This makes smell unique among our senses. Information we take in from our other senses travels first to another region of the brain, the thalamus, which acts as a relay station, passing along sensory data to the other parts of the brain that produce our sensory perceptions. Only smell moves directly to the brain’s emotion and memory center. That’s why those memories you associate with the scent of garden roses, or banana bread baking in the oven, come on so quickly and so strongly.
Like Jatamansi (Valerian is in the same family of plants), Valerian is a powerful anxiety-fighting essential oil and herb. It too increases levels of GABA and other relaxing/sedating neurotransmitters in the brain and body, however, it does so in interesting ways. One study suggests that Valerian extract may cause GABA to be released from brain nerve endings and then blocks GABA from being taken back into nerve cells, which increases its concentration in the nervous system. [17] In addition, Valerian’s medicinal compound valerenic acid inhibits an enzyme that destroys GABA, which is another way that valerian helps reduce anxiety, again by causing elevated levels of GABA in the brain and body. [18]

The only types of essential oils that should EVER be used are THERAPEUTIC GRADE essential oils. Otherwise, all the benefits of the essential oils are lost to the SYNTHETIC PETROCHEMICALS that are in MOST essential oils (even the ones you get at the health food store… I wont name brands)There are only two name brands that I know of that sell therapeutic grade essential oils.(there could be more) Those brands are Young Living ( Which I highly recommend) and Doterra. More expensive does mean better. Young Living does not sell any of its oils to any other company. There are only a handful of distilleries in the world that’s why most E.O’s are poor imitators. They are not all getting the oils from the same place. They are made in a lab instead.
Lavender is my favorite essential oil to pair with this deep breathing routine. I'll take a whiff before getting started and let the oil circulate through my body as I go. When used on a consistent basis, lavender can naturally boost mood and aid the body in finding a calm. Its primary constituents, linalool and linalyl acetate, are organic compounds that have amazing abilities to soothe the mind and body. High-quality lavender oils will be more powdery and soft than pungently floral. It’s not fancy, and it’s not new—but it is well-researched and effective!
Certified Organic: Not officially certified because sourcing happens across a wide variety of countries that don’t all have US matching quality control standards. Same as with the Young Living Oils, they’re not US “certified organic” because of all the rules in the different source countries. Yes – Some of their product line-up is USDA certified organic. Not all of their oils are. 6 out of their 150 essential oils are USDA certified organic. Edens Garden offers both a certified organic line of essential oils, and a conventionally sourced lineup.Both an in-house laboratory and independent labs and consultants perform analyses for product quality.
Mountain Rose – This company was my very first experience buying outside of the grocery store. This was mainly because I did my research to find them and they offered both high quality essential oils, but also at great prices and in small sizes. Not only is it not much out of pocket, but I don’t have to buy a huge bottle of something I may not use all that often.
I’m sensitive to many sources and when my acupuncturist applied peppermint oil to an aching shoulder it sent me right into orbit. Anxiety and blood pressure were out of control for several days. I have always been able to eat peppermint with no problem but the oil while applied to the skin was way too intense. Now just the scent of it sets me off. Be careful.
Any natural therapy that can help calm the mind and nerves can help to relieve stress and anxiety. There is no fixed recipe when it comes to essential oils and what might work for you might not work for someone else. Since we are all biochemically exclusive, it's best to experiment with a variety of essential oils, pay attention to your body, and find the "personal blends" that work most optimally for you.
Hi, I was wondering if you have heard of White Lotus Aromatics? If so what are your thoughts on them? I’m somewhat new to the essential oil life, I just bought a couple of oils from Rocky Mountain Essential Oils, but I’m going further down the rabbit hole in my research for the best essential oils out there. I’ve been reading a lot on White Lotus, but will also be checking out Native Americans.
While the uses for these essential oils can be anything from clearing skin to healing damaged hair, one of the major things essential oils can help with is anxiety. (Jenna Dewan Tatum even uses them to beat stress.) Stress-induced anxiety is extremely common: It's what you feel when you're running late to a meeting, making a big presentation in front of your boss, or dealing with a huge fight with your partner and, bam—your heart starts to race, your pulse skyrockets, and it becomes hard to focus. What's more: Anxiety is the most common mental health illness in the U.S., affecting over 18 percent of adults each year. And while essential oils should never be used as a replacement for prescribed anxiety medication, they can be an additional stress reliever, or help people with stress-induced, situational anxiety. (This Weird Test Could Predict Anxiety and Depression Before You Experience Symptoms.)
Hi Crunchy Betty, I love your blog and recently bought a whole bunch of carrier oils along with Lavender 40/42 essential oil . I didn’t realise this wasn’t the same as Lavender essential oil and used it (diluted with jojoba oil) on my face – the next morning I had tiny bumps all over my face which were red and very itchy, with slight swelling! Do you know what the difference between these two different oils are, and if the 40/42 is more dangerous to use than the other?  
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When dealing with the challenges of life, having a moment of peace and harmony is critical to your overall mental health and wellbeing. To enjoy increased focus, peace, and clarity, consider using sandalwood essential oil. It has a woody aroma and a powerful therapeutic effect on the brain while acting as an emotional balancer. Several studies have documented the health benefits of sandalwood essential oil.

