The Top Essential Oils For Brain, Mood and Energy Optimization – with Dr. Eric Zielinski

Content By: Ari Whitten & Dr. Eric Zielinski

In this episode, I speak with Dr. Eric Zielinski, who is a public health researcher, aromatherapist, and essential oils guru. We will talk about the incredible science on essential oils for mood, brain performance, and energy levels, and his top DIY tips.

Table of Contents

In this podcast, Dr. Z and I will discuss:

  • The amazing role of essential oils in the development of modern-day medications 
  • The difference between essential oils and fixed oils 
  • 7 Powerful properties of essential oils 
  • The best essential oils for energy and mood 
  • The best essential oils for brain health 
  • The essential oils that can help prevent or slow the progression of Alzheimer’s (with basically no side effects)

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Ari: Hey everyone, welcome back to the The Energy Blueprint. I’m your host, Ari Whitten, and with me now is Dr. Eric Zielinski, who is the author of the national bestseller The Healing Power of Essential Oils. Dr. Z has pioneered natural living and biblical health education since 2003. Trained as an aromatherapist, public health researcher, and chiropractor, Dr. Z started in 2014 with his wife Sabrina Ann, to help people learn how to safely and effectively use natural remedies, such as essential oils.

Now visited by more than four million natural health seekers every year, has rapidly become the number one online source for biblical health and non-branded essential oils education. And in this talk, he’s going to be talking all about do it yourself essential oil hack’s for energy and mood optimization. So, super excited to get into this.

I want to say on a personal note, essential oils was something that a few years ago, maybe four or five years ago, I’d always just kind of brushed off, as hippie dippy, new agey nonsense. And that’s not, there’s no science to support any of that. Okay, they smell nice, but it’s just hippie nonsense.

And I was actually shocked at that time when I started digging into the scientific literature and I realized that, hey, there’s actually a very sizable body of scientific evidence showing this essential oil improves sleep, and this one boosts brain function, and this one boosts mood, and this one boosts energy levels and on, and on, and on. There’s actually a huge amount of scientific literature on a lot of this.

So, if you are coming from the perspective that I was once coming from, thinking this is all just hippie pseudoscience, I would encourage you to set aside that perspective for a second. Open your mind and just consider the fact that there actually is a lot of science. And I’m really excited to have you dig into this presentation. So, without any further ado, I will hand it off to you, my friend.

Dr. Z: Well, first off, Ari, thank you so much. I really appreciate the opportunity. And I remember when we did an interview for your podcast a couple years ago and you said something in passing that most podcast hosts don’t say, or they’re maybe not brave enough to say, but you’re like, “Hey, my community likes to get deep. And so, just so you know, lay it on. Let’s get into the research, let’s get into the science.” Most folk’s kind of like a high level overview.

So, I make a preference here, we’re going deep today. And so, I pulled off, and I want to thank you again for the opportunity to do this as a presentation, because most of the time I just have conversations with people. And it’s really great. It’s high level. You get some practical tips. But I’m going channel my inner researcher and I actually put together a slide presentation, which is pretty much identical to what I’ve done in the past when I presented at research conferences, and medical, and public health events.

Essential oils and modern medicine

So, with that said folks, you’re going to learn a lot, hopefully, that you come out of this experience with just not only practical tips, but more like Ari said, the empowered enlightenment. I don’t know what else to say but enlightenment that this is not woo woo. It’s not new age. And I’ll preface that everything we’re saying here is based off of science. And that’s something that, as a researcher, has always motivated me to do what I do.

And so, a question is like, why are we even here? I mean, why are we talking about essential oils in this day and age where medicine seems to trump most medical therapies? Supplements are a big thing in the natural health world. Food is medicine right. Like, why even talk about essential oils? Well, I put together the slide a couple of years ago, and it’s still very much relevant today, where we see literally zero deaths caused by adverse reactions to essential oils. However, you don’t see that in the medical side.

And so, to put things into perspective when you use essential oils the right way there are virtually zero side effects. And so, in this onslaught of adverse drug reactions in hospitals and in the private medical setting, we see more and more people looking to natural solutions because the litany of side effects are, quite frankly, scary, including everything from light dizziness to death. I mean, just everything in the middle.

So, I think it’s important to recognize we’re here because of the demand. And I have a business. I have books, bestselling books, and I have master classes that reach hundreds of thousands of people because of the demand that people have to learn about this stuff. And so, there’s also the demand that from a monetary perspective, where we are seeing, and marketing experts predict exponential growth of essential oil market revenue through the mid 2020s and beyond.

What does that mean? Means people really want to buy this stuff. And we’re talking in the now tens of billions of dollars that people are consuming essential oils, not just for traditional aromatherapy, but for a variety of things. And most people don’t even realize that a vast majority of essential oils manufactured on the planet are used by the food and flavor industry. Like what do you think flavors your Coca-Cola? From the beginning of Coca-Cola, a proprietary blend of essential oils.

And so, when you look at that from a cleaning perspective, a textile perspective, a business perspective, essential oils are everywhere. But there’s also a sustainability concern when it comes to that. So, one thing we always try to teach is less and more. And we’ll go into more details of how to use essential oils in just a minute. But what are essential oils? I mean, that’s a really interesting question, because most people don’t recognize that essential oils are virtually, and it’s everywhere in nature.

And you’re not going to, though. It’s interesting because you’re not going to find essential oils in their unadulterated, pure form out in like a lavender field, for example. You’re not going to see a pool of lavender or in an orange grove, you’re not going to see a pool of orange oil. So, even though these essential oils are natural, they require manmade production to distill them, to get what we know today as an essential oil.

So, the reason that’s so important is because these plant-based compounds that we see in these little dark bottles, right. These little dark bottles, a rough estimate of a 10 milliliter or 15, between 10 to 15 milliliter bottle of lavender, you’re looking at two to three pounds of lavender flowers just to get one itty bitty bottle of oil.

And that puts things into perspective to me, because I do believe in the design wisdom of God and how he created plants the way that he did. But our bodies  weren’t designed to interact with essential oils in their pure, unadulterated, concentrated form like we see unless it’s under the guidance of proper use.

Meaning you just don’t slather essential oils all over your skin because, again, you’re not going to find them in nature. So, I look and I reverence the use of essential oils, very much like medicine, because they are and have been the impetus for most medicines that we see today.

And this is really important. And willow bark is the perfect example. When you look at willow bark, you know, we’ve known from antiquity that our ancestors had chewed on and tried to distill or soak in any which way that they could extract the methyl salicylate, the anti-pain properties, the analgesic properties of willow bark to help with pain and discomfort.

But when medicine came around, and pharmacists, they extracted that chemical. They put a white shiny pill out and they call it aspirin. And we see the same thing with chemotherapy drugs, blood pressure medication, we see antifungal, antiviral, antibacterial medications.

All of the chemical structures that we see in drugs have been motivated by or inspired by what we see in plants. The difference is one’s synthetic and one’s natural. The difference is one has side effects because the body was not designed by God to interact with these chemicals, versus one doesn’t have side effects if you use them properly.

And so, I juxtapose essential oils with medicine, but realizing that if it weren’t for essential oils, we wouldn’t have medicine as we know it today. So, looking at a little bit of essential oils versus what we know as fixed oils, essential oils are volatile organic compounds. They’re VOCs, but let me caution you, don’t throw out the baby with the bathwater. We’ve all heard that V0Cs are bad. Well, yes, if they’re from a harmful source, like off gassing, paint materials. We have carpet. We have your furniture. Like that’s negative, harmful, off gassing from synthetic materials.

