“Essential oils are molecules of communication, delivering messages from the plant to our mind, body, and psyche.”

 – Jade Shutes

(Listen to the Full Episode Here.)

This episode is one of the nearest and dearest to me, because we discuss one of my favorite topics, using essential oils for improving mental health. Not only am I grateful to bring more attention to this important subject, but I am also humbled and honored to be joined again by someone who is just as passionate about it. She also is one of the foremost and respected authorities in aromatherapy, Jade Shutes. She teaches us how aromatics can be used as an ally to benefit our mood, emotional balance, and brain health.

In this post, I will give you a brief background on this topic, introduce you to Jade, and then highlight some of the main points of our interview.


Essential Oils on the Brain

Although therapeutic, quality essential oils are most well known for their calming scents that promote relaxation, they are also powerful tools that enhance our psychology as they rebalance our physiology. In fact, essential oils have been shown clinically to effect mood and cognition due to the combination of both their aromatic and physical properties. For example, studies have demonstrated that essential oils modulate brain physiology and functioning through altering brain wave patterns on EEGs (electroencephalograms). (source, source, source) They also influence specific neurotransmitters and brain signaling molecules (source, source, source, source, source). In my primer on essential oils and brain neurochemistry, I highlighted a 2018 review article that went into greater detail on the pharmacological properties of essential oils, including the mechanisms of actions of their various compounds. You can access it and learn more here.

Beyond the science, many essential oil lovers have become dedicated users based on personal experience of the profound benefits these aromatic drops have on their bodies as they simultaneously soothe their minds when turbulence hits. This is likely why they have become so popular. Essential oils work, so people continue to use and purchase them.

Another unique quality of essential oils is that they powerfully influence our connections, both spirituality and within relationships. Today, many are feeling isolated, fearful, and are experiencing the detrimental effects of replacing screens for true physical contact. I believe these volatile compounds have been bestowed on us to help us reconnect to ourselves, the earth, and others. They offer the ability to complement and enhance our current overall mental and physical state, at the individual and societal level.

The major influencer for this latter belief that I hold is Jade Shutes.

As a sought-after aromatherapy practitioner, researcher, and international educator for over three decades, Jade is passionate about aromatics. She believes the sense of smell is one of the most powerful senses for healing the mind/body/psyche in this era of upheaval and change. Jade is one of the most influential leaders in the aromatherapy community to date. She is well-known for her balanced, progressive, holistic, and inspiring approach and teaching style.

During the show, Jade enlightens us on how essential oils can help to fill in the gaps that are evident in our current treatment approaches to mental health care.

You will understand why I am so grateful for her when you learn about her impressive background and her expertise in essential oils.

Below is a summary of the key points we discussed but be sure to tune-into the full show, so you don’t miss anything.

What You Will Learn in This Episode:

