The Aromatherapy of Springtime

Betty Chaffee/ May 18, 2023/ Medication Management/ 6 comments

Just walking by the lilac tree in our yard today brought a smile to my face. Oh, the fragrance of a lilac tree in bloom! And so many other flowering trees and shrubs in bloom. Sometimes a slight breeze can bring a pleasant odor and you're not even sure where it's coming from.

Being outdoors today made me think of aromatherapy and how it may bring health benefits to some people. Maybe you're one of those people for whom certain smells can change your mood or provide other health benefits. 

Aromatherapy is a specialized practice, where trained therapists use essential oils as treatments. The oils can be used by inhalation, topical application, and sometimes other methods. Some research indicates aromatherapy may be helpful to treat anxiety, stress, depression, pain, and sleeplessness. There's even information that points to improved quality of life in people with dementia. The evidence isn't compelling at this point, though -- in other words, aromatherapy isn't going to replace usual care for chronic diseases anytime soon. But if certain fragrances can calm us, bring a smile or good memory, help lull us to sleep, or just make us feel good, we can use that as part of our self-care.

cinnamon sticksDo you love the smell of Christmas trees? Cinnamon? Springtime flowers? Roses in summer? Peppermint? There bouquet of rosesare lots of ways to treat yourself to those fragrances. At this time of year, just spending some time outdoors can be refreshing. But there are plenty of other options, too. Scented candles, essential oil diffusers, a sprig of flowers on the dining room table, and more.

Since Better My Meds is a pharmacy practice, you might tend to think I want to persuade you to take more medications. But that's not really the case at all. My goal is to help you find ways to stay healthy. A lot of times that does mean taking medications. And if that's the case I want you to understand what they're for, how to take them correctly, and how monitor their safety and effectiveness. But often, it's the other things we do that have the greatest effect on our health. A healthy, balanced diet, for example. Physical activity, however we can get it. Social engagement. And so much more. Aromatherapy is one of the tools we can use.

Since I'm not an aromatherapist, I don't have any professional recommendations to share. If you're a reader with a background in aromatherapy, please add your comments below to give us a broader view.of the practice. Same if you've ever undergone aromatherapy with a professional. As always, I invite you to contact us directly at Better My Meds with comments or questions if you prefer -- we love hearing from you! In the meantime, enjoy the delicious fragrances of spring!



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About Betty Chaffee

Betty Chaffee, PharmD, is owner and sole proprietor of BetterMyMeds, a Medication Management service devoted to helping people get the maximum benefit from their medications.


  1. I really love mint! and Yankee candles. They always make me feel better. The smell of blooming plants is a great remedy.

    1. Thanks for your comment Trav! And I’m 100% with you about scented candles – you know how big a part of the holidays they are for me!

  2. It’s nice to hear that you are open to alternative treatments to heal our ills. Doctors are so dependent on drug companies to do their jobs. We’ve gone away from natural home remedies. With all the GMO’s in our food, home remedies that used to work, may longer help. Sad.

    1. Thanks for your comment, Tony. I’ve learned slowly that many people are open to making their lifestyles as healthy as possible, and many are unable or unwilling to make changes. And even those who with healthy lifestyles sometimes need medications to deal with chronic health problems. That’s why I call healthcare a team sport. Let’s get a nutritionist, pharmacist, even aromatherapist if it helps, on board along with our doctors!

  3. Thank you for your informative letters. I too like the smell of lilacs. I have a large bush by my bedroom window.. I also like the smell of light rain.

    1. Nice to hear from you Joyce! I agree about the rain — and not only the scent but also the pleasant sound!

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