I just came across Organic Infusions and am curious as to how you like them. I haven’t seen that you’ve come back to this post and would love to hear some review on this company. I will go ahead and place an order for a couple things, (geranium and lavender) and see how they compare to Aura Casia that I’ve used for years. I also like Oshadhi, but it’s not a direct company. I have to agree on the doTerra and YL issue, very sketchy indeed and I’ve stayed away from them, more because I don’t feel that the people selling the product are trained enough. We shouldn’t be ingesting EO’s, that’s not what they’re for. I hope one of you will come back and review this company. Thank you =)
As the vaporized microscopic particles come into contact with the soft and moist tissue inside your nose and sinuses their beneficial properties enter directly into your bloodstream and get dispersed throughout your body. At the same time they travel up the olfactory nerve (the one that operates your sense of smell) to the limbic region of your brain where you process feelings and emotions. This is also an important area of the brain involved in memory. Smell and memory are processed through the same part of the brain; that’s why when you smell cookies baking in the oven you may have flashbacks of childhood.
Hi! I suffer from connective tissue disease (similar to lupus or RA in pain), and I use lemongrass DILUTED in coconut oil. It is amazing how well this works for pain. Peppermint is awesome for headaches as well as nausea, and marjoram is another pain med. Some oils don’t do much for me except smell really good, but those three have been invaluable. I get mine from doTerra, but I’m going to check out the other site mentioned by Crunchy Betty. Thanks!
Essential oils capture the biological medicines of plants in a way that is very appealing to western society. Modern essential oils are extracted though a variety of methods, though whichever is best-suited to isolating the greatest amount of pharmacological compounds within the plant tends to become a standard practice. The oils created are readily absorbed into the bloodstream via inhalation or diffusion through the skin. Most of the beneficial particles in essential oils can even cross the blood/brain barrier to positively affect the brain.
Straight from the plant, Chamomile Roman essential oil, also called Chamaemelum nobile, has a powerful, natural, and sweet aroma. The apple-like scent is popular for helping to soothe both parents and children into a peaceful state, perfect for before bedtime! Dilute this oil for use with kids and enjoy the soothing effects. Chamomile Roman is perfect for any bedtime ritual because it can be diffused, applied topically with other Plant Therapy carrier oils, or even added to a bath. This oil promotes a calm mindset for an ideal nights rest and can help relax fatigued muscles from exercise or aging.
This is non-sense. Essential Oils are regularly used in cuisine around the world, particularly Asia. There is an FDA approved list for GRAS (Generally Recognized as Safe) essential oils, provided that they are pure and without any carrier oil or impurities – and have been produced without solvents. You don’t need a trained health care practitioner to consult with – and “aromatherapist” hardly qualifies as a health care practitioner anyways. Please tell me what an aromatherapy course teaches regarding digestion and internal biology in relation to essential oils? Stop spreading fear about the use of essential oils for food and beverage preparation.
#1- Therapeutic Grade is just a selling gimmick. If EO’s are pure, they are equal to any other. There are only a few distillery’s so many of the EO’s come from the same distillery then sold under several names. You should always buy from a company that is willing to give you the GC/MS reports regarding the Lot your EO bottle is from. That tells the constituents of the EO and would indicate if adulterated in any way.

