Meditation is an ancient art that spans many centuries and cultures. In today’s high-tech, busy world, meditation is practised to help turn off the mind, rest the body, and feed the spirit. Breathing is at the very core of meditation and also at the core of aromatherapy.

During meditation practice, the following essential oils can help create an atmosphere conducive to quiet relaxation that can help you transcend the details of day-to-day life, transporting you to a place of inner peace.

Patchouli (Pogostemon cablin) is very grounding. It is considered the oil of peace. With its earthy aroma and sedative properties, it can help quiet the mind during meditation. Patchouli’s primal scent is arousing and helps to dispel anxiety about sex; it is often used as an aphrodisiac. It is also calming and can help rebalance the body when stress has caused nervous exhaustion. It has antibacterial, antiviral, anti-inflammatory, and antiseptic properties that make it good for use in skin care. Patchouli can be used as an inhalant with a diffusor or on the skin with a carrier.

Cedarwood (Cedrus atlantica), with its sweet, woody-balsamic, slightly camphorous scent, helps focus the mind and relieve anxiety, nervous tension, and stress. It is uplifting, strengthening, comforting, and grounding, and it helps to create balance. With every breath, cedarwood’s antiseptic properties protect the lungs against respiratory infections. It is a mucolytic (breaks down mucus), which makes it an excellent treatment for catarrhal conditions, especially chronic bronchitis.

The steam-distilled roots of vetiver (Vetiveria zizanioides) are restorative and help reconnect us to our roots. The aroma encourages a sense of inner strength and protection and is therefore grounding and nourishing. The musty-earth scent of vetiver is generally used as a base note when blending essential oils. It blends well with oils such as clary sage, jasmine, lavender, patchouli, and rose. Vetiver is antiseptic, antispasmodic, a sedative for the nervous system, a stimulant for the circulatory system, and a tonic that can be used for conditions such as arthritis, muscular aches and pains, rheumatism, sprains, stiffness, depression, insomnia, tension, and stress. It can also be used for skin conditions such as acne, cuts, oily skin, and wounds. Vetiver can be used as an inhalant, with a diffusor, or on the skin when mixed with a carrier oil.

Indian spikenard (Nardostachys jatamansi) has an aroma that is warm, earthy, peaty, bittersweet, and woody. It is native to the Himalayan mountains and is also known as “nard.” It is one of the most ancient of aromatics, considered precious to the early Egyptian, Hebrew, and Hindu civilizations for both ritual and medicinal purposes. Mary Magdalene is said to have anointed the feet of Jesus with this oil before the Last Supper. In 1652 herbalist Nicholas Culpeper wrote that spikenard “comforts the brain” and helps “passions and swooning of the heart.” Spikenard is in the same plant family as valerian and shares the intense, pungent scent of its sister root.

Sandalwood (Santalum album) essential oil is quickly becoming rare; it will be increasingly harder to find the real thing because of years of unsustainable over-harvesting practices. If you already have some of this sweet woody oil, keep it for sacred use such as meditation. It is a relaxing and meditative oil with sensual properties, soothing and comforting to body and mind. Sandalwood encourages feelings of well-being and has been used traditionally as an incense and perfume.

Frankincense resin (Boswellia carterii) aids in meditation, fortifying and quieting the mind. It is an excellent oil to use for respiratory conditions. Frankincense lifts the spirits, encourages feelings of well-being, produces heightened awareness of spiritual calm, reduces tension, and gives strength .

Om Diffuser Blend

6 drops orange (Citrus sinensis)
2 drops bergamot (Citrus bergamia)
2 drops patchouli (Pogostemon cablin)

Add to an aromatherapy diffuser before starting your meditation practice.

Balancing Meditation Blend

10 drops frankincense (Boswellia carterii)
10 drops mandarin (Citrus reticulata)
20 drops cedarwood (Cedrus atlantica)
5 drops rosewood (Aniba rosaeodora)
2 drops vetiver (Vetiveria zizanioides)

Add to an aromatherapy diffuser before starting your meditation practice.

Space Clearing Spray

30 drops cedarwood (Cedrus atlantica)

Add to a 60 mL spritzer bottle of distilled water. Shake well before using.

About the Author

Bev Gray, CH, RA, a skilled herbalist and registered aromatherapist, owns Aroma Borealis Herb Shop in Whitehorse, Yukon. She is an educator who loves to share her passion of medicinal and aromatic plants.