The first condition of understanding a foreign country is to smell it.
My first olfactory impressions of Cuba were that of the faint smell of cigars, remnants of cigarette smoke and floral perfume. Apart from the occasional whiff of pizza this pretty much stayed the case throughout my 2 week journey.
Aromatherapy in Cuba was hard to find. In keeping with the idea of healing plants, though, Cuba did have a few notable ones: royal palm and tobacco.
The royal palm (pictured below) is the national tree of Cuba. Similar to the coconut palm, many parts of this tree were used for a variety of purposes: home construction, rope and medicine. Cuba is known for its cigars and the tobacco growing region in this country is situated in Viñales. Clearly tobacco is bad for your health but formerly it was considered to have medicinal properties. Read more.
Another feature of aromatherapy in Cuba is of the self-administered variety. With so many old cars on the road that are clearly not emission-compliant, hazes of exhaust are very evident in Cuba. Bring along some essential oils in your aromatherapy kit to help combat the pollution. Two great oils that help neutralize toxins are frankincense and lavender. Place a few drops on a tissue and inhale throughout the day whilst sight-seeing the polluted streets of Havana and Santiago de Cuba.