Plant communication with essential oils

caterpillar and wasp
When eaten by caterpillars, some plants can emit chemicals that signal the help of special wasps. Once called, a wasp lays its egg inside a caterpillar.

Plants have neither arms, legs, nor voices with which to communicate with the world, but they do communicate with their environment. Their appearance communicates and they speak through essential oils to talk to other plants, insects, and animals. They respond to their world too. Essential oils are the plant’s primary method of communication. This is my most favorite characteristic of plants.

I cannot remember where I heard the following story to give due credit: Fir trees respond to dryness by releasing more monoterpene-rich essential oils. These are the tiniest of molecules which become a cloud rising up into the atmosphere “seeding” the clouds to encourage rainfall. In fact, the Appalachian Mountains have a very visible haze of monoterpenes, giving them their distinctive blue color. You smell it as you walk through the woods!

I love the idea of the essential oils being the voice of the plant. To encourage a visit, the plants says, “Come here!” with oils that attract pollinators.  They can also call to predators to come and eat something that is eating it. There is a wasp that is attracted to a molecule that a plant gives off when it is being attacked by a caterpillar. The plant can even sense if there are caterpillar eggs sitting on it’s leaf. The wasp “bodyguard” comes and takes care of the caterpillar and/or eggs.

An example of saying, “Go away!” is allelopathy, which is the plant giving off chemicals (essential oils) to discourage other plants from growing near them. Black walnut is an example. It does not like other black walnuts nearby! The compounds in oils that keep the plant protected from unfavorable insects are very well known. This is why so many people burn citronella-infused candles outside on the patio.

As humans we can move away from danger or shout. Plants can do neither, but they defend themselves with essential oils. Sesquiterpenes are rock stars of plant protection. These are heavier molecules. Think of them as heavy hitters. Biological threats like fungus, bacteria, and other microbials must get past the plants’s essential oil defense.

Plants undergo a lot of stress. One of the purposes of some essential oils is to act on the stressors of a plant, whatever they may be, to reduce its stress. The essential oils may be the plant’s call for help, or an expression of need. At its core, an essential oil is a messenger molecule.

Amazingly, we have scent receptors both inside and outside our bodies – even on our internal organs. Your skin has scent receptors too! Now, why does my elbow need to “smell”? That it doesn’t need to, is the answer, but it can respond to what the oil is communicating. To learn what exactly the essential oils are telling your body takes a little bit of study into the types of compounds in the oils and the different oils themselves (there’s about 300!). I would love to show you great resources for you to support your body’s best health. I can walk with you on this fascinating journey. Contact me for more information and get a coaching session to find what is best for you!




Pregnenolone, the key support for hormone production


I am astounded by the scope of influence of the steroid hormone precursor, pregnenolone. It is little talked about and little known, but it is now absorbing my interest because of its benefits.

We don’t miss something until it is gone. The body’s production of pregnenolone drops precipitously after age 40 in both males and females. I could tell at age 46 that something detrimental was happening to me. It was what I had dreaded – feeling tired, irritable, and believing that my best years were behind me. Research has taught me that this is the usual condition of aging people in the US, but it is not a sentence that I need accept. There are ways to support the endocrine system to maintain vitality. God has decreed that we humans have 120 years on this earth (Genesis 6:3). I intend to use all of them!

Where does pregnenolone come from?

It is made in various locations in the body, but primarily in the adrenal glands. It is produced in the brain (where it is a neurosteroid), skin, liver, as well as the retinas of the eyes. Babies are born with a huge amount, which immediately declines after 24 hours. Production gradually drops till mid-life, when it plummets like a rock. It is made from CHOLESTEROL. (Think twice before going on that low-fat diet!) Measure how much you have and it is like counting the rings on a tree – we can guess your age.

What does it do?

Almost too much to list. It is basically the mother of all hormones, steroids, and all things great.

In the brain – supports learning and memory, motivation, ability to acquire knowledge, feelings of well-being

Dr Ray Sahelian states, “When older individuals find they are experiencing declining mental abilities, and doctors prescribe pharmaceutical agents for them, usually antidepressants, they’re not addressing the primary problem. The primary problem is the deficiency of the neurosteroids. When the replacement of these neurosteroids is done appropriately, I think there can be amazing benefits.

In the body – supports lean muscle, strong bones, optimal body fat, energy

Research on pregnenolone ground to a halt in the 1950’s when cortisone was synthesized in the lab. It could be patented, unlike pregnenolone. Scientists stopped studies of pregnenolone on many fronts, including rheumatoid arthritis, and did not pursue promising studies on spinal cord injuries.

