Cooped up indoors in winter, I dream up ideas for making my confines more interesting. One of the most primal ways is with scent. It’s easy: I just dry-roast spices in an incense burner or in a cast-iron pan set over a low flame, stirring them occasionally to get a balanced roast. I asked aromatherapist Fannie McWatt of Ever Brooklyn to help me decipher the mood-enhancing properties of some of my favorite seasonal blends.
4 Simple Spice Blends For Some Mood-Enhancing Aromatherapy
You don't need expensive potpourri to make your home festive and welcoming this season—everything you need is already in your kitchen.
“Citrus and cinnamon combat the blues,” says McWatt. Mix ½ teaspoon fennel seed with ½ teaspoon licorice root, ½ teaspoon dried orange peel, and one stick of cinnamon for a sweet whiff of happiness. Ground spices work, but whole ones are prettier and release their scent more slowly.
“In its purified form, coriander is associated with antibacterial and antiviral properties," says McWatt. It has a lemony, cleansing aroma. Refresh your space for the new year by toasting ½ teaspoon of the ground spice with one teaspoon kukicha (Japanese twig tea), and ½ teaspoon each allspice and cloves. (Check out these 6 other surprisingly easy ways to freshen the air in your home.)
“Black peppercorn is a wake-up,” says McWatt. “Lavender is its opposite.” Balance stimulating and calming scents by roasting one teaspoon each assam tea and star anise with ½ teaspoon each black peppercorns and lavender (and check out 7 cool things we never knew lavender could do).
Make your guests feel comfy with a warm and optimistic blend of one teaspoon rooibos tea, ½ teaspoon cloves, 5 green cardamom pods, and a pinch of nutmeg, a spice that McWatt says is great for filtering out negative energy.
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