the Philippines and India, as well as tropical Queensland in Australia.


Citrus fruits. Photo: New Africa
Citrus fruits. Photo: New Africa

Suggested for: boosting moods and promoting energy

Essential oils from the citrus family have a zingy quality that can lift the spirits, making them popular choices for freshening a room. Most come from the rind of the fruit. According to this fascinating article from the BBC, we can trace all citrus fruits back to the foothills of the Himalayas. They spread from China, India and Burma because of climate change; now they’re associated with places as far afield as Florida and Italy. If the scent of bergamot seems familiar, you might be an Earl Grey tea drinker – the oil is what gives this type of tea its distinctive aroma.

The science is inconclusive, but so long as you’re doing no harm, you may feel you’ll gain from using them. I love the scent created by combining orange and bergamot essential oils. What about you? Let us know your favorite oils and combinations on Twitter or Facebook.

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