Heal the Brain with Essential Oils

by Jodi Cohen

Essential oils are uniquely suited to cross the blood brain barrier to access and heal the brain.

 

Blood Brain Barrier

Diet and supplements, while critical in healing the body, have proven limited in accessing the brain, with the notable exception of essential fatty acids and liposomal based remedies which, like the brain, are fat based.

This is because the brain is primarily comprised of fat.  We know that like attracts like which is one of the reasons that oil pulling works. According to Dr. Bruce Fife in his book Oil Pulling Therapy, “When you put oil in your mouth, the fatty membranes of the microorganisms are attracted to it. As you swish the oil around your teeth and gums, microbes are picked up as though they are being drawn to a powerful magnet. Bacteria hiding under crevices in the gums and in pores and tubules within the teeth are sucked out of their hiding places and held firmly in the solution.”

In the same vein, several of the practitioners with whom we work closely are finding that essential oils can be used to rebalance the brain.

 

Essential Oils are Small and Lipid Soluble

This is due in part to the fact that essential oils are fat soluble and the brain is comprised primarily of fat.  But one of the key reasons essential oils are so effective in their ability to access and heal the brain is the fact that the volatile compounds of essential oils are extraordinarily small making them uniquely suited to cross the blood brain barrier.  Once crossed, essential oils can rapidly absorb and interact with receptors in the central nervous system to help support healing.

The unique combination of the small and lipid soluble nature of essential oils seems to play a key role in their unique effectiveness as lipid solubility seems to be an important factor which helps to facilitate passage through the blood-brain barrier. For example, water soluble molecules don’t usually penetrate into brain tissue, even if they are very small.

This is one of the reasons that essential fatty acids like omega-3 supplements work so well to support brain health.  In fact, researchers in Sweden have found that omega-3 supplements can cross the blood brain barrier and assimilate into the brain which helps them calm inflammation.  Similarly, the fat soluble nature of essential oils allows them to permeate the membranes of the skin before being captured and drained into the circulatory system.

 

 What is the Blood Brain Barrier?

As you may know, the blood brain barrier is the barrier membrane between the circulating blood and the brain. This membrane prevents certain damaging substances from reaching brain tissue and cerebrospinal fluid while allowing essential molecules to enter.

The blood-brain barrier is like a sieve or filter through which only molecules of a certain size or smaller can penetrate.   The blood–brain barrier’s ability to severely restrict entry of all but small, non-polar compounds has made it difficult to access the brain and central nervous system directly.

The molecules of essential oils are so small that most of them can pass through the blood-brain barrier. It is interesting to note that these small molecules of essential oils make them so aromatic. The only way something can be aromatic is for the molecules to be so small that they readily leap from the surface of the substance and circulate in the air so they can enter our noses and be detected as odor and smell.

To better understand aromatic oils, you might consider that oils pressed from seeds, like corn, peanut, safflower, walnut, almond, olive, are not aromatic. Sure, they have a smell, but you can’t smell them across the room in minutes (or seconds) as you can when you open a bottle of peppermint or other essential oil.

 

Chemistry Plays a Role in Crossing the Blood Brain Barrier

The ability to cross the blood brain barrier is often attributed to the chemistry of the oils, specifically, those that fall into the class of “terpenes”, a family of molecules small enough to penetrate the blood-brain barrier.

Terpenes are a class of essential oils composed of “isoprene units” or organic compounds of five connected carbon atoms with some hydrogens attached. The terpene family includes Phenylpropanoids (only one isoprene unit), Monoterpenes (two isoprene units), Sesquiterpenes (three isoprene units), Diterpenes (four isoprene units), as well as Triterpenes (six isoprene units) and Tetrapenes (eight isoprene units).

Terpenes are found in most essential oils and are chemically credited with the ability to reprogram the DNA at a cellular level, in effect working as stem cells to correct bad cellular codes. Sesquiterpene molecules—commonly found in roots, resins and woods like Cedarwood, Vetiver, Spikenard, Sandalwood, Black Pepper, Patchouli, Myrrh, Ginger, Galbanum, and Frankincense—are also attributed with the capability of carrying oxygen into human tissue.

 

Essential Oils for Brain Balance

The following Brain Balance essential oils have been designed to help to support healthy function:

Anti-Inflammatory™:  Brain Balance Anti-Inflammatory™ can be topically applied to regions of the brain to help turn off brain inflammation.  This blend contains several essential oils known for their anti-inflammatory properties.  It is designed to reduce inflammation, re-balance the brain, and encourage regeneration of damaged or stressed cells and tissues that have been chronically inflamed or acutely inflamed.

Parasympathetic™: Helps to activate the vagus nerve to trigger the Parasympathetic rest and digest state of the autonomic nervous system.  The vagus nerve travels down both sides of the neck and is most accessible behind the ear lobe on the mastoid bone.  Topically applying our Parasympathetic ™ blend on the vagal nerve behind the ear lobe and on the mastoid bone can help reset the autonomic nervous system for optimal function.  The ease of which the vagus nerve can return the body to the parasympathetic state after a stress response is known as Vagal Tone™.

Brain Boost™:  Formulated to assist the brain when extra thinking power is needed, Brain Boost™ produces an elevated mental state. The blend was specifically formulated with Helichrysum, Sandalwood and Melissa oils which are touted for brain function and known to cross the blood brain barrier and assist in carrying oxygen to the pineal and pituitary glands.

Focus™:  Helps improve our capacity for focus, organization and executive function.  By topically applying Focus™ to the forehead, blood flow and energy move to the prefrontal cortex, the area of the brain is also responsible for organizing, planning, controlling our impulses and paying attention to both big and small details.

How do you use essential oils to heal? Leave a comment below or share the article.

 

Resources

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About The Author

Jodi Sternoff Cohen is the founder of Vibrant Blue Oils. An author, speaker, nutritional therapist, and a leading international authority on essential oils, Jodi has helped over 50,000 individuals support their health with essential oils.

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Subscribe to Vibrant Blue Oils and receive weekly information on oils and how to use them. As a bonus, we’ll send out Beginner’s Guide to Essential Oils to your inbox immediately!