Growing Cycles




The healing properties of an essential oil, both physically and emotionally, vary a great deal according to the part of the plant used. The energy and healing properties of flower petals is very different from that of a root, even when harvested from the same plant. The predominant energy of a plant resides in different parts of the plant according to the time of year—the growing phase the plant is in at the time of harvest. For example, the medicinal properties of the root of a plant are strongest in the late fall and in the winter. At that time the plant’s energy has been drawn back into itself for survival during the cold months. In the spring, the energy of the same plant is reaching out and is found in the stems and leaves. Harvesting a plant part at the wrong time of year can greatly reduce the healing properties and effectiveness of the essential oil or herbal remedy.

Each plant begins in the physical (or base sphere) with the seed and then the development of a root system. The plant then produces leaves, which are considered to be the most vital, growing phase of its life cycle. The plant then moves on to the sphere which corresponds to the astral aspect of development with the opening of the flowers. The flowers lead to the production of the fruit, which is the seed of most plants, thus returning the plant to the physical world. Along the way it has produced elements which mankind the whole world over has long recognized as medicinal herbs and pungent spices. The plant has also given us woods, resins, and aromas that heal and make our hearts glad.

Seed / Base / Physical / Knowledge Essential oils produced in the seed (fennel, coriander) bring us back to earth where new experiences of growth await us if we are ready and willing to accept them and move forward in our lives. This usually means that we will need to make one dramatic change or another. Seed oils are often used to invigorate and fortify and seem to show a strong affinity with the digestive system. This is particularly true of those seeds that are used as foods or spices.

Plants which are considered spices are among the most nutritional plants we have been given. They contain astonishingly large amounts of vitamins and minerals. This has been known by herbalists for centuries. These nutrients are utilized by the body when absorbed through the skin as essential oils are applied. Essential oils made from medicinal plants and from the part of the plant which is used as a spice nourish, heal, and prepare us mentally and physically to accomplish our particular missions in life.

Herbal essential oils are earth energy at its finest, mothering and nurturing. The spice oils, vibrant and full of life, have flamboyant personality styles, just as you would expect.

Roots / Vital / Growth / Digestion Essential oils produced in the roots (such as angelica) tend to have a very peaceful and grounding energy with nourishing and strengthening qualities. Still surrounded and nourished by the earth they are, at the same time, in a dynamic and vital growth phase. They are usually potent stimulants of the vital functions (particularly digestion and nerves), and are often recommended for anemia and other conditions of poor absorption of nutrients.

Leaf / Astral / Knowledge / Lungs Just as the plant’s leaf system corresponds to its vital body, so essential oils produced in the leaves seem to have a toning affect on the body and an affinity for the gathering and storing of knowledge. In Chinese medicine, the vital body is represented (and considered to be fed and nourished in large part) by the respiratory system. You will find oils made from the leaves always have an affect on the lungs and on the vital organs.

Flower /Crown / Spiritual The flower is the plant’s ultimate achievement and in some cultures the intricacy and fragrance of a plant is considered an indication of its spiritual development. The plants with the most intense floral creativity rarely produce any significant fruit or seed (rose and neroli are notable exceptions and their functions are also unique). The essential oils found in the flowers occur in extremely small amounts, but their fragrances are typically very intense. Such fragrances tend to have the highest frequencies and can be exhilarating or even mildly intoxicating.

Fruit / Completion / Emotional The fruit of a plant, while usually containing the seed, is very much a separate classification. The production of a fruit is the representation of the plant’s ability to take its energy all the way through to fruition, and is very much representative of the “sufficient strength for the day” emotional nature of the essential oils produced from them (citrus fruits, vanilla, clove, etc.).

Wood / Centering / Heaven and Earth / Spiritual Heart Trees and bushes also have the ability to create oils in their wood. Such oils are centering and grounding in nature. Here the creative process is drawn into the heart of the wood. These oils show a corresponding ability to aid us in becoming firm and full of strength in our own centers. A tree is firmly anchored to the earth, strong and upright, reaching valiantly for heaven, but at the same time is able to bend in the wind of new ideas. This is a good way to be for all of us. If we become too rigid in our thinking and emotions, we can be easily broken by the storms of life.

