The world events weigh heavily on our minds. The past few years have taken a large mental and physical toll on all of us. Thankfully, there are various ways we can support ourselves during these trying times.
For example, one may find comfort in knowing that, underlying all this turmoil, there is a kindness to the design of nature in her desire to support us. The awe-inspiring splendor, tenderness, and intelligence of our natural world is truly remarkable and beautiful.
In this post, I will discuss the caring ways that Mother Earth provides for her human inhabitants. Then, I will highlight four of my favorite essential oils that she gifts us with to enhance our resiliency in the autumn months.
The Mind-Body Support Provided by Nature’s Intelligence
The change of seasons always fills me with wonder. Previously, I reviewed how nature bestows on us various aromas to support our bodies and minds during the fall transition and into the winter months ahead. This is accomplished in four ways.
- The tickling of our noses with the beloved spice oils. All these herbal aromatics have powerful protective, repair, and wellness properties.
- The musty scent that is emitted from volatiles during the process of leaf senescence. These evaporating compounds are also known as essential oils, which support the body, mind, and spirit in many ways. Isn’t it interesting that we get a rush of them “falling” from the deciduous trees just when we need them?
- The release of phytoncides, powerful aromatic constituents released from the leaves and stems of fir oils, that predominant after the interim leaves have all gone. These components have been shown to decrease stress as they build up our defense processes throughout the whole year. This is why a walk in the woods among the pine and spruce trees can be so exhilarating, uplifting, and promote well-being.
- The variance in the quantities of constituents produced in the plants’ essential oils depending on the season, climate, and atmosphere (R, R, R, R, R, R). The essential oils that we are enjoying throughout the year are extracted from leaves of plants that are shifting their phytonutrient production based on their survival needs. This results in better support for our own human wellness because the compounds are specific to the time and place we are using them.
Fall Essential Oils for Mood and Body Support
Below are some of my favorite essential oils that signify nature’s embrace for the fall. These specific oils support the mind-body in various ways and offer some protection as the world events continue to stir us and chillier weather approaches the Northeast.
1. Pine Oil
Stress Relief and Promotion of Defense and Repair
Pine oil can bring the smell of freshness from the great outdoors inside. It contains the phytoncide molecules mentioned above that have both immune supporting and stress-relieving properties.
In Japan, the wellness benefits from the practice of forest bathing (a holistic treatment based on being out in nature) is said to be due to the pinenes released from the pine and fir trees. This has been backed up in several studies using measurements of immune markers and the stress hormone, cortisol.
Cleansing the Air
One petri dish study showed that pine oil could cleanse the air, acting as a fungistatic (decreasing mold). Of course, we are aware of the caveats of petri dish studies; however, in this case, since the oil is being tested for mechanisms outside the human body, it may be more relevant.
Which Pine Oil?
As with all essential oils, it is important to know the species and chemotype, as this will determine the overall general effects on a person. Also keep in mind the various personal considerations that will ultimately affect how your individual body will respond to a specific oil.
According to one study, “the composition of essential oils the genus Pinus is divided into two groups (4). One group comprises the species rich in monoterpene hydrocarbons (a-b-pinene, limonene, b-caryophylene, germacrene D, D-3-carene) and other is rich in the oxygenate monoterpenes (borneol, bornyl acetate).”
The pinenes are our phytoncide friends, which are most often found in Pinus sylvestris. Percentages will vary based on a tree’s location, manufacturer quality, and distillation methods.
Applications of Pine Oil
Diffuse pine oil for a few hours daily, especially when you are more often indoors. This will benefit your mood and your body’s resilience.
2. The Sweet Spice Oils
Enhance Physical and Emotional Strength
The spice oils of cinnamon bark, clove, orange, ginger, and nutmeg are high in antioxidant power, promote defense and repair, and are antimicrobial.
They are uplifting and cultivate a feeling of comfort.
Their aroma also entices abundance. This connection to wealth lies deep in our past. The prosperous history of the spice trade and commerce has a robust tradition that led to the discovery of new worlds. In fact, if it weren’t for the desire of nations to find new routes to access spices to accumulate riches, we may have a whole different American tale.
Applications of Spice Essential Oils
Choose your three favorite spice oils and combine them in a 3:2:1 ratio for a beautiful, richly smelling “fall blend.” I like to aromatize them in a cold-air, atomizer diffuser. This is to maximize their aroma and enhance their therapeutic properties through keeping their delicate constituents intact.
3. Copaiba Oil
A Natural Cannabinoid to Benefit and Regulate the Mind and Body
Copaiba oil contains beta-caryophyllene, a terpene (sesquiterpene) that is a dietary cannabinoid. This compound interacts with the endocannabinoid system (ECS), an underappreciated regulator of a variety of biochemical processes and major functions of the body.
