There are few things as satisfying as making your own essential oil blends. Here are some principles for combining oils which you may find useful:
Based on biochemical makeup
Certain natural bio-chemical compounds found in essential oils have specific effects, so you can blend oils which contain a majority of this same compound. For example, the basic similiarity in the profile of Ho-Oil, Rosewood oil and Spanish Marjoram, all of which show a high percentage of linalol, a monoterpenic alcohol, would make a good synergy. We can take advantage of the tonifying, but also highly anti-bacterial, effect of this natural linalol in blending these oils together.
Based on plant family
Another approach would be to blend oils from the same genus or family, touching the underlying 'plant field' or 'resonance' which has been built into this group by Nature herself. For example combine different types of Lavender essential oils, or different types of Eucalyptus essential oils or Basil essential oils, etc. Although most often very different in their biochemistry and their olfactive notes, all these oils from the same genus follow a hidden line of sameness which can only enhance the desired therapeutic effect.
Based on plant part
Similiar to this is the method of combining oils from the same species, but stemming from different organs of the plant. For example we could combine Neroli oil (from the flower) with Bitter Orange oil (from the rind) and Petitgrain Bigarade oil (from the leaf) - all derived from the Bitter Orange tree (Citrus aurantium). Or we could take Angelica Root oil, leaf oil and Angelica Seed for creating a synergistic blend in order to enhance the anxiolytic effect of this beautiful oil.
Based on traditional wisdom
Also, if we follow information gathered from ancient folk medicine, often based on age-old wisdom, we can find guidelines which allow us to deduce elementary laws of Nature from them. Ayurveda, the wisdom of longevity from ancient India, tells us that we have to look at the doshas of plants and of the human physiology in order to recreate balance in the system. A physiology which is overheated (Pitta dosha) would not be given easily a blend with dominant Pitta-oils like Thyme essential oils, Oregano essential oils, or Savory, but rather a cooling blend such as Peppermint, Lavender, Eucalyptus essential oils. On the other hand, if we want for example to enhance the fire element (Agni) in the digestive system, we would tend to use oils which have a certain Pitta-increasing action on the human body like Cinnamon, Holy Basil, or Anise Essential Oils.
Based on physiological requirement
Also, it is usual to blend oils with the perspective to strengthen the physiology in a specific way. A blend to help digestion for example will not only focus on the stomach or the intestines but also try to give relief to the liver and also possibly to the gall bladder. And a blend to help against insomnia will not only calm the mind and soothen the nerves, but also work on underlying problems like depressiveness or negative emotions and may also include oils which have an opening anti-spasmodic effect. It is the overall feature of synergistic Aromatherapy to target different layers of the same problem and not - like in allopathic medicine - remain stuck with the symptom alone. So we look after the hidden source of the problem and try to synergistically treat different psycho-physiological levels at the same time.
An essential oil is already a synergy
Let's not forget that an essential oil is already in itself a synergy of (in most cases) numerous bio-chemical compounds. In creating plant life, Nature has dispensed countless elements, often put together in a synergistic way in this or that plant, so that one plant often can take care of many different functions simultaneously. Each plant and each oil has numerous healing effects pertaining to its specific energy field, which finds its outer expression through colour, shape, size, fragrance, compounds etc. These compounds match with the human organism in an intrinsic way like key and lock and can fill up specific holes, created by weakness or disease within the normally frictionless flow of energy throughout the physiology. The complex structure of these compounds is also the reason for the multiple healing effects of one and the same essential oil. Peppermint oil for example helps simultaneously against nervous, hepatic, skin, circulatory, immune, intestinal and psychological dosorders. Nature is in herself the best example for synergistic behaviour. On the other hand, chemical treatment of plants with substances such as herbicides, pesticides, chemical fertillizers etc. tends to decrease the richness of the phyto-chemical compounds (this has been scientifically demonstrated) and therefore diminishes the multiple healing effects of the plant kingdom.
Now, if we analyze these few examples we find that the main reason for the synergistic approach in modern aromatherapy is to increase diversity in unity. We want to create a specific effect, and in order to create it, we need to introduce complexity in an intelligent way, without disturbing the natural balance. Contrary to the allopathic approach, which tries to isolate the active principles from a plant and then, in a second step, tries to synthesize the same, Aromatherapy goes hand in hand with Mother Nature, honouring and maintaining the infinite complexity of its creations.
That is the reason why, for example, we do not want to lose the over 500 compounds of Rose Essential Oil, although the isolated methyl eugenol in Rose oil may have been found to be toxic. Nature has already - within this complexity - provided the means to balance certain compounds against certain others, so that the total of compounds of an oil usually is available in a humanly inoffensive way. Seen from the therapeutic angle, complexity increases the chance for healing and prevents unwanted side-effects.
Many compounds in Nature:
- have not been explained with regards to their healing properties
- have not been analyzed in a scientific way
- have not been fully understood in their interdependence and mutally enhancing dynamism
This does not give us the right to assume that they are useless. And so much of human physiology and its numerous ailments has not been observed in its reactions and resonance to medicinal plants.
In increasing the complexity in our blends we give human nature a higher chance to tune in with Nature herself and thus increase the curative probability and the chance for healing. It is like entering a castle with so many locked up rooms, chambers, halls, corridors. The more keys you have we have with us, the greater will be the chance to unlock the doors and enter the castle.
That's why, in the final analysis, in creating our formulas, we take inspiration from Nature and from those who were and are connected to Nature's wholeness. Nothing has been invented or just randomly put. Most of our synergies are based on ancient folk medicine and experience, confirmed by modern Aromatherapy research. This blending of ancient and modern seems to us the most reliable way for a powerful and effective plant medicine of the future.