Essential Oils in Chinese Medicine

Essential oils in Chinese Medicine

Essential Oils are the quintessence of the plants from which they are derived. Of course, from the dawn of human thought, when afflicted by illness, we have looked to the world around us for cures for our illnesses, and plants have always been there. Through long processes of trial and error with sometimes deadly results, we learned through the generations which plants can help us and which are harmful or useless.

This knowledge is perhaps the most ancient knowledge possessed by mankind and we see evidence of it in everything from European folklore to ancient Chinese medicine, which is the subject of the article below. Modern science seems to have taken a retrogressive, indeed fairly stupid stance with respect to the healing properties of plants, although this is now changing – slowly. For reasons rooted in arrogance, science decided that all folk-lore and traditional healing derived from it was nonsense. But how could this be? After all, modern science often takes its lead from nature and looks to nature for ‘miracle’ substances which humans can’t imagine or conjure into existence with a chemistry set!

This article extracted from (full accreditation and link below) discusses the vital role of Essential Oils in Chinese Medicine. Enjoy! And do visit the owners of this article via the link provided below.

Essential Oils and Acupuncture – From

As we look for ways to meet viruses without causing mutation or resistance, essential oils have become an important resource.

As a massage therapist in 1985, I was reading some of the seminal works in the aromatherapy world by Robert Tisserand and Jean Valnet, as well as experimenting with essential oils in my practice. At the same time, I became interested in Chinese medical thinking, drawn to the seamless way humans and their world were integrated in the poetic language of Chinese medicine. I became especially enchanted with the way that Chinese medicine used herbs, speaking to both the tangible and intangible aspects of experience in one stroke.

Then, 15 years ago, thwarted for the moment, in my aspiration to enroll in a two-year Chinese herbal medicine program, I found myself in an essential oils class with Daoist master and teacher, Jeffrey Yuen, and I saw that one stroke embodied in the single substance of essential oils. The Chinese medical view of essential oils added a dimension and an elegant simplicity to clinical practice that I had yet to imagine.

Unique in the pantheon of plant medicinal preparations, essential oils capture both the substance, yuan qi and the spirit, wei qi, of a plant. Inherent in plants in the same way that blood is inherent to the human body, oils carry the nutrients and the genetics to every corner of the plant. When we extract oils from plants and plant parts, we change both the concentration and nature of a plant’s natural oil content, yielding a compact, powerful, and previously unborn substance.

Providing the presence of plants in the treatment room with the capacity to move the spirit in a moment, an essential oil renders an immediacy to herbal treatments not available through other preparations. When I began to experiment with the essential oils in the treatment room, I saw that even patients with extensive experience with needle treatments found essential oil treatments energetically powerful and moving.

How Do Essential Oils Work?

When an aroma enters the nostrils, it communicates directly with the brain; in ways that science has yet to fully explain, aromas have the capacity to activate emotion and memory, stimulating brain activity of many kinds. In Chinese medicine, the brain is thought of as the “sea of marrow,” a sea of jing. An essential oil concentrates the DNA, the essence of the plant. Resonating with the jing in our bodies, essential oils can then confer a unique plant message for growth and change, informing our human essence with the particular messages of the plant world. In activating the essence in our bodies, an essential oil can awaken a powerful potential for deep evolution and substantive change in each of us.

While an essential oil’s substance embodies the essence, tapping into the yuan qi, the aroma is an expression of its spirit (wei qi). The volatile oils captured in the creation of essential oils and released upon smelling provoke our wei qi, evoke the spirit, open the portals and alter our perceptions in an instant. Volatile oils — the natural way that plants protect themselves and communicate with their environment — proffer change for even the most impatient among us. As the recipients of these volatile oils, we can easily see a change to our mood, our thoughts, our feelings and even the pain in our bodies with a simple inhalation. In one moment, we go from feeling vulnerable and weak to feeling open and strong, from congested to breathing easily, from stuck and annoyed to fluid and free.

How Are Essential Oils Applied?

The magic of the essential oil lies in its ability to meet the movement of the moment without hesitation or further preparation, an especially useful feature when treating wind disorders of any kind. As an ideal match for treating any type of wind, the aroma moves quickly to the places where the action often begins and plays out, right under our nose! Inhalation, the oldest and simplest method for applying essential oils, is easily accomplished with a little hot water or a cotton ball. Front line oils for any kind of wind attack include Eucalyptus globulus, Tea Tree (Melaleuca alternifolia) and Peppermint (Mentha piperita), all of which are easy to obtain these days even in your local health food store.

For inhalation, you can simply place a drop of oil on a cotton ball and inhale the aroma for a minute or two. In a pinch, you can just open the bottle and smell. Alternatively, though carefully, you can use hot water to activate the aroma and diffuse it into your nostrils. Place one to two drops of oil in a cup filled halfway to the top with hot water. Use a dish to help you regulate the flow of steam, by covering the cup with it. Then, place a towel over your head and lower your face to near the cup, lifting the dish to allow steam to escape for a few moments. Inhale the aroma for a minute, then replace the dish and take a rest.

For other easy and effective ways to use the oils you have chosen frequently, you can make a blend of oils into a chest or back rub, a smelling salt or a bath. Start with a Eucalyptus (globulus for cold, radiata for heat), then add something like Tea Tree as your deputy. Tea Tree will both strengthen the lungs and clear heat. Next, add an assistant and an envoy. As assistants in your formula, for cold, add something like Zi Su Ye (Perillae folium), for heat Chai Hu (Bupleurum radix) or for something stuck in the head, add Chuan Xiong (Ligusticum wallichii) or Jing Jie (Schizonepetae herba seu flos), all newly available in this country as essential oils made from Chinese medicinal herbs.

Through essential oils, we tap directly into the elements that create the power of the plant itself. Often requiring no more than a pinprick amount of oil with direct application, a plant confers its wisdom, allowing each of us to become the “offspring,” so to speak, of the plant world. In many ways, we are, indeed, the offspring of the plant world, made of the same substances — the sun, the wind, the water, and the air — that nourish all living things.


The original article from which we extracted this data is from acupuncturetoday – do use the link to visit them – it’s an interesting site.

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