Scientists understand how scent, emotion and memory are intertwined but you don’t have to be an expert to know that each December, as we celebrate the festive season as a time to come together and share joy and the gift of giving with our loved one and friends, our homes naturally fill up with all the aromas, remembrances, and merriments of Christmas. Fresh pine wafting off a lush tree, baked clove and cinnamon-dusted mince pies, vanilla candles and citrus scented fruit bowls, and a dining table laden with roasted dishes and sticky, sweet puddings.  


Whether you celebrate Christmas or not, the festive season is forever branded with its own signature scents, and it all began with those very first gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh from the three wise men who followed a star to Bethlehem to honour a new-born King.  


The festive season today continues the tradition of gift giving and those very first royal gifts of aromatic scents still positively inspire our world today.  


The Tradition of Scented Gifts for Health & Happiness 


Aromatherapy is a natural and beneficial practise that uses Nature’s most pungent and healing aromas to travel from our olfactory nerves directly to our brain, to impact the amygdala, which is the emotional control room of our thoughts and feelings.  


Everyone, young and old can use aromatherapy to their benefit, whether you gift your grandmother a remedy for her arthritis, you add it as a stocking filler for a teenager who needs to find calm after a season of school exams, or you introduce its digestive remedies to your fellow revellers to aid in the seasonal indigestion caused by over-eating and drinking. 


Let us discover what those three wise men of so long ago, really knew about ancient and royal scents: 




A fragrant offering, Frankincense is an ageless perfume and a symbol of divinity used in religious ceremonies and remains an aromatherapy which is still beneficial for us today.  


Frankincense is excellent for dry and mature skin and is said to preserve a youthful complexion and prevent wrinkles. Also known as Olibanum, it is obtained from steam distillation of the gum resin of the Boswellia tree and offers a woody, spicy smell. Its centering aroma slows the nervous system and promotes a feeling of calm and introspection, and a few drops in an essential oil burner can aid concentration and meditation.  


Traditional Ayurvedic medicine use frankincense for health benefits and as an anti-inflammatory to improve joint inflammation, arthritis, to aid digestion and to reduce asthma. It should, however, not be used during pregnancy.  




Myrrh was used in ancient time as an anointing oil during ceremonies and for healing purposes and is perhaps one of the oldest aromatic substances to travel down through the centuries. Produced from the gum collected from the myrrh bush, the oil is steam-distilled from the resin, offering a scent which instils a deep sense of calm and mental tranquillity. 


For thousands of years, myrrh has been used by traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine for anti-bacterial purposes and for wound healing, digestive health, and to balance women’s issues. Frankincense and myrrh used together offer a synergistic antimicrobial combination which is useful for mouth and throat infections and in the treatment of wounds and ulcers. 


Medical scientists are now testing myrrh’s potential uses, including for pain, and swelling, infections, and skin sores and according to Healthline, a recent study found that burning myrrh and frankincense reduces airborne bacterial counts by as much as 68%. If you are having a festive crowd gather in your home this festive season, it might make sense to burn frankincense and myrrh as a health precaution along with your hand sanitiser station at the door. 


Other festive scents to consider adding to your celebrations and your aromatherapy arsenal, include cinnamon and cloves. 




Cinnamon oil can be used for infection of the respiratory tract. It has a toning effect on the body and stimulates your glandular system. It makes a warming liniment to relax tight muscles, ease joint pain, menstrual cramps and it increases circulation. It is to be avoided during pregnancy. 




Clove Bud oil has long been used for the relief of toothache and is equally useful for digestive problems. It has excellent antiseptic and anti-bacterial properties and is reported to relieve arthritic and rheumatic pain. 


This festive season, as we celebrate our health as our greatest wealth during these months of the virus and its new variants which populate the horizon, let us gift the gift of knowledge regarding the benefits of aromatherapy as a holistic healing treatment to share with your loved ones to promote health and well-being for mind, body and spirit as we head into 2022.