The Top 3 Spiritually Activating Essential Oils for Healing, Health and Harmony
BY KAC YOUNG, Ph.D.
essential oils have been used for millennia for their health, healing and spiritually activating properties. photo: craig burrows
1. Palo Santo
Loosely translated, palo santo means “holy wood” or “sacred wood.” Palo santo has been used for hundreds of years by indigenous tribe’s shamans for spiritual applications as one of the most spiritual essential oils. The aroma of Palo Santo is uniquely sweet and woody. It was used by the Incas to purify and cleanse the spirit from negative energies.
Its name originates from:
Latin: Bursera graveolens
Spanish: Palo santo
French: Palo santo
English: Palo santo
Ruling Planet: Sun
Anti-cancerous, anti-blastic, anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal.
Palo santo essential oil benefits include relieving symptoms of common colds, coughs, stress, headaches, anxiety, inflammation, emotional trauma, and more. It has qualities that help the regrowth of knee cartilage, reduce arthritis pain and inflammation, rheumatism, gout, respiratory problems, and reduce airborne contaminant when diffused.
It has cancer-fighting properties, is a stimulant for the immune system and supports a healthy nervous system. Palo santo helps support the immune system by turning off inflammatory responses created by a poor diet, pollution, stress and illness.
Palo santo essential oil is widely used in folk medicine for stomach aches, as a sudorific, and as liniment for rheumatism. In one published Cuban medical study, components in the oil inhibited the growth of a specific type of breast cancer, MCF-7. Both palo santo and frankincense are spiritual essential oils used for emotional and spiritual support because they work as natural anxiety remedies.
After inhalation, palo santo travels directly through the olfactory system to the brain, where it helps to turn on the body’s relaxation response to reduce panic, anxiety, and insomnia. Palo santo can be used as a substitute for frankincense and myrrh in many blends.
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In typing this section I misspelled “palo santo” a couple of times as “palo santa.” Upon reflection, I think “palo santa” might not be a bad name for it because of all the gifts this spiritual essential oil brings.
In Ecuador it is against the law to remove or cut down palo santo trees because they are protected. Additionally, even taking a dead tree has strong permit requirements by the government. Very few companies have permits to even touch the trees, let alone even to produce its spiritual essential oil.
The wood of the palo santo tree is of no earthly use unless the tree has died of natural causes. If a palo santo tree is cut into while it is still alive, it will need to undergo at least three years of a natural alchemical process of breaking down and decaying before it releases its precious and spiritual essential oil. Native cultures believe that there are magical qualities to the tree and the spirits within materialize themselves as the oil. This is why the properties are believed to be healing and powerful.
Palo santo oil is distilled from the heartwood of the palo santo tree. The heartwood must be at least two years old and be from the red wood to produce the higher quality oil. The longer the tree has been dead, the more powerful and spiritual the essential oil. This also holds true for frankincense.
There is a wonderful story shared by internationally certified aroma therapist Cristina Proano-Carrion on her blog about this sacred and spiritual essential oil. According to legend, long before the world was born, a young lad named Crosokait was one of the very few humans alive. He fell in love with a young maiden but the love was unrequited. He fell ill with the sadness of rejection and although he called for her many times on his deathbed, she did not come. He uttered these dying words:
“I’ll always be with her, I will decorate her head with perfumed flowers. I will frighten insects away from her. I will give fragrance to the water that her lips drink. I will go to heaven in the aromatic smoke during the ceremony. I will be wherever she is and will give her whatever she asks for…”
A tree grew up on the very spot where he was buried. When it was burned the wood released a deep, sweet aroma. The local Tobas tribe named it the palo santo tree as a symbol of love, kindness, and longing for an impossible love.
Palo santo is used in South America in much the same way as white ceremonial sage is used in North America: to combat negative energy and to cleanse a space. Amazonian shamans use it in sacred plant spirit ceremonies; the rising smoke of the lit sticks is believed to enter the energy field of ritual participants to clear misfortune, negative thoughts, and chase away evil spirits.
