Reignite Your Passion with Cardamom

Reignite Your Passion with Cardamom

I’m going crazy …

about Cardamom.

Okay, I couldn’t help the alliteration, but I also do feel that way.

Ever since I started working with it to prepare for this month’s Deep Dive in the Inner Sanctum Membership, I haven’t been able to stop making blends with it. 

It all started when I put Cardamom and Orange in my diffuser a few weeks ago. After a few minutes I started saying, “Now that’s a recipe for a good day.” ☀️

Then my mom created a massage blend recipe for the Inner Sanctum featuring Cardamom and Rose. All I want is that as a perfume blend. (It works great either way!) 💐 

Lastly, I was inspired to blend Cardamom with Patchouli, and oh my … this one is helping bring me into deep meditation. 🧘

I love how sometimes the simplest blends are the best!

Some of these I used in the diffuser, some topically (diluted 15 drops / 1 ounce), and some I inhaled from a scent strip.

In general, I find Cardamom to be a mild stimulant. It’s warming, grounding, and spicy enough to give you the oomph you need to finish something you’ve started.

I’m also now in the habit of chewing the seeds after meals because I can feel them helping to settle my stomach. Plus, they’re a natural breath freshener! 

But my favorite thing about this plant is:

Cardamom is the perfect oil to reignite your passions and stimulate your appetite for life. 

We all need that from time to time. 

So I want to know, do you use Cardamom? How do you like to use it? What do you blend it with?

Leave a comment because I’m always inspired by what you’re finding on your journey. 💖

If you want to dive deep with me into the study of Cardamom and 20 other essential oils, become a member of the Inner Sanctum. It’s the best aromatherapy education deal in town.

Get started today for only $15.99, and receive your very own on-demand virtual aromatherapy classroom. Cancel anytime. See why Robin Mattingly said, “OH MY GOSH!! This should have been done years ago.”

How to Make a Soothing Essential Oil Massage Blend

How to Make a Soothing Essential Oil Massage Blend

You love learning about essential oils. You know that they have amazing healing properties, and you can even share a few of them when asked.

But when a friend goes through a traumatic experience and you want to see if aromatherapy can help, how do you decide what to turn to?

If you’re looking for a soothing blend that can help with inflammation, calm the nervous system, and help the body heal from trauma, I’ve got just the blend for you.

A few years ago, a customer asked me if I could make something for her friends who had been in a traumatic car accident. They escaped without major injuries, but they were bruised, sore, and shaken up by the whole experience.

This customer knew that essential oils could help, but she wanted her friends to have a special blend, and she didn’t feel equipped to make it for them.

I explained that it can be tricky to make a blend for another person when they aren’t there to smell samples and tell me what they like, but I’d try my best.

So I turned to the Aromatherapy Practitioner Reference Manual and looked up inflammation in the clinical index. The list was extensive, so I looked for a few oils that would be calming, have universal appeal, and smell nice together.

I ended up with a blend that I’ve used as my standard massage blend to this day. I even wrote about it in an earlier column for Massage Today.


Here’s the recipe:

  • 7 drops of Lavender
  • 4 drops of Myrrh
  • 4 drops of Frankincense


Put drops in 1 oz. of carrier of your choice (cream, oil, lotion). Try it out and let me know what you think! And listen, you don’t need me to tell you what blends to make and how. You can also learn to do all this yourself.

Join us in the Inner Sanctum to learn the basics. Or if you’re ready to dive deep into the study of aromatherapy, there’s room in our Aromatherapy Practitioner Course. There’s no time like now to start learning how to use your essential oils.

Before you know it, you’ll be the one in your friend group who everyone comes to and asks, “Can you make me a blend for this?”

Now, I want to know, have you ever made a blend for someone else and were then inspired to use it yourself? Do you have go-to combinations for helping someone heal after a car accident? Let me know in the comments below. I’d love to know what you’re blending up.


Why MLM Essential Oil Companies Can Be A Good Thing

Why MLM Essential Oil Companies Can Be A Good Thing

Have you heard that multi-level marketing essential oil companies are part of what’s wrong with our industry? Perhaps you even heard it here?

