a woman sitting by the window looking out at the winter landscape, holding a coffee mug in her hand.

Aromatherapy For Winter Restoration

As we enter winter here in the Northern Hemisphere, the season ushers in a period of increased cold and longer days filled with darkness. It’s a time of retreat, of hibernation, and gestation. Which means, in the seasonal cycle, it’s the perfect time for introspection, replenishment and restoration. 

While fall is a time to release and empty out the energy of summer, winter gives us a chance to strengthen the inside, and to prepare for the possibilities that spring has to offer. It’s a chance to rest and recover, as well as to restore the foundation within. 

Importantly, this requires a degree of stillness and listening to what our body is telling us. It means connecting with ourselves and identifying where we need to replenish the energy well and restore misalignments in structure. After all, homeostasis is the goal.   

four seasons of aromatherapy

But let’s not lose sight of the fact that winter is also a time to dream, and to unleash creativity from within. It’s a chance to explore the potential of what could be, and to ask ourselves “what if.”  It’s an opportunity to lay the groundwork for the new, for the possibility of a different direction, and for setting a fresh course for spring. 

Let’s talk about the ways we can regenerate the loss of fall, and harness the generosity that winter provides us, even in times of darkness and cold.  



Integrating all elements of ourselves and our surroundings is beneficial when considering aromatherapy support. 


The Spirit 

While fall offers us the chance to start slowing down and turning inward, winter invites us to explore our essence. It’s a chance to unleash our creativity and imagine what’s possible. 

For the spirit, this means turning to seed essential oils. Seeds represent the beginning of life, the gestation of the new and the germination of the possible. The volatile compounds from this plant part have a warming nature that impart a sense of happiness and motivation. They infuse energy and passion during an otherwise cold and dormant period.

Seed essential oils to consider are:

  • Coriander Seed (Coriandrum sativum)

  • Cardamom (Elettaria cardamomum)

  • Anise (Pimpinella anisum)


Take action: Sit in a quiet space with a notepad and unleash your creativity through scent journaling. Pick a seed essential oil and diffuse it near you while you write. Let the essential oil guide you and stimulate your mind as ideas flow onto the page. Alternatively, try focusing in on the scent itself and let it speak to you. Listen as it diffuses in the air and reveals new thoughts and ideas through its energy. 


The Mind 

The winter gives us the opportunity to reflect and heal from the previous seasons. It’s a chance for introspection and to still the irritable. 

For the mind, this means turning to resin essential oils. Meditative, healing and protective, resin essential oils support peace of mind and salvation.

Resin essential oils to consider are:

  • Frankincense (Boswellia carterii)

  • Elemi (Canarium luzonicum)

  • Opopanax (Commiphora guidottii)

  • Myrrh (Commiphora myrrha)


Take action: Carve 10 minutes out of your day to sit quietly and meditate. Embrace the early sunsets and make time for introspection. Let your mind and body connect. While doing this, diffuse a blend of elemi and lemon, or frankincense and myrrh.


The Body

One of the most important things we can do in the winter is rest our body. It’s important to slow down and get more sleep and to give your body the opportunity to rejuvenate itself from the activities and stress of the year.  

Essential oils that are particularly helpful for restoring the body, and preparing for new growth, are flower and wood essential oils

While essential oils extracted from flowers help soothe the heart and relax the body, oils extracted from wood help bring you to center and let you focus your energy. 

Flower essential oils to consider are:

  • Geranium (Pelargonium graveolens var roseum)

  • Jasmine absolute (Jasminum sambac)

  • Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)

  • Ylang Ylang (Cananga odorata var genuina)


Wood essential oils to consider are:

  • Atlas Cedarwood (Cedrus atlantica)

  • Cedarwood (Juniperus virginiana)

  • Australian Sandalwood (Santalum album)


Take action: Get more quality sleep. 15 minutes before going to bed, prepare the bedroom by diffusing a blend of flower and wood essential oils such as lavender, cedarwood and ylang ylang (one drop is plenty). Leave the room and close the door behind you. Now simply allow the scent to fill the space. When you’re ready to go to bed, turn off the diffuser and you’ll have a sleep sanctuary in which to fall asleep.


The Environment 

In the winter, the weather is very cold and dry, which manifests itself on the skin and in the circulatory system. Lower temperatures can bring poor circulation and increased rheumatic pain for those who suffer. And dry air can further irritate eczema and otherwise itchy skin. To combat and replenish this cold and dry effect, we can turn to rhizome and seed essential oils for warmth and vitality.

Rhizome and seed essential oils to consider are:

  • Ginger (Zingiber officinale)

  • Black Pepper (Piper nigrum)

  • Carrot Seed (Daucus carota)

  • Cardamom (Elettaria cardamomum)

  • Plai (Zingiber cassumunar)

  • Turmeric (Curcuma longa)


Take action: To increase circulation and create warmth, make a 1oz (30ml) massage oil blend of jojoba wax carrier oil mixed with a total of 10-12 drops of warming essential oils like ginger and black pepper combined with plai and cardamom. Gently massage and rub on painful muscles and joints up to 3x a day. 

For dry skin, make a 1oz (30ml) massage oil blend of rosehip carrier oil mixed with a 10-12 drop essential oil blend of revitalizing seed oils like carrot seed together with sandalwood and lavender oils.

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