Scents that support us during grief and loss

scented burning candle set on top of books on white cotton bedsheets.  Peeled grapefruit lies beside the candle.

Why do we include scented products in our sympathy gift boxes? 

Our ability to smell is one of our most powerful of all our major senses.  Through neuroscience, we understand the power of scent as it relates to memory and emotion. With the olfactory bulb (which processes smells) being in such close proximity to the emotion and memory centers of the brain, it's no wonder why scents have been used for generations to enhance people's minds, emotions, and quality of life. 

In life's most difficult moments, scents can help those grieving to feel grounded, even for just a moment. 

What are the best scents for grounding?

Everyone is different, and so are their experiences of scents. However, certain scents have been shown to be particularly effective for promoting grounding and calm.  Below are some of our favorite scents for helping you to help comfort during bereavement and loss.  

Palo Santo

Palo santo (Bursera graveolens) is a tree native to Peru, Ecuador, and other South American countries.  It grows in dry tropical forests and produces very fragrant resin.  Frequently called "holy wood", the wood, resin and oil have been used by indigenous peoples for centuries to reduce stress and pain.  According to shamanic lore, when the smoke from Palo Santo wood enters our personal energy field the tree spirit in this wood clears away negative thoughts, unfortunate situations, wards off evil spirits, and helps to re-establish peace and balance


A perennial favorite for many, lavender is known for its distinctive floral scent and calming properties. It’s common to use lavender to relieve anxiety, improve sleep, and decrease feelings of restlessness and depression.  Using lavender infused products can be a great ally for individuals who are experiencing bouts of insomnia due to loss.  


Historically used in natural medicine, sandalwood carries a distinctive, woody scent that is subtly sweet. Sandalwood has a calming effect that helps to release heavy emotions, replacing it with calm.  With it's deep and earthy scent, sandalwood features anxiolytic properties, which makes it great for reducing anxiety.  


When we think of chamomile, we often think of an earthy tea consumed before bed. However, the scent of chamomile can also be infused in candles, oils, soaps, and more to evoke that same sense of calm and peace that comes from a warm mug of tea.  Chamomile has a long history for helping to calm chaotic emotions and offering a sense of peace.  It can also soothe any feelings of abandonment or distress after a loved one's passing.  


Bergamot is most recognized as the ingredient in Earl Grey tea that gives it that distinctive aroma of citrus. The fragrance comes from the Bergamot orange, which originates in Southeast Asia, and today it has a variety of uses. According to scent experts and aromatherapists, bergamot is wonderful to ease grief, irritability and anger through the flavonoids in it's oil.  When inhaled or burned, it increases dopamine and serotonin levels in our brain, allowing the mind to to calm negativity.

White sage

Sage has spiritual uses in several cultures around the world, and for many, the scent of white sage is synonymous with cleansing and healing. The light, woody fragrance is pleasing, versatile, and fresh.  A herb held sacred by Indigenous peoples for hundreds of years, burning sage through a ritual called smudging can help rid of negative energy and unwanted spirits.  It has also been shown to release negative ions, which is linked to putting people in a positive mood.  


The cypress tree has been used in many cultures as a symbol of death, rebirth and immortality.  It's also been associated with renewal, transformation, and protection against bad spirits.  Cypress has been used to assist with grief, sorrow, losses, fear, regrets and emotional tiredness.  It's a powerful scent that can elevate your mood, fighting feelings of depression or despair. 

Grief Blend Recipe


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