The Criollo people used the smoke of palo santo along with the burning leaves of Ruta chalepensis for patients with ear infections. Ruta chalepensis is commonly known as “fringed rue,” a perennial herb native to Eurasia and North Africa, which has been traditionally used as an herbal remedy for inflammation and fever.
Palo santo’s properties as a spiritual essential oil and substance are also known to have been valued medicinally, by inhaling its smoke along with burning yerba mate leaves and even feathers of the rhea bird (a flightless bird similar to an ostrich) for its healing effects. Some protected palo santo comes from sustainably cultivated wood grown on a fifty-acre farm in Ecuador that contains both naturally occurring and replanted palo santo. To date they have replanted more than five thousand palo santo trees on the land to ensure an adequate supply of this for the future.
For those who utilize essential oils for meditation practice, prayer or other spiritual applications, palo santo is a spiritual essential oil with exceptional merits.
Common Uses for Palo Santo Essential Oil
+ Grounding: Mix 4 drops of palo santo essential oil with 5 drops cedarwood, 1 drop of patchouli and 3 drops of bergamot. Use this spiritual essential oil blend in 2 T of carrier oil for massage or diffuse it.
+ Mind lifting: Mix 4 drops palo santo essential oil, 5 drops cedarwood, 1 drop patchouli, 5 drops of bergamot. Stir well. Diffuse or use mixed in 2 T carrier oil for a massage blend.
+ Meditation blend: Diffuse 3 drops of palo santo essential oil, 6 drops of lavender, 1 drop melissa, and 6 drops of frankincense. This spiritual essential oil blend will lift you to a higher vibration. As you inhale the scent feel it lifting your spirit, separating you from the worries of the day and taking you into a calm space.
+ Anti-anxiety bath: Mix into 1⁄4 cup Epsom salt, 4 drops of palo santo essential oil, 4 drops of lavender, and 2 drops of neroli. Add this mix to your bath water and allow the calming qualities to provide you with strength and comfort.
+ Pain Relief: Mix 5 drops of palo santo essential oil, 5 drops of Roman chamomile, 5 drops of grapefruit into 1 oz. of a carrier oil such as jojoba or sweet almond. Apply this relieving and spiritual essential oil blend to the affected parts of your body.
+ Headache: Diffuse or inhale eyes closed over steam a few drops of palo santo essential oil to relieve migraines, stress-related headaches or bad moods.
+ For cold or flu relief: Apply a few drops of diluted palo santo essential oil on the chest at heart level or add some to your shower or bath to help arrest a cold or flu.
Palo santo essential oil has been graded as non-toxic, non-irritant with possible skin sensitivity in some individuals. Do a patch test before applying directly to your skin. Do not use during pregnancy. Tisserand and Young advise a dermal maximum of 3.4 percent.
Blends Well With
Black pepper, cedarwood, clary sage, frankincense, lemongrass, myrrh, rose, sandalwood and vetiver essential oils.
Spiritual and Magical Uses
Protection, remove negative energy, spiritual uplift and purification. Palo santo essential oil is used in ceremonial rituals, for vibrational work, and for clearing negativity.
+ Place a few drops of palo santo essential oil on 1″ piece of cloth to carry with you to attract good luck, repel negative energies and communicate better with the spirits.
+ Use a few drops of the spiritual essential oil diffused while setting and sealing your intentions or while cleansing your crystals and jewelry.
+ For emotionally charged issues: Diffuse palo santo essential oil for its grounding sense of peacefulness and calm. Use to repel negative spirits.
+ Diffuse a drop or two of palo santo essential oil for anxiety, emotional trauma, and depression.
+ Diffuse or inhale palo santo essential oil to raise your vibration and to invite in a deeper connection to the earth and your divine source. This inherently spiritual essential oil helps communicate with the spirit world.
+ For insomnia: Before bed, apply a couple of drops of diluted Palo Santo essential oil to the palm of your hands. Rub your hands together and close your eyes. Inhale deeply. Visualize being rooted and nourished by the earth. Experience the feeling of stability and strength. When you open your eyes, massage the soles of your feet with palo santo essential oil.
+ Use palo santo essential oil as many times as you need to relax and reconnect with your higher consciousness. As a spiritual essential oil, it lifts and purifies.
