We have all heard the expression "stop and smell the roses" (something I do all the time) which means to relax; to take time out of this cray, hectic, chaotic existence and appreciate the beauty of life. Simply taking the time to pause and take in the wondrous fragrance of a rose is a proven, natural remedy which releases endorphins and reduces stress. Flower power is real and they work their floral magic on our emotional well-being, happiness, workplace productivity as well as decreasing our worries and anxieties every day. (There was some research conducted over the pond if you'd like to take a look at it - here). Simply being in nature and exploring our natural world around us has positive effects on our bodies, our minds and our spirits. Nature is the greatest place to heal and recharge but with our busy lives, work commitments and general speed of 'living' it can be difficult to find the time to immerse ourselves in nature and so bringing the natural world or natural elements into our spaces in which we live and work, as well as into our garden can have similar, if not the same positive effects on our mental health.
If you know Bud & Bee as a business, or me personally, or even if you have stumbled across this post, you may know or even guess how I feel about the importance of natural, seasonal and scented elements in my bouquets, and so I've put together my favourite flowers and plants into this post to share their amazing properties, be it the physical plant and/or their essential oils (which I highly recommend diffusing throughout your home regularly for positive mental health benefits. I use a MAYA aroma diffuser).
Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. I do not supply links to any products that I have not used myself and all reviews and opinions of products are my own.
When I was a child, I used to create perfumes from the petals of roses dotted throughout my Bampys garden, just like my Mum used to do when she was a young girl. There are so many stunningly scented roses from mild and fruity to strong and heavily floral but do you know the benefits of using the oils derived from the rose plant? The aromatherapy use of rose oil can help to ease pain. In one study, researchers applied rose oil to the skin of each participant, and then measured its effects on the most common symptoms of anxiety. Blood pressure, heart rates, breathing rates, cortisol levels, and blood oxygen levels all decreased. The subjects also reported feeling much more relaxed after the oil treatment. A relaxed body and mind will help to reduce pain, which may be why in another study involving over 100 women who were giving birth found that rose oil lowered their anxiety and pain levels during delivery. The flower itself calms and soothes the mind, decreases headaches and mental strain - and who couldn't use a little of that everyday?? Lavender
Not only an excellent and attractive plant for feeding pollinators, but it is great for muggles too! Lavender works as an antixiolytic (an anxiety reliever) and as a sedative, to increase relaxation and calm. Lavender interact with a neurotransmitter to help quiet an overactive brain and nervous system activity, reducing agitation, anger, aggression and restlessness. You can use lavender oils, dried lavender - in eye pillows for example - and my favourite way to use lavender is added into my tea blend for my bedtime brew. I drink The Woodbridge Emporiums blend and I love it - the deliver too!
All the recipients of a Bud & Bee bouquet will be able to tell you that I LOVE MINT - mint and rose being one of my favourite summer scent combinations, the freshness of the mint combined with the sweet honey scents of a rose reminds me of long summer days...with a Pimms of course! Mint has powerful antioxidant properties (probably not so much when in a cool glass of Pimms...) and this is down to the menthol, which is the active oil that you can smell, which has anti inflammatory and antibacterial properties. These can help soothe an upset stomach, or bring a soothing effect to asthmatic patients, relaxing the airways and relieving congestion. Similar to Eucalyptus, you can add a bunch of mint to your shower for that home spa feeling. I grow a lot of different varieties of mint from the standard garden mint to strawberry and even chocolate mint of which all of them at some time or another feature in my arrangements.
Just glancing at the cheery, bright face of a Calendula bloom just fills my hear with sunshine and is enough to lift anyone's spirits and the Calendula, like the sunflower, turns its head to face the sun throughout the day! The plant itself is a fantastic natural repellent of insects and is often planted around the base of roses to deter aphids. The petals of the Calendula are edible (if grown organically) and it has a tangy taste, but added to a salad the petals really are a feast for you eyes. Calendula is often used to adorn many religious statues because it represents thankfulness, excellence and serenity. As a natural haealer, a topical application of Calendula is used to keep wounds clean and help new tissue to grow. It is often used to help poorly healing wounds, those that are exhibiting signs of tenderness, redness, or inflammation, to correct course. The healing herb is also effective in treating minor burns, including sunburn.
I think rosemary is my most favourite herb...ever! I have got into the habit of touching the leaves of rosemary every time I pass one, often retaining a small sprig and walking with it, breathing in the woody, evergreen scent. There is something homely about the smell of rosemary that brings me a sense of relaxation and comfort, without making me sleepy. To relieve stress while studying and maintain concentration, you can diffuse rosemary essential oil. In folk medicine, rosemary has been associated for centuries with having a good memory and as it turns out, there are compounds in rosemary oil that may be responsible for changes in memory performance, one of which is called 1,8-cineole. As well as smelling wonderful, it may act in the same way as the drugs licensed to treat dementia, causing an increase in a neurotransmitter called acetylcholine. Isn't the natural world amazing?
Golden Pothos - Epipremnum aureum
Okay, so this one isn't a stunning flower and it doesn't have a beautiful scent but my Pothos brings me so much joy. Trailing down from my bookcase and reaching across the wall, the beautiful green leaves add a fantastic jungle feel to my space. But the Pothos plant isn't just a pretty leaf....Pothos is very apt at removing VOCs and toxins from the surrounding air. According to the clean air study by NASA, pothos plant removes pollutants such as benzene, toluene, formaldehyde, carbon monoxide and xylene from the air. In Canada, a genetically modified version of Golden Pothos aka Epipremnum aureum has been modified to produce a liver enzyme called cytochrome p450 2e1 – taken from rabbits – that breaks down a wide range of pollutants. They have just published a study showing that when E.aureum is placed in a container with high levels of either benzene or chloroform, normal pothos plants broke down less than 10% in a week where as the GM variety broke down more than 90%. I hope that I can get my hands on the GM variety but in the mean time Porthos (my pothos' name) will keep my air somewhat more pure. You can purchase rooted cuttings of my beautiful Porthos on my online store.
Well there you have my little list of plants and flowers that bring me happiness. I would love to hear about the plants/flowers make your soul happy. Peace & love, B x