When she was studying at Nazareth Convent High School in Nilgiris, the nuns would give the students lavender to crush and rub on their hand and smell it. It would calm their nerves before examinations. Even today, when Blossom Kochhar wants to pep herself up, she rubs rosemary oil on her palms and smells it; when she’s feeling low and depressed, her spirits are instantly lifted by smelling jasmine oil. Aromatheraphy is a way of life for her.
“All my life, whenever I have had a cold, I’ve used eucalyptus oil. I do the same for my daughter and grandchild too. I clean the house with lavender all over, and use essential oils as natural perfumes,” says Kochhar, who came out with a book last year explaining the concept of aromatherapy and a step-by-step guide on how to use it.
We happened to catch up with the businesswoman when she was in town to host a seminar for professionals in the beauty industry at JW Marriott. She recalls that when she started a career in this field, she had to make cosmetics and the synthetic oils available to her were useless. “Instead of synthetic oils, I started using these essential oils as perfume.
The feedback she got for the products she made was that it not only made people’s skin feel better, but they also said that their cold went away and they dealt better with their depression,” says Kochhar.
Explaining the concept of aromatherapy, she says, “When you walk by a temple, or visit one, you smell sandalwood and feel calm. When you smell something, it goes to your brain and gets processed in the Limbic system, which sends messages accordingly to your motor organs. This is why you associate certain smells with certain memories. It also works on your hypothalamus, which is responsible for controlling the production of hormones and gives the release and relax commands to your body,” says Kochhar, adding, “Jasmine is good for smelling when you have depression. It gives you confidence. That’s why nature brings it to us in the season of summer and monsoon when you’re so drained out. Before going for an interview, I always say you must rub a little jasmine oil and smell it to boost your confidence.”
She says that back in the day, the world thought that aromatherapy is just folklore. “If you wanted someone to fall in love, you’d wear rose scented perfume, and so on. Aromatherapy wasn’t taken seriously till a scientist proved what healing powers lavender had, after he suffered from a horrible accident. This scientist burnt his hand, and the thing closest to him was a big jar of lavender. By reflex, since it must have been paining so badly, the scientist dumped his hand into the jar and felt instantly relieved. The lavender had a cooling effect, so he used to put it on his wound daily. He found that the wound healed quickly and left no scars. That is when it was established that lavender heals burns,” says Kochhar, going on to talk about the various benefits of lavender.
The smell of this flowering plant of the mint family can also help relieve stress. All you have to do is rub a little lavender oil on your stomach, and under your feet and you will find yourself relaxed and will be able to sleep well. It is also used to soothe pain of any kind, be it spondylitis, arthritis and so on. To reduce hairfall, use a few drops of lavender oil in your last rinse or massage it into your hair and scalp before a wash.
However, aromatherapy is to be used as a complementary form of therapy and not as a substitute. “I always say that you have to take your medicines and do what your doctor says. Aromatherapy can be a complementary form of healing. It will ease the healing process,” says Kochhar, adding, “but there are some things that can be treated with aromatherapy. Like my sinus problem went away only with eucalyptus oil, it helps PMS also.”
Talking about the oils and how it works, she says, “If you put lavender on your philtrum, you will be able to taste it on your tongue in some time. Infact, even if you crush garlic and put it on your feet, you will be able to taste it in your mouth after about 20 minutes or so. The fine molecules travel up and through your body and work wonders.”