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  • Dr. Whitney Mostafiz

All About Aromatherapy - Mind & Body Medicine


One year ago I sustained a minor injury to my neck in a very technical fitness class – surprisingly it was not dental-related although my workday posturing surely exacerbated the condition. Looking for holistic measures, I discovered a magical restorative yoga class called Urban Zen, which incorporates aromatherapy and reiki healing in the practice. In this class, the instructor passed around cotton swabs dabbed with an essential oil called Frankincense to smell as you wish throughout the practice and afterwards. I loved Frankincense so much that I wrote down the name in my phone, just in case I forgot. I still have not forgotten this specific smell, yet I still have kept that note!

I think it’s a fact – what you smell may affect your mood, mind and body. There is a large aromatherapy market that further suggests that this is the case. I’ve sought to explore this concept from a holistic health perspective. What if certain smells may have medically healing qualities? Aromatherapy has a longstanding history in many cultures for thousands of years. The oils are derived from plant leaves, seeds, flowers, needles, and peals. Essential oils have been proven to have both physical and emotional benefits. Many have antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral properties. They have been used to address medical conditions that include common colds, anxiety, insomnia, menstrual cramps, muscle soreness and constipation. There are even a few oral health indications. Additionally, essential oils provide antioxidants, enhance the body’s circulation and healthy digestion, improve skin appearance, decrease inflammation and support relaxation and purification. Sign me up!


Frankincense, my favorite, has plenty of healing and medicinal properties, as do other essential oils. I have since learned that Frankincense has meditative, relaxing qualities and it may be helpful to enhance creativity. It also may be used to soothe cuts or bites and support cellular function. According to the doTERRA brand, emotional processing occurs through connecting the mind, heart and gut. The mind represents logic and the subconscious, and directs 90% of behaviors. Meanwhile the heart guides one’s intuition. Interestingly, the gut produces 90% of the body’s serotonin, which affects mood. Essential oils interact with emotions on a chemical level to balance and purify. One drop has millions of molecules that reach the body on a cellular level in a matter of minutes. As a reference, one drop of peppermint leaf oil is equivalent to drinking 28 cups of peppermint tea!

What do essential oils do precisely? They support the cell receptors, promote healthy functioning and maintain the cells’ natural states. Smell, specifically aromatic molecules, have the most direct impact on the emotional domain of the brain. Essential oils also have the capacity to affect your health on an internal level. However, it is VERY important to check the labeling that the essential oil is of a quality designed for dietary use. Essential oils work best in conjunction with plenty of water intake, exercise/movement, rest and meditation, and a balanced wholesome diet.

Ever since that pivotal class a year ago, I’ve been to Urban Zen almost on a weekly basis. Fast forward to present time: I finally received an essential oil diffuser/humidifier along with a handful of essential oils over the holidays (someone must have been a mind-reader!). I could not have been more excited! I’ve been experimenting with lots of different oils lately and I wanted to share the properties of some major oils so you can give them a whiff and a go, too.

Common Essential Oils usage based on a moment-to-moment feeling or emotional needs:

  • Mints: anxious, insecure, apathetic (use to encourage and motivate). These may include peppermint, spearmint

  • Citruses: discouraged, gloomy, distressed (use to cheer and uplift). These may include orange, lemon, grapefruit

  • Spices: somber, disinterested, bored (use to impassion and inspire). These may include clove, coriander, pepper, ginger, cinnamon

  • Herbs/Spices: discontented, bitter, angry (use to forgive and renew). These may include basil, rosemary, lemongrass, dill, thyme, cilantro

  • Trees: Grieving, sad, ashamed (use to console and comfort). These may include clary sage, cypress, sandalwood, chamomile, eucalyptus, myrrh

  • Florals: fearful, hurt, worried (use to seek peace and reassure). These may include lavender, ylang ylang, helichrysum, geranium

Examples of holistic medical solutions from the book Modern Essentials (

  • ADD/ADHD: combine lavender and basil

  • Acne: combine melaleuca to a facewash

  • Addictions: diffuse grapefruit oil, to soothe withdrawal symptoms

  • Adenitis: place rosemary diluted in coconut oil to the lymph nodes

  • Aging: diffuse lemon oil to promote memory

  • Alertness: add a few drops of peppermint oil on the shower floor to reinvigorate, or inhale

  • Allergies: mix lavender, lemon, peppermint oil – dilute in coconut oil and apple to the temples, under nose and bottoms of feet

  • Alzheimers: diffuse coriander and lemon

  • Aneurysm: diffuse frankincense, and a lesser amount of helichrysum and cypress

  • Antioxidant: mix two drops of clove to olive oil to ingest (remember to check label!)

