Essential oils can be a vital part of your health and wellness routine. Despite them being quite a hot topic right now, the science behind why essential oils work is fascinating. Jodi Sternoff Cohen, the founder of Vibrant Blue Oils, joins me today to talk all about essential oils for health.
Listen to the Episode
Essential Oils are Most Effective for Five Specific Things:
- Balancing the Nervous System
- Supporting Restful Sleep
- Helping Move Lymph Flow and Circulation
- Calming the Endocrine System
- Modulating the Immune System
About Jodi Sternoff 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 50,000 clients heal from brain-related challenges, including anxiety, insomnia, and autoimmunity. For the past ten years, she has lectured at wellness centers, conferences, and corporations on brain health, essential oils, stress, and detoxification. She has been seen in The New York Times, Wellness Mama, Elephant Journal, and numerous publications.
Her website, vibrantblueoils.com, is visited by over 300,000 natural health seekers every year, and she has rapidly become a top resource for essential oils education on the Internet today.
Jodi would like to talk about her new book – “Essential Oils to Boost the Brain and Heal the Body”, She can talk about the Parasympathetic state and how it can support your health.
How Essential Oils Work
Jodi Sternoff Cohen started her journey into oils after she’d exhausted what seemed like all other options. But once she discovered the science behind essential oils and started mixing her own blends, Jodi finally felt like herself for the first time in years.
One of the reasons essential oils work so well is that their scent goes directly to your brain – one of the most difficult parts of your body to treat for any illness. But Jodi cautions against using any oil, even some of the leading ones on the market, as not all oils are of equal quality. Jodi recommends using organic oils only – especially since you’re smelling and ingesting them.
Jodi gives some great insight into who should use essential oils and how they work. While essential oil use is beneficial for many conditions, from mental health to physical health, there are some illnesses you shouldn’t use oils to treat. Oils essentially work by creating a positive interaction with your Vagus Nerve, the largest nerve in our bodies, which helps promote your body’s own healing.
How to Use Essential Oils
There are many different ways to use essential oils. Jodi’s preferred methods are direct inhalation (breathing in through the nostrils) or applying to the skin. When applying the oils to the skin, it’s important to use a carrier oil, such as high-quality, organic coconut oil.
Essential oil use is extremely beneficial for middle-aged women in particular as it aids in so many different parts of your life and health. But it’s not solely women who can benefit from oils, men, children, and pets can, too!
Jodi gives us her best tips for working with essential oils for your children and pets. Her advice? Let your kids pick their own – it helps to strengthen their intuition and bond with the oils.
Finally, Jodi wants you to know that it’s okay if you don’t like the smell of oil. You don’t need to use it. Trust yourself to pick the oils you need to use.
Do you use essential oils? What’s your favorite oil to use? Let me know in the comments below!
“Trust yourself. Trust your intuition. If something smells artificial, avoid it.” [15:52]
“The on-off switch between the sympathetic branch of the nervous system and the parasympathetic branch is the longest nerve in the body that most people have never heard of: It’s your Vagus Nerve, Cranial Nerve #10. Anatomy lesson: Starts at the very base of the skull, winds around both sides – if you feel behind your earlobe right now, that’s your mastoid bone that you’re feeling. That’s where your Vagus Nerve is most accessible to the surface. It innervates the throat, mouth, larynx, heart, lungs, every organ of digestion and detoxification. It’s a bi-directional communication system. This is how the brain communicates to the body and how the body communicates to the brain. Anywhere that it touches and innervates, like the lungs, can activate your sympathetic calm-down branch. Like if you do yoga and wonder why you always feel great during Savasana, it’s because of the breathing and the postures. You’re stimulating your Vagus Nerve, you’re activating your parasympathetic nervous system, and you’re basically turning on your ability to heal. That’s where oils are super magical.” [20:36]
“The more obstacles you put in someone’s way, the harder it is for them to actually adhere to it. That was the point of the book: I give you the exact recipe if you want to do it yourself, fabulous. If that’s not your cup of tea, I’ll do it for you. It’s trying to meet people where they’re at and give them more information to use oils in an even more robust way to support their healing.” [35:09]
In This Episode
- What oil blend helped Jodi feel herself for the first time in years [6:30]
- Why smell is the fastest route to the brain [14:00]
- How to choose a safe and organic essential oil [15:30]
- What health conditions essential oils are best for [18:00]
- What the role of carrier oil is [22:30]
- How essential oils are beneficial to middle-aged women [31:00]
- How children can use essential oils [37:00]
- What pets and animals can be exposed to essential oils [47:00]
Links & Resources
Use Code BLUEPRINT10 for $10 Off
Jodi Sternoff Cohen 0:04
So I finally went online and did the research, and was super surprised by two things. The first was no one was really looking at oil blends through the lens of physiology the way I was. And the second thing that surprised me was how complicated they made it. And I was almost grateful that I didn't have the mental capacity to start with research because I would have felt completely unqualified and never tried it.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 0:28
Welcome to the longevity blueprint podcast, I'm your host, Dr. Stephanie gray. My number one goal with the show is to help you discover your personalized plan to build your dream house and live a longer, happier, truly healthier life.
You're about to hear from Jody Cohen, founder of vibrant blue oils, who's a leading expert on essential oils. If you've been curious about oils and have had questions like I did, you're not going to want to miss this episode. we dive into everything what makes an oil quality? What dilution you should know carrier oils you should use? How do you use oils with kids and even pets? Let's get started.
Thanks for joining me for another episode of The your longevity blueprint podcast today I have on as a guest Jody Cohen. Jodi stern off Cohen is a best selling author award winning journalist, functional practitioner and founder of vibrant blue oils, where she has combined her training and nutritional therapy and a Roma therapy to create a unique proprietary blend of organic and wildcrafted essential oils. She's helped over 50,000 clients heal from brain related challenges including anxiety, insomnia, and autoimmunity. For the past 10 years she has lectured at wellness centers, conferences and corporations on brain health, essential oils, stress and detoxification. She has been seen in the New York Times wellness Mama Elephant journal and numerous publications. Her website vibrant blue oils calm is visited by over 300,000 Natural Health seekers every year, and she has rapidly become a top resource for essential oil education on the internet today. So welcome to the show. Jody, thank you.
