How essential oils affect your brain

Imagery: Courtesy of Maison Saine // @maison.saine

Words: Sarah Tarca // @tarca


You know how you’re walking down the street one day and some random guy walks past wearing, say,  Davidoff Cool Water, and without even looking at him your head suddenly jerks up, your body fills with goosebumps, and you’re 15 years old again pining after your first boyfriend? That kind of reaction is not as crazy as you think. Because your sense of smell is actually the most powerful one you’ve got, especially in relation to memory recall and emotion. This explains why some smells make us recoil, while others make us go all hyperventilating-giggly-schoolgirl. Yep, scent is powerful stuff - and that’s just the synthetic, off-the-shelf variety.


“To receive the most therapeutic benefits from an essential oil, you must know where it has grown and how it has been harvested.”


Essential oils work on a whole other magical level as Deonne Clancy and  Kobi Macleod Co-Founder’s of the essential oil based, holistic wellness brand Maison Saine explain, “when broken down to a molecular level, essential oils are full of natural, botanical chemical compounds. These compounds deliver many uses for the body, mind and environment and each oil has a different therapeutic benefit.” So, not only do they smell good, they do good for you too. Here’s what else you should know about essential oils.



Kobi and Deonne give us a quick breakdown of what happens when essential oils are inhaled:

“Their aromas are first processed in the olfactory bulb, in the nose. This bulb has many receptors that are connected to the limbic system in our brain… and this limbic system is directly connected to the parts of the brain that control heart rate, blood pressure, breathing, memory, stress levels, and hormone balance just to name a few.” Which of course, is true of most smells, but, because essential oils have therapeutic benefits things start to get interesting here. “When we apply essential oils to our skin, their healing components are absorbed into the bloodstream by the pores and hair follicles,” they say.  “Once inside the bloodstream, they disperse to the specific cells and systems that are in need, bringing the body back into balance.” So not only do they have an effect on your mood, but they can affect your whole state of being too.



So, the one at the $2 shop claiming to be “pure” Aussie sandalwood? Yeah, it’s probably not. And, while we’re all keen for a bargain , the problem with cheap oils is that they’re full of synthetics which, given that they’re being absorbed into your skin, is not ideal. And despite being natural it is still possible to have a reaction to them, so using a trusted brand is, well, essential. “To receive the most therapeutic benefits from an essential oil, you must know where it has grown and how it has been harvested,” says Deonne and Kobi. “High quality essential oils are always from a single source origin, and the plant should always be grown where it’s native and naturally thrives.” And of course, always check the labels to make sure there’s no fillers or synthetics.



Don’t be fooled by their natural status - good, high quality essential oils are powerful. The key is to use them sparingly: “more does not always mean better!” says Deonne and Kobi. “When applying oils to the skin we always dilute in a carrier oils such as jojoba or coconut oil because diluting reduces the risk of irritation from their potency.” Plus, diluting them also means they’ll last longer and more easily absorbed into your system.



Not all oils play well together. Just like layering your favourite fragrance, sometimes it works, and other times… well, you just need to take a shower.  “Although certain oils can provide a great therapeutic benefit when blended together or by themselves, they don’t always have the most pleasant scent,” says Kobi and Deonne. So, when it comes to blends, it’s always best to leave that stuff to the pro’s, who, let’s face it have done all the hard work for you, so all you need to do is smell - and feel - damn good.

Deonne Clancy and Kobi Macleod

Deonne Clancy and Kobi Macleod



Shop the range of Maison Saine home and body products here

Emma Vidgen