In this episode, Jodi Sternoff Cohen shares essential oil benefits that could help with your sleep, digestion, and detoxification processes. Jodi is a bestselling author, award-winning journalist, functional practitioner, and founder of Vibrant Blue Oils. She has combined her training in nutritional therapy and aromatherapy to create unique proprietary blends of organic wild-crafted essential oils. She has helped clients heal from brain-related challenges, including anxiety, insomnia, and autoimmunity. Prioritize your health and enjoy the show.
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Essential Oil Benefits With Vibrant Blue Founder Jodi Cohen
In this episode, I’ve got a special guest with me, Carrington Beauchamp. She’s one of our super-duper health coaches at Natural Heart Doctor. Carrington has been with us for years and so many of you know her already. If you don’t know her, you got to schedule a meeting with her. Talk with Carrington, find out and pick her brain. She’s brilliant. Carrington is going to help lead the discussion with Jodi Cohen of Vibrant Blue Oils.
Jodi, good morning to you.
Thanks for having me.
Thanks for being on. Jodi Sternoff Cohen is a best-selling author, award-winning journalist, functional practitioner, and Founder of Vibrant Blue Oils, where she has combined her training in nutritional therapy and aromatherapy to create unique proprietary blends of organic and wildcrafted essential oils. What you will find is that we were going to dive into essential oils and why they can be so medicinal and powerful from a cardiovascular standpoint.
We will talk about the Vibrant Blue and why her oils are some of the best available in the market. There are a lot of different oils that are out there, but Jodi has a fantastic product. We have been using it on our patients for quite a while with tremendous success. Jodi does have her website called Vibrant Blue Oils. She is an author of the book Healing With Essential Oils and her new book, Essential Oils to Boost the Brain and Heal the Body, was released in March of 2021. Carrington and I both met Jodi at the Nutritional Therapy Association. Carrington, lead us off. What do we want to know about, Jodi?
Congratulations on your new book, Jodi. Hopefully, everyone can go and check that out. I’m excited to get it but what I would love to know is your backstory. What started you on the path of working for oils? I know you’re in nutritional therapy. Did you start there or did that come later? Where did your love of oils come from?
Someone told me that your life always makes sense in hindsight. Right out of college, I got a job in the US Senate working for Ted Kennedy on the Health and Human Resources Committee. My job was to organize the hearings, which meant I wrote all the senators’ speeches. I had to be good at research back in the day before the internet existed. Talk about baptism by fire, I was trained by the best to read research reports. I had a Journalism undergraduate degree, which was critical because I was always on deadline to get things done. I went on to be a journalist, then go into business and have kids.
My second kid was far harder than my first kid. He had diapers in all different colors, constant ear infections, and all of these issues that resulted in weird behavior. I kept taking parenting classes and reading parenting books and thinking I was doing something wrong. Our big cue as we would point to our nose and say, “Look at my nose.” He couldn’t look at our nose.
One day we were at a birthday party and a friend complimented how well he was behaving, and then the mom passed out RITZ crackers for snacks and he hid them after eating the cracker. She said, “I never saw that before. My brother was on Ritalin his whole life and it turned out he was allergic to weird foods. You should take him to a nutritionist.”
I thought, “That’s easy. I’ve done everything else.” The nutritionist in the first appointment said, “He’s allergic to corn-soy and dairy.” Two days after changing his diet, we had a different child. I thought, “This is insane. I have been banging my head against the wall for three years, and it is food. I have to learn more.” I went and got a degree in Nutritional Therapy, which is why I became an NTA.
I was trying to help moms in my position. It’s hard because kids are wiggly and they won’t sit still. I have the benefit of being in Seattle right next to Bastyr and they offer these trainings. I took one on muscle testing, which I call a very easy way to figure out what the core issue is and what the best remedy is quickly.
I was doing that in my practice. At that time, my husband was severely depressed, like sleeping most of the day. It got so bad that I thought he might die on my watch. My friend had an intervention and we moved him to a residential treatment facility. There were not any in the state of Washington. He was in one in Houston.