It’s true. There is a tendency to blame unsafe practices and the overuse of essential oils on these kinds of companies, and that’s not without cause.

But it’s also not the whole story.

In 2013, Sylla wrote a series of blogs she calls, “Confessions of a Vintage Aromatherapist,” and one of those confessions was “I LOVE MLM Companies.

Given some recent experiences, she decided to write an update on this post. Here it is:

I confess. I’ve said many negative things in the past about the multi-level marketing (MLM) companies that have sprung up in the last 20 years. I don’t like the way they operate using “pseudo” science, promoting extreme undiluted use and daily doses in water or capsules. I’ve accused them and judged them and called them names, and I’ve walked around with my feathers ruffled for some time. But I realized that this toxic anger actually harms me, and I’ve been learning how to release it. In doing so, I’ve come to understand how important this process is to my well-being. I’ve also discovered a few good things about these companies who I’ve treated like enemies, and it feels so much better to think about them in this light. The truth is, I’m actually thankful for them for several reasons.

First, they have been the single most influential factor in the exponential increase of people using essential oils throughout the last 15 to 20 years. I thought we did a good job after 9/11 of spreading the word on how helpful oils can be daily, but these companies get the award for inspiring the most widespread use in the masses. In a way, they’ve stolen my dream. I decided a long time ago that I wanted to help the world through aromatherapy, and these companies are so big now that my education has become a drop in the bucket. I still don’t agree with their methods, but they’re able to appeal to and introduce aromatherapy to people who may not have ever tried it, and thus they have opened a new population up to the oils that we love. This has had a huge impact worldwide, and oils are no longer considered “taboo” or “new age”.

Secondly, I have met some wonderful people who got started with these companies but moved on when they realized something was missing. Many people learned basic introductions from these companies and then became deeper seekers of truth and knowledge without the hoopla and sales pitches. This makes “IPCs” or “wellness consultants” tremendous sources for new students and customers for the educators and essential oil businesses in our field. Sure, some of these beginners may never move forward from where they start, but plenty will, and they are going to need the quality education and products that we already provide. Ideally, we should let go of the idea that it’s “us” against “them” and see that we’re all in this together. One by one, I’ve helped so many students see that education is empowerment, and that we make good choices once we realize what we don’t know!

Thirdly, I’ve found that once these new students have some knowledge to work with, they begin asking great questions. They make us research and look into their claims, and that process can impact all of us in many healthy ways. The whole industry has experienced a growth of knowledge and information in the last few years because of this. They also keep me on my toes. Now, whenever I hear a new claim, I go look at the research for myself, which gives me a good mystery to follow up on. In fact, one company created a fabulous research database that includes many oils and is freely accessible to all.

Another great result is that our students are challenged and intrigued by the things these companies and their associates put out, and they end up following rabbit holes and producing some fabulously-referenced papers that shake things up—something I love to see happening!!!

Finally, because of their financial power, they are able to donate to hospitals, including large donations for wellness centers, so more oils are available to those receiving care. This is a great leap forward into helping aromatherapy become more mainstream in integrative care. And this is big in my book.

More recently, I found the most wonderful set of books that I now use exclusively. And guess what, they are by Dr. Scott Johnson, who is now with DoTerra. I have enjoyed using his earlier book
Evidence-Based Essential Oil Therapy: The Ultimate Guide to the Therapeutic and Clinical Application of Essential Oils. Scott and I connected over a Facebook post, began conversing, and I realized that I totally missed this book Medicinal Essential Oils: The Science and Practice of Evidence-Based Essential Oil Therapy because I had my blinders on. Once I reviewed it, I saw what a valuable resource this is for our community. Then I discovered even more, a book called Supercritical Essential Oils: A Companion Resource to Medicinal Essential Oils, which covers all the CO2 extracts and more, including herbal therapy. These two giant books are fully-referenced and are my new go-tos, especially because of the safety data including medication contraindications in detail.

