How to use essential oils for Balancing Doshas
Essential oils for Dosha Balance
Every aroma has the ability to touch deep. It can spark a memory, affect a mood, improve cognition, heal or even cloud mind and make us sick. Who can disregard the aroma of freshly roasted coffee, the scent of first rain on a patch of dry thirsty land or the whiff of gentle breeze carrying with it the fragrance of blooming flowers from a garden?
There is a direct link between our sense of smell and the limbic system in brain. This connection sparks our basic instincts, emotions and memories. Keeping this connection in view the essential oils can be used to create balance through the sense of smell using principles and techniques of aromatherapy.
An ayurvedic physician takes into account a person’s individual Prakriti (Constitution) along with the properties of the essential aromatic oil to select an aroma perfectly suited for the individual needs to create balance and harmony. Aromatherapy can be a part of your Daily routine( Dincharaya) or can be adapted for smooth seasonal transitions as a part of seasonal regimen(Ritucharaya).This can be done by local application aromatic oils, inhaling of diffused essential oils, burning aromatic candles and incense, using fresh aromatic flowers in home or growing them in your garden.
Ways of using essential oils
Essential oils can be used in many ways, some are-
· Diffuse in air
· Adding to bath water
· Local application eg: massage, skin care etc.
However when using them topically, care needs to be taken as they are highly concentrated and can lead to skin irritation if used without carrier oil. According to ayurveda pharmacology, essential oils are the fire element extract of a plant. This makes them highly potent. When considering essential oils for topical use, this includes the bath oils; the strongest recommended dilution is three percent solution of essential oil to carrier oil.
Vata Predominant Individual
Vata individuals tend to be emotional and easily excitable, when out of balance; they can experience stress, anxiety, fear and are more prone to upset stomach, insomnia, improper eating habits.
Recommended essential oil:
The oils have to be calming, warm, soothing and moist and sweet
Amber, anise, sweet orange, ginger, cinnamon, basil, frankincense, geranium, lavender, rose, sandalwood, ylang ylang, to name a few.
Recommended Carrier oil:
Sesame, avocado or castor oil
Pitta Predominant Individual
Pitta individuals are passionate and intense. When out of balance, they are prone to anger, jealousy, acidity and indigestion. Such people are very visual. So keeping flowers on bedside table or burning a scented candle also helps.
Recommended essential oils
They need something to maintain their cool and clarity with the ability to calm the fire within. The ideal aroma will be cooling, soothing, sweet, bitter or astringent.
Thus sandalwood, lavender, niaouli, peppermint, tea tree, myrtle, rose, brahmi, sage, jasmine etc are recommended for them.
Recommended carrier oils
Almond, coconut , olive, jojoba or sunflower oil.
Kapha Predominant Individual
Kapha is an earth and water element predominant Dosha. These individuals are cool, strong and slow. When out of balance they become sluggish and depressed. They are also more prone to weight gain.
Recommended essential oils
To maintain balance a Kapha needs movement, circulation, stimulation and warmth. So the oils suitable for them need to be warm, light, dry and pungent.
Cardamom, camphor, orange, winter green, yarrow, frankincense, grapefruit, lime, geranium, pine, cedar, eucalyptus, clove ,peppermint etc are more suited to them.
Recommended Carrier oils
Mustard, Almond and grape seed oils
Common essential oils for TriDoshas
Bergamot, geranium, jasmine, fennel, rose, clary sage , lavender, sandalwood, frankincense, patchouli etc.
Traditional ayurvedic practices make use of aromatherapy in many ways. Fumigation by burning herbs like neem, use of rose petals and oils in bathing water, wearing floral jewelry, burning incense sticks during meditation are some examples. Ayurveda considers use of aromas as an important tool, both for prevention and healing. Aromas can be use for protecting the vital force (Prana), regulating digestion and metabolism (Agni), and increasing resistance to disease (Ojas).
Essential oils are derived from all parts of the plant- flowers, fruits, bark, leaves and roots. Essential oils are highly concentrated essences of plants. Only a few drops are required to achieve desired effects. They are very potent in their overall effects, yet require little room. Essential oils can be used alone or mixed to create blends that work as synergistic combinations to create balance and harmony. Good things do come in small packages.
This article has been published in Ayurveda Mantra Magazine
©Moninder Kaur Rekhi
DNM (Ayurveda), BAMS, PGDCFT, RNP, RH
Ayurveda Physician and Registered Herbalist