In our volatile, unstable modern world it can be easy to lose connection with the natural rhythms of nature and the Five Elements. One way to stay connected is through plant medicine in the form of herbs and essential oils, the highly concentrated essence of plants.
The Five Elements being the densest manifestations of everything in both our external and internal worlds they offer access to the most basic, and potentially most stabilizing, components of existence. Thus it is that, when we experience imbalance, Ayurveda suggests that we begin our interventions with the physical body, which is made up of the Five Elements. We often do well, especially nowadays, to start with the Earth Element, which represents stability, and which is connected to our oldest and perhaps least appreciated sense, the sense of smell. Properly engaged with, the sense of smell offers an important direct avenue for purifying, balancing, and nourishing the body’s Earth Element.
When inhaled, the fragrance of essential oils enters your nose and is registered by the receptor neurons, which converts that fragrance into a signal that passes, via the olfactory bulb and olfactory cortex, where scents are registered and perceived, into the rest of the limbic system – including especially the amygdala, which plays a key role in the processing of emotions, and the hippocampus, which is associated with memory.
Various constituents in essential oils impact our feeling-states in different ways; citrus oils are naturally uplifting and help to mitigate feelings of depression, while tree-based oils like fir or spruce are naturally grounding and help to relieve feelings of anxiety or nervousness. Recent research has demonstrated the presence of odor receptors in the liver, the heart, the kidneys, skin and even sperm, testifying to the fundamental importance of scent to our entire physiology.
Two things are particularly worrisome in this context: that many of the fragrances around us are artificial chemicals, and that many people do not value their sense of smell. In fact 53 percent of 7000 participants aged 16 to 30 in a 2011 study covering seven countries would prefer to sacrifice their sense of smell than give up their technology
Many of them would perhaps hold other opinions if they had access to unadulterated plant oils instead of the multiple impure, endocrine-disrupting frangraces that assail our nostrils worldwide. High-quality essential oils support every day health and wellness when used topically or aromatically, and with some diligence you can find certain oils pure enough to take internally. They thus work at many levels of the organism, which makes them particularly effective at balancing all manner of health issues, acute or chronic. Since the commencement of my Ayurvedic studies I have repeatedly derived benefit from essential oils, both in myself and for others. Their concentrated form also makes them easy to transport and ship, which is convenient for anyone in the busy, modern world.
Essential oils have recently become increasingly popular and available, however only pure, high-quality oils can be relied upon to provide optimal results. It is important that you know your source. Poor quality oils abound, posing threat to those who seek support from the plant world. (In particular I would not recommend taking an essential oil internally or applying them to skin unless you know it is pure and safe to use.) In the past four decades I have used many different good quality oils, and most recently have gotten to know the ones made by dōTERRA. Not only does dōTERRA make some of the finest essential oils available today, but they also support communities worldwide that grow, harvest and distill these plants, which is something that I feel strongly about.
While I’m not typically an advocate of any brand or product, after using dōTERRA essential oils for a year, I have been impressed with their quality and consistency. I’m lucky to have support from my Media Manager and friend Paula Crossfield, who works with these oils and dōTERRA, and is a great resource. The best way to learn more about dōTERRA oils is through her, as they are not available in stores. If you are curious to learn more about using essential oils for your daily health and wellness, she can educate you about their use and safety, and connect you with the oils themselves should you decide to try them.
Paula has a limited number of appointments available each week, so you can reach her by responding to this message or writing to: [email protected], or in the U.S. or on WhatsApp using the number +1 917-297-9458. Out of gratitude for this community, she is also offering a gift to anyone who sets up a free 30-minute appointment with her by Friday. Just mention this message when you get in touch.