[Transcript] – Essential Oils That Boost The Brain & Heal The Body: 5 Steps To Calm Anxiety, Sleep Better, & Reduce Inflammation To Regain Control Of Your Health.

Affiliate Disclosure


From podcast:https://bengreenfieldfitness.com/podcast/lifestyle-podcasts/vibrant-blue-oils/

[00:00:00] Introduction

[00:01:34] Podcast Sponsors

[00:06:03] Guest Introduction

[00:09:10] The Vibrant Blue Oils Blend Jodi Used During the Interview That Improves Body Circulation

[00:13:07] Stressful Experiences That Led to Jodi Getting Interested in Essential Oils

[00:21:04] How Topical Administration of Essential Oils Affects the Vagus Nerve and the Organ System

[00:27:01] What Phenylpropanoids Are

[00:30:30] Application Points On the Body That Can Elicit a Certain Response with Essential Oils

[00:31:37] Podcast Sponsors

[00:34:33] cont. Application Points On the Body That Can Elicit a Certain Response with Essential Oils

[00:41:17] The Best Carrier Oils for Different Situations

[00:43:15] How Essential Oils Can Be Used to Stimulate Pineal Gland Function

[00:49:05] Using Essential Oils as Anesthetics

[00:51:49] How Cinnamon Oil Is Used for Blood Sugar Regulation

[00:56:04] The 5 Keys to Health Jodi Systematizes in Her Book

[01:04:18] A Day in the Life of an Essential Oils Expert

[01:09:07] Compelling Research Jodi Has Discovered Since Writing Her Book

[01:12:21] Closing the Podcast

[01:13:30] End of Podcast

Ben:  On this episode of the Ben Greenfield Fitness Podcast.

Jodi:  When you go through a really challenging situation, and then you have the opportunity to share that with other people, I just decided I'll just put it out there.

Ben:  What type of oils would one use to enhance vagal nerve tone?

Jodi:  That's actually a symptom of poor sleep if you're not remembering your dreams. When people start to use this blend, not only do they have a better recall of their dreams, but they report kind of more erotic dreams.

Ben:  Health, performance, nutrition, longevity, ancestral living, biohacking, and much more. My name is Ben Greenfield. Welcome to the show.

Alright, you guys. Time for a pretty cool essential oils episode. You know, I got this gal, Jodi Cohen. I got her book and I got her on the show. We had a fantastic interview, and I asked her all these questions, and we had this weird audio snafu where my mixer equipment–I'm going to blame it on the mixer equipment. I always blame it on technology whenever I can shift the blame off myself. Somehow, we corrupted some of the audio files, so I wound up having to send her some of the questions and have her re-record some of her replies. So, if you notice some weirdness in the audio–I mean, the content's still fantastic, but that's why, is we had to go through that rigmarole, but it's a good episode, nonetheless.

But anyways though, I'm super excited because as of right now, the time that you're listening to this episode in a couple of days, as a matter of fact tomorrow, my behind the scenes project, something I've alluded to a few times before with you all on Instagram and elsewhere is getting unveiled, and it is–veiled, unveiled. It is, drum roll, please, the brand new cookbook I've been working on for the past years. All of my favorite weird recipes like reverse seared steak, and sous vide salmon, and beer can chicken, and fermented wild plant pesto, to my wife's lovely fermented sourdough bread, to longevity enhancing yogurt, to crazy biohacked rubs and cocktails, everything in my weird head that I prepare using a blend of my nutrition degree, molecular gastronomy, my intense curiosity about how to get the most out of food, and also have it taste amazing because I'm a total foodie.

I have squeezed into this book and it is beautiful. The photographs are amazing. It just turned out so, so well. It's called the “Boundless Cookbook” and it's just this absolutely unique, never before seen, culinary adventure that fortunately is not just crazy recipes you've probably never heard of before along with quite a bit like the science behind the recipes woven in for you nerds out there. But then, also, it tastes really good. Like, we tested every recipe and we had a test kitchen and just tweaked everything to the tea. So, I think you're going to love this cookbook. I mean, honestly, of course, I'm biased, but I do think it's actually a really good cookbook. So anyways, boundlesscookbook.com. Pre-orders go live tomorrow at boundlesscookbook.com.

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Alright, let's go talk to Jodi.

Alright, folks. So, I've done a ton of podcasts and written a lot of articles about essential oils. Gosh, I think I thought up until about a month ago that I knew everything that there was to know about essential oils. My dad, like 15 years ago, when he started to smell a little bit like a hippie, introduced me to the incredibly powerful oil of oregano. He was just like infatuated with it and he gave me this book called “Cure in the Cupboard” by Cass Ingram. And I adopted oregano as part of my health regimen. I started using it for like immunity, and killing fungi, and cleaning my teeth, and athlete's foot. I didn't know a lot about essential oils at the time, but really, that turned me on to essential oils. And since then, I have had a ton of people on my show talking about essential oils. And I'll link to all of those in the shownotes for today's show, which you can find at BenGreenfieldFitness.com/healingwithoils. That's BenGreenfieldFitness.com/healingwithoils.

So, anyways, I'm constantly diffusing essential oils in my bedroom, in my office. I sniff oils like peppermint and rosemary cinnamon before workout or when I want to wake up in the morning. I rub oils into the feet of my boys before they go to bed at night. I have like special dream formulations. I kind of check every box of being a full-on card-carrying essential oil hippie. Actually, right now, while I'm talking to all of you and my guest, I am diffusing coriander, bergamot, Idaho Blue Spruce, Lang Lang and geranium right here in my office, which is a nice little blend.

So, anyways, like I said, I thought I knew everything that was known about essential oils, and then I got this book, and I get tons of books on essential oils, but this one was really good. It's called “Essential Oils to Boost the Brain and Heal the Body.” And it was written by a friend of mine, Jodi Cohen, and I learned so much from the book. And as a matter of fact, it was so good I was telling my boys about it at the dinner table and they both read it and learned a ton about essential oils. And so, I just had to get Jodi on the show to talk about stuff I haven't talked about before when it comes to oils because it's kind of changed up some of the protocols that I've used. She has some really cool blends that she talks about, and just some really cool science-backed tips on essential oils.

So, Jodi herself, last name Cohen, C-O-H-E-N, she is a best-selling author, she's an award-winning journalist. She's a founder of a company called Vibrant Blue Oils, and she's trained in nutritional therapy and aromatherapy. She has worked with literally tens of thousands of clients to heal from brain-related challenges, anxiety, insomnia, autoimmune conditions, and her website's kind of a top resource for essential oils, education on the internet these days. And this new book, she's got a five-step protocol we'll talk about, she's got some cool blends that we'll talk about.

And so, Jodi, first of all, welcome to the show.

Jodi:  Oh my gosh, thanks for having me, and thanks for that glowing review. I love it.

Ben:  Yeah, yeah. And then, second of all, of course, the burning question here is, are you like me diffusing essential oils, or you're using them somehow to amplify your performance on this podcast?

Jodi:  Absolutely. I actually have a blend called circulation. I think really, it's all about making sure that the good things get in and the bad things get out. And you can really use oils to help move oxygen into your brain and toxins out of your body. So, yes.

Ben:  Okay. I think I read about circulation in your book, so it's time for the pop quiz time, right, if I can remember what it was that you talk about when it comes to circulation. I know that there are certain essential oils that increase brain oxygenation. I think one you talk about is black pepper in that case, right, piperine?

Jodi:  Yeah.

Ben:  I was going to ask you about piperine later on, but heck, we might as well dive in right now. Why do you like black pepper or piperine?