2. Spikenard (Jatamansi)
Spikenard, (Nardostachys jatamansi), also known as Jatamansi is widely used in herbal medicines. Several herbal, medicinal preparations based on this plant are available in India and subcontinental countries. There are several products on the market disguised as spikenard, namely things labeled “Bhutkeshi” or “False Jatamansi.” The real plant is native to Nepal. Spikenard is also one of the incenses used in ancient Egypt.
Its name originates from:
Latin: Nardostachys jatamansi
English: Spikenard, nard, false valerian root, spiked nard, nardos pistile
Ruling Planet: Venus
Anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, analgesic, anti-rheumatic, aromatic, carminative, depurative, diaphoretic/sudorific, skin tonic.
In addition to being one of the best spiritual essential oils, the plant has a rich history of medicinal use and has been valued for centuries in Ayurvedic (Indian) and Unani (ancient Greco-Arab) systems of medicine. The rhizomes of the plant are used in the Ayurvedic system of medicine as a bitter tonic, stimulant, anti-spasmodic, and to treat hysteria, convulsions, and epilepsy. The root has been medically used to treat insomnia as well as blood, circulatory, and mental disorders.
Some preparations of the plant have been used as a heptotonic, cardiotonic, analgesic, and diuretic in the Unani system of medicine. The plant is of economic importance and has been used to produce perfumes and dyes.
Spikenard, and it’s spiritual essential oil, have been utilized since ancient times as a medicine for curing heart diseases, intellectual disabilities, urine-related problems, insomnia etc. Famed Ayurvedic healer charaka and “father of surgery” Sushruta incorporated spikenard in many medicinal essential oils, prescribed for edema, hemorrhoids, arthritis, gout, fractures, and obstinate skin diseases, mostly for external application.
Spikenard essential oil is an excellent remedy for many skin ailments that are caused by bacterial infections. It has been used on wounds to protect them from bacterial infections. It is also a deodorant, a laxative and a sedative.
Spikenard essential oil suppresses inflammation in the digestive and nervous systems, irritability nervousness, depression, stress, and emotions such as anxiety, anger, and panic. It also sedates cardiac problems. These sedating and relaxing are beneficial reliefs to insomnia.
The Bible contains several references to this spiritual essential oil in both the Old and New Testaments.
Catholics claim it represents Saint Joseph. Supportive of this connection, Pope Francis has included the spikenard in his coat of arms. The plant is also mentioned in the Song of Solomon in the Old Testament, “While the king sat at his table, my spikenard sent forth its fragrance.” (1:12 Song of Solomon American Standard Version).
Spikenard essential oil was also used by ancient Roman perfumers. “The plant is said to look like the tail of an ermine. The extracted perfume is an oil used by the Romans for anointing the head. Its great costliness is mentioned by Pliny.”
There are two other versions of Spikenard: American spikenard, (Aralia racemosa) and ploughman’s spikenard (Inula conyza), but we are not considering those here. For our purposes we are going to consider only the oil that comes from the Nardostachys jatamansi plant as our spiritual essential oil.
It is also easy to confuse spike oil with spikenard essential oil, but please be aware that spike oil comes from lavender and smells like a combination of rosemary and lavender. It is not spikenard essential oil.
Common Uses for Spikenard Essential Oil
+ Be sure to sniff test spikenard essential oil aroma to see how you respond to it emotionally and physically before diffusing this spiritual essential oil.
+ Psoriasis: Blend 2 drops of spikenard essential oil with 2 drops of Lavender diluted in a carrier oil and dab onto a small section of skin using a cotton ball dipped in the blend.
+ Enhance sexual energy and performance: Diffuse 4 to 5 drops of spikenard essential oil to heighten sexual and spiritual connection between partners.
+ Blocked emotions: Diffuse 3 drops of spikenard essential oil and 1 drop of rose to thaw frozen emotions and open the full expression of feelings, a powerful effect of this spiritual essential oil.
+ Balance menstrual cycle: Blend a couple of drops of spikenard essential oil into 1 tsp. carrier oil and massage onto abdomen using gentle clockwise strokes.