I have recently found a source of pregnenolone that I am loving. It is in Young Living’s Regenolone moisturizing cream. Natural remedies take time. I have 69 more years, so I have plenty of that!

Check out more about pregnenolone here.

Would you like a recipe to support nerves that uses Regenolone cream as a base? Contact me for a FREE email of my favorite essential oil recipe that supports nerves.


Libido, love and essential oils for the mature woman


fireEssential oils have been used for thousands of years. Some of the oldest recorded uses of fennel is in China and Egypt, but the Romans, Greeks and Anglo-Saxons used it too. I am revisiting fennel and a few other essential oils since entering the Age of Wisdom.

Fennel is a seed. Literally, seeds are for new life, but symbolically they represent potential or a new beginning. They are the perfect herb and essential oil for a woman going through the changes of menopause, because it is a new chapter, one that should be looked upon as full of potential.

Part of the struggle is embracing the changes and finding new balance. There is no better essential oil suited for supporting emotional balance than Ylang ylang. It has traditionally been the flower of newlywed couples on their wedding night, strewn over the marriage bed. The essential oil uplifts the spirit and encourages self-esteem. This is so necessary when one is full of doubts about one’s appearance and desiring to feel attractive as a mature woman. Love is emotional, but also mental. Ylang ylang can help you imagine back to when love was young.

What about sensuality? An essential oil that support the emotions of confidence, joy, and sensuality is neroli. It is also relaxing. This oil is extracted from the flowers of the orange tree. I used to live in Tampa, FL and I vividly remember driving by orange orchards in bloom. The smell was divine!

Along the same line is mandarin essential oil, cold-pressed from the rind. I think of citrus as liquid sunshine that brightens your outlook. It is also a wonderful oil that improves the appearance of healthy skin. Avoid applying this to areas of exposed skin if you are going to be in the sun within 24 hours. It is best to put it where the skin will not be exposed to sunlight.

Now, let’s get practical. All four of these essential oils are wonderful separately, but put them together and you have a lovely blend that supports and balances a woman’s femininity, individuality, potential, and sensuality.

Try equal parts with a carrier oil as a roll on or as an abdominal or lower back massage oil. If I were making a 10 ml roll on, I might put 3 drops of each and top it off with a carrier oil like jojoba. That would be a 12% dilution. Five drops of each in one ounce of carrier oil would make a lovely massage oil. It is really up to you to combine them the way that you prefer. Let me know how you enjoy it!

Essential Oils that Support the Hormonal System

Franchomme and Penoel, in their work titled L’Aromatherapie Exactement, write about how essential oil molecules have similarities in shape and action to the hormones our bodies create, even how oils can be used by the body as raw materials for building hormones.

I have compiled a list of single essential oils that are supportive of the hormone/endocrine system in the body. With some it is indirectly, by supporting the nervous system. These are in no particular order. Only you can discover which oil(s) are best for you. I have coaching techniques that I teach my clients about how to better discover which oils will work for them. I firmly believe in the purity and authenticity of Young Living oils. For more information, check here.

clary sage
ylang ylang
German chamomile
blue tansy

The bravest thing you can do

“It was as this point that Bilbo stopped. Going on from there was the bravest thing he ever did. The tremendous things that happened afterwards were as nothing compared to it. He fought the real battle in the tunnel alone, before he ever saw the vast danger that lay in wait.” ~ The Hobbit.

the-hobbit-an-unexpected-journey-bilbo-bagginsThe most real, the most violent skirmishes are the ones which never see a battlefield beyond that of the mind. They can drain emotions and leave wrecked bodies behind with invisible wounds.

I was recently rereading The Hobbit and gasped when I read the above passage. How accurately Tolkien describes inner turmoil! Bilbo was on his way through the dark tunnels to slay the dragon, Smaug, who lay in the deepest part of the mountain, guarding untold treasure. Bilbo’s magic ring, which made him invisible, was no help against the dragon’s nose and wits.

Many days we feel like Bilbo. There are ugly dragons to slay metaphorically: Real evils, really awful people, real tragedies. They can smell us out even when we try hiding with our invisible rings of avoidance or denial, but the real battle is fought inside our soul. Before we get out of bed. Before we take that shower and dress. While we face making breakfast and do the grocery shopping. The real battle is “going on from there.” It is the moving and the doing while the fear, anger, or heartbreak rage inside and blind us like the darkness of a tunnel deep inside the mountain. All of these fierce battles are fought alone, which they must be, because that is our story. We must just remember that half of the winning begins with the small steps, stumbling forward. Stop, and you lose. Go forward, even if you must feel your way, and you win.

(Note: This was first published by me on March 1, 2013.)