Welcome to our Essentia Nobilis Newsletter, by Jonathan Benavides! We are thrilled to have you join our community. Get ready for exclusive content, exciting updates, and special offers. Stay tuned for our next issue!
A monograph on an essential oil: Cryptomeria japonica (Thunb. exL.f.) D.Don
Emotional / Spiritual Aromatherapy: Opening the door to communication with yourself through Self-Compassion
Therapeutic Tips: Do you use energetic symbols when massaging someone?
Your Essential Oracle today: Two cards
For your palate: Aromatic kitchen
Book: Rest on me, breathe
Calendar of activities
The purpose of this newsletter is to provide some information that it may be useful for your practice. It is based on my own practice as you will find all kind of tools that I have been using for many years. Being an aromatherapist focused on mental health (due to my work as a psychologist), the themes are related to the mind, the spirit, and the soul.
In this first newsletter you will find some information on Cryptomeria japonica essential oil, a tree native to Japan that grows in the Azores as well, a beautiful inviting tree with an enormous power to balance any imbalances on someone´s emotional life, especially when applied very diluted (2%) in body massages.
Also, I like to introduce you to aromatic self-compassion as it is much needed nowadays. I do work a lot with energetic medicine and therefore I like to draw symbols using essential oils, here I present to you the Sinusoid symbol, a reversal sign. As you may know, I have written together with Manu Silva an essential oracle and here you are getting two cards.
Some essential oils can be used very well in the kitchen and here you get some ideas.
Also, a little about my book on emotional palliative care, a calendar of activities and some courses planned for the next period.
I hope you enjoy reading this newsletter!
Thanks for joining me on this adventure,
Be well, Jonathan
A monograph on an essential oil:
CRYPTOMERIA JAPONICA (Thunb. ex Lf) D.Don
Cryptomeria is a monotypic genus of conifer in the cypress family endemic to Japan. In Japan, it is known as Sugi. Outside of Japan is also known as Japanese Cedar. Besides Japan, it was introduced in the Azores (Portugal) and is today considered the most important forest species in the archipelago, economically but also as a structural element of the landscape.
Cryptomeria Japonica is rated as Near Threatened according to IUCN Red List criteria and has received an EDGE score of -2.29, which places it in position 508 on the EDGE Gymnosperm list. It is considered as such because in Japan only few natural populations remain, all of them very much fragmented. The specie was largely exploited and their wood was much sought after for the construction of Buddhist temples, and vast forests were thus planted around the sites where temples were planned to be built.
NATURAL HABITAT: JAPAN
Sugi natural forests used to be very common in the Japanese archipelago, especially in Honshu, Shikoku and Yakushima for thousands of years. The natural distribution is nowadays discontinuous and scattered in limited areas. Yakushima is one of the few areas where natural forest still occurs, here, we can find many trees that 1,000 years old or even older occupying about 50% of the evergreen forest wherein Sugi cohabits with evergreen trees such as Camellia japonica, Camellia sasquana, Quercus , Ilex, Laurel, Abies firma and Tsuga sieboldii among others.
EXOTIC HABITAT: AZORES ARCHIPELAGO
The environmental conditions in Japan are quite similar as in the Azores where this species was introduced as an ornamental tree in the 19th century. The high rainfall in mountainous areas on the islands, well distributed throughout the year, and high relative humidity are fundamental to its growth, which, in the Azores, is likely to form good and upright shafts and to frequently see average annual growths. greater than 20 m3/ha/year (of the same order of magnitude as the Portuguese mainland eucalyptus plantations).
CONSERVATION OF NATURAL SPECIES
This species is partially protected on the Yakushima area. Some of the smaller subpopulations elsewhere are also protected, but logging is still permitted in others. Cryptomeria wood is still highly appreciated as the texture and grain of cryptomeria smooth and consistent wood, with an alignment of veins, is considered perfect and something that represents much of the Japanese philosophy of life.
SUSTAINABILITY IN THE AZORES
Cryptomeria Japonica was introduced in the Azores at the end of the 19th Century. In 1934, in São Miguel island, the forest structure occupied around 190o ha whereas Cryptomeria japonica (533 ha) lived with Pinus Pinaster (804 ha) and Acacia melanoxylon (570 ha) covering about 4.5% of the island territorial area.
