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It's time to come out of hibernation. The winter months can really take their toll on us, from the physically and emotionally draining holidays to the cold and sometimes gloomy weather that dominate the season. Whether you have the winter ho-hums or you're looking for a pick-me-up suitable for any time of the year, here are some ideas for you.
In ancient times, civilizations used aromatic herbs and essential oils not only for medicinal purposes but for their soul-soothing properties as well. Essential oils are concentrated oils which are extracted from herbs and flowers. It is believed that these oils have the power to trigger emotional changes in the brain, including the release of Endorphins which can produce gratifying sensations and a sense of well being.
Pennsylvania State University's Department of Horticulture has put together a database of herbs which offers a comprehensive listing and includes the history of each herb and its properties, whether medicinal, cosmetic or strictly ornamental. This is a great botanical resource that will provide you with enough information to get you started. If you still have questions about herbs, stop by the Gardening Forum on CompuServe for some thoughtful advice from online enthusiasts.
With a little background on herbs, you can then start putting them to use. CNeill.com has assembled some recipes for natural products such as an herbal shampoo, relaxing baths, facial treatments, and natural cleansers. The top page offers detailed explanations of the various herbs and oils as well as suggesting uses for them.
With aromatherapy, you'll learn to use herbs in ways that will stimulate all your senses. For instance, if you're feeling stressed or irritable, chamomile is a good choice for its calming and soothing effects. If you're looking to stimulate your creative juices and give yourself a boost in confidence, jasmine can help take you there.