Miss Pelican's Perch

Looking at my World from a Different Place

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Profile: Cypress Essential Oil

I plodded through a couple more lessons in my online aromatherapy course  mostly on the history of essential oils, extraction methods, and other dull stuff.  But now I am on Lesson 4 where we actually get to start studying the oils.   My assignment is to briefly “profile” one essential oil.    I chose Mediterranean cypress because I just acquired a small vial of it and I love, love, love the scent.   I hope this information is interesting to you.

Profile:   Essential Oil of Cypress

I am profiling the essential oil of the Mediterranean cypress, known botanically as Cupressus sempervirens.   The oil is typically extracted by steam from needles and twigs. I like this oil because it is sweet and spicy without the resinous smell of oils from evergreen trees.   One of the main effects of this oil is that it helps with mental stimulation, focus and concentration.  Rosemary oil will accomplish the same effect; however, unlike rosemary oil which should not be used by people with high blood pressure, cypress has no known contraindications.   Cypress promotes healing when applied to minor wounds and promotes overall good blood circulation. Cypress oil is also know for its refreshing, purifying, and restorative psychological effects.  This oil blends well with many other oils.  It is a base note scent which means that it will act as an anchor to the middle and top notes.  That is, one will experience the scent of cypress long after the middle and top notes of the other oils in the blend have evaporated.  Recently, I have started using my own blend of Spanish Cypress oil and French lavender in my office diffuser.  This blend is grounding and promotes an environment of relaxed concentration. Resources: Book:   The Complete Illustrated Gide to Aromatherapy, Julia Lawless, Barnes and Noble Books, 1997 Websites:  Aura Cacia, Lady Lisa AromatherapyLive Strong


The Scents of Memory

I am taking an online course through my regional library on aromatherapy and the use of essential oils.   The main reason I am taking the course is to try out the virtual classroom software on something fun and easy before I take a “serious” course like business or accounting.  In this online course, we must submit assignments just like a real classroom.   My first assignment is write about the memories evoked by specific smells.   I thought I would draft my assignments here before I submit them to the instructor and to use them as a bit of writing practice.   So here goes…. 

The Scents of Memory

I had to think about this for a few minutes.  The sense of smell is often overlooked when one is discussing lifetime memories.  One usually remembers things seen or heard, not what one has smelled.   Actually, it is the unpleasant smells that evoke the most potent memories:  my first trip to a non-first world country where my olfactory center was overwhelmed by the smell burning garbage, bad sewage system, and offal boiling in a sidewalk cauldron.   Similarly, some of the saddest memories come from the smell of urine and disinfectant from hospital visits. 

There are some smells that in themselves are bad but they actually bring back fun memories.   I remember those road trips as a child through the smell of diesel fuel,  hot rubber tires on sizzling cement, and the smell of lingering cigarette smoke from previous occupants in motel rooms.

Obviously, my favorite memories are associated with the loveliest of scents:  the sweet, exotic fragrance of plumeria as I stepped off a plane in Honolulu,  the warm, resinous smell of pine needles and cedar bark on a hot summer day in Yosemite, and the ragged scent of saltwater and seaweed on Cannery Row in Monterey.  

It is interesting that I most vividly remember these smells of childhood travel.  I guess we take for granted the smells of everyday experience.  But here are some I do enjoy:  frying bacon, baking bread, the smell of cinnamon and hot sugar from the bakery down the street.  And coffee.  Oh, the wonderful, mellow richness of fresh brewed coffee. 

Scents are more powerful than image and sound, it would seem. 

Miss Pelican (c) 2012