A quick look at aromatic oils for forest bathing. By Sharon Falsetto.
In my last post on The Aromatic Benefits of Forest Bathing, we briefly looked at some common chemical components associated with essential oils and trees in relation to forest bathing. In this post we will look a little closer at some of those essential oils before culminating in some forest bathing blends in the final post of this trilogy.
Cypress Essential Oil for Forest Bathing
Cypress (Cupressus sempervirens) is a member of the Cupressaceae botanical family. The species name, sempervirens, translates to evergreen or always alive. Cypress trees can be spotted on many a Mediterranean landscape, most notably those of Italy. A tall, conical tree, the essential oil extracted from its evergreen foliage is woody, and earthy, with a hint of spice.
Use cypress essential oil for respiratory issues, as an air freshner, and to calm the nerves.
Scotch Pine Essential Oil for Forest Bathing
Scotch pine (Pinus sylvestris) is a member of the Pinaceae botanical family. Pine trees are an impressive species, living for hundreds of years. Pine forests can be found right across Europe and Asia, although today you will also find pine trees in the United States. Another evergreen tree, Scotch pine is a tall, imposing tree with familiar long, green needles; the needles are distilled to produce the essential oil. Scotch pine essential oil has a strong, dry, balsamic aroma.
Use scotch pine essential oil for respiratory issues, nervous exhaustion, and as an air freshener or cleaning agent.
Fir Essential Oil for Forest Bathing
Fir is a broad name used to describe such essential oils such as balsam fir (Abies balsamea) and silver fir (Abies alba), both of which are members of the Pinaceae botanical family. Balsam fir is a tall, evergreen tree found in forests across North America whereas silver fir is a small tree which is indigenous to the mountains of northern Europe. Silver fir takes its name from its silver, white bark.
Balsam fir produces an essential oil from the distillation of the oleoresin collected from the tree bark; silver fir’s essential oil is steam distilled from the needles of the tree. Balsam fir essential oil has a balsamin, piney scent. Silver fir essential oil has a similar aroma but without the pine scent and it is richer in balsam. Both essential oils can be used for respiratory issues but balsam fir essential oil is favored particularly for use with depression, stress, and to ground.
Atlas Cedarwood Essential Oil for Forest Bathing
Cedarwood (Cedrus atlantica) is also a member of the Pinaceae botanical family. A very tall, evergreen tree, shaped like a pyramid, Atlas cedarwood is native to the Atlas mountains of Morocco and Algeria (note that there are other species of “cedarwood,” too). The bark of Atlas cedarwood is extremely aromatic and it is distilled for use as an essential oil – which is warm, woody, and camphoraceous in aroma.
Use cedarwood essential oil for respiratory issues and as an air freshener. It is also an excellent grounding oil.
Beneficial Essential Oils to Combine With
Combine any of the above mentioned essential oils with:
monoterpene-rich oils such as citrus
sesquiterpene-rich oils such as ginger (Zingiber officinale), myrrh (Commiphora myrrha), and patchouli (Pogostemon cablin)
base note oils such as sandalwood (Santalum album) and rose (Rosa x damascena).
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About the Author:
The author of this article has a combined 24-year history in the health care and aromatherapy industry. She is UK-certified aromatherapist and a NAHA Certified Professional Aromatherapist®. She is both a published author and editor in aromatherapy, a consultant, custom blend formulator and herbal studies student. She is the author of Authentic Aromatherapy and the current chief editor of the NAHA Aromatherapy Journal. She has taken the online Master Gardener short course series with the University of Oregon. Sharon works from her garden studio in Sedona, Arizona, where she gardens and distills plants from her own aromatic gardens, surrounded by natural fauna and floral on an original pioneer homestead property.