The moment that I knew he was safe and it wasn’t my job to keep him alive, it was safe to collapse. My exhausted adrenals hit the mat and hit it hard. My kids were 5 and 7, and I could barely function. I would get up with them, make them breakfast, take them to school, come home, crawl back into bed, and set the alarm for pickup.
Figure out what the core issue is and what the best remedy is really quickly.
I knew enough about my physiology that I was like, “I need adrenal support.” I kept ingesting all the things that I thought would help and nothing was working. After about two weeks, a good friend of mine, who I’d helped do a fundraiser, gifted me this huge box of essential oils as a thank you. When she was dropping them off, she said, “You’ve been so high stress, which is high cortisol. For so long, we have known that cortisol causes inflammation in the gut. I bet your gut is such toast that nothing you’re ingesting is getting into your system. Oils are interesting because you can inhale them and topically apply them in other channels of access. You might want to try that.”
I thought, “Why not? I’ll try anything.” I muscle tested the box, “Will anything in here helping my adrenals?” I got a strong yes, which was encouraging. I kept getting the same five oils, which was confusing to me because I normally could narrow it down to one. I had my light bulb moment and I was like, “They’re liquid. I can combine them. I can mix and match them and make my own formula,” so I did that. I tested 5 or 3 drops, and I knew enough to put them on my adrenals on the lower back. The minute I put them on, I felt better. I felt like me. I was like, “Wow.”
I could go running, clean the house and go to the supermarket. I can do laundry and put it away. All those things that felt so overwhelming. Walking up the stairs felt overwhelming and my darkest hour, so that felt like a very big win. At that time, I was pretty insomniac. I would put the kids to bed and then engage in what I call clock watching, “It’s 9:00. It’s 9:15. It’s 10:00.” At around 11:00, I was like, “I wonder if oils can help with sleep.” I made up another blend that’s now our Circadian Rhythm Blend and I slept so well. My five-year-old had to bounce on the bed to wake me up the next morning. I was like, “That was a win.”
I kept making things up because it was working. When I felt like myself, a bunch of my nutritional therapy friends wanted to try it. They were like, “This is great.” At that time, it was $200 to be a vendor at the Nutritional Therapy Conference. She said, “You should sell this.” I was like, “Someone must be doing this.”
I went online and I was surprised that no one was looking at blends through the lens of balancing organ systems and regions of the brain. I was also surprised at how complicated they made it sound. I was almost grateful that my bandwidth was so limited that I didn’t start with research because I would have felt completely unqualified and I never would’ve tried it.
This friend encouraged me. She’s like, “It’s not very expensive. Let’s go to the conference. Let’s see if it makes sense to other people.” We made 100 test kits and we went to the conference. It was Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and we sold out within the first two hours on Friday. My friend was like, “You’ve got a business.” That was how it started.
From all these different backgrounds, it gives you such a unique perspective and to have the life experience that you’ve had. The best practitioners are the people who have helped to recover themselves. It’s interesting how you got onto that journey. Carrington, in your experience, you’ve advised people on the use of oils and stuff like that. Maybe you can help direct us as to how you think, and then ask this of Jodi as well as far as when we look at individual oils and why it’s easier to come up with these different blends. How do we use our blends in our practice and what are the opportunities for cardiovascular patients?
What initially drew me to your company, Jodi, is the blends because, like what you said, there’s a huge learning curve. If someone is dealing with a lot of stress, brain fog, not feeling good, it’s very overwhelming to try to overcome that learning curve of essential oils and also to feel safe doing so. I also believe that there is an exponential compounding effect to the oils when you join them together.
Getting the benefits of not having to make your own rollerballs and figure out the blends, put them in the right ratios. To have one that you can dose specifically for the condition that you’re trying to treat and use them medicinally. That’s what drew me to yours. Is that what made you come up with the blends versus the individual ones like sandalwood or lavender? Can you speak more to that, like the benefits of blending oils?
You made a valid point. When you combine things, it is exponentially more powerful. When you start looking at the research, it’s fascinating because everyone thinks like, “Lavender for sleep.” When you look at the research, it’s never lavender in isolation. It’s always blends. Blends are by far more powerful than the single oil across the board, in every case.