Jodi:  You know, it's really interesting. You talk about in your book how you take some of your supplements with beet juice because it vasodilates. And Datis Kharrazian, who's one of my favorite researchers on brain health, talks about how he adds black pepper to all of his formulations. My big focus on oils is blends, the idea that when you combine two things, it enhances both of them and creates something different. And so, by adding a little bit of black pepper to a circulatory blend, that includes cypress, which we know is great for moving fluid, peppermint which you talked about, frankincense, myrtle, ginger, which is also kind of hot and opening. It really enhances the synergy of everything and it just makes things get assimilated better and move more quickly. I think when you can enhance your oxygen flow, especially to your extremities like your brain, it just helps with thought and function, it increases speed and reactivity. It's just a really great way to kind of support. You're not chasing the symptom, you're really just helping the system to work better.

Ben:  Yeah. You know, I learned that from your book about what you learned from Dr. Kharrazian. I think he said it was like 200% to 400% that when you add black pepper to anything, which actually can be dangerous, like having grapefruit juice with your pharmaceutical supplements, they can get metabolized more quickly, and sometimes you feel them a lot more intensively than you normally would. And after reading that section of your book, I started just trying out, putting a little bit of black pepper in my coffee, taking a little bit like I do with beet root with some supplements. And you feel as though whatever you're taking seems to hit your system a little faster. It's really interesting.

Jodi:  Well, what is that fast where you do the lemon juice, and the water, and the maple syrup?

Ben:  Master Cleanse.

Jodi:  Yeah. And I always wondered why did you add the cayenne pepper, and I think it's because it opens the vasculature so you start to dump–the biggest problem is that we're all mobilizing toxins and they're not necessarily leaving our body. But if we can make sure that the drainage system moves more efficiently, then we get the bad things out more quickly.

Ben:  Yeah, yeah. And it's interesting some of the research on black pepper, and I think limonene is one of the other terpenes that you find in there in addition to piperine. And I think you talk about that and cholesterol.

Jodi:  Yeah.

Ben:  It's having a certain effect. And of course, a lot of people, and I actually recently talked about this on a podcast with Paul Chek, we'll use black pepper, essential oil, and one of those essential oil vape pens. There's a company called FLOW that makes a pen that you can literally almost like diffuse essential oils in. And it's not an actual vaporizer with an engine on it, it's just a little cotton swab that you put into something that looks kind of like a vaporizing pen. And black pepper is something that people use to wean themselves off of nicotine, off of cigarettes. So, that's another use for it.

Jodi:  Yeah. That makes sense.

Ben:  Yeah. Now, for you, when it comes to using essential oils, you talk about in the book how you went through some stressful experiences that caused you to really begin to use essential oils more or got you more interested in them, particularly things that were stressing your adrenals. Can you get into what exactly happened and what got you into this state of physical and mental exhaustion?

Jodi:  Absolutely. I think that necessity is the mother of invention. And so, my ex-husband, after my daughter was born, we figured out that he was bipolar because he was really manic. And then, we got that under control. And after my son was born, he went in the other direction and was severely depressed. And not really being familiar with that, I just kept trying to do more and more. And I think the more I did, the less he did, and it got to the point where it became pretty clear that he was going to die on my watch.

And so, friends had an intervention and we moved him to a residential treatment facility. There were not any in the state of Washington, so we moved him to Houston. And the moment that I knew he was safe, and it wasn't my job to keep him safe, it was like I had been deficit spending for a decade, and I just collapsed. I could barely function. My kids were five and seven. I had a full-time job and I was like a full-time class parent volunteer, soccer mom. My five-year-old would wake me up at like 6:00 a.m. I'd get up with them, make them breakfast, pack their lunch, take them to school, come back home, crawl into bed, and set the alarm for 10 minutes before pickup. And I kept trying. I had been practicing nutrition. I knew what remedies were supposed to help, so I was ingesting all the right herbs and nothing was really helping. And luckily, I had–

Ben:  Because you were trained as a nutritionist at the time, right?

Jodi:  Yeah. I had been practicing nutrition for about three years at that point, and I had had a lot of success adrenals. It was something I felt fairly confident in. And this friend came over with a thank you gift of a huge box of essential oils and said, “You know, you have been so high cortisol, so chronically stressed for so long, and we know that that causes systemic inflammation. I bet your gut is toast and nothing you're ingesting is getting absorbed. Oils, you can smell, you can topically apply. It's just a different way to get things into your system.” And I had one of those aha moments of like, “Oh, my goodness, she's right, like this could actually be helpful. Why not?” Like, when you're desperate, why not? You'll try anything.

So, because I had been practicing nutrition and working a lot with wiggly kids, I had learned this technique called muscle testing. It's like the 80-20 rule. It's a really efficient way to narrow in on what remedy is going to be the most effective. And so, I use that on this box. I first tried to determine, will this help my adrenals? And I got a really clear yes. And then, I tried to drill down, and normally, I get one remedy, maybe two. I got five, which at first was confusing to me, but then it occurred to me, “Oh, it's liquid. I could combine them.” So, I was a newbie. I went in my kitchen, grabbed a shot glass, tested each individual oil, made my first blend, put it on my adrenals on my low back because I knew that was the easiest way to access them topically, and my first thought was, “Oh my god, I could go running.”

And I'm a runner. I've run several marathons. That's always something that makes me happy, but when walking up the stairs, feels exhausting. The idea of running four miles did not really make the list. So, I thought, “Well, that's a good sign.” I went running, I came home, I did all the laundry, cleaned the house, went to the supermarket, made their favorite meal. Lying in bed that night, I'm like, “That was a win.” Like, you reverse engineer, I did that right, you know. And at the time, I was also suffering from insomnia. You do a great job in “Boundless” explaining how your circadian rhythms, it's both the cortisol, stress hormone, and the melatonin sleep hormone that have a very aligned relationship. One's supposed to be low and the other is high.

And so, if you're highly anxious, when you're worrying at night, that's triggering the same release of chemicals as if a lion were chasing you. So, your pineal gland is less likely to release melatonin when you're in a stressed high cortisol state. So, I had this thought, like, I know it's my pineal gland and I knew I had been playing with topical applications of melatonin on the skin above the ears, and I was like, “Huh, I wonder if I could make something for this.” So, I went downstairs and made up another formula, came up, put it on, literally, probably had the best sleep I had had in years. My five-year-old is, he was very energetic and it took him a while to wake me up in the morning, and I'm like, “Okay. That's a win.”

So, I just kept making things up to help balance out my system. And when I started to feel better, my friends were like, “Oh, what did you try? Can we try it?” So, I was giving them my little blends, almost like laughing. This is silly. And it worked for them, it worked for their clients. And finally, one of my friends said, “You should do something with this.” And I thought, “Well, I'm sure this is already being done. It's pretty obvious.” So, I went online for the first time to research it, and I was super surprised at two things. The first was that no one was really looking at essential oil blends through the lens of balancing your physiology for organs and brain regions. And the second was that they made it so incredibly complicated. I was almost grateful that my mental bandwidth was so depleted because if I had started by researching, I would have felt completely unqualified and probably never would have done it.

When you go through a really challenging situation and you're like, “Oh, I wish I had known that,” and then you have the opportunity to share that with other people, I just decided I'll just put it out there. I started writing blogs and selling it online, and Dr. Google, people found me. I'd fill orders at night after the kids went to bed. At a certain point, I hired a friend to help me fill orders, and it just kept growing, and I kept realizing that–I think that there are a lot of ways to use oils that we can get into just because if you can't get a remedy into your system, it doesn't really work. It's like if the ambulance can't get to the scene of an accident, it's not going to save anyone.