  • Anxiety: diffuse lavender; also orange and lemon blended together works

  • Aphrodisiac: blend mostly ylang ylang, followed by patchouli, clove, orange and clary sage. You can also create a spray with ylang ylang, clary sage, lemongrass, and sandalwood when dissolved into grain alcohol

  • Appetite: diffuse grapefruit to decrease cravings

  • Arthritis: blend frankincense, peppermint, marjoram into coconut oil and massage on affected joints

  • Asthma: massage two drops of lavender on chest

  • Athlete’s Foot: mix 25 drops of melaleuca with 2 Tbs. of cornstarch to sprinkle into shoes

  • Backache: blend peppermint and wintergreen into coconut oil to massage on affect areas

  • Bed Wetting: combine 5 drops of cypress and 3 drops of ylang ylang with water to spray a mist onto pillow/sheets

  • Bee Sting: combine Roman chamomile with baking soda to create a paste to apply

  • Bleeding: mix helichrysum with water. Dampen a rag and apply pressure to bleeding area

  • Blisters: apply one drop of lavender oil

  • Bloating: blend 5 drops of fennel with coconut oil; apply on stomach

  • Boils: add melaleuca oil and lavender to hot water, soak into washcloth and wash infected area 2x/day

  • Bronchitis: apply two drops of eucalyptus on the chest

  • Broken bone: combine lemongrass, clove, eucalyptus and melaleuca

  • Bruises: blend helichrysum to coconut oil and apply over bruise

  • Burns (minor): apply lavender oil

  • Bursitis: apply cypress oil

  • Calming: combine ylang ylang, lavender and Roman chamomile to water to create a spray

  • Callus: mix oregano oil with jojoba oil to apply to site

  • Canker Sores: combine melaleuca with olive oil and baking soda. Apply paste to site

  • Carpel Tunnel Syndrome: blend basil, marjoram, lemongrass and cypress with coconut oil. Massage from shoulder to fingertip across arm

  • Cavity: apply 1 drop of clove to soothe

  • Cellulite: combine grapefruit with jojoba oil and apply on location

  • Charley Horse: blend lemongrass and peppermint into coconut oil, massage on cramped muscles

  • Chicken Pox: combine lavender, Roman chamomile with calamine lotion to apply to affected sites

  • Colic: blend Roman chamomile, lavender and geranium with almond oil. Apply to stomach and back

  • Cholesterol: add lemongrass and dill to olive oil in a small bottle; massage over stomach and bottom of feet

  • Chronic Fatigue: combine peppermint with Epsom salts for a soothing bath

  • Colds: blend lemon and thyme in jojoba oil; apply to throat, forehead, chest and back of neck

  • Cold Sores: create a lip balm with melissa, peppermint and helichrysum. Use cocoa butter, beeswax and jojoba oil to blend with. Apply as needed

  • Confusion: inhale frankincense from bottle

  • Congestion: mix eucalyptus and peppermint or drops in shower and inhale vapors

  • Constipation: combine rosemary, lemon and peppermint with coconut oil and massage on stomach/back

  • Cough: mix eucalyptus and lemon with honey

  • Cystus Fibrosus: diffuse bergamot

  • Deodorant: mix melaleuca and lavender with beeswax, cornstarch, baking soda and vitamin E oil

  • Depression: inhale lemon oil

  • Dermatitis/Eczema: blend helichrysum and juniper berry with jojoba oil

  • Diaper Rash: blend Roman chamomile and lavender with coconut oil as a roll on

  • Diarrhea: blend peppermint and fennel with coconut oil, apply on stomach

  • Dry Skin: blend geranium with a small amount of sandalwood into jojoba oil, apply as needed

  • Earache: blend peppermint and myrrh on a cotton ball, hold over ear for 30 minutes

  • Emphysema: add eucalyptus to coconut oil, apply on chest/back

  • Endurance: add peppermint to a water bottle, drink 15 minutes before exercise

  • Energy: inhale peppermint

  • Fainting: inhale peppermint – place under victim’s nose

  • Fear: blend lavender and ylang ylang to create a mist with water

  • Fever: blend peppermint and eucalyptus into a bowl of water. Apply to forehead, neck, feet

  • Gallstones: add a drop of grapefruit and geranium over gallbladder area. Hold warm water moistened washcloth for 15 minutes

  • Gas/Flatulence: combine fennel with coconut oil, apply on stomach as needed

  • Gingivitis/Gum Disease: add 2 drops of myrrh to boking soda. Apply to gums and leave for one minute. Rinse mouth with water and spit