There are some amazing single oils. There is nothing wrong with adding lavender to your bath. That is a fabulous choice. If you get a burn, you can use lavender. If you have a skin condition, you can use frankincense. Single oils are absolutely great. It’s like eating an apple, but if you are going to combine apple into a salad, it amplifies the flavor. There’s this synergy and alchemy to combining them. Even if you think about musical instruments or ensembles, singing adds various tones and elements, and it’s so much richer and fuller. That’s what I’m doing.
What I’ve come to realize is that a lot of people who have guts are not as healthy as they used to be for a number of reasons, like GMOs and toxicity in the environment. Most of the remedy is historically gone into the body and through the digestive channel. That’s like traffic. If there is no traffic jam, you fly. It works efficiently, but if there is any inflammation or compromise in your ability to assimilate nutrients or remedies that way, then maybe you look for the shortcut or you get off the freeway and go on a side street. What are the other ways to assimilate things into the body? The skin.
When you put something like oil on foot, you can pretty much taste it in the mouth immediately. Things travel through the skin. We use hormonal creams and nicotine patches. The other thing that is challenging is the nasal passageways. It is hard to cross the blood-brain barrier and get things into the brain. We know that essential fatty acids get through, and that’s because they are the right size and the right key to unlock that door.
The blood-brain barrier only lets super small fat-soluble molecules through, so oils and the sense of smell get in when other remedies do not. It’s taking advantage of they are natural, clean, and derived from plants. Plants are the basis of all medicine and they’re able to get into your system through these back doors when the main channel might be slightly compromised.
Let’s use this opportunity, Jodi, to maybe dive into some of the blends as they can most specifically help people with cardiovascular issues. I know you are very passionate about the autonomic nervous system, sympathetic versus parasympathetic. Much of cardiovascular disease and disease, in general, is because of an imbalance in the parasympathetic and sympathetic as it pertains to high blood pressure, atrial fibrillation, even cardiomyopathy, congestive heart failure, and so many different things. One of our favorite blends that we use is called Parasympathetic. Maybe talk about Parasympathetic and give us some guidance as to how oils can help balance the autonomic nervous system.
The autonomic nervous system controls your automatic functions, digestion, heart rate, breathing, detoxification and immune function. There are two speeds, so to speak. There’s the, “I’m in danger. I need to allocate resources toward survival.” That’s the fight or flight Sympathetic branch. It’s safe to recover and repair. That’s the Parasympathetic branch. It’s your vagus nerve, which is the longest nerve in the body, that serves as the gear shift between these two states.
I have been obsessed with the parasympathetic nervous system for decades. I got my yoga certification and I realized early on that the reason you feel better in Shavasana at the end of a yoga session than at the beginning is because the combination of breathing and twists and turns, you’re activating your vagus nerve. Your vagus nerve connects the body, body to the brain, at the very base of the skull, splits and it divides and is most accessible behind the earlobe on the mastoid bone, then it innervates the throat, the heart, the lungs, every organ of digestion and detoxification.
When it’s stimulated, it helps you shift into parasympathetic and slows the heart rate down. This was an intriguing idea to me. Originally, I thought like, “Parasympathetic relaxation. Maybe you do it with lavender, chamomile, or an aura ring, so I track my heart rate variability.” It was very disappointing because it wasn’t working. I rolled up my sleeves and delved into the research. Around 2012, there was a neuroscientist out of New York named Kevin Tracy, who was surgically implanting pacemaker-like devices behind the ear lobe on the mastoid bone to stimulate the vagus nerve, and he was getting phenomenal success.
The FDA approved it for migraines, epilepsy, and depression. I thought, “They’re very stimulatory oils,” so I started playing with the stimulatory oils like oregano, peppermint, rosemary, and clove. What that means is it might make your skin a little red. It might feel a little hot, but the clove kept testing the best. This gets back to the chemistry. Cloves have medium-sized molecules. The citrus fruits have the smallest molecules, which is why they’re so good for depression.
When you smell them, they get into the brain immediately. Lime and clove were the magic combinations. When I combine them, you could use that combination as a stimulatory acupuncture needle. You flip the bottle, you put it right on the point, and immediately it’s like a gear shift into parasympathetic, which then sends the neurotransmitter acetylcholine to slow the heart rate down. It’s like a little course correct. That was a big discovery in terms of using specific blends on specific points.