Jodi Sternoff Cohen 2:06
Thanks for having me.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 2:07
Well, tell me your story. How did you become so passionate about essential oils? And how did you become a leading expert in this field and start your company?
Jodi Sternoff Cohen 2:14
You know, I think Necessity is the mother of invention. So my journey into nutrition, I'd always been fairly healthy and kind of an intuitive eater, but I really realized the power of food, had a really easy first kid had a second 122 months later, not so easy. Taking every parenting class I could find nothing helped. One day at a birthday party a friend was complimenting me on how well behaved he was. And then another mom passed out snack happened to be Ritz crackers, he jekel hided and took off sprinting. Once I roped him back in and came back, my friend said, you know, I've never seen him switch that quickly after eating something. My brother was on Ritalin his whole life. And it turned out he was just allergic to weird foods. You should look into nutrition. And I thought I can do that I've done everything else. Why not? You know, in our big queue with him used to be like look at my nose. And he was all over the place. took him to this nutritionist. He basically said take him off a story corn and dairy. We did and the next day literally look at my nose. What mommy You know, it was it was so stark and dramatic that I thought this is crazy.
I've been banging my head against the wall for almost three years. And it's nutrition, I need to learn more. So I went back and got a degree in nutritional therapy, and was trying to help other moms, you know, who had really squirming kids. And as a practitioner, you know, it's hard to kind of pinpoint them and assess when they're all over the place. And so I learned this technique called muscle testing that I use to really zero in on what's the core issue and what's going to help the most you know, cuz you can't give kids like 17 things, you really need to pick two things. So that came in handy when my second rock bottom hit my husband, I just thought he was really fun. After my first child, we realized he was manic. After my second child, he became depressed. And I was really worried that he was going to die on my watch.
And so it was, you know, a lifetime of walking on eggshells while trying to raise kids and, you know, work and volunteer. And under a certain point, it became pretty obvious that my skill set needed support. So we moved him to a residential treatment facility. And the minute I knew he was safe, and it wasn't my job to keep him safe. It was like my adrenals you know, had been going at hyperspeed. And they I was deficit spending on my energy reserves. And I just collapsed. I could barely get out of bed. The kids were five and seven. I would wake up feed them breakfast, pack their lunch, drive them to school, come home, crawl back into bed and set the alarm for 10 minutes before pickup and I kept trying you know I knew enough about what was supposed to help my adrenals I was ingesting all the right things. Nothing was helping. And at a certain point, before this happened, I had helped a friend with a big event. And she was interested in essential oils. So she was planning to give me this big box. And she came over to drop them off and said,
You know, I wonder you've been so high stress high cortisol for so long. And we know that you know, causes systemic inflammation, I bet your gut is so inflamed that nothing you're ingesting is really supporting you. Let's try something topical. Try the oils. And I thought, Well, you know what, I'm I'll try anything. There's no downside. So because I knew muscle testing, I kind of muscle tested the box. For the adrenals I found five remedies, which surprised me because normally I got one. And then I had a thought, oh, they're they're liquid, I can combine them. So I tested you know, each individual oil, made my first blend, put it on my low back over my adrenals and literally felt like myself for the first time in weeks.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 6:04
So now I want to ask what were those?
Jodi Sternoff Cohen 6:06
Yeah, and I you know, it's interesting in the book, I not only share the ingredients, but share the ratio. So it's stimulatory not totally surprising. It's fine. galman maduka cinnamon, and I'll make sure we share it in the show notes. But it's our adrenal blend.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 6:23
So in the book you're referring to is your new book essential oils to boost the brain and heal the body?
Jodi Sternoff Cohen 6:28
Yes, yes. Basically, that, you know, I kind of kept making up I made this blend, I went running, which is normally when I feel grumpy or whatever, I would go run and I'd always feel better. And you know, when walking up a flight of stairs feels like overwhelming and exhausting. The idea of running three miles was not even in my consideration set. So went running, I came home, I took shower, I cleaned the house, I did laundry, I put the laundry away, I went to the supermarket, I made a favorite meal, I was like, wow, that worked well like that, you know, reverse engineering I that was a good choice, you know, and that night energy dips often corresponds to insomnia. So I would get them in bed and then literally watch the clock tick, you know, 10 1010 1020. And at a certain point, I thought, Gosh, I wonder, you know, I know, this is the pineal gland that releases melatonin, I wonder if I can do something to, you know, support sleep. So I went downstairs made something up.
One thing about oils that I'll talk about is that they get into the cells really quickly, because they're small and fat soluble, they can cross the blood brain barrier. But certain areas of the skin like where it's popular to apply perfume or oils, like the wrists or behind the ears, or above the ears, the skin is thinner, so it's easier to get into the body quickly. So anyway, I applied the blend, fell right asleep, probably slept better than I slept in years. And thought, Okay, another one. And I just kept making things up as I went. And at a certain point, my friends were like, Oh, we want to try it, you know, and it seemed to work for everyone. And when I had more of my mental and physical energy back, a friend was like, you have to do something with this. This is so good. And I thought, well, gosh, someone must be doing this, it feels so obvious.
So I finally went online and did the research. And was super surprised by two things. The first was no one was really looking at oil blends kind of through the lens of physiology the way I was. And the second thing that surprised me was how complicated they made it. And I was almost grateful that I didn't have the mental capacity to start with research because I would have felt completely unqualified and never tried it. You know, we went to a nutritional therapy conference, and at the time, I think it was $200 to be a vendor. So my friends were like, let's just go like, let's see, you know, it makes sense to us. Let's see if other people like it. And we sold out the first day it was a three day event and I thought okay, you know, everyone said like, I wanted to try oils, they felt a little confusing and overwhelming. I felt unqualified, but I like the way you've organized it like the way you've put it together make sense to me. And I can see how this would kind of fit into what I'm already offering. So that's really how I started.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 9:19
You may have heard me mentioned the nutrient dim on several episodes, and I want to take a moment to describe exactly what that is. When I was in graduate school, my doctorate focused on estrogen metabolism. Now you're probably wondering what that even means and why it matters to your health. Well, research has shown that our risks for fibroids cysts and breast ovarian, uterine, prostate and colon cancer can all be linked back to estrogen but it's not the levels of estrogens that can increase our risk. Instead, it's the way our bodies handle that estrogen that matters. We can run individual lab tests for this which I often recommend to my patients. That's called estrogen metabolism testing which has to be done in the urine. Even without the test however, it is safe to take a supplement an extract of crude first vegetables to improve your estrogen metabolism. That's basically like taking in six pounds of those veggies per day in a capsule form without the gaps.