Resin / Glandular / Choice Some essential oils are produced from the resins or gums. These essential oils have a strong affinity for the glandular system; they control secretions and demonstrate cosmetic and healing properties (skin care, wounds, ulcers). Emotionally, they deal with issues of right and wrong and the ability to make choices and decisions. The resins, like the herbal oils, have a special affinity for what is described in energy medicine as The Wounded Healer.



(The lists of essential oils in each group that are given below does not include every essential oil. Including them all would be impossible since new ones come on the market everyday.)

For each category of essential oils, we will provide information in 5 general areas.

They are:

  1. A brief definition of the category,
  2. A description of the physical aspects of the body and physical ailments that this type of oil supports,
  3. An Emotional/Spiritual/Mental picture of the strengths and characteristics these oils can help us achieve,
  4. A picture of the emotional patterns of a person needing the strengths provided by these oils, and
  5. A list of the most commonly used oils in this category.

A synergistic essential oil blend usually contains oils from several of the groups. This provides the blend with both deep notes, middle notes, and the high frequency top notes. Blending in this way provides the mind/body complex with a wide range of emotional and physical support. This is the effect most often sought for when blending essential oils.

Sometimes, particularly when you are depleted in one type of energy, creating a blend for yourself from oils from just one group can be especially effective. You can feel the jolt of the energy shift. In the spice realm, at least, I think it must be the essential oil equivalent of being jolted by a heart defibrillator. It actually feels amazingly good!




This group includes essential oils which have been extracted from the roots of plants.


Essential oils from this category are stimulating and nourishing to the body’s vital functions, particularly to the digestive and nervous systems. Root essential oils are often used to improve absorption of nutrients. They are also used to nourish and strengthen the nerves.


People strong in their emotional connections with other people have peace and harmony about them, and in their lives. The use of essential oils made from the roots of plants can help us be more firmly grounded in ourselves, allowing us to be good-natured yet firm. This strength within ourselves will promote serenity and stability around us. We can feel more trusting of ourselves and others, be kind and supportive, even mediate quarrels between others if needed. We can learn to be self-confident without being overbearing, and to establish deep relationships with a wide variety of people. The greatest gift of the root oils is in helping us to be observant, humble, teachable, loyal, and reliable.


We know that we are in need of root oils if we are disorganized, neglectful of the people we care for, confused or muddled in our thinking processes, moody, obstinate, apathetic, depressed, or overly emotional. The lack of vital nutrients to nourish the nerves can make it difficult to stay emotionally well-balanced and secure in ourselves. This depletion, with subsequent lack of energy and mood swings, is sometimes seen in the early stages of pregnancy and again when the woman is nursing the baby.


angelica, calamus, angelica China (dong quai), garlic, ginger, spikenard, turmeric, valerian, vetiver




Essential oils which are derived from the leaves, or leaves and twigs, of plants. Often these plants have been recognized as medicinal in the part of the world in which they


The main impact of these essential oils is on the vital organs in either toning or cleansing. These oils have a particular affinity for the respiratory system.


In Eastern healing traditions, the vital organs of the body are considered to be fed and nourished by the respiratory system, not just by the digestive system. This thinking is quite different than that of our own culture. It is thought that, along with the air that is essential to life, new thoughts and ideas (also essential to life in the eastern view) are drawn into the body with the breath, and it is on the breath that old ideas and misconceptions are expelled.

There is considered to be a corollary between the mind’s ability to absorb new ideas and the body’s ability to absorb nutrients. In other words, if your body creates gallstones or kidney stones or any other calcium deficiency system, it is considered likely that your mind is also struggling with the absorption of new ideas. Just as the leaf of the plant takes in air and nutrients, these essential oils help our minds to take in new ideas, consider them well, and make the best parts of these ideas useful in our lives.

