A PROLIFIC grower, the Buddha wood tree is quite invasive and often seen as a pest on much pastoral land in Australia - it is not even permitted in Western Australia.
Its botanical name, Eremophila mitchellii is in tribute to explorer and surveyor Sir Thomas Mitchell. The word Eremophila comes from the Greek eremos, which means ‘desert’ and from phileo, which means ‘love’, indicating its love for harsh desert conditions.
The long, thin and hairless leaves of Buddha wood emit a distinct aroma when crushed and the bark is dark and rough. The pretty white or cream-coloured flowers are tubular shaped with spots on the throat. The plant as a whole is rather sticky because of the resin present in the leaves and branches.
The oil is sustainably harvested because it is readily available from farms and natural resource managed areas, where it is weeded from the landscape. It is rarely cultivated, so the oil is mostly wild crafted.
Sweet and woody
There is record of indigenous people using this plant for its antibacterial qualities to treat cuts and sores.
Despite differences in scent, Buddha wood is sometimes called ‘bastard sandalwood’ and harvested as a substitute for Sandalwood. To the less tutored nose, the woody, sweetish scent of Buddha wood has certainly sufficed, being cheaper and more readily available than sandalwood.
The Buddha wood tree was also harvested and utilised for fence posts. Around 1925 an Australian chemist first tested the oil and noted its unique properties and recommended it as a perfume fixative like so many of the woody base note essential oils.
Indeed Buddha wood essential oil excels as an effective fixative; a base note in natural perfumery and aromatherapy blends.
Actions on the Body
The main chemical constituents of Buddha wood are eremophilone, 2-hydroxy-eremophilone, and 2-hydroxy-2-dihydro eremophilone; quite similar to components of vetiver and agarwood.
It can be reasonably surmised, that because Buddha wood shares similar chemical constituents to vetivert, that it would share medicinal properties pertaining to these.
An Australian university is currently researching the essential oil for its anti-bacterial potential. We can have faith in Buddha wood based on other essential oils that share its therapeutic actions.
A significant amount of ketones present indicate its antibacterial and bronchial decongestant ability.
Practical application affirms the anti-bacterial action of Buddha Wood to treat bacterial infections of the skin. Add to a wound wash to disinfect and prevent infection. Diffuse with tea tree, peppermint and lavender to clear the lungs of congestion to improve breathing as well as prevent spread of contagions.
This oil provides a valid addition to massage blends for its analgesic help to relieve muscular aches and joint pain.
Potent termite control
In the last ten years, the potential of Buddha wood essential oil as a natural termite repellent for the building industry has been the subject of much Australian research. We can only augment our own repellent blends with this mellow woody oil, to benefit from this and certainly improve the scent of the composition.
Buddha wood admirably calms the monkey mind, which is fundamental to treat anxiety and insomnia. It blends beautifully with other sedative nerve tonics and should be diffused in the bedroom to promote healthy sleep. Try blending it with vetivert, chamomile or orange.
The aromatic nature of this resinous shrub that grows in deserts reminds us of other well-known mystical and holy incense oils, such as myrrh, frankincense or benzoin, that also grow in harsh conditions and are used in religious, or ceremonial rituals.
It sheds light on the sacred qualities of Buddha wood that may be perceived through experiential use of the essential oil. The same analogy is true of certain woody essential oils such as cedarwood or sandalwood; both long used for their ability to enhance spiritual experience and create sacred space for meditation; Buddha wood inherently belongs to this group.
Perfumes: Use as a base note when creating your own perfume blends.
Energy: Add to clearing sprays to banish negativity.
Meditation: Dab on the base chakra for grounding in meditation.
Diffusers: Use in the bedroom to promote restful sleep.
The name Buddha wood is clearly inspired by the original meaning of the word Buddha as being ‘Awakened One’. Such a powerful spiritual name denotes its special properties as an aromatic help for meditation. Indeed, Buddha wood encourages calm, deep relaxation, inspiring peace and assisting in mindfulness practice. It grounds us profoundly in the physical, feeling body so we can eventually find stillness of mind.
Assuaging those who feel forsaken, defeated, vulnerable and disconnected to the Divine; the scent of Buddha wood brings us home to the spiritual self.
It helps anchor us in our spiritual practice and redefines a clear trajectory when we feel disenfranchised and lost.
We discover the inner resources to build a sturdier immunity to negative social influences and cultivate the ability to discern authentic connections. This profound scent makes us more resilient and allows us to see the world as a safer, friendlier place.
The scent of Buddha wood allows us to live consciously in an imperfect world, fraught with suffering and to witness this with compassion, yet with detachment to not be diminished by it. We are able to surrender with trust in the Divine process at work.
Here is an ideal aromatic to employ in any sacred ceremony or ritual to sanctify, consecrate and purify to remove negative energy so we might connect with the Divine, in whichever way this means.
Name: Buddha Wood
Botanical Name: Eremophila mitchellii
Common Names: bastard sandalwood, false sandalwood, Australian desert rosewood.
The Plant: The Buddha Wood tree is in