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Plant Part Spotlight: Woods & Roots

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Woods / Barks / Roots

Energy of being grounded, strength, comfort, sense of place. 

Oils from wood, bark and roots relate to the root chakra, representing the energies of support, strength and grounding. Some common oils from these plant parts are cedarwood, birch, sandalwood, ginger and vetiver – see complete descriptions below. 

Essential oils from these parts are excellent to use when going through change, transition or just when you’re feeling off kilter or are having a tough time making a decision. They’ll bring you back to a sense of confidence, grounded in your body. Wood and root oils are stabilizing, supporting, offering a sense of homeostasis when there’s trauma or when we’re feeling flighty, unstable, anxious or overwhelmed. 

When blending with woods and roofs, you’re gifting yourself or a loved one greater sense of place and stability. These oils offer us safety and comfort, and blend beautifully with any other plant part, whether flower, fruit, leaf, bud or berry. These are some of the most pleasing aromas that always play well with others and are almost universally pleasing.  

When would you use these oils in a blend? 

Here’s a sample scenario. 

Issue: Your friend has separated from her long time partner and is moving to a new town, seeking new employment. She feels off-balance, a bit lost, ungrounded. 

Remedy: Make a blend with a strong wood and/or root component, including one or more woods, like cedarwood, birch, sandalwood, Buddha wood and roots such as vetiver and ginger. This will help her regain a sense of stability and groundedness, growing strong roots in her new life situation. Since these are mostly Base notes, balance the blend with flower and/or citrus oils. You may also add in a seed oil to support her new beginning.

Example Recipe 

(“part” may be a drop or a teaspoon or more, depending on quantity you are making.)

  • 1 part vetiver
  • 1 part ginger
  • 2 parts buddha wood
  • 3 parts sweet orange
  • 1 part ylang ylang
  • Optional: 1 drop fennel

Explore Wood & Root Oils

Birch, sweet

Sweet Birch (Betula lenta) essential oil is mainly made up of methyl salicylate, a colorless, viscous liquid with a sweet, fruity odor reminiscent of root beer, but often referred to as “minty”. It’s a very strong oil and should only be used with caution and knowledge of its contraindications. It should NOT be used at all by anyone allergic to aspirin or who is taking blood thinners or who has decreased blood clotting ability. 

Therapeutics: analgesic, anti-inflammatory, disinfectant and energizing

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Buddha Wood

Wildcrafted Buddha Wood (Eremophila mitchellii) essential oil from Australia is steam distilled from the wood. It has a woody, mossy, and balsamic aroma with subtle smoky notes, making this great for perfume blends with deep, exotic, and romantic undertones. Named for its use in sacred ceremonies, this is a wonderful oil for meditation and peace blends.

Therapeutics: calming, analgesic, anti-inflammatory

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Cedarwood

Cedarwood Atlas (Cedrus atlantica) essential oil is a classic in aromatherapy for its deeply grounding benefits and woody, smoky aromatic profile. As a rich base note, it blends well with citrus fruits like sweet orange and mandarin, and florals like roman chamomile, and ylang ylang.

Therapeutics: relaxation, clarity, purifying, bug-repelling

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Cinnamon Bark

Cinnamon Bark (Cinnamomum zeylanicum) essential oil from Ceylon is steam distilled from the bark. Caution should be used when using this oil, as it can be a skin irritant. A little goes a long way, but it’s a wonderfully delicious scent.

Therapeutics: antibacterial, warming, stimulating, disinfecting

Ginger

Ginger essential oil (Zingiber officinale) is a warming and invigorating base note that is distilled from the fresh root. Our oil smells very fresh and slightly sweet.

Therapeutics: antioxidant, digestive support, anti-inflammatory, analgesic, reduces anxiety and strengthens heart health

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Ginger Lily

Ginger Lily (Hedychium spicatum) essential oil has a wonderfully aromatic and complex aroma: floral, heady and captivatingly sweet. Steam distilled from the root of the plant.