  • Grief: diffuse citrus oils

  • Halitosis; add 10-15 drops of peppermint or spearmint into a small amount of water to create a spray. Shake and spray into mouth as needed

  • Hangover: add grapefruit, rosemary and juniper berry to Epsom salts for a soothing bath

  • Headache: apply a drop each of lavender, peppermint and frankincense to neck and forehead

  • Heartburn/Indigestion: add a drop of peppermint to honey, dissolve in warm water to drink

  • Hemorrhoids: mix cypress with either helichrysum or geranium and apply

  • Hiccups: apply a drop of sandalwood over diaphragm

  • Hives: mix lavender and melaleuca with jojoba oil, apply on location

  • Hot Flash: mix clary sage to jojoba oil to use as a bath oil

  • Inflammation from Injury: mix frankincense and lavender with cold water. Use a washcloth and hold on location for 15-30 minutes

  • Insomnia: add lavender and Roman chamomile to water to create a spray; use at bedtime

  • Itching: combine lavender with jojoba oil, apply as a roll-on

  • Jock Itch: combine melaleuca with cornstarch, sprinkle as needed

  • Joint Soreness: combine eucalyptus, peppermint and rosemary with coconut oil as a roll-on. Apply and then place an ice pack

  • Kidney Stones: drink a glass of water with lemon juice daily

  • Laryngitis: apply one drop of sandalwood to throat; add a drop of lemon to honey, dissolve in warm water to sip

  • Ligament Injury: add 10 drops of lemongrass to coconut oil, apply on location and ice pack on top

  • Libido: blend ylang ylang and cinnamon with coconut oil to create a massage oil

  • Massage: add 10 drops of your favorite oil – blend with coconut oil or another oil such as almond, olive, jojoba, sesame seed or flaxseed

  • Memory: inhale rosemary

  • Moles: apply frankincense to location; see physician as well for assessment

  • Morning Sickness: add ginger to hot water; inhale vapor

  • Motion Sickness: inhale peppermint

  • Nausea: add ginger to hot water; inhale vapor

  • Neuralgia: blend marjoram and eucalyptus with an oil of choice; apply to site

  • Nervousness: diffuse orange oil

  • Nosebleed: combine cypress, helichrysum and lemon into ice water; apply with a cloth to nose/back of neck

  • Nursing: blend lavender, geranium, Roman chamomile with almond oil – apply to soothe breasts. Wash off before feeding

  • Osteomyelitis: combine lemongrass, clove, eucalyptus and melaleuca with coconut oil

  • Pain: combine lavender with jojoba oil – roll on to sites as needed

  • Pelvic Pain Syndrome: mix ginger and geranium into jojoba oil. Use as a bath oil

  • PMS: combine clary sage and geranium with almond oil. Use as a bath oil

  • Poison Oak/Ivy: after washing skin. Apply to rash: lavender and Roman chamomile blended with calamine lotion

  • Psoriasis: combine Roman chamomile with lavender

  • Relaxation: add lavender and Roman chamomile with Epsom salts for a bath

  • Scars: mix frankincense and helichrysum to almond oil – roll onto scars daily

  • Sciatica: mix peppermint with coconut oil, apply to lower back as needed every few hours

  • Shingles: blend lavender, melaleuca and thyme with coconut oil. Apply on feet and location(s)

  • Shock: while seeking medical attention, hold open a bottle of peppermint

  • Sinusitis: add eucalyptus to hot water – inhale vapor

  • Sore Throat: mix eucalyptus, lemon, honey into water. Shake and use as a spray to soothe throat

  • Stress: diffuse lavender or grapefruit oil; add lavender with Epsom salts for a bath

  • Stretch Marks: mix lavender and myrrh to hazelnut oil. Roll onto location daily

  • Sunburn: mix lavender oil with cool water to create a spray; shake and spray to soothe

  • Tendonitis: apply marjoram at site, cover with an ice pack

  • Tinnitius: add a drop of helichrysum on a cotton ball; hold over ear for 30 minutes

  • Ulcers: mix a drop of lemon with honey; dissolve into a cup of warm water to drink

  • Varicose Veins: mix cypress and lemongrass to coconut oil; massage to sites

  • Warts: combine cypress, lemon with apple cider vinegar. Apply on location twice a day and keep a bandage

  • Whiplash: blend lemongrass and marjoram with coconut oil; massage to neck and shoulders daily

  • Whooping Cough: diffuse cinnamon, hyssop and thyme

  • Wounds: apply one drop of helichrysum to stop bleeding. Add one drop of lavender, melaleuca and basil to warm water as a wash

  • Wrinkles: blend myrrh, dill and cilantro into jojoba oil. Apply daily

Check it out, smell and enjoy :-)

Essential Oils

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