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Trees To Meet You

For this first article, I thought it might be helpful to introduce some essential oils to use during the winter months of cold and flu season. Many people are familiar with common oils, such as Lavender and Rose, Lemon or Peppermint, but few people have been exposed to the remarkable properties and benefits of the oils derived from trees. The sweet, balsamic scent of the Cedarwood tree is not only effective at repelling moths from your closet. It also works as an active stimulant for the circulatory system. You may have used some Rosemary from the little evergreen bush in your backyard to flavor your potatoes, but did you know it holds powerful mucolytic and expectorant properties to help with coughs and congestion? And, the next time you smell the fresh aroma of Eucalyptus as it lingers in the air after a pouring rain you could be surprised with how beneficial it may be to take a big whiff.

Beyond the obvious contributions they offer of food, shelter, and for the occasional marking of canine territory, trees also hold remarkable attributes through the distillation of their wood, bark, resins, roots, and leaves or needles, which are helpful for promoting health and wellbeing. The oils produced from trees for therapeutic use in Aromatherapy are some of the most potent remedies around and have been known about and used for centuries, even millennia, dating as far back as the Ancient Egyptians who used fragrant oils in their daily ritual and burial practices.

One of my first connections with trees was as a young girl in Massachusetts playing outside during the spring. In the mist of an early morning I stumbled upon an enormous evergreen with branches that touched the ground and encircled its trunk creating a hidden space like a private cove. This is where I would hide for private moments of contemplation. Evergreens grow to enormous heights – some reaching over 300 feet tall – and this one, also being exaggerated by my small stature I am sure, became my retreat and hideaway during those moments when a 7-year-old needed privacy. I didn’t know then the benefits of breathing in the fresh, aromatic essence of the wet needles and saturated bark, but I would later learn that the invigorating effect was due to the balancing and immune enhancing properties of the terpene hydrocarbons.

Without getting into a full-scale chemistry lesson, it is noteworthy that these terpenes, in the form of monoterpenes and sesquiterpenes, are what give the tree oils their tonifying, antiseptic, antiviral, and immune-stimulating benefits. These major components make tree oils extremely effective when used to combat symptoms of the common cold, such as upper respiratory and sinus congestion, sore throat, coughs, and even fever. I hope you will join me over the next few weeks to take a look at some of these trees and the remarkable benefits their oils provide in combatting colds and boosting the body’s ability to stay healthy through the colder, winter weather. Also, stay tuned for some fun and easy winter remedy recipes.

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