The five Chinese elements of life—earth, metal, water, wood, and fire—are phases or movements of yin and yang energy.
Yin represents condensing energy, the material and substantial. Yang represents expanding energy, the immaterial and non-substantial.
When the five elements are flowing in balance, yin and yang are in balance, and you are healthy. Imbalances lead to problems.
Here's a little information about the five Chinese elements, potential imbalances, and essential oils to help correct imbalances, based mostly on information from Aromatherapy for Healing the Spirit: Restoring Emotional and Mental Balance with Essential Oils and The Healing Intelligence of Essential Oils.
Earth is energy in its descending yin stage. Imbalances may lead to:
To balance earth deficiency: caraway, coriander.
To balance earth excess: cardamon, patchouli, petitgrain.
Metal is energy in a gathering and synthesizing yin phase of transformation. Imbalance in metal can lead to frequent colds. Use eucalyptus or tea tree oil.
To balance metal deficiency: fir, niaouli, pine, thyme (linalool chemotype).
To balance metal excess: citronella, eucalyptus, myrtle, ravintsara.
Water is condensed energy in a static yin phase. It's a dormant state filled with latent power. Imbalances in water can lead to:
To balance water deficiency: basil, clary sage, geranium.
To balance water excess: cedarwood, juniper.
Wood is rising energy in an accelerating yang phase. Wood is about motivation, growth, and harmony in the flow of life. If energy isn't flowing, essential oils with relaxing properties, such as lavender, may help.
To balance wood deficiency: carrot seed, chamomile, rose, vetiver.
To balance wood excess: chamomile, lavender, lemon, spikenard.
Fire is expansive, radiant energy of yang at its peak. Imbalances may lead to:
To balance fire deficiency: frankincense, sage, sandalwood.
To balance fire excess: lemon verbena, marjoram, neroli, orange, valerian.