But volatile literally means they evaporate. Which means you can distill them. So, there are beneficial VOCs that we see in plants. So, when you put your nose into a rose and you start to inhale the vapors. Those are VOCs coming from the rose. Very different again from VOCs coming from off gassing of your carpets and your unhealthy building materials.

Ari: I’ve had some people with air purifiers in their home who, that the air purifiers will detect the VOCs in the air. And will be triggered by essential oils in the air. And then they’ll go, “My air purifier switched onto a higher mode when the essential oils were in the air. Does that mean the essential oils are bad for me and are our pollutants?” And I’m like no, there’s… we need to be specific about the specific compound. Some compounds that are floating around in the air as volatile organic compounds are healthful and some are harmful.

Dr. Z: Exactly. And there are a variety of ways. The traditional way of extracting essential oils are through steam distillation. But you can also, and the best example of not only smelling a rose or a lavender flower, but, you know I just made some fresh, homemade, homemade, right, I just squeezed some orange juice the other night. And when I cut the orange in half, you could smell the vapors of the orange. I mean, those essential oils are contained in the rind.

So, what you can do, it takes roughly 40 oranges, but you get the rind of the orange and you cold pressed them together like you would in an olive oil press. And it produces the essential oils from that extraction. So, you can cold press it, you could steam distill it. There is various different ways as well. But those are just two of the most common that people extract essential oils from.

The thing about essential oils is, they’re neither essential to life, meaning there’s no nutrient value. There’s no carbohydrates, fats, calories. There’s nothing. I mean, but neither are they oils. So, again, essential oils are neither essential for life and neither are they oils, which is interesting because it’s a misnomer. It’s a paradox. But we love using the word essential oils.

We call them oils because they dissolve in lipids and they’re insoluble in water. But still, they don’t leave an oily residue on your skin. So, again, it’s a misnomer, but because they dissolve in fat, we call them oil. In comparison, we have what’s known as a fixed oil. These are your typical olive oil, grapeseed oil, coconut oil. These are nonvolatile organic compounds. They don’t evaporate. They’re heavy. When it comes to the Dalton scale, they contain fatty acids like triglycerides.

So, the reason why I mention the difference, because when you look at an essential oil, you have to look at it in context of the high concentration of the plant-based compounds. We’re going to go into more details of the ketones, and the esters, and what really make up these things. But don’t confuse them with other fixed oils. But they could be and should be used together. And we’ll talk about that in just a second.

Some really key essential oil properties are they’re transdermal, they easily cross the cell membrane. They’ve actually been known, and I’ll talk later when it comes to brain health, they can cross the blood brain barrier. They could do what a lot of drugs can’t do because a lot of drugs cannot actually penetrate into the cell because they’re not lipid soluble. And the cell is surrounded by a phospholipid membrane, right.

So, because, again, they’re not fat, but they’re lipid soluble. They can act as a carrier into the cell, which actually has been shown clinically to help chemotherapy drugs, and enzymes, and probiotics perform better in the body. So, they’re wonderful. They’re wonderful when you use them in conjunction with pharmaceuticals and even nutraceuticals. They, fascinating, they contain what’s known as cell selectivity. And we don’t understand why. But I believe, again, the design of God and to the fact that unlike a nuclear bomb approach that we see with antifungal, antiviral, and antibacterial, and chemotherapy drugs, essential oils don’t kill everything.

So, they’ve been shown to leave healthy bacteria, for example, in the gut alone, the probiotics, but they target harmful bacteria in the gut. Well, we know that doesn’t exist in medicine. Everything just dies. Again, it’s a nuclear bomb approach versus cell selectivity. It’s actually a known term. Cell selectivity is a known term in the medical community. So, you can look at an essential oil like you would like a sniper in a battle versus, again, the big bomb approach that just kills everything.

One thing that’s really important to me, are these essential oils are not without risks. What does that mean? Here’s a myth buster out there. This is a big one. Purity meaning pure, unadulterated, no contaminants, no pesticides, nothing but true essential oil, that doesn’t guarantee that you will have a desired effect. Nor does purity guarantee safety, alright. Why this is important is because people have different biochemistries. And quite frankly, our biochemistries change from moment to moment, depending on your thoughts, what you eat, what you breathe, what you’re putting on your skin.

And you’ll find that you’ll interact with an essential oil differently, depending on where you’re at in your health profile, whether or not you need to detoxify, whether or not you’re chronically stressed, whatever it might be. People do not always get the same reaction to essential oils.

And so, that’s concerning to people that are trying to treat a disease and it’s very concerning to people who are not in tune with their body. For example, a friend, let’s say, has depression and they use orange oil that really works because orange is known as an antidepressant, can boost serotonin and can help reduce the stress response. But that doesn’t mean it’s going to happen to me.

And unlike a drug which is hard wired to produce a desired effect most of the time, right, you can’t generalize when it comes to essential oils. And that frustrates people because they’re like, “Well, why doesn’t it work for me? But it worked for so and so.” It’s the same reason why one diet works for one person, but not for another. Because we’re unique. And I want to stress that. I really do, because one of the common complaints we get from people is, “Oh, I tried that peppermint and it didn’t give me energy. Why?”.

Well, I don’t know why. And the reality is, no one knows why. But like some medical doctors trying to practice medicine and a chiropractor practices chiropractic, I’m encouraging people to practice essential oils because maybe orange doesn’t work for you like it worked for your friend, but maybe neroli will.

And so, that’s really a key aspect of this, because it takes the onus of my health onto me. And I believe it. As a father of four, almost five children, my wife’s pregnant. My wife and I are actively trying to figure out what our body needs and wants. So, we’re always playing around. Always messing around with things, changing things.

Why essential oils use isn’t a one size fits all

Ari: If I can digress for a moment on that. I grew up in the fitness, in the bodybuilding world from the time I was a 14-year-old, and everybody knew, and it was widely accepted that some people respond to certain kinds of exercises better than others. Some people have different genetic shapes of the muscles, and need more work at certain angles, and need different types of exercise, and need to focus more on one area than another.

Some people respond really well to endurance exercise and some people don’t. And that’s just the way it goes. And so, there is this art element of it that goes beyond the science, of experimenting, and playing, and finding what works for you. And that, it’s a principle, I think, that applies to almost every area of life, certainly health.

Dr. Z: Exactly. So, the bottom line, don’t blame the exercise, don’t blame the supplement, don’t blame the food, don’t blame the oil if you don’t get the desired reaction. Go back to the drawing board. And I’m inspired by that. I’m not frustrated by that. The other aspect, purity doesn’t guarantee safety, alright. This is really, really important. In fact, the more pure, if there’s such a thing, the less adulterants the oil. If an oil is truly pure, the more potent it is and the more probable it is to harm you. If you don’t use it the right way.

We’re talking this is the real deal. It’s not diluted. It’s not cut. For example, you go to Whole Foods, you look at their neroli. I forget what it was, it was a year ago last time I saw it. Just going off the top of my mind like seven bucks to get a bottle of neroli at Whole Foods. I guarantee you, it’s not true, unadulterated, pure neroli, because you can’t find that for that price. And I looked at the label and I’m like, oh, there’s almond oil in it. Which means it’s diluted, which means God knows how many drops of essential oil it is because neroli is made from the orange blossoms.