That supplement is called dim the aim. You can also use methylated B vitamins as well as specific targeted antioxidants like resveratrol to help improve your estrogen metabolism and help protect you from that cancer risk. Of course, also make sure you have your practitioner run a comprehensive genetic analysis to see from another perspective, if you are at increased risk and help you learn what you can do to lower that. If you're interested in learning more about dim, read chapter six of my book, Your longevity blueprint. And check out our product info sheet at your longevity blueprint.com Ford slash product board slash dim to get 10% off dim alone, use code dim or to get 15% off our estrogen detox bundle with dim methylated Bs and antioxidant support. Just use the code estrogen detox when checking out at your longevity blueprint.com. Now let's get back to the show.
I want to get into back to kind of the physiology that you mentioned. I know a lot of the listeners have also heard of essential oils can help. How do they help? Like, I know they've been around since biblical times, right? I mean, that's what the wisemen brought Jesus, right, frankincense and myrrh. And they've been around a long time. So I do think I do think they've stood the test of time. But I want to kind of understand how and why. So can you get a little bit into like how the essential oils work? Because I know, some listeners may think that oils are kind of Hocus Pocus or it's all in your head or whatnot. So can you explain to us how they work?
Jodi Sternoff Cohen 11:37
Yeah, you know what most people forget. So oils are really the concentrated essences of plants, herbs, tree bark, fruits, flowers. And most people forget that most of the modern pharmaceutical drugs are the derivative of plants. In fact, over 50% of pharmaceutical drugs are derived from plants. You know, aspirin is white willow bark. Valium is valerian root, but they have to change them, you can't like vitamin D would be patented if it could be. So they just modify it enough. And you know, people still make a ton of money from pharmaceutical drugs, if everyone remembered that they could just use plants, certain people would be less wealthy. And you know, what's interesting about oils is they're the concentrated essence, like, as you know, when we're trying to help people return to balance, like, if they're super low on vitamin D, you're going to megadose, you're highly concentrated vitamin D to get them back into balance.
So sometimes you need something that's super concentrated to tip the scale. What's fascinating, you know, in the world that we live in now is that so many people have gut inflammation. And you know, in order to assimilate your nutrients, you really need to your digestion needs to be turned on, you need to kind of be absorbing your nutrients, you need to not be having immune reactions to certain foods. And so most of you know the food that we consume, the supplements, the remedies, that all goes through the digestive tract. And if that's working perfectly, you're good. But if there's any kind of gut inflammation, or compromise, you might want to look for an alternate path. It's kind of like if the main road is under construction, you take a detour, right? So what are the other channels to get remedies into your system, while your skin that's why we use hormonal creams and nicotine patches, anything you get be put on your skin gets into your bloodstream, within 20 minutes, certain places on the skin, you know, especially if molecules are really small, it can get in faster. And then the fastest way into our brain. You know, one of the challenges with modern medicine is the brain is really protected by the blood brain barrier.
It's pretty fierce body guard. It only lets in super small, fat soluble molecules, like essential oils and some other remedies like this is one reason they can't do chemotherapy in the brain because molecules can't get through. And what people forget, is no cells are actually brain cells. The fastest most immediate route into your brain is your sense of smell. because it keeps you safe. It recognizes predator odor, recognizes dangerous signals like fire. It also helps you recognize food and water to keep you alive. So of the five senses, your sense of smell goes directly to your amygdala. All the other four senses are routed to the thalamus first. So when you smell things that kind of triggers a whole hormonal message system cascade, like there's a Nobel laureate researcher who did all this research on the olfactory receptors, specifically on predator odor receptors. And then she took it one step further to see what would turn off that signal and it was the smell of rose. So the whole idea of stopping to smell the roses. It not only smells good, but it actually kind of turns off the danger fear signals in your body. It calms you down really quickly.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 14:59
Interesting. So when you when when you mentioned that oils essentially come from all various components of plants, that makes me want to ask the question, kind of, if we go the quality direction, like what makes an essential oil quality, obviously, you want it to work, but you want it to not be contaminated, like I think of, I don't eat certain grains, right because of the mold toxins and herbicides and pesticides used on them. So that would apply to the plants that the oils come from as well. Correct.
Jodi Sternoff Cohen 15:27
You are preaching to the choir, that is what I stand on my soapbox and preach at organic is really the only thing that matters, you know, in some plants are kind of grown in the wild, though, they're wild crafted, and they're not going to use pesticides. Anyway, some things like you know, mint kind of grows like a weed basil, they're easy to grow. They don't need pesticides. But yeah, organic is the most important quality to look for. So that's a big take home for the listener.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 15:52
Right. So how else would the consumer be able to differentiate quality? I know that's something that's a big conversation piece with my patients, as far as supplements are concerned, we want them to have, you know, highly efficacious products that are going to work for and and obviously, we're biased to our brands, but there are a lot of high quality companies out there that work in that are I feel very safe, that aren't laced with any nasty ingredients from other countries. What not? So how does someone know other than that oil? What I mean with a bottle, say organic? or How else can they differentiate brands? Like how can they know what they're getting as quality and safe at the same time?
Jodi Sternoff Cohen 16:26
I think there's a lot of fear mongering in this space, mostly for profit. I think that certain companies really like to do really nasty things and call really nasty names. But at the end of the day, you know, go organic, if you can these name calling companies are not organic, which is why they make up other names. And you know, it's a little bit like if you walk around the mall, you know Cinnabon, there's something totally gross and unnatural about that smell. Those bath stores, you can smell the weird candles, like trust yourself, trust your intuition. If something smells artificial, avoid it, you know, I think you can get like oranges, my favorite starter oil for people because the citrus blends are amazing for calming anxiety and depression. There's a lot of research that backs that up that I talked about in the book. And certain citrus brown blends like bergamot and Neroli are quite expensive. And they're often heralded for being the best. And the reality is orange is just as good, especially for kids kids love orange, you can find a bottle of orange oil, probably even in your supermarket, you know, for under $10. But just smell it and make sure it doesn't smell synthetic and artificial. And then don't don't worry too much. You know, it's kind of like
I helped a truck driver with nutrition. And I'm like, you know what, buy an apple? Who cares? If it's organic? It's better than Doritos. Like, just start where you can? Yep, good point. I want to get into kids and how you know how we can use oils for children. But before we get there, let's maybe go back to and I'm sure you talked about this in your book, what challenges essential oils are best suited to support? So you kind of already mentioned brain health because the delivery method, right, we could essentially get them up up to our brain cells. But what other what other challenges are essential oils best suited for? Yeah, that's a wonderful question. And that's one of the other things that I find frustrating is, you know, I don't think oils are for everything. If you're having a heart attack, go to the ER, if you broke your arm were cast.