This figure reflected the poor situation manifested then in the forestry sector, resulting from the inexistence of correct territorial planning on the island, a situation that was created by the unruly and uncontrolled exploitation, not compensated by corresponding plantations, having been a phenomenon aggravated by the Second World War.
In 1948, the regional government recognized the existence of extensive underutilized areas of private uncultivated land and wasteland, created the Azorean Governmental Forestry Department, who promptly drew up and implemented afforestation plans, construction of fforest paths and other infrastructure for the common lands on the islands of São Miguel and Santa Maria first and extending their work to all other island in the archipelago resulting in a large-scale forest repopulation.
This institution has since then effectively legislated forcing the owners to reforest after the felling of the forests, and conditioned the cutting of trees and the transformation of cultures, hindering the process of the unfair exploitation of the forest areas. At the same time, has implemented the planting of endemic threatened species that uses the cryptomeria as a natural wall against the invasive exotic flora.
Currently speaking, in 2023, this species occupies, as a whole regionally, an area of approximately 12,700 hectares, which represents about 60% of the regionally produced Azorean forest. Cryptomeria is present in pure and mixed plantations. About 4,500 hectares of those 12,700 hectares, are under Regional Government responsible management, with a total of 2,119 hectares in São Miguel Island alone.
All strategies to afforest and reforest the islands currently established and enforced by the government aims to increase the competitiveness of the quality and efficiency of the forestry sector with a view to a sustainable forest; support professional development and forestry skills; diminished the risks related to invasive flora, pests and diseases, and the improvement of vegetative viability in order to protect the Azorean territory managing their natural resources and boosting the multiple use of the public and private forests.
REPRODUCTION OF THE SPECIES
This species regenerates naturally in the Azores, where there is an abundant fruiting. But as seen throughout the years, the repopulation of the exploited areas is not viable without the use of planting, due to the low germination capacity of the seed, and the high competitiveness of invasive species such as Hedychium gardnerIanum, Rubus inermis, Acacia melanoxylon and Pittosporum undulatum, which proliferate very quickly in areas wherein Cryptomeria have been cut, giving no opportunity for germination of the cryptomeria seed.
For this reason, seeds are also actually being managed at the Seed Bank of the Azores in Faial Island and on the Governmental Nurseries created on Terceira island. Here, in the nursery, cryptomeria plants are managed, in addition to other species for production areas, and endemic species destined for protection zones. The propagation, in a nursery, is always done by seed and, after 2 years of nursery care, the plants are ready for planting. After planting, the plants are followed for another 5 years in their new habitat.
THE ESSENTIAL OIL
The production of Cryptomeria essential oil is largely done in Japan as in São Miguel and
Pico islands in the Azores archipelago.
The essential oil is potentially considered as a natural source of biomolluscicidal, antimicrobial (activity has been determined against the bacteria Escherichia coli, Enterobacter cloacae, Serratia marcescens, Micrococcus luteus and Bacillus subtilus and against the fungus Penicillium spp.) and antioxidant molecules, with potential applications in the pharmaceutical, food, agrochemical and cosmetic industries.
The aroma of Cryptomeria essential oil is described as warm, woody, and balsamic, with a sweet and spicy undertone. It is often used in aromatherapy to promote relaxation and reduce stress and anxiety. Japanese cedar essential oil is also said to have antifungal and antibacterial properties, making it useful in natural cleaning products and personal care products.
The oil is also said to have antifungal and antibacterial properties, which make it useful in natural cleaning products and personal care products. It can be used in diffusers, as a massage oil, or added to bathwater for a calming and rejuvenating experience.
Japanese cedar oil is often used for its emotional and mental health benefits. Its warm, woody aroma is believed to help promote relaxation, reduce stress and anxiety, and enhance mood.
When used in aromatherapy, Japanese cedar oil can help create a calm and peaceful atmosphere, which can be helpful for individuals who are feeling anxious or overwhelmed. Its grounding and centering properties can also help improve focus and concentration, making it a useful oil for meditation or other mindfulness practices.
Japanese cedar oil may also help with emotional healing and inner strength. The oil is said to help promote feelings of inner peace and balance, and can be used to help individuals feel more grounded and centered during times of emotional upheaval or stress.
