When I published my latest book on Kindle, The Accidental Alien, my main character, Daniel, was a plant in human form with all the characteristics of a plant, including being able to produce essential oils from any plant material. He uses this talent throughout the story to heal and sometimes change behavior.
Well, the story generated a lot of interest in essential oils, so, since I was an aromatherapist and perfumer in my recent life, I decided to post a few articles on scent and what it means to humans.
I've studied plant essential oils for twenty years and believe humans are more closely connected to plants than they are to other animals. I absolutely believe that when the Earth began again, after the last mass extinction, when most life was destroyed and mammals made an appearance, plants were created to nurture the planet. They act as healing agents to mammals, they provide nutrition, they clean the air. For every ailment that afflicts man, there is a plant to heal. We simply haven't found them all.
I finally decided to write a book about an alien who appeared human, but was actually a plant. He was accidentally left behind by a space expedition, in his early form as a seed pod, and he hatches 40,000 years later. Daniel, has no hope of returning to his home, so he has to learn to live in a human body and learn human attitudes. Luckily, he has an Artificial Intelligence embedded, which knows everything earthly, and explains the human ways that confuse him, and there are a lot of them. Go to http://www.amazon.com/Accidental-Alien-ebook/ to read about Daniel.
Here is more information on these relatively unknown substances that are hundreds of times more powerful than ingested herbs because they go directly into the bloodstream instead of being processed by the liver. Essential oils, meaning those distilled from living plant material, affect humans both physically and mentally when they get into the bloodstream through the skin, (bathing, massage, simple application) or inhaling. Once in, they migrate to the site of their intended use, and we have no idea how they are guided. Some kill bacteria, relieve pain, reduce inflammation, and repair tissue damage. (Camphor, eucalyptus, cassia, lavender) Some go to the brain and either excite, (all the mints), or relax by releasing the hormone, serotonin. (lavender) Some of them are downright poisonous, like turpentine, wintergreen, or Poison Ivy. In my book, Daniel uses them to heal John of the bacterial pneumonia that is killing him. He heals a mortally wounded cat and helps a friend with her love life by giving her some Champaca oil, an aphrodisiac.
This is a mere taste of the marvel of plant oils, and someday I'll write a book about how to make perfumes and colognes using them. Until then, I encourage you to read more about plants and marvel about how we are all connected on this planet.