Spring: Essential Oils for The Season of Renewal
Traditional systems of medicine teach us that changes from one season to the next pose challenges to our well-being as we are confronted with shifting energies and changing environmental conditions. When I’ve written in the past about how to use essential oils to ease seasonal transitions, these challenges have been the focus of my attention. But seasonal shifts are about more than challenges – they also present us with new opportunities for healing and balance.
Personally, I find myself wanting to welcome Spring as it has been welcomed in the mythical and spiritual narratives of older cultures – as a time of rebirth and renewal; a time when the darkness begins to give way to increasing light and new growth. And, of course, since aromatherapy is an important part of my life, one of the ways I do this is by choosing to work with essential oils that support this goal.
Here are three essential oils I’ve been using and have found helpful for moving into the energy of spring. You may have your own favorites and, if you do, I hope you’ll share your experiences with essential oils for the season of renewal by responding to this post.
BERGAMOT (Citrus aurantium ssp. bergamia)
Bergamot essential oil is one of the main essential oils that’s been used in classical Chinese Medicine to ease the transition from winter into spring. Spring is a time of sudden new growth and this can cause Qi (vital energy) to become chaotic, resulting in blockages. Through its reputed ability to promote a smooth flow of Qi, bergamot essential oil is believed to support balance and to help prevent irritability and body aches. As spring approaches, I have also been finding it helpful to use Bergamot for its deeper action in promoting “release” – in this case, the release of all the stored negativity brought on by two years of restricted activity and relative isolation. I know that if I want to be successful in making a fresh commitment to renewal, rebirth, and regeneration then I have to release the built-up frustration, resentment, and sense of stagnation that has built up during the pandemic. Bergamot helps me do that and leaves me feeling “clear” and uplifted, with a renewed sense of optimism.
If that sounds good, give it a try by diffusing a small amount via a low-volume fan diffuser or wearing a drop or two on an aromatherapy necklace. Bear in mind that Bergamot essential oil is phototoxic, which means that it promotes sunburn. For that reason, you should not go out into the sun or use a tanning lamp or other ultraviolet light device for at least 12 hours after applying it to the skin. Technical Note (for those of you who are real aromachemistry nerds): The constituents of bergamot essential oil that can cause sunburning are called “furocoumarins”. So-called “FCF-bergamot” is bergamot essential oil that has had the furocoumarins removed. The risk of sunburning is reduced, but not entirely eliminated, by using FCF bergamot.
FRANKINCENSE (Boswellia carterii)
Frankincense essential oil is one of the essential oils that I use most. It’s renowned for its effects on the Mind and Spirit and has been widely used in religious practices for centuries. Gabriel Mojay has described it as an agent of spiritual liberation that helps to calm and center the mind. I’ve been using it now to help me cut out the constant drone of what’s happening in the world so that I can be reminded of a higher purpose and feel supported in moving towards it. Frankincense resin is a traditional herb that is used by the people of Somalia to increase their energy and stamina during hunts. I have used it similarly to have energy and stamina while hiking but I also find that it increases my mental and spiritual energy and stamina as well. This is a welcome action as I’m trying to rebuild and restructure my life after two years of hibernation. Frankincense is generally considered safe for external use by most people in reasonable amounts.
NEROLI (Citrus aurantium var, amara)
Oh, neroli! If angels have a distinctive aroma, it must be the aroma of neroli essential oil. Extracted from orange blossoms, the fragrance of neroli essential oil is heavenly and not easily forgotten (not that anyone would ever want to forget it). Neroli must be the archetypal essential oil of spring and of renewal. It’s a deeply nurturing and uplifting essential oil that is often used for post-traumatic stress, emotional exhaustion, or burnout. When I inhale neroli, I remember that spring always comes, even after the most brutal winter, and I’m inspired to move into the future. It’s what I need – and want- at this moment in time. Neroli essential oil is also generally considered safe for external use by most people in reasonable amounts.
My hopes for the future are high for all of us and I hope this is helpful to you as you’re making your own efforts to move past the difficulties of the last several years. Your thoughts, comments and experiences are welcome.