So you can see why I do love these companies and maybe they didn’t steal my dream after all. It wasn’t mine to begin with, and they have helped create my dream by spreading the love of these oils. And it doesn’t look like that’s going to slow down, so perhaps I could congratulate myself for having that dream so long ago, and others who also had that dream, who helped enable this spread. So yes, I am grateful for these companies afterall. 


Here’s the one thing I know for sure: If we can find common ground, we have a place to stand together. I believe it’s that act that makes all the difference.

So I want to know, do you find yourself on one side of the aisle or the other when it comes to MLMs in the aromatherapy industry? If so, what do you see as the benefit of coming together, no matter your perspective?

Leave us a comment here to tell us where you stand on this sometimes controversial issue.

Don’t Be Afraid of Essential Oil Chemistry

Don’t Be Afraid of Essential Oil Chemistry

So, you’ve learned that essential oils are all about the chemistry … but chemistry wasn’t your favorite subject. 

I want you to know, you’re not alone. Many people discover that they have a passion for essential oils—only to find out that it means learning (or re-learning) one of the most feared sciences. 

But it’s also one of the most fascinating (IMHO).

In the early days, when I used to sit in nearly every aromatherapy class that my mom taught, I was relieved to find out that learning essential oil chemistry didn’t mean I had to learn all chemistry. 

She would often say, “Most essential oils are made up of different combinations of virtually only 3 different atomic elements.” 

Though this is a slight oversimplification, it isn’t so by much. 

As you study essential oil chemistry, you might find a component containing a molecule that has a nitrogen, and maybe one with a sulphur, but you’ll find those are few and far between. 

I remember thinking to myself, “I can handle three kinds of atoms.” 

That became the door that opened my mind to understanding as much as I could about these volatile aromatics … a.k.a. aromatherapy.

Here’s the deal: you can totally start to understand aromatherapy on a scientific level. It starts one layer at a time. 

Do you need an essential oil chemistry pep talk? 

Check out these words of encouragement from us:


If you’re just beginning to learn about essential oil chemistry, or you’ve got a background but want to go deeper, here are a handful of amazing resources that we highly recommend:

What are your biggest challenges when it comes to learning essential oil chemistry?

Let us know by leaving a comment below, and let’s see if we can tackle those so you can learn more.


Is it time to get serious about this whole aromatherapy thing?

Are you loving learning about the oils and want to be able to add them to your profession?

We love mentoring students through their journey in aromatherapy and would love to help you on yours.



Sign up for our 300 Hour Aromatherapy Practitioner Course by 9/23 and get over $400 in Bonuses including:

📚 Digital copies of our Aromatic Mind Book and b
🎁 personalized collection of essential oils from Upward Spiral
💻 full year membership to the Inner Sanctum

…and more!

This offer ends 9/23 at midnight.

Get Started Today

How I’m Working Through Trauma

How I’m Working Through Trauma

Most of us will experience trauma in one form or another at some point in our lives, and plant medicine can be a wonderful healing ally during these times. 

Currently, I’m getting to know this very well.

For those of you who haven’t heard, my husband was the victim of a stray bullet that was shot into the air on the 4th of July. He’s okay, but he will carry a bullet in his neck for the rest of his life—one that just nearly missed causing sudden death or major injury. 

(Here’s some good news: If you saw our crowdfunding page, please note the recent update. Insurance is paying for his medical bills, but we’d like to use the rest of the money to help prevent these kinds of incidents from occurring.)

That’s not the point of this blog post, though. 

I’ve had the privilege (yes, I’ll call it that because I am going through all of this with him still alive and well) of learning more about how trauma affects the body and how we can work through this healing process. 


If you’re also working through trauma, here are a few things to try:


  • Talk about it. Ever since this happened, we’ve been sharing this story with our community. This is not just because we wanted to let them know what’s going on, but also because we’ve needed to keep telling it. Over the past 10 days, I’ve seen how helpful it is to do this—even though I go through all the emotions again. But each time, they begin to transform, reshape, and thus so does the story. Talking about trauma can have this weird effect where it both orients oneself in the “new reality,” while it also provides a way to let it go.


