• Natalie Rogers, HHP

Why Do Plants Produce Essential Oils?



The use of essential oils in aromatherapy has become quite the popular affair now days. From the use of them in cleaning products, medical settings, as well as in spas, essential oils are easily obtained by the general public and most people understand that these essential oils provide therapeutic qualities to them. According to our NAT 211 Anatomy & Physiology II text book, written by Dorene Petersen, “An essential oil is the distilled (or sometimes expressed) product of the volatile components synthesized by various plant tissues of a single plant species.”. Many people do not understand why these plants produce essential oils in the first place. In this paper, that is the topic that will be addressed.

Plants can produce essential oils for various different reasons. Some of these reasons include being a part of the metabolic process, to attract certain insects to ensure pollination, to attract specific insects that can come and manage the predatory insects that can destroy the plant, and to also protect against certain insects in a way of repelling them. These powerful essential oils can come from various parts of the plant which include the flowers, bark, resin, wood, roots, seeds, berries, peel, and rhizome. A wonderful example is provided in our NAT 211 Anatomy & Physiology text book where it is explained that the Cedarwood (Juniperus virginiana) tree uses the essential oil it produces to protect and preserve the wood. This essential oil helps to keep the moisture and insects from entering the tree and destroying it. The process of retrieving Frankincense (Boswellia sacra) resin is rather interesting. The boswellia sacra trees are slashed in order for the resin to seep from the wood. I personally feel that these resin tears are a result of botanical injury. Similar to how when we cut ourselves and we bleed. The boswellia sacra tree bleeds resin tears. This is my personal opinion of the process and why the tree produces a resin which the essential oil is made out of. I have a deep connection with plants and feel that the process of extracting essential oils from them should be sacred and that the plants should be thanked for giving us its gift.

In conclusion, plants produce essential oils for various reasons whether it is a natural occurrence or as a result of humans tampering with the plants and forcing it. Essential oils will always be a part of my life and I will always be grateful for the plants that have provided them to me.

Reference

Dictionary, O. E. (2017). Frankincense. In Wikipedia. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frankincense

Essential oil (2017). In Wikipedia. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Essential_oil

Petersen, D. (2016). NAT 211 Anatomy & Physiology II. 5005 SW Macadam Avenue, Portland, OR 97239: American College of Healthcare Sciences.

Citations, Quotes & Annotations

Petersen, D. (2016). NAT 211 Anatomy & Physiology II. 5005 SW Macadam Avenue, Portland, OR 97239: American College of Healthcare Sciences.

(Petersen, 2016, pp. 56–56)

Note (56 - 56): Cedarwood (Juniperus virginiana) example found on page 61.

"An essential oil is the distilled (or sometimes expressed) product of the volatile components synthesized by various plant tissues of a single plant species." (Petersen, 2016, pp. 56–56)

#aromatherapy #essentialoils #plants #botanicals

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