+ Relaxation: Diffuse a few drops to help settle your nerves or add to bath water along with 1 tsp. of carrier oil or Epsom salts.
+ Calming: Blend 2 drops spikenard essential oil, 4 drops rose, and 3 drops myrrh in 1 T carrier oil. Use for massage or bath. Disperse this spiritual essential oil blend in bathwater with coconut, almond, or rice milk.
+ Laxative: blend 3 to 4 drops of spikenard essential oil with 1 tsp. of carrier oil and massage it in a clockwise position around the abdomen. This massage technique can also be very soothing for related menstrual problems.
+ Insomnia: Diffuse 4 to 5 drops of spikenard essential oil for its calming effect on the nervous system.
+ Face and skin: Add a few drops of spikenard essential oil to your daily moisturizer or in a spray bottle with spring water and spritz on face to rejuvenate skin.
+ For rough or wrinkled skin, try diluting a few drops of spikenard essential oil in some olive oil and apply as a natural moisturizer.
+ If you suffer from hemorrhoids: Blend 50 percent spikenard essential oil with 50 percent olive oil and apply on location. (Your first application may sting initially.)
+ To help reduce cholesterol: apply 2 to 4 drops of diluted spikenard essential oil on wrists, inside elbows, or at the base of the throat two or three times daily.
+ Enhance brain function: Apply 1 to 2 drops of spikenard essential oil diluted in 1 tsp. carrier oil on your forehead, temples, and mastoids (the bones just behind your ears) to help revitalize your brain.
+ Upset stomach: Apply a few drops of spikenard essential oil diluted in a carrier oil on the stomach for indigestion or nausea. Use clockwise strokes for application.
+ Body: Wear a couple drops of diluted spikenard essential oil as perfume to smell really good.
+ Wound cleaning: To disinfect a wound and speed up healing place a drop or two of diluted spikenard essential oil on the wound.
Do not use on children under 6. Perform a skin test before using on yourself. Spikenard essential oil is classified as nontoxic, nonirritating, and nonsensitizing. It is thought to be safe to use for all skin types and is particularly good for dry or mature complexions. However, it’s still best to avoid using during pregnancy.
Blends Well With
Lavender, patchouli, vetiver, clove bud, cinnamon, ginger, clary sage, cedarwood, frankincense, (another spiritual essential oil), geranium, lemon, and myrrh essential oils.
Spiritual and Magical Uses
Fidelity, health, luck, inner balance, courage, forgiveness. As a spiritual essential oil, spikenard has a very high vibrational frequency that encourages a deep connection to one’s inner spiritual self. Its calming and settling properties bring about a deep state of meditation.
+ For good luck: dab some spikenard essential oil on the beads of a necklace (make sure the beads can tolerate the oil) and wear for good luck and warding off disease. You can also find a container necklace and wear the spiritual essential oil in a pendant or charm.
+ To reveal secrets of the soul: Diffuse 3 drops of spikenard essential oil and 1 drop of myrrh essential oil. Settle back and listen to the wise voice within.
+ Spikenard essential oil was used in an ancient Egyptian spiritual essential oil preparation called kyphi, a mixture of spikenard, juniper, myrrh, and cinnamon essential oils that was thought to appease the gods and improve meditation.
+ Also spelled kapet, it was one of the most popular types of temple incense in ancient Egypt and was also used as a remedy for a number of ailments.
+ Place a drop of spikenard essential oil on an amulet and wear this spiritual essential oil around your neck for protection.
+ Use a drop or two of spikenard essential oil (diluted in a carrier oil) for anointing.
+ Place a drop on two of spikenard essential oil on two, 1″ pieces of cloth. Place one under your pillow and one under your beloved’s to keep each other faithful.
Frankincense was brought to Europe by the Crusaders. The franc in its name refers to the quality, not the French. Commonly known as frankincense to westerners, the resin is known as olibanum, in Arabic al-lubān, meaning “that which results from milking” or “the product resulting from milking the boswellia tree.” It’s spiritual properties make it another one of the best spiritual essential oils.
