Winter self-care: returning to our roots with essential oils

And don’t think the garden

loses its ecstasy in winter,

it’s quiet but the roots are

down there riotous.


Winter time is a season of immersion, of sinking in, of rest and reverence.

The earth is in slumber. We “put our gardens to bed” for the winter season – the plants now focused on sending their vital nutrients deep into their roots. Roots anchor the plant to the ground and support it, they absorb water and nutrients and store extra nutrients for future use.

So too in winter, we can focus more inward and spend time nourishing ourselves. Creating your own aromatic rituals of self-care with root essential oils is a beautiful way to support yourself in this journey.

Root Essential Oils

  • provide grounding
  • encourage rest and restoration
  • promote a sense of stillness and quiet
  • connect you to your own “roots” – the centre of your being
  • help you to get to the root of something

Here are four of my favorite root essential oils to use this winter:

Spikenard (Nardostachys jatamansi)


Spikenard essential oil comes from the root of a flowering plant that grows to about one metre in height – found in Nepal, China and India. Spikenard has been used for thousands of years – as an incense, medicine and perfume.

Spikenard has an intense scent and can be overpowering – so only small amounts should be used.

In aromatherapy practice, Spikenard is considered to be useful in slowing down the overly active mind and providing a sense of calm in times of transition and change. It is very calming and balancing to the nervous system and helps soothe anxiety and instill a profound sense of peace.

Vetiver (Vetiveria zizanoides)


Vetiver essential oil comes from the roots of a tropical grass originally from India and Sri Lanka, but the plant is now grown in many tropical countries.

Vetiver is known as “the oil of tranquility” and it is incredibly grounding and stabilizing. The essential oil is deeply calming, balancing and restorative. Vetiver promotes rejuvenation on all levels and aids relaxation.

Ginger root (Zingiber officinale)


Ginger was one of the first products to travel the spice route from Asia to Europe, where both the Greeks and Romans made extensive use of it.

Ginger essential oil is warming and invigorating. It is considered to be an essential oil that builds courage and confidence and creates a wellspring of vibrant energy that eases nervous exhaustion. Ginger embodies “grounded fire”  and is both stable and ignited.

Angelica root (Angelica archangelica)

The Angelica plant can grow up to two meters tall – with a thick main stem and strong root system, deeply embedded in the earth (Zeck, 2014). It was known as the “Angels Herb” in the middle ages as it was used to help combat the plague and keep evil spirits away.

Angelica root essential oil is known for its grounding properties, helping us to become more fully present in our physical bodies. Its earthy grounding scent enhances feelings of well-being. The essential oil can also help strengthen the immune system and support respiratory function – very helpful in the winter season.

Creating an aromatic ritual

Start or end the day by creating an aromatic ritual of self-care to ground yourself. When practicing your aromatic ritual, you may want to begin by setting an intention – for example:

I am grounded or I am rooted to the earth. or I am here.

  • Diffuse 4 – 5 drops of your chosen essential oil before bedtime or during the day.
  • Mix 3 – 4 drops of your chosen essential oil with 1 teaspoon of carrier oil (like jojoba oil) and add to a warm bath. You can also add the oil mixture to 1/2 cup sea salt for a salt bath.
  • Mix 12 drops of your chosen essential oil with 30 mL of carrier oil to create a nourishing body oil.


Mojay, G. (1996). Aromatherapy for Healing the Spirit. London: Gaia Books Ltd.

Vie, Katie. (2015). Roots: A Year with Morphology – Using Plant-based Origins to Inspire Aromatic Blending. [Website]. Retrieved from:

Zeck, R. (2004). The Blossoming Heart. Brolga Publishing.

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