(Listen to the Full Episode Here.)

This is a very special episode of the Essential Oil Revolution. In it, an important and misunderstood topic that is near and dear to my heart, mold-related illness, is discussed. Importantly, how essential oils can help those struggling with this condition are highlighted.

I am excited and humbled to say that I am joined by an incredible, esteemed, expert naturopathic doctor who specializes in this condition, as well as other neurological disorders for this episode. In fact, Dr. Jill Crista is the literal forerunner in this endeavor.

For those who are not familiar, mold is one type of organism that produces some of the most common biotoxins found in a Water-Damaged Building (WDB) or spaces with high humidity. Its potential roommates include other fungi, various bacteria such as actinomycetes (a group of gram positive bacteria) and mycobacteria (a type of bacteria with cell walls resistant to digestion). These inhabitants can all produce toxic compounds creating a health-damaging stew of metabolic byproducts.

Some may be aware of the respiratory effects of mold, which is well-recognized by the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention). Their website states:

In 2004 the Institute of Medicine (IOM) found there was sufficient evidence to link indoor exposure to mold with upper respiratory tract symptoms, cough, and wheeze in otherwise healthy people; with asthma symptoms in people with asthma; and with hypersensitivity pneumonitis in individuals susceptible to that immune-mediated condition. The IOM also found limited or suggestive evidence linking indoor mold exposure and respiratory illness in otherwise healthy children. In 2009, the World Health Organization issued additional guidance, the WHO Guidelines for Indoor Air Quality: Dampness and Mould [PDF – 2.52 MB].

Other recent studies have suggested a potential link of early mold exposure to development of asthma in some children, particularly among children who may be genetically susceptible to asthma development, and that selected interventions that improve housing conditions can reduce morbidity from asthma and respiratory allergies, but more research is needed in this regard.

Yet, those who are impacted by mold-related illness can have varying symptoms that can be distinct from an immunological response such as an allergy, infection, or mucous membrane irritation. For example, due to the ability of these biotoxins to directly impact nerve cell function, it is common for me and my colleagues to see neurological symptoms in our clients who are susceptible to mold exposure. Commonly, symptoms usually wax and wane relating to changes in humidity and weather. These include headaches, dizziness, memory issues, cognitive changes, fatigue, mood imbalances, vision disturbances, tremors, numbness and tingling, and pin-prick pain.

In a paper entitled, “Structural brain abnormalities in patients with inflammatory illness acquired following exposure to water-damaged buildings: a volumetric MRI study using NeuroQuant®”, the authors report that those with CIRS (Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome) acquired from exposure to water-damaged buildings experience systemic and neurological effects. For those who want the specific physiological details, the abstract states (bold emphasis mine):

Executive cognitive and neurologic abnormalities are commonly seen in patients with a chronic inflammatory response syndrome (CIRS) acquired following exposure to the interior environment of water-damaged buildings (WDB), but a clear delineation of the physiologic or structural basis for these abnormalities has not been defined.

Symptoms of affected patients routinely include headache, difficulty with recent memory, concentration, word finding, numbness, tingling, metallic taste and vertigo. Additionally, persistent proteomic abnormalities in inflammatory parameters that can alter permeability of the blood-brain barrier, such as C4a, TGFB1, MMP9 and VEGF, are notably present in cases of CIRS-WDB compared to controls, suggesting a consequent inflammatory injury to the central nervous system. Findings of gliotic areas in MRI scans in over 45% of CIRS-WDB cases compared to 5% of controls, as well as elevated lactate and depressed ratios of glutamate to glutamine, are regularly seen in MR spectroscopy of cases.