The next oil brand is TRUessence, they do a lot of testing and have a very broad range of oils to choose from. The third company is Young Living and they do testing as well and also have a very wide range of oils. I also did the smell test with these and for me some were the same while others smelled like they had started to oxidize, making doTerra win out for me. However you could smell that there were not any other things in these oils like fillers and chemicals really easily.
Yes, of the 3 brands I am most comfortable using for therapeutic purposes the first is doTerra. Its testing exceeds everything else I’ve come across protecting against not just fillers and chemical extraction, but also against oxidation for potency levels. When air hits the oils for a period of time they oxidize slowly and if that happens they may be less quick and effective than if they had not had that time to oxidize. No other company tests the same number of times for this level of potency. I also love that the testing is done by a third party rather than in house testing.
Inside the living plant, essential oils serve several purposes, one of which is defense. Acting like the plant’s immune system, the oils help it fight off fungus or bacterial infection, and protect it from insects and animals. Another purpose is reproduction; the pleasing aromas attract pollinating insects like bees and butterflies. We’re not the only animals who like the smell of flowers.
A friend of ours recently became associated with doTerra and invited my wife and I to a “party” where doTerra sales reps talked about the benefits of EO’s and offered to sell various package deals or individual bottles of doTerra EO’s. They talked about the independent testing that doTerra has done by outside labs that they call CPTG (Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade). I came home and have been researching doTerra and Young Living on the internet (and believe me, I am skeptical of what I read on the internet), but I am very skeptical when companies make unsubstantiated claims about their products. I read doTerra’s testing protocol, but they say nothing about using an independent laboratory to perform the tests. Apparently there are no industry standards that apply to EO. doTerra is a MLM (multilevel marketing) company, kind of what I think of as a pyramid scheme, so their products are more expensive because there are many “middle men”. I don’t have a dog in the fight, other than my dollars, so I have spent several hours trying to educated myself about equally good products for less money. I settled on a company called Organic Infusions, and ordered a few of their oils, and when they arrive, I will compare with our friend’s doTerra oils and see if we can tell any difference. As for Young Living, Gary Young seems to be of very questionable character when you read about various schemes and scams he has allegedly been involved in. You can read about him for yourself by googling Gary Young quackery. I am not recommending the company that I ordered from, as I have not tried their products yet. There is a lot of information out there, Let the buyer beware!
I used to think that essential oils were a scam, but I ended up finding out that they are a great resource for your natural medicine cabinet for issues such as headaches, ear infections, tummy aches, viruses and bacterial infections, and more. But I eventually felt I needed to figure out where to buy essential oils that I could trust and that I could reasonably afford.
Mountain Rose Herbs – (This is the brand that I use for my business and my home) All organic & pesticide-free, wild-crafted (if available), a wonderful company with great smelling essential oils, for really decent prices. This company strives to help the environment in every way and is a zero waste company. They are certified organic by OTCO and they source their essential oils from reputable distillers that they know personally and trust.
According to a review published in Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, “at least 90 essential oils can be identified as being recommended for dermatological use, with at least 1,500 combinations.” What gives essential oils their skin benefits is their ability to fight against pathogens that are responsible for dermatological infections. Essential oils can also help to improve inflammatory skin conditions, like dermatitis, eczema and lupus, improve the general appearance of your skin and even aid wound healing. (16)
I’m a distributor with Young Living Essential Oils – have been for 4 years. I’ve always used the oils NEAT and my children and I ingest them daily without problem. You’re being very narrow minded with your comment, as you should know (as an aromoatherapist student) that there are a number of different aromatherapy methods out there to which aromatherapist follow…these methods include:
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You may be asking yourself, “so, which brand would you recommend I buy, Christina?” and that would be the same question that I was asking myself.  With all of these brands telling me that theirs was the best, I wasn't sure which brand to pick. I had been using Now Foods essential oils and Aura Casia for quite awhile and was seeing success with these brands. I was curious if these more affordable essential oils are working so well, how much better would the “high-end therapeutic grade” essential oils perform?