To use Japanese cedar oil for emotional purposes, it can be diffused in a room, added to a warm bath, or blended with a carrier oil for massage or topical application. As with all essential oils, it's important to use them safely and properly diluted, and to consult with a healthcare professional if you have any questions or concerns.
Cryptomeria oil has been used in spiritual and religious ceremonies in Japan for centuries. In Shintoism, the traditional religion of Japan, Japanese cedar trees are considered sacred, and their wood and leaves are used in various rituals and offerings.
Japanese cedar oil is believed to have purifying and cleansing properties, both for physical spaces and for the mind and spirit. The oil's woody and grounding aroma can help create a sense of sacred space and help individuals connect with their spiritual practice.
In addition, Japanese cedar oil is believed to help facilitate inner transformation and growth. Its calming and centering properties can help individuals connect with their inner selves and gain insight and clarity.
To use Japanese cedar oil for spiritual purposes, it can be diffused in a sacred space, added to a ritual bath, or applied topically before a meditation or other spiritual practice. As with all essential oils, it's important to use them safely and properly diluted, and to consult with a spiritual leader or healthcare professional if you have any questions or concerns.
FOR ENERGETIC WORK
In traditional Japanese medicine, Japanese cedar is believed to have energetic properties that can help balance and harmonize the body's energy systems. The wood and leaves of the tree are often used in various forms of energy healing, including aromatherapy, meditation, and Reiki.
Japanese cedar oil is believed to have a grounding and stabilizing effect on the body's energy centers, or chakras. It is said to help balance and strengthen the root chakra, which is located at the base of the spine and is associated with grounding, stability, and a sense of security.
In addition, Japanese cedar oil is believed to have a purifying and protective effect on the aura, or energy field, surrounding the body. Its warm, woody aroma can help create a sense of sacred space and provide a protective barrier against negative energies and influences.
To use Japanese cedar oil for energetic purposes, it can be diffused in a room, applied topically to the base of the spine or other energy centers, or used in a ritual bath or meditation practice. As with all essential oils, it's important to use them safely and properly diluted, and to consult with an energy healer or healthcare professional if you have any questions or concerns.
Do not apply undiluted Japanese cedar oil directly to the skin. It should be properly diluted with a carrier oil before use. Do a patch test before using Japanese cedar oil topically, to check for any potential skin irritation or allergic reactions. Avoid using Japanese cedar oil during pregnancy and breastfeeding, as its safety has not been established for these groups.
Japanese cedar oil may cause sensitization in some individuals, especially those with sensitive skin or allergies. Do not ingest Japanese cedar oil, as it can be toxic if taken internally. Keep Japanese cedar oil out of reach of children and pets.
If you have any medical conditions or are taking any medications, consult with a healthcare professional before using Japanese cedar oil. Overall, Japanese cedar oil is considered safe when used properly and in moderation. If you experience any adverse reactions or discomfort, discontinue use, and seek medical attention if necessary.
- Cheng, WW., Lin, CT., Chu, FH. et al. Neuropharmacological activities of phytoncide released from Cryptomeria japonica. J Wood Sci 55, 27–31 (2009)
-Cha JD, Kim JY. Essential oil from Cryptomeria japonica induces apoptosis in human oral epidermoid carcinoma cells via mitochondrial stress and activation of caspases. Molecules. 2012 Mar 30;17(4):3890-901
- Matsubara E, Tsunetsugu Y, Ohira T, Sugiyama M. Essential Oil of Japanese Cedar (Cryptomeria japonica) Wood Increases Salivary Dehydroepiandrosterone Sulfate Levels after Monotonous Work. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2017 Jan 21;14(1):97.
- Sou N. Matsunaga, Tomoki Mochizuki, Takuo Ohno, Yukiko Endo, Dai Kusumoto, Akira Tani,
Monoterpene and sesquiterpene emissions from Sugi (Cryptomeria japonica) based on a branch enclosure measurements, Atmospheric Pollution Research, Volume 2, Issue 1, 2011, Pages 16-23, ISSN 1309-104
- Direção Regional dos Recursos Florestais, 2021, Cryptomeria Japonica D. Don
- Hirayama, K. & M. Sakimoto (2008) Clonal structure and diversity of Cryptomeria japonica along a slope in a cool-temperate, old-growth mixed forest in the snowy region of Japan. Canadian Journal of Forest Research 38(11):2804-2813.