Knowledge and learning become sustenance to people who are working to strengthen their “leaf energy.” They will spend as many waking minutes as possible getting more of it. Fortunately, these essential oils can help us keep the whole picture in mind, even when specializing in an area of learning.

These essential oils, by lending us their energy and providing us with nutrients, can help us become innovative thinkers, with multiple theories and solutions for every situation we find ourselves in. We will be able to work hard and have enough energy, focus, and confidence to carry our ideas to fruition.

People in need of “leaf energy” are usually drained by aggression or conflict. They simply wither and die in contentious environments. Many such people will go to almost any lengths necessary (or possible) to avoid confrontation and conflict.


People in need of these oils can find it hard to keep the whole picture in mind or to admit that the conclusions they have drawn are flawed or lacking in some way. They sometimes become paranoid, hostile, scornful, cynical, or just exhausted and overwhelmed. They often choose to spend a lot of time alone and can become suspicious and out-of-touch with the world around them. Sometimes they are resentful of, or exhausted by, the demands of family and friends.


allspice, anthopogon, basil, bay, birch, blue tansy, cajeput, camphor, cassia, cinnamon, citronella, clary sage, cypress, davana, eucalyptus, fir, galbanum, geranium, gingergrass, kanuka, ledum, marjoram, melissa, myrtle, niaouli, oregano, palmarosa, patchouli, peppermint, petitgrain, pine, ravensara, rose geranium, rosemary, sage, spearmint, spruce, tarragon, tea tree, violet leaf, wintergreen




This group is defined as essential oils and absolutes which have been made from the flowers or petals of trees, shrubs, or other plants.


With even just a little bit of analysis, many physical ailments show themselves to be emotionally driven or, at least, more than a little connected to misperceptions we hold concerning certain aspects of our lives. Floral oils are especially useful for these types of physical ailments. In addition, these oils are often helpful for any type of pain that is made worse, or seems to be caused by, emotional stress or nervous tension. These essential oils are particularly useful for issues involving the feminine reproductive cycles and the inability to absorb nutrients which is tied to the female need to nourish others even at her own expense.


When we are unstable or depleted in floral energy in ourselves, we feel a need to be admired and complimented by others. Lacking confidence within ourselves, we feel a need to stand out from the crowd and be considered by others to be a little better than average. Physical appearance becomes particularly important.

People who are well balanced in this energy are dynamic, bursting with confidence, energy, and enthusiasm. They are full of life, love, and passion. When out of balance they can appear superficial. Even when way out of balance, those who’s predominant energy is floral are very sensitive and soft-hearted, often sensing others moods and trying to help them. Those who are balanced in this sphere, no matter what their core personality style is, bring a lot of happiness to others.


The floral essential oils are always quite “heady.” Unless you are in need of them, you will usually find them offensively intense instead of absolutely amazing.

We can be sure we are in need of one of the florals if we find ourselves becoming insensitive, manipulative, envious, power and status hungry, are having difficulty loving others and sharing with them, have shallow values, or tend to lie to achieve goals or to look good. The problem is that we probably won’t admit to having these traits, even to ourselves, nor are we likely to seek change. Fortunately, if we are in the habit of using essential oils every day, we will find ourselves using these because they will smell so absolutely amazing to us.


anthopogon, blue tansy, catnip, chamomiles, goldenrod, helichrysum, Idaho tansy, jasmine, lavender, melissa, neroli, osmanthus, patchouli, rose (maroc and otto), tagette, violet leaf, yarrow, ylang ylang




This group is defined as essential oils made from the seeds or seed pods of plants.


The seed of a plant is dormant until placed in the ground and watered, but it possesses within itself a vast potential for growth and development. Essential oils derived from the seed have an impact on the glands, the digestive organs, and anything having to do with growth and development. They often help the body rid itself of accumulated toxins and poisons that are interfering with growth and normal functioning. One of the ways they do this is by cleansing and supporting the liver.


