Did you know that scent can powerfully affect our emotions? Out of all five senses, our sense of smell is the only one directly linked to the limbic system in the brain, our emotional control center. What this means is that scent can impact not just emotion, but the body’s physical response to it. Mood matters.
“A merry heart does good, like medicine, but a broken spirit dries the bones.” (Proverbs 17:22)
When our nose detects a scent, it means that tiny molecules have evaporated from an object and entered the nose. Since an essential oil is volatile (it evaporates at room temperature), its molecules literally leap into the air! When we inhale essential oils (or anything else), their molecules are channeled through our nostrils sending messages to the olfactory system through receptors. The receptors in turn transfer the information they receive from these molecules to the brain. This results in the “sense of smell.”
The olfactory bulb, which is part of the limbic system, captures information through the sense of smell, helping to record a memory. That’s why you can walk into an antique store and have flashbacks of your grandma’s house; or smell a certain perfume and it reminds you of someone. Because of this, and the healing nature of essential oils, there are some who believe that essential oils are extremely helpful in dealing with traumatic memories or post-traumatic stress disorder.
In 1989 researchers agreed that the amygdala—one of several structures in the cerebral cortex—plays a major role in storing and releasing emotional trauma and that aromas have a profound affect on triggering those responses.
Joseph Ledoux, M.D., of the New York Medical University [and author of The Emotional Brain] was one of the first to suggest that the use of aroma could be a major breakthrough in helping to release hidden and suppressed feeling and memories of emotional bondage.
Since the limbic system is directly connected to the parts of the brain that control heart rate, digestion, blood pressure, breathing, stress levels, sexual arousal, and hormone balance, the use of therapeutic grade essential oils in aromatherapy can have profound physiological and psychological effects on our physical and emotional well-being.
What happens when you’re stressed? There is an actual, measurable, physical response to it. Stress and anxiety are known to sap our energy, affect our skin, aggravate our muscles and nerves, disrupt digestion, affect our sleep, and make us more prone to illness and disease. So, the stress-related health issue you’ve been dealing with isn’t “all in your head.” But what is in your head, along with essential oils, may help you deal with it!
Therapeutic grade essential oils may offer a powerful and safe form of therapy for emotional healing without the dangerous side effects of anti-anxiety and anti-depressant medications.
The following is a list of just a few Young Living Therapeutic Grade Essential Oil singles and blends that have been helpful to others in dealing with mental and emotional challenges.
Oils for Emotional Healing
Bergamot – Agitation, Anxiety, Depression
Frankincense – Used to treat depression. Frankincense contains sesquiterpenes, which stimulate the limbic system of the brain and the hypothalamus, penial, and pituitary glands. The hypothalamus is the master gland of the human body, producing many vital hormones including thyroid growth hormone.
Neroli – Hypertension, anxiety, depression, hysteria, insomnia, skin conditions. A natural relaxant used to treat depression and anxiety.
Vetiver – ADHD, anxiety, depression (including postpartum), insomnia. Helps with stress and recovery from emotional trauma.
Lemon and Orange – Stress
Spikenard – Insomnia, nervous tensions, anxiety
Tangerine – Contains esters and aldehydes that are sedating and calming helping with anxiety and nervousness.
Valerian – Tranquilizing to the central nervous system
Ylang Ylang – Anxiety and Depression
Inner Child – I don’t care for the name, but this blend is said to stimulates memory response, allowing you to prayerfully deal with unresolved traumas
Peace & Calming – Stress relief and insomnia.
Sara – Helps in dealing with traumatic memories, specifically those related to abuse.
Stress Away – Helps to relieve daily stress and nervous tension. Improves mental response, restores equilibrium, promotes, relaxation, and lowers hypertension.
Tranquil – Contains lavender, cedarwood, and chamomile. All three of these oils have been well documented as effective in reducing restlessness, decreasing anxiety, and inducing a calming feelings.
Trauma Life – This blend combats stress and helps uproot trauma that cause insomnia, anger, restlessness, and a weakened immune response, so that it can be dealt with.
In addition to using essential oils, be sure to take care of your body in other ways:
- Get enough sleep!
- Drink plenty of water.
- Spend time each day in prayer and reading Scripture
- Eat a balanced diet
- Avoid processed food, white flour, white sugar, MSG, food dyes, and other chemicals
- Detoxify your home
- Have your progesterone checked. Sometimes hormone imbalances are the source of emotional upheaval
- Take a good multivitamin supplement like True Source or Master Formula HERS
- Make sure you’re getting enough Vitamin D (I recommend Orthomolecular) and Vitamin C
- Use Mineral Essence (a balanced, full-spectrum ionic mineral complex enhanced with essential oils)
- Use Detoxzyme (enzymes) as well as a good probiotic (Life 5) after meals and at bedtime
- Use Super B (a comprehensive vitamin complex containing 8 essential and energy-boosting B vitamins: B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B9, and B12.
