Mary Anderson Interviews Johann Callaghan about the Benefits of Essential Oils


Johann Callaghan talks to Mary Anderson on NearFM (90.3) Lifeline about the benefits of essential oils and how they can help you in your everyday life. Johann talks about the power of inhalation, how to use the oils and what to look out for when you are buying essential oils.


Mary: Well, I told you we were going to a great conversation this morning about all things essential oils, and I have on the line with me, Johann Callaghan, an aromatherapist. Hello Johann.

Johann: Hi Mary. How are you this morning? I’m doing fantastic, especially after your meditation. Thank you for that.

Mary: Ah did you enjoy that.

Johann: Oh, it was amazing!

Mary: And did you dance in the kitchen?

Johann: I sure did, with my dishcloth.

Mary: With your dishcloth, like a pasodoble, flinging it around lol

Mary: So you are going to talk to us a little bit this morning about essential oils and a lot of people are beginning to turn to essential oils to help them in everyday life, why is that, what are the benefits of essential oils, what do we get from essential oils?

Johann: 0:52 Absolutely, well the power of smell with essential oils is really what’s attracting the people and how the oils are making people feel. Essential oils work on all levels of the body, so they work physically on the body so if you have a sore knee or a muscle ache you can use the oils for that process, you can use the oils to life the spirits on a spiritual level and also on a mental level and emotional level. And really what’s coming to mind with people is the effects of inhalation with the essential oils are really starting to be acknowledged now. We don’t actually appreciate the power of smell, we take it for granted. Just to give you an indication, with smell and all our senses, how it works with the brain, when you inhale a smell it goes up into the olfactory bulb and into the nervous system and into the amygdala and then into the limbic system. This is the emotional seat of the brain.

Mary: 2:00 So the amygdale is our emotional space.

Johann: Yeah, exactly. The sense of smell is the only thing that will activate the amygdale and this helps to recall memories. Through the process of conditioning from when we where growing up, from our parents, society and teachers etc., we’ve learnt to associate smells with different things. We hold a lot of emotions in different parts of our body, we are not aware of this, we don’t acknowledge this. The essential oils help to facilitate the process of releasing all these emotions in a safe environment. It’s profoundly effective and it works quite quickly aswell. When you inhale a smell it’s only 1 synapse away from the limbic brain. You sense of sight and sound is about 3-4 synapse, they go through the thalamus (central hub of the brain) which redirects the signal to the visual cortex or where ever else in the brain. Whereas smell is 1 synapse, so it is profoundly effective.

Mary: 3:15 And the synapse would be the junction where it travels through.

Johann: Yeah, in the nervous system.

Mary: So that would make sense, sounds like its an explanation why we can have a smell that takes us immediately back to childhood or some positive memory like the smell of my mother baking breads.

Johann: 3:40 Yeah and the thing to remember is we know certain oils are good for certain things. For example lavender essential oil, we know is calming and cooling but lavender was a big favourite smell years ago. Your grandmother could have grown the lavender our her back garden and your grandmother could have beat you around with a sweeping brush and you could have hated your grandmother so when you smell lavender again you are not going to like it cause it reminds you or your grandmother. So you have to like the smell to work with it.

Mary: And essential oils can have a negative effective?

Johann: Absolutely, like the grandmother.

Mary: Yeah, my mother used to always give me milk of magnesia when I was young. When I became a nurse, and I would give this to a patient, it would remind me of that yukey smell, even though I wasn’t taking it. So smells are very powerful.

Johann: Yeah, and when you are smelling something, the first thought that comes to mind is “oh what does that remind me of”? and you are trying to associate it with a person or an experience or a situation. That’s what’s going on in the brain when you are smelling a smell.

Mary: 5:13 How can we use essential oils? Is smell the only way or are there other things we can do to use them?

Johann: No, a lot of people associate essential oils and aromatherapy with massage. Aromatherapy is a stand alone treatment aswell. You can diffuse essential oils in the air to kill airbourne germs. Lemongrass, eucalyptus and tea tree are good. I love the eucalyptus radiate because it’s more gentle that the other eucalyptus. So you can use essential oils to kill airbourne germs and also to get rid of those excess positive ions in the air. We have so many devices in our homes from tablets, laptops, tv screens, mobile phones and they produce positive ions in the air (static electricity). So the essential oils helps to neutralise them. Also we have the aroma which gives that uplifting smell or calming smell or whatever mood you are looking for. You can also use it topically. So you can add some drops to your shower gel, or a lotion or cream or you can make an oil blend. Just get some almond oil (basic vegetable oil) and add some drops to it and you have a massage blend. I do have a lot of recipes on my blog, so you can get them there. There are lots and lots of ways to use essential oils.

