One of the most well-known impacts of essential oils on the body is the emotional impact. This is a phenomenon that occurs because of our sense of smell, or olfaction. But what actually happens when we smell essential oils? Two key things that involve the whole brain: olfactory signaling and absorption.

Sense of Smell & Essential Oils

Olfactory Signaling

Olfactory signaling is a primitive response in the body connected to ancient parts of our brain. It involves first detecting an odor and then an emotional response that follows. When we inhale an odour molecule, it lands on tiny hairs in the nose called cilia. These cilia vibrate and…


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There are some wild claims on the Internet about essential oils and cancer, and those two often go hand in hand. But can essential oils treat cancer?

Essential Oils And Cancer

First, no one can claim that essential oils will cure cancer. There are no trials, there are no major studies. These botanicals are not tested as a cancer drug, so they cannot be discussed in this way. However, that doesn’t mean there isn’t research.

Studies show their anti-mutagenic, anti-tumour, and antioxidant properties. They also demonstrate that essential oils can cause apoptosis (or cell death) as well as stimulate detoxification enzymes like the Glutathione…


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Essential oil in the belly button. Someone posted about this recently, claiming everything from reviving dried up veins, to curing acne, and joint problems. It sounds insane, so is it for real?

Short Version: Nope

There isn’t much, if any, research about the efficacy of essential oils in the navel as a treatment for disease. And there isn’t any research about vegetable oils in the belly button as a treatment or remedy either.

During fetal development, the belly button serves as the main artery from the placenta to the fetus, providing blood and oxygen and nutrients. It also serves as the main artery…


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Some essential oils and plants are phototoxic. Why is that? How does it affect us, and what can we do about it?

What is Phototoxicity?

First, what is the difference between phototoxicity, photosensitivity, and photoallergy? Sometimes the terms are used interchangeably. Technically, a photosensitivity is the general term for heightened skin sensitivity or reaction when the skin is exposed to UV light. This term encompasses two types of reactions: phototoxicity and photoallergy.

Phototoxicity from essential oils occurs when compounds called furanocoumarins get between base pairs of DNA. They form what’s called a covalent bond, which cross-links DNA. This creates inflammation, which creates a…


You might have read on the Internet that you shouldn’t use essential oils if you have an autoimmune disease because they stimulate the immune system. This isn’t necessarily valid.

Essential Oils Are Immunomodulatory

We don’t know a whole lot about how essential oils impact the immune system, but we are learning. And we have seen that they can be immunomodulatory.

Immunomodulation either increases response in the immune system when there are deficiencies, or suppresses the system, usually in the case of allergies, autoimmune disease, or organ transplant. In these cases, the immune system works overtime to destroy the body’s own tissues, or has a…


Palo santo (sp. Bursera graveolens) is a tree native to Central and South America and belongs to the same family as the frankincense and myrrh trees. It has deep traditional roots and is typically for the empath, the highly sensitive, and the spiritual person.

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History & Origins

The Incas used palo santo wood to spiritually cleanse and purify themselves and Shamans used it to ward off evil spirits as well as cleanse and purify. It grows throughout Mexico, Peru, Paraguay and mainly along the coast of Ecuador in the dry forests.

Like the frankincense tree, it has shallow roots instead of a long…


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The wellness industry is having a moment and our understanding of integrated health is evolving. Many individuals turn to holistic and alternative methods of healing, but how do you make sure your practitioner is qualified?

We have to assume that most people are good and honest and working legally and ethically. We have to assume this otherwise we would never use any service. But there are times, and we’ve read or heard of them, when things have gone awry.

Simple steps before booking an appointment or during the first session can make all the difference.

Check Credentials

Training is important. Qualifications are…

Cheryl Whitten

Clinical Aromatherapist. Writer. Podcast Host. Helping women and families find wellness. Naturally.

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