  1. An introduction on how essentials oils influence mental health including through: (0 min)
    • Influencing brain neurochemistry and function
    • Enhancing cognition (neuroprotection)
    • Uplifting the mood
    • Improving connection to self and others
  2. Jade’s background and bio (2 min)
    • Jade has been a key influencer in aromatherapy through her books, teaching, lecturing, her aromatic school, and her role in standardizing aromatherapy education. Her School of Aromatic Studies is unique in that it integrates many holistic philosophies while merging the French and English model of aromatherapy.
    • Jade was recently highlighted on the Aromatic Hologram as a featured pioneer in aromatherapy due to her achievements. (6 min)
  3. How Jade got interested in aromatherapy for mental health (8 min)
    • Jade’s attraction to the topic of mental health was first based on wanting to heal her own childhood, or developmental trauma. She has used many different forms of integrative therapies to aid her with this.
    • Jade first studied the English model of aromatherapy, which is based on supporting well-being and relieving stress. Her education demonstrated the power of aromatics for emotional support.
    • Jade’s interest in brain health grew further from a personal desire to understand how a recent acute trauma differed from development trauma, as well as the intersection of it with COVID and menopause.
    • Jade has trained in many methods of trauma including completing a seven-month program with the esteemed Bessel van der Kolk M.D. During the training, Jade was in dialogue with various mental health practitioners and became inspired on how to integrate various techniques and philosophies with her specialty, aromatherapy.
    • Jade’s first experience with essential oils demonstrated the connection between physical pain relief and a happier mood. (13 min)
  4. How essential oils can help one during times of trials by bringing us into the moment (13.50 min)
  5. Why we should customize interventions and not just treat a diagnosis (15.30 min)
    • There are scientific and holistic mechanisms that explain how essential oils can support depression and anxiety; however, there are many interacting complex and multifactorial causes of both disorders.
    • There is no one oil that treats everyone with the same issue, so interventions should be customized.
  6. The multiple and holistic ways essential oils can benefit mental health: This is through the hedonic effect, psychological expectancy, memory-based association, and pharmacological mechanisms. (17.50 min)
    • Hedonic effect – Smelling something one enjoys can lighten the mood.
    • Psychological expectancy/contextual –An improvement in symptoms can occur based on the belief that an oil, or any intervention, can be helpful after hearing convincing information.
    • Memory-based association – A specific essential oil may be associated with a relaxing or pleasant memory. When it is inhaled it can enhance mood based on this connection.
    • Pharmacological mechanisms:
      • Essential oils can influence our limbic system and autonomic nervous system, decreasing stress and calming us. This brings us into a parasympathetic state for healing and enhances heart rate variability, demonstrating better vagal tone.
      • Essential oils physiologically act to balance various enzymes, neurotransmitters, inflammatory mediators, oxidative stress, the endocannabinoid system, and brain function (via brain waves). They also can support the microbiome, impacting the gut-brain.
  7. The importance of using integrative support along with clinical aromatherapy (25 min)
    • Getting to the root cause of the illness leads to healing at the deepest level of the heart and results in a balanced inner terrain.
    • When one is heart-centered, one can reconnect to their own self-love, and this impacts relationships with others and oneself.
  8. The mental health conditions that have the most research with aromatherapy and what Jade has experienced with using essential oils for them (28.30 min)
    • There is a lot of research on essential oils for anxiety and depression. Anxiety likely has the most studies supporting the benefit of essential oils. In trials, oils are commonly administered via inhalation, but experiments also use dermal application.
    • As a practicing aromatherapist, Jade had witnessed changes in the emotional states of her clients through formulating personalized blends for them.
    • Recently, Jade has personally experienced how powerful essential oils are in supporting her family’s grief after a trauma, especially through diffusing them.
    • Specific oils Jade is currently using for dealing with the trauma and grief that her family is dealing with include:
      • bergamot (shown to be calming and anxiety relieving)
      • rose (has an affinity for the heart and supports one in dealing with grief)
      • fir oils such as pinyon pine (firs have grounding properties)
      • bergamot mint (an oil from the mint family that is similar to lavender),
      • lavender
      • frankincense
      • the Japanese fruit, yuzu
    • There’s one oil from Jade’s articles on essential oils for mental health and panic attacks that took me by surprise for its use with anxiety.
    • Some specific essential oils for mood and their mechanisms are explored. (35 min)
  9. Jade’s guidelines for diffusing essential oils for emotional support (38 min)
    • In general, it is best to diffuse oils intermittingly throughout the day for one-half hour to an hour at a time. This will be dependent on the diffuser and its stream strength.
    • The longer you have the oil diffuser on, the more there is a potential to have the opposite effect. It can also be expensive to constantly run one’s diffuser.
    • There are a few studies in rats and humans on diffusing essential oils continuously overnight to improve memory. One clinical research study with older adults diffused for 2 hours per night to create “olfactory enrichment.” This resulted in an enhancement of memory by 226%.
    • You can get acclimated to the scent of a diffused oil if you continuously diffuse it.
  10. The mood benefits received from skin applications of essential oils (48 min)
    • Skin is the largest organ for “ingesting” oils into our system.
    • There are several studies that show the beneficial impact of using essential oils through topical application, without one smelling them. Smell was blocked by placing oxygen masks on the subjects. Still, heart rate variability (HRV), blood pressure, heart rate, and skin conduction were altered in those receiving essential oils. The participants receiving essential oils reported feeling more alert, calm, and energized.
  11. Essential oils impact on the vagus nerve and how they can be used to change neural connections based on this (52 min)
    • Pretty much any essential oil can impact the vagus nerve.
    • Essential oils can be combined with various somatic methods to influence the vagus nerve.
    • One can use essential oils that stimulates the vagus nerve to form a memory-based association that connects them to a calm state.
    • The Aroma Freedom Technique is one method that uses essential oils to influence neuroplasticity and form new brain connections and emotional response patterns to stimuli.
  12. The many different integrative techniques to help with mental health: Essential oils can be incorporated into each one but are not the sole treatment. (55 min)
    • Clinical aromatherapists are allied health professionals who have extensive training and can personalize blends for an individual’s needs.
    • One should know when to seek a professional vs. trying to heal themselves.
    • It is important to have a therapist for mental health.
  13. Jade’s insights on essential oils for trauma and how trauma changes the brain (1 hour)
    • Yoga, positive affirmations, nature, therapy, psychedelics, and somatic practices have been helpful for Jade to heal from trauma. She incorporates essential oils with all of these.
    • A connection to nature has been pivotal to ignite a sensory experience and reconnection for Jade.
    • Essential oils can act as an anchor as one heals and goes through the process of change.
    • Based on Bessel van der Kolk, MD’s work, the brain’s neuronal wiring differs in those who have experienced childhood trauma.
  14. The importance of essential oils impact on social connection and how being around others ignites all our senses (1 hour 8 min)
    • Essential oils can bring us back to ourselves and make us reconnect.
    • Taking time to pause and ask ourselves what we need may lead us to connect with others.
  15. The connection between food, the earth, and smell to enhance our health: Socioeconomics can impact this. (1 hour 11 min)
    • Using simmer pots to infuse the home with scents can be an inexpensive way to bring aromas into the home.
    • Using herbs and spices to bring aroma to food can also be a low-cost and beneficial addition to enhance smells in one’s environment.
  16. Essential oils can be used to support the youth: Teens are especially suffering from mental health issues.
  17. Closing questions to get to know Jade more and her recipe for aromatic baths

