Imagine a world where the fragrance of a flower or the aroma of a plant could whisk away your worries, calm your racing thoughts, and bring a sense of tranquility to your soul. Well, this world exists, and it's all around us in the form of aromatic medicine. These plants aren't just a lovely experience for our senses; they have the remarkable ability to reach the depths of our emotions, providing support, comfort, and balance.

In the fast-paced, modern world we live in, stress, anxiety, and depression often take center stage. Life is a wild ride of ups and downs and challenges that come with packed luggage full of a wide spectrum of emotions. If we are too busy or overwhelmed to unpack those emotional bags, they become heavier and heavier over time. We can find ourselves burdened with unpleasant emotions: fear, anger, anxiety, loss, grief, frustration, despair, and so much more. 

But you don’t have to walk this path alone. Aromatic plants are true allies in the emotional realm. From holding you during moments of grief to helping process tough emotions, these aromatic plant allies are here for you, whether you're seeking serenity amidst chaos or simply a moment of peace in your daily routine. Aromatic plants are a key to unlocking the doorway to our emotional healing.

In this blog post, we will dive into the realm of aromatic medicine in the emotional body and focus on five specific plants that you can use for emotional and mental health support. You’ll learn about the healing virtues of these five magical plant allies and how best to utilize them in your daily life. Let’s embark on this journey together and allow these aromatic plants to guide us towards emotional balance and support.

How Aromatic Plants Support Emotional Health

Our sense of smell holds a profound influence on our emotional states, thanks to the intricate workings of the human body. When an aroma enters our nostrils, it embarks on a journey that leads it directly to our limbic system, a complex network of brain structures responsible for processing our emotions and storing memories. This unique connection is why certain scents possess the power to elicit strong emotional responses and awaken long-forgotten memories from our past.

This process unfolds remarkably fast, often triggering an emotional reaction to an aroma before our conscious awareness even catches up. For instance, when you encounter the soothing scent of Lavender, an immediate wave of calm, ease, and relaxation envelops you, all before your brain has a chance to register that it's Lavender you're smelling. The emotional response takes the lead. This phenomenon highlights how aromatic plants serve as a potent gateway to our psyche.

To learn more about this complex subject, check out our blog post: Supporting Emotional Health with Aromatic Medicine.

5 Aromatic Plants for Emotional Support


Contrary to what you might assume, the aroma of Geranium comes from the leaves of the plant instead of the flowers. The leaves are in the unmistakable shape of a heart, which is nature’s way of telling us this plant’s purpose. Not only is Geranium soothing to the heart, but it is also relaxing to the mind, helping calm agitation, frustration, and irritability. 

Geranium is the plant ally for the “busy bee,” the workaholic perfectionist who has forgotten what it feels like to have fun. This plant has an affinity for reducing both chronic and acute anxiety, particularly nervous exhaustion that comes from being stressed and overworked.

According to Gabriel Mojay, Geranium “helps to reconnect us to our emotional sensitivity, relaxed spontaneity, and a healthy thirst for pleasure and enjoyment. With this comes a greater capacity for intimate communication – one in which being able to receive and experience is as important as the power to give and express.”


Rose is both opening and protective to the heart, which is reflected in its botanical being, with its brilliantly stunning petals and protective thorns. This plant has the unique ability to simultaneously nurture and shield the heart at the same time. Like a gentle hug, this aromatic ally can help soothe and support the emotional heart, restoring a sense of ease and comfort to the mind, body, and soul. 

With its heart-opening qualities, Rose can help you feel safe to open up, allowing space for the expression of emotions, whatever they may be. This plant is calming and nourishing to the nervous system, helping process and dissolve heavy feelings of hopelessness, despair, and indifference. Rose will hold you throughout your journey into and out of the rivers and valleys of the emotional realm.

According to aromatherapist and author Gabriel Mojay: “The compassion of the flower is revealed through its ability to heal emotional wounds. Bringing warmth to a soul grown cold through abuse or hurt, Rose can touch the deepest despair, restoring the trust that makes it possible to love again.” [1]


Lavender is one of the most widely known herbs for soothing stress and anxiety. In fact, there have been considerable scientific studies on Lavender that have shown its ability to calm the nervous system without sedation and help reduce feelings of anxiety. [2][3] 

Gabriel Mojay believes that the psychological benefits of Lavender come from its ability to calm and stabilize the energy of the heart. Lavender soothes the heart by dampening strong emotions that threaten to take over and overwhelm our minds. In this way, Lavender helps maintain equilibrium in the mental and emotional realms. 

Mojay also shares that Lavender can help calm nervous anxiety that can lead to self-doubt and self-conscious feelings. This herb makes a great plant ally for those who struggle with fear of expressing themselves and living a life that aligns with their true identity. Lavender can help you break through feelings of shyness, embarrassment, and self-conscious reserve, bringing you the confidence to express your true self.