You know, I think that oils are amazing for prevention, and really for helping to kind of shift the nervous system into that safety place where you can, you know, we're all other, you know, we our nervous system is really the operating system of our body. You know, it's called the autonomic nervous system, it controls the automatic functions like breathing, heart rate, digestion, detoxification, immune function, and it's designed to keep us alive. So you might think of it as having different speeds, right? If we're in danger, it kind of puts like the gas pedal, and suddenly, it shifts focus to keeping you alive, which means blood flows routed to the arms and the legs. Your vision kind of hyper focus is not to take in everything, but really just to help you make that next survival choice. You know, so you can fight and flee the danger, certain chemicals are released in the body, and then when you're safe, and when you're in danger, anything non critical to your immediate survival, like your ability to digest, detoxify, support, your immune function, anti inflamed that all gets turned off. So when the danger passes, you kind of shift gears you put on the brake, that's called your parasympathetic nervous system.
And that's when blood is routed back towards the organs of digestion, detoxification. You can anti inflame you can heal think of, you know, sympathetic like you're having the party there a million people in your house, you're entertaining, you're busy, and then they all go home and you can clean up and do maintenance. Talking with kids. You know, being a mom is really marketing, right? You can impress with the Superman teacher face and put on your crazy cozy pajamas and sleep really well, you know, you're trying to explain it in a way that people can hear. But basically, the state of your nervous system is critical to your ability to function. It's like biking, right? If you're going up a hill and you're in high gear, you're going to have to work a lot harder. If you're trying to detoxify, anti inflamed support your immune system, and you're stuck in the danger response.
None of that can really turn on. Its foundational. And what's interesting is the kind of on off switch between the sympathetic branch of the nervous system and the parasympathetic branch is the longest nerve in the body that most people have never heard of. It's your vagus nerve, cranial nerve number 10 anatomy lesson starts at the very base of the skull splits winds around both sides, behind the ear lobe. If you feel behind your ear lobe right now, that's your mastoid bone that you're feeling. That is where your vagus nerve is actually the most accessible to the surface. And then it kind of innervates the throat, the mouth layer, next, the heart, the lungs, every organ of digestion and detoxification. And it's really interesting, it's a bidirectional communication system. This is how the brain communicates to the body, and how the body communicates to the brain. And so anywhere that touches a nerve, it's like the lungs can kind of activate your sympathetic calm down branch, like if you do yoga, and you're always like,
Why do I always feel great in Shavasana? Why do I always feel better? It's because of the breathing and the posture is you're stimulating your vagus nerve, you're activating your parasympathetic nervous system, and you're basically turning on your ability to heal. And so that's where oils are super magical. There was a New York neuroscientist named Kevin Tracy, who in 2012, started playing with electrical implants kind of pacemaker like devices that were surgically implanted, or I was talking about right behind the earlobe on that mastoid bone to stimulate the vagus nerve. And that therapy has now been approved by the FDA for depression, epilepsy and migraines. And what's interesting is, you do not need to have surgery to electrically implanted device. There are other ways to stimulate that spot. Acupuncture is one and then stimulatory oils, like I use club and lime. I call it parasympathetic. I give the exact ratios in the book. But what's interesting is clove is a super stimulatory oil. Lime has super small molecules. And then I combine it with fractionated coconut oil as a carrier oil. People talk about diluting carrier oils, they do different things. fractionated coconut oil is really small. And so it basically allows like kind of almost like an acupuncture needle, a really quick hit. And oil like mahoba is thicker and kind of slows integration. So it's more like a time release supplement.
So you can use oils by combining them and putting certain character oils in place in incredibly strategic specific ways to kind of shift the body into balance so that it functions better and it heals itself. So I have several questions based on what you just said. So one back to that, I believe the oil that you just mentioned, is that the one you call paracin or empathetic? Yeah. So I first got a sample of that at a healthcare entrepreneur conference where I you know, met you and it smells amazing. I just just the smell alone. I was like, Oh, this is this is awesome when I started using and I love that blend. What I have questions on those in that blend. You You said it contains stimulatory oils. So when you say stimulation, you're saying to stimulate the vagus nerve not stimulate the person to but stimulate the vagus nerve to calm them down like a bike. I just want to make sure you're here. Yeah, here's that right?
Dr. Stephanie Gray 23:56
We're not trying to stimulate you. We're trying to induce the calming parasympathetic nervous system. But the oils are stimulating to the vagus nerve. Is that correct?
Jodi Sternoff Cohen 24:05
Yeah. It's like a domino effect, like the end result is you want to turn on your parasympathetic nervous system. To do that you stimulate the vagus nerve like breathing stimulates the vagus nerve. The vagus nerve nerve is the gallbladder coffee enemas stimulate the vagus nerve, and that in kind of my trial and error process of figuring things out. I was originally thinking like, Oh, you want to sedate the body to make it calm? You know, and that I was surprised because I kept testing things. And I tested actually stimulating by accident. I originally formulated this button for headaches, and was testing a client with headaches and kind of tried it on the Vegas point and realized, wait a minute, you stimulate. Basically every pharmaceutical drug and every plant is either trying to stimulate or inhibit certain functions like GABA is an inhibitory function like if you have ADHD and you have no inhibition, right, you want to stimulate more gabbeh.
