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Understanding Essential Oils

Searching For Truth: A Blog by Sherri Smith


The growth in the essential oil world is tremendous, and rightfully so, as the intelligence of nature is forever revealing itself as powerful medicine.What is critical in this production is sustainability in the harvesting of these oils; it has been in our lack of regard for the source that has created much of the depletion we are experiencing today in our environment. Just as we have become conscious of our buying power with locally grown, organic foods, we must also place that same level of awareness into essential oils.

A bottle of essential oil contains a family of aromatic compounds that are highly concentrated and in a pure form. What we need to also consider is the variables that influences the nature of the oil and therefore it’s therapeutic applications. These influences can be summed up in 3 broad categories; the environment, the plant itself and its metabolic processes and lastly the people.

Sunlight is behind the production of all the compounds inside plants because sunlight is what drives the metabolic processes. The moon increases the vitality of the plant based on the diurnal rhythm or changes of the seasons. The next group is the Elements; earth, water, fire, air and space. We can classify the qualities of the oil based on the primary elements they contain such as an oil derived from the root are going to have a more stable, viscous, grounding quality. A hydro sol is going to be more hydrating. Certain oils have more heat and stimulating function therefore classified as being high in the fire element. An oil that improves our ability to breath would be of the air element.

Eco-physiology is the environmental influences that impact the plant quality. The soil is incredibly important in production of high grade medicinal roles. Drainage, nutrients and minerals in the soil quality have a key role in creating a high grade oil. Water also plays a major role and paradoxically it is the lack of water that increases the production of essential oils more than anything else. Therefore the aromatic plants that come from the desert or the dry climates have the best essential oils and aromatic compounds. A great example is Frankincense; the resin that is harvested from frankincense trees in the driest areas of the desert has been described of concentrated drops of sunlight and that is because there is literally no water in these environment and that causes these trees to produce very high levels of essential oils. In this case it is the dryness element that produces the greatest quality oil. The fire element is sunlight, and here we can look at an example of a plant that grows at high altitudes. These plants have a very different metabolism than those that grow at sea level; the reason for this is the sunlight is very different and the oxygen in the atmosphere is unique (air element). Jatamansi oil, from the Himalayas grows in a very high altitude, and because of this the more concentrated the compounds will be that have the relaxing effect on mind and body. Considering these variables it makes it imperative that we know these oils are derived from the climate they best thrive in and not from a man-made growing farm that mimics the conditions of nature.

The plant produces these oils for 2 primary reasons.The first and most fundamental is immunological, the compounds are the defense mechanism to protect itself from herbivores and pathogens. They also produce compounds as part of their signalling mechanism for reproduction purposes. Both of these functions are very, very old. This brings a history into that plant or flower, so considering that, we have all of the intelligence of how the plant learned to flower for its own benefit. The immune functions provide an ancient lineage of evolutionary intelligence that is coming to us through the essential oil that reminds our own immune system how to function properly and restore it’s balance.

The people handling the plants for the distillation and alchemy of these oils is another contributor to the quality of the final product. All of these oils require a lot of heavy work, bending and a massive amount of plant based material to get just one litre of oil. Many of us do not understand why the production is so important and ethically imperative. Those in the distillation process must understand renew-ability, stability of botanical resources and the foresight to see how we can have these plants in our future. Ecological cultivation should be the primary focus of the people harvesting this product. Floracopeia has made it a principle operations standard to work with small extended families of people locale to the region these plants are native to, from the highest quality regions.

Know what’s in your bottle ,and each time you use it, it will be with greater respect for the production and for the medicine it can provide us.

The majority of this information was taken from the Floracopeia web trainings.


Sherri Smith from A State of Bliss has trained extensively and globally with ancient modalities and traditions to combine the wisdom these teachings into her own unique therapies. We are deeply connected to the natural world and many of the ills of society today are a result of our separation from this. Sherri's commitment to her own journey keep her immersed in teachings, experiences and advancement, in turn providing rich and rare content to her offerings. There is a yearning within each of us to live a greater life. Discover your power, your gifts and your truths.

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