Essential Oils and the Brain
Updated: Nov 25, 2018
Before I get into what essential oils DO, I thought I would share how I first got started.
I had heard a little about essential oils, but honestly didn't have a clue what they were, and being that I was never really into candles or scented sprays, I just really didn't understand the hype. I had just gone through 2 very painful miscarriages and found out I was pregnant again all while dealing with the grief of my mother being on hospice. To say it was an emotionally stressful time was an understatement.
Given my background in conventional medicine, I began to research and found a ridiculous amount of data, studies and articles on the uses and effects of essential oils on the mind and body. It was not just about smells- although they smell lovely! It was about obtaining a therapeutic effect from the oils that benefits the body, mind and spirit in a profound way. Not realizing that not all oils were created equal, I went to my local grocery store and picked up a $4 bottle of lavender fully expecting the results I had read about in research articles. Sadly- I found no benefit from that oil and almost gave up.
I knew I needed some emotional "buffering" but almost gave up on the essential oils due to that experience. I continued to feel prompted to research, and realized that there are some steps that can make or break the quality of an oil. Here are a few of the things you will want to look for when deciding who to order your oils from:
1. Do they exceed the standard for organic farming?
2. Do they own their own farms and their entire process from the time a seed is planted in the ground until it is distilled?
3. Do they have third party testing?
4. Do they use pesticides or herbicides?
5. Do they use additives or fillers to make more profit off of the oils?
6. Do they have an expiration date (They should not have an expiration date if they are truly therapeutic grade essential oils!)
With these questions in mind, I went searching for a company that exceeding all of the above standards- I will post more about that later, or if you'd like to check it out for yourself, click here.
I didn't know that anyone could slap a label on an essential oil and call it 100% pure! So it is really important that whoever you are purchasing them from fully discloses their entire process.
Okay- lets get into the good stuff!
Your limbic system is the part of your brain where emotions, memory and experiences are processed. The only direct route to your limbic system is through your nose! So when you inhale ANY scent, it goes straight into your brain and does it's thing! The oil that you choose will determine the effect it has on the brain! Lavender has a tendency to be calming and relaxing, allowing you to let down after a stressful event or ease more gently into sleep, while peppermint increases oxygen to the brain, increasing focus and energy. So, you likely wouldn't want to use peppermint at bedtime, but first thing in the morning would be good!!
For some of the behavioral issues we were experiencing, we used oils a lot! Some of our favorites were valor (it helps to balance the right and left hemisphere of the brain), harmony (encourages harmony within oneself and others), and stress away- because it is HARD raising children!! Stress away helped me to stay calm and cool down after intense interactions.
What oils have you found helpful for you and your family?
If you are new to this and have no idea what I'm talking about- I'd love to hear your questions!
To your wellness,