Essential Oil Properties by Plant Part

by Jodi Cohen |

essential oil properties by plant part

Some of the healing benefits of plants can be attributed to both how the plants are grown and the part of the plant used for the oil.  For example, plants that grow in the shade, like Peppermint™, tend to be cooling to your body. While plants that crave the sun, like black pepper, help bring dryness and heat into your system.  Plants that thrive in damp areas, like mint, help your body alleviate dampness like congestion.

The part of the plant from which essential oils are derived offers insight into their medicinal benefits.  For example, root essences are inherently centering, calming and sedating.

It is helpful to know what part(s) of a plant were used in the production of an essential oil as the constituents, aroma and the therapeutic properties of the oil can vary. Cinnamon essential oil is produced from either the bark or the leaves of the cinnamon tree. Some producers use only a plant’s leaves, while some may use both the leaves and connecting twigs.

Essential Oils Derived from the Part of the Plant

Seeds

Seeds support reproductive function in plants.  They can play a similar role in your body, supporting your reproductive system, along with sensuality, growth, nourishment and birth.  Seed essential oils like Angelica seed or Celery seed are also known to help give birth to creativity, new ideas, new projects and new life phases.   Along with Cardamom, included in our Focus™ blend, for creative and mental energy, seed oils like Nutmeg help support physical energy. Nutmeg can be found in our Circulation™, Energize™, Immune Support™ and Thymus™ blends. Seed oils like Fennel and Anise support digestion. Other seed oils include Dill, included in Anti-Inflammatory™ and Prostate Support™ blends, Celery Seed, included in Estrogen Balance™ and Blood Sugar Balance™ blends, Caraway included in our Liver™ blend and Cucumber Seed oil included in Pancreas™ blend.

Roots

Roots serve to anchor plants into the earth where they absorb valuable nutrients and water. Root essential oils therefore help you feel grounded, connecting you to earth energy, providing stability and helping to return your body to balance.  For example, Vetiver essential oil is extracted from a perennial bunchgrass with very deep roots that help ground it to the Earth.  Vetiver’s deep roots may help to ground you mentally, physically and emotionally, often helping you explore the root of your emotional issues.  Essential oils derived from the roots of plants or grasses like Angelica, Spikenard, and Valerian root can be  calming and sedating, which is especially helpful when you feel overwhelmed or anxious or disconnected. It’s also interesting to note that root plants often look like nerves in the body and essential oils derived from roots like Ginger and Valerian often help to bring pain relief. Essential oils derived from grasses, like Citronella, Lemongrass and Palmarosa tend to be very anti-bacterial, purifying and anti-parasitic.  Essential oils derived from grasses may also have a warming effect on your body. The ability of oils derived from grasses to bring warmth, movement and detoxifying action to your body is one of the reasons that Palmarosa oil is such an important part of our Lymph™ blend and Citronella and Lemongrass are included in Purification™ blend.

Resins function within the plant to heal wounds and protect the plant from external pathogens. Essential oils derived from resins serve a similar protective function in your body, helping to healing wounds and ward off disease and negative energy.   Oils like Frankincense™, myrrh and elemi can all be utilized to help alleviate emotional and physical suffering and help to release deeply held beliefs that no longer serve us. They also help us to access emotions that have been deeply repressed and need to be released. Not surprisingly, our primarily blend for letting go of negative emotions that no longer serve, Large Intestine Support™, contains both Elemi, Frankincense™ and Myrrh.  Myrrh oil, in particular, helps support your ability to express yourself, making external (through voice and writing) what has been internal (thoughts, feelings), and is also included in our Thyroid Support™ blend. Essential oils derived from resins can also be anti-viral. Some additional essential oils derived from resins include Balsam of Peru, an viscous resin obtained by scorching or inflicting V-shaped wounds on the bark of the trunk of the tree which triggers the tree to release the Balsam of Peru resin to heal the tree’s lesions that is included in our Circadian Rhythm™ and Liver™ blends and Galbanum, included in our Adrenal™ blend.

Wood and Bark

Wood and Bark transport water and nutrients to leaves, stems and flowers as well as providing structural support to the tree.  It is not surprising that essential oils derived from wood and bark also help you conduct energy, provide balance and strengthen your physical structure.  For example, Birch oil is known for its uplifting and stimulating properties which is why we included it in our Energize™ blend . Cypress is also known to promote energy and vitality as experienced in our Circulation™, Digest™ and Intestinal Mucosa™. Wood essential oils also support internal contemplation, with oils like Cedarwood and Sandalwood contributing to several emotional support blends like Large Intestine Support™, Small Intestine Support™ and Liver Support™. Bark essential oils, like Cinnamon Bark supports healthy metabolic function, are anti-infectious and help maintain a healthy immune system. For example, Cinnamon Bark essential oil is included in our Adrenal™, Blood Sugar Balance™, Immune Support™ and Large Intestine Support™ blends.

Leaves, Twigs and Needles

Leaves, Twigs, and Needles support plant respiration and photosynthesis.  This is the part of the tree or plant which breathes and helps protect plants from water loss, storing oxygen and nutrients.  It is therefore not surprising that essential oils made from leaves and needles help support your respiratory system. For example, eucalyptus essential oil, included in Sinus Support™, Breathe™ and Immune Support™ blends,  helps calm mucous membranes, both loosening up and reducing mucus, so you can breathe more easily. Similarly, Spruce, Pine and Fir Needles help protect your body from water loss in the Kidney Support™ blend.

