From Pharmaceuticals to Farm-aceuticals
Ever since I was a kid, my family has jokingly called me “the beagle” since my sense of smell is extremely heightened. Recently my dad began using essential oils, jasmine and lavender in particular, whenever he had important meetings or work to do. The smell of the lavender would always provide me with a momentary flashback to my childhood, since my mom has always worn lavender and as a baby, she would hold me close and I could smell the lavender oil she used on her skin.
I became interested in this strange ability that scents have to bring us back in time; to provide us with a memory, a craving, an urge, desire, or even a fear, so I set out to discover why it is that smells can impact us so greatly. Turns out, I had no idea just how magnificent the olfactory sense really is!
A few days ago I made an appointment with a botanist and plant expert named Cary Caster who has developed a company called 21 Drops in Delray Beach, FL. Cary has dedicated her life to studying plants, even going so far as to get a Bachelor’s degree in plant science as well as spending a few years studying botany and essential oil therapy in both England and France. I assumed I was going to go into her office, smell a few nice things and learn a little bit about aromatherapy and essential oils in the process. Wow, was I wrong! Cary’s wealth of information regarding the olfactory sense and the ability essential oils have to literally heal the body was complimented by her passion for what she does.
Cary explained that the reason smelling lavender reminds me of my mom and can seemingly bring me back in time is because the olfactory sense is directly correlated with both the limbic and autonomic nervous systems in our bodies. The limbic system is responsible for things like our emotions, memories and sexual drive. Our autonomic nervous system is (basically our nervous system; it) what controls things like our heart rate, breathing, digestion and even our flight or fight response. What we smell not only causes us to have a fleeting reaction like a memory or craving, it literally impacts our brains and in return, our organs as well. High quality essential oils work to support our bodies’ own healing systems and when used correctly, they can even replace more conventional over-the-counter or prescription medications.
Essential oils are made up of really tiny molecules which means they are quickly absorbed when applied to the skin. These molecules are so small they can quickly pass the blood-brain barrier rendering them effective immediately. What we smell can literally impact our brain in the same instant that we smell it because what we are smelling is molecularly so small, it hits us in an instant.
The first scientifically created laboratory studies of essential oil therapy didn’t come about until the 1920’s in France and was really discovered by a series of bizarre incidents. Scientists set out to uncover the antibacterial properties found in essential oils after discovering that tuberculosis cases in flower-growing districts of France during the late 1800’s were virtually nonexistent. This was bizarre given that there were mass tuberculosis outbreaks and other communicable disease pandemics sweeping most of Europe at that time. Scientists also discovered that workers who processed fragrant flowers and herbs remained free of respiratory illnesses. Studies began to shed light on the science, not just pleasing smell, of aromatherapy. Scientists discovered that microorganisms of several popular illnesses at that time (tuberculosis, yellow fever and cholera to name a few) were literally killed by the essential oils found in the plants and flowers. These discoveries launched a century of experiments which have supported the antimicrobial as well as antiseptic abilities found in essential oil.
The down side of essential oil therapy is that many people use them incorrectly, not to mention the fact that not all essential oil companies are created equally. Cary Caster, the founder of 21 Drops, explained that her 26, 24 and 21 year old children have never once been on any medication or pharmaceuticals because she has always treated any illness or injury they have had with essential oil therapy. She believes that our bodies have an innate ability to heal and when they are given the chance, with the assistance of carefully crafted essential oil therapy blends, they can do just that.
I often hear people quote Hippocrates, who famously wrote, “let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” If we can generally agree that what Hippocrates was referring to was plant-based foods and not chicken nuggets and fries, then it would make sense that essential oils made out of the highest quality food and plants can actually act, at times, in place of medicine. If the idea of eliminating pharmaceuticals isn’t one you are comfortable with, then perhaps you are more comfortable with the idea of adding essential oil therapy to your natural medicine cabinet and using them in conjunction with your regular meds. The essential oils I tested while visiting 21 Drops were made from the cleanest and purest ingredients possible and blended together to create healing therapeutic plant extracts that our skin and bodies in general can absorb for maximum benefit.
I personally have some digestive issues I have been battling as well as a thyroid condition I have been treating without the use of pharmaceuticals, so I sampled a digestive blend as well as an invigorate blend to help jumpstart my thyroid production and I literally cannot get enough of them. I have been applying the roll on oil over and over again since my body and olfactory sense seem to love them!
As I enter into the phase of my life where I have begun to contemplate when I would like to try and have children, I find myself looking for more and more natural ways to treat and respect our bodies. Since the oil blends I discovered at 21 Drops are safe on babies and children, you can bet I will be giving those a shot first, before jumping to synthetic medications created in a lab and more prone to human error than oils extracted from plants that come right from the Earth.