The potential (while invisible and dormant) of a seed is reflected in the ability of the seed essential oils to aid us in the development of creativity and intuition, particularly as we focus on opportunities for our own growth.

People strong in seed energy have a remarkable ability to go through the same mundane experiences day after day and keep finding great joy in each experience. They joyfully spend the time and energy necessary to create a suitable environment for growth and development for themselves and others.

People strong in this energy may seem to be constantly reinventing themselves by changing their job or the manner in which they do their jobs. They often change their appearance, their hairstyle, or the place in which they live. They need beauty and romance in their lives, and like a seed, they can be delicate and sensitive to the world around them.

Just as many different plants can come from seeds that often look quite similar, there is an endless variety to the characteristics that seed oils can help us strengthen and affirm in our lives. It is important to remember, when using essential oils, that the closer we get to God the more of our own individual self we will have become. It is perfectly acceptable, even a good thing, to be a little (or a lot) different from those around you.


When you are overwhelmed and feeling despondent, depressed, insecure, self-pitying, disillusioned, and worthless, you can find energy and stability by the use of one or more seed oils. You might try one of these oils if you tend to start projects but become dissatisfied with them and throw them away unfinished.


ajowan, anethi, anise, caraway, cardamom, carrot seed, celery seed, chaulmoogra, coriander, cumin, dill, fennel, fenugreek, manuka, nutmeg, parsley




This group is defined as essential oils made from the fruits of plants or trees.


There is such an infinite variety of plants and the fruits they produce. Somewhere, in one plant or another, and in the essential oils from this group, will be something nourishing for every body system and gland. Some of these essential oils have an affinity for the nervous system, others are more particularly for the skin, and others will be of benefit to circulation or balancing glandular deficiencies.


We all have a need to feel clear, connected, and satisfied with ourselves. Each of us needs to have the respect and approval of those around us. The use of fruit oils helps us to feel kind-hearted, friendly, and supportive of others. We become more able to take responsibility for ourselves and any project in which we are involved. Just as the fruit of the tree represents the ability of the plant to survive and thrive to fruition, oils from this stage of plant life can help us be finishers, recognized for our diligence and dependability as well as for our joyful, passionate natures.


Some indicators that we would benefit from an essential oil in this family are being indecisive or just contradictory, being hesitant and cautious, being defensive to the point of unreasonable, being clingy, anxious and oversensitive, or feeling impatient, spiteful, sarcastic, and having feelings of inferiority. Our ability to finish projects is limited because of indecision or because hurt feelings caused us to walk away from something or someone.


allspice, anise, bergamot, black pepper, chaste tree, cinnamon berry, clementine, clove, grapefruit, green pepper, juniper berry, lemon, lime, litsea cubeba, mandarin, orange, suganhda kokila, tangerine, vanilla, zanthoxylum




Essential oils which are commonly recognized as culinary spices.


Spice essential oils are derived from various parts of the plants from which they are taken. As a group, although they share some basic characteristics, spice oils are extremely varied in their natures. Two common denominators are that all spices are high in minerals, and that every condition they are recommended for will be an extreme state of one kind or another. Conditions that are hypo-this or hyper-that, a severe infection of highly resistant bacteria, complete collapse, extreme fatigue, and unusually volatile emotions are just a few examples of physical conditions the spice oils might be helpful with. There is nothing bland or mediocre in the spice essential oils.


The balance that spice oils can bring to our lives is amazing. We can be more in love with life, be more animated, happy, warm-hearted, spontaneous, dynamic, and self-assured. Spice oils added to a blend were put there to help us become energetic, productive, and practical. They accomplish these amazing things mostly by increasing cellular oxygen levels.