So, the more I started looking at how challenging certain health situations are, and how oils are kind of just through their chemistry, and size, and the ability that we can assimilate them through the skin and through inhalation. It occurred to me like, I don't think–I'm not that person that says there's an oil for everything. If you're having a heart attack, go to the hospital. But I think that, especially for preventative health and for enhancing function of the body, there are some very specific ways that you can use them to really enhance what you're already doing in a very easy way.

Ben:  Yeah, yeah. And you have some interesting uses that you've already alluded to that I hadn't really been familiar with, particularly topical. And there are two areas that I began to dive into after reading your book. One behind my ears for vagal nerve stimulation, and the other one is you were just talking about, kind of above the kidneys, on the low back, the adrenals before sleep. And I actually started doing both of those. I kept a little–or keep a little jar of coconut oil next to my bed and just put a few drops in with the coconut oil of your–I think it's your parasympathetic blend for the vagus nerve and your adrenal blend for the adrenals, and just apply those topically. What exactly is going on with the topical administration of essential oils particularly when I'm experimenting with applying them to either, A, behind the ears, or B, over the adrenal glands, for example, before I go to sleep? Like, how is that essential oil being applied on the skin actually affecting me from an organ system function?

Jodi:  That's a great question, and that's actually what prompted me to write the book that some of the things I was noticing in clinical practice were inconsistent with what the research said. For example, if you look at the research on topical application, it says it's not very effective. That's because they're trying to get a systemic impact from topical application. Meaning, you apply it on a sore knee. Anyone who's done a tough workout and put a topical ointment on their low back or their knee, they know it feels better immediately, right, because it can travel through the dermis, the skin, and get into the capillaries, the local bloodstream, and start to calm inflammation.

What it doesn't do, if you're topically applying something on your knee, is help your neck. It doesn't work that way. And so, people were dismissing topical application for systemic benefit, but what's interesting is there's a whole branch of acupuncture called AromaTouch that uses essential oils on reflux points. Like you're talking about, it works like an acupuncture needle and it affects the whole system. So, the vagus nerve point that you were talking about, it's interesting. I launched Vibrant Blue Oils in 2012, right around the time that New York neuroscientist, Kevin Tracey, was playing with implanting, surgically implanting electrical devices right behind the earlobe on the mastoid bone. And he was doing research where he would stimulate that electrical device to basically activate the vagus nerve and turn on the parasympathetic response.

The FDA has actually approved this for epilepsy, depression, and migraines. And this research was a big aha moment for me because, as your audience I'm sure knows, the parasympathetic nervous system is the rest and digest nervous system. It's the calming part of your autonomic nervous system. And I originally assumed that you would use calming sedative oils like lavender and chamomile to activate the parasympathetic nervous system. But when I saw this research and realized, “Oh, it's stimulating the vagus nerve, you need stimulatory oils,” that's when I shifted gears and started playing with blends because what's interesting about accessing the dermal layer, basically, it depends how small the molecules are for how quickly it gets through the skin and into the bloodstream. And certain oils travel faster than others. Certain carrier oils travel faster than others.

So, for example, clove was traveling at a rate of about 20 minutes. But when you combine it with lime, which has super small molecules, it gets in faster. When you add in fractionated coconut oil, it speeds up the delivery even faster. So, when you are applying a stimulatory blend of essential oils on–that point behind the earlobe on the mastoid bone, and I give the exact application details and the exact recipe in my new book, “Essential Oils to Boost the Brain and Heal the Body.” What you're literally doing is triggering a systemic response because you're stimulating the vagus nerve and turning on your whole digestive cascade, your whole detoxification cascade, everything anti-inflammatory in the body.

Similarly, with the point behind the back on the adrenal glands, that is a great access point for the adrenal glands. If you've ever done acupuncture and they have you lie on your stomach so they can needle your back, you're just helping–what acupuncture does and what I believe oils do, you're helping to alleviate stagnation and congestion. If the energy is blocked, you're helping to clean up the traffic jam so that things start to flow. Technically, you're stimulating the peripheral nerve endings. And there's also interesting energetic resonance that can go on. It's similar to what Masaru Emoto talks about in “The Hidden Messages of Water.” You're sending a message. We have a blueprint. Plants have a blueprint. You're matching the blueprint of healthy organ tissue and liquid carries messages.

Ben:  Yeah. I've talked about him before on the show. Yeah, the idea of oils or waters being able to carry information.

Jodi:  There's more research that needs to be done there, but I think that topically applying oils on specific points works for a number of reasons.

Ben:  Now, what are phenylpropanoids?

Jodi:  Phenylpropanoids are plant constituents that are involved in flavonoid synthesis. So, as I'm sure your audience knows, flavonoids are the secondary metabolites found in plants that are connected with gut and immune health. And it's interesting, Terry Wahls wrote the foreword of my book. She's a huge oil fan and she's a big proponent of plant diversity. She recommends using 200 different species of plants in the year, but she says that you can use essential oils as well. So, plant diversity increases the production of these short-chain fatty acids that are the secondary metabolite of flavonoids. And we know that they're really good for the digestive process, the gut bacteria. They act as prebiotics.

We don't necessarily know why, but in some of my essential oil research, I found, it was actually the “Chemistry of Essential Oils” book, that essential oil is not only bind to, but clean cell receptors. So, there's the hypothesis that hormones communicate by binding to receptors. The receptors are located inside the cell or on its surface, and it's almost a lock fitting into a key. So, once the hormone locks into the receptor, it transmits a message that causes the target site to take specific action, either stimulating or inhibiting energy or appetite. And it's interesting that breast cancer treatments target these hormone receptors to change the cell growth patterns and prevent cancer cell growth. So, there's a whole brand of toxins known as endocrine-disrupting chemicals that can bind to and stabilize these cell receptors, which compromises your ability to properly receive or respond to hormone signals. And the idea is essential oils, because they are so small and fat-soluble, can actually access the cell. And then, what David Stewart is saying in the “Chemistry of Essential Oils” is that they also clean cell receptors.

Ben:  Now, what does that mean to clean a cell receptor?

Jodi:  I think if you're trying to drive and your windshield is super dirty, you can't actually see where you're going. If the cell receptor is super dirty, it can't actually receive the message. So, these phenylpropanoids actually clean the cell receptor sites, allowing better communication, incoming signals, and outgoing signals.

Ben:  Interesting. Yeah. I hadn't come across much research on that, but I do know that these phenylpropanoids can act on cell receptors. I'm not exactly sure the mechanism of action, but regardless, there's some type of transdermal absorption of the fat-soluble components of the oils when placed over these specific, almost like acupuncture areas, or meridians, so to speak, the same as one might target in, say, acupuncture therapy. And it seems to have a similar effect. And that was kind of like a lightbulb moment for me reading your book was that there's actually application points on the body that you could go to an acupuncturist to have triggered by, say, a needle. But you could also get certain oils and apply them to those same points and elicit a similar response.

And that's something I wanted to ask you about, was this whole idea of application point. So, besides behind the ears for the vagus nerve, and above the kidneys on the low back for the adrenals, are there other particularly useful application points on the body that you could apply oils to that you found to be useful?

Jodi:  One thing that is interesting if you look at the reflex points, reflex points are really concentrated on the bottom of the feet and along the ears. So, you can actually apply oils on the bottom of the feet and get that same systemic effect in the body. For example, the big toe on either side is correlated with the brain. So, applying oils there is good. I have a whole graph in the book, but in the middle of the foot for the vagus nerve. So, this is a really great option for somebody who is either sensitive to smells or lives with a partner who's sensitive to smells as opposed to applying it on your skin where the other person can potentially experience it. You can just put it on the bottom of your foot, put socks on, and it's a non-issue.