This study used the volumetric software program NeuroQuant® (NQ) to determine specific brain structure volumes in consecutive patients (N=17) seen in a medical clinic specializing in inflammatory illness. Each of these patients presented for evaluation of an illness thought to be associated with exposure to WDB, and received an MRI that was evaluated by NQ. When compared to those of a medical control group (N=18), statistically significant differences in brain structure proportions were seen for patients in both hemispheres of two of the eleven brain regions analyzed; atrophy of the caudate nucleus and enlargement of the pallidum. In addition, the left amygdala and right forebrain were also enlarged. These volumetric abnormalities, in conjunction with concurrent abnormalities in inflammatory markers, suggest a model for structural brain injury in “mold illness” based on increased permeability of the blood-brain barrier due to chronic, systemic inflammation.

Unfortunately, many are not aware that mold may be a trigger or the cause of their chronic health and/or neurological issues. Furthermore, few physicians are trained in what to look for and how to treat mold-related illness. This is due to its complex, multisystemic nature and the fact that not everyone is impacted the same.

Thankfully, we have brave pioneers who are paving the way to create more awareness and better treatment for this condition. One of the best is Dr. Jill Crista.

Dr. Jill is a compassionate, authentic, physician and true healthcare warrior who fights for patients’ rights as she provides transformational resources to restore their hope and their lives. Dr. Jill is also a best-selling author, devoted educator, patient advocate, formulator, and creative innovator.  She previously ran two integrative clinics and is now focusing on research, teaching, and writing. Her books (Break the Mold and A Light in the Dark for PANS and PANDAS) and her online courses empower and support both health care providers and individuals wanting concrete steps to conquer health challenges.

Below is an overview of what we discussed during the show, but you will want to listen to the whole episode to enlighten yourself with this critical information.

Here’s What You Will Learn in This Episode:

  1. An introduction to mold and its multisystemic effects. (1 min)
  2. Dr. Jill’s background and bio. (2.23 min)
  3. What fueled Dr. Jill to become a specialist in mold-related illness and environmental medicine. (5.31 min)
    • Dr. Jill was always interested in essential oils, botanicals, and environmental medicine.
    • She trained in Wisconsin and noted lots of heavy metal exposure in her patients. This further sparked her desire to learn more about the impact of environmental toxins.
    • Dr. Jill also got trained in Lyme Disease when she realized she was not just in an environmentally polluted area, but also in “Lyme country.”
    • Dr. Jill discusses a case early in her career of a patient who was not getting better. He had an array of symptoms (gut issues, joint pain, vision changes, bladder frequency, etc.), eventually leading to a diagnosis of cancer. They later found he was exposed to toxic black mold. Dr. Jill realized then that what she was taught in school about mold wasn’t enough.
    • Dr. Jill’s success with Lyme Disease was spread to the Lyme community. She attributes this to the fact that she was treating mold exposure with it, which was often missed.
  4. How mold can often gets missed as an underlying factor in disease. It is likely a reason why someone is not getting better, even if they are doing everything else “right.” (9.40 min)
  5. The four ways mold can make you sick and how essential oils address them. (11.05 min) These include through:
    • Mold spores
    • Spore fragments
    • Mold off gassing
    • Mycotoxins (these are only made in certain circumstances because they are energetically expensive, they are made to outcompete with other molds)
    • There’s also bacteria and bacteria off-gassing in a WDB
  6. How the CDC definition of mold illness misses a lot of people affected by mold, because it only highlights spore-related allergies and aspergillus. (13.10 min)
  7. How to know if you are being affected by mold. (15 min)
    • Mold-related illness can cause many symptoms in many different body systems. It often goes for one’s “Achilles heel”. Its impact is related to a person’s detoxification ability, nutrition status, past exposures, genetics, current health status, and the type of mold and mycotoxin.
    • Dr. Jill’s mold questionnaire helps identify if mold is a key issue and tracks progress. It recently has gotten a research grant approval. This will lead to more validated clusters of symptoms for specific mycotoxins, as found in Dr. Crista’s fact sheets. (18 min)
  8. The caveats of testing for mold in one’s environment and matching it for what’s in the body. (22.50 min)
  9. The concept of colonization and biofilms, such as those found in chronic rhinosinusitis.
    • Colonization can lead to fungal infections.
    • Mold and fungus colonization can be key players in various food sensitivities. This is an example of the importance of getting to the root cause of an issue versus compensating for the environment. (25.50 min)
    • What sulfur food sensitivities have to do with gliotoxin mycotoxins. (27.50 min)
  10. Essential oils’ broad-spectrum actions that support the many aspects of mold-related illness. (28.50 min)
  11. An overview of mold testing (29.50 min)
    • Testing for current mold exposure indicates if remediation and finding a mold inspector is necessary. This includes several tests in the body for mold spores and mycotoxins.
    • A visual contrast test can indicate if mycotoxins are impacting vision and causing neurological issues. Dr. Jill likes VCSTest.com.
    • A mold spore test.
    • Urinary MPA test (active mold). For this test avoid glucuronidation support to rule out detoxifying vs. current exposure.
    • A mycotoxin antibody test (IgE), which shows an immune system mounted response within 2-4 weeks of exposures.
    • The problems with mold plates and air sampling.
  12. The first step to take if you have mold, remediation and removing yourself from the source. Dr. Jill also has nine steps to do while you are still transitioning out of the mold exposure. (37 min)
  13. How mold and mycotoxins impact the brain and limbic system via inhalation and the olfaction pathway. This impacts our sense of safety and can cause one to feel anxious. (37.42 min)
    • Olfaction is a form of physical contact from our respiratory system to the environment. Molecular interactions occurs from the nose to the brain.
    • The sense of smell is part of our surveillance system to maintain safety in the environment. This means scents and odors impact the emotional part of the brain, the limbic system.
    • Mycotoxins are lipid soluble and can enter the nervous system into the brain. They also impair the immune system.
    • Mycotoxins have no scent, but the odorants are picked up by the limbic system and can cause low grade anxious symptoms.
  14. How essential oils can combat the mold attack on the nervous system and in the brain. (43.10 min)
      • We need to detoxify the chemicals from mold and the environment that have entered into the brain and essential oils can support the body in doing this.
      • They can act as antimicrobials, antioxidants, and anti-inflammatory agents, are lipid-soluble, can assist with detox, and are calming the brain.
      • A technique called the Aroma Freedom Technique can help reset neuroplasticity from the trauma of being in mold.
  15. How to use essential oils to support Dr. Jill’s five steps of recovering from mold-related illness. One first needs to get the body strong to help prepare for excessive toxin removal and die-off. After this, the following actions to take include: (47 min)
        • Avoidance, though one can use some supplements to support their bodies during mold exposure such as DHA, milk thistle, quercetin, and melatonin.
        • Lifestyle and foundation support.
        • Protecting the tissues from the mold burden.
        • Repairing the mucosa, gut flora, and immune system.
        • Fighting the mold using antifungals to reset the microbiomes of the body including of the sinuses, gut, vaginal, etc.
  16. Which essential oils can help reduce mold’s ability to make mycotoxins in moldy spaces. (50 min)
    • Thyme, Tea Tree, Pine, Firs, and Oregano oils are examples.
    • It is best to use cotton balls, as EMFs and humidity from water diffusers can make mold worse.
    • The story of Thieves oil.
    • Using Thyme inhalation.
  17. How essential oils can be taken internally for addressing biofilms via ozonated essential oils and rizols. (56.30 min)
    • Thyme, oregano, and clove can be taken in a capsule.
    • Ozone degrades biofilms in a non-enzymatic way and combines with the essential oils. This is gentler than enzymatic forms.
  18. If we can use phenol oils in those who are sulfur sensitive due to a type of mycotoxin, gliotoxin, exposure. (1 hour)
  19. How essential oils can help support any wellness protocol.
  20. The essential oil that helps with brain fog, is neuroprotective, and supports the limbic system. (1 hour 5 min)
  21. About Dr. Jill’s book Break the Mold, which contains all the essential oils to use for mold exposure and how to use them. (1 hour 6 min)
  22. How to plug into your inner light to help protect your energy from mold. I give an example of what I do and how I use the Parasympathetic Blend and Cedarwood Oil. (1 hour 10 min)
  23. Closing questions and getting to know Dr. Jill.
  24. The essential oil DIY recipe for sinuses.

