doTERRA Chemistry Wheel : Uplifting and Energizing Essential Oils

Updated: Feb 27, 2020

The people have spoken, and so here I am with a blog post about one of the most interesting parts of doTERRA and their research:

doterra chemistry wheel

the doTERRA essential oil Chemistry Wheel!

First, a little background on the wheel.Dr. David Hill is doTERRA’s Chief Medical Officer, and he has helped write and edit three editions of the “doTERRA Essential Oil Chemistry Handbook”. This book is a reference guide that provides us with all the information and tools that we need in order to fully understand how to use essential oils in the most effective manner based on their chemical properties. Since chemistry is such a foundational aspect of our world, understanding the fundamentals of it will help you learn which oils can have applications to different contexts and how they work on the human body on a deeper level. But don’t worry, I’m going to break it down and simplify.

The book is divided into three sections and one blog post could never (quickly) cover all the information that we’ve been given in the entire handbook, so I’ve decided to focus on 2 of my favorite sections: Uplifting & Energizing oils. Since we’re in the very end of February, and many people may be feeling a bit down -- maybe you’re not getting to the gym as often as you hoped, or you haven’t been eating as healthfully as you expected, or maybe you’ve just lost the spark of excitement that the beginning of 2020 gave you just two months ago? No worries! This blog post is going to give you the ins-and-outs of the Energizing and Uplifting parts of the Chemistry Wheel so that you can get excited again, and get back on your journey towards whatever goals you’ve set for yourself, be it happiness and excitement or overall health!

Uplifting: These oils are meant to be inspiring. They encourage feelings of exhilaration and refreshment.

Energizing: These oils are used to bring feelings of motivation and activation. They tend to be brisk, naturally stimulating oils that help wake up the mind and body.

The Chemistry Wheel is actually 2 wheels, each with two sides to them. The wheel that we will be focusing on is the one about oils with a monoterpene backbone - meaning that each oil shares the same 10-carbon backbone. Take a look at the wheel, surrounding the black center is a grey ring with the names of each functional group. The uplifting oils are primarily monoterpenes while the energizing oils are alcohols, ketones, and phenylpropenes.

Each of these functional groups influences lots of aspects of the oils, from how fast they evaporate to how easily they will get absorbed into your skin!

essential oil ingredients & benefits

Monoterpenes: will usually be soothing to the emotions, but can also be used for their cleaning properties and to provide antioxidant support for the immune system.

Alcohols: usually have relaxing aromas that help soothe anxious feelings, have cleansing properties that help the skin look young and healthy, and always support the circulatory system!

Ketones: are either energizing or uplifting, they keep the skin looking clean and can support dozens of different things from digestive discomfort to nervous system function.

Phenylpropenes: have energizing aromas, support skin health and appearance, and support the cardiovascular system by promoting healthy blood flow.

Surrounding the functional group is the scientific name of each of the oils within the group. These are extremely important, but some people like to learn the greek or latin names of each oil!

Now, why is the chemistry wheel such an important source to have in your back pocket and handy at all times? Oftentimes people will reach for one oil which they know has a specific property because it’s been talked about by their upline, in the media, or in a book they’ve read. However, something may go wrong. It may not work, or they may not like the smell. Let’s take an oil we all know is uplifting as an example :

doterra wild orange essential oil

Wild Orange. Everyone talks about it and everyone knows about it, but what if I just HATED the smell of orange and all other citrus essential oils, or maybe citrus just never made me feel better?! I may feel a bit discouraged and think that no essential oil could ever help me feel uplifted when I’m down. If I didn’t have the Chemistry Wheel, I’d just abandon the process and go back to conventional means of uplifting my mood (and maybe not a healthy one). However, having the Chemistry Wheel as a resource allows me to find other oils with the same chemical properties that will help with whatever I need. For example, I could try out using Pink Pepper or Celery Seed, two non-citrus oils that are known for their uplifting chemical constituents.

So next time you’re feeling a bit down that oil hasn’t been working out for you, or that you don’t love the smell of a certain oil you know can help uplift or energize or relax you, reach for doTERRA’s Chemistry Wheel and try something new! Trust the process and you will learn which oils work best for you!


Aroma Profiles of Uplifting Essential Oils

Celery Seed - Sweet, warm, earthy, spicy

Green Mandarin - Citrus, fruit, slightly sweet and floral

Bergamot - Citrus, spice, with a light floral note

Wild Orange - Sweet, fresh, citrus

Tangerine - Tangy, sweet, fresh

Grapefruit - Citrus, floral, fruity

Lemon - Clean, fresh, citrus, bright

Lime - Citrus, tart, sweet

Pink Pepper - Spicy, fruity, slightly woody

Blue Tansey - Fruity, mellow, balsamic

Douglas Fir - Clean, fresh, woody, airy

Aroma Profiles of Energizing Essential Oils

Peppermint - Minty, fresh, herbaceous

Spearmint - Sweet, minty, fresh

Fennel - Licorice, sweet, honey

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