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So, what type of blends would you use, say–let's say for the vagus nerve, like if someone wanted to kind of like tone the vagus nerve, maybe they're already working on ways to enhance vagal nerve tone, like chanting, singing, humming, meditation, yoga, cold water face dunks, all these things that people are doing to increase vagal nerve tone or increase HRV. What type of oils specifically would one use behind the ears on that specific point to enhance vagal nerve tone?

Jodi:  It's always good to err on the side of caution and dilute with a carrier oil, which lessens the concentration and can also slow the time that the oil gets into your system. For the specific blend on the vagus nerve of clove and lime, I do dilute a little bit, but the main goal is to really use it like an acupuncture needle and get it directly into the skin. And you mentioned skin sensitivity. So, a lot of people are fearful of the citrus oils because they know that they can be phototoxic, which means if you put it on your skin and go out in the sun, it increases your likelihood to get a sunburn. And one of the tricks that I wanted to pass on is this is only true if it's a pressed citrus blend. Meaning that they take the peel of the citrus fruit where the oils live and they press it, almost like you would a juice. If you steam distill the peel, then it does not have the same phototoxic response because it burns off. So, for the clove and lime blend, I highly recommend using distilled lime, not pressed lime.

The other interesting thing about these two particular oils is something that I go into great detail in in the book, which is this idea of vagus nerve toxicity, or the vagus nerve infection hypothesis. Tufts researcher, Michael [00:36:34] _____, started looking at the underlying root cause of fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, multi-chemical sensitivity. Why were these people's bodies responding in the constant cell danger response? When you're sick, what happens? The area inflames to eliminate mobility, right, pain. You get fatigue so that you're not moving around a lot so that things can heal chronic fatigue syndrome.

And what he found is that a very minor infection in the vagus nerve can signal to the entire body that the sickness response needs to take over. And when you start isolating where that infection is most likely to occur, it's actually right behind the earlobe on the mastoid bone. If you think of the mechanics of your body, your mouth is really the hotbed for most infections. It's where all the pathogens enter. It's where if you have any metal amalgams, they're off-gassing, and those toxins are trying to drain any root canal cavitations, or anything else that's going on in the mouth and gums. The exit route for all of those toxins is your trigeminal nerve along your jaw.

So, your jaw drains into right by the earlobe, by the mastoid bone where it intersects with the vagus nerve. Think of it as kind of a point of congestion, an intersection per se. And if your lymph is congested and is sitting too long, the neck is a complicated component of the body. It's where a lot of the bottlenecks occur because there's a lot going on. You have the structure, you have the muscles, you have the nerves, you have the veins, you have the lymph. And it's a little bit like if you're sitting in the middle seat in an airplane, if you're between two linebackers, you don't have a lot of room for your arms on the armrest. If your lymph is congested and the toxins are flowing from the trigeminal nerve and can't quickly be released down the neck, they sit for too long. And nerves have a really high uptake for toxins.

So, now there's some toxic activity in the nerve right there, how do you eliminate it? This is actually a really interesting clinical pearl. One of the local clinics here in Seattle, Immanence, and its founder, Dr. Christine Schaffner, treats a lot of super chronically ill patients. And she and her former business partner, Dr. Dietrich Klinghardt, found that 95% of their chronically ill clients suffered from some kind of vagus nerve toxicity. The lymph was congested in the neck, the vagus nerve was infected, and that was really the bottleneck in their healing. So, they did a deep dive. They actually worked with, they partnered with an Italian researcher named Dr. Marco Ruggiero and started taking sonogram pictures of the neck, and looking at what was going on in the vagus nerve and in the lymph gland. And what they found is topical application, literally applying essential oils on the neck pathway helped to do two things, helped to move the lymphatic flow.

What people don't realize is the lymph is a one-way street. It drains in one direction, and plants, their fluid moves in one direction. This is really the beauty of essential oils that they help with the directionality of fluids. So, topically applying these oils on the neck, and then the beauty of the clove and the lime. Clove has this constituent eugenol, which is known for being one of the rock stars along with your oregano oil in really helping to detoxify, and it cleans up the toxicity. It kind of goes in. It's almost like a bile emulsifies the fat so that it can be absorbed and assimilated. Eugenol, in particular, helps to break up congestion and toxicity so that it then drains.

So, what they found in this research is the combination of topically applying oils on the neck. Suddenly, the lymph is draining. Suddenly, the vagus nerve can detoxify. So, the clove and lime, lime also has limonene, which is it basically helps to trigger detoxification, it supports glutathione, which is a powerful antioxidant, and helps with detoxification. But these two oils have a dual purpose. They're multitasking. They're not only stimulating the vagus nerve, they're actually helping to detoxify any congestion so that the problem is eliminated.

Ben:  Okay. And is coconut oil good carrier, or are there other carriers that you think work better?

Jodi:  So, it's interesting. Different carrier oils work differently, just like different types of workouts, right? So, a HIIT workout, super high intensity, very focused, very effective, that would be like a fractionated coconut oil, which is coconut oil that's been processed so that it doesn't harden when it's cold outside. The way I'm looking at oils almost as acupuncture needles to stimulate reflux points, I primarily recommend fractionated coconut oil because it's the fastest way to get through the skin and carry oils into the system. If you're looking for more of a yoga type of carrier oil, slow-release, gentle, that would be jojoba oil, and it's more viscous. So, it takes longer to carry it, more like a time-delayed experience. So, say, if you were using lavender or frankincense topically on the skin for eczema, jojoba oil would be a really good one to mix.

In terms of the ingredients in the adrenal blend, I give away all the recipes in the book, but it's thyme, rosemary, Manuka, galbanum, and frankincense. And what's fascinating to me about oils, and basically synergies of blends, is that they behave differently in combination than they do in isolation, and that was really validated by the research. Most of the essential oil research actually looks at blends, not single oils. And so, for example, if you combine two antimicrobial blends, like your favorite oregano with thyme, it supercharges it. It's kind of like your parent. When you're alone with your boys, it's great. And then, when their mom comes along, certain things are easier because you're able to work as a team.

Ben:  Okay. Alright, got it. And then, the pineal gland is something you also talk about in the book, and that's of course related to sleep, to melatonin, to a certain extent, to dreaming. And you have a whole section on that in the book. Can you discuss why you included the pineal gland in the book and how essential oils, whether topically or aromatically, could be used to stimulate pineal gland function?

Jodi:  Yeah. So, the pineal gland is really the part of the brain that releases the sleep hormone melatonin in response to darkness. And melatonin has a lot of valuable benefits beyond just inducing sleep. It's great for detoxifying. And what's interesting is the blood-brain barrier, kind of the security system of the brain. Because the pineal gland is located right in the center of the brain, level with the eyes so it can take in darkness, the blood-brain barrier doesn't protect it as much as the other parts of the brain, and the blood flow is really high there. So, all of these environmental toxins like aluminum, and glyphosate, and fluoride from the water, are all hitting the pineal gland really hard. In fact, the researcher Stephanie [00:44:30] _____ talks about how there's a perfect storm and a chemical interaction between these toxins that really calcifies the pineal gland, kind of puts this phosphorus shell around it and impedes its ability to release melatonin.