I mean, orange blossoms, not the orange itself. So, you got to think in the springtime, right before the orange starts to bloom, you have these beautiful smelling flowers you’ve got to extract like 10, 15, 20 pounds of that just to get one itty bitty bottle. That’s a lot of plant material that’s going to cost a lot of money.

So, reality is purity is a big concern in the essential oil industry. And it really is all about the importance of safety. So, just to keep in mind, just to recap, these are highly concentrated chemicals that we’re dealing with, plant based chemicals, drug interactions have been established and they could cause you harm if you don’t use them properly.

But like my whole career is based off of is teaching you how to use them properly. So, there’s no fear. And I cannot stress that enough, there’s no fear. But please do yourself, your family, your children, and your pets a favor and learn a little bit about them before you just dive right in. And of course, not just a disclaimer to cover my butt, but it’s true, consult with your physician if you’re currently taking medication, because you need to know if something’s going to potentially interact.

Now, here are some slides. And for those of you who are listening, my apologies. But just to make a point, you could burn yourself with essential oils. And I’m showing some slides of some, like this is just straight from some public service announcements on Facebook. And these are, what you’re looking at here, and I’ll just try to describe it, blisters, oozing sores, redness and rashing. I will say I’ve been ignorant enough of how to use essential oils I’ve done this to myself.

And what you’re looking at and what if you’re not looking, if you’re listening, what the main concern is when it comes to using essential oils is applying them on your skin with no dilution, with no carrier oil. And that’s the key, because that could cause what’s known as sensitization, which is a contact dermatitis, burning, oozing sores, rashes. Any negative reaction is a bad reaction okay.

And then also there’s photosensitization. Bergamot has a chemical known as bergapten which can interact with the UV rays, which can exemplify the sun, or tanning beds, or infrared sauna, which is something I’ve also learned. And also red-light therapy. You do not want to use citrus essential oils before you get involved with any sort of natural or synthetic light therapy. It could burn your skin. It happened to me.

And so, just be very, very careful just to stay away from citrus oils if you’re going to go out in the sun or beach, or if you’re going to go in your infrared sauna, or do red light therapy because it’s just not worth it, alright. So, a couple different ways of using oils. And I’m going to kind of gloss over this because I really want to geek out with you all for a minute and get into the science behind essential oils for mood, energy, and brain health. But there are three typical ways you can use them. There’s topical use, inhalation, which means you smell the vapors through a variety of mechanisms, and ingestion.

When it comes to topical use, I mention that first because it’s my favorite, because you get a two for one deal. Essentially, when you apply essential oils topically, you’re like a walking diffuser. I mean, just let that sink in for a second, like you smell the oils immediately once you start putting it on your skin. That means you’re getting inhalation benefit. But because they’re transdermal, they penetrate into your cellular level, like in your bloodstream.

Studies have shown oils will be detected within minutes. You’re also getting the systemic benefit. So, you’ll get the olfactory benefit, which we know that through the science of smell, the olfactory system, your limbic system will be affected by and benefit from inhaling essential oils. Your limbic system, your amygdala, your hippocampus, your primal mood, your memory, your emotions, just by smelling something. But also, if you want a systemic through your bloodstream to help with your respiratory function, to help with organ function, that’s where a topical application can also help, too.

I feel it’s the best approach by and large, because if you dilute with a fixed oil like we talked earlier, your olive oil, your coconut oil, jojoba, sweet almond, whatever, then you help protect your skin from any kind of burning. But you also when you interact with the oils in that way, you can experience a wide variety of benefits that could produce full body effect. Again, I just want to paint the picture, full body effect versus I’m trying to treat an infection, which you can, it’s not localized alright. So, it has a really cool opportunity to give you a wide range of benefits.

There’s something known as a skin patch test, very similar to before you clean your entire carpet the instructions always tell you, hey, just get a corner of your carpet, try first before you, like, stain the whole carpet. Same thing, you can get an essential oil with a little bit of coconut oil and put it on the back of your hand and just see what happens.

No reaction is a good reaction. That’s a skin patch test. If you have a burning, an oozing, rash, any negative sensation, that lets you know you might A) be allergic to it, or for some reason there might be something in that essential oil that doesn’t react to your body properly. You want to do that. You really want to discontinue use immediately if you have any sort of adverse reaction.

How to use essential oils safely

Ari: A question for you. Is there a specific ratio as far as dilution of the oil to the carrier oil?

Dr. Z: Yeah. Yeah, yeah.

Ari: If that’s something you address later on, feel free to do that. I just wanted to ask.

Dr. Z: Yeah, good question. There are charts online and I give them away on my web site. You could go type up dilution chart. By and large, a two percent dilution is the standard aroma therapy dilution for most adult preparations. If you’re working with children or pets less. So, what’s two percent mean? It means essentially the amount of essential oil in a carrier oil. So, the best example and the easiest one is through one ounce of carrier oil. One ounce has roughly 600 drops in it.

So, if you start with one ounce of coconut oil, for example, that’s six hundred drops. Two percent of six hundred is twelve. So, you would simply add twelve drops of essential oil into your one ounce of coconut oil and you mix it up. That’s a two percent dilution and that will last for quite a while. For children, the recommended dose is one percent. And for infants we go as low as a half percent, which means just three drops of essential oil per ounce. I mean, that’s very, very diluted.

And so, yeah, that’s the ratio. When you’re treating a disease, you can go higher, but you generally don’t want to go higher than 25 percent. That’s pretty strong. Never recommend it. Yeah.

Ari: This is across the board or specifically for transdermal or specifically for inhalation?

Dr. Z: Oh, no, we’re talking topical application. Yeah. When it comes to topical, that’s where the dilution ratio. Now inhalation, there are a variety of ways of using essential oils in how you inhale them. Typically, most people use an ultrasonic steam diffuser and that’s just an apparatus that vibrates at a high speed, that literally breaks up the water molecules in the essential oil and creates a mist. You have about 100 to 200 milliliter tank, which is a very small amount of water, and you generally add five to 10 drops of essential oil, again, depending on how large that water tank is.

So, that’s that. It’s not diluted though. It’s just oils in water, they just get dispersed in the micro particles in the air. And for those of you who are watching the video you can see one behind me. It’s very similar to your aerosol, your glade plug in kind of thing. It’s a mister. There’s also your typical read diffusers. That’s the typical, like hippie aromatherapy stuff that we think about in the old days.

But there are aroma therapy inhalers that look like lipstick tubes that you can get on Amazon for a couple dollars. That’s personalized aromatherapy use. Very beneficial, especially when it comes to panic, stress, anxiety, depression, it’s immediate. Meditation, it’s a wonderful focal point to be able to inhale and smell something while you’re trying to calm your mind and who can’t benefit from that nowadays, especially. So, yeah, inhalations powerful.

Ari: Is the topical use also considered aroma therapy or…? I guess I got confused as you were describing that the topical use you mentioned the word aroma therapy. And when I think of aroma therapy, I think of like reed diffusers or the water diffusers, the sonic, ultrasonic diffusers and that sort of thing.

Dr. Z: Ah hah. Glad you mentioned that. You notice how I use the word inhalation. I didn’t use the word aromatic use. Boom. It’s not, aromatic are plant based compounds. Inhalation means you’re inhaling them. Aroma therapy is simply the science of using essential oils for a medicinal purpose.

Traditional aromatherapy talks about how to use them, and included in the aroma therapy is internal use, ingestion, topical use, inhalation. And we’re talking everything from rectal suppositories to you name it. I mean, aroma therapy, again, is just using aromatic plant-based compounds for a desired therapeutic response. So, that’s a good question.

