Spruce juice and Eucalyptus elixir.
From Earth Emotions (2019): “I am fully supportive of experiences such as “forest bathing” (Shinrin-yoku) that give back to the body the elements it needs for physical health, for example, enhanced oxygen levels. I do this at my property at Duns Creek. The subtle combination of trees, running water, wind and birdsong, all combine to give my body what it needs to rest and recuperate its energy.”
We are learning more and more about the wonders of the symbiotic interactions that go on in life. Volatile oils, essential for healthy air, come from the interaction of trees and lichen from the leaves/needles and the air. Their anima (breath) is good for the soul (psyche) and the body (soma) … volatile symbiosis in the Symbiocene for health in the psychoterratic and the somaterratic.
Ben Rawlence writes about the science behind forest bathing in his wonderful book, The Treeline (2022). The Spruce tree is known to have medicinal biochemicals that contribute to ecosystem and human health in many ways. Forest bathing is one way to ‘take in’ Spruce juice. He concludes that:
“In their billions, the meristems of the spruce trees of the North are actually sterilizing the air we breathe”.
I also learnt from him that: “In a surprising symbiosis, the spruce multiplies this antibiotic function by encouraging the lichens that live among its branches to do the same. The needles of the spruce release an alkaloid called ethanolamine which circles the crown of the tree and triggers the manufacture of antibiotics by lichen … Among the cocktail of aerosols released is a sticking compound called betaphellandrene, which acts like a glue. The antibiotics released by the tree have their own adhesive which sticks to exposed skin from where they are absorbed into the bloodstream. All this is carried in the fragrance of the tree. No wonder Japanese forest bathing in coniferous forests has been shown to have positive effects on health and respiration” (Rawlence 2022:171-2).
I bathe in eucalyptus forest for the same reasons … their volatile oils also have known antibiotic and other useful properties. They could be the elixirs of life in the Southern hemisphere?
(Image: Granddaughter Lyra (6) hugging a gum tree … with a Koala up high).