The spice oils have a stimulating and toning effect on our bodies and minds. In an excellent example of synergy, spice oils enhance the action and power of the other oils in any blend in which they are placed. Spice oils also illustrate the principle of natural remedies returning the body to a state of homeostasis, or balance. They often act as both a stimulant when energy levels are low and as a sedative during times when our bodies and minds are stressed and need to rest and relax in order to rebuild.


People in need of spice oils have become unbalanced by burnout (running too fast and too far) This may be done with work or from having too much fun playing! This level of depletion and prostration can also be brought about by the frustration of not achieving goals and desires which, in characteristic spice manner, were usually unrealistic in the first place.

If you find yourself being any degree of demanding, resentful, rude, abusive, insulting, or you have a tendency to treat others like servants there to meet your needs, you might consider working on these traits and using the spice oils to help you. Behaving much like a child when our “wants” are not met, hysteria, panic attacks, and depression are other common symptoms.


anise, basil, black pepper, caraway, cardamom, cinnamon, clove, coriander, cumin, dill, lemongrass, ginger, marjoram, nutmeg, oregano, rosemary, tarragon, turmeric




Essential oils which have been extracted from plants that are generally thought of as medicinal herbs.


I find that with the herbal essential oils, as with the herbs themselves, I have a favorite one or two for particular body systems or glands. Learning essential oils by the body systems or organs they benefit is the most informative and practical way to operate.

Herbal essential oils are nutritious. Nutrition is absorbed and utilized by the body whenever essential oils are applied to the body. Herbs, and the essential oils made from herbal plants, seem to be more concentrated in their vitamin content while the herbs and oils that are considered spices are stronger in mineral content. When used in essential oil form these vitamins and minerals are readily available to the body. Their absorption is not affected by the state of the digestive system or large intestine.


The herbal personality is that of the healer. Every healer recognizes the conflict created between trying to provide unconditional love and care for everyone in their lives, and needing to find time and energy to love and care for themselves as well.

If you find yourself overwhelmed by the needs of others, no longer considering it a joy to serve, or you resent being needed by other people in general and your family in particular, there are probably nutritional deficiencies depleting your energy stores. The nutritional imbalance may be the result of problems in the digestive system. The body may be unable to absorb and utilized nutrients from the food eaten. Perhaps, there are nutrients missing in the diet. Essential oils, placed on the body and then absorbed into the tissues, can be a valuable aid in achieving a well-nourished system.


When overwhelmed or nutritionally deficient, people needing herbal essential oils can become resentful of the needs of others. This resentment is of the internal, seething variety because they are usually unable to say “no” and unable to stop trying to do everything for everybody. Sometimes they even tend to smother other people with their concern and worry. They sometimes have difficulty letting their children grow up or leave home in an atmosphere of mutual respect and harmony. Perhaps they are so intent on being the solution to every aspect of their children’s lives that they neglect to let them take responsibility for themselves. Sometimes there tends to be a need to still be important in their children’s lives that drives them.

Another aspect of deficiency here is a tendency to get too intimate and intrusive in other people’s lives, and then get insulted when they feel themselves excluded from even the most intimate details of other people’s lives. If you find yourself forgetting to say thank you to those around you, but need to be thanked for every little thing that you do for others, herbal oils are for you. Perhaps you have even been known to use guilt as a tool of manipulation. (Shame on you and on me!)


basil, clary sage, geranium, hyssop, marjoram, melissa, myrtle, peppermint, spearmint, oregano, rosemary, sage, thyme red and thyme white, blue yarrow, green yarrow




Essential oils which have been distilled from twigs, wood chippings, or shavings of trees and shrubs.


The essential oils in this category, especially the conifers, have a lot to do with maintaining firmness and strength in our own centers. Any physical ailments on which they have an effect will almost always be driven, at least in part, by a wavering and lack of faith in our own core beliefs and in our ability to live by them.

With the understanding of this relationship to core values, we can know that these essential oils are often useful for glandular system disharmonies and the skin afflictions that result from them. This fact should tell us something about the emotional drivers of glandular problems.