- Kitagawa, J., Y. Morita, M. Makohonienko, K. Gotanda, K. Yamada, H. Yonenobu, I. Kitaba & Yasuda (2016) Understanding the human impact on Akita-sugi cedar (Cryptomeria japonica) forest in the late Holocene through pollen analysis of annually laminated sediments from Ichi-no-Megata, Akita, Japan. Vegetation History and Archaeobotany 25:525-540.
- Matsumoto, Y., H. Shigenaga, S. Miura, J. Nagakura and H. Taoda. (2006) Mapping of Japanese Cedar (Cryptomeria japonica) Forests Vulnerable to Global Warming in Japan. Global Environmental Research 10(2): 181-188.
- Pacheco Arruda FM, 2018, Bio-valorização of the residuals of Cryptomeria japonica por Obtenção de óleo essencial e de extratos orgânicos e determinação de suas proprietadesbiologicals. Dissertação de Mestrado, Universidade dos Açores
- Secretaria Regional da Agricultura e do Desenvolvimento Rural, 2020
- Takahashi, T., N. Tani, H. Taira and Y. Tsumura. (2005) Microsatellite markers reveal high allelic variation in natural populations of Cryptomeria japonica near refugee areas of the last glacial period. Journal of Plant Research 118(2): 918-940.
- Takashima, A., A. Kume, S. Yoshida, N. Mizoue & T. Murakami (2017) Historical logging and current successional status of old-growth Cryptomeria japonica forest on Yakushima Island. Journal of Forest Research: dx.doi.org/10.1080/13416979.2016.1273085.
- Thomas P., 2020, Cryptomeria japonica, from the website: 'Threatened Conifers of The World' (https://threatenedconifers.rbge.org.uk/conifers/cryptomeria-japonica).
-Thomas, P., Katsuki, T. & Farjon, A. (2013) Cryptomeria japonica. The IUCN Red List of
Threatened Species 2013: e.T39149A2886821. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2013-
Emotional aromatherapy: Opening the door to communication.
HEALING AND ENERGETIC AROMATHERAPY
We are not just a body, a mind, or a spirit…we are also energetic beings. The concept that humans are energetic beings is a fundamental principle in many traditional healing systems. It's rooted in the idea that beyond the physical body, there exists a subtle energy or life forcethat plays a crucial role in maintaining health and well-being.
We find in different cultures,
Qi orPrana: In Chinese medicine, qi is considered the vital energy or life force that flows through the body, and disruptions or imbalances in this energy can lead to illness. Similarly, in Indian Ayurveda, prana is the life force or vital energy that pervades all living things.
Chakras:The human body has energy centers called chakras. These are spinning wheels of energy that correspond to different aspects of life and consciousness.
Aura:We do have an aura - a subtle energy fieldsurrounding the human body. The aura is said to reflect the individual's physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual states.
Meridians: In TCM, the body is thought to have a network of meridians through which qi flows.
ElectromagneticFields: From a scientific perspective, the human body does generateelectrical activity. The nervous system, including the brain and heart, relies on electrical impulses. Disruptionsin these electromagnetic fields mightimpact health.
Healing is a process of restoring and promoting the well-being of an individual on physical, emotional, mental, or spiritual levels. It involves addressing and alleviating conditions or imbalances that cause discomfort, illness, or distress. Healing can occur through various means, and the approach often depends on the nature of the issue and individual preferences.
Here are some key aspects of healing whereinaromatherapy can be successfully used:
Physical Healing: This involvesthe recovery and restoration of the physical body from injury, illness, or other health challenges. Conventional medicine, surgery, medications, physical therapy, and other medical interventions are common methods of physical healing.
Emotional Healing: Emotional healing addresses the well-being of an individual's emotional or psychological state. This process may involve therapeutic interventions, counseling, self-reflection, and practices that support emotional resilience and balance.
Mental Healing: Mental healing focuses on the health of the mind, including cognitive processes, thought patterns, and mental well-being. Psychotherapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy, mindfulness, and other mental health practices contribute to mental healing.
Spiritual Healing: Spiritual healing pertains to the well-being of the spirit or soul. It involves practices that connect individuals with their inner selves, their beliefs, or a higher power. Meditation, prayer, mindfulness, and other spiritual practices are often components of spiritual healing.
