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Episode 186: The Malama Nurturing Blend

Description: Vibrant, bright, and warm, in this episode we take a look at our Malama Nurturing Blend. We've created this blend especially for the Mother's and special women in your life and we're excited to walk through the history of the individuals oils inside.


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doTERRA: Mālama means to care for, tend, preserve, and protect. Honoring mālama, doTERRA has partnered with the Kealakekua Mountain Reserve (or KMR), home to the largest reforestation effort in Hawaii’s history. It’s also where we source Naio Wood and Hawaiian Sandalwood.

To celebrate this Mother’s Day and highlight the special Co-Impact Sourcing® work done with KMR, we’ve created the new Mālama Nurturing Blend.

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.

Today we're excited to talk to you about our Mālama blend. Like the breathtaking beauty and vibrant culture of the Hawaiian Islands, Mālama Nurturing Blend is an effervescent combination of Orange Peel, Cedarwood, Coriander, Amyris, Lemongrass, Magnolia, Cananga, Sichuan Pepper Fruit, Buchu Aged Leaf, Naio Wood, and Hawaiian Sandalwood. And today we’ll share some of the history behind these amazing plants. If you're interested in learning more about the Mālama blend, make sure to click on the link in the episode description.

Today we’re going to talk about some internal historical uses for some of these plants, but we want to remind you that the Mālama blend is for aromatic or topical use only. Any internal benefits discussed for the individual oils in the blend are not applicable to aromatic or topical use.

Wild Orange

First, we have orange. Oranges are believed to have originated in ancient China and the earliest mention of the sweet orange in particular was in Chinese literature in 314 BC. But citron seeds have been found in Mesopotamian excavations that date back to 4,000 BC. And their popularity has only grown. As of 1987, orange trees were found to be the most cultivated fruit tree in the entire world.

Oranges in Greek Myth

Before all of this, we see the orange appear in the ancient Greek myth of Hercules. As his eleventh task, Eurystheus told Hercules that he must steal the golden apples from Hera’s orchard called the Garden of Hesperides. According to the legend, when the marriage of Zeus and Hera took place, the different deities came with nuptial presents for Hera. And among them, the goddess Gaia brought branches having golden apples growing on them as a wedding gift.

In later years it was thought that the "golden apples" talked about might have actually been oranges, a fruit unknown to Europe and the Mediterranean before the Middle Ages. Under this assumption, the Greek botanical name chosen for all citrus species was Hesperidoeidē, and even today the Greek word for the orange fruit is Portokáli, after the country of Portugal in Iberia—near where the Garden of the Hesperides grew.

History of the Orange

The orange also makes an appearance in many cultural traditions throughout history. In medieval times, citrus was incredibly prized and expensive. It became seen as a sign of status. In fact, cookbooks at the time describe exactly how many orange slices each rank of visiting dignitary was entitled to. Besides being an incredibly important part of the citrus world, Wild Orange brings a bright note to this blend.


Next we have Cedarwood. The woody, sweet aroma of cedarwood is one that brings memories of a densely wooded forest, birds chirping, and the warm feeling of dappled sunlight. The tree you’re imagining, the one you know as cedarwood or the eastern red cedar is actually not a cedar at all; it’s a juniper. Other names for the tree include red cedar, Virginian juniper, easter juniper, red juniper, pencil cedar, and aromatic cedar.

Cedarwood is a strong and resilient tree. It’s able to withstand extreme climates and can tolerate most soil types. It’s also what is known as a pioneer species. A pioneer species means that it is one of the first species to return to a cleared, eroded, or otherwise damaged land. Among the pioneer species it’s one that is unusually long-lived, with the potential to live over 900 years. In fact, the oldest cedarwood tree reported was in West Virginia and was 940 years old!

Historical Uses of Cedarwood

Traditionally among many Native American cultures, the smoke of the burning cedarwood is used to drive away evil spirits prior to conducting certain ceremonies. For numerous tribes, the red cedar tree symbolizes the tree of life and is often burned in sweat lodges.

The ancient Egyptians also incorporated cedarwood into their embalming rituals, rubbing precious cedar resin onto the body to prepare it for burial. And among the Phoenicians and Assyrians cedarwood was even used to build fleets of ships. In Scotland cedarwood is traditionally smudged, like you would do with sage, on Hogmanay (or as you know it, New Years) to prepare for the coming year. Finally, the fragrant, calming smoke when the wood burns is believed to allay nightmares, hauntings, malevolent influences, evil spirits, and ill-meaning wild animals.