I wanted to share with you, Jodi, we got done doing a twelve-week AFib course where we took our AFib patients. We met every week with them and one of the weeks is dedicated to sympathetic and parasympathetic. We were going through different things and teaching them to activate or stimulate parasympathetic multiple times a day instead of waiting to tell you go in AFib or waiting for that stressful moment, trying to calm yourself down and how does strengthen parasympathetic.
Your Parasympathetic blend, your oil, was one of the main things that we recommended during that week. We saw great outcomes during that week. It was pretty awesome. We included that as part of our steps of 5 to 7 things to do to stimulate the parasympathetic. Are there other strategies that you would recommend in all the research that you’ve done for our patients like that?
There are so many. It’s funny that you say that because I was following Datis Kharrazian, who was screaming into the wind about the vagus nerve and parasympathetic for decades, but his strategies are like gag yourself with a tongue depressor. All of these things, like breathing exercises and box breathing, people can do. It’s breathe into the count of 4, hold for the count of 4, breathe out for the count of 8. People will do it, but compliance was horrible because everyone was terrified.
Plants are really the basis of all medicine and they’re able to get into your system through these back doors when the main channel might be slightly compromised.
With oil, they do comply. For the book, I created a free chapter. If you go to BoostTheBrainBook.com/gift, I have a whole guide of 25 strategies to activate the vagus nerve. As simple as sleeping on the right side helps to do more. If you think of using your tongue as a paintbrush and painting the roof of your mouth, you can do that. There are certain tapping exercises. Tapping on meridian points helps you activate your vagus nerve. Many roads lead to Rome, and it’s picking what’s the one that will do.
When we talk about people with high blood pressure and these different cardiovascular diagnoses, we find that people are in such sympathetic overdrive these days and chronic stress. When you’re under chronic stress and your body thinks it’s constantly being chased by a tiger, then you don’t have good digestion.
Once your digestion is off, it leads to downstream issues, whether it’s heart attacks, strokes, heart rhythm problems, cardiomyopathy, blood clots, you name it. Jodi, over the years, we’ve told people some of these different techniques of gargle, sing, hum, or even telling people to dunk their face into an ice bucket. Nobody is doing that. I know I don’t want to do that, so other people are not going to do it as well.
Compliance was easy on the essential oil but a lot lower on the ice baths and cold showers that we tried to get them to do.
Jodi, it is something again that we were talking about using, for example, the Parasympathetic blend on that area right behind the ear, on that bony process called the mastoid and trying to get access to the sensory portion of the vagus nerve and activating that system. What’s the protocol for that? Is that something that people do as needed? Is it daily? How often?
When people are starting out, I love BJ Fogg’s idea of linking a new habit to an existing habit. I tell people to leave it by their toothbrush because most people know to brush their teeth first thing in the morning before they go to bed and do it then because they will remember. When they start to notice like, “I feel better and calmer.” I try to up-level them to try to do it before meals so that it drops your nervous system into parasympathetic so you can better digest, absorb, and assimilate your nutrients.
When they start to love it and they are carrying it in their pocket, I tell them, “Use it as much as you need it.” I swear, at election night, I was using it every three minutes and I’m like, “I can have a drink or I can use my oil.” Some people leave it in their car because traffic is a big trigger for them. It’s like when you are thirsty and when you need to drink water, you know when you are feeling anxious and it helps to gearshift into Parasympathetic.
Is there an acute dosage? Essential oils are so concentrated, powerful, and strong, even one drop of them, but let’s say for an AFib patient that goes into AFib and wants to use everything they can to help them in that moment. Is more is more? What would be an acute dosage or is there not one?
I do trust innate intelligence. If you are starting to get a cold, you might megadose 500 milligrams of D three times a day for that day until your cold symptoms subside and then you’re not going to do that every day. Like election day, when our future was so uncertain, I was incredibly anxious. I did it a lot that day.