Ingestion is the last way you can use essential oils, and that’s simply to consume them. And it can be done very safely, but you have to do it the right way. And remember, folks, water and oils don’t mix. So, you just can’t put a drop of oregano oil and tea tree in your water during cold and flu season and drink it. You’re going to burn your throat. And that’s typically what you see on Pinterest and blogs. And I’ve been a victim of that kind of nonsense because I didn’t know any better. Typed up on Dr. Google so-and-so remedy for whatever, and I’ve hurt myself.

So, if you’re going to ingest essential oils, stick to culinary doses, which is simply like one or two drops of essential oil per teaspoon, up to a tablespoon of an ingredient like cinnamon, or a lemon zest, or cilantro herb. So, whatever your recipe calls for, you can just use one drop and it goes a long way. Like I’ll tell you, if you’re making homemade guacamole, one drop of lime and one drop of cilantro is like, whoa, it’s power packed. And you get antioxidant value and it’s so healthy, so nourishing, but it tastes great. That’s a culinary dose.

If you’re using essential oils in a gel capsule. Now we’re using more of a medicinal approach. You can add two, three, four, up to five drops per dose, but it’s in a gel capsule. So, it bypasses your oral cavity and your esophagus, meaning the oils won’t, like, burn the mucous membranes in that area and it will start the digest in your abdomen. That’s the safest way of using essential oils as medicine.

But always remember, dilute with a carrier oil. It helps absorbability and it also helps protect just, you don’t want again, we want to be very careful about using unadulterated, pure, truly concentrated essential oils in our cavities, on our skin, we always want to dilute. Yeah. I mean, just again, if you’re using medications, just be very careful, especially when you’re consuming essential oils. Consult with your doctor because you might have a known drug reaction. I’ll leave you with this. Clove oil is the biggest concern that I have. And whether it’s doTERRA, or Young Living, or whatever blend that you like that has like immune boosting properties, they all have clove.

That’s that because clove oil is arguably one of the most potent antioxidant, like clove oil, one of the most potent antioxidants known to man. I’ve seen some reports stating that the ORAC scale, the scale of measuring the amount of antioxidants is up to a million for clove oil, where in comparison you’re looking at like fifteen hundred to two thousand ORAC points for like wild blueberries and we’re talking a million. It’s extreme concentration of antioxidants. But the problem with Clove is it could cause you to hemorrhage internally if you’re taking warfarin or blood thinner. So, that’s concerning to me.

Ari: But it’s worth it for the antioxidant effects, right?

Dr. Z: Yeah, but if you’re taking a blood thinner, don’t be ingesting that.

Ari: It’s not, I’m just…

Dr. Z: Yeah, exactly. It’s like, come on. It’s like, that’s what people they’re taking their Thieves, their On Guard and they’re loving their oils, but it’s like you don’t know what you’re doing internally.

So, big picture here. Is there a standard protocol for us all to use for energy, brain function, mood boosting? No, there is no standard protocol. Why? We’ve already covered it. Because there is what’s known as biochemical individuality. And I use cancer as an example because there are different types of cancers. There’s different types of reasons why you might lack energy, why you might have mood issues. There are environmental triggers, lifestyle, various brands are different.

The chemical constituency of lemon oil from today’s harvest is going to be completely different than the chemical constituency of last years and next years lemon harvest. When you think about it in that sense, there is no one size fits all approach. And so, what we try to do is just teach people, again, to practice essential oils. So, Ari, any questions? That was like my little primer, a lot of cool detail, but now we’re about the shift into essential oils, and energy, and kind of get more into research. So, do we have any big picture questions quick?

The best essential oils for energy

Ari: No, I love it. I think we’re ready to dive into some of the science on the best oils for energy.

Dr. Z: Alright. Boom. Essential oils promote deep breathing. And this is important when it comes to energy, because we know that increased oxygen intake in cells is vital because we need nutrition. And when you’re breathing shallow breaths, you have relatively a low amount of oxygen throughout your blood. And so, the cells aren’t getting the nutrition that it needs. Alright, this is all about cellular respiration.

It’s a set of metabolic reactions and processes that take place in the cells of organisms to convert chemical energy from oxygen or nutrients into adenosine triphosphate, ATP, and then release wastes. So, when you talk to Yogi’s, meditation experts, when you talk to people that, as you know, Ari, as an athlete, the focal point is deep breathing because you need oxygen to cleanse the cells, it’s naturally detoxifying but naturally energizing. And using essential oils can help facilitate that.

Essential oils also oxygenate cells directly. Essential oils are rich in oxygenated compounds, including esters, aldehydes, ketones, alcohols, phenols and oxides. Alright, so we’re talking biochemistry terminology that most of you probably have PTSD from high school. I’m there. I’m with you. But just to point out, the chemicals that make up essential oils are these esters, and aldehydes, and ketones, and alcohols, and these are oxygenating. Okay.

And this is a quote from Jane Goldberg a PHD, which I love her work by the way, it just stresses the importance of using essential oils if you’re trying to naturally boost energy and help with breathing function and oxygenation. The highest level of oxygenating molecules, according to Jane Goldberg, of any substance on earth, are essential oils. Because the oils are so highly concentrated, they are at least 50 times more therapeutically potent than the plant itself or herbs made from the plant.

So, don’t get me wrong, I love herbs. My mother in law is an herbalist. We use herbs on a regular basis, but when you want a medicinal approach, nothing is as potent as essential oils in nature. Arguably, no other substance in nature can be extracted, distilled, concentrated, put in a bottle, and now you have on the go medicine.

And so, when you’re looking at the best essential oils for energy, we have a list of them. And we’re going to cover some of the research in just a minute. But the focal point of this is the oils that are rich in the most oxygenated chemicals, and also the oils that have been shown to help with respiratory function, and top of list, peppermint and spearmint. And then we have eucalyptus. Again, these are the oils, just think about eucalyptus menthol and think about Vicks Vapor rub and think about all the things that maybe your grandma helped you with, or your mom, or whomever to help you with stuffy noses.

Like this is what we’ve used traditionally to help with breathing airways. But the same thing with pine, and rosemary, and laurel leaf. A lot of people don’t realize that lemon is another good one, and all of citrus oils, but we have a whole list of essential oils that could be good for energy, anywhere from juniper berry to ginger to frankincense to thyme. But I wanted to cover a couple of different research studies.

And just so you know, one of my techniques here, for those of you who are watching the presentation, if you’re listening, I’m going to explain it. But if you’re watching this, what I like to do is I like to grab, and this is public access through I like to grab the abstract of an article, and you can see in the lower left hand corner the actual citations, you can verify this. But I want you to see what we look at as researchers. And then we dive deep into the actual article to explain the methods and explain the results of such an effect as whatever therapy that we’re trying to look at.

What we’re looking at here is a study in 2014 about the instant, key that word, instant effect of peppermint oil on the physiological parameters and exercise performance. So, what this study evaluated was taking thirty, healthy, male university students. We’re talking athletes, young men, and they gave them one drop of peppermint oil in their mouth to consume. And there was another study based out of Iran that did very similar things, but they put a drop of peppermint oil in water. And again, it’s not advisable.

We already told you waters and oils don’t mix. I would prefer one drop in a gel capsule, but that’s what they did, bless their heart. And they don’t know any better about safety. But they put one drop in water and one drop right in the kid’s mouth. And what they found was an incremental and significant increase in grip force. I mean, we’re talking a thirty-six-point one percent increase in grip force. A seven percent increase in standing vertical jump. A six-point four increase in standing long jump.