You sound so anti-DoTerra that you lose all credibility. You sound like you’ve invested so much in time and effort in bashing DoTerra, that you’d keep bashing them no matter what research was done on their oils. I don’t really care what your background is, you’ve lost all credibility by the way that you’ve vehemently bashed the DoTerra company completely. Do you know what Medical Doctor’s do as research? They try out things, and look at the results. My results in using DoTerra oils compared with other oils is that they have worked better. I haven’t used all the different brands, but out of the ones I’ve used, DoTerra have given me the best results. It’s not unsafe to ingest certain essential oils, at all. It’s like saying that it’s unsafe to ingest tylenol, or ibuprofen. It’s not unsafe when done in the proper quantities. You’re ignorant by denouncing a companies’ product just because of the way that they’ve chosen to market it. By the way, DoTerra has grown into a company with more than 100 million dollars in sales per year in just 6 years, marketing the way that they do. I think they’ve made wise business decisions up to this point by marketing the way that they have. I don’t sell DoTerra, because I’m not interested in doing sales, at all. But, their oils work really well, and I personally have seen great benefits from using them.


LAVENDER. This is the most popular essential oil for sleep and relaxation among my patients, and my first, general go-to recommendation for people looking to try aromatherapy for sleep. Lavender is a soothing scent that’s long been associated with relaxation and sleep, and used as a natural remedy for anxiety. Lavender is probably the most rigorously studied essential oil. A robust body of research shows lavender has anxiety reducing—or anxiolytic—effects, as well as beneficial effects on depression. Lavender can also help with pain relief, several studies show. One recent study showed aromatherapy using lavender oil reduced the need for pain medications in a group of 6 to 12-year-old children recovering from having their tonsils removed. Lavender also has sedative effects, meaning it can work directly to help you fall asleep. A number of studies point to lavender’s effectiveness for sleep: improving sleep quality, increasing sleep amounts, and elevating daytime alertness, including in people with insomnia.

Many essential oils can be ingested by the mouth; however, it is critical to make sure that the oils you use are safe and pure. Many oils on the market may be diluted or blended with synthetics that are unsafe for ingesting. The Food and Drug Administration has approved some essential oils generically for internal use and given them the generally recognized as safe (GRAS) designation for human consumption. (15)
I’m newbie to EO. I’ve purchased Peppermint, Wild Orange, Lavender, Clove from Doterra to start with (quite pricey) and then I discovered a nice selection of EO in Marshalls (!). There i purchased Pine, Lemon and Eucalyptus from Plantlife ‘100 % pure aromatherapy grade’ at a fraction of the cost. Firstly, can you please explain the difference of quality with Doterra and Plantlife? And secondly, you say when rubbed onto the skin, the oils need to be diluted – but with what? And where do I find this? (Trader Joe’s perhaps?) What is the safest ‘dilution’ for someone in the journey of starting of a family? My acupuncturist made up a Doterra rollerball ‘Fertility blend’ with Cary Sage. Thanking you kindly.
On essential oil bottles, though, small, high-quality suppliers will always tell you the Latin binomial (indicating the plant genus and species), where and how the oil was distilled, and whether it’s organic or wild-harvested. The Latin name is important because there are many species of certain plant families, like lavender. In fact, there are over 250 species of eucalyptus—only eight of which are commonly used in aromatherapy. Knowing where an oil is from is key to understanding environmental factors that alter chemical constituents and aroma. For instance, lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) from France is considered superior to lavender grown in other countries, like Bulgaria.