Whereas you know, other things, you might want to sedate it so it calms you down. So you're always kind of playing with adjusting different levers to kind of have the desired result. That makes sense. I just wanted to clarify that just for listeners if they're, like me trying to learn this. So tell me tell us more about that blend and what that would be used for. Because when you know, when I think of essential oils, I think, oh, lavender is calming, right? So lavender is something that I would want to use if I'm stressed. Lavender is weird. It's like Benadryl, it's coming or it's not, you know, like, I don't know, when I my kids were little East Chipman retinas and they'd say, I'll give him Benadryl and they'll sleep through the night. And that were for my daughter made my son like that was the longest six hours I've ever spent on it. You know? So lavender is stimulating for some and sometimes it has the opposite effect. That one in particular,
Dr. Stephanie Gray 25:59
is that just based on our genes, then that does that come back to genetics?
Jodi Sternoff Cohen 26:02
I think it has to do with kind of the nervous system, some chemists can be switched, and can do the opposite of what you think it is. So you have to balance the nervous system. But to answer your question, so the parasympathetic nervous system, it controls pretty much every healing function. The main thing is it controls your digestive cascade, right? digestion really begins in the brain, like was smelling the food, and then that stimulates the mouse to release saliva, which helps to break down the proteins. You know, if the proteins aren't broken down, then the immune system might react to them. And that can contribute to auto immunity. And then you know, the food drops and stomach acid. Most people think like, Oh, I have too much acid, if I have acid reflux, it's the opposite. The stomach has to reach a certain temperature with the acid, you know level. In order for the food to drop, it's a little bit like you don't get in the bathtub until it's warm enough, right? So the food hangs out here.
And if the acid doesn't get high enough, that's when you feel kind of the acid reflux effect. chemic acid breaks down the food. And then the pancreas releases enzymes, the gallbladder releases bile, you know, the moving sidewalk, that is your digestive cascade flowing through the small intestine, the large intestine and being eliminated from the body. So at any juncture, if you're having acid reflux, if you're having motility issues, if you're having a small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, irritable bowel syndrome, constipation, it's really a great way to kind of turn on your whole digestive track. So it's a great one for that. Also, detoxification issues, you know, it really makes sure that the liver and the gallbladder are functioning and again, motility to leave the body. What's super interesting is that it's the Vegas nerve that triggers the release of the anti inflammatory neurotransmitter acetylcholine. So if you're super inflamed, just you know, even if you don't have the oil, just stimulating it, or we're going to give away a free book that has like 25 ways to stimulate your vagus nerve. It's just a great practice. It's like brushing your teeth. It's kind of preventative, you know, choices that help put your body in the right space to heal. So it sounds like we all need that oil.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 28:15
Is that blend, also one that you would recommend for anxiety or insomnia? Or is there a different blend that you have for for that?
Jodi Sternoff Cohen 28:22
I like that blend a lot for anxiety, because one of the things that when you're, you know, the the sympathetic nervous system is kind of the danger, you don't feel safe. The parasympathetic nervous system is, I feel safe, I'm okay. And the example I use if you've ever been driving and traffic, and someone totally cuts you off, and some days, you're like, whatever, I'm not in a hurry, it's all good. And then the next day, the exact same situation can happen and four letter words are flying out of your mouth. And the only variable in that situation is you and kind of how resilient and how safe you feel. Because when you feel safe and Okay, the world can be blowing up around you and you're like, that's fine, I can still choose to keep myself safe. And other places you just go into a panic attack. And so person effect is a great one.
Truthfully, my best strategy for using essential oils for anxiety, it's blend neutral, it doesn't matter what you have it whatever oil you have in your house in your hand, if you don't have an oil, essential oils live in the fruit of citruses. So you can peel a tangerine and smell that. The brain is really interesting. There are different areas that do different things. And there are different hemispheres that get out of balance. So our colleague Titus Chu taught me this. When you're having a panic attack that is the right frontal part of your lobes, your right forehead, that's overactive. So in order to calm it, you need to do something to stimulate your left forehead. Since your nose your olfactory nerve goes directly to your left forehead, smelling anything through your left nostril and you can
Literally just use your right thumb, plug your right nostril smell directly from a bottle, smell anything that's fragrant. After like three breaths, your left nostril ear, your left frontal lobe is kind of activated. It balances the two hemispheres. And you feel as anxious as a poster child of anxiety for myself. I can speak from both clinical and personal experience. It works really well.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 30:23
Interesting. Yeah. So because I have a large population of listeners that are likely women in midlife, let's talk a little bit about how oils can support our hormone system. So the adrenals, you've already alluded to write that. What about the thyroid and the ovaries? What oils do you use? I know that, obviously, using the parasympathetic blend is probably the most important in the foundation there. But what other oils should we be considering in that kind of demographic?
Jodi Sternoff Cohen 30:52
Yeah, we have one for the hypothalamus. So the endocrine system, the hypothalamus is kind of the CEO. And it's basically sending out chemical messages to the other endocrine organs to stimulate or sedate the release of different hormones, right. And then it's kind of getting all of the feedback, it's measuring all the cortisol levels in the blood, and making sure that the levels are right. And so its ability to kind of send the right messages is based by that feedback loop. We call it like a negative feedback loop. Like I'll use cortisol, the stress hormone, as an example, the hypothalamus tells the pituitary to tell the adrenal is release cortisol, you know, we need energy in the system. And then it's monitoring the cortisol levels and a little bit like the thermostat in your house, you know, when it gets to your desired temperature doesn't need to, doesn't need to be 200 degrees in your house, right, it shuts down at a certain time. And that only works if it's able to measure the temperature accurately.
If it thinks it's like 50 degrees, and it's actually 80 degrees, it's not gonna work so well. So the hypothalamus gets a little overloaded with stimulus and input, and can kind of go out of whack. And then it doesn't send the right messages to the other endocrine organs like the thyroid and ovaries. Basically, the more you can kind of reboot it, you know, like your phone glitches, you turn it off, you turn it back on, we have an oil that you can put kind of right in the middle of your forehead. And it just helps to kind of reboot the hypothalamus to remain in balance. The other oils that I like for any kind of hormonal imbalances are supporting the liver and the gallbladder. You know, a lot of times what happens is, the liver kind of processes, the toxins, the excess hormones, and then it's carried into the gallbladder where the liver makes the bile, the gallbladder stores and concentrates the bile. And then the bile is supposed to carry the toxins out of the body into the gut out of the body. And what can happen is, you know, stress, age, you name it, bad fats can make the gallbladder too viscous.