And there is a significant increase in FVC, which is forced vital capacity and peak inspiratory flow rate. And we’re talking a sixty six percent increase essentially of lung function. Breathing better. And the reality is what we’re looking at is when you’re looking at using essential oils to enhance athletic performance or energy, I would again go toward the oxygenation factor of breathing better, getting better oxygen, more nutrition in your cells.

And it’s almost like legal blood doping. And so, we know of the athletes that get in trouble for blood doping, well this is a way of doing it legally. And it’s a way of doing it naturally because it’s like you’re deep breathing meditation just by taking a drop of essential oil. This study from 2016 discusses the effect of inhalation of orange and spearmint oils on lung function and exercise performance.

And what we see is that both of these oils work in tandem to increase respiratory function parameters. Again, we go really deep into what this means, but forced vital capacity and forced expiratory volume. It just means that you’re breathing better. It’s like Wim Hof breathing just by taking a drop of essential oil. And I like this because what we’re trying to do is we’re trying to encourage people to incorporate something relatively quick and easy right before a race, right before you go work out. And anyone can do it.

So, a strategy I would recommend is you could get some orange and spearmint oil, like put one drop of each, put it in your hand with a little bit of coconut oil and rub it on your chest, rub it on the back your neck. That’s literally what I do before I go workout or before I go on a run. And again, the oils are penetrated into your bloodstream, but you also get that inhalation benefit as well. Very powerful.

This is an interesting study from just two years ago evaluating a variety of oil, some of which I’m sure you haven’t heard of. But this was specifically a rat study that talked about how oils can alleviate central fatigue. And what they did was they facilitated central fatigue by causing sleep deprivation, they basically wouldn’t allow the rats to sleep well or get proper sleep, and then they made them sleep deprived and then they used essential oils and they found that it could alleviate that. But the oil is interesting here because they’re a little out of the box. Most people don’t think of these as energy oils, but they help for a variety of reasons.

The list is Indian sandalwood, bitter orange, styrax benzoin, which you’re not going to find, but it’s based out of China. Grapefruit, peppermint, Shi Chang, again, rhodiola rosea. You’re not going to find these or tea tree plant. You’re not going to find those in America. But the reality is essential oil based products do not always have to correlate with what we see in research.

So, what am I saying here? This study evaluated three or four different oils that are virtually impossible for us to get in most countries. But what I do like out of this study is seeing the sandalwood, the orange, and the grapefruit, and the peppermint. And that right there, sandalwood, orange, grapefruit, and peppermint. That’s a good blend to start with.

Don’t worry about the Shi Chang. Don’t worry about the rhodiola rosea. Who even knows what that is, right? I mean, you’re like, “Well, I can’t get that at Young Living or doTERRA.” Don’t worry about it. And I say that to say the reason why I chose this study is oftentimes we get, “Well, Dr. Z, I don’t have X oil in your blend. What do I do? What’s the replacement?” This isn’t like a Betty Crocker recipe where if you want to replace one cup of sugar, you use like a half a cup of honey.

It doesn’t work like that. What I recommend people to do is if you don’t have an oil, out of all the 15, 20, 30 oils we’re going to about today, you don’t have it, no problem. Use what you have and start with what you have. And you don’t worry about it. Don’t get caught up in the recipes. Don’t get caught up in the, I don’t have mentality, especially because a lot of the stuff gets expensive.

So, it’s really all about, again, finding what works for you. Now, rosemary is a wonderful one. We all know rosemary is the herb of remembrance. But rosemary, and this is kind of a precursor to talking about brain function in a few minutes, but the effects of inhaled rosemary has on subjective feeling, again, how you feel, and activities of the nervous system are profound. Now, first of all, rosemary has a predictable response.

Rosemary will generally, like this research shows, increase your blood pressure, increase your heart rate, and increase respiratory rate, after you inhale it. So, what does that mean on the flip side? If you have hypertension, if you have problems with blood pressure, be careful about rosemary. And what’s in Rosemary? Again, your most common Thieves, and from Young Living, and doTERRA On Guard and your immunity blends.

So, a lot of folks don’t realize, oh, I’m boosting my immune system, but there’s Rosemary, and if you’re hypertensive, you might be causing more problems. So, maybe you don’t use those immune boosting blends. How do you tell? Have your diffuser kick in with your Thieves, or On Guard, or whatever immune boosting blood that you have, and check your blood pressure before, during and after. If you see an increase in blood pressure, be careful.

I mean, it might not be worth it. There are other oils you could use for immune function. Again, oil, sometimes like this, can have a negative reaction when it comes to your body, or when it comes to a pathological condition, or especially with drugs. So, just please, please, please be careful. But assuming you’re healthy, assuming you don’t have blood pressure or heart rate issues, inhaling rosemary oil has been found to help people be more active and get them in a state where they feel like it’s fresher, like fresher air, they feel better.

And when we look at EEG analysis, they show a reduction of the alpha1 and alpha2 hertz waves. And we see that there is an effect on the anterior region of the brain, alright. We’re talking about a mental stimulatory effect, which means it could help you remember, it could help your brain function. So, most Alzheimer’s patients, dementia patients that are being treated with essential oils, rosemary is the go to one typically. Again, it’s the herb of remembrance.

Well, when you get the concentrated form of herb, if what Dr. Goldberg said is correct a few slides ago, 50 times more potent than the herb. So, if you’re trying to help your child perform better at school, or if you’re trying to perform better at work, or you’re struggling concentrating on whatever, consider diffusing rosemary. It’s wonderful. Before I shift gears in the mood, Ari, you got anything for me?

Ari: No, I think that was great. It’s interesting that there was a number of oils that I’ve never heard of, the Shi Chang, on the list of oils that you the best ones for energy. There was the ravensara. Which I…

Dr. Z: Oh, yeah. Ravensara, ravensara. You made mention about the Chinese oils. One thing that we seen the research, which is very frustrating for Americans is most of the research done is from overseas on essential oils. We’re talking Iran and China, Korea, they do a lot, they’ve done a lot more research comparatively than we do in the States.

And you could just see. Travel the money trail. There is no big pharma funding for essential oil studies. So, a lot, a lot of the research we see in the literature are from oils that we just don’t know. There’s oils that are not readily available to us because they’re not indigenous to the States, or Australia, or the UK or where ever you are in most industrial countries. So, that is a good point. So, what I try to do, and you could see through this list here, I try to create lists of oils that are readily available to us. But the reality is it’s good to talk about others because to me, it expands our knowledge and expands our horizons, so to speak.

Alright. When we’re talking about energy, it cannot be stressed enough, the impact that mood has on your energy levels. And you look, what’s the typical symptom of depression? It’s lethargy, right. Sleeping in, oversleeping, not feeling good enough to get out of bed or not wanting to do things. There is a direct, proven correlation between your mental state and perceived energy levels.

And I say, and this is what the research actually states, perceived energy levels. And it’s even hard to quantify how much energy you have, like what test is there? And, Ari, you might be able to explain this because you’re the energy expert, right. I mean, can you even explain the difference between perceived energy and actual like factual or objective energy levels?

The best essential oils for mood optimization

Ari: This is a very important point that you’re bringing up because there is no good objective test for measuring energy levels. So, both mood and energy are subjective phenomenon. And I’m glad you bring this up. This is something that doesn’t get the attention it deserves. It’s a really important point. Mood and energy are very much overlapping, and interrelated, and interdependent on one another.

