Essential Oil Chemistry

The Journey continues this month with one of my favorite topics, essential oils. They are gaining so much popularity right now and there is a reason for it…they work! Even science is catching up to the age old practice of aromatherapy. In this blog, I would like to explain briefly what an essential oil is and how it affects the brain.

Essential oils are the lifeblood of the plant. Pure unadulterated essential oils have the conversations with people when there are no words available, We know that they stimulate the limbic region of the brain (seat of emotions) the pineal gland (which is the gland that produces melatonin), and the pituitary gland. Of the five senses of the body, only the sense of smell is directly connected to the the brain and can cross the blood brain barrier. This is why when when the aroma of homemade apple pie baking in the oven will bring you back to memorable times. Essential oils also have the ability to affect the hypothalamus, which happens to be the hormone command center of the body.

The roof of the nose has nerve endings that receives the aromas emanating from people, objects or animals and converts it into electrical impulses that are relayed into the limbic system, which now becomes responsible for the evolving emotions. Deep in the limbic region of the brain is the amygdala gland. This gland was not discovered until 1989. The amygdala stores and releases emotional trauma and ONLY odor or fragrance stimulation has a profound effect in triggering a response with this gland. This is why essential oils have conversations with people when there are no words available. They are the most unique healing tool that we have today.

Now I know most of you might not care enough as to why they work so well with the emotions, but it is interesting to note a few ways to put some of this in practice, namely ADHD.

I am not a doctor but a certified aromatherapist and I have quite a bit to say about ADHD, having had to deal with my husband close to 20 years with this so called disorder. I have learned many things through the years on how to function with him. He was diagnosed in 1997 by a neurologist, only to get re-diagnosed 10 years later by a well known psychiatrist, with a celebrity clientele. We were told he was in the 2% worse  case scenario and all drugs had an adverse effect on him. Lucky me! This was the beginning of our journey. I learned so much, which I would be happy to share with anyone on a one on one scenario but I will tell you about the essential oils that do work!

There was a private study that was done with a group of children with ADHD. Not one of them was on a medication. In a classroom setting, 3 essential oils were diffused one at a time to see how the children would respond. The three oils were lavender, cedar wood and vetiver.

It was found that lavender had a 53% favorable rate in effectively approving their performance. Cedar wood  was found to have an 83% success rate. Vetiver had a 100% success rate. Yes 100%of the children had improved performance just from inhaling the aroma of vetiver.

Vetiver is a grass. It has the strongest aromatic and artsy scent that is grounding and calming, stabilizing the body and the brain. Vetiver dispels anger as well. Vetiver will also help with restlessness, anxiety and sleep, Just putting 2 drops on the side of your neck or as most mothers of ADHD children know, on the brain stem. It is miraculous for some people. It was for my husband.

Well, I hope you enjoyed this month’s article and perhaps gained a little more understanding of essential oils.

Pat Wanas