Holistic Healing: Holistic healing considers the interconnectedness of physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual aspects of an individual. It involves addressing the whole personrather than focusing solely on specific symptoms or conditions. Holistic approaches may include complementary and alternative therapies, lifestyle changes, and practices that support overall well-being.
Self-Healing: The body and mind have innate healing capacities. Self-healing involves individuals taking an active role in their well-being by adopting healthy lifestyle choices, managing stress, and engaging in practices that promote balance and vitality.
Energy Healing: Some healing practices, such as Reiki, acupuncture, or practices rooted in traditional Chinese medicine, work with the concept of energy flow within the body. These approaches aim to balance and restore the body's energy for improved health and well-being.
Social Healing: The quality of relationships and social connections can significantly impact an individual's well-being. Social healing involves fostering supportive relationships, community engagement, and addressing social determinants of health for overall wellness.
HEALING WITH ENERGETICAROMATHERAPY
Healing with energeticaromatherapy combines the use of essential oils with the principles of energy healing. The practice is based on the idea that specific essential oils carry unique energetic properties that can influence the body's energy field, emotions, and overall well-being.
The selection of Essential Oils must be done based on their perceived energetic qualities. Each essential oil is believed to havedistinct properties that can impact the body's energy, emotions, or specificenergy centers.
Healing with energeticaromatherapy often involves setting positive intentions and visualizing desired outcomes while using essential oils together with symbols such as the ones used in sacred geometry.The combination of the aromatic properties of the oils and focused intention isthought to enhance the overall energetic impact.
We will create a personalized essential oil blend tailored to an individual's specific needs, energy imbalances, or emotional states. This customization allows for a more targeted approach to supporting overall well-being.
HEALING WITH SYMBOLS IN ENERGETIC AROMATHERAPY
The concept of healing with symbols in energetic aromatherapy involves using specific symbols, often associated with spiritual or energetic meanings, in conjunction with the use of essential oils. The practice combines the therapeutic properties of essential oils with the symbolic or energetic attributes of chosen symbols to enhance the overall healing experience.
THE SINE WAVE SYMBOL
The sinus sign has always been considered spiritually and energetically as a symbol of change or reversal. Reverses the bad into good. It transforms unwholesome information into whole some - and the reverse as well; therefore this sign should be used with care. We always use it with a positive intention and we can place it directly on the body, on a painful place or discomfort area.
The sinusoid symbol, often represented as a sine wave, is primarily associated with concepts of harmony, tranquility, balance, and periodicity. Its smooth, repetitive oscillations can evoke a sense of calmness, serenity, simplicity, and harmony. Emotionally, it may be perceived as tranquil or soothing due to its regular and predictable nature.
In spiritual contexts, the sinusoid symbol, often depicted as a sine wave, might be interpreted as a representation of the natural rhythms and cycles of existence. The continuous oscillation of the wave could symbolize the interconnectedness of all things and the cyclical nature of life, death, and rebirth. Some spiritual perspectives may associate the sine wave with harmony, balance, and the pursuit of spiritual equilibrium.
When we need to draw this symbol during a massage, we place the sine wave symbol carefully on the body, on a painful spotor discomfort area using a couple drops of diluted analgesic and calming essential oils in a carrier oil. We intentionally draw the symbol 3 times and then we place for a couple of minutes our main hand on the spot. We repeatmentally our intention seven times. We take and hold the feet soles for a minute.
After that, we continue our normal massage.
To draw this symbol, we can use for instance a blend consisting of 3 drops of lavender angustifolia, 3 drops of sweet marjoram, 3 drops of myrrh and 2 drops of palo santo EO.
Your Essential Oracle today: Two cards
Essential Oracle is an integrative deck of sixty-four cards with mandalas representing plant spirits. The cards contain basic information about essential oils and how you can use them for well-being and to balance the mind, body and spirit. It can also be used as an oracle, connecting the wisdom of plants with the archetypes of the l Ching, and keywords from the Gene Keys system to contemplate.
Includes a book with more information about each essential oil and how to integrate them with the emotional spectrum, Ayurvedic doshas, chakras and affirmations.
In every newsletter you will find detailed information about two cards, intuitively chosen
If you want, you can buy the complete Essential Oracle, in English, Portuguese or Dutch