What is an Essential Oil (EO)?
An essential oil is at it's truest sense the extraction of the protective and regenerative properties of a plant.
High in volatile compounds these beautifully smelling “oils” are extracted from varying parts of the plant - root, leaf, petal, fruit skin etc.
How do EO’s work?
50-200X more potent than herbs, with an ability to passively diffuse across cell membranes & even the semipermeable blood-brain barrier, EO’s offer huge potential for supporting and enhancing all aspects of our health and wellbeing... including brain health.
There are 3 ways to use EO’s
AROMATICALLY - the simple act of inhaling a pure EO from the bottle or a diffuser can dramatically shift our emotional stare within seconds via the interactions of the EO molecules with the brain.
The Olfactory (smelling) centre of the brain ‘entwines’ with the Limbic System - one of the oldest (developed hundreds of thousands of years ago) and most hard-working regions of the brain.
Often referred to as the “emotional switchboard of the brain”, following are just a handful of specific limbic system functions include:
Controlling & expressing emotions like anger, fear, sadness, joy
Forming & retaining memories
Regulating eating, hunger and thirst
Responding to pain and pleasure
Controlling functioning of the autonomic nervous system, including pulse, blood pressure, breathing and arousal
Controlling aggressive or violent behavior
Responding to sensory information, especially sense of smell
Forming short-term and long-term memories through consolidating information
Learning new skills from reward, punishment, reinforcement and failure
Recognition of what’s familiar versus new
Navigation or sense of direction
Involved in olfaction (smelling) and tying together smells with specific memories
Dr Axe beautifully explains,
“One important way that the limbic system impacts emotional health is through carrying sensory input from the environment to the hypothalamus and then from the hypothalamus to other parts of the body.”
The hypothalamus acts like the “regulator” of hormone control, helps the body maintain homeostasis and send signals to the pituitary/thyroid/adrenal glands. It receives information from many body parts, including the heart, vagus nerve, gut/digestive system and skin.
Because of the hypothalamus’s functions, the limbic system is directly in control of your “stress response” and these key functions:
Essential Oils and the Limbic System
Ever wonder why certain smells conjure up memories and even physical feelings so vividly?
Our sense of smell is unique compared to our other senses (such as taste, sight and hearing) because it bypasses parts of the brain that other types of sensory information often cannot. Because of this, smells can often cause immediate and strong emotional reactions based on memories. Smells can bring us back to past events within milliseconds, making us feel a certain way based on past events, whether we realize why we’re suddenly feeling that way or not.
EO can have dramatic effects on limbic function and how you feel. This is true because the strong fragrances they hold, which are found inside volatile molecules that can make their way into your bloodstream, travel directly through the blood/brain barrier very quickly.
As you’ll recall, the hippocampus is involved in olfaction (smelling). How so exactly? Aromatic molecules contained within essential oils interact with sensors in your nasal cavity, lungs, pores and more. Research shows that the olfactory bulb projects information into the ventral part of the hippocampus, and the hippocampus sends axons to the main olfactory bulb, (including the anterior olfactory nucleus and the primary olfactory cortex). This is how memories and smells become tied together. (6)
Once engaged, sensors emit strong emotional signals based on smells starting from your limbic system (hippocampus) and spreading throughout the rest of your body to places like your heart and digestive tract.
Because essential oils can impact memory, balance hormone levels and overall support healthy limbic system functions, much new scientific evidence shows that inhaling essential oils may be one of the fastest ways to create physiological or psychological benefits. These include decreasing anxiety, anger or even fatigue.”
2. TOPICALLY - applying EO’s (always diluted in a Carrier Oil such as Fractionated Coconut Oil) allows for targeted application, yet still has a systemic affect.
EO’s are rapidly absorbed through the skin and make their way into the bloodstream, positively supporting all systems within the body.
Dilution is always advised as it reduces the small risk of skin sensitivity, and simultaneously help reduce the “flashing off” (evaporation) of the active, naturally occurring chemical constituents of the EO.
3. INTERNALLY - as a food supplement EO’s can be included in your daily food & drink intake, and with qualified guidance 100% pure EO can be safely ingested to support more specific health needs. Daily internal use of EO’s can provide profound systemic support.
Eg. FRANKINCENSE is extremely high in sesquiterpenes - this is the naturally occurring chemical constituent that crosses the blood-brain barrier.
Frankincense EO reduces inflammation (in the brain & other tissue), stimulates the immune system, is antidepressant, restorative to all cells, and more.
Frankincense is incredible in its ability to reduce scarring (in all tissue types) - with daily use, keloid scars can reduce to a fine indistinguishable line. Frankincense can be an extremely powerful alternative to NSAIDs and Opiods when dealing with migraines & headaches. It can be used to support Autoimmune disorders, liver health, seizures and trauma.... and more.
In a nutshell Frankincense supports the optimal function of cells - in the brain & body!
BEFORE I GO FURTHER ...THIS IS OF GREAT IMPORTANCE TO UNDERSTAND
The Essential Oil industry, as with the supplement industry, is completely unregulated... what does this mean?