So, one of the interesting things with oils and how they can be topically applied to the brain–and basically, the challenge with brain health is that most remedies can't actually get into the brain because the blood-brain barrier, when it does work, it protects everything but fat-soluble, really small molecules from passing through. And oils happen to be fat-soluble and really small. And we talked about how they can remove congestion. They just help to unravel things like calcification. They work like chelators. Chelators are obviously very specific chemical interactions. So, it's not that they chelate, but they efficiently help remove heavy metals and toxins, and kind of stimulate the body's natural detoxification process.

And in my book, I talk about the five keys, the five things that I see being imbalanced in most people. They're stuck in the parasympathetic fight-or-flight state of the nervous system so they can't heal, they're not sleeping. And sleep is when the brain really detoxifies. So, if you're not sleeping, your brain never cleans house, and that's when toxins build up and contribute to brain inflammation, or beta-amyloid plaques basically don't leave and contribute to dementia. Then, the other things are energy and immune modulation. But I feel like there's a huge opportunity to use a combination of essential oils to not only access the pineal gland because it can get into that part of the brain. In terms of topical application, the skin above the ears is really thin. That's a great place to apply a combination of essential oils, or if you're doing transdermal melatonin. Also, the skin, the dermis is the thinnest in the nose and right under the tongue, that sublingual point. So, those are great points to bypass the whole digestive process, which can just take a while to get into the pineal gland.

Ben:  Okay. Got it. And so, for the pineal gland, would you primarily do an application of essential oils directly over the third eye area? And when and how would you actually do that?

Jodi:  So, it's funny. When I first formulated the blend, I did apply it over the third eye, not realizing that I am not a light sleeper, and you really don't want to get oils into your eyes. So, I have modified that application strategy. I tell people to apply over the ears where the skin is the thinnest, and then the very top of the head, and the very back of the head. You can also smell it.

Ben:  Okay. Got it. And the bottom of the feet, would it just be anywhere on the bottom of the feet, or you have to hit a certain point, like get one of those giant Chinese foot chart posters and find the exact point?

Jodi:  You can also apply it to the bottom of the feet, say, for example, if your partner is sensitive to smells and doesn't want to have that smell in the bed before sleep. We have a foot chart, actually, in the book. And the best application point for the brain and the pineal gland is the big toe.

Ben:  Okay. Got it. And then, which oils did you say you're using for pineal gland?

Jodi:  For the pineal gland, it's a combination of rose geranium, grapefruit, melaleuca, myrtle, lavender, Balsam of Peru, and myrrh. And again, I use the carrier oil, fractionated coconut oil.

Ben:  Okay. Got it. Have you noticed, by the way, that there's any change in like dream cycles or anything like that when you do essential oils for the pineal gland on the foot or in the face?

Jodi:  Oh, absolutely. It's really interesting. That's actually a symptom of poor sleep and non-REM sleep if you're not remembering your dreams. And when people start to use this blend, not only do they have a better recall of their dreams, but they report more erotic dreams.

Ben:  Well, there you go, folks. You can try putting essential oils on your big toe for sex dreams or lucid dreams, or rememberable dreams. Now, how about the idea of using essential oils as a painkiller? You talk about in the book how some essential oils will have like sedative or anesthetic properties. And I'm curious, how would you do something like that? Like, let's say somebody's on opioids or they like to use kratom, maybe they're in pain, maybe they're post-surgery, how could essential oils be used as a sort of like an anesthetic?

Jodi:  There's a lot of research that essential oils can be used for pain. They're able to improve blood flow and lymph flow to help heal the area more quickly. They can relieve local swelling and inflammation. They warm up the injured area and speed–sorry, they warm up the injury area and heat's really known to speed up healing. There's a lot of research around peppermint for pain because a combination of things. It basically dilates the vasculature so that more blood flow can get there more quickly, and that helps to calm the pain and the inflammation. And then, also, that's kind of treating the symptom. But to treat the underlying issue, activating the parasympathetic nervous system with the clove and lime blend behind the vagus nerve can help to calm the pain signals. The more parasympathetic you are, the less likely you are to notice the signaling of the pain in your body.

Ben:  Okay. And those would actually be applied over the area of pain, or could use like smelling essential oils as a sort of general anesthetic?

Jodi:  You can definitely use smelling as a general anesthetic. What's interesting about your sense of smell is that it actually takes priority over all your senses. Smell is really critical to survival. We smell food, we smell water, we can smell predator odor, then no cells are actually brain cells, and smell travels directly into your brain and can calm your nervous system and get into your body really quickly. Like, especially peppermint can be calming, it's distractionary, and also it bypasses other–it doesn't need to be processed through the stomach and the liver. But for immediate relief for a pain, I would topically apply–peppermint is a really good one, basil is a good one, Helichrysum is excellent, it's kind of expensive, sweet marjoram, other ones that seem to work. Well, lavender can work for everything, and frankincense.

Ben:  Okay. Got it. Now, I will sometimes use, and I'm kind of jumping around here with a few rapid fires about these oils. I'll sometimes use Ceylon cinnamon based on the research behind that and insulin sensitivity to manage like postprandial blood sugar before like a carbohydrate-rich meal, including a couple teaspoons of Ceylon cinnamon, or sometimes I'll even stir Ceylon cinnamon into like a cocktail that I might make before a meal. Now, cinnamon oil, would that act similarly? And if so, how would one use something like cinnamon oil? Would it be like ingestion? Could you use it topically? Or, how would cinnamon oil be used for blood sugar regulation?

Jodi:  That's a great question and a great strategy. Cinnamon works amazingly well for blood sugar. What most people don't realize is there's different kinds of cinnamon oil, depending on where it's extracted from the plant. So, cassia oil comes from the leaves. That would not be your best choice for appetite. In craving suppression, I would use a cinnamon bark oil. And yeah, you can certainly inhale it. It's strong. It almost feels like it might burn your nose. So, my favorite way to do it would be to topically apply a dab in the inner cheek, may be diluted with coconut oil because the membranes of the dermis in the skin is really thin. And so, it gets into your system really quickly. My other favorite strategy is oil pulling. Actually, I use like a half cup, the recipe is in the book, but a half cup of coconut oil, and then 30 drops of either peppermint or cinnamon, and put them in little candy cubes and let them harden in the fridge. But just squishing the cinnamon around in your mouth, it multitasks. You basically can alleviate your cravings, and then it also is great for cleaning your teeth.

Ben:  Yeah. Cinnamon is actually a pretty good mosquito repellent, too. I was wearing some once on a tropical island. I forget where I was, but I put it on my skin and went out in the sun. Huge mistake, I didn't dilute it well enough, and I was basically burnt by the combination of the cinnamon oil and the UVA and UVB. So, you got to proceed with caution with that stuff. But I'm a fan of that not only for the blood sugar aspect, and you could even put a couple of drops in like a morning cup of coffee, but also for oil pulling. I make little coconut oil pulling molds that I keep in my refrigerator. And typically, I'll put thieves, cinnamon and/or peppermint into the coconut oil as I'm melting it down, and then pouring the molds, put in the refrigerator, it hardens. I can just bite a chunk of that off for my morning coconut oil pulling. And I actually really like cinnamon for that one.

Jodi:  Yeah. I do oil pulling every day. I tend to be a high cortisol person, which means my gums–I have zero cavities on my gums. When I go to the dentist, it's like a horror show. I used to bleed profusely, and I started doing oil pulling every day because they threatened to send me to a periodontist, and I didn't want that. And it's amazing, I came in recently and they were like, “I don't know what you're doing, but keep doing it.” And I'm sure your listeners know that fat likes fat. So, basically, a lot of the microbes in the mouth are covered in fat. So, when you swish the oil, it can be–I like coconut oil with cinnamon or peppermint, but you can also use sesame oil. It's almost like a magnet, and it pulls out the microbes, and then you spit out the oil, and you're spitting out the toxins from your mouth.

