Autumn Aromatherapy

Screen shot 2014-11-15 at 6.47.53 PMIn many cultures, and especially in the East, the root of a plant is an emblem of its vitality. This is in contrast to the preference we show in the West for all things, green, fresh and fragrant.

We have no problem admiring the fresh, bracing tang of pine, lavender, or lemon oil, the leafy brightness of violet or geranium, the heady floral top notes of jasmine and ylang-ylang. Not so when it comes to the odors from the earth. Rooty, earthy, musky kinds of smells we can only take in small or diluted quantities.

Yet the root is where plants concentrate their vitality. This vitality is not showy, as in the flowers of orchids and roses. But beneath its modesty lies a cumulative vigor that endures and sustains. It is for this reason that in TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) and Ayurvedic medicine, for instance, there are more remedies derived from roots than from other plant parts.

The power of roots grounds, centers and focuses. They impart perseverance, tenacity and steadfastness. So perfect for Autumn’s energies and purposes at hand, roots are fundamental components in bringing our attention and awareness into the physical realm of the body. They personify the holding energy of the west on the Wheel that awe are working with this season. They are the precise symbol for earthiness, for the “down to Earth” efforts we need to hold when dealing with adult concerns such as stress, insomnia, and reproductive health.

My Favorite Autumn Aromatherapy 

Angelica Root (Angelica archangelica)

Also known as the Holy Ghost or Holy Spirit Root, Archangel Root and Oil of Angels. This oil is thought to have received its names because its healing powers were so great and vast that the origin must have been from a Divine Source. Energetically, this essential oil assists the user to be open to the angelic realm, source energy, and higher self. Some texts refer to it as “Women’s Protector” since in the Medieval era, it was thought to be effective against all bad spells and enchantments.

Angelica is a large, aromatic plant related to parsley and carrots. The essential oil is steam distilled from the rhizome. A rhizome is an underground stem-like structure from which above ground stems arise and roots descend (ginger and turmeric are also rhizomes). Angelica rhizomes contain up to 1% essential oil with a rich, peppery-sweet, musk-like aroma, reminiscent of the essence and stillness of ancient forests.

Angelica’s pleasant yet strange aroma enhances introspection. It is helpful when one is feeling blocked or cut off from their higher self, guides or higher information. Angelica Root essential oil is very effective when working with the root chakra, since as a root, or underground part of the plant, it is grounding, centering, and stabilizing.

Angelica Root is a wonderful essential oil for times of high anxiety, fear, depression and instability. A drop or two on the soles of the feet before bedtime can be a wonderful sleep aid and also call in beautiful dreams.