The body produces its own (endogenous) endocannabinoids that affect many of its central and peripheral responses. A dysregulation in the ECS is linked to various disorders. (R, R, R, R, R)
The ECS was not well-studied until the discovery of different drugs and compounds that were found to impact its cannabinoid receptors. The most famous is delta-9-THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the psychoactive component in cannabis. (R, R, R, R)
Beta-caryophyllene has evidence of binding to one of the cannabinoid receptors in the body, but does not act as a psychoactive. Rather, it has other beneficial effects on the brain.
One article reviewed the compounds in cannabis, including beta-carophyllene, and their inhalation effects on brain activity (using EEGs) and the autonomic nervous system (ANS) of five subjects. Beta-caryophyllene inhalation was shown to increase alpha and theta waves on the EEG, and have a relaxing, antidepressant, and anti-anxiety effect.
In summary, copaiba oil is calming to the mind, benefits the brain and skeletal system, and can help to bring balance to the body.
WARNING: Is This the REAL Copaiba?
Species differences, alterations in phytoconstituents in individual trees, and adulterations can lead to different therapeutic effects of any essential oil.
This is highlighted in the Tropical Plant Database listing of copaiba:
…effects have been related to the sesquiterpene chemicals in copaiba oil which scientists have noted can vary significantly-not only between different copaiba tree species, but also within a given species and, even among individual trees. Sesquiterpene content can range anywhere from 30-90%. This may account for the results obtained by other Brazilian researchers who tested eight different commercial samples of copaiba oil and only three of the eight samples demonstrated significant anti-inflammatory effects…
Therefore, please be aware of the quality of your copaiba and inquire about your manufacturer’s copaiba oil’s sesquiterpene content.
Applications for Copaiba Oil
Copaiba is an oil that can be used in many applications. It is good to diffuse, apply topically diluted in a carrier oil, and ingest diluted in a capsule on an as-needed basis.
Safety Precaution with Ingesting Essential Oils
If you do ingest any essential oil, be sure your oil is of superior quality, your particular brand is labeled safe for ingestion, and you have experience or have a practitioner to guide you.
4. Thieves Oil
Thieves essential oil blend has multiple properties to support respiratory health and defense and repair. I find it useful to have handy during the change of seasons; although, it seems to always make my list of favorites for any time of year. This is due to its multiple properties.
The Thieves oil blend is a mixture of clove, rosemary, cinnamon, eucalyptus, and lemon oils. This combination contains various compounds which can help to cleanse the air and provide antioxidant support (R, R). These oils are also antimicrobial and can support lung health (e.g., eucalyptus is high in 1-8 cineole).
Applications of Thieves Essential Oil
This blend can be diffused to decrease environmental triggers and modulate inflammation. For example, a recent study found that this blend can decrease pollen counts.
Thieves is also good for improving concentration and aiding in alleviating discomfort in the body and mouth. For oral care, a small dab on a toothpick, or a diluted drop of a quality oil can be placed in the mouth to the area that needs attention.
I diffuse this combination regularly for overall body system support and to freshen up rooms, especially in moldy areas.
Other Honorable Mentions of Essential Oils for the Fall
It was hard for me to stop with four, so here are two more honorable mentions:
Spruce Essential Oil
Spruce oil is an oil to keep one feeling secure, grounded, and balanced, which is especially important right now. It also relieves stress and has immune-boosting properties due to its phytoncides content.
Frankincense Essential Oil
Frankincense (Boswellia carteri) is the “King of Oils” for centering the mind, immune and neurological support, and balancing the mind-body.
Summary on Essential Oils for Mind-Body Resiliency
It’s easy to get side-swiped into the negative these days, even with the best of positive intentions. We are being bombarded with the doom-and-gloom news and the stressful world events seem to never cease.
Yet, there is some comfort in knowing that, through all the trials and tribulations, there is a kindness to the design. Nature is providing us with her tools to support us during trying times.
Using various essential oils can help us to resist, defend, and repair our mind-body and fortify our spirit for the days ahead. These include pine, sweet spices, copaiba, Thieves blend, spruce, and frankincense.
Check out some more information on highlighted oils and the specific ones I use with clients here.
Essential Oils Resources
- Free resources and more education on essential oils and mind-body wellness are available to you here.
- If you are struggling with mental health issues, please seek professional help: National Mental Health Hotline
- Stay Connected! Sign-up for my weekly newsletter.
Cited References for Essential Oils
http://wydawnictwo.up.lublin.pl/acta/hortorum_cultus/2013/streszczenia2013_3/15 Zawislak Hort 12_3_ 2013.pdf
Disclaimer: This material is for information purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, or prescribe for any illness. You should check with your doctor regarding implementing any new strategies into your wellness regime. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. (Affiliation link.)
This information is applicable ONLY for therapeutic quality essential oils. This information DOES NOT apply to essential oils that have not been tested for purity and standardized constituents. There is no quality control in the United States, and oils labeled as “100% pure” need only to contain 5% of the actual oil. The rest of the bottle can be filled with fillers and sometimes toxic ingredients that can irritate the skin. The studies are not based solely on a specific brand of an essential oil, unless stated. Please read the full study for more information.
Thanks Pixabay and Canva.