When I was in college, it was Passover and I took one matzo for breakfast or something, and they’re like, “You have one for breakfast. How many do you have for lunch?” I’m like, “It’s maybe none or one.” It’s what you feel like. As long as you are doing it at least twice a day, if it feels good and you want more, go for it. I feel like everyone is individual and they all get to make their own adventure.
You mentioned putting it on the adrenals. I have never done that before.
I have a different blend for the adrenals. I mentioned I do yoga and I’ve noticed that when my adrenals are balanced, my physical balance is better. Sometimes, I’ll try holding a free pose and if I wobble, I’ll smell the Adrenal blend and I stop wobbling. There’s this idea that every organ has its own frequency. Plants have their own frequencies. You can almost combine plants like you would mix colors. Take blue and red, and you get purple. Add some white, then it’s lavender.
If you combine different plants, you could match the resonance of a healthy organ system. It’s almost like putting a flotation device on your kid when they’re learning to swim. It teaches their body what balance is or when you’re trying to teach a kid to ride a bike. It’s a variety of factors. You are balancing and you are moving. It is not like every kid follows the same trajectory. It is mostly when the body recognizes, “This is what it feels like,” and then it can do it. We were trying to offer that external support for the organ system so it can return to balance and healthy function.
What would you find are the biggest contributing factors to throwing people out of balance and putting them in this dominant sympathetic state?
The fear of the future is the biggest thing. Mindset is everything. When you think we were all going to die tomorrow, that is hard to go on having your happy day and feeling safe. It’s a number of things. It’s your mental state, toxicity in the food there, the water, and it’s how quickly you can detoxify. When your liver, gall bladder, and lymph are compromised, the toxins linger longer and turn on the immune system, which turns on inflammation. It’s a variety of things, like lack of sleep. If I had to boil it down to three things, eat, sleep, move. If we can get you sleeping through the night, moving every day, so that blood and lymph are flowing, and if we can help manage your stress, that goes a long way.
What would you say, Dr. Wolfson? You have to have similar answers to Jodi.
That’s why we see so much sickness these days because we have had the last couple of years of fear on so many different levels. It has led to an unprecedented amount of disease going on and that constant state of sympathetic overdrive, which therefore leads to bad food. When you’re under stress, you don’t want to reach for a broccoli salad. You’re reaching for junk food, or you’re staying up late. You’re not getting the sleep. Maybe you’re spending more time indoors because you’re afraid to go outside, and now you’re inside, you’re in the artificial light.
It’s a recipe for disaster. With that being said, Jodi, what other blends do you guys have that will be beneficial to a cardiology patient? You are not making any specific product claims and stuff like that of what you guys do, but again, what blends would be beneficial for somebody with blood pressure or even somebody with maybe cholesterol issues knowing that a lot of times cholesterol elevation or abnormal levels is a liver problem? What are those blends we can use to help us out here?
Some of my favorites are we have a Circulation blend. I used to always have a cold in my hands and my feet, so I put it on my wrist points and my ankle points, and it’s amazing. It’s great with bloodflow. Also, when I was writing my book, I would put it on the back of my neck because your brain is an extremity. It would help with circulation and it does that by dilating the vasculature a little bit.
The other one that I absolutely love, because even the healthiest of this, is Lymph. If you think about how the garbage leaves our body, the cells have to be in a safe parasympathetic state to release the garbage. It goes from the lymph, blood, deliver to the gallbladder, the gut, to the toilet. Lymph doesn’t move on its own. We’ve got some lymph blends that you can do along the sides of the neck, the clavicle, under the armpits, and along the bikini line, helping to move the lymph. I often do that in combination with our circulation blend and parasympathetic.
I find that feels quite energizing. We have a heart blend that is more designed for emotional balance. I always say ground center shift. Parasympathetic helps you ground your energy so you feel safe. The more you can move into your heart space, gratitude, love, forgiveness, and all of those things, it changes your perspective and how you see the world. You can see the glasses half full and you can feel more optimistic, and then you’re able to shift yourself. Those are some of my favorites.
One of the things that you said about making the blends to overcome the learning curve, people’s resistance to using oils or starting with oils is amazing. Another resistant point was maybe them feeling like they don’t know much about it, so it’s not safe for me or they are potentially dangerous in some way. They are potent. I always tell people, “Respect it. Don’t go in here, shaking the oil and things like that. You can use a lot of it.” Is there any concern or can you offer reassurance to people that are maybe scared?
