5 November 2021 / Caitlin Devlin
Our favourite Christmas oils and their benefits
Discover how your favourite Christmas scents can benefit your body and mind.
Whatever you’ll be celebrating this festive season, certain scents can help make your home feel holiday ready.
From baking spices to seasonal fruits, the scents that we associate with the holidays can call us back to festive celebrations from our childhood and spark joy year after year. These old favourites aren’t just helpful for setting a holiday mood, however – they can also be beneficial for our health and wellbeing as the cold weather takes hold. We’ve compiled a list of some of our favourite Christmas oils and the things that they can do for your health this festive season.
The fresh, woody scent of pine needle oil is unmistakably festive. If you’re a fan of that Christmas tree scent, diffusing pine needle is a great way to spread it throughout your home and protect your family’s health at the same time. A study in 2004 found that pine needle could improve air quality by reducing strains of bacteria and fungi in the air. This helps to prevent the spread of seasonal illnesses throughout the home. Pine needle oil is also a powerful home cleaner and can be used in cleaning sprays to tackle surfaces, mirrors, and even carpets – perfect for those holiday party preparations.
This uplifting scent is all around us during the festive season in the form of candy canes and peppermint creams. Peppermint isn’t just an indulgence, however; it can be very beneficial for our health. Peppermint oil is a natural expectorant, meaning that it is able to loosen mucus in the throat and sinuses and allow easier breathing. This ability to clear congested airways makes it a popular remedy during cold and flu season.
Famous for being one of the gifts given to baby Jesus in the Bible, frankincense can be used for more than a prop in the nativity play. A 2003 study found that frankincense oil exhibited strong immuno-stimulant activity, encouraging the immune system to respond to invaders in the body. This ability to boost the immune system is invaluable in the cold weather when illnesses spread more rapidly.
Another Biblical oil, myrrh has a rich, complex scent with an earthy sweetness that can promote a cosy feeling in the home. It can also help to protect those that live there. Myrrh oil has antibacterial and antifungal properties that allow it to inhibit the growth of harmful microorganisms. A study in 2012 found that these abilities were particularly strong when myrrh was paired with frankincense.
Essential oils with immune-supporting, circulation-boosting properties are ideal for winter.
Comforting cinnamon has a festive warmth to its scent reminiscent of Christmas baking. A potent oil, it should be kept away from skin, but can still be incredibly effective when diffused. A 2015 review of research into cinnamon oil concluded that cinnamon is an antimicrobial oil with powerful properties. Cinnamon bark oil is also beneficial for heart health and circulation, as shown in a 2014 study that noted how it improved heart performance. Diffusing cinnamon bark oil may help to keep us warmer in the winter months.
A warm, spicy oil that pairs nicely with cinnamon, clove bud may remind you of Christingle services and festive meals. The oil is also great for the immune system, supporting it in its fight against cold and flu symptoms. Studies in 2005 and 2012 have shown it to be effective against various infections, helping to galvanise the body’s natural defence system and protect our health.
Another oil popular for its ties to Christmas cooking, nutmeg oil can help to keep the cold at bay. With its strong circulation-boosting properties, nutmeg can warm us and keep blood flowing in our fingers and toes. It is also said to promote a better quality of sleep, helping us to reduce winter fatigue.
Who wouldn’t want their home to smell like the inside of a gingerbread house? Ginger has plenty of other benefits as well, the most important being that it’s one of the best agents against cold symptoms. Ginger is a natural expectorant with antiseptic properties that help to protect against infection. If illness does take hold, components gingerol and zingiberene can soothe swelling in the lungs and open airways. A 2013 study also found that ginger can cause a significant and rapid relaxation of human airway smooth muscles, preventing the restriction of airways.
The classic stocking filler has a powerful ability to boost low moods and dispel winter blues. Like most citrus oils, sweet orange is known as a positive and uplifting oil that can help to get us into a festive spirit. Studies in 2013 and 2015 have also shown that the oil can reduce anxiety, keeping us in the best frame of mind to celebrate this winter.
A key ingredient in gin and a famously festive berry, juniper has a clean, woody scent that pairs beautifully with other Christmas staples. The oil also displays strong antimicrobial activity – a study in 2003 suggested that juniper berry oil could even be effective against bacteria that are resistant to antibiotics. Juniper berry oil is also a powerful cure for insomnia, keeping us well-rested and ready to face the cold weather.
This festive season, the right scents can help you embrace a holiday state of mind. Whether you want to create Christmas soaps or candles, handmake beautifully-scented Christmas presents, or simply keep your home smelling seasonal all winter, these essential oils are a great place to start.
Shop our festive blends here.