Next we have our first floral: Amyris. Amyris is a beautiful flowering plant that has been prized throughout history. A member of the citrus family Rutaceae, the name amyris comes from the Greek word amyron, which means "intensely scented." Members of the genus are often called torchwoods or candlewoods because of their highly flammable wood, most likely due to its incredibly high concentration of essential oil. Amyris is also sometimes referred to as "West Indian Sandalwood"

Amyris smells sweet, balsamic, woody, and slightly fruity. Perfumers use it for its fixative virtues, meaning that its aroma lasts for a long time on skin and prolongs the scent of other extracts. It adds a lovely scent to this blend and compliments the citrus notes perfectly.


Coriander is one of the oldest herbs and spices on record and seems to have been cultivated in Greece since at least the second millennium BC.

Coriander is only one of the utilized parts of the plant. The leaves of the coriander plants are actually what you know as cilantro. In much of the world, coriander is used to refer to both cilantro leaves and seeds, but in the Americas, it generally refers to only the dried cilantro seeds, which are used as a spice in both whole form and ground. If you have tasted both cilantro leaves and coriander seeds, you know that they taste very different, not like they’re from the same plant at all.

Historical Uses of Coriander

During the medieval and Rennaissance periods, coriander was thought to be an aphrodisiac and was used in love potions. Robert Turner would appear to agree with this assessment and said that when consumed with wine, coriander “stimulates the animal passions.”

Ancient folklore says that its smell was also utilized with it being said that it was grown in ancient Persia and used to fragrance the hanging gardens of Babylon.

It was actually the pungent smell of coriander that led to its use in traditional wellness practices. The ancients believed that anything with such a strong odor must surely possess powerful attributes.


The scent of lemongrass is fresh and light with a hint of lemon citrus, even though it’s just a grass and not a citrus at all. It belongs to a family known as Gramineae, the same family that citronella and palmarosa belong to. Its pleasing scent makes it very useful in perfumes, soaps, and cosmetics.

Historical Uses of Lemongrass

In Hoodoo, lemongrass is the primary ingredient of Van Van oil, one of the most popular oils used in conjure. Van Van oil is an old hoodoo formula designed to clear away evil, provide magical protection, open the road to new prospects, change bad luck to good, and empower amulets and charms. It is the most popular of the New Orleans hoodoo recipes. Lemongrass is used in this preparation and on its own in hoodoo to protect against evil, spiritually clean a house, and to bring good luck in love affairs.

In addition to cooking and personal care products, Lemongrass has also been used throughout history in traditional wellness practices. In India it has long been used in their traditional wellness practices, and in Latin America they would often brew a tea with the grass to take advantage of its beneficial properties. The leaves of the grass were also chewed, or the sap would be made into a compress to utilize in various health situations. Today, lemongrass continues to be used in Cuba and the Caribbean as part of natural wellness solutions.


Next, we have magnolia. Magnolia is an evergreen tropical tree from Southeast Asia and has long been treasured for its wonderfully fragrant flowers. In its native habitat, this tree can get to 30 feet high. The Magnoliaceae family is one that existed for millennia. In fact, fossil plants identifiably belonging to this family date back 95 million years.

The magnolia flower has a long history of symbolism. It’s known as the flower of progress. The large white petals are particularly aromatic and are believed to inspire personal growth and renewal.

Historical Uses of Magnolia

During the Victorian era, flowers were used as a discreet way for lovers to send messages to each other, and magnolias symbolized dignity and nobility.

In ancient China, magnolias were thought to be the perfect symbols of womanly beauty and gentleness, and a magnolia was often used to symbolize Yin, or the feminine side of life.

Finally, in the American South, white magnolias are commonly seen in bridal bouquets because the flowers are thought to reflect and emphasize the bride’s purity and nobility.

Now, magnolias have also been used for more than their beauty; they have many uses in traditional wellness practices. In China, where it is known as bai lan, the flowers are used to prepare yulan tea as well as to move qi, or “vital force”.

The flower buds are commonly used by many traditional herbal preparations. Conventionally they’re also widely used in both Ayurveda and Siddha practices. With both the leaves and the flowers being used.


Like the Amryis we discussed earlier, Buchu is also a member of the Rutaceae family. A fragrant South African shrub, the leaves have a beautifully pungent aroma that’s similar to peppermint and increases as the leaves dry.

