Maybe! Just as humans and other animals have evolved over the eons, so to have plants. And while most of us may be surprised by the idea, plants are susceptible to all kinds of diseases. Currently arborists in my part of the world are sounding the alarm over the approach of the deadly ash borer. Not because of the borer itself but of a disease that afflicts the ash trees in its wake. Decades earlier we suffered from a devastating attack from Dutch elm disease which destroyed elegant vistas that graced the streets of my home town of Minneapolis. A real loss, those of us who grew up in the era will regret and find hard to adequately communicate to our children. And today, some elms survive. Perhaps only 10-15% of what once stood, but survived nonetheless. Perhaps lucky, perhaps resistant. For like humans, plant have their own immune system. We may understand even less about it than our own. But it’s clear that their immune system benefits not only for the plants, be they flowers or trees but us as well. One hint of that floral immune system is easily observed in the manner in which various herbs can be used to heal our human ailments. Among the benefits of aroma therapy is the effective use of the healing properties of essential oils such as Oil of Thyme. The oil of thyme is a powerful antibiotic due to one of its major components Thymol. In the books on aromatherapy and disease you can find many recipes and prescriptions for essential oils use aimed at fighting bacterial, viral and fungal infections. A long list of antiseptic essential oils can be used to clean the body as well as our clothes and household surfaces as well. Its likely these oils served their host plants to protect them from similar attacks in their genetic past. And may be the reason the plants we have today, have evolved and survived as they have. Aromatherapists have identified dozens of essential oils that can be extracted from plants with practical medicinal uses. These can be applied through the air and breathed in and absorbed through the mouth and nose, trachea and lungs or massaged into the skin. When we keep in mind that plants have had to evolve to survive their own plagues and diseases, the availability of cross benefits from these essential oils makes a lot of sense. Learning how and when to apply them is at first a daunting task, but like everything, start small, and build on your knowledge piece by piece. And before long you will be able to strengthen and supplement your body’s immune system with the healing properties of essential oils developed over millions of years of plant evolution.
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