Aromatherapy: Heal Your Mind & Body with Aromas of Herbs.

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Ayurveda’s main therapy is herbal, with a secondary emphasis on good nutrition. These therapies work predominantly on the gross or outer physical level. Aromatherapy work on a more subtle level, heal the mind, the senses, and the absorption of subtle impressions.


What are Aromas?


In aromatherapy pure fragrances are used for healing. Aromas are commonly used in the forms of incense flower essences, and essential oils. Other methods of aromatherapy include pure scented candles, soaps, and lotion. Aromas are most effective when it is pure (i.e., not diluted with any chemical). They are used externally, and unless mixed with a diluting or base oil, some oils can burn the skin. If taken internally, the mucus membranes would be harmed.They should not be placed too close to the eyes or any bodily orifice.

A suggested base oil for each dosha is provided in the table below

Dosha Base Oil
VáyuSesame oil
PittaCoconut oil or sunflower oil
KaphaCanola oil or mustard


A generally accepted ratio of essential oil to base oil is the following:
25 ml. (12-13) drops: 1 fluid ounce base oil

It is especially useful to place drops of oil on various body sites: the crown, third eye, temples (for headaches), at the root of the nose (for sinus problems), or at the heart. Oils are more practical to use while in the company of others who may not like to breathe any kind of smoke (e.g., at the office).


Ayurvedic Marma Points


These are specific sites on the body that balance the doshas and their associated health situations when oils are applied to them. Marmas were discussed in detail in the last chapter. To summarize, the main marma points for each dosha are given in the table below.

Dosha Main Marma
Váyu Third eye (between eyebrows)
Pitta Heart chakra (chest center)
Kapha Between the navel and
pubic bone



Steam/Sweat Therapy


Aromatic oils are used in these therapies as well, being directed at specific sites (e.g., arthritis in the hands). Aromas balance the three humors and práòa, ojas, and tejas. Below is a list of commonly used essential oils:

Primary Oils

Aromatic oils have the same properties as the herb and plant.

  • Basil: (Tulsí)
    Uses: Cleanses mind, phlegm, colon, purifies air, reduces fever and viruses, removes Apána Váyu (downward air), increases devotion and intuition
  • Camphor: (Karpúr)
    Uses: Opens the mind, senses, lungs, increases perception and meditation, alleviates headaches
    and arthritis can be used for púja (devotional ritual), calms hysteria, neuralgia, and other nervous ailments; insect repellent. External—sprains, inflammations, rheumatism. Precaution—large doses are toxic
  • Cedar: (Devadaru) (Juniper – Hapusha)

Uses: Diabetes, arthritis, edema, air cleaner

  • Eucalyptus:
    Uses: Opens the mind, senses, lungs, removes phlegm and alleviates depression, cleanses negative psychic thoughts
  • Frankincense: (Kapitthaparni)
    Uses Heart, head, blood, and nerve cleanser; pain reliever, strengthens joints, calms mind, increases faith, virtue, detachment, and devotion, removes negative psychic thoughts
  • Gardenia:
    Uses: Cleanses the blood, kidneys, heart, fevers, and infections (including uterine)
  • Ginger: (Sunta)

Uses: Colds, flu, headache, lung congestion, joint and muscle pain, improves pulse and appetite, enhances joy and creativity

  • Iris:
    Uses: Cleanses the blood, lymphatic, liver, heals infections, helps remove jealousy, envy, anger, and hate
  • Jasmine: (Mallika

Uses: Heals breast and uterine infections, also heals cancer (especially lymph), strengthens a woman’s reproductive system      and makes her more attractive; removes depression

  • Lavender: (Dharu – H)
    Uses: Calms emotions and nerves (good for hyperactive children), PMS
  • Lily: (Kumuda)
    Uses: Calms heart, nerves, and emotions (irritability, anxiety, insomnia), dry cough, tonic for stomach and lungs increases faith, devotion, and virtue
  • Lotus: (Padma, Shatapatra)
    Uses: Calms mind and heart, affects deep sleep, increases love, faith, devotion, compassion, builds ojas (i.e., strengthens the reproductive system and nerves), is antiallergenic, calms nerves, relieves spasms. It is the symbol of Self-Realization
  • Mint: (Peppermint: Paparminta– H; Spearmint: Pahadi pudina – H)
    Uses: Clears mind, head, and sinuses
  • Musk: (Kasturi)
    Uses: Revives those who are comatose or near collapse, strengthens heart and reproductive system, awakens senses, is the most rajasic oil
  • Myrrh: (Bola)
    Uses: Blood cleanser, relieves infections, decreases tumors, strengthens bones, heart, uterus, and nerves; reduces excess fat, helps tissue healing
  • Patchouli: (Pacholi – H)
    Actions: Stimulant, diaphoretic, expectorant, diuretic, carminative
    Uses: Cleanses digestive system, stimulates senses, gives joy (removes depression), is especially good for Kapha. Externally—insecticide (moths, ants, gnats, flies, mosquitoes)
  • Rose: (Rudhrapußhpa, Japa) (flower of the heart)

Uses: Eye tonic (as rose water), increases love, compassion, devotion, acts as female reproductive tonic, urogenital tract, fevers, cough

  • Rosemary:
    Uses: Blood, heart, circulatory system, tonic, helps headaches and emotional tension, promotes menstruation
  • Sandalwood: (Chandan) (best aroma for the mind)
    Uses: Heart and lung tonic, cleanses kidneys, reduces fever, irritability, and anxiety; promotes
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