Reading and writing about essential oils and the power of plant medicine is not the same as getting enveloped by a scent and transported to a different state of mind. I will attempt to recreate the feeling though as a way to ready ourselves, to place us in our bodies where our brain inhabits every cell and not just above our shoulders. Lets go!
Close your eyes, well maybe after you read where you are going.
The air is cool and you are on a wooded path with trees surrounding you. You stop and breathe in deeply the scent of bay laurel, fresh with hints of spice . Your lungs fill again and as you exhale you can feel the tiny molecules of bay surrounding you. The air is filled with the fresh scent, invigorating you, calming you, and transporting you. Your entire mood shifts though you were not really aware of your mood at all. Breathing deeply and drinking in the scent you want it to stick to your every cell as long as possible. This experience is profound even spiritual. You look at the trees towering over you and realize they are the source of such a hallowed environment. A smile covers your face as you thank the trees and yourself for this moment of nirvana.
Scents and the molecules that create them are diverse and complex. We share our molecular history with them. The plants speak a molecular language our molecules understand . There are many practices throughout history and modern medicine that reaffirm our connection to nature, to the plants and to their components. I practice aromatherapy with wonder and awe. I read the chemistry behind the oils to get a better understanding how and why our bodies react. I recognize that like any medicine, it is not a cure all but a tool at our disposal. I also want to impart the idea that essential oils are powerful molecular messengers that interact with our molecules directly. They are the concentration of the aromatic molecules of a plant, so we use them in tiny amounts and in moderation.
So lets look at bay oil in particular. The oil comes from the leaves and like many of the trees found in forests, the essential oil opens up sinus passages as well as the respiratory passages. The scent is also invigorating making us want to breathe more deeply and get active. This oil like, black spruce, eucalyptyus and Inula stimulates the lymph system especially when stagnant or congested. Like all essential oils it is antibacterial and Bay laurel also offers immune support and can help the system clear mucous.
I like to incorporate bay laurel in my shower gel when I start to see/hear coughing, sneezing and nasal congestion. Bay Laurel on its own is a heavenly scent. I will often add a drop or two to the water where the hot stones bathe in the treatment room. Bay laurel also has a mood shifting effect as well. It is calming but not sedating. Early in the pandemic when we were all home, I would diffuse bay, lime and basil to help with concentration and energy. When you catch a whiff of oils diffusing you stop and take a deeper breathe. Your brain/body takes in the scent and by taking that moment to stop and breathe a bit deeper you have already changed how your mind and body are responding.
A word about diffusing essential oils. The oils initially will be at the forefront of your attention because the molecules are filling the space however they should not over power the space. There are different type of diffusers out there and all of them stop diffusing either because the candle has been consumed, the timer has turned off the diffuser or the all the oil has evaporated. So even though is it tempting, diffusing all day is not recommend. Remember, this is concentrated plant medicine. You can diffuse throughout the day but not all day long.
Before I sign off, here is a a blend I am currently using. Let me know what you’re using these days.
Chill Vibe spray
I keep this in my bag and use it when I start to feel stress climbing. I either spray the air and breathe deeply or spray into my hands and cup them to my face to breathe in deeply.
Mandarin petitgrain- Strongly calming and relaxing, antispasmodic, anxiety, panic, grief
Lime : In French Style Aromatherapy the oil is used to alleviate anxiety and sleeplessness.
Melissa: The oil is a profound sedative, it brightens the mood, strengthens the heart and nervous system and helps with weakness or lack of energy.
Orange: At once relaxing, uplifting and antiviral, it is perfect for room air disinfection.
Massoia: Good for stress, nervousness, restlessness, opens the heart, also good for fungal infections.
Other ingredients: Carriers for essential oils
Organic witch hazel