  • Use herbs. I’ve never relied so heavily on my oils and herbs. Once we realized that my husband would be released from the hospital after his injury, I knew the first thing I was going to do when we got home: make herbal tea. I make a daily tonic blend every day anyway, but I knew I needed it bad that day. It contains herbs that are not only full of vitamins and minerals, but ones that help the body deal with stress as well. You can find the recipe in my Body-Listening Cheat Sheet here. I can feel the cells in my body sing each time I sip this delicious mix, so that’s got to be good.


  • Use essential oils. Luckily, at this time, I was also working on next month’s Aromatic Meditation in the Inner Sanctum, which features Vetiver. Honestly, I couldn’t have chosen a better oil. I’ve always thought that Vetiver was particularly good for helping to clear out deep trauma. Its grounding energy helped bring me back to myself in the here and now, which is crucial when healing from PTSD. We need to affirm for ourselves that in this moment, we are safe. My husband, who is staying in Ohio to finish his training (he is even more devoted to the work of teaching adolescents to be good citizens), asked if I could send him some inhalers to use during the “hard moments” that are arising. I made him three inhalers and sent them off last weekend. Next week, I’ll share what oils I used for those. Stay tuned! : )


  • Keep moving. When times get tough, even just from the debris of daily life (and the self-judgements that can come with that), we may start to feel stuck. But remember, you’re only stuck if you stay there. I’m so grateful that I attended the Aromagnosis Teacher Training last May because I’ve been leaning hard on identifying, working with, and moving through the alchemical stages. For those of you who are new to this idea, Aromagnosis incorporates Carl Jung’s work in drawing on the seven stages of alchemy as a framework for transformation. They bring herbs and oils into this healing experience as well, and let me tell you, a lot can be done! As I’ve been moving through the aftermath of this trauma, these stages have been really helpful for me because I am better able to understand what I’m moving through and how to keep that movement going. It also gives me permission to honor the wisdom that each of these stages has for me while providing tools for how to not get stuck in them. I had already planned a Weekend Immersion where you can learn about these stages, understand how to use herbs and oils in the process, and find the healing insights within yourself to help you move forward—but now this workshop has taken on even greater significance.

If you’re ready to learn about this kind of deep healing work, I’d love for you to join this workshop. Sign up by August 1st to receive early-bird pricing. 

I know that the global healing we all need can only start in one place: within you. By that I mean, it also starts within me. I’m committed to “doing the work” to be a greater healer, therapist, educator, and just all-around person. 

Know that I support you in that journey as well. 

Thank you to everyone who’s reached out with love, support, and help with the crowdfunding. We feel doubly blessed that Sam is still with us and that we can use this experience to help show others about the effects of their actions—and that we’re all in this together. 

Let’s start healing. 

What Happens When You Study Aromatherapy

What Happens When You Study Aromatherapy

Even back in the day, I could see that she was pointing to something bigger.

It was 2005, and I was a few months into being a Licensed Massage Therapist. I had the chance to take my mom’s class as a professional. She was teaching her Basic Aromatherapy weekend workshop and I sat in as a student.

Her teaching style was lively, dynamic, and focused on what makes sense in the larger picture.

At the end of the weekend, each student made their own personal blend, or their “Individual Prescription.” Before blending oils and making these creations, we each talked about what was going on with us and what we wanted to shift mentally, physically, and spiritually.

Naturally, either because that’s the nature of these things or that’s the nature of my mom (or both), the conversations became personal, heart-opening, and deeply healing.

It wasn’t the oils. Of course, the oils helped, but I could see that it was so much more than that.

Aromatherapy allows us to look deep within ourselves and shows us the next steps in our growth.

This month in the Inner Sanctum, Mom brought this idea up in our Healing Guide. We were discussing the circulatory system, and we couldn’t help but include a lesson on healing the heart.

It’s hard for us at the Atlantic Institute to see our educational journeys as different and distinct from our personal journeys. They are increasingly one and the same—both informing the other in this beautiful dance of growth.

How has your educational journey affected you personally? Where do you see these two elements of your life intermingling?

Let us know in the comments. We love hearing about how aromatherapy is helping you.