Mary: 7:15 So I was reading the other day, that a lady who has epstein barrs, a virus, and she was using tea tree oil (melaleuca). She used it topically and she also used it in capsules. She had black mould in her blood. She used a combination of cinnamon and other essential oils and she used them in capsules. Is this a way to take them?

Johann: 7:45 I don’t really go down that path of ingesting essential oils. I haven’t really done a lot of research in that area but it would be a last resort. There are lots of other ways you can use essential oils before you start ingesting them. I know a lot of people put drops of oils in water and use capsules to get them straight down into the stomach. But just be mindful that the oesophagus is only one cell thick so you need to be very experienced and know what you are doing when you are ingesting essential oils.

Mary: 8:25 So we can inhale them, we can use them topically (diluted) and they can help us release emotions and feel better in ourselves. So what so of tips would you give if someone is looking to buy an essential oi? What do they need to see on the label when they are buying them?

Johann: 8:55 That’s very important. Essential oils are so potent and to give you an example it takes 50 roses to make 1 drop of essential oil so you can appreciate the cost of some of the oils. So jasmine and rose are very expensive oils and you would be looking to pay about 40 – 50 euro for a 10ml bottle of oil. There are other essential oils that are more cost effective oils that you can buy like your lavender, lemon and all the citrus essential oils. The one thing to look out for is it must have the latin name on the label and that denotes what plant it comes from and what part of the plant and the country of origin. Also know your supplier, make sure you know your supplier. Essential oils go through a series of tests aswell. You should be able to get a safety sheet, if you are in the business of aromatherapy. But just for the regular buyer, make sure the latin name is on the bottle and the country of origin and know that it is a reputable reseller you are buying from.

Mary: 10:15 Now you yourself are running an online course to help people understand better how to use essential oils for their own health and wellness.

Johann: It’s and amazing course. I have lots of students lined up on it at the moment. It’s a five week course and I have a special offer that I’ll tell you about in a few seconds.

Mary: Yeah, if you could just tell us a little bit about the course so people could know and then tell us about how people can find out more information.

Johann: Sure, it’s a five week course. I did a survey and I asked people what is it that frustrates you what is it that really keeps you up at night in relation to your health and well-being. So, the response I got back was that a lot of people are fed up with the cold and flu epidemic in the winter season, the second thing I got back was a lot of people are experiencing a lot of allergies and skin irritations, psoriasis and eczema and the last thing was people are having great difficulties around sleeping so getting to sleep and staying asleep. So I designed the course around those three topics. So using essential oils and healthy living, holistic living. I bring a bit of diet and nutrition into it and lifestyle aswell. So on the course I teach you how to make up your own products and it’s a very simple process that only takes 5 minutes. That’s my mantra it only takes 5 minutes to make up.

Mary: I love it!

Johann: 11:42 Yeah, we are so busy, mothers are so buys. We have kids to take care of and men can be a big job aswell sometimes lol. I don’t know whose worse, the kids or the men! I’m talking about making oil blends, balms recipes for kids if they have chesty coughs. You can rub it in through the feet aswell. The oils get into the system within 30 seconds if you do a foot rub. It’s great for relaxing the children and helping them get to sleep aswell. And then I have lots of recipes like aromatherapy inhalers that you can use and I give you a wind down routine that you can use before you go to bed at night. So you’ll see me in the kitchen making us these products aswell. Everything is converted into an audio file aswell, so if you are in an area where there is bad internet you can just listen to the audio or if you prefer to just read you can download the transcript in a pdf file.

Mary: That’s amazing! So how can people find out about you and where can they find out more information about this.

Johann: 12:55 Ok, so I have a website You’ll find all the courses there you can enrol in the school to access some of the free videos and you can also enrol on the paid courses. For the listeners today, you can go to therapeutic-healing/offer you will get 50% off the course of that course until the end of this month.

Mary: 13:44 Thank you so much Johann for coming on and helping us understand a little bit more about how essential oils help us feel better, be better and to remember good things.

Johann: It’s my pleasure Mary. Thank you so much, Have a great day!

Mary: I will, you do the same. Bye bye.