Chamomile truly embodies the energy of the sun; with its warming and sweet aroma, it encourages a more “sunny” disposition, dissolving depression. Like Lavender, this plant has the ability to soothe the soul and relieve nervous stress and tension of any kind. Chamomile can support the emotional realm through both internal and external use.

(Note: Never ingest an essential oil of any kind. For a full article on essential oil safety, visit our Essential Oil Safety Guide.)

This aromatic plant has a special affinity for easing built-up tension and frustration, especially when those feelings are tied to unmet emotional needs and wants. When we feel like our needs are being ignored, we might react by gripping even harder, resorting to uncharacteristic over-controlling or manipulative behavior, which usually does not end up solving the situation. 

Chamomile allows us to let go of who we wish would be and accept what truly is, intercepting feelings of frustration, resentment, and depression that often stem from ego-driven desire. This plant encourages us to release rigid expectations, recognize both our own and others' constraints, and embrace the affection and attention that others are capable of offering, rather than pining for what we desire them to provide.


If we often feel easily overwhelmed by emotions, or simply feel like we can’t face our emotions at all, it may be because we have a lack of grounding or trust in ourselves. When we don’t feel grounded, we lose our ability and confidence to handle any task, big or small, and the addition of the weight of heavy emotions can send us toppling over the edge. 

Frankincense has been revered for ages by many cultures, and for good reason. Frankincense is often used as an incense during meditation for its ability to soothe mental agitation and worry, calming distracting thoughts and paving the way for a peaceful meditative state.

It is the aromatic plant of emotional liberation. When you feel stuck or bogged down, Frankincense is there to help pick you up. Mojay says: “Whenever we have allowed ourselves to become oppressed by the mundane or tied to the past – restricted or weighed down by any form of over-attachment – Frankincense can help us break free.” 

Frankincense opens up the doors to self-reflection, insightfulness, and calm contemplation, encouraging peace and balance within the emotional realm. When you are able to look within, without criticism or judgment, true understanding and healing can begin.

How to Use Herbs for Emotional Support

There are countless ways you can use aromatic plants for emotional support. Inhaling the volatile oils of these plants in any aromatic capacity will offer almost immediate relief since our nose is a direct gateway to the center of our emotions in the brain. The way you decide to work with these plants is up to you and what resonates with you most. Aromatic plants work wonders in acute situations when you crave immediate relief, but they also offer profound, deep emotional healing when used consistently over time. 

You can create an oasis of emotional well-being at home, by incorporating incense, essential oil diffusers, hydrosols, perfume, or herbal baths into your self-care practice. If you don’t have a bathtub, an herbal foot soak is a wonderful comforting alternative to baths. Self-massage with aromatic body oils is a loving way to soothe and care for your mind, body, and soul. If getting massages is accessible to you, you might ask a massage therapist or loved one to use aromatic massage oils in your next massage.

You could also combine some of the plants mentioned above in an herbal steam, which is an age-old tradition that involves placing aromatic plants, fresh or dried, in a large pot of just boiled water to release the volatile oils. You can allow the aroma to envelop your home or create a tent with a towel over your head and the pot to localize the aromatic oils and steam through inhalation. For a step-by-step process on how to herbal steam, click here to read our article on the topic.

If you enjoy gardening, you might choose to spend time designing and planting a healing aromatic medicine garden with plants from this article or other aromatic plant allies that are calling to you. Or maybe you feel inspired to create herbal teas, tinctures, cordials, or other herbal elixirs with Rose, Lavender, Chamomile, or other aromatic herbs that are safe for consumption.

Aromatic Allies

The aromatic medicine kingdom is vast and there is no end in sight for how you incorporate these plants into your life. Allow this article to be a jumping-off point, instead of a boxed blueprint, for your motivation and inspiration to use aromatic plants in the journey of supporting your emotional health. In a world where the demands of modern life can weigh us down with stress, anxiety, and emotional turmoil, the healing power of aromatic plants offers us a sanctuary of relief and support.

Article Written By Melissa Szaro


1. Mojay, G. (1997). Aromatherapy for Healing the Spirit: Restoring Emotional and Mental Balance with Essential Oils. Rochester, Healing Arts Press.

2. Malcolm BJ, Tallian K. (2018). Essential oil of lavender in anxiety disorders: Ready for prime time? Ment Health Clin. Mar 26;7(4):147-155. 

3. Donelli, D.; Antonelli, M.; Bellinazzi, C.; Gensini, G.F.; Firenzuoli, F. (2019). Effects of lavender on anxiety: A systematic review and meta-analysis, Phytomedicine, Volume 65.

© 2023 The Northwest School of Aromatic Medicine. All rights reserved.

*The statements above have not been evaluated by the FDA, and are for educational purposes only. This article is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. This article should not be taken as medical advice. Please consult your physician before you use this information for health purposes.

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