Episode 140: Walking Through Midnight Forest


In this episode we break down the oils in this exciting new blend. We'll talk about where they come from, how long they've been around, as well as how people have used them throughout history.

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doTERRA: Envision a forest surrounded by the dark ink of midnight. The quiet and the peace envelops you and the smell is familiar. The crisp, fresh scent of the woods is comparable to nothing else. The Midnight Forest blend brings this amazing scent of the woods into your home.

Welcome back to Essential Oil Solutions with doTERRA, the podcast where you'll hear exciting, useful, and simple everyday uses for essential oils from experts in the field. If you like what you hear today, rate, review, and subscribe wherever you listen. We always appreciate hearing from you.

Remember, while some of the individual oils we’re going to talk about may be used internally, the Midnight Forest blend is not to be used internally. Any internal benefits we discuss aren't applicable to aromatic or topical use.

We are so excited to talk to you today about a blend that turns any environment into a beautiful forest: Midnight Forest. It's an incredible blend of Frankincense, Siberian Fir, Cypress, Juniper Berry, Black Spruce, Cistus, Caraway, and Wild Orange.

Frankincense

First, we start with Frankincense. Frankincense has been prized and utilized for thousands of years for its scent as well as its many benefits. The English word frankincense derives from the old French expression franc encens, meaning high-quality incense, with the word franc in old French meaning “noble” or “pure.”

The resin is also known by the name olibanum, or in Arabic al-libān, which roughly translates to “that which results from milking,” which is a reference to the milky sap tapped from the Boswellia tree.

The Boswellia trees from which the frankincense resin is gathered are considered unusual because they have the amazing ability to grow in an environment so unforgiving that they sometimes even grow directly out of solid rock.

History of Frankincense

Frankincense has been traded on the Arabian Peninsula for more than 6,000 years, its use was characteristic and religious rites throughout Mesopotamia and the eastern Mediterranean from the earliest of antiquity.

The Babylonians and Assyrians would burn frankincense in religious ceremonies. The Egyptians placed it in the body cavities during the mummification process, and in fact, the ancient Egyptians bought entire boatloads of resin from the Phoenicians, using them in incense, perfume, and salves. The ancient Greeks and Romans also imported massive amounts of the resins, which they burned as incense during cremations.

And also frankincense is used to this day and many Christian churches, including the Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, and Catholic churches. Christian and Islamic Abrahamic faiths have all used frankincense mixed with oils to anoint newborn infants, initiates, as well as members entering into new phases of their spiritual lives.

Siberian Fir

The next woody scent is Siberian Fir. It's a coniferous evergreen tree native to Russia and China. The genus name, Abies sibirica, is derived from the Latin “to rise,” as a reference to their height. The word fir comes from the old English word firgen, meaning “mountain forest,” based on ancient words like fire and fyr, meaning “fire” and “light”.

One of the interesting features of fir trees is that they grow particularly straight and narrow, and because of this, they have traditionally been a symbol of truth and honesty to ancient people. A group of them together was often considered a symbol of friendship.

History of Fir

Ancient Egyptians valued fir oil very highly, using it on their scalp. And Native Americans believed that sleeping on pillows packed with fir needles could help them attain better sleep. These needles and other parts of the tree were also burned for women right after they'd given birth. And Siberian Fir’s fresh scent lends a lovely note to this blend.

Cypress

The cypress tree has a rich, symbolic history. It's associated with Artemis and Hecate (the goddess of magic) crossroads and the underworld, as well as ancient Roman funerary rites. In Greek mythology, it's also associated with Cyparissus. The poet Ovid, who wrote during the reign of Augustus, recorded The Myth of Cyparissus that explains the association of the Cyprus tree with grief.

As he tells it, there was a handsome boy named Cyparissus, a favorite of Apollo, who accidentally killed his beloved tame stag. His grief and remorse were so inconsolable that he asked to weep forever. He was transformed into a cypress tree, and his tears turned into the tree sap, granting him his wish.

History of Cypress

Throughout history, cypress has been the first choice for Iranian gardens. In all the famous Persian gardens such as Fin Garden, Shazdeh Garden, Dowlat-Abad, the tree plays a central role in their design. In fact, the oldest living cypress is in the Sarv-e-Abarkooh in Iran's Yazd Province. Its age is estimated to be approximately 4,000 years old.

In Jewish tradition, the cypress was believed to be the wood used to build Noah's Ark and the temple, and as mentioned, as an idiom or metaphor in the biblical passage, either referencing the tree’s shape as an example of uprightness or its evergreen nature as an example of eternal beauty or health. It's also popular in modern Israeli cemeteries, with the contemporary explanation being that its shape resembles a candle, and its being an evergreen symbolized the immortality of the soul. With its long history, we're grateful to have Cypress lend itself to this blend.

Juniper Berry

The next scent does not come from the bark or the leaves of the tree, but from the so-called berry. The bright purple berry of the juniper tree is hard to miss. But did you know that it's not a berry at all? It's actually a cone, like a pinecone, but disguised as a berry. Juniper is a long-lasting tree and can live for around 200 years. In addition to living a long time, it also lives in many, many places.

In fact, the juniper berry has the largest geographical range of any woody plant. It can be found throughout the cool, temperate northern hemisphere, from the Arctic south to the mountains to around 30 degrees north latitude in North America, Europe, and Asia. After finding the shrub high on a mountain in Switzerland, landscape gardener Michael Dirr wrote, “Two things in life are inescapable, taxes and Juniperus communis.

History of Juniper

In Scandinavia, juniper wood is used for making containers for storing small quantities of dairy products, such as butter and cheese, and for making wooden butter knives. It was also frequently used in wooden shipbuilding for treenails, which are the hard wooden pins used for fastening timbers together.