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Hi. I have been using DoTERRA’s products for approx. 6 months in many ways, topically, diffuser, cleaning, cooking, etc. I recently had surgery and got a bad cold while in the hospital. I started using doTERRA’s OnGuard throat drops and continually got worse (I also suffer from asthma so was using my inhalers as well.). Do you think there is any way the drops killed too much of the good bacteria in my mouth and throat? Just wondering your thoughts on this. Looking forward to your feedback.
DefenseShield is uniquely powerful blend of key essential oils with an outdoor spicy aroma. Used topically, DefenseShield safeguards against environmental free radicals and promotes healthy circulation. Used internally, this essential blend of oils supports respiratory and immune systems, and encourages the boy’s natural antioxidant defenses. DefenseShield fills the air with an invigorating and uplifting aroma.
In ancient China, the Huangdi Neijing, or The Yellow Emperor’s Book of Internal Medicine, recommends using essential oils to support health.(10) In ancient Greece and Rome, essential oils were used for baths, massages, and as perfume. Persia is often credited with being the first society to use distilled essential oils as early as 980 AD, a discovery standardized by practitioners of medieval Persian herbal medicine.(11)
Essential oils are generally extracted by distillation, often by using steam. Other processes include expression, solvent extraction, sfumatura, absolute oil extraction, resin tapping, wax embedding, and cold pressing. They are used in perfumes, cosmetics, soaps and other products, for flavoring food and drink, and for adding scents to incense and household cleaning products.
Topical use: Another effective way to use essential oils is topical application, since essential oils easily penetrate the skin. Once absorbed, they stay in the areas where applied. While essential oils are easily absorbed, using a light massage motion can help increase the blood flow to the area in which essential oils are applied. Likewise, using a carrier oil can also help increase essential oil absorption, especially for dry or flaky skin.
When shopping for essential oils, watch out for words such as “fragrance oil,” “nature identical oil,” or “perfume oil.” These words indicate that what you see is not a pure, single essential oil. I've seen companies label fragrance oils (that can be combinations of essential oils and chemicals or just plain chemicals) and perfume oils as being suitable for aromatherapy. This is a tipoff that the vendor knows little about aromatherapy. Countless vendors of strictly fragrance oils have written me to ask for advertising of their “aromatherapy oils" (I don't accept such advertising). Beginners need to watch out for retailers/suppliers who inaccurately use the term aromatherapy for their own sales gain.
For the quality offered, Rocky Mountain Oils is really competitive in their pricing. Their USDA certified organic oils will cost a bit more than their traditional non-organic counterparts, but even as such, they are still below the cost of a company like Young Living and therefore much more accessible to anyone getting started and still looking for rock-solid quality.
Sourced from the resin of Boswellia carterii or the Boswellia sacara tree, Frankincense oil might sound a bit scary, but it has nothing to do with the Frankenstein monster and is actually quite beneficial. When inhaled or absorbed through the skin, it has stress-busting properties, and when applied to the skin, it is also antibacterial, scar-healing and even age-fighting. “Frankincense oil stimulates the limbic region of brain, helping to overcome stress and uplift spirits,” explains Stritzler. In fact, one study by the Department of Nursing at Keimyung University in South Korea found that, when mixed with bergamot and lavender oils, frankincense oil was found to have positive effect on depression in hospice patients. Here are more natural remedies for depression.

Thank you for sharing your knowledge! I am 36 weeks pregnant and came down with a nasty cough. I couldn’t take any medicine, but yet couldn’t sleep. I used eucalyptus oil on my neck and chest to clear up my cough. I read that eucalyptus oil is not advised for pregnant women to use, however, I could not find any reasons why. Do you happen to know the risks that eucalyptus oil might have on the unborn baby? I have since stopped using the oil, but definitely used it a few times. (I will be calling my doctor, but was curious about your input.) Thank you so much!
There are certain essential oils that should not be taken internally (this can be researched on Mountain Rose Herb website from this article as they list the ones that are beneficial for internal use i.e.: digestive), but some of the common EO’s may be taken internally when mixed with something (i.e.: baked goods, water, etc.). I have personally used lemon and peppermint for this and I really like it. The standard I’ve seen is a drop per 8 ounces although I prefer about half that because I tend to use it in a larger container and drink it through out the day…if you don’t drink it all right away, the flavor seems to increase a bit over time). Be sure to mix/shake it well before drinking.