So instead of flowing like water, it's more like molasses, and things don't leave, and the toxins get reabsorbed, and then the liver has to process them all over again. And that throws off the balance because you now have old estrogen in your system, and you become estrogen dominant, and it's too much. So anything you can kind of do to support that exit route by supporting the gallbladder. I love taking binders, which helped to grab the toxins and pull them out of the body, you know, the more you can help the body take the garbage out, the more it helps your balance of the hormones that are in body. That was great information. So what is your oil blend that helps reset the hypothalamus? What what oil is that? What's that called? It's a combination of oils. It's called hypothalamus. And this is actually a fun fact. So the way, the way I formulate it's, it's very intuitive. You might think like colors, you know, each organ has its own kind of healthy frequency. And so plants and humans are very bio familiar.
So you can almost combine the essence of different plants, like you would combine colors to match the frequency of a healthy organ system. So the hypothalamus has its own healthy frequency. And so what I do is I create the blend and then I go back and reverse engineer and research. Like, why would that work? And it's fascinating. The blends the oils in the hypothalamus gland like pine, there's a lot of research that pine correlates with the hypothalamus. Wow. And so you just say, listeners can literally, that doesn't need to be put in a carrier oil, they can just put it on or would they put that on a carrier oil? So what I did so many of the people that found me really were super chronically ill, you know, and they've tried so many things. And they feel like they've wasted so much time, money and energy and it didn't work and the whole idea of trying to blend oils they can barely remember to take more than three supplements a day. It was just too much and they were worried that they're going to do it wrong and they were really anxious and look, let me just do it for you. Let me like find the right ratio.
Let me delete it to the right now, let me just make it easy. You buy it, it shows up, you just do it, you know, right from the bottle, you don't need to do anything else. Because the more obstacles you put in someone's way, the harder it is for them to actually adhere to it. So that was kind of my original idea. Like, let me just have it done for you solution. And then I, you know, people would find me who already had a lot of oils, and they just want to use the oils they had on hand. So that was kind of the point of the book, you know, I'm going to give you the exact recipe, if you want to do it yourself. Fabulous. If that's not your cup of tea, I'll do it for you just kind of trying to help meet people where they're at, and give them more information about how they can use oils and an even more robust way to support their healing. So what you're saying is yours does not need to be diluted and your blends you can just apply. Right, right. I dilute to a certain point. Yeah. And then you know, like you asked about kids, I always over dilute for kids, you know, it's kind of like, my, my uncle's wife when I was growing up had like, a weird thing with salt.
And so my grandmother would cook with zero salt in the food and then you could just salt to your taste, you know, and it's kind of like cutting your hair. Like maybe, you know, if you're thinking you want to maybe cut four inches, maybe start with like two and see how it goes. Because you can always add more. So yeah, you know, I always tell people will dilute to start or even the safest place to apply oils is the bottom of your feet, you know, somewhere else you call them like thyme, oregano, even peppermint Eucalyptus, they're they're hot oils, which means that they might feel hot. If you put them on your skin, they might make your skin look a little red, the bottom of your feet has really thick skin and also has reflex points but you really can't mess up if you put something on the bottom of the feet like you will not hurt yourself.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 36:44
So when I think of uses in kids, I think okay, you need to calm them down so that they can sleep. Well maybe they're sick and you want to support their immune system. Can you or maybe they need to concentrate they have a DD ADHD Could you speak to some oils that were or blends that you have created that would be helpful in those situations?
Jodi Sternoff Cohen 37:01
Yeah, absolutely. The cool thing about kids is that they're really intuitive. And so with kids always let them pick. I always say like, just pick the one that smells best to you. You know, people throughout time have asked me like, well, I've heard that if it smells revolting, you should use it and I'm like, No, would you eat something that smells revolting? trust your intuition. If it smells good to you, it's a good fit. That's why you know, when we have our period, we crave chocolate because we need magnesium. When we're pregnant, we might crave a hamburger because we need iron. Trust that what you crave, you know is what you need. And that can change like Frankincense is one. Sometimes it smells delicious. Sometimes it's not what I need, you know, and just just trust yourself.
So if you're thinking of using oils with kids, let them pick, like maybe take them to you know, a healthy supermarket and just let them smell and let them pick the one that they want because then they're more likely to use it. You know, and you can like for the immune system, you know, there's a different version, we call it immune support people call it thieves it's usually a combination of hot oils, like oregano and thyme always show up in research as being really strong for the immune system. Pick whichever one you like for that one, I just like to put it on the bottom of the feet before bed. For Kids, Orange is a really good one. You know, there's a lot of research behind peppermint and rosemary, that can be kind of hot and too stimulatory for kids, but you can just smell it before studying, we used to do a thing.
There's smell associated with recall. So you know, when we were like learning the times tables are the spelling words, we'd smell something while we were learning them. And then we'd practice smelling it before the test and that always helped with work with recall because you kind of like I do that sometimes if I had a conversation, you know, in freshly cut grass. Like I remember kind of the smell of the place where I had the conversation. Just the more senses you can engage the easier it is for calming citrus oils really good. Rose is amazing. Lavender is hit or miss it can be really calming or not. Great, great tips. Could children also use the parison? sympathetic blend? Yeah, yeah, I say not, you know, children under 18 months. Like I wouldn't add oils because they're so concentrated. But any child over two Yeah, and we use it a lot. In fact, a lot of my clients, they call it the poop blend because you know if the kids constipated, you just apply a little bit behind the earlobe and digestion turns on awesome.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 39:34
What about men? So I have heard before that men shouldn't use certain oils like lavender because they could be have more estrogenic properties. Are there any oils that you would say are contraindicated in men?
Jodi Sternoff Cohen 39:46
You know, it's so funny the way research goes like that's referring to like a very small research study that was kind of done in a weird way. And what people don't realize is oils are adaptogenic, which means they'll meet you where you're at. So you know, if you test a group of, you know, women that are kind of they've gone through menopause and they might be low in estrogen, it might appear to raise their estrogen levels. If you did it on like preteen girls, it might lower them. It's just it really is contingent upon the population you use it on. So the idea that they took three men in isolation, I've seen other research that kind of discounts that I don't know that it necessarily is bad for men, the oils that I think I've noticed, you know, a lot of my clients are women, but they shop a lot for their husbands, the adrenal gland, to kind of calm the adrenal response, parasympathetic, to help turn on healing, we have blends.