Essential oils made from leaves and needles are also known for their anti-bacterial, antiseptic properties and their ability to ward off harmful predators and energy while supporting your immune system.  For example, research has detailed the antibacterial and anti-parasitic nature of essential oils derived from Myrtle leaves found in immune supporting blends like Breathe™, Circulation™, Energize™, and Purification™  Similarly, Manuka oil which comes from the leaves of  the Manuka tree, which is native to New Zealand and is highly effective against bacteria and fungi, is included in immune supporting oils like Adrenal™ and Histamine Balance™.

It’s also interesting to note that pine cones have been associated with the pineal gland and spiritual expansion.  It is even hypothesized that the name of the pineal gland comes from its pine cone-like shape. Essential oils derived from Pine, included in our Hypothalamus™ blend, are considered to be supportive for meditation, amplifying intention or prayer, and for brain balance and health. Other essential oils derived from leaves, twigs and needles include Bay, Bay Laurel, Bergamot, Mint, Eucalyptus, Geranium,  Patchouli, Petitgrain, Cypress, Fir, Scotch Pine, Spruce, Ravensara and Tea Tree™.

Flowers

Flowers support reproduction within a plant, attracting insects for the purpose of pollination and producing fruit.  Essential oils derived from flowers and flowering herbs help us get in or stay in harmony.  They often carry a frequency of love, compassion, forgiveness, emotional nourishment and beauty.  As such, essential oils derived from flowers and flowering herbs can support heart opening for both self-love and attraction, acting as natural aphrodisiacs.  They show us our greatest potential and they show us the power of acting from a place of love.  For example, Heart™ oil is compromised primarily from essential oils derived from flowers, including Neroli, Roman Chamomile, Blue Tansy, and Jasmine.  Rose™, found in Bladder Support™, Large Intestine Support™, Lung Support™, Pancreas™, Uplift™, is also known for increasing joy and uplifting feelings. Ylang Ylang, found in Anti-Inflammatory™, Brain Boost™, Calm™, Kidney Support™, Liver™ and Lymph™ blends, similarly promotes relaxation and positive emotions.

Flower Buds

Flower buds are precursors to new growth.  Buds are made from meristem tissue, the part of a plant containing undifferentiated cells. This makes bud cells ready for rapid cell division, the action which fuels growth and the development of different plant structures.  Essential oils derived from flower buds show similar healing adaptability. For example, helichrysum essential oil, extracted from the flowers, petals and buds of the plant, is known for its anti-inflammatory properties and helping wounds heal more quickly.  Helichrysum is found in Bladder Support™, Brain Boost™, Large Intestine™, Liver Support™, and Migraine Relief™. Essential oils for Chamomile buds can also be calming and soothing as Chamomile is included in Uplift™ and Sleep™ blends.

Clove oil, derived from  the flower buds of the clove tree, has regenerative properties that help stimulate the brain and the autonomic nervous system.  Clove oil, contained in Parasympathetic™, Immune Support™, and Thymus™ also helps support immune function, reduce pain and irritation and improve blood flow.

Finally, essential oils derived from Lavender™ buds contain many regenerative, antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties, which is the one of the reasons they help to heal minor cuts and burns.  Lavender oil can be found in Attention™, Bladder Support™, Brain Boost™, Circadian Rhythm™, Histamine Balance™, Liver™, Liver Support™, Migraine Relief™, Sinus Support™, Sleep™, Spleen™ and Uplift™.

Flowering Herbs

Flowering Herbs like Basil, Clary Sage, Holy Basil, Hyssop, Melissa, Marjoram, Oregano, Peppermint™, Rosemary, Sage, Spearmint and Thyme, contain similar mood enhancing, mental clarity, stress relief  and immune supporting antiviral and antibacterial properties.  For example, Focus™ blend contains flowering herbs like Basil, Holy Basil and Peppermint™. Brain Boost™ includes flowering herbs like Melissa. Adrenal™ blend contains flowering herbs like Thyme and Rosemary.

Citrus Oils

Citrus oils, extracted by cold-pressing the peels of citrus fruits, help enhance your mood and balance your emotions. Citrus peels serve to protect the underlying fruit from environmental threats and potential predators and tend to be highly anti-bacterial and contain high levels of antioxidants.  This one reason that citrus oils are so effective at boosting your immune system and supporting cellular detoxification. For example, Orange™, Lemon™ and Mandarin oils can both be found in Immune Support™ blend.  Similarly, Grapefruit™, found in Circulation™ and Liver Support™ along with Lemon™, found in Estrogen Balance™ are known to help your body detoxify.

Citrus oils also help to boost mood and ease anxiety.  For example, Tangerine is extremely soothing citrus oil found in Calm™, Sleep™ and Small Intestine Support™ blends.  Other emotionally calming citrus oils include Grapefruit (Found in Circulation™, Blood Sugar Balance™, Circadian Rhythm™, Liver Support™, Prostate Support™ blends), Lime (found in Energize™, Parasympathetic™, Small Intestine™, Sleep™ and Uplift™ blends), Lemon™ (found in Blood Sugar Balance™, Estrogen Balance™, Immune Support™, Lung Support™ and Thyroid™ blends), Orange™ (found in Calm™, Estrogen Balance™, Immune Support™, Sleep™ and Thyroid™ blends), Litsea cubeba (found in Small Intestine Support™ blend), Mandarin (found in Hypothalamus™, Immune Support™, and Small Intestine Support™), and Bergamot (found in Lung Support™ and PMS Support™ blends).

My Gift to You

As a special gift, I have compiled an easy ingredient resource so that you might look up your favorite essential oils and easily discover what blends it is included in. To access this Ingredient List, click HERE.

Resources:

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About The Author

Jodi Sternoff Cohen is the founder of Vibrant Blue Oils. An author, speaker, nutritional therapist, and a leading international authority on essential oils, Jodi has helped over 50,000 individuals support their health with essential oils.

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