Wood oils are also useful for heart irregularities that have their roots in the inability to handle stress or tension.

Of particular note in this family is sandalwood, which can help us tap into our own inner strength when facing our difficult challenges. Palo santo, a relative newcomer among essential oil, is taken directly from the heartwood.


Wood oils can aid us in being strong, independent, bold, and forthright. People strong in this energy stand for justice and courage and have a great capacity for hard work. They are usually warm-hearted people with a lot of tolerance and compassion for the mistakes that others have made, although they, themselves, are moral, self-confident, motivated, perceptive, faithful, and steadfast.


Out of balance wood characteristics include the tendency to dominate; becoming dictatorial and threatening or being very unyielding—meaning they expect their opinions to be accepted by others and their methods of doing things to be considered correct and to be acted on immediately by others. At times, the usually wonderful characteristics of harmony and peace that characterize wood energy become argumentative, egotistical, harsh, vengeful, and severe to the point of meanness. There is usually a wood oil somewhere in a well-done blend. The inclusion of a wood oil brings the blend together, adding a sweetness and structure that would otherwise be missing, and providing stability to the blend and to the life of the person using the blend.


cabreuva, camphor, cedarwood, cypress, galbanum, hinoki, howood, pine, ravensara, rosewood, sandalwood, spruce, cinnamon




Essential oils which have been extracted from the resin or balsam which exudes from the bark of some trees and shrubs.


In a very strong corollary to the way resins exude from the plant, these essential oils have an affinity for bodily secretions, pus filled and inflamed infections, catarrhal conditions, ulcers, and inflammations of any sort. These oils are also helpful for maintaining or returning elasticity to the skin. Frankincense and myrrh are of particular note in this group of essential oils.


If your energy is strong in resin type energy you will be driven, in the best sense of the word, by high ideals. Morality, truth, justice, and purity of thought are things you constantly and consciously seek. Your values, principles, and ethics are part of everything you do, and you understand that there are principles that underlay every decision of well-balanced and morally driven lives. Deep spirituality is a personal goal, but there is also a realistic outlook and a great deal of tolerance in your dealings with other people.


If these strong personalities make a moral mistake they are devastated and find it difficult to forgive themselves. They are often harshly critical of themselves and can get caught up and immobilized by guilt. When out of balance, traits such as being self-righteous, dogmatic, intolerant, and very, very angry are usually seen. On the other hand, the disappointment they feel with themselves or others can lead to discouragement, which is followed closely by nervousness and depression. It feels to them as though they are struggling single-handedly, with no help or hope in sight, against all of the evil forces of the universe and against human nature!


benzoin, copaiba balsam, elemi, frankincense, myrrh, opoponax


The goal of this type of study is to help us achieve as many of the abundant characteristics of all the groups as we possibly can. We want in our lives to, eventually, achieve: the enthusiasm and deep spirituality shown by the florals the good natured equilibrium which nourishes those around them that is the hallmark of the fruit group the practicality, caring, and healing skills demonstrated by the herbal and medicinal plants the knowledge, intuition, and vision that is common among the leaf group the wisdom, humility, and maturity of the resinous oils the grounded, peaceful, and peace making qualities of the roots the joy and vitality of the spices the child like energy and potential of the seeds, and the courage, tenacity, and strength of the woods.

A person with all these qualities would be a pretty wonderful and well-balanced individual, wouldn’t they? This life, and the perfection we are seeking, is a journey of a thousand miles that begins with the baby steps we are taking today as we meet our challenges in the best ways that we can.



This information is for educational purposes only, it is not intended to treat, cure, prevent or, diagnose any disease or condition. Nor is it intended to prescribe in any way. This information is for educational purposes only and may not be complete, nor may its data be accurate.

As with all essential oils, never use them undiluted. Do not take internally unless working with a qualified and expert practitioner. Keep away from children. If applying an essential oil to your skin always perform a small patch test to an insensitive part of the body (after you have properly diluted the oil in an appropriate carrier.



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