Essential Oils: The Lifeblood of Plants

Today, I’m super excited that my friend, Laurie, is sharing some unique information about plants – their use in essential oils!  I hope you enjoy the information she shares.  Please also be sure to check out her blog – One Mom and a Blog.

– the {house}plant momma

There’s something so refreshing about adding a plant to your indoor living environment. Perhaps it’s the colors and textures of nature juxtaposed with man-made things. Maybe it’s their “living” presence in the room or the fresh air they provide. Although not all plants are suitable to be brought indoors, the ones that are allow us to grow our love for these fragile creatures by tending to their needs. The simple act of caring for a houseplant can teach the patience, persistence and perseverance needed to nurture nature. Just like tending a garden, the hard work of sowing, watering, and providing a favorable environment will reap reward over time.

Whatever the reason you enjoy the presence of plants, allow me to enrich your appreciation by expanding on their hidden beauty – a beauty that flows deep inside the leaves, stems, flowers, roots, or bark of certain plants and provides something more than meets eye – something that dates back through ancient history.

What Are Essential Oils?

For thousands of years people have been using the aromatic, volatile liquid that’s within many shrubs, flowers, trees, roots, bushes, and seeds. These liquids are known as essential oils and are usually extracted through steam distillation, hydrodistillation, or cold-pressed extraction. Highly concentrated, and far more potent than dried herbs, large volumes of plant material produce small amounts of a distilled essential oil. For example, it takes 5,000 pounds of rose petals to produce 1 Kilo (2.2 pounds) of valuable rose essential oil.

Lavender.png

Through the process of photosynthesis, certain plants can produce more than food! They also convert nutrients into essential oils in order to protect themselves from sickness and insect damage.

Plant parts used to distill essential oils include flowers like the ones used to make the lovely fragranced essential oil Ylang Ylang. Flowering tops are used for Clary Sage, fruit is used to produce Bergamot, grasses make Xiang Mao, gum or resin makes valuable Frankincense, leaves and stems make Basil, roots produce Ginger, seeds make Anise and lastly, wood, bark, twigs and needles make essential oils like Cedarwood, Pine, and Spruce.

Lemon.png

These are just a few examples of hundreds of different essential oils that can be found on the market today. Known as “the lifeblood of plants,” essential oils are said to be the immune system of the plant – the building blocks of the plant’s DNA. This analogy helps us understand how essential oils carry vital nutrients throughout a plant so that it stays healthy and strong just like our gut hosts billions of microbes and beneficial bacteria that act as a primary defense against disease in our bodies.

How to Use Essential Oils

Essential oils can support the health and wellness of humans the same way they support the health and wellness of the original plant they were distilled from – oxygenating and detoxifying where needed most. Working to support every body system, their therapeutic properties promote healthy brain function, healthy weight, and even emotional support. Fragrance is said the be the substance of memories and research shows that when the pure constituents in essential oils are inhaled it can activate regions of the brain associated with memory, state of mind, and emotion. When inhaled, it only takes 22 seconds for an essential oils to reach the brain!

Cedarwood.png

Using essential oils to support healthy body function through topical or internal use are just a few of the many ways these versatile substances can be appreciated. Like houseplants, essential oils can also clean and purify the air! Houseplants do this by absorbing gases through pores on the surface of their leaves, but essential oils not only replace toxic fragrances like those in sprays, candles, and plug-in’s, they can also neutralize toxic molecules when diffused or sprayed into the air. Can your odor-eliminating spray do that?

Quality Matters

As we reach the understanding that nutrients, beneficial microbes, and bacteria are key to fending off disease in our bodies, it is important to recognize that the health of plants works much the same way. When we stuff our bodies full of food that is void of nutrition or we kill beneficial microbes and bacteria with the overuse of antibiotics or obsessive cleanliness, we can expect a weak immune system. It can also be noted that when we experience chronic stress our immune system is also weakened.

Peppermint.png

You might be thinking, “Wait a minute, plants don’t eat or take antibiotics.” But those of you who understand the liveliness of plants know that providing your plants with fertilizer and growing them in the right type of soil and sunlight is the equivalent of a healthy, well-balanced meal in a human being. Likewise, when plants experience stress they are more vulnerable to experiencing pest or disease issues. Poisonous pesticides and synthetic fertilizers can be considered “junk food” for plants rendering them unhealthy.

The reason it is important to care about the soil and nutrients that are provided to the plants that will eventually be distilled into essential oils is that the quality of the plants being used matters! Lots of variables determine the growth and health of the plants and thus the quality of the essential oil. Purchasing and using essential oils from a trusted source is an important first step in safe and effective use.

Eucalyptus.png

Another factor to take into consideration when choosing what essential oils to buy is purity. Unfortunately many companies today adulterate or extend their essential oils with the use of synthetic-made compounds that are added to the oil. The only way to tell if an oil has been adulterated is through analytical testing using gas chromatography, mass spectroscopy, and an optical refractometer.

Grow Your Love for Plants

I have been so blessed by reading Allison’s blog and watching her Instagram posts breathe life into my feed from nature which we all so desperately need – even if we choose to deny it. Adding houseplants to my life has been an enriching experience and has only enhanced my love and appreciation for essential oils. I’m so thankful for the care that goes into growing the plants that are later distilled into essential oils and frequently used in my home and on my family. Plants remind me of the beauty of nature and the smell of its essential oil is like a salve for my soul.

Essential Oils.png

Resources:
Gary Young The World Leader in Essential Oils pg. 114
Essential Oils Desk Reference: Sixth Edition pg. 43, pg. 26, pg. 3
Soil is the Immune System of the Garden
youngliving.com/blog

Disclaimer: These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. The information on this site is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please confirm any information obtained from or through this web site with other sources, and review all information regarding any medical condition or treatment with your physician. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment because of something you have read on this website. This post may contain affiliate links for your convenience. For more information, please see Laurie’s disclosure page.  Also, learn more about essential oils by joining her VIP Essential Oil Facebook group here. Thanks! 

Laurie.png

 

2 Replies to “Essential Oils: The Lifeblood of Plants”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s