Essential oils are distilled from the different parts of the plant; some come from the flowers, others are extracted from the leaves, and some utilize the whole plant for their therapeutic effects. In general, depending on where the oils are extracted from, we can get a hint as to their effect on the body. We find there is a basic symbolic association on a metaphysical level, in that the part of the plant that is used will reflect the energetic quality our bodies respond to.
Let’s begin at the bottom…Looking at essential oils that are derived from the roots of the plant— these oils will have the ability to bring us deep into the root of the matter in a psycho-spiritual way. Root oils allow us to go to the heart of the matter, to delve deep within, just like a root dives deep into the earth. These oils also will assist in rooting out answers to questions that have perplexed us on a soul level, enabling our inner voice to come forward with direction. Root oils also help us to connect to the mother earth aspect, to ground deep within ourselves and find purpose and courage for the soul’s journey here on Earth. Some of these root oils are Ginger, Angelica, Spikenard, Sassafras and Vetiver.
For some essential oils, tree bark is pulverized and the essential oil distilled from the pulp or the chips. These essential oils, which include Sandalwood, Rosewood, and Cedarwood will have a strengthening quality to their therapeutic uses. If you think of the strength of a tree, the ability to withstand adversity, to stand tall and straight- these are some of the gifts that tree oils offer. There is a deep inner quality to these oils as well, an ability to know oneself, to accept and support the inner self. Like the bark protects the inner tree, these oils address the auric body, enveloping us in a protective energetic field, supporting and protecting our internal being.
Resins, like roots and bark, also have the ability to pull us into our inner selves and support us in our soul’s journey. Resins are tapped from the sap of the tree, the very life essence and food of the tree. Here we can see how resins can connect us to our source of life force, our true inner vision and to our internal needs and desires. Dreams and wishes can be found and encouraged to be actualized with resin essential oils’ support. Oils like Frankincense, Benzoin (styrax), Mastic, Galbanum and Myrrh are all highly spiritual oils, brining an enlightened glow to our lives and a heightened core resonance to our inner frequencies.
The fruits begin to bring us more on a more cellular level in their healing qualities. They do not have the deep introspective demands that core oils have, but rather work on a more physical level. Fruits such as Lemon, Orange, Mandarin, Lime, Bergamot and Grapefruit are all distilled from oils in the peel of the fruit and are good for the immune system. Coriander, Cumin, Fennel and Black Pepper are distilled from the crushed dried fruit of the plant. These oils work primarily work on a digestive level, encouraging the internal functioning of how well we can digest life. Symbolically, the fruit is what gives life as nourishment. With these oils we can ask ourselves how can we nourish ourselves both physically and emotionally? How can we support the digestive tract so that we can assimilate more life force into our bodies? These oils encourage us to take a bite out of life and chew it well. Oils from the fruit assist in cleansing both spiritually and physically. They strengthen our immune systems, fighting off disease and toxins, while building antibodies to fight disease. They can also help build our psychic bodies to cleanse out old or unwanted energies.
The leaves and/or needles of the plant are usually steam distilled and generally will assist us in respiratory ailments. The leaf is the center of many activities of the plant, including photosynthesis. Through plant respiration, gases are exchanged – carbon dioxide enters the leaf and is transformed to produce oxygen. In our bodies we have the opposite relationship where oxygen is utilized and the by-product carbon dioxide is released. So we can see how leaf respiration can symbolically mirror and aid us in our respiration. Macrocosms and microcosms. Leaf essential oil can clear respiratory blocks, mucous, catarrh and constrictions in the air passages. Inhaling oils like pine, eucalyptus, tea tree, cajuput and myrtle with the steam method (head over a bowl of steaming water where the essential oils have been added) can open up the air passages and kill off infection. The leaves and needles can also affect us in our rhythmic cycles. Just as a leaf sways in the wind and is open to yielding to the elements, so the essential oil can open us up to flowing with the environment. Leaf essential oil can balance and regulate the cardio-vascular system, and the flow of women’s menstrual cycles. Leaf energy is very cleansing, both physically and emotionally. We can use leaf oil to clear the mental activity, which encourages being open to the currents of life. Like leaves responding to currents of air, we can sway with life’s gentle pressures and not get blown away.
The blossoms of the plant are organs specialized in plant sexual reproduction – so guess what – blossom essential oils help our reproductive organs. The blossom/flower essential oils stimulate the endocrine system to produce, regulate and balance hormones. These oils can be very helpful in alleviating premenstrual tension, can ease menstrual cramping and can bring into equilibrium to erratic mood swings. The blossom essential oils are also considered supreme aphrodisiacs. Oils like rose, neroli, jasmine, and ylang ylang are all high vibrationals that relax, soothe and bring euphoria to the body. By calming the nervous system, more energy is readily available for stimulation and sexual arousal. When the central nervous system is balanced and mellow, one feels good about oneself and about others. One can enjoy life on deeper levels and spread that joy outwards. Blossom essential oils are all about well being on all levels.
The seeds are the final product of plant reproduction.The seed is a mature ovule, an embryo. The seed has within all the nutrients it needs to grow until a time when it can produce its own food through photosynthesis. So therefore the seed, representing a food source, would be able to aid us in digestion. Seed essential oil is balancing and nurturing for the digestive system. It quells nausea and upset, as well as helps break down and assimilate food better. Seeds also work on the lymphatic system to cleanse and clear toxins and waste matter from the body. On an emotional level, seeds represent creativity, the second chakra, where the embryo grows. Seed oils help us create – not only life, but art, music and dance. These essential oils encourage self-expression and self-exploration, through feeding and nourishing the Soul. Some seed oils are aniseed, carrot seed, caraway, dill seed and celery seed.
Flowering plants like lavender, thyme, rosemary utilize the whole plant for distillation into an essential oils. Because the whole plant is used, the metaphysical equivalent would therefore be that these oils could be used for whole systems in the body and for general overall health. Lavender certainly is one of the most versatile oils and can be used for a wide variety of ailments as well as for well being, as is thyme. These oils work on the central nervous system to regulate and balance the nerves. They support the endocrine system also by regulating and balancing the hormones. They intensify all aspects of care for the body in a wholistic way. These whole plant oils have a tonic effect, refreshing and stimulating the senses while calming and relaxing the physical body.
Essential oils help us to learn more about ourselves by being reflections of our inner worlds. They are like windows into our internal workings and can teach us about balance and support. Plants and trees should be honored as the mirrors they are to us. We, each of us, come from a seed, grow into adulthood, have the ability to blossom, to produce and reproduce, like that of a plant. We are each living creatures and share a commonality. As they say, “We are all one”.