Historical Uses of Buchu

Buchu has been used by the indigenous people of South Africa as a folk remedy for hundreds of years. And Dutch settlers in early times used buchu to make a brandy tincture—a tincture that is still used today.

In the early 1700s the Buchu plant was introduced to Europe through colonists at the cape of South Africa. At this time, it was known as the "noble tea," as only the rich could afford it.

However, this was the breakthrough period for buchu. It became increasingly popular and familiar globally. In fact, eight bales of Buchu were found in the cargo of the famous Titanic.

Today, Buchu oil is widely used in the perfume industry, as well as a component in artificial fruit flavors, alcoholic beverages, frozen dairy desserts, candy, condiments, and relishes.

Sichuan Pepper

Next, we have a spicy addition to the blend: the Sichuan pepper. The aroma of Sichuan peppercorn isn’t actually spicy and has been likened to lavender. But on the tongue, the first taste of Sichuan is bitter, followed by numbing heat, and finished with a note of citrus. Its main claim to fame is the powerful numbing sensation it causes around the mouth when eaten. And sometimes it is even called “Chinese flower pepper” or “Sichuan numbing pepper” because of its unique, spicy, and hot taste.

The name of the Sichuan pepper may cause some misunderstanding because while the pepper can be found in most parts of China, it’s named after the Sichuan province. The name originated because the peppers grown in that region are of the highest quality that can be found.

The Sichuan pepper has been used for centuries in Chinese traditional wellness practices and is in fact utilized in both Ayurvedic and Chinese wellness practices as a warming spice. And it lends a beautifully rich and complex note to this blend.


Cananga is a plant that is often mistaken for another popular tree with fragrant flowers: Ylang Ylang. Like Ylang Ylang, Canaga is also a tall, tropical tree that produces almost identical flowers. In fact, the two plants are so similar that you may even notice some suppliers trying to sell Canaga oil as Ylang Ylang oil.

But the scent of Ylang Ylang is more floral than Cananga essential oil, and Cananga is often described as being a greener scent. Often those who want a milder scent will prefer the aroma of Cananga oil over Ylang Ylang oil. Note that the chemical components of each oil also vary. The primary difference in the essential oil of the two varieties is that Cananga has higher amounts of the chemical constituent Beta-caryophyllene.

‘Iliahi or Hawaiian Sandalwood

Next we have another wood oil: ‘Iliahi or Hawaiian Sandalwood. Sandalwood is often cited as one of the most expensive woods in the world and has a distinctive soft, warm, smooth, creamy, precious-wood scent.

A relative of the European mistletoe, Hawaiian sandalwoods are medium-sized trees that can grow to be more than 30 feet tall. But it can’t get there on its own. Sandalwood is what’s known as a hemiparasitic plant, which means that it needs a host to provide some of its nutritional needs. Hawaiian sandalwood can produce its own carbon through photosynthesis, but it must connect to the roots of other plants to receive water and other essential nutrients from the soil. Generally, a sandalwood tree will be connected to many other trees and plants, which together support the healthy development of the sandalwood.

The most popular use for sandalwood throughout history is for its scent. It imparts a long-lasting, woody base to perfumes and also serves as a fixative to floral and citrus fragrances—enhancing the longevity of other, more volatile, materials in the composite.

Naio Wood

Finally, we have Naio Wood. This is an indigenous plant found in the coastal dry forest up to the sub-alpine dry forest on almost all of the main islands of Hawaii. This plant has also been called “false sandalwood,” since it was used to fill orders of sandalwood when sandalwood became scarce. Its fragrance resembles the scent of the sandalwood tree when it is cut or burned.

Historical Uses of Naio Wood

Naio was commonly used by Hawaiians as posts for building their houses. The sapwood is pale brown and the heartwood a dark yellowish brown. It’s moderately heavy, hard, and finely textured. It burns quite well and was used by Hawaiians as night fishing torches. It gives off a pleasant odor when burned, and upland ranchers use it often in their fires.

In modern times, the wood is used for building, flooring, furniture and art pieces. In traditional wellness practices, the ashes of the naio were mixed with various herbs. They would also mix the leaves and buds with other herbs to use as well. The vegetative buds, leaves, and fruit were mixed specifically for women who had had many children.

The woody warmth of Naio lends itself perfectly to this magical blend.

We are thrilled to bring you our Mālama blend—where tropical citrus, enchanting floral, and centering wood aromas come together to create a vivacious, yet rich aroma. We know it will become a favorite in your household.

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

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