Ben:  Oh, yeah. Like I went to the dentist, and I brush my teeth for maybe like two minutes a day if I brush my teeth, but I coconut oil pull for about 15 to 20 minutes every morning, and they were shocked because I rarely go in to clean my teeth. And they were like, “Your gums are some of the cleanest we've ever seen. Your teeth are perfect, looks like you floss every day,” which I don't. I just do that oil pulling and swear by it every morning. It's one of the first things I do when I wake up as I'm prepping my coffee and doing my foam rolling and everything. I'm just swishing and swishing oil. So, it definitely works. I've been a fan of that for a few years now.

Jodi:  Me, too. Oil pulling is one of my favorite rituals and one of the easiest ways to integrate essential oils into your health routine.

Ben:  Which we've talked about before. I've done a few dental podcasts about the antibacterial effects in the mouth and some of the regulation of the biome in the mouth. And so, I think people are pretty familiar with it. But what I did want to ask you was in your book, probably the big hammer is you almost have like a system, you have like a five-step system, and I forget what you call the five-step system. It's like the five keys to health with oils or something like that.

Jodi:  Yeah. I call it the five keys to health. And basically, what I realized, there are people out there that are like, there's an oil for everything. And I don't really ascribe to that theory. I think that if you're having a heart attack, go to the ER. But I do think that oils can be really powerful for preventative health. And what I started noticing in clinical practice was that people would come to me and they'd have a complicated background, they've run a bunch of tests, they think they're very difficult. But what it really came down to was these five different systems. And when those five different systems were in balance, all the other symptoms kind of went away, and those five underlying factors lend themselves incredibly well to essential oil support.

Ben:  Okay. So, what are the five steps exactly?

Jodi:  So, Step 1, shifting the nervous system into the parasympathetic gear. Step 2, improving sleep and detoxifying the brain. Step 3, fueling your brain with energy to heal. Step 4, reducing stress, improving mood and weight loss. And Step 5 is modulating your immune system. So, making sure that it's not overactive or underactive. And what's really interesting to me about oils is that you can combine them with what you're already doing. It's not like drop this diet and eat totally differently, or completely rejigger your other lifestyle choices. It's just a really nice adjunct to what you're already doing.

Ben:  Well, I mean, that's a good point. I love to combine essential oils with breathwork. Like anytime I do breathwork, I always, always have oils on hand, especially–usually, stimulative oils like peppermint–I've even used camphor before. But basically, the idea of left and right hemispheric imbalances and the use of oils to balance those is something you get into in your book. And I love this idea of actually having essential oils diffused, or even putting them on the upper lip prior to breathwork because it absolutely changes the overall feeling, in my opinion. And you talk about in the book, I believe it's a functional neurology anecdote that suggests that you can strategically inhale essential oils like lavender, orange to the left nostril to activate the left frontal lobe and then balance overactivity to the right frontal lobe. And so, you could literally breathe essential oils through just one nostril, right?

Jodi:  Yeah. That was a big aha moment for me. I tend to be that anxious personality type that was prone to anxiety attacks. And our colleague, Titus Chiu, who's a functional neurologist, and basically, what they do is look at different ways to balance different regions of the brain. And he pointed out that when you're having an anxiety attack, that's overactivation of the right frontal lobe. And so, the quickest way to nip it in the bud is to balance the two hemispheres, and you can do that by literally using your right finger to plug your right nostril. And inhaling anything through the left nostril can be any oil you have in the house. We talked about how oils are found in the peel of citrus fruits. You can peel a tangerine and just smell that. And I speak from personal experience, it completely nips an anxiety attack in the bud.

Ben:  Okay. Got it. And so, that's part of these five steps to balance the parasympathetic nervous system and shift into the parasympathetic state. That's like Step 1 of healing, which is really interesting because there's that whole book called “The Healing Code” that pretty much dictates that every chronic disease is related to excessive sympathetic nervous system activation. So, you probably have a pretty good starting point there. So, one is to shift to a parasympathetic state. And then, you have sleep optimization, which we talked about a little bit. And then, you also mentioned lymphatic flow and enhancing the flow of fluids using a lot of these essential oils and even some of that cell receptor site clearing that we talked about earlier. Of course, if you're constantly in a parasympathetic state, I would imagine you're still going to want energy. So, I think the fourth step is related to energy, right?

Jodi:  Yeah. And that's really interesting because most people, when they think of energy, they focus on the adrenals or the thyroid. And what they don't realize is that both the adrenals and the thyroid are controlled by the hypothalamus. That is kind of the CEO of the endocrine system. And there's a whole negative feedback loop that's occurring. Basically, the hypothalamus is telling the pituitary to tell the adrenals to release hormones like cortisol, and then the hypothalamus is constantly measuring how much cortisol is in the blood in order to dictate its next move. It's like a game of chess. This amount is in the blood, so now we either stop sending the signal to release more or more as needed.

And so, if the hypothalamus is out of balance, it doesn't necessarily receive the signals appropriately, and then it can't send the responding messages. So, one of the ways you can use oils is to help the hypothalamus reboot to factory settings. You can use oils that–this is more of the energetic capacity, kind of like what we talked about with Emoto. You can apply it on the middle of the forehead, which is where the hypothalamus is, and it just helps the hypothalamus recalibrate, return to normal so that it's responding appropriately to those incoming messages. And when you can modulate or balance out the hormone signals, the cortisol swings so that it's not too high or too low, then your energy is appropriately allocated.

Ben:  Okay. Got it. And then, the final one is immune and inflammation-related, right?

Jodi:  Yeah. And that's actually, most people, when they think of oils, like your favorite oregano, they know that they're antimicrobial, antibacterial, antiviral. They're really good for helping to modulate the immune system and bring it back to normal. What most people don't realize though is that brain inflammation is the underlying culprit of a lot of fatigue, memory loss, even pain, all of these underlying issues. And the immune cells in the brain aren't really like the immune cells in the body. They don't necessarily have a natural off switch. So, that's why essential oils, like people use frankincense all the time, is the example because again, super small molecules that can actually access the brain, it can help to turn off that inflammatory cascade in the brain. It's also I believe what CBD does so well.

Ben:  Okay. And would that be primarily with topical application, or are you combining diffusion, topical, or some other method?

Jodi:  I think the most efficient way to get the oils into the brain is to literally apply at the base of the brain that little divot at the bottom of the brainstem. And I always layer it with applying the parasympathetic on the vagus nerve behind the mastery bone, that combination of helping the body shift into the more receiving parasympathetic state, and then also topically applying an oil, like, I like frankincense. Helichrysum is great. It's rather expensive. Cypress is a great one. Anything, even peppermint, that enhances circulation and blood flow there. It can really make a big difference.

Ben:  Yeah, yeah. Okay. Now, one of the things that I wanted to ask you related to all of this is obviously, somebody like you who knows a lot about essential oils and has all these different applications and different goals for them, I think a lot of people hear something like this and they'll go out and buy some essential oils, some of the ones they've heard about, maybe get a diffuser, maybe get some jojoba oil, or almond, or coconut as a carrier. But what would a typical day in the life for you of using essential oils look like in terms of what you're doing when you wake up, what you might be doing during your morning routine, during lunchtime in the afternoon or in the evening? I think it would be really cool for people to hear how, boots on the streets, this actually applies practically.