So, generally, things which boost mood also boost energy and most of the time vice versa. Generally, you don’t see someone in a great mood who has very low energy. You don’t see somebody who’s just bursting with happiness and then, but they’re just dragging themselves through the day with no energy. So, yeah, these things are very much tied together. I think that’s a super important point.

Dr. Z: So, when you’re looking at mood and I’ll tell you, it comes from my, I’ve always had an addictive personality. And alcoholism runs in my family. I was addicted to narcotics, and cigarettes, and alcohol, and all that stuff. And when I got clean and got free from that almost 20 years ago, I became addicted to feeling good. I really did.

I became addicted to joy and happiness and I’ve recognized that if I want to, I never felt better and more capable, let me say this. I never felt more capable, more I can climb this mountain, run this marathon, do whatever from a physical perspective, from an energetic perspective, then when I feel good. When I feel like down in the dumps and I’m just stressed or anxious, it’s just not there.

So, cannot stress the importance enough of boosting your mood because you will find a natural, a natural energy boost just that goes along with it, because you’re excited. You have a lust for life. You want to do things better because you feel better. So, typically speaking, there’s a list. And again, we’re going to go through some of the research in a minute. But here’s a quick list of essential oils that are traditionally used to enhance mood. And first, I want to mention the citrus oils like they are proven antidepressants, shown to help with anxiety, with panic attacks, over and over, and over again.

I just can’t begin to stress through everything from the Ayurvedic model using lemon for a variety of different things with mood. Again, traditional to what we see through clinical studies with humans, not just animals, human trials. And the list of essential oils that are from the citrus family include orange, lime, key lime, lemon, grapefruit, neroli, petitgrain. And what else is one? It just skipped my mind. They’ll come to me. But anything, oh bergamot. Bergamot is a big one.

So, we’ll talking in a minute about bergamot. But bergamot can help people get off benzodiazepines, and we’ve seen this, and people get off of anxiety drugs which are very, very dangerous. The other non-citrus essential oils that can help with mood and a variety of reasons, it could be because it reduces stress, it produces calm or focus. But the list, a rose is one. And I know Rose is expensive and it’s really, really hard to get your hands on rose. But try to get a blend with rose. But palmarosa, frankincense and myrrh, are very grounding, very meditative, can actually help clear wayward thoughts. And that again can be a big component to your mood disorder, or maybe some stress, or anxiety.

Lavender, and Roman and German chamomile are the typical soporific, calming, relaxing oils. Ylang ylang, which is wonderful, an antianxiety oil like on part to a citrus oil. I would include ylang ylang in all of my preparations and I would have that on hand. It is key. Clary sage and geranium are very floral, traditional women’s health oils. Your midwife or your doula is always going to recommend them. At least ours did and does with our babies.

Angelica, valerian root, vetiver, and cedarwood, sandalwood, and Melissa. Again, these are a quick list.

Hey, here’s something. Here’s something for you all. And again, folks this is like, this is what I was trained to do. I hope you’re able to watch the presentation, too. But if you, if you’re listening, try to get the presentation. Because I trained at Emory University as a public health researcher and I took the research track and was getting my doctorate during my chiropractic career. And so, this is the stuff I was trained to do, like do deep dive literature reviews and present information that hopefully is easily digestible to people.

And so, one thing that you’ll find is when you’re looking at the literature regarding depression and essential oils specifically, I want to draw your attention to this study in 2017. Aroma therapy massage was shown to have more beneficial effects than inhalation aromatherapy. Again, going back to what you’re talking about, Ari. What’s inhalation? What’s aromatherapy? Inhaling, inhaling essential oils are not as effective as massaging them. Why? Going back to what I said before, it’s a two for one benefit.

You get the inhalation benefit from the massage, but you also get the oils penetrating to your bloodstream. So, you get the systemic benefits. So, the inhalation affects your brain. The other affects your whole body and can reduce inflammation and a number of different mechanisms. So, we cannot discount the power of inhaling essential oils. But I’d much rather do a topical application. And I do think too when it comes to massage, there is an element of relaxation as well, and that can produce endorphins and help you just feel good.

Now going to bergamot. Man, bergamot, I cannot tell you, is wonderful. It’s that citrusy smell and flavor that you get in your Earl Gray or your breakfast tea. The acute, and I stress, the acute effects, not chronic, like immediate acute effects of bergamot oil on anxiety related behavior and corticosterone level in rats is profound. And we also see this in humans. But I wanted to pull out this rat study because in the conclusion this is why I am such a proponent of essential oils.

I’m going to quote this study because both bergamot essential oil and Diazepam, which is a benzodiazepine which has been used and regularly used to treat anxiety disorders, alcohol withdrawal symptoms, muscle spasms and seizures, both the essential oil of bergamot and this drug exhibited anxiolytic like behaviors, and high stress and anxiety behaviors, and attenuated your HPA axis activity by reducing corticosterone response to stress.

Why is this important? Because it doesn’t say that the drug outperformed the oil and it doesn’t necessarily say that the oil outperformed the drug. And I’m saying this to say I’ve done an analysis of thousands of research studies at this point. What I’ve found consistently is that essential oils perform on target approximately as effective as drugs. But here’s where they do better. You don’t see a list of side effects. And when you’re looking at benzodiazepines, everything from suicide ideation to weight gain. You don’t get that with essential oils.

So, when I see a study saying that an essential oil has a comparable effect to a drug, I’m like, hallelujah, because that lets me know it’s potent. But with the lack of side effects, I think it’s even better. And so, I want encourage people to look at your therapy in a holistic perspective. Just don’t look at the, okay, what’s it going to do to me? From a symptom perspective. What is it going to do to you from a metabolic long-term perspective? And again, that’s my long sales pitch for why we use essential oils. Alright. Oh, I forgot…

Ari: Great stuff, by the way. I didn’t know that about bergamot.

Dr. Z: Yeah, yuzu, yuzu. I’m sorry. I’m probably mispronouncing it, but it’s a Japanese citrus fruit.

Ari: I never heard of… oh, actually, you know what, do they serve this in sushi restaurants?

Dr. Z: Yes.

Ari: I think I’ve had yuzu oil there.

Dr. Z: Yes. And they might even put it in like the leaf, they’ll put it in your tea. Yuzu significantly decreased total mood disturbance, okay. By evaluating 20 healthy women in a completely randomized control crossover study. They have found that it helps with tension, anxiety, depression, dejection, anger and hostility, and confusion. That’s worth repeating. Tension, anxiety, depression, dejection.

How many feel dejected? I mean, how do you even explain that? You’re just like, “Man, I just feel rejected.” Right. Anger, hostility and confusion. But here’s a key, Ari, through the research they have found that using inhalation again, this is traditionally what you think is aromatherapy, as long as 30 minutes after your olfactory stimulation, 30 minutes after having your nose interact with the chemicals, you are still experiencing the benefit. That’s pretty cool.

That is a longer standing effect than just, hey, it’s helping me through this moment, which is pretty cool. But here’s the concern, though. If you deal with chronic stress, anxiety, depression, dejection, anxiety, this also means you need to use this more often. And that’s something that we recognize through topical application. We have seen that the body will completely metabolize the essential oil within an hour and a half to two hours.

So, what does that mean? It means like unlike your fast-acting Tinactin that has a surfactant that will be on your skin for hours, or days, or your DEET spray that’s 24 hours lasting, that’s not how it works in nature. Your body will completely metabolize this stuff. So, you need to do repeated applications and you’ll find maybe hour on the hour, every couple hours of application or inhaling through your inhaler tube, or your little diffuser, that’s going to be key.