In Estonia, juniper wood is valued for its long-lasting and pleasant aroma, its very decorative growth rings, as well as good physical properties of the wood. Because of the slow growth rate of juniper, it's a very dense and strong wood. Various decorative items, often eating utensils, made of juniper wood are common in most Estonian handicraft shops and households.

Juniper berries have also long been used by many cultures, including the Navajo people. Western American tribes even combined the berries of Juniperus communis with Berberis root bark in an herbal tea.

Black Spruce

The black spruce is a beautiful tree native to the United States and Canada, with a long history of use by both Native American and First Nations people.

History of Black Spruce

Native Americans used the roots to make trays, buckets, dippers, and spoons, as well as to sew canoes, snowshoes, and birch baskets. The wood was used to make new paddles and the pitch to seal seams on birch bark canoes. First Nations people used black spruce to construct fish traps. Multiple cultures have fashioned drying racks and snowshoe frames from their trunks. Their resin or sap was also powdered and used for traditional practices.

Tea made from the pulp of the trunk was also believed to be beneficial. Black spruce reportedly was employed by many Native American tribes, for example, the Algonquin used the gum of the black spruce as a salve. The Cree mixed the pitch of the black spruce with grease and used it as an ointment. Eskimos are said to have used a decoction of black spruce gum. The Ojibwe used an infusion of roots and barks, and a poultice of the inner bark was used by the Potawatomi. With its long history of use, it is no wonder that the black spruce is still treasured to this day.

Cistus

The origin of cistus is fascinating. The resin was originally discovered thousands of years ago by pure happenstance. While shepherds were attempting to brush the resin out of their sheep's coats, they discovered that it had beneficial uses.

Researchers have discovered traces of the cistus plant in prehistoric caves. The scientific name of cistus is Cistus ladanifer. The name cistus comes from the Greek word kistos, which means “evergreen shrub.” And ladanifer comes from the Greek word ledon, which refers to the dark resin that is produced by the plant.

History of Cistus

Since the shepherds discovered its use, people have continued to use cistus in a variety of ways. Throughout ancient times, it was used by many civilizations as incense in spiritual ceremonies. In ancient Egypt, the resin was a key ingredient in the incense and perfumes often used in royal as well as spiritual ceremonies, while Europeans in the Middle Ages incorporated it into their traditional practices.

In more modern times, people have utilized cistus in meditation practices because of its delightful scent.

Caraway

Caraway has been widely used as an herb since the time of ancient Romans, Egyptians, and Greeks. But there are also indications that the history and influence of caraway stretches far beyond that. Evidence found in lake dwellings in Switzerland suggests it dates back at least 5,000 years. And some sources indicate that the history of caraway even dates back to the Stone Age. Caraway seeds have been discovered in the refuse areas of prehistoric communities in southern Europe. Those finds are believed to indicate that the caraway plant was a part of early man’s daily life.

History of Caraway

Caraway seeds are probably one of the oldest spices, having been eaten for thousands of years. Caraway is also frequently mentioned by the old writers. Dioscorides, a Greek physician and pharmacologist, advised in his writings that the oil be taken by pale-faced girls.

The history of Caraway also has a romantic side. Caraway was once used as an aid in preventing fickleness and was put in love potions.

Caraway seeds were also added to chicken feed in hopes of keeping them from wandering off, and it's still sometimes given to homing pigeons.

In ancient Egypt, it was believed to chase away evil spirits, and caraway was also used to protect men from women.

An entertaining Germanic legend tells that the goddess of the Earth Hertha made her lovers disappear and the only survivors were those who carried or wore caraway seeds. In medieval times, it was thought to keep lovers interested in one another. And in German folklore, the belief was that any object containing caraway could not be stolen. So parents placed a dish of caraway seeds beneath their children's beds to protect them from witches.

With its long and storied history, caraway has impacted thousands of lives and now brings a spicy richness to this blend.

Wild Orange

The final piece of this blend, and the only citrus, is Wild Orange. The orange is a highly recognizable fruit for its scent, its taste, and its bright color.

One reason it might be so recognizable is that as of 1987, orange trees were found to be the most cultivated fruit tree in the world. And in 2017, 73 million tons of oranges were grown worldwide. The scientific name for the sweet orange is Citrus X sinensis. The word citrus comes from the Latin name for the citron, prized for its fruit since biblical times and sinensis comes from the Latin name for China.

History of Wild Orange

China is where we find the first written mention of the orange and 314 BC. As we said, there are millions of tons of oranges grown around the world every year. The sweet orange is one of the most important crops in the world. It's mainly used for extraction and consumption of its fresh juice.

In the United States, Florida produces about 80% of the country's oranges. In fact, it's such a big part of their state's culture that the state flower of Florida is the orange blossom.

The orange was also important to other cultures throughout history. For example, to the Romans, boxes and small furniture made from citrus wood were literally worth their weight in gold. And according to a Jewish tradition, a citron in the house would keep Karilnes or bad spirits away.

In addition to the many cultural appearances and due to the chemical compounds present in its byproducts and waste, sweet orange has also been studied for its benefits. It's always a good time to bring the brightness and joy of Wild Orange into your home, and it rounds out the Midnight Forest blend, exactly what you've been looking for, to bring the power and majesty of the woods into every aspect of your life.

Thanks for joining us and congratulations on living a healthier lifestyle with essential oils. If you liked what you heard today, rate, review, and subscribe wherever you listen. Also, if you want to try any of the products you learned about, go to doterra.com or find a Wellness Advocate near you to place an order today.