Plants are the main source of essential oils. Humans were created with plants. Our physical makeup is based on the same organic molecules. We’re subject to similar environmental stressors, the only difference is that plants are stationary, and can’t walk away from insects, and things that harm them.
It’s therefore no surprise that the chemicals developed by plants for protection and environmental adaptation are powerful agents. Those agents also work within the human body, too. Essential oils change, and adapt. They morph into whatever chemical cocktail will best support the plant’s survival. It is this adaptiveness that has caught the interest of scientists and medical professionals. A plant fights hard for survival; and we benefit from that fight by using essential oils.
Disease-inducing organisms are a major threat to plants, inducing dozens of different varieties of disease. Fungal, bacterial, and viral infections wipe out about a third of domesticated crops annually, and plants in nature are no safer. Additionally, there is widespread plant destruction caused by herbivores and insects. Luckily, secondary metabolites provide plants with innate defense mechanisms to protect them against these destructive predators.
Plants have a sophisticated means of responding to attacks by herbivores and disease-causing organisms. When being attacked by an herbivore, a system called the Induced Resistance (IR) pathway is activated. This pathway causes the secretion of compounds that work to kill the microbes, heal wounds, and repair damaged tissues. Many of these protective compounds are essential oils.
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