Breathing in aromas rich in antioxidants — the agents in fruits and vegetables, as well as vitamins C and E — may be an option for good health, according to Kwang-Guen Lee, a researcher at the University of California at Davis. Lee distilled and extracted 30 chemicals to produce aromas from 10 plants, including soybeans, kidney beans, eucalyptus leaves and several types of spices, including basil, thyme, rosemary and cinnamon. Lee then tested the extracts for antioxidant levels and found them to be similar to those in vitamin E.
Aromatherapy in its simplest form — enjoying the fresh smell of a just-peeled orange, picking rosemary from the garden, steeping mint leaves for tea.
What’s old can become new again. Take aromatherapy. Aromatics have been used for more than 10,000 years, while the use of aromatherapy and essential oils dates back at least five centuries. Today, a renaissance is occurring in homes, spas and treatment rooms, as health advocates breathe new life into this tried and true practice.