But just realize that you need to be applying this stuff more often. And the nice thing is yuzu, the effects have been shown to alleviate negative emotional stress because, quote unquote, it suppresses sympathetic nervous system activity. I don’t go too much into this because, again, this is a whole other presentation. But essential oils can really help you tap into the parasympathetic. It’s a parasympathetic stimulant which gives you the rest and digest. It gets you out of that fight and flight mode. This is pretty…

Ari: Real quick on that point.

Dr. Z: Yeah.

Ari: What are your top three essential oils for suppressing sympathetic nervous system activity or activating parasympathetic nervous system activity?

Dr. Z: Lavender would be one of them. Bergamot would be another. And then I like neroli. I really do. But neroli gets a little pricey. And so, that’s where we got to maybe go to more of a cost effective like orange…

Ari: I heard you can find neroli for seven dollars at Whole Foods.

Dr. Z: No, that’s junk. I hate that. Don’t sue me, Whole Foods. But like, come on, it’s says pure neroli, right. Yeah, pure neroli with almond oil, and you get one drop. So, anyway, how much time do I have, man? I got a couple more slides here, but I don’t want to bore people.

Ari: Maybe ten minutes.

Dr. Z: Alright. I’ll burn through this. I hope you guys are, and gals are enjoying this presentation.

This is awesome. It is packed with just practical tips, which I’m sure people are loving.

Well, this is why I included this study from 2012, because you asked about the dilution. Remember, we went to two percent dilution and one percent. This study evaluated a two percent dilution of rose otto and lavender oil. So, rose and lavender blend. They made a two percent dilution. Again, we just covered what that is. And they applied it topically on postpartum women that were at risk of or were developing anxiety or depression.

And I’m telling you, baby blues is no joke. Postpartum depression, anxiety are a big issue. And they found that with minimal risk, this is so important, with minimal risk the use of aromatherapy can help women with anxiety, and depression, and postpartum specifically. And we see the, again, I like this because in some research studies, they really give you the recipe. Others are just general, we use so and so oil.

Well, I love this because it’s talking about fifteen-minute aromatherapy hand massage twice a week for four weeks. Again, fifteen-minute hand massage twice a week for four weeks can have a profound effect when you’re using a two percent blend of rose and lavender. Let’s talk serotonin. When we look at clary sage, again, this is women. A lot of studies have been done on women. Menopausal women, after inhaling clary sage oil, we have found that there is a significant, significant increase in serotonin and that’s the feel-good transmitter.

And I like that because it is very important to recognize that cortisol levels have also been tracked to decrease significantly while the serotonin increases. So, cortisone is a stress hormone. We know that that’s what emits out of your body when you’re stressed, and you can detect it through salivary cortisol levels. And we know that serotonin is also something that you can detect as well. So, I’m looking at this, this was in 2014, clary sage antidepressant like effects. So much.

Another good recipe. Effective hand massage. Again, hospice patients with terminal cancer. I cannot think of anything more stressful than this. This is a one, to one, to one equal parts ratio of bergamot, lavender and frankincense. And a one and a half percent sweet almond oil carrier delusion. So, again, you got one, to one, to one drops and a one and a half percent dilution. And it has a profound effect on pain and depression in hospital patients.

I would even recommend you can go to two percent on this. And how does that look practically? So, you get one ounce of sweet almond oil, which is a really good traditional aromatherapy oil. And again, two percent of one ounce is 12 drops. So, what you would do is get four drops of bergamot, four drops of lavender, four drops of frankincense, and you can apply that. And I like that as a body oil. We like to put that kind of stuff on our children every day, literally. This is the stuff that we do to enhance our life on a regular basis.

Alright. To take this home, lets talk about brain function. Now, brain, the brain is the largest source of energy consumption in your body. Your brain will consume roughly 20 percent of the oxygen. And the reason why I’m talking about brain function is, in relation to essential oils, a chemical known as sesquiterpenes have been shown and are well known to cross the blood brain barrier.

And because, like we mentioned earlier, essential oils are oxygenating and they contain oxygenating compounds. They can carry oxygen to your brain. Think about how profound this could be. This is why we see essential oils helping with cerebral edema. And this is why we see essential oils time and time again, help dementia and Alzheimer’s patients. If it can help oxygenate the brain, and if your brain is the number one consumer of oxygen, and if your oxygen deprived, hypoxic in every area, you’re not going to have proper brain function. And therefore, your energy levels and your metabolism will be depleted.

So, these are the oils that are rich in sesquiterpenes, no particular list. But these are from, I mean, no particular order. But this is a list that I’ve gained from the research and also from aromatherapy texts. And we’re going from cedarwood to patchouli, vetiver, ginger, ylang ylang and myrrh, citronella, juniper berry, helichrysum, Melissa, black pepper, copaiba, frankincense, magnolia, manuka and turmeric. These are the oils rich in sesquiterpenes which can help oxygenate the brain. Now…

Ari: Quick question for you on copaiba. I’ve read that that’s particularly rich in beta caryophyllene and that that may interact with the endocannabinoid system. Have you, I haven’t looked into that subject and probably in about a year now, I’m just curious if there’s been some research that’s emerged.

Dr. Z: Oh, yeah. Yeah, yeah. And I’m glad you mentioned that. Beta caryophyllene is a chemical in copaiba, which can interact with the endocannabinoid system, like you said, but without the psychotropic effects. And so, what you see people doing that want to stimulate the endocannabinoid system for pain relief, anxiety relief, depression, whatever, copaiba is very potent. And especially with pain. So, yes, some people like to combine copaiba and cannabis oil or CBD. And by the way, cannabis oil is the essential oil, CBD is not. It’s an oily extract. It’s a fixed fatty oil.

So, yeah that’s a good point. That’s a really, really good point. But yeah, more to be done. And some people, don’t be concerned though, because, because of that, people are concerned they’re going to get high using copaiba, no. It’s not the same. It’s completely non, and I forget I’m not an endocannabinoid expert, but there’s two, there’s like an A and a B receptor. And I believe Copaiba is the B receptor. Either way, it’s the opposite receptor of CBD, so it’s not going to get you high. But good question.

Ari: The opposite as THC.

The best essential oils for focus and brain function

Dr. Z: Yup. Oils for improved focus and brain function. Again, we just talked about oils for sesquiterpenes rich effect’s, oxygenation. But typically, we see oils used traditionally to help focus, mental clarity, and brain function. We’re covering just a little minute about why they work with Alzheimer’s and dementia patients. But these are the oils that, again, we use in aromatherapy. We start with the citrus oils.

You’re going to see a common thread. I mean, if I only had a couple bucks, I’d be getting some citrus oils. I mean, really, you can consume them. They’re great with your food. They’re great for mood. They’re great for brain function. They’re great for you name it, energy. But again, a lot of the oils that we’ve already mentioned, the geranium, ylang ylang, lavender, palmarosa, valerian root, vetiver, the chamomile’s, Melissa, sandalwood, these again are the oils that we see over and over again for improved focus and brain function.

But I want to make a note about Alzheimer’s, because there’s more and more research regarding the effects that essential oils can have. And just an important note about Alzheimer’s and dementia, is people with Alzheimer’s or dementia they’ve shown lower levels of acetylcholine. Acetylcholine is a neurotransmitter that sends messages between nerve cells. It’s necessary. But when you have dementia or Alzheimer’s, you have low levels of that.

