“Why?” you ask. Don’t worry my husband is safe, but one of the characters in The Scent of Wrath – book two in The Seven Deadly Sins Series, might not be so lucky.
When I need to devise a dastardly plan (mustaches twirling) I find it’s best to ask an authority on the topic. When poison is the weapon, who better to consult than a modern day medicine woman? Here’s Michelle’s response.
Could you knock off your husband with essential oils? Maybe that’s why their popularity has risen so dramatically in the past few years? Hmmmm….
In days gone by, you could rap on the hovel door of the local medicine woman and cryptically request a concoction to help your target die naturally. In his sleep. That night.
A medicine woman had no shortage of plants to choose from to commit murder — hemlock, wolfsbane, yew or deadly nightshade just to name a few. Someone with knowledge of herbal medicines had great power. Socrates was murdered by drinking tea made from the hemlock plant. Ancient Romans used Belladonna to make poison-tipped arrows. And Wolfsbane is so deadly a mere brush against it can be fatal, let alone a more nefarious plan. (Game of Thrones fans, anyone?)
Thankfully, there’s tighter rein on poisonous substances these days, and forensic science has made the perfect murder near impossible to pull off.
Ultimately the role of the “wise woman” — medicine woman, village healer, community midwife — was healing and care, not harm. These women cultivated healing herbs in their garden, serving their communities and passed their knowledge and traditions down through word of mouth. Every culture had their folk medicines, and while the wealthy could afford to see a physician, poorer or more rural families relied on these women for their skills.
You might think these folk remedies are deep in the past, but take a look in your medicine cabinet.
Aspirin is derived from willow bark, opiates originated from poppies, and atropine comes from plants in the nightshade family. And if you’ve ever broken an aloe leaf to soothe a burn, or brewed a cup of chamomile tea to help you sleep, you’ve participated in this folk medicine tradition.
While most of us don’t often reach for traditional herbal solutions, a large number of people are taking another holistic route — essential oils. Essential oils are safe and effective natural remedies and health boosters. It’s no wonder they’ve exploded in popularity as people learn and understand their uses. They empower us to take our health and wellness into our own hands, for issues ranging from sleep to discomfort to immunity to mood.
Essential oils are highly concentrated and much more potent than dried herbs, so you only need to use a small amount.
Another reason essential oils are so effective is that, unlike pharmaceuticals which contain one chemical compound designed to have a particular effect on the body, therapeutic-grade essential oils contain hundreds of chemical compounds which work synergistically within the body. These complex interactions — between the components of the oil, and between the oil and the body — are a prime example of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts.
While the use of essential oils seems like a new trend — you’ve likely seen them promoted everywhere from Facebook to fashion magazines — they have in fact been used for over five thousand years.
We can trace their genesis back to Egypt (historically at the forefront of innovation!), where essential oils were used for healing, spiritual practices, and mummification. When Rome invaded and conquered Egypt in 30 BC, the Roman clerics learned about these practices, and they spread into the Roman Empire and beyond.
Remember Frankincense and Myrrh, two of the three gifts brought to the Christ child? The Wise Men (Magi) brought them, along with gold, because they were the most precious substances of their time.
So what exactly are essential oils?
They are the essence or lifeblood of a plant, which contain the volatile aroma compound of the plant, and are usually extracted through steam distillation. Ever run your hands over lavender flowers or a rosemary bush, and released a cloud of fragrance? You have been anointed with essential oil. Some oils are a little harder to extract, and you have to break open a leaf, a seed, or a root — like ginger, which bursts with aroma as soon as you cut into it.
The most well-known way to use an essential oil is to inhale its aroma or release it into the air using a diffuser. Ever caught a scent of something and felt like you were immediately transported to your past? That’s because aromas activate the limbic system of the brain — the brain’s center of emotion and memory. Using an essential oil aromatically can alleviate stress, enhance mood and increase mental clarity and productivity.
Another way to use an essential oil is to apply it (diluted!) to the body. The chemical structure of a pure essential oil quickly penetrates cell membranes, travels throughout the body, and enhances cellular function. And a third use is internally — meaning ingesting the oil either in a capsule or mixed in a beverage. This use is the most controversial, primarily because essential oils come in a wide range of quality and purity.
So back to the question: could you knock off your husband with essential oils?
No, but you could make him healthier and happier. Hopefully that’s the result you were going for.
To which I (Greta) say drats. Back to my murderous drawing board.
Michelle Marchand is a wife and mother living between Southern California and Montreal Canada. She loves travel, animals and pursuing the elusive simple lifestyle. She has a B.Sc. in Ecology and is currently pursuing her aromatherapy certification. Michelle is passionate about using essential oils for health and wellness, and recommends using only pure, therapeutic-grade essential oils from reputable and sustainable sources. Learn more here michellemarchand.