Click here to listen to the full episode.

Please share this with others, we are in a mental health crisis and many are suffering and could benefit from an integrative approach that incorporates aromatherapy.

If you like the show, help us out and subscribe and provide a rating and feedback on your favorite podcast player. This is a no-cost way to share the message on the power of essential oils. It also supports us in providing you with the best essential information and expert guests, like Jade Shutes!

Links to Learn More About Jade Shutes and The School of Aromatic Studies:


Highlighted Courses at The School of Aromatic Studies:


Books Written and Co-Authored by Jade Shutes:


Articles by Jade Shutes:


Previous episodes with Jade Shutes:


Reference and Additional Resources:


Previous Shows Mentioned in the Podcast:


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


Bio of Jade Shutes:

Jade Shutes is a brilliant, esteemed, world-renowned aromatherapist, herbalist, author, researcher, gardener, and aromatic distiller. She holds a Diploma in Holistic Aromatherapy, Holistic Massage, Anatomy and Physiology, and Reflexology from the Raworth College of Natural Medicine in Dorking, UK, and a Diploma in Aromatherapy from the International Therapist Examining board (ITEC). She also holds a certificate in herbal medicine.

Jade has been a sought-after aromatherapy practitioner, researcher, and international educator for over three decades. She is one of the most influential, highly respected thought leaders in the aromatherapy community to date. She is well-known for her balanced, progressive, holistic, and inspiring teaching style. As a result, Jade has lectured at many prestigious universities, health care facilities, companies, and organizations including Bastyr University (adjunct faculty), Duke University (continuing education), San Diego Hospice, Ashmead Massage school, New England Center for Massage, 7 Arrows Herb Farm, Elizabeth Grady School of Esthetics, Aveda Institute, Miller Motte Technical Community College, Universal Companies, Montgomery Hospice facility, and various other places from Boston to Vancouver, Canada.