One of the other really great things about oils is that you know, what they do in plants is help move fluid, right. So if you think about driving on a freeway that theoretically has four lanes, but maybe three of them are blocked, because it's under construction, that traffic is going to move a lot slower, there's a lot narrower space to actually get through. And then when you kind of pass the construction part and all four lanes open up, you just cruise on through, right. So in our system, you know, when veins are constricted or lymph is constricted, it's harder for fluid to move through. And so there's backup. And oils, especially like Cypress, black, peppermint, they are black pepper, they kind of open the the drainage pathways. So the good thing was, you know, the oxygen, the nutrients can get in the bad things the toxins can drain out, it just makes it easier. You know, when there's not a traffic jam, you get to your destination faster, your wealth of knowledge, I want to just keep asking you questions here.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 41:37
I told you before we started the interview here today, I heavily use supplements. In my practice, I use a lot of herbs, you know, and various nutrients. I just don't know enough about oils to use them more strategically. I know kind of the general you know, recommendations, many people know, but I want to even go back to using a diffuser. So you can obviously just put oils on your finger or breathe them out of the literally out of the vial of the bottle that they're in. What's the difference between using a diffuser? Or like my son had a cold? He had a humidifier going, can I just put oils in his humidifier? Like, what's the difference between a diffuser or a humidifier? Is there any danger and not having that right ratio? Or is it really not rocket science? Just put the oils in the humidifier and let it be rocket science.
Jodi Sternoff Cohen 42:21
The only problem that I see is that, you know if say, it's that time of the month and you're cramping. You maybe take two Advil, you don't take like two Advil every five minutes. You know, oils are medicine and when you're diffusing 24, seven, you're getting too much in the air, you know and also like plastic diffusers. If you don't clean them regularly, they get moldy. It's just it can be it's easier. It's called direct inhalation is just smelling for the situation. You're talking about like a cold or perfect situation. You know, we have histamine oil, that kind of helps to clean the air. I say if you're going to diffuse do it for 20 minutes twice a day. You know, don't cut it. For seven. Yeah.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 43:05
Good, good, good. Well, what about? I know listeners are gonna have some questions on any other absolute contraindications for oils or cautions. I mean, I know the question comes up, like which oils cannot be used internally? Like which ones can you not ingest? Are there any general rules that you could share on that.
Jodi Sternoff Cohen 43:24
You know, the only time I've seen people get hurt is diffusing and ingesting. And that doesn't mean it's bad. And doesn't mean if you love adding lemon to your water, you should stop. It means like, I'll give you an example. There's a lot of great research that oregano can kind of address biofilms when ingested, but oregano can also kill the gut flora in your system. So it's not a do it at home kind of thing. If you're working with a practitioner, like yourself, or someone else who's really good at this, there's a very specific strategic way to use oils internally. If you're just dumping a bunch of it into your own water, you can cause harm. So I'm kind of you know, it's it's like when your kids were little, the general rule was, you know, if there's something that could be dangerous, let's just say we're not gonna do that.
And there are so many other really easy ways that will never hurt you to integrate oils. And the other thing that concerns me is that I see so many of my clients have digestive challenges, that it just doesn't feel like the most efficient way to use them. Like if you're going to get a lot more bang for your buck, you know, and go through the oil a lot less quickly just smelling or like flipping the bottle and putting a small drop as opposed to pouring half of it into a glass of water. So it's not going to kill you. If you love it. You can keep doing it. But I just think there are easier ways to do it. Sure. One of the questions I asked on Facebook, you know what questions I should ask you today and someone did submit a question on how can essential oils help with chronic infections, things like viruses, which obviously you were exposed to. We always have been both stellar.
are exposed to Lyme and even mold. So you mentioned that oregano can help with biofilms. But how else do oils? Or are there specific oils that you use to support the immune system? I know we've driven home the concept of calming the nervous system so that the body can kick in and then those natural healing properties are kicking in. But are there any others or even for autoimmunity that you want to speak to briefly? Yeah, so the two best are parasympathetic and limp. And then I would add in circadian rhythm if you're not sleeping, but basically, in addition to kind of activating the vagus nerve to turn on the sympathetic state. There's this idea that there's the can be infections in the vagus nerve. There's a tuffs researcher, Michael eckler, who calls it Vegas nerve infection hypothesis.
Famed Lyme, Dr. Dietrich klinghardt, calls it Vegas nerve toxicity. And what they found is that 95% of their clinically ill patients, including those with Lyme have some kind of infection in the Vegas nerve. And that kind of impedes signaling to the rest of the body, you know, or it's kind of a minor under the radar infection that triggers the sickness response. And so kind of turns on these signals. So, how do you basically what, what klinghardt says is that, you know, we all have kind of microbes in the mouth, right? Be it the natural microbes that are there be at a cavitation from a root canal, or wisdom to be it like metal amalgams. How does the toxins drain from the mouth along the trigeminal nerve on the jaw, and then that directly intersects the vagus nerve in the neck, and there can be a small infection there. That's another reason the clove and lime in this blend, you're topically applying it. Clover has been used throughout centuries to kind of remove toxicity in the mouth. It's really high in this constituent huge nom that's huge for that. So that is a really big issue with lime. The other issue with Lyme is toxicity and you know, if you think about the neck is the biggest bottleneck in the body, you know, you've got the structure, the bones, the muscle, the nerves, including the Vegas nerve, the lymph and then the vascular and it kind of works like think about if you're in the middle row in the middle seat in the airplane, and you're next to two linebackers, like are you going to get your arm on the armrest?
No way. If your toxins trying to drain from the brain, and the Vegas nerve is inflamed, or the lymph is inflamed. There's all this congestion and kind of nothing can move. So klinghardt and Dr. Schaffner, who do a lot of Lyme treatment partnered with this amazing Italian researcher Dr. Marco Rosario, and they were doing a lot of sonograms like internal photographs of the neck with Lyme patients. And what they were finding is a lot of congestion, both in the lymphatics and the Vegas nerve, so they're both congested, and neither of them can really function properly. And they, they actually have their own Sophia flow cream, which is a combination of amino acids and oils. But basically topical application you can even use Castor Oil of oils on the neck helps to kind of alleviate the congestion, like think of there's a multi car accident what happens the ambulance arrives on the scene, it cleans it out, and then everything can flow. So topically applying oils are limp blend, which is a lot of niche and vetiver. And a combination that's really designed to kind of move fluid, you know in the limp flows in one direction. So it really helps to get that moving.