Looking at all the research, no one has ever been hurt from smelling an oil this way. This will never be a problem. If you are concerned in any way, smell it. That is the easiest thing. The concern happens when they start drinking it and when they start drinking too much. A lot of these things are like, “Don’t try this at home, kids.” Oregano can kill a lot of things. If you’re working with a practitioner that knows what they’re doing, absolutely. Are you going to drink oregano? You might kill the good with the bad. Be careful. Don’t drink it. A lot of the big companies want to increase consumption. What’s the fastest way to go through the bottle, drink it or diffuse it 24/7?
If we can get you sleeping through the night, get you moving every day, so that blood and lymph are flowing, and if we can help manage your stress, that goes a long way.
I don’t like either of those, especially diffusing if you have cats. It’s fine for dogs, but cats detoxify differently. I live in a big house. I don’t need oil in every avenue of the house. I just need it under my nose for a few seconds, so you save it better. The concern is that it can be hot like oregano. If you put it on an area and it feels like it’s burning, here’s what you do. You take another oil, anything in your house, olive oil or coconut oil, and dilute it with that.
You don’t use water on it because oil and water don’t mix, but you won’t get hurt that way. People are like, “Can I put frankincense on my open wound?” I’m like, “No, don’t use it on open wounds. Be careful.” I do try to detail basic safety practices in my book. As long as you are practicing common sense, you are not going to hurt yourself.
Jodi, tell us some of the best places to find you. Tell us a little bit more about your book, what’s inside of the book, and then how people can stay in touch with you.
You can always find me at VibrantBlueOils.com. As I mentioned, if you go to BoostTheBrainBook.com/gift, you will get 25 strategies to activate the vagus nerve. The book goes into how I was working in clinical practice. I’m not that person that there’s an oil for everything. Half the time, you don’t use oil for that.
That’s supplements or seeing a practitioner, but I do think it is great for sleeping, activating the parasympathetic nervous system, and helping with drainage, so when you are trying to get rid of garbage, it leaves the body instead of recirculating. It’s great for calming inflammation and immune modulation. I get into that in the book and explaining things because I do find that when people understand why something helps, they are more likely to use it.
I do give a lot of the recipes away because I recognize that there are people that are familiar with oils. They have a whole pantry full of oils. If they feel comfortable blending, then have fun. I want to meet people where they’re at. There is one more thing. Pine needles have an extract that is healthy. They help prevent blood clotting, that whole pine tea thing. We have a version of pine tea that we’re calling Sovereign Tea. I’ve noticed with all the shedding. I’ve never had heart arrhythmias and I’ve been experiencing that and so I apply it on the clavicle or add a couple of drops to water and that seems to nip it in the bud.
Thank you so much and cheers to your 100-year heart. We’ll see you next time.
- Vibrant Blue Oils
- Healing With Essential Oils
- Essential Oils to Boost the Brain and Heal the Body
- Nutritional Therapy Association
- Datis Kharrazian
About Jodi Cohen
Jodi Sternoff Cohen is a bestselling author, award-winning journalist, functional practitioner and founder of Vibrant Blue Oils, where she has combined her training in nutritional therapy and aromatherapy to create unique proprietary blends of organic and wild-crafted essential oils. She has helped over 150,000 clients heal from brain related challenges, including anxiety, insomnia, and autoimmunity.Jodi Sternoff Cohen is a bestselling author, award-winning journalist, functional practitioner and founder of Vibrant Blue Oils, where she has combined her training in nutritional therapy and aromatherapy to create unique proprietary blends of organic and wild-crafted essential oils. She has helped over 150,000 clients heal from brain related challenges, including anxiety, insomnia, and autoimmunity.
Her website, vibrantblueoils.com, is visited by over 500,000 natural health seekers every year, and she has rapidly become a top resource for essential oils education on the Internet today. Her first book “Healing with Essential Oils” is available on Amazon.com. Her new book “Essential Oils to Boost the Brain and Heal the Body was released March 16, 2021.