Johann: Thank you, bye bye.

Mary: And that was Johann Callaghan, Aromatherapist, telling us how essential oils can help us take better care of ourselves.

Oil Burner

What is the difference between an oil diffuser and an oil burner?


People have asked me many times what is the difference between an oil diffuser and an oil burner and which one is better. I use both interchangeable and I enjoy both but have preferences for when I use them.

Oil Burner

The oil burner consists of a bowl on top that is filled with water and essential oils. The tea light candle is placed underneath it and heats up the water. The steam carries the essential oils into the air. The therapeutic properties of the essential oil are somewhat degraded through the heating process. It changes the molecular structure and this is what reduces the therapeutic benefits. This method is suited for aromatic purposes as a nice natural air freshener. I personally love the flame aswell.

Oil Diffuser

There are two types of oil diffusers: A nebuliser and an Ultrasonic humidifier.

Ultrasonic Humidifier

The ultrasonic humidifier uses a mixture of water and essential oils. The water carries the essential oils into the air. This cool mist is not heated and safe to use in childrens’ bedrooms. You can also use a portable diffuser for your car.


The nebuliser uses pure essential oils only, requires no heat and does not use any water. It uses pressurised air to atomise the essential oils into micro particles. The aroma is quite potent and remains in the air for a number of hours.

Inhalation is one of the most effective ways of using essential oils. It is a great way to kill airbourne germs and helping to lift moods. The aromatic molecules reaches the limbic brain via the olfactory system and so has an impact on our physical, emotional and spiritual well-being.

Here are some oils that you can use:

Lavender: Calming, relaxing, de-stressing. Great before bed.
Lemon: Cleansing, air purifier. Helps fight colds and flus.
Peppermint: Focus, Stimulating. Great if you are studying.

If you liked this article and would like to find out more, visit Johann’s online courses.

Which do you prefer, oil burner or oil diffuser? Comment below.


Exploring Aromatherapy for Emotional Wellbeing


Essential oils have a major effect in heightened emotional states such as grief and sadness. They have a strong connection to our emotional wellbeing.

The olfactory system includes anything in our body that affects our sense of smell. During inhalation the olfactory system can detect molecules, identify millions of odorants and remember them. When inhalation takes place, these tiny molecules passes through the membranes and into the blood stream. The trigger signal is sent to the limbic system and the amygdale in the brain. This part of the brain stores and releases emotional trauma. The only way to stimulate this gland is with the sense of smell. This is also known as the emotional brain and can sometimes trigger emotions such as rage, fear, happiness etc causing physiological and psychological effects.

Essential oils don’t just support the limbic system but also the hypothalamus, the hormonal centre of the brain. They enter the blood stream and support whatever body systems are out of balance. The hypothalamus plays an important role in regulating the bodies systems when in stress. Essential oils have a major effect therefore in heightened emotional states such as grief and sadness.

Past memories can be associated with particular aromas and may have a positive of negative effect. Rose oil is known for helping in times of grief. If you had a loving grandmother who often smelled of roses, your reaction when smelling rose may differ than if you had an abusive grandmother. If your grandmother died, the past associations would have an impact every time you smelled roses. Do not use oils if they create negative feelings or if you simply do not like the smell.


Pick a favourite oil, and every time you do a relaxing activity like meditation, or reading a book, diffuse the oil or practice inhalation from the bottle. If you do this repeatedly, that scent will be associated with that activity and its calm restful atmosphere. This is known as anchoring the aroma. Then when you need to regain that calm, smell the oil and you will be instantly transported to that state of mind.

Below is a list of essential oils commonly known to help with emotional states. When using any oil, it is important to follow all safety guidelines relating to the particular oil.

Anger/Mood Swings Uplifting Low Mood Exhaustion Fear
Clary sage Geranium Bergamot Basic Bergamot
Frankincense Grapefruit Clary Sage Bergamot Clary Sage
Geranium Lemon Frankincense Black Pepper Frankincense
Grapefruit Mandarin Geranium Clary Sage Neroli
Jasmine May Chang Hyssop Eucalyptus R Chamomille
Lemon Ravensara Melissa Geranium Sandalwood
Mandarin Rose Neroli Ginger Vetiver
Petitigrain S Orange R Chamomille Lemon
Roman Chamomile Rose Patchouli
Rose S Orange Rosemary
Sweet Orange Ylang Ylang Vetiver