And so, there is an enzyme that breaks down acetylcholine, naturally in the brain, it’s called acetylcholinesterase. And the traditional medical approach to Alzheimer’s is to prescribe acetylcholinesterase inhibitors to stop the breakdown of acetylcholine. So, that way you have more acetylcholine in your brain. Again, you need acetylcholine for nerve cells to properly synapse and function. And acetylcholinesterase is a naturally occurring enzyme that breaks it up because it’s just the cycle of life.

And if you want to hack into that system, you want to stop the enzymatic breakdown. But the problem with the acetylcholinesterase inhibitors, which, by the way, are the Goldmark and the pretty much the only standard, and the only treatment for Alzheimer’s, the symptoms, side effects, anything from convulsions, to vomiting, to dizziness, to death. I mean, acetylcholinesterase inhibitors are very, very dangerous. Extremely dangerous.

But the positive thing about this whole concept is that research has shown that essential oils act as acetylcholinesterase inhibitors. And here are eight, that the research has proven that can possibly help in one way or another, Alzheimer’s patients, because they have this acetylcholinesterase activity. Spanish sage, Oregon ash, Australian pine, black pine. Some of them that are more readily available in the US, and Canada, and Australia, key li,e, bergamot, neroli, and Melissa.

Now, here’s an important note when it comes to essential oils as a whole, but specifically for acetylcholinesterase activity, is it’s the power of using the entire whole form of essential oil, not the compound. So, what you see chemists do is they fractionate out, they extract out a chemical that is in the essential oil, let’s say menthol, and then they test menthols ability to do X, Y, Z. Well, research has shown that acetylcholinesterase monoterpenoids from essential oils can act synergistically together, which means you have to use the essential oil in its whole form.

You don’t want to use a synthetic version of that extracts one compound, but it also, to me, it exemplifies why drugs don’t work like essential oils do because drugs, pharmaceuticals are simply a hodgepodge of isolated compounds that we see in nature. And you never get the desired reaction when you’re using isolated compounds, as you would the whole form. It’s just like I would rather, again, we can go on about nutrition, but that’s outside of the scope of this talk. Wow. This was awesome man. Folks…

Ari: It was, it was. Yeah. Thank you so much, Dr. Z. That was phenomenal. I have one question for you.

Dr. Z: Yeah.

Ari: Which is, there’s so much practical information here. I mean, you’ve covered mood boosting. You’ve covered brain function. You’ve covered energy. For each one of those, there’s between 10 to 20 oils. What if somebody is now thinking, I want to go buy 30 of these things and just load up with 20 different oils 10 times a day? What’s the sort of recommendation around how often somebody should be using these oils and how not to overdo it? Because, of course, we can overdo anything. I’m sure essential oils are no different in that regard.

Dr. Z: The question that we’ve gotten is, and very similar to what you’ve asked. It’s a good question because it’s a matter of dosing. It’s a matter of knowing that there are max dermal dosages, max oral dosages. And the recommendations that we see in the research, and in my books, and the traditional aromatherapy texts take into account like hey 80 drops might be toxic, two drops is okay.

So, what we’re talking about is a cumulative effect. And the reality is, I try to advise people knowing, though, like we talked about, the inhalation benefit of essential oils can last what, that one study said 30 minutes. The topical benefit can last around an hour and a half. So, I would advise people every couple hours, just like how you see typically with aspirin or something.

But every couple hours you can apply essential oil topically for a medicinal approach. But when you’re looking at and considering diffusing, when you’re considering something like body oil or something that’s very diluted, or something that’s not for a therapeutic effect. I have no problem with having this diffuser run all day because, again, it’s micro particles of five oils being diffused throughout eight hours.

But when you’re treating a disease and you’re trying to help mood or depression, you have five drops in a gel capsule. You want to take that every 10 minutes. So. Yeah, this a very similar approach to medicine, three, four times a day at the most when it comes to treating an acute disorder. But as a rule of thumb, I try not to get people hooked on oils like people are hooked on drugs. It’s not the point of this. The point of this is to get you through a moment where you don’t need them.

Like, I literally don’t need to use essential oils anymore. And that’s freedom. And I don’t want people to be addicted to and dependent on bergamot like they might be addicted to or dependent on a benzodiazepine. I mean, what’s the difference? A slave to an oil, you’re slave to a drug, you’re slave. And I say that very cautiously because we do not want our body to become dependent on anything.

But if I can use essential oils to help me get off of a drug, under the guidance of my doctor, and if I can use essential oils to help me through a tough time, maybe during that time, through all the stuff that we are learning, Ari, they get root cause resolution. So, the rule of thumb is you want to use an intervention for about a month at a time and then you want to change it because your body changes every month. You’re on a monthly cycle. Women know that. Our skin regenerates itself every 28 days. So, I try to get people on the cycle aspect.

As a rule of thumb start with the symptom and the pain point that’s really bothering you most. And I always get asked, where do I start? Well, what do you really want? And you’d be surprised. You’d be surprised at the answers. And oftentimes, a lot has to do with intimacy with a partner. A lot has to do with relationships, things that you don’t normally think. You might think it’s the cancer. You might think it’s the burning in your arm. No, it’s oftentimes more emotional. It’s self-loathing. It’s depression. It’s deep seeded things.

So, think about one or two things that you really want to fix and you want to go away and then reverse engineer that. And that’s how I approach using essential oils therapeutically, whether it’s pain, whether it’s mood, whether it’s libido, whether it’s gut issues, whatever. And then you tackle that one by one, by one. And we like, again, like to use essential oils from a holistic perspective where it’s in our body care, our haircare, our toothpaste. I mean, everything, our cleaning products. We’d rather use natural versus synthetic.

So, again, a couple different approaches because you can buy a few different oils and start DIYing your own health care products. But you can also DIY your body and cleaning products. And I’ll end with this. The benefit to the metabolism by releasing and mitigating the metabolic burden that these chemicals have, because we do know that for a fact.

The chemicals enter in the cleaning and body care products, have a direct negative response and essentially monopolize your metabolism in a negative way. Causes weight gain, and lethargy, and inflammation by starting to do it yourself or buying nontoxic products, that’s a great way too. It’s a side effect, right, of boosting energy as a side effect of clean living. It’s like living a detox life.

So, anyway, I guess before diving into a detox discussion, I better stop. We’ll have to save that for another day, my friend. But hey, I really appreciate this opportunity. It’s been fun to go back to my presentation days and dive deep in some of the research. So, thanks for this opportunity.

Ari: Yeah, thank you so much, Dr. Z this has been phenomenal. I’m sure people are loving just the enormous amount of practical tips and to start experimenting with all these different oils or maybe not all of them, but five or six of them maybe. If people are interested in following your work, where’s the best place to do that? And is there anything else you want to tell them about where to reach you or what they can get by following your work?

Dr. Z: Yeah. I’d recommend if you’re really interested in learning more about oils, Amazon’s selling my book for like twelve or thirteen bucks right now, it’s The Healing Power of Essential Oils. I would recommend to get it. It’s a good primer. And then our web site has a lot of free resources, So, check it out. But the book will help. The book is your soup to nuts. Everything you need.

Ari: Thank you so much, my friend. Really appreciate it.

Dr. Z: You’re welcome. Thank you.

Show Notes

Essential oils and modern medicine (07:05)
Why essential oils use isn’t a one size fits all (20:18)
How to use essential oils safely (27:26)
The best essential oils for energy (35:33)
The best essential oils for mood optimization (49:19)
The best essential oils for focus and brain function (1:04:00)


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