Although the term aromatherapy does not exist in the ancient Ayurvedic texts, this term being rather connected to Western practices, Ayurveda is very rich in perfumes because every aspect of the treatments and therapies are impregnated with aromas coming mainly from the content in essential oils of the plants used. These aromas and flavors thus provide many therapeutic benefits. Smell (gandha) is related to the earth element and traditional Ayurvedic practices use aromatherapy in various ways. Adapted to each dosha. Aromatherapy is considered an important tool in both prevention and treatment.
Essential oils are highly concentrated essences derived from flowers, fruits, roots, bark and leaves of plants. According to Ayurvedic pharmacology, essential oils are the fire element extracted from plants, giving them powerful power. Each fragrance is composed of a combination of the five elements of nature: water, earth, fire, air and space. As the space element is predominant in all the aromas, subtle qualities, lightness and fluidity are present which allows them to float in the air and extend their influence to the outside until their aromatic qualities dissipate. As with food, essential oils have qualities that suit an individual or contribute to an imbalance.
VATA PREDOMINANCE (air and space)
The Vata predominant people are creative, enthusiastic, energetic, sensitive and active. In imbalance, they tend to be anxious, to feel fear and lack of anchorage. On a physical level, they are prone to sleep disturbances, constipation, stomach upset and dryness of the skin. The essential oils to treat Vata will be soothing, soft, warming, moist and sweet as lavender, rose, cardamom, cinnamon, basil, nutmeg, bergamot, incense, patchouli and vanilla. The ideal carrier oils for Vata will be sesame or avocado oil.
PITTA PREDOMINANCE (fire and water)
Pitta's predominant people are quick-witted, passionate, courageous, hard-working and enjoy challenges. In imbalance, they will be irritable or even angry and subject to jealousy. On a physical level, the overflow of fire will cause among other things heartburn, acidity in the digestive system and inflammation. The essential oils to treat Pitta will be refreshing, sweet, bitter, astringent and soothing. The best aromas will be sandalwood, rose, chamomile, lavender, vetiver, ylang-ylang, mint, brahmi and jasmine. The ideal carrier oils for Pitta will be sunflower oil, coconut oil or almond oil.
KAPHA PREDOMINANCE (water and earth)
People with Kapha predominance are dedicated, loving, family and empathic. In imbalance, they tend to feel lethargic or depressed and lack motivation. On the physical plane, they are strong, enduring, gentle and slow. They need movement to activate and stimulate them, they also tend to gain weight. The essential oils to treat Kapha will be warming, stimulating and spicy. Ginger, lemongrass, eucalyptus, grapefruit, rosemary, neroli, juniper, pine and cedar will be adapted to Kapha dosha. The ideal carrier oils for Kapha will be mustard oil, almond oil or grape seed oil.
in the bathtub, mixed with carrier oils
on the temples, mixed with carrier oils
on the skin, mixed with carrier oils *some oils are not recommended for topical use
Many essential oils can be beneficial to more than one Doshas, especially when combined, creating a unique and synergistic blend.
Dr. Vasant Lad, M.A. Sc., Textbook of Ayurveda Fundamental Princples Volume 1
Dr. Marc Halpern, Fondateur du California College of Ayurveda
Margi Macdonald, Acupuncteure et Aromathérapeute, Organic Infusions