- Use OmegaGize (an omega3, DHA-rich fish oil complex) daily
- Drink 2-6 oz. NingXia Red per day
The Essential Oil Desk Reference Recommends the following oils for the following specific emotional challenges. I’m still studying the science behind all this, but I have found that essential oils do help with various moods: some for calming, others for helping with alertness, and still other oils for making it easier for a child to practice self control or for quieting an overstimulated mind:
Anger – bergamot, Cedarwood, frankincense, sacred frankincense, lavender, myrrh, orange, Rose, Roman Chamomile, Ylang Ylang
Anxiety – Orange, Roman chamomile, Ylang Ylang, lavender, sacred frankincense, frankincense
Abuse -Singles: geranium, Ylang Ylang, galbanum, palo santo, ocotea, frankincense. Blends: Sarah, Hope, Joy, Peace and Calming, Inner Child, Grounding, Trauma Life, Release, Valor, Forgiveness, White Angelica
Depression – Cedarwood, spruce, sacred frankincense, lavender, geranium, lemon, orange, peppermint, rosemary, thyme, Ylang Ylang
Despondency – Galbanum, geranium, sacred frankincense, ginger, orange, rose, Ylang Ylang, Idaho balsam fur
Fear – Palo Santo, cypress, Roman chamomile, geranium, juniper, myrrh, spruce, orange, sacred frankincense
Grief/Sorrow- Singles bergamot, palo santo, galbanum, Roman chamomile, Clary Sage, eucalyptus, juniper, lavender,
Mood Swings – Idaho balsam fir, clary sage, sage, geranium, juniper, fennel, lavender, peppermint, rose, jasmine, rosemary, lemon, spruce, Ylang Ylang, Progessence Plus (hormone related)
Obsessiveness – Clary Sage, galbanum, ocotea, palo santo, cypress, geranium, lavender, Ylang Ylang
Panic – Bergamot, Idaho balsam fir, galbanum, Roman chamomile, myrrh, frankincense, lavender, marjoram, rosemary, thyme, Ylang Ylang, Spruce
Shock – Helichrysum, basil, dorado azul, copaiba, Roman chamomile, Ylang Ylang, Rosemary
The Feelings Collection includes blends specially formulated for those combating anxiety, stress, and emotional turmoil.
Obviously, true spiritual healing and forgiveness come only through Christ, but we all know that emotions and problems like PTSD include physiological symptoms. Our emotions are part of our physical make up, so it makes sense that essential oils might be able to help us deal with things like obsessive thoughts or physical anxiety.
Forgiveness: Melissa (Melissa Officinalis), geranium (Pelargonium Graveolens), frankincense (Boswellia Carterii), rosewood (Aniba Rosaeodora), sandalwood (Santalum Album), angelica (Angelica Archangelica), lavender (Lavandula Angustifolia), lemon (Citrus Limon), jasmine (Jasminum Officinale), Roman chamomile (Chamaemelum Nobile), , bergamot (Citrus Aurantium Bergamia), ylang ylang (Canaga Odorata), palmarosa Cymbopogon Martini, helichrysum (Helichrysum Italicum), and rose (Rosa Damascena) in a base of sesame seed oil.
Harmony: Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia), sandalwood (Santalum album), ylang ylang (Cananga odorata), frankincense (Boswellia carteri), orange (Citrus aurantium), angelica (Angelica archangelica), geranium (Pelargonium graveolens), hyssop (Hyssopus officinalis), spruce (Picea mariana), Spanish sage (Salvia lavandulifolia), rosewood (Aniba rosaeodora), lemon (Citrus limon), jasmine (Jasminum officinale), Roman chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile), bergamot (Citrus bergamia), palmarosa (Cymbopogon martinii), and rose (Rosa damascena).
Inner Child: Orange (Citrus aurantium), tangerine (Citrus nobilis), jasmine (Jasminum officinale), ylang ylang (Cananga odorata), spruce (Picea mariana), sandalwood (Santalum album), lemongrass (Cymbopogon flexuosus), and neroli (Citrus aurantium).
Present Time: Neroli (Citrus aurantium), spruce (Picea mariana) and ylang ylang (Cananga odorata) in a base of almond oil.
Release: Ylang ylang (Cananga odorata), lavandin (Lavandula x hybrida), geranium (Pelargonium graveolens), sandalwood (Santalum album) and blue tansy (Tanacetum annuum) in a base of olive oil.
Valor: Spruce (Picea mariana), rosewood (Aniba rosaeodora), blue tansy (Tanacetum annuum) and frankincense (Boswellia carteri) in a base of almond oil.
I only recommend Therapeutic Grade Essential Oils, since lower quality oils do not have the same medicinal qualities and may actually be toxic.
To get started using therapeutic grade essential oils with your family, I recommend purchasing our Premium Starter Kit! This way, you’ll enjoy wholesale prices all the time! It includes ten of Young Living’s most popular essential oil singles and blends, an ultrasonic diffuser (worth $100.00!), essential oil samples for sharing, and 2 NingXia Red immune boosting drinks! In addition, I’ll send you a free essential oil reference book to help you learn how to start using your essential oils! Get started now!
By the way, I am not a doctor – just a mom who uses essential oils in her own family. Please know that any information provided on The Common Scents Mom is for educational purposes only. It is not intended to prescribe, diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. It is your responsibility to educate yourself and address any health or medical needs you may have with your physician. Please seek professional help when needed.