Oils for Your Ayurvedic Type (with Recipes!)

Article by Emily Bowles

Ayurvedic medicine tailors therapy individually to each patient’s unique history, as well as their specific physical, emotional, mental, and energetic needs. Prevention is key, and specific diet and lifestyle choices make up the most of the treatment. Each patient’s body is viewed as a unique expression of chemistry and mystery. One brilliant way to develop a better understanding of the body is found in the science of ayurveda.

Consider how some people are more sensitive to cold weather, while others must avoid spicy foods to care for their digestion. And we all know that person who gets extra cranky from missing a meal. There are easy-going, slow-paced people with better long-term memory, and the excitable, creative types who are quick to learn yet quick to forget. For some people, it is natural to be heavy, sturdy, and reliable, and for others–they are slender, lively, and bubbling with joy.

Then there is the average built, focused, sharp, and self-confident entrepreneur. This person, for example, has a healthy sense of competition, although they tend to have more sensitivity to aggression when their energy becomes imbalanced. These characteristics are all reflections of various doshic energies.

The five elements that flow in nature—Earth, Water, Fire, Air, and Space (Ether)—react with each other in various ways, combining to form energies making up all the matter under the sun. Ayurveda has identified three distinct categories of these energies that make up body/mind types, called doshas.

We all embody some combination of these three energies in our constitution, but there will be one or two existing predominantly in your body type. There are seven possible combination types: the Vata, the Pitta, and the Kapha type, then there is the Vata-Pitta, Pitta-Kapha, and the Kapha-Vata type, as well as a Tri-Doshic type, where all three energies are present in a balanced state. Knowing your dominant dosha can help with the essential oil selection process, as well as in the creation of any diet, supplement, or detox regime.

Vedic sciences consult ancient wisdom to help tailor lifestyle choices that celebrate our personal traits—balancing the natural rhythm of our body/mind with the rhythms of nature. When it comes to choosing an essential oil, it is always recommended to be aware of the shifting needs of ourselves and the environment from season to season. Always select essential oils from well-known distributors who grow plants in their native locations and in season. Look for therapeutic grade oils that advertise the safe ingestion of their products.

To determine your dosha, see the infographic below. Note each quality that reminds you of yourself. Find the doshic category (or two!) with the most similarities, which best resonates with you. Try not to assess yourself based on times when you felt imbalanced or ill, but rather on a general, overall perspective of your entire life.


Recommended Oils:

For Vata: Warm and Grounding

Sesame, Olive, Almond, Safflower, Coconut, Peanut, Avocado, Aloe, Camphor, Wintergreen, Turmeric, Ginger, Black Pepper, Clove, Cardamom, Cinnamon, Garlic, Lavender, Peppermint, Oregano, Basil, Rosemary, Saffron, Sage, Chamomile, Bergamot, Lemon, Lime, Orange, Grapefruit, Neroli, Rose, Geranium, Jasmine, Patchouli, Labdanum, Lemongrass, Sandalwood, Vanilla, Myrhh

For Pitta: Floral and Citrus

Sunflower, Coconut, Flaxseed, Peanut, Safflower, Sesame, Aloe, Rose, Lotus, Dandelion, Chamomile, Neroli, Lavender, Rose-Geranium, Jasmine, Gardenia, Honeysuckle, Peppermint, Rosemary, Basil, Saffron, Sage, Turmeric, Ginger, Garlic, Lemon, Lime, Orange, Grapefruit, Sandalwood, Frankincense, Vetiver

For Kapha: Warm and Stimulating

Sunflower, Almond, Avocado, Peanut, Sesame, Walnut, Flaxseed, Pumpkin seed, Safflower, Aloe, Grapefruit, Orange, Neroli, Clove, Cardamom, Cinnamon, Cayenne, Black Pepper, Cedarwood, Wintergreen, Camphor, Eucalyptus, Peppermint, Oregano, Saffron, Sage, Rosemary, Basil, Lavender, Cilantro, Garlic, Ginger, Turmeric, Carrot, Frankincense, Myrhh, Bergamot

Here are some recipes that will be the most therapeutic for your personal doshic body type.

For Vata:

Turmeric Almond Milk:

Energize and Strengthen

2-3 Cups Almond Milk

2-3 Drops Turmeric Essential Oil

Drink every day. The heaviness of the almond milk is grounding and soothing for vata types. Almonds are of a very high vibration. The Turmeric oil is anti-inflammatory, heals the digestion and liver, and is full of detoxifying and anti-oxidant properties. Turmeric benefits the joints, skin, and hair. The oil makes supplementing with Turmeric super convenient and effective. There’s no mess or prep!