Click here to access and listen to the full show.

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Links to Learn More About Dr. Jill Crista, ND:


Additional Books and Highlighted Resources by Dr. Jill Crista, ND:


Additional Resources


Links to Learn More About My Offerings and Education on Essential Oils:


Bio of Dr. Jill Crista, ND:

Dr. Jill Crista is an exceptionally brilliant, brave, pioneering naturopathic doctor, best-selling author, devoted educator, patient advocate, formulator, and creative innovator. She earned her Naturopathic Doctor Degree with Honors from the National University of Naturopathic Medicine in Portland, OR in 2003. In 2012, she completed the Physician Training Program with the International Lyme & Associated Diseases Society. Her adoration for plant medicine was taken to a new level in 2019. At that time, she was privileged to join her adored mentor, Dr. Jillian Stansbury, on an ethnobotany field study in the Peruvian Amazon.

Dr. Jill has served on the board of the Wisconsin Naturopathic Doctors Association, as President for 6 years, and worked on the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians committee for licensure, which culminated in achieving licensure for Naturopathic Doctors for Wisconsin. She now serves as Chair of the newly formed Wisconsin Naturopathic Medicine Examining Board. Dr. Jill is also the medical director of Alight Health Formulas, a company dedicated to providing superior specialty products to support those dealing with neuroinflammatory disorders, including mold-related illness and PANS/PANDAS.

Dr. Jill’s superpower is to make complex medical concepts simple and digestible for the average person. An avid learner and researcher, she also has an innate ability to transform scientific research into practical applications for fellow clinicians in practice. Dr. Jill’s passion is to elevate the well-being of the planet via the well-being of her inhabitants. She has accomplished this in a variety of ways.

Dr. Jill was the owner, director, and practicing member of two integrative clinics offering naturopathic medicine, integrative medicine, acupuncture, chiropractic, physical therapy, craniosacral therapy, and massage. It was here that she witnessed the efficacy and synergy of a team approach to patient care. As a peer-reviewed published author, she’s now focusing on research, teaching, and writing, specializing in neuroinflammatory conditions such as mold sickness, brain injury, PANS/PANDAS, Lyme disease, and concussion. Her books (Break the Mold  and  A Light in the Dark for PANS and PANDAS) and her online courses empower and support those wanting concrete steps to conquer health challenges. Dr. Jill is a compassionate, authentic, physician who stands in integrity. She is a true healthcare warrior fighting for patients’ rights as she provides transformational resources to restore their hope and their lives. You can find Dr. Jill at drcrista.com. You can also learn more about her research for a scientifically validated questionnaire on mold- related illness here.



  • http://www.survivingmold.com/mold-symptoms/molds-mycotoxins-more
  • http://www.cdc.gov/mold/stachy.htm
  • http://www.euro.who.int/document/E92645.pdf
  • http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1566219/pdf/envhper00520-0101.pdf
  • http://www.mold-survivor.com/harrietammann.html
  • http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24946038

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Disclaimer: This material is for information purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, or prescribe for any illness. You should check with your doctor regarding implementing any new strategies into your wellness regime. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. (Affiliation link.)

This information is applicable ONLY for therapeutic quality essential oils. This information DOES NOT apply to essential oils that have not been tested for purity and standardized constituents. There is no quality control in the United States, and oils labeled as “100% pure” need only to contain 5% of the actual oil. The rest of the bottle can be filled with fillers and sometimes toxic ingredients that can irritate the skin. The studies are not based solely on a specific brand of an essential oil, unless stated. Please read the full study for more information.

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