Its name originates from:
Latin: Boswellia carterii
Spanish: El incienso
French: Franc encens
Ruling Planet: Sun
Anti-inflammatory, astringent, tonic, anti-septic, disinfectant, digestive, diuretic, expectorant, cicatrisant, carminative, cytophylactic, emenagogue, uterine, and vulnerary.
Many bodily systems, including the digestive, respiratory, nervous, and excretory systems can also be helped by frankincense essential oil. It aids the absorption of nutrients and strengthens the immune system.
Frankincense essential oil has been found useful for certain health conditions like rheumatoid arthritis, stomach ulcers, asthma, breaking up phlegm, and helping digestive disorders by stimulating gastric juices and bile production. The antiseptic qualities of this medicinal and spiritual essential oil can help prevent bad breath, cavities, toothaches, mouth sores, and other infections.
Frankincense essential oil often regulates estrogen production in women and reduces the risk of post-menopausal tumor or cyst formation in the uterus (uterine cancer). It also can regulate the menstrual cycle of premenopausal women. Frankincense essential oil is being studied for its potential to treat cancer. Scientists have observed that there’s an agent in this well-known spiritual essential oil that not only stops cancer from spreading, but also induces cancerous cells to close themselves down. Immunologist Mahmoud Suhail is hoping to open a new chapter in the history of frankincense.
“Cancer starts when the DNA code within the cell’s nucleus becomes corrupted,” Dr. Suhail says. “It seems frankincense has a re-set function. It can tell the cell what the right DNA code should be.”
In a series of clinical and laboratory studies over the last two decades, frankincense and myrrh have shown promise in addressing a number of common disorders. Frankincense has been investigated as a possible treatment for some cancers, ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, anxiety, and asthma, among other conditions. If these ancient remedies can indeed provide relief for the many patients who suffer from these potentially devastating illnesses, the great incense roads of antiquity may flourish once again with the help of these strengthening and spiritual essential oils.
The concern among some in the scientific community is the presence of boswellic acid, which is not present in Frankincense essential oil, only in frankincense extracts, which contain 40 to 60 percent of boswellic acid. Robert Tisserand writes:
“[I]f you are looking for a natural substance to help prevent or treat cancer, frankincense oil should not be your first choice. Look instead to turmeric/curcumin, to cannabis/cannabinoids, to garlic/garlic oil, and to frankincense extract, which is sold in capsule form. Following that, I would consider essential oils of cinnamon bark, lemongrass, citronella, turmeric, orange, lemon and bergamot.”
My advice is to work with a qualified aroma therapist before trying any of these methods. Only time and research will tell us what the future of essential oils are in the cure for cancer. I am looking forward to seeing more results.
Frankincense, (commonly referred to as olibanum), Boswellia carteri comes from the Boswellia genus trees, particularly Boswellia sacra and Boswellia carteri. After the milky white sap is extracted from the tree bark, it is allowed to harden for several days into a gum resin, after which it is scraped off in perfect tear-shaped droplets.
Frankincense is traditionally burned as incense and was charred and ground into a powder to produce the heavy kohl eyeliner by ancient makeup artists and applied to upper class Egyptian women and royalty that classic artwork and Hollywood movies have portrayed. When the resin is steam-distilled, it produces an aromatic essential oil with a bounty of benefits. In ancient Egypt, frankincense was revered as the sweat of the gods—without a doubt, this is a sacred and spiritual essential oil.
Remarkably, frankincense resin is edible and is used in traditional medicines in Africa and Asia for digestion and healthy skin. For internal consumption, it is recommended that frankincense be translucent, with no black or brown impurities. It is often light yellow with a (very) slight greenish tint. It is often chewed like gum but is stickier.
In Ayurvedic medicine frankincense (Boswellia serrata) is commonly referred to in India as “dhoop,” and has been used for hundreds of years as a medicinal and spiritual essential oil for treating arthritis, healing wounds, strengthening the female hormone system and purifying the air.
The Greek historian Herodotus was familiar with frankincense and knew it was harvested from trees in southern Arabia. He reported that the gum was dangerous to harvest because of the venomous snakes living in the trees. The method Arabs used to get around this problem was to burn the gum of the styrax tree letting off smoke that would drive the snakes away.