Jade is the past president for the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy (NAHA) (2000-2003 and 2013-2015). She was instrumental in shaping the educational curriculum that sets the standards for training clinical aromatherapists for NAHA. One could also attribute Jade’s pivotal role in the aromatherapy field to the inception of New York City’s first aromatherapy school. From 2013 to 2020, the New York Institute of Aromatherapy held the license to teach Jade’s program.

Jade is a strong advocate on how to integrate and unite aromatherapists rather than being distracted by their differences in philosophies. With Jade’s extensive educational background and her studies in both the French and English Model, she can speak with authority on how to use essential oils and enhance their therapeutic effects from many perspectives. She founded the School for Aromatic Studies which has offered dynamic, innovative, and professionally designed aromatherapy educational programs since 1991. Her school reflects Jade’s unique blend of balance that embodies Western Herbal Energetics, modern biochemistry, clinical aromatherapy, physiology, traditional teachings, and an ancient reverence for plants. The School for Aromatic Studies holds impressive accreditations from the IFPA (The International Federation of Professional Aromatherapists), NAHA, Message Therapy NCBTMB, American Botanical Council, and United Plant Savers. It also offers continuing education units for professionals and has courses to fit the needs of essential oil consumers, health and wellness providers, and all levels of aromatherapists.

Jade has authored several books including “Aromatherapy for Bodyworkers”, which was the primary textbook for aromatherapy for massage schools throughout the United States. She is also the co-author of “The Carrier Oil Palette”, which offers up-to-date research and monographs on fixed oils, butters, herbal oils, and CO2 extracts used in aromatherapy, herbal practice, and botanical body care formulation. Jade’s other publications include “The Aromatherapy Companion”, “The Dynamics of Blending”, the “Ultimate Guide to Aromatherapy,” and a wide range of aromatherapy and wellness articles.

Jade is passionate about aromatics. She believes the sense of smell is one of the most powerful senses for healing the mind/body/psyche in this era of upheaval and change. She is driven to empower others in their wellness including her family, consumers, aromatherapists, and health care providers. Combined with her masterful brain and detailed grasp of human and plant physiology is the heart and mind of a patient and wise modern-day healer. Jade guides every individual to access the power of essential oils most effectively. She teaches us to respect the science of essential oils and herbal chemistry. Yet, most importantly, she shows us how to form our own personal relationship with plants and stresses the importance of tuning into their essence. Her gentleness, compassion, humility, authenticity, and kindness blend beautifully into a tapestry of a fierce pioneer’s spirit. This is evident in how she nurtures our own understanding of how to honor our planet and its botanicals and essential oils. Find Jade at https://aromaticstudies.com/.



  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/25055057/
  • https://www.hindawi.com/journals/ecam/2013/681304/
  • https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23531112/
  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27916830
  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10979248
  • https://www.saratoga.com/healing-health-wellness/2018/05/essential-oils-for-mood-support/
  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6099651/
  • https://www.whitehouse.gov/briefing-room/statements-releases/2022/03/01/fact-sheet-president-biden-to-announce-strategy-to-address-our-national-mental-health-crisis-as-part-of-unity-agenda-in-his-first-state-of-the-union/
  • https://www.aromaweb.com/essential-oils/pinyon-pine-essential-oil.php
  • https://www.aromaweb.com/essential-oils/bergamot-mint-essential-oil.php
  • https://www.aromaweb.com/essential-oils/yuzu-essential-oil.php
  • https://www.frontiersin.org/journals/neuroscience/articles/10.3389/fnins.2023.1200448/full

Grab My Free Guide to Using Essential Oils & Access My Naturopathic Wellness Newsletter

If your a seasoned oiler or brand new….

Grab this guide with information on essential oils and access to future health and wellness topics.

Learn How Naturopathic Medicine and Mind-Body Wellness Can Help You

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.

Thanks Pixabay and Canva.