Scented plants boost well-being

Scented plants that heal


Plants can provide exquisite natural scents and boost your well-being.

The scent of lavender or orange blossom acts as a sedative and citrus smells are great pick-me-ups. Dried petal infusions of sweet briar rose Rosa rubiginosa are good for headaches and dizziness. While honeysuckle Lonicera periclymenum can be used as a skin tonic, jasmine is a remedy for flagging libido.

Basil  Ocimum basilicum

Basil Ocimum basilicum

Aromatic plants have an array of medicinal uses

Pot marigold  Calendula officinalis

Pot marigold Calendula officinalis

An infusion of basil is said to be good for gastric and intestinal complaints, while warm fennel tea is diuretic and a mild laxative. Massage your head with a few drops of lavender oil for headaches and migraines. A bath additive for itching skin is mint. Infusions of lemon verbena are good for gums and help prevent tooth decay.

Mint  Mentha

Mint Mentha

Soothe tired and swollen feet with a pot marigold infusion: use fresh leaves. As a tea, pot marigold is thought to be good for complexion and for poor circulation. For sleeplessness, try hot thyme tea sweetened with honey and taken last thing at night. Thyme oil is used to treat spots and pimples. If you need a tonic, try a hot infusion of sage.

Aromatic plants:

Thyme  Thymus vulgaris

Thyme Thymus vulgaris

  • Agastache’s leaves. A foeniculumm, aniseed-scents

  • Balm Melissa M officinalis, lemon-scented

  • Basil Ocimum basilicum, aromatic annual

  • Bay Laurus nobilis, aromatic everygreen

  • Catmint Nepeta faasennii, aromatic leaves

  • Fennel Foeniculum F vulgare, aniseed scent

  • Lavender Lavendula L stoechas, L angustifolia, L latifolia and L pinna are all fragrant

  • Lemon verbena Aloysia triphylla strongly lemon-scented foliage

  • Mint M pulegium (Pennyroyal), sharply aromativ. M requienii (Corsican mint), peppermint-scented. M suaveolens (Applemint), M spicata (Spearmint)

  • Oregano Origanum O vulgare (Wild majoram), very aromatic leaves

  • Pelargoniums with scented-leaves: P ‘Attar of Roses’ rose –scented leaves. P ‘Mabel Grey’, strongly lemon scented. P triste, freesia-scented.

  • Pot-marigold - Calendula officinalis, aromatic leaves • Rosemary Rosmarinus aromatic, oily foliage

  • Sage Salvia officinalis, aromatic leaves

  • Thyme Thymus, oily foliage T pulegioides, strongly aromatic evergreen Aromatic plant scents are at their strongest in the summer as heat activates the aromatic oils.

Aromatic plant scents are at their strongest in the summer as heat activates the aromatic oils.

Other plants that smell good

Flowers release their scent at different times of the day, the year, and in varying weather conditions.

The heavenly fragrances of Mexican orange blossom Choisya ternata and lilac Syringa vulgaris (common lilac) come in late spring. - S x chinenes ‘Alba” is particularly fragrant – Clematis montana and English bluebells Hyacinthoides nonscripta have a more subtle redolence.

Clematis montana

Clematis montana

In general, white and pale flowers are particularly strongly scented. (Freesias are an exception to this - darker red and pink varieties have the strongest scent.)

For nocturnal aroma-generators try night-scented stocks Matthiola bicornis, tobacco plants Nicotiana alata, evening primrose Oenothera biennis, phlox ‘Midnight Candy’ or night-blooming jasmine Cestrum nocturnum. Plant them near doorways and windows and wherever you venture in the evening.

Most foliage scents need to be activated: their scents are released only when the plants are touched, or parts are crushed. Lavender will release its scent at the slightest touch but other aromatic herbs are best placed along pathways where they are likely to be brushed or bruised.

Abi Fawcus