Aromatherapy: fragnance as medicine

It was back at the time of ancient civilizations when it was discovered that a pleasant smell has a beneficial effect on our health. Essential oils were extracted from plants more than 6,000 years ago in ancient China, India and Egypt. To this day, they remain an indispensable part of traditional or Ayurvedic medicine. In fact, a 30,000-year-old skeleton found by archaeologists in Iran had plant concentrates and essential oils on it. These findings – which intertwine the fields of science and art – are called aromatherapy today. As the word itself says, aroma – i.e. fragrance provides therapy that heals our body and soul in a natural way. Nowadays, when we are surrounded by poisons and synthetic harmful substances all over the place, aromatherapy is experiencing a renaissance. And what does science say, can scents really heal?

Today, aromatherapy is considered a science; medical and pharmaceutical faculties offer special aromatherapy courses. Clinical aromatherapy can be used as a complementary therapy in hospitals or for home treatment, especially for severe pain, nausea, anxiety, depression, stress or insomnia. It is especially useful in alleviating anxiety immediately before surgical interventions, application of oncological therapies and during palliative care. According to some classifications, aromatherapy is even considered integrative medicine, that is, it can be used as a substitute for conventional medical care. Aromatherapy is very popular today, perhaps primarily because it is available to everyone, it is affordable, relatively harmless, and it does not require a doctor’s prescription. However, when choosing essential oils, it is not a bad idea to consult experts because some of them can be flammable or cause skin allergies. Essential oils can be very powerful: for example, some have extremely strong antibacterial and antifungal effects, but they can also be toxic.


The fragrance of essential oils contains volatile ingredients – those that evaporate easily at room temperature with a molecular weight >300 Da. Humans have about 300 active olfactory receptor genes that can recognize thousands of different odour molecules. The sense of smell is directly related to states such as good mood, stress, social behaviour, work enthusiasm, memory… How do we know this? Certain smells trigger specific brain activities and cognitive functions that can be measured by electroencephalograph. EEG gives us a clear insight into the physiological state of the brain in healthy and sick people because it can detect responses in the central nervous system using frequencies – delta, theta, alpha, beta and gamma. Each of these frequencies is associated with certain brain characteristics: for example, a decrease in alpha and beta, and an increase in delta and theta activity directly indicate a decrease in cognitive abilities.

What does exactly happen when we inhale the scent of an essential oil? It is a complex reaction that probably most of us do not think is so intricate: the olfactory stimulus travels through the nostrils to the olfactory bulb, a neuronal structure of the forebrain, and then the amygdala triggers an emotional response with which the hippocampus finds an existing memory or forms a new one. The limbic system activates thoughts and feelings using the cerebral cortex. Odour molecules travel through the entire respiratory tract, enter the bloodstream via pulmonary blood vessels, and travel to organs and tissues. In short – they affect the whole body.

Humans have been aware of all this for a long time, even without using an electroencephalograph. For example, Hippocrates recommended aromatic baths and massages, which he considered necessary for good health, and he taught his patients to always carry medicinal herbs with them. When we see a rose, we instinctively reach for it to smell it, and its scent fills us with a pleasant feeling. The same thing happens when we peel an orange, put its peel on the radiator or stove, and its smell permeates the whole house… One could say that aromatherapy is innate to all of us.

Devi balms


In what numerous ways can aromatherapy help us? Essential oils can be obtained from plant seeds (for example pepper, fennel), stems, leaves or needles (eucalyptus, laurel, mint, pine, rosemary), petals and flowers (chamomile, geranium, jasmine, lavender, rose, ylang-ylang), fruit and fruit peel (bergamot, lemon, tangerine, orange), wood or resin (cedar, incense, sandalwood), root and rhizome (ginger), grass (lemongrass)…

Essential oils can be applied in several ways: directly to the skin – by massage, bath or in cosmetics; by inhalation – using a diffuser or steaming; by oral intake – using capsules or diluting the oil in water; and rinsing – using mouthwashes, vaginal baths or suppositories. Oils should be used in small quantities, adequately diluted. If an essential oil is applied directly to the skin, it can cause an allergic reaction or damage the skin after exposure to the sun.

Fortunately, negative reactions to aromatherapy are rare, especially if preparations are used in accordance with instructions. Its benefits are much greater. For example, studies have shown that aromatherapy has a very favourable effect on anxiety, vital signs and sleep quality in intensive care after cardiac interventions. It also has a significant positive impact in the reduction of pain in several disorders and conditions, which has been proven by many studies worldwide; it can also reduce depression and anxiety, which are frequent companions of painful conditions. It has been proven to help even with the strongest pain, that of childbirth. Aromatherapy can also help us to increase self-confidence. It is especially useful to older people, it can help improve their quality of sleep, reduce the feeling of stress, pain, anxiety, depression and fatigue.

For all these reasons, Herba Svet company experts have added aromatherapy elements to some of their preparations. Bearing in mind the proven fact that aromatherapy is very effective in alleviating pain, this effect was added to Comfrey Gel Cool – Cooling Effect and Comfrey Cream Hot – Warming Effect, which are used for acute and chronic pain. Comfrey is a medicinal plant with an exceptional and proven healing effect: its active ingredients penetrate deep into the skin, through the tissue all the way to the bones and have an exceptional regenerative effect. That is why it is very effective for acute pain in muscles and joints, arthritis, sprains, dislocations, ligament and tissue injuries. Comfrey Gel Cool contains up to 25% extract of this medicinal plant alongside menthol and camphor, which provide a pleasant cooling effect, and essential oils of rosemary, lavender and mint, which successfully improve mood and reduce the perception of pain with their aromatherapy effect. Comfrey Cream Hot is effective for chronic pain: rheumatism, muscle spasms and poor circulation. It successfully relieves one of the most painful conditions, disc herniation; the effect is additionally enhanced by the extract of hot pepper, which provides a pleasantly warming sensation, and the essential oils of lavender, rosemary, mint and lemon, which can make us smile again.

Aromatherapy is also present in three high-quality balms: Devi Skin Regeneration Balm, which effectively promotes healing and helps with conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, rosacea, dermatitis, scars, blemishes, allergies… This balm contains the highest quality oils and butters and provides the aromatherapy effect with the addition of essential oils of mandarin, rosemary, bergamot and lavender. Devi Foot Balm has a strong antimicrobial effect thanks to tea tree, sage and clove oils that effectively suppress fungal infections of the feet and nails and eliminate unpleasant odours, and lavender and lemon oils that give it an aromatherapy effect. Devi Viral Warts Balm effectively suppresses existing warts and prevents the appearance of new ones in a completely natural and painless way. In this, the oils of tea tree, ravensara, willow bark, castor and tamanu are the major ingredients, while essential oils of lavender, lemon and clove have an aromatherapy effect in addition to antifungal and antiviral properties.

Aromatherapy is completely realistic and effective. That is why, when faced with troubles we can help ourselves easily by using a nice essential oil in the vaporizer – something that will remind us that all our troubles are temporary and that there will be sunshine after the rain. A famous saying that – we are what we believe – is the only thing in this world that we can control. If we believe in beauty and surround ourselves with amazing scents, life will be beautiful.

Comfrey Active Gel and Cream

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