And then the clothing line for parasympathetic helps to both kind of clean out Vegas nerve toxicity, move the limp flow allow basically the garbage to leave the body. So the toxins aren't setting off the immune system. And then you know, you have all the inflammatory symptoms.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 48:45
Fascinating. Yeah, thank you. Long podcast here today. Thank you for your time. I have a few more questions here. So before we get to your book, because I want to hear more about that, I have to ask about pets. So when we got our puppy with a mini golden doodle super fluffy, lots of hair. She was so hyper, like so hyper. She's calmed down a little bit, but I thought, well, I can use essential oils on my dog, right? Well, I tried them behind her ear and she went nuts. I mean, she got she got more excited. So obviously maybe that was a case of when lavender was not a good solution for her. So my plan backfired, but I know some people have used essential oils on their dogs or maybe they're nervous to use them in their home because they're worried the impact they could have on the on the pet are are essential oils safe for animals, how could they be applied?
Jodi Sternoff Cohen 49:30
Okay, I have a dog, they're totally fine for dogs. You know, if you take a dog for a walk, you're taking them actually for a sniff right? Dogs their sense of smell is so much more intense than ours. So topically applying it like think of it's so much more amplified. So with my dog, frankincense is the one he likes. And it's almost like kids, I just hold it out, you know, and it's kind of like the food right? If they if he put out lamb long they're gonna go bananas if you put out something that's healthy that they might not like they might kind of like sniff it and walk away. So just let smell, let them kind of approach see if it helps them Frankincense has been great for him when he is anxious. Also, you can use it like for any kind of ticks or fleas or things like that.
But just be careful with the topical application and make sure like even with clients, I always like say, like, I want you to smell it first make sure you like it, because I'm never gonna apply something to them without checking. Because if they don't like it, then they smell like it and it's just a hot mess. So that's for dogs, cats are different story, you have to be very careful with oils and cats, especially with defusing like, you know, vitamin or rat poison is actually vitamin D. You know, anything that we can't easily detoxify is a toxin, right? Like for us it's metals, cats, flax or liver enzymes to properly like detoxify oils. So just be very careful with oils and cats. Like if you're going to use, make sure it's in a space that cats can leave, don't necessarily do it in the room they hang out in, you know, people get worried, like I use oils around my cat, you know, as long as you're smelling it, like that's not going to bug them.
If you're going to topically apply it maybe put in place they don't lick. You can totally work with it. But just be careful. Thank you. Well, you are a wealth of knowledge. And I'm sure your book is jam packed with even more information. So tell us about your book. And is it it's out now. I take it out March 16. It's pre order now. And Amazon keeps kind of playing it. Yeah, thank you. And it really I'm kind of getting back to your earlier point. I think oils, you know, people use them for everything. But I think they really are the most effective for five specific things that I see is the underlying root cause of most issues, which is balancing the nervous system making sure that you're in that parasympathetic state of the nervous system and helping to detoxify the vagus nerve, if that's an issue, supporting restful sleep, helping to move both limb flow and circulation. So the good things get in and the bad things get out, helping to really calm your endocrine system and increase energy, save the energy to heal, and then really modulating your immune system making sure that it doesn't overreact or under react. It's a little Goldilocks, right? You don't want it too hot or too cold, but just right. And so I really detail Part one is kind of explaining those imbalances and how oils work. And then Part two is giving you the specific oil recipes and how to use them.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 52:24
Thank you. Thank you, thank you. And all of your products are found on your website right vibrant blue oils, calm five employees, and if they're interested in you know, oils, I think are great, I compiled a list of 25 ways that you can activate your biggest nerve your stimulate your vagus nerve to activate your parasympathetic nervous system and you can grab that free bonus chapter at boost the brain book.com backslash gift, it's free. Just grab it and you know, just pick one there 25 if you pick one and you do it once a day, you know, that's great. We'll definitely post all of those links in the show notes. I'm excited to read your book. Thank you. So I have to ask. So if you were only allowed one oil or one of your oil blends the rest of your life. What oil could you not live without?
Jodi Sternoff Cohen 53:09
Oh my god, parasympathetic, especially like, do you use it every day? I mean, is it like I honestly on election night I was considering I don't drink and I'm like, this might be a time to take a day drinking. I was using it probably every five minutes when I'm that anxious. It really helps. Yeah.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 53:24
Well, I wrap up all my podcasts with your top longevity tips. So what would that top longevity tip be for our listeners
Jodi Sternoff Cohen 53:31
moving movement, you know anything because that's part of the reason like linseed oil is so good. If you're not moving, you're not moving your limbs. I really think just walking you know the side to side eye movement, breathing fresh air, just just move. Love it. Love it. Love it. Well, thank you so much again, for all your time today for coming on the show. Again, I look forward to reading your book, and I've got to try that limp blend. That was new to me. So I look forward to try that. So thank you so much, God, thank you.
Dr. Stephanie Gray 54:00
That was awesome. I could have kept asking her questions. Remember to check out boosts the brain book.com for 20 ways to activate your parasympathetic nervous system and she's offering $10 off using code blueprint 10 at the link I will post in the show notes. You must use that link and code blueprint 10 for $10 off. I've already ordered several of her products to carry at my practice the integrative health and hormone clinic. So next time you're in you're welcome to try and smell them and shift that nervous system back into rest mode of turning on your body's ability to heal.
Be sure to check out my book your longevity blueprint. And if you aren't much of a reader, you're in luck. You can now take my course online where I walk you through each chapter in the book. Plus for a limited time the course is 50% off check this offer out at your longevity blueprint.com and click the course.
One of the biggest things you can do to support the show and help us reach more listeners is to subscribe to the show. And leave us a rating and review on Apple podcasts or wherever you listen. I read all of the reviews would truly love to hear your suggestions for show topics, guests, or how you're applying what you've learned on the show to create your own longevity blueprint. The podcast is produced by the team at counterweight creative. As always, thanks so much for listening and remember, wellness is waiting.
The information provided in this podcast is educational. No information provided should be considered to be or used as a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always consult with your personal medical authority.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai
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