Can you use essential oils to strengthen and balance chakras?
Most of our ancestors came from animistic cultures, which believed that all things — including plants — hold a spirit. And this is also true today: Indigenous people worldwide still revere much of the natural world as sacred, and safeguard the plant spirits within — as is still done today in the sacred groves of Africa.
It's only quite recently that plant-based medicine has been overtaken by the big mainstream pharma companies. Largely due to Western science relying too heavily on written documentation, many of these early traditions — particularly ones passed orally — were ignored.
On top of that, colonialism built a medical industrial complex through often violent means of cultural suppression, erasure, and exploitation. The rise of the patriarchy also authorized only white male physicians to practice and define medicine for the world.
This came at the cost of folk healing practices by women and racialized peoples. As primary practitioners and healers, women have long held central roles in medicine — hence the initiation of witch hunts in Europe that lasted several hundred years and largely targeted women folk healers.
However, natural medicine is now on the rise again. (You only have to look at the latest adverts to see how big brands are starting to emphasis the use of essential oils in and for their products.) So, when we look at Aromatherapy and chakras, we find that both are a part of traditional Ayurvedic medicine, which originates in India and has been practiced for thousands of years. And this means that they do harmonize well together.
A note here, though, before we start.
It's always best to consult someone qualified before using essential oils. If in doubt, book a consultation with an expert. They can advise you on what oils to use/avoid and how to use them safely. Neat oils should never be applied to the skin unless under the direct supervision of an expert. Pregnant women or those on cancer treatment should also never use essential oils without consulting an expert.
So, that said, how do you go about choosing an oil, or a combination of oils for each chakra? There are of course, many oils to choose from, so here I'm only going to focus on one or two per chakra.
Firstly, let's take a look at the chakra and what it represents, and then match some oils to each one.
Root chakra - related to our fundamental need for survival. For this chakra you need something grounding.
Vertivert and Ylang Ylang are good choices for this. Vetivert is distilled from the roots of the plant and it's a base note. It's therefore a very grounding, stabilising oil. Ylang Ylang is also a base oil. It helps calm root chakra imbalances, such as anxiety and fear. Here I'm using base oils for a base chakra!
Of course, you don't have to stick to base oils for this chakra, but as a guide it's a good one.
Sacral chakra - this chakra is about change, sexuality and creativity. For this chakra, the citrus oils shine. Lemongrass, Sweet Orange and Neroli are good choices.
Citrus oils are generally known to be the "red bulls" of the collection. This means they are generally stimulating and uplifting. And as the Sanskit name of Svadhistana means "to sweeten", Sweet Orange essential oil is therefore a good fit for this. Lemongrass releases feelings of regret and resentment. Through this, feelings of hope, courage, and optimism get enhanced.
Solar plexus chakra - For this chakra you need something sweet, woody and restorative. The solar plexus chakra is concerned with personal power and confidence.
Try Rosemary or Grapefruit for this one. Rosemary gives you mental clarity and helps solidify identity. Grapefruit is also good for alertness and for building up your self-assurance.
Heart chakra - what else but unconditional love? The most obvious essential oil is, of course, Rose. But don't discount Cedarwood, Pine or Eucalyptus.
Pine restores the heart and helps you experience your emotions in real time. Eucalyptus is good for relieving you of any restricted or overwhelming feelings, and leaves you with a more open inner space.
Throat chakra - is communication, of course! Peppermint and Geranium are good choices for this chakra.
Peppermint oil keeps your mood happy and provides a feeling of optimism and vibrancy. This helps instil confidence for better self-expression and gives you the confidence to face people. It will also help you think before you speak and help you with better articulation. Geranium is the oil of balance. It stimulates the desire and desires to express oneself and bring out what one feels deep down.
Always remember, though, that if you are allergic to any of the mint family oils, you can substitute them with Frankincense for this chakra, as this encourages clear and effective speech. And that goes for any oil you can't or shouldn't use - consult your aromatherapist for a suitable alternative.
Brow chakra - we're nearly there! This is your inner sight, where conscious thought meets imagination.
Benzoin, Myrrh and Patchouli are good for this chakra. Patchouli can help you attract amazing insights and solutions to issues as you meditate. Benzoin is useful during meditation as it helps to steady the mind and improves concentration.
Finally, we have the crown chakra. This chakra is concerned with self-realisation and our connection with the divine. Oils for this chakra include Sandalwood, Helicrysum and Jasmine.
Historically, Jasmine was a key ingredient used in witchcraft and herbalism. It's one of the flowers most commonly used in magic because of the spiritual healing it can provide. Because of its high frequency, the oil of Helichrysum is known to cut through deep psychological barriers and aid in accessing higher spiritual states and dimensions.
Finally, when choosing an oil for your chakra, remember that the oil often correlates to the corresponding colour of the oil or the flower it comes from. Even the part of the plant the oil is taken from or its size or shape may be the thing that leads to a particular choice.
Of course, the oil that covers all the chakras is Lavender. So, if in doubt, just use this one!
Stay safe, as always