Recent studies have indicated that the worldwide frankincense tree populations are declining partly due to over-exploitation. Frequently tapped trees produce seeds that germinate at a rate of 16% while seeds of trees that had not been tapped germinate at a rate of more than 80%. In addition, burning, grazing and attacks by the longhorn beetle have reduced the tree population to an unsafe level of potential extinction. Only responsible farmers who are conscientious about preservation and use sustainable methods for growing and harvesting will keep this sacred tree and it’s spiritual essential oil alive for generations to come. As a general rule when using natural products, we should patronize those growers and manufacturers who practice sustainability.
Common Uses for Frankincense Essential Oil
+ Frankincense essential oil can also be used for relief from stings such as scorpion stings. Use 1 drop neat on the sting. Dilute if needed.
+ Use as a wrinkle relief (night or day) cream by adding a few drops of frankincense essential oil to the base cream or lotion of your choice.
+ Add frankincense essential oil to pure water and use as a toner or refresher. (You can add a drop or two of vodka to help it blend together.)
+ Place a few drops of frankincense essential oil on your washcloth and run it over yourself during your final shower (warm) rinse. The steam will infuse the frankincense essential oil and you get the benefit of a quick and refreshing, frankincensed steam bath.
+ If you want to enjoy a special indulgence, use frankincense essential oil in the bath and disperse it with almond, rice, or coconut milk. This breaks up this refreshing and spiritual essential oil and spreads it out in the water. Epsom salts also works well for the same dispersion purpose.
+ Treat dry skin by mixing a few drops of frankincense essential oil in a tsp. of carrier oil like sweet almond, pomegranate or carrot oil and massage it onto your face.
+ Treat wrinkles and the signs of aging by adding 2 drops of frankincense essential oil to your nightly moisturizing cream or lotion treatment. Add 1 to 2 drops of sandalwood essential oil for a richer treatment.
+ Reduce the appearance of stretch marks and scars by mixing 2 drops of frankincense essential oil with 2 drops of lavender and 1 drop neroli in 1 T carrier oil and massage onto scar tissue.
+ For a revitalizing face serum mix 2 drops of frankincense essential oil, 2 drops of lavender in 1 oz. of carrier oil. Massage into skin using an upward motion.
+ Diffuse or inhale a few drops of this spiritual essential oil directly to lift your mood.
+ Mix a few drops of frankincense essential oil with double the drops of a carrier oil (jojoba is good) to strengthen hair roots.
+ Speed up the healing of cuts, acne, insect bites, and boils. After doing a patch test for safety, use a small drop of diluted frankincense essential oil on the pimple or bite.
Frankincense essential oil should not be used during pregnancy. Avoid using if the oil has oxidized.
Blends Well With
Lemon, orange, bergamot, lavender, myrrh, sandalwood, other citrus oils, black pepper, basil, geranium, melissa, and vetiver essential oils.
Spiritual and Magical Uses
As a spiritual essential oil, frankincense promotes acceptance, emotional balance and stability, offers protection, fortitude, courage and resolution; increases introspection, spiritual awareness, and inspiration; is an aid in meditative practices and prayer work.
+ Frankincense essential oil can be used as an anointing oil used for ceremonies, rituals, and rites of passage.
+ Diffuse for meditation to access awareness and inspiration with this spiritual essential oil.
+ Honor ancestors by placing a drop of frankincense beneath their picture or near a keepsake.
+ Amulets coated with frankincense essential oil can be used as protection.
About The Author
Kac Young, Ph.D. is formerly a producer and director in the television industry, who observed the harmful effects of stress and unhealthy working conditions, leading her to earn a Doctorate in Clinical Hypnotherapy, a Doctorate in Natural Healing, and the title of Naturopathic Doctor as a third credential. She’s studied health, healing, biofeedback, past-life regression, Bach flowers, and Chinese Medicine, and she’s traveled to all parts of the world to study under respected healers and teachers. She runs a private practice where she consults with people who want to change their lifestyle, prolong their lives, and use as many natural products as possible in the process, helping people with weight loss, smoking cessation, addiction therapy as well as the healing of physical conditions and chronic issues. Learn more at: healingartofessentialoils.com