Lavender Lemonade

Calm and Cleanse

1-2 Lemons

3 Drops Lavender Essential Oil

Juice the lemons, add the lavender oil, and any honey or sweetener to taste.

It’s best for vata types to avoid cold beverages—so leave out the ice. You can add some water if you like, but it can also be taken like a shot, as a daily supplement. Lemons are sunny and warm—the high vitamin C, fiber, and citric acid content make them good for the belly. The high potassium levels are good for your heart. Yellow is associated with happiness, and the B-complex vitamins in lemons are great for the brain. Lavender soothes insomnia and stress. It is antibacterial, antifungal, carminative (muscle relaxing), sedative, and anti-depressive.

Essential Courage Blend in Sesame Olive Oil

Ground in Courage

Blend Basil, Myrhh, Lavender, Labdanum, Lemongrass, Patchouli, Sandalwood, Grapefruit, Bergamot, and Rosemary with Sesame and Olive Oils. Apply to skin, or inhale and diffuse. This blend invokes a happier mood with comforting and soothing aromas, to help overcome fear.

For Pitta:

Cucumber Iced Green Tea with Lemon & Peppermint Oils

Cool and Uplift

1 Tb Matcha Powder, Loose Leaf, or 2 Green Tea Bags

2 Cups Water

2-3 Drops Lemon Essential Oil

1-2 Drops Peppermint Essential Oil

1 Cucumber

Ice Cubes

Drizzle with Honey or Agave

Add ingredients to blender. If using loose leaf or tea bags, steep the tea for ten minutes first—let chill, and then blend with the other ingredients. Peppermint brings a cooling and soothing sensation with antimicrobial properties. It’s good for digestion and is stimulating. Lemon is a thirst quencher with antibacterial and antifungal properties. Both peppermint and lemon alleviate nausea.

 Aloe Avocado Oatmeal Face Mask with Frankincense & Lavender

Soothe and Glow

1 Aloe Vera Leaf or 1 Tb Aloe Gel

Half of an Avocado

¼ Cup Oats

5 Drops Lavender Oil

5 Drops Frankincense Oil

Cut the Aloe Vera leaf horizontally, and scoop out the gel. Combine with the avocado and raw oats in a food processor and blend until a smooth paste is formed. Add the Frankincense and Lavender oils and mix thoroughly. Apply to clean face and body, wear for 20-60 minutes, and rinse.

Lavender soothes the mood and the skin. It’s an anti-fungal, circulatory stimulant. Increased blood flow to the skin means faster traveling nutrients and oxygen, and healthier cell turnover. Lavender also reduces blemishes, large pores, and wrinkles. Frankincense is an astringent that protects skin cells—it lifts and tones the skin, treating wrinkles, and stretch marks. Both lavender and frankincense are both antiseptic, disinfectant, and anti-inflammatory.

Belly Massage with Rose-Geranium in Sunflower Carrier Oil

Balance and Restore

To cool the body/mind, relieve stress and depression, and minimize inflammation—dilute Rose-Geranium essential oil in a Sunflower carrier oil. Massage around the belly moving in a clockwise direction, to help stimulate the digestive system, increase circulation, reduce blood pressure, and balance the emotions and hormones. [Substitute rose, vetiver, or neroli oil.]

For Kapha

Diffuse Neroli {Orange Blossom} & Clove Oil

Purity and Joy

Cotton Ball or Diffuser

3-5 Drops Neroli Oil

2-3 Drops Clove Oil

Diffuse Neroli and Clove oil on a cotton ball in your car’s vent, for focused and upbeat vibes, and to clean and purify the air of any unwanted micro-organisms. Stick cloves into unpeeled oranges, and leave around the house to purify the air and to bring a sense of warm joy to the atmosphere. Clove is a brain stimulator, energy booster, analgesic, and keeps away insects. Neroli’s fragrance is an anti-depressant and eases digestion.

Practice Dry Rubbing & Wet Sock Treatments with Eucalyptus or Rosemary Oil

Easy Breath

Rough Textured Glove or Loofah

1 Pair Cotton Socks

1 Pair Wool Socks

Heating Pad or Warm Rice Bag

Eucalyptus and/or Rosemary Oil

Take a pair of cotton socks and rinse them out in the sink with cold water. Ring out the socks, then leave them in the freezer. Use a dry textured glove or loofah to self-massage the feet and body, moving toward the heart. This stimulates the lymph system.