Unfortunately it means ANYONE can create an “Essential Oil” and claim it to be “100% Pure”... yet 99.99% or more ARE NOT PURE.
EO’s are commonly adulterated with synthetics to extend life, bolster the smell and reduce the price... oils such as this are doing great damage to your health. Negatively impacting on our endocrine (hormone) System, gut health, brain function, immune system and much more. They are to be avoided at all costs.
After 22yrs of using oils, 17 years as a practitioner, I choose to use oils from only one company - dōTERRA. They are the only company who uses third party testing in EVERY bottle - we can go to this 3rd party laboratory’s site online and look up the results of the bottle in our hands. Their testing for purity is exceptional, sourcing sustainable, & consciousness (on every level) as a company is inspiring.
SO... when I talk about the way a certain oil affects our body, I am ONLY referring to dōTERRA. This is of critical importance for you to understand... it’s a matter of safety.
OILS TO SUPPORT TBI
FRANKINCENSE - As explained above.
PEPPERMINT - shown to improve performances in cognitive tests, & reduce mental fatigue associated with performing long bouts of mentally enduring tasks. It is thought the increased mental performance is due to improved neuronal excitability & regulation of the metabolites involved in stimulating brain synapses.
CITRUS OILS - high in limonene, oils such as a Lemon, Grapefruit, Line, Bergamot, Red Mandarin, Green Mandarin all support our intrinsic production of Glutathione. Glutathione is capable of preventing damage to important cellular components caused by free radicals, peroxide’s, lipid peroxide’s & heavy metals.
TURMERIC - studies have shown that ar-tumerones (found in the EO in high concentrations) support healthy neural response times - the speed at which our neurons can transmit messages. Stress resiliency is improved which in turn activates what's called Neurogenesis or the brains ability to be plastic, create new pathways around damaged areas and change itself.
Mylenation of the nervous system is supported which allows for better conduction of communication along it's pathways. Turmerones have demonstrated the potential to block the activation of neuro-inflammatory microglia cells which play a role in neurodegenerative disease. Turmerones contained in turmeric essential oil may also stimulate new neural stem cell proliferation.
BALANCE BLEND - grounding, calming and soothing to the nervous system, Balance has also been shown to improve the oxygen carrying ability of red blood cells, and supporting their cellular health overall. This results in less stress, calmer moods and less fatigue.
DDR PRIME - it’s name says it all... short for DNA DAMAGE REVERSAL, this blend is remarkable in its ability to support cells in reverting to healthy expression. YouTube webinar going into the depths of DDR Prime oil: click here.
LAVENDER - clinical studies have shown 2 drops of dōTERRA Lavender EO can be as effective as anti-anxiety medication. Supporting our sleep & relaxation is vital for overall wellbeing.
COPAIBA - binding to only the CB2 receptors of the Endocannabanoid System (not the CB1 which affects brain function), Copaiba is an extremely powerful and effective option to CBD oil. Containing the active ingredient beta carolpyllene (BCP) tens of thousands are reporting this to be more effective & far more cost effective than CBD. Copaiba powerfully calms the nervous system, reduces inflammation & pain, supports liver function & healthy hormone balance.
There are literally dozens of oils that can support you in your unique expression and experience of TBI.
I hope this brief introduction helps you understand a little more about these powerful gifts from nature!
Please reach out if you’ve any questions!
"Indeed the frequent use of essential oils brings back secondary metabolites that had been exorcised by our turn towards synthetic foods. Reintroducing plant metabolites with which the human organism has an intimate relation dramatically improves the odds for healthy living. It reduces the occurrence of opportunistic illness. They are a key ingredient of life itself."
Dr Kurt Schnaubelt
Frankincense is called the "King of Oils" for a reason!
This essential oil:
+ is supportive of many areas of our physical and emotional wellness
+ is a powerhouse when it comes to supporting brain health due to it's anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties
+ contains oxygen carrying molecules, called sesquiterpenes, that cross the blood-brain barrier and promote cellular health
Uses & Benefits:
- Inhale or diffuse to help balance mood, encourage relaxation, or clear that dreaded brain fog
- Combine doTERRA Frankincense and Peppermint essential oils to ease headaches or migraines
- Apply topically on neck and shoulders to soothe tension and stiffness
DoTERRA essential oils are pure and therapeutic grade important because when it comes to our health, quality matters.
I use Young Living Essential oils:
1) Lavendar essential oil for headaches & sleep disturbances. Diffuse 5 drops (large room) for 1 hour 3 x daily or 1 hour just before bed. Also use Lavendar oil in bath before bed along with meditation for a restful sleep. Lavendar on temples and back of neck for headache management
2) Bergamont for focus. Diffuse 5 drops (large room) 1 hour 3 x daily. Apply on bottom of feet to help with focus
3) Ylang Ylang for mood stability. Diffuse 5 drops for 1 hour 3 x daily
4) Panaway for muscle pains. with a carrier oil rub on desired area
5) Valor to help with social anxiety or general anxiety. Rub on wrist and back of neck
6) Peppermint, I diffuse 3 drops for 1 hour for migrane and nausea
Peppermint and lavender combos seem to help with migraines and nausea.