Ayurveda relies heavily on natural methods to restore balance and homeostasis, including diet, exercise, and specific herbs. Because essential oils have the unique ability to balance emotions as well as the physical body, they are especially useful for balancing doshas.
Ayurveda is a holistic approach to bringing balance and harmony in the body. According to Ayurveda, three doshas govern health: Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. To learn about determining your dosha, check out the Beginner’s Guide to Ayurveda.
Ayurveda and Essential Oils
Essential oils are useful in ayurvedic therapeutic formulations for their “yogavahi” value. This refers to their ability to transport the healing powers of the herbs, trees, and plants to the cells of the body. Additionally, essential oils help balance the emotions through the sense of smell, which directly impacts the limbic system. Therefore, essential oils offer a means to bring harmony among the physical, emotional, and spiritual bodies.
Ayurvedic principles teach us that like creates like and opposites balance. So essential oils with qualities of a particular dosha will increase that dosha. Conversely, essential oils with attributes that are oppose a dosha will decrease or pacify that dosha. For example, an excess of Pitta dosha manifests as excess heat, such as infection, heartburn, inflammation, rashes and fever. To counteract this imbalance, one would use essential oils that are cooling. A Kapha-dominant person who suffers from allergies, colds, and depression may want to use essential oils to support respiration and uplift the emotions.
Specific Essential Oils for Doshas
Using the theory discussed above, you can easily select essential oils to alleviate symptoms by opposing dosha imbalances. Certain essential oils appeal to specific doshas more than others based on the natural tendencies and common issues of each constitution. Refer to the Beginner’s Guide to Ayurveda for much more detail regarding each dosha.
Vata-dominant people are prone to anxiety, dry skin and constipation. They tend to feel cold and can be overly dramatic, sensitive, or emotional. The best essential oils to balance this dosha are those that are warming, damp, soothing and emotionally uplifting.
- Citrus essential oils, such as bergamot, lemon, orange, and tangerine
- Spicy essential oils, such as ginger, clove, cinnamon, cardamom, and coriander
- Herbaceous essential oils, such as basil, clary sage, thyme, chamomile, lemongrass, and eucalyptus
- Floral essential oils, such as angelica, lavender, geranium, jasmine, rose, ylang ylang, and neroli
- Resinous or woody essential oils, such as frankincense, myrrh, sandalwood, patchouli, and vetiver
A Pitta dosha imbalance may manifest as anger, hostility, infection, heartburn, inflammation, liver problems, rashes and fever. The ideal essential oils to balance Pitta are cooling, drying, sweet, and oily.
- Citrus essential oils, such as lime, tangerine, jade lemon, and petitgrain
- Herbaceous essential oils, such as chamomile, tea tree, yarrow, clary sage, fennel, lemongrass, peppermint, wintergreen, and spearmint
- Floral essential oils, such as lavender, neroli, jasmine, geranium, rose, and ylang ylang
- Resinous or woody essential oils, such as sandalwood and myrtle
An imbalance of Kapha may cause withdrawal, depression, and low energy, as well as obesity, inflammation, or congestion. Select light, dry, warm and spicy essential oils.
- Citrus essential oils, such as bergamot, lemon, lime, petitgrain, orange, and grapefruit
- Spicy essential oils, such as ginger, clove, cinnamon, and cardamom
- Herbaceous essential oils, such as basil, clary sage, lemongrass, rosemary, marjoram, mountain savory, hyssop, pine, eucalyptus, yarrow, tea tree, sage, wintergreen, bay, and peppermint
- Floral essential oils, such as lavender, neroli, jasmine, geranium, rose, and angelica
- Resinous or woody essential oils, such as frankincense, myrrh, cedarwood, cypress, fir, myrtle, juniper and vetiver
Open the Bottle and Experience
Essential oils contain various active compounds that have the ability to significantly influence our feelings and emotions. When you inhale the aroma of an essential oil, you absorb these molecules, and they begin to work on your emotional and physical health and healing.
This is why aromatherapy is an effective means of bringing balance and harmony to each dosha type. For optimal results, choose essential oils to balance and counterbalance the desired dosha.
Essential oils can be used in so many ways to balance the doshas. You may choose to use them topically, aromatically, or internally. For more details about the many ways to incorporate essential oils into your daily routine, check out this post.