Apply a heating pad or warm rice bag to the feet for five minutes. Take the frozen cotton socks out of the freezer. Rub a couple drops of Eucalyptus and/or Rosemary Oil onto the feet, an optional moisturizer like coconut oil or shea butter, and then put on the frozen socks. Take out the wool socks and wear them over the cold cotton ones, and immediately go to bed.

Sleep like this for three days in a row, and it will treat any symptoms of sinus or respiratory imbalance. Eucalyptus is an antispasmodic, deodorant, stimulating decongestant. Rosemary contains analgesic, anticancer, antifungal, antioxidant, disinfectant, and expectorant properties. They are both anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial.

Black Pepper & Cedarwood Blend

Hot and Happy

Combine equal parts Black Pepper and Cedarwood Oils, with carrier oil (like avocado, almond).

Apply to skin and inhale throughout the day, pausing to take some deep breaths. Connect with your core strength, and allow the aroma to energize and cleanse your space while your breath enlightens you.

Black pepper is a digestive, diaphoretic, aperient, antispasmodic, antirheumatic, antarthritic, antibacterial, antioxidant muscle relaxer. Cedarwood is an anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antispasmodic, tonic, emmenagogue, insecticidal, fungicidal, diuretic, astringent, and expectorant sedative.

When black pepper and cedarwood oils are combined, a very pleasant affect is achieved. This blend is effective in reducing the symptoms and the impact of negative emotion on the body.

For All Doshas:

Peppermint Ginger Hot Tea

Strong Bellies & Deep Breaths

1 Piece Fresh Ginger Root, 1”

1 Tb Peppermint Leaves or 2 Tea Bags

2 Cups Water

1-2 Drops Peppermint Essential Oil

Wash, peel, and slice the ginger root into thin coins. Boil a pot of water on high heat to a boil. Add the ginger and let it boil gently for ten minutes. Turn off heat, add the leaves (in a strainer or bag) and let steep (covered) for ten more minutes. Add a couple drops of Peppermint Essential Oil. This is an excellent tri-doshic treatment for all digestive, metabolic, and respiratory concerns. Pitta types should drink chilled.

On Carrier Oils:

When choosing a carrier oil for diluting more potent essential oils and creating blends—select an oil that will balance your dosha. Shea butter is anti-inflammatory, rich, nourishing, grounding, and hydrating. Coconut oil is non-greasy, anti-bacterial, and rich in anti-oxidants—preventing free-radical damage. These are perfect for tri-doshic types. Sunflower oil is kapha and pitta balancing—lightweight, cooling, with quick absorption. It’s rich in essential fatty acids, ideal for those with sensitivities or allergies. Sunflower oil treats irritation, inflammation, sunburn, and acne. Sesame and olive oils are vata pacifying. They are heavy, warming, deeply penetrating, and grounding. They both deeply hydrate dry skin, calm the nervous system, and nourish joints.

The advice given in this article is for personal information and interest only. It is not intended to offer professional medical advice or treatment for any condition. I do not encourage self-diagnosis. I recommend that you consult a medical professional if you have any health concerns whatsoever. I also advise making an appointment with a local aromatherapist or clinical ayurvedic specialist who can take a full case history and offer you tailored treatment advice. Celebrate your life, listen to your body’s needs, and enjoy the exploration. Namaste.

Emily Bowles is a Yoga Alliance certified Hatha yoga instructor—currently living and teaching in Northern California. She is a Reiki level II practitioner and essential oil wellness advocate, engaged in daily healing and self-liberation. She is about to release her first children’s book, and currently studying pre-med sciences to become a naturopathic physician. Emily maintains a personal piyo, core power, and yin yoga practice, believing that all things are possible—yoga being the dance, the lifestyle, and the vehicle that bridges us closer together, to our higher selves, and to home. She wants to remind you that you must never give up. Your dreams are alive within, waiting on you to manifest the courage and make them real. Her website link: Queenbeeapiary.com ॐ

One thought on “Oils for Your Ayurvedic Type (with Recipes!)

  • August 31, 2017 at 2:04 pm

    Great article, Emily! Thank you. We certainly do experience better results from our treatments when our particular constitutional types are addressed.

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