Therapeutics: anti-bacterial, anti-depressant, anti-inflammatory, anti-nausea, anti-spasmodic, digestive, sedative

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Hinoki

Organically grown Hinoki (Chamaecyparis obtusa) essential oil, also popularly called Japanese Cypress essential oil, is steam distilled from the sustainably harvested wood of the highly revered Chamaecyparis obtusa, native to central Japan. Hinoki oil’s soft, lightly citrusy and woody aroma is highly valued for its its shinrin-yoku effects, which translates to “forest bathing” or “absorbing the forest atmosphere”.

Therapeutics: anti-anxiety, anti-asthmatic, anti-infectious, anti-microbial, antioxidant, relaxing, uplifting, wound healing

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Palo Santo

Palo Santo (Bursera graveolens) essential oil – Spanish for “saint wood” or “holy wood” – is sustainably harvested from family owned land, and distilled in Ecuador using only the heartwood of fallen Palo Santo trees. No live trees are harmed in the production of our wildcrafted Palo Santo essential oil. This “wonder oil” is full of therapeutic benefits, in addition to its known uses in meditation and spiritual ceremony. It has a deep, smoky aroma.

Therapeutics: analgesic, anti-allergenic, anti-bacterial, anti-depressant, anti-infectious, anti-inflammatory, decongestant, immunity support

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Plai

Plai (Zingiber cassumunar) essential oil from Thailand is distilled from the root, and is a close relative of Ginger – although the aroma is more similar to Eucalyptus. An essential oil for any herbal apothecary.

Therapeutics:  analgesic, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, anti-viral, digestive tonic, insect repellent.

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Ravensara

Ravensara (Ravensara anisata) essential oil from Madagascar is steam distilled from the bark. Ravensara is a member of the Laurel family and has a slightly camphorous, yet light sweet scent.

Ravensara blends well with numerous oils, including bergamot, black pepper, cardamom, cedarwood, cypress, eucalyptus, geranium, ginger, mandarin, marjoram, tea tree and thyme.

Therapeutics:  analgesic, anti-allergenic, anti-asthmatic, anti-bacterial, anti-infectious, anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, decongestant, immune support

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Sandalwood

Due to devastation of Sandalwood forests in India and lack of provenance, we now offer this wonderful Australian sustainably grown Sandalwood (Santalum spicatum). This thick, pale yellow, brownish or greenish cultivated essential oil is extracted via distillation of the tree’s wood chips and has a distinctive warm, woody aroma.

Therapeutics:  analgesic, anti-anxiety, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, calming, sedative

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Turmeric

Turmeric oil, also known as Curcuma oil, has a complex, earthy aroma with slight fruity notes – surprisingly different from the dry spice. Turmeric (Curcuma longa L. (C. domestica Val.), fam. Zingiberacea) is warm and calming. 

Therapeutics:  anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, soothing, promotes healthy skin

Valerian Root

Valerian Root (Valeriana officinalis) essential oil from India is distilled from the roots. It has an earthy, musky aroma that is long-lasting – often used as a base for all-natural perfumes. It blends well with Cedarwood, Copaiba Balsam, Lavender, Patchouli and Yarrow. 

Therapeutics:  anti-anxiety, anti-depressant, anti-inflammatory, anti-spasmodic, calming, digestive tonic, sedative

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Vetiver

Vetiver Essential Oil (Vetiveria zizanoides) from Indonesia has a complex, musky, earthy aroma that sparkles with sweet floral hints and woody undertones. In India and Sri Lanka, it’s known as “the oil of tranquility”. It’s a grassy plant, yet the oil is derived from the roots and this oil is one of the most deeply grounding, nurturing and comforting in the entirety of the essential oil apothecary. 

Therapeutics:  anti-bacterial, anti-depressant, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, circulatory stimulant, immune support, immuno-stimulant, sedative, tonic

Stephanie Ariel

Stephanie Ariel

Stephanie Ariel is a certified aromatherapist, author, yogi and marketer who lives and offers classes in Santa Fe, New Mexico...Stephanie's Full Bio | Stephanie's Aromatic Insights

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