Sunday, July 1

Today's Essential Oils; On Blending; Tea

This morning I made an energizing blend of rosemary, bergamot mint, and lavender.

Rosemary is an absolutely lovely essence. It is the herb that I identified most closely with during my teenage and college years. I always had a 25ml bottle, regardless of quality, and I used it for everything; upliftment, grounding, headaches, bug bites, cuts, burns, skin trouble, dispersal of unpleasant smells, clarification and energizing, and more. Zeke says that rosemary is related to creativity, and those also happened to be my most creative years so far. It feels fundamentally similar to lavender, to me, and I'll bet they are related; their leaves and flowers look similar. While the primary scent in rosemary is energizing and clarifying, it leaves a woody afternote which I have been enjoying all day. Since discovering "rosemary verbonne", a gentler rosemary, the deliciousness of rosemary has reached a new level. Rosemary is one of my standard morning essences.

Bergamot mint is my other standard morning essence. It is an absolutely delightful and unusual oil. It is indeed a mint, and has mint's energizing quality. However it is far milder than the familiar peppermint and spearment, and is not as cooling. It also does have a distinct citrus smell which is probably closest to bergamot. With the gently clarifying and energizing quality of a mint, and the loving playful quality of a citrus, it is a lovely essence to have.

Lavender, as always, is the backbone of the blend, with its nurturing and harmonizing quality.

Tonight I am diffusing rose (diluted), spikenard, and lavender.

Rose is well known as a universal symbol of love. It's handy to have some of that in a bottle nearby! Thank goodness mine is diluted, because it is so powerful. I actually have rose absolute rather than essential oil. Absolutes are not extracted by steam, but with chemical solvents, which are then removed. Apparently with contemporary technology, absolutes by reputable companies are very clean. They are especially faithful to the plant's actual scent, because they extract the essence a bit more completely than steam does. Thus they're particularly recommended for inhalation, while for application to the skin true essential oils are preferred. All the floral oils are quite powerful, as flowers themselves are. Rose is a sort of "broad spectrum" essence. While it has a strong affinity with love and the heart, it goes beyond these as well, and affects the whole person and atmosphere. (On the other hand all essences do this to varying extents.) Rose is, I believe, closely related to the orientation of the current human evolutionary path. And maybe that's why I'm diffusing it tonight, for a little evolutionary boost.

Spikenard is relatively new to me. It's a base oil, and like most base oils, undiluted it's almost unpleasant. Base oils add a deep grounding note to blends. They help us to stay connected to the earth, to our sexuality, to our strength, to our physicality. At the same time the base oils are some of the most sacred and divinely-oriented. They inspire earthiness that is harmonious with the world of spirit. Spikenard specifically is said to inspire generosity and devotion.

Once again, lavender is the backbone of the blend. It opens up the influence of rose and spikenard, and provides a gentler, milder note.

I want to add something about the blending of essential oils generally. This may apply to blending herbal extracts in other forms (infusions, tinctures, hydrosols) as well.

Herbal actions are due to the chemicals in the herb. It's these chemicals that allopathic medicine looks for. They select an individual chemical for its medicinal action, recreate it synthetically, and then prescribe that when its action is needed.

However, the individual chemicals are not the whole story. The chemicals in the plant interact together. Sometimes they modify the medicinal actions so that medicines from the whole plant produce no or fewer side effects. Sometimes they complement each other's medicinal actions, so that for example the primary chemical may lower blood pressure, but secondary chemicals also reduce blood clotting, include antioxidants, have an antispasmodic and antiinflammatory effect, and promote cellular regeneration. Sometimes a medicinal action is caused by the presence of two chemicals together, and seperately neither have that effect. Sometimes it is not known exactly what causes the medicinal action.

Plants develop these actions for their own benefit. Animals such as humans have been ingesting plants from the beginning, and we have evolved alongside them. They are truly an inseparable part of us.

Just as the variety of chemicals in the whole plant cooperate together, so may the chemicals of two whole plants when they are blended. These interactions aren't usually as significant as those between the chemicals of an individual plant, which has spent centuries finetuning its chemical symphony. Nonetheless they can be quite valuable. In a sense, when you blend essential oils, you are creating a whole new essence--a new herb, a new medicine.

Tonight's tea is lemon balm, chamomile, and linden. This is the very mild evening blend I've settled on for the time being.