A randomized, blinded, placebo-controlled crossover trial31 in 17 healthy human volunteers investigated brain changes detectable by positron emission tomography and magnetic resonance imaging scanning after administering 8 weeks of SLO at 160 mg/d. The investigators focused on the inhibitory 5HT1A receptor because of increases in activity of this receptor being highlighted in the pathophysiology of anxiety in previous neuroimaging studies.32 They found reduced binding potential at the 5HT1A receptor in the hippocampus and the anterior cingulate cortex in the SLO group compared with placebo, which has also been demonstrated after administration of escitalopram or electroconvulsive therapy in patients with anxiety.31,33 The authors postulate that reductions in 5HT1A receptor activity may be a commonality in the anxiolytic efficacy of various interventions, and that SLO also acts via this mechanism.
I’ve used YL and DōTERRA and a few other unheard of brands of essential oils and you have got to check out Ameo Essential oils! It’s a brand new company and I’ve been very impressed with the quality of their oils. Another neat thing they do is show results of the testing of every batch of their oils to prove that they are the same high quality, pure, clinical standard oil as used in research and testing. The scientific research is just amazing with these oils.
Finally learned that mag isn’t well absorbed in the gut and can have unwanted side effects if you take enough to help the deficiency, but that it’s very well absorbed through the skin. Epsom salts baths help some people, but we only have a shower. Besides, magnesium *chloride* (ES is mag sulfate) is a much better type of magnesium and has quicker effects on the deficiency. Absorption through the skin doesn’t have the same side effects as taking it into the gut.
Poisoning by lavender is uncommon. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, the LD50 values for lavender taken orally and applied topically were determined. In mice, the oral LD50 was 13.5 ± 0.9 g/kg, where central nervous system depression occurred 10 to 15 minutes following ingestion and death occurred 1 to 3 days later.47,48 Similar results were observed in rats.47 For dermal applications, the LD50 was greater than 5 g/kg, with no systemic symptoms or deaths in rabbits observed up to 14 days.48 In humans, an 18-month-old boy ingested homemade lavandin (Lavandula x intermedia) extract. Three hours following the ingestion, the child developed confusion and deep drowsiness, with adaptive motor response to painful stimuli indicative of moderate brain injury (Glasgow Coma Score = 9). His neurologic status normalized within 6 hours of hospitalization, and a follow-up electroencephalogram was normal at 24 hours. Comparative toxicology analysis between the boy's blood, urine, and pure lavandin extract showed linalyl acetate, linalyl formate, and acetone were detected in all samples. Acetone, which was a confounding factor for coma in the poisoning, was found to be slightly higher than normal in healthy adults and was concluded not to be the cause of the central nervous system depression.49

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Additionally, essential oil dilution is key for effective therapeutic benefit. In fact, nearly all essential oils, with the exception of lavender and tea tree, must be mixed with a carrier oil before using it on skin. Using a few drops of an oil straight from the bottle can cause skin sensitization, which may be in the form of an allergic reaction or rash. Properly diluting oils will make them last longer.
If you're already a fan of Fractionated Coconut Oil, you need to try our organic version! Unlike other coconut oils on the market, our Organic Fractionated Coconut carrier oil is available with MCT (Medium-Chain Triglyceride), and uses a USDA approved NOP (National Organic Program) to extract the oil. This oil is created chemical and heat free which allows for a clear, refined, and odorless oil that won't solidify in cooler tempatures. Organic Fractionated Coconut oil's quick absorbtion rate and and moisturizing properties make it perfect for your skin straight out of the bottle, but this oil is also a great makeup remover and cleanser for your skin or hair. This oil is also the perfect addition to lotions, creams, and roller blends. Use this oil without feeling leaving you soft and moistured without feeling greasy. Plant Therapy's Organic Fractionated Coconut Carrier oil is a staple for every household or beauty routine!

Almost all essential oils are suitable for use on non-sensitive areas of your skin. Essential oils are absorbed through your skin and directly into the bloodstream, making this an effective and medicinally active route for administration. A good spot to use essentials oils to treat anxiety and stress is at the base of the skull where it meets the top of the neck. This is near the brainstem, which mediates all nervous system input and output throughout the body, and can oftentimes be immediately calming to the nervous system, which is majorly implicated in anxiety and stress levels. Other popular places for application of essential oils is the crown of the head, wrists, upper arms, and bottoms of the feet. Theoretically you can apply them anywhere within the realm of common sense (avoid the eyes, ears, noses and genitals, obviously), although some of them can be quite strong and so it’s important to use caution when applying them near the above mentioned sensitive areas. A good rule of thumb, is to test out the oil on a small area of non-sensitive skin to ensure you don’t have any sensitivities or adverse reactions.
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