Jodi:  Yeah. That's a great question. So, when I wake up, I am a morning exerciser, so I basically like to do my oil pulling as I make my coffee. That's the first thing I do, and I like to add peppermint to coconut oil. It tastes like a minty toothpaste. Then the next thing I do is apply parasympathetic on the vagus nerve behind the mastoid bone, and I apply adrenals on the low back. And then, before exercise, I really like to enhance circulation by applying a circulation blend, which includes things like black pepper, like we talked about, cypress, peppermint. And then, I also like to couple it with a lymph oil to really ensure that I'm getting kind of optimum bang for the buck. And I do that. I exercise every day, either running, yoga, or some kind of hip workout. So, that's how I start the day.

Ben:  Okay. Got it. And so, you're using that for your workout. What other ways you're using essential oils during the day?

Jodi:  Yeah. One of the things that a lot of people don't realize is that the parasympathetic state really optimizes digestion. Digestion begins in the brain. The vagus nerve signals the mouth to release saliva, the stomach to release hydrochloric acid, the pancreas to release enzymes, the gallbladder to release bile. And even the moving walkway, that is your small and large intestine, making sure that things don't sit too long and become irritable bowel syndrome or SIBO, or end up in constipation. When you're in the parasympathetic state, all of your digestive function is turned on. So, before meals, I always–usually five minutes before meals, I apply a little bit of the parasympathetic behind the earlobe on the mastoid bone, and then I do try to combine that with some calming breathwork so that I'm always eating in the parasympathetic state.

Ben:  And that's the one that you're putting behind your ears before a meal?

Jodi:  Yes, exactly.

Ben:  That's interesting. Okay. Got it, got it. And how about for bed?

Jodi:  Before bed, I love the circadian rhythm blend. That really knocks me out. It's interesting, lavender is the one that most people think of as the relaxing oil, and it can be–it's like Benadryl, right? It can knock your kid out or it can make them hyper. My son, just a quick aside, our first red-eye flight, I tried to give that to him and longest flight of my life. So, lavender, test it because it doesn't always work for everyone. But the way that I found that it works the best for most people is part of an Epsom salt bath. Most people don't realize that your skin is your largest organ. And when you combine heat from the warm bath and Epsom salt, which is magnesium, which carries things into the body, it's a really nice way to get full-body relaxation. So, my favorite recipe is two cups of baking soda, one cup of Epsom salt, and then I literally use the bathtub as a mixing bowl. I drop in three drops of lavender, or whatever you like, but just mix it together in the tub before adding the water so that the oil doesn't float on top. And that seems to be a really good way, especially for kids, to get into relaxation before bed.

Ben:  Okay. Got it. And is there a difference between the type of essential oil diffusers, or will any of them work?

Jodi:  Any of them will really work. If you're using a plastic one, just be sure to clean it once a week with vinegar so that mold doesn't grow and you're not diffusing mold. The other thing with diffusers is I think people can overuse them. So, I just recommend using it like twice a day for 20 minutes.

Ben:  Okay. Got it. You mean you should clean the basin of the actual essential oil diffuser on a regular basis?

Jodi:  Exactly. Most people don't even think to do that.

Ben:  Got it. Any other compelling essential oil research you've come across lately, or things that you've discovered since writing the book, anything else you want to share with folks while I have you on?

Jodi:  I think my favorite oil research that I found in the book was about rose oil. And there's a Nobel Laureate researcher out of Seattle named Linda Buck, who was looking at how the olfactory receptors actually work and which ones were targeted for predator odor or fear. And she realized that the smell of rose cancels out that fear response. So, I found that really interesting because I think people can just miss smell as a channel for healing remedies. The other interesting things that keep coming up is just to your point that the vagus nerve and activating your parasympathetic nervous system really seems to lie at the root of all healing. And every day, it seems like there's more research to support that it contributes to safety signals to focus.

So, I guess what I'd like to leave your listeners with is if you get nothing else out of this, just activating your parasympathetic nervous system daily. And there are a number of ways you can do that. In fact, I have a free gift for you at boostthebrainbook.com/gift. It's 25 ways to activate your vagus nerve. Oils to me are really easy. It's a very nice kind of simple ritual, but there are many ways you can do it. And I think that really helps to unlock your body's ability to heal and just amplifies everything else you're doing. It's like biking downhill with the wind at your back as opposed to uphill in the rain. It makes life so much easier.

Ben:  Okay. Got it. Interesting. And you have a company that actually has these essential oils called Blue Vibrant, right?

Jodi:  Yeah, It's Vibrant Blue Oils. And my whole hope is just really to meet people where they're at. A lot of people find me who've invested a lot of time, energy, and money, in remedies that didn't work the way they wanted them to. And I think there's a lot of anxiety about doing it wrong. So, if that's your concern, I have a ready-made solution that you can just buy. If you have a bunch of oils and you like to do it yourself, I give you all the recipes in the book. So, I'm just trying to meet everyone at their level of comfort.

Ben:  Okay. Vibrant Blue. And you source those, you put the blends together, and then people can use those specific blends?

Jodi:  Yeah, exactly. And one of the things that I find so frustrating, everyone talks about quality. The only thing that I really think matters is that it's organic because oils are the highly concentrated essences of plants. And if they're sprayed with pesticides, you're getting highly concentrated pesticides. So, that's really my–I think my differentiating factor is that they're all either organic or wildcrafted, and I just combine them differently than other people in proprietary blends.

Ben:  Okay. Got it, got it. Cool. Well, this book is called “Essential Oils to Boost the Brain and Heal the Body: 5 Steps to Calm Anxiety, Sleep Better, and Reduce Inflammation to Regain Control of Your Health.” It's a great read, lots of practical inflammation–practical information in there to allow you to learn how to use some of these blends in the ways that Jodi and I have been describing. The book goes into a lot of really good detail, and Jodi is just–it's a fantastic book, great illustrations, and really good hands-on stuff. My kids actually both read it, and they got into using essential oils and geeked out on them a little bit after reading the books. I left it out on the table and they were asking me about it. I told them they should read it, and they did. And so, I recommend the book to all of you listening in, and I will link to everything that Jodi and I talked about, as well as all my other podcasts on essential oils if you go to BenGreenfieldFitness.com/healingwithoils.

So, Jodi, thanks so much for coming on the show.

Jodi:  Oh my god, always a pleasure. Thank you.

Ben:  Cool. Alright, folks. Well, I'm ben greenfield along with Jodi Cohen signing out from BenGreenfieldFitness.com. Have an amazing week.

Well, thanks for listening to today's show. You can grab all the shownotes, the resources, pretty much everything that I mentioned over at BenGreenfieldFitness.com, along with plenty of other goodies from me, including the highly helpful “Ben Recommends” page, which is a list of pretty much everything that I've ever recommended for hormone, sleep, digestion, fat loss, performance, and plenty more. Please, also, know that all the links, all the promo codes, that I mentioned during this and every episode, helped to make this podcast happen and to generate income that enables me to keep bringing you this content every single week. When you listen in, be sure to use the links in the shownotes, use the promo codes that I generate, because that helps to float this thing and keep it coming to you each and every week.



I thought I knew everything there was to know about essential oils.

I've been using them ever since my father, Gary Greenfield, introduced me to the incredibly powerful oil of oregano nearly 18 years ago. I quickly adopted oil of oregano as part of my health regimen—using it for everything from supporting my immune system to balancing my gut microbiome to cleaning my teeth. 

I've also done tons of podcasts about essential oils, including:

I am constantly diffusing essential oils in my bedroom and office; sniff oils like peppermint, rosemary, and cinnamon pre-workout; rub oils into the feet of my children before they go to bed at night; and basically check every box of being a full-on, card-carrying essential oil hippie.

But, after recently reading the book Essential Oils to Boost the Brain and Heal the Body: 5 Steps to Calm Anxiety, Sleep Better, and Reduce Inflammation to Regain Control of Your Health by my friend Jodi Cohen, I wound up learning a host of new information and uses for essential oils I had previously been unfamiliar with. So naturally, I just had to get Jodi on my podcast.

Jodi is a bestselling author, award-winning journalist, functional practitioner, and founder of Vibrant Blue Oils, where she has combined her training in nutritional therapy and aromatherapy to create unique proprietary blends of organic and wild-crafted essential oils. She has helped over 70,000 clients heal from brain-related challenges, including anxiety, insomnia, and autoimmunity. Her website, vibrantblueoils.com, is visited by over 500,000 natural health seekers every year, and she has rapidly become a top resource for essential oils education on the Internet today.

Jodi believes that just as your cell phone or laptop slows down and drains the battery when too many tabs are left open, your brain fatigues when poorly functioning systems or ailments drain its energy. Complaints of brain fog, fatigue, and ADD/ADHD are on the rise and growing every year. All of these factors can block your brain's ability to detoxify and heal. If toxins are not eliminated, they recirculate in the brain, leading to inflammation, which further compromises your brain. What's more, formal diagnoses of brain-related health challenges like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and ALS are increasing exponentially. Here's her good news: Plant-based essential oils are a powerful self-care tool for transforming your life and healing on many levels, even when prescription drugs have failed.

In Jodi Cohen’s five-step protocol outlined in her book, the body's natural systems are jump-started with essential oil recipe blends that can:

  • Alleviate stress, anxiety, and depression
  • Improve sleep
  • Calm pain and inflammation
  • Increase energy, sharpen focus, and improve memory
  • Improve digestion and promote weight loss
  • Strengthen the immune system

Armed with Cohen’s five steps in her book, and this podcast, you’ll be able to start your own essential oils regimen immediately and be on your way to a healthier body and brain.

During this discussion, you'll discover:

-The Vibrant Blue Oils blend Jodi used during the interview that improves body circulation…09:05

-Stressful experiences that led to Jodi getting interested in essential oils…13:10

  • Jodi's husband was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and suffered from depression
  • Ingesting what she thought was the proper nutrition (trained as a nutritionist)
  • A friend gave her a gift of essential oils; said her gut was damaged to not ingest the nutrition she was taking in
  • Muscle testing technique to narrow into the most effective remedy
  • Suffering from insomnia
  • Pineal gland doesn't secrete melatonin when cortisol is released in excess
  • Researched essential oils and realized two things
    1. Very little was researched on how essential oils balance physiology
    2. Existing research was too complicated
  • Oils can be used for preventative medicine

-How topical administration of essential oils affects the vagus nerve and the organ system…21:06

  • Clinical practice inconsistent with the research
  • Topical application does not have a systemic benefit
    • Behind the ears for vagal nerve stimulation
    • Above the kidneys on the lower back for the adrenals
  • Clinical practice was inconsistent with what the research said
  • Research on topical application says it is not very effective
    • Applying topical application on a sore knee after a workout has an almost immediate effect but a topical application on the knee does not relieve soreness on your neck
  • Kevin Tracey, surgically implementing devices behind the ear to activate vagus nerve
  • FDA has approved this for epilepsy, migraines, and such
  • Stimulatory oils to trigger the parasympathetic nervous system (experiment with blends)
  • Acupuncture and oils alleviate stagnation and congestion with the energy
  • Hidden Messages in Waterby Masaru Emoto

-What phenylpropanoids are…27:01

  • Plant constituents involved in flavonoid synthesis
  • Terry Wahlswrote foreword to Jodi's book
  • Advocates plant diversity and essential oils
  • Good for the digestive process, act as prebiotics
  • Chemistry of Essential Oils Made Simpleby David Stewart
  • Breast cancer treatments target hormone receptors and prevent cancer cells from metastasizing
  • Endocrine-disrupting chemicals
  • Essential oils are fat-soluble, can access the cell and clean cell receptors

-Application points on the body that can elicit a certain response with essential oils…30:30

  • Reflex points are on the bottom of the feet and ears
  • Big toe correlated with the brain
  • Err on the side of caution with a carrier oil
  • Parasympathetic blendhas clove and lime for the vagus nerve; use as an acupuncture needle
  • Only pressed citrus blends may have potential for harm to the skin in the sun (distilled isn't as harmful)
  • Vagus nerve infection hypothesis
  • Mouth is a hotbed for most infections
  • The jaw drains near the earlobe where it intersects with the vagus nerve
  • Christine Schaffer of Immanence Healthin Seattle
  • Topically applying oils on the neck has many benefits
  • Lymph is like a one-way street

-The best carrier oils for different situations…41:18

  • Different oils work differently as carrier oils
  • Fractionated coconut oilsfor the vagus nerve
  • Jojoba oilfor slower, yoga-type effect
  • Most essential oil research looks at blends, not single oils

-How essential oils can be used to stimulate pineal gland function…43:18

  • Circadian Rhythm blend, with rose geranium, grapefruit, melaleuca, myrtle, lavender, myrrh, balsam of Peru, with fractionated coconut oilas carrier
  • Pineal gland releases melatonin in response to darkness
    • Melatonin is great for detoxifying
  • Blood-brain barrier doesn't protect the pineal gland; blood flow is very high in that area
  • Glyphosate, aluminum, and fluoride from the water hits the pineal gland harder than other parts of the brain (impedes ability to release melatonin)
  • Most remedies can't get into the brain due to the blood-brain barrier
  • They remove calcification, congestion
  • Remove chelation in the brain area
  • Skin above the ears is very thin, ideal place to apply oils
  • Things imbalanced in most people (as discussed in the book):
    • Stuck in the parasympathetic fight or flight state of the nervous system so they can't heal
    • Lack of sleep; sleep is when the brain detoxifies; the brain cleans house during sleep
    • Energy
    • Immune modulation
  • People report better recall of dreams and even erotic dreams using the Circadian Rhythm blend

-Using essential oils as anesthetics…49:13

  • Essential oils improve blood and lymph flow, relieve inflammation
  • Peppermintis efficacious for pain relief
  • Parasympathetic blend, with clove and lime, calms pain signals
  • Smelling as a general anesthetic – takes priority over all your senses
  • Nose cells are actually brain cells; calms your nervous system that way
  • Topically apply peppermint, basil, lavender, and frankincensefor immediate relief

-How cinnamon oil is used for blood sugar regulation…51:51

-The 5 keys to health Jodi systematizes in her book…56:15

  1. Shifting the nervous system into parasympathetic
  2. Improving sleep and detoxifying the brain
  3. Fueling the brain with energy; lymphatic flow
  4. Reducing stress, improving mood, weight loss, and increasing energy
  5. Modulating the immune system
  • Inhale through the left nostril as an antidote to anxiety attacks
  • The Healing Codeby Alexander Loyd
  • Apply on the forehead for hypothalamus to “reboot to factory settings”
    • The adrenals and the thyroid are controlled by the hypothalamus
    • The hypothalamus is the “CEO of the endocrine system”
  • Brain inflammation is responsible for fatigue, memory loss, pain
  • Immune cells in the brain are different from immune cells in the body
  • Frankincensecan turn off inflammatory cascade in the brain (similar to CBD)
  • The most efficient way to apply oils is at the base of the brain

-A day in the life of an essential oils expert…1:04:19

-Compelling research Jodi has discovered since writing her book…1:09:08

-And much more!

Resources from this episode:

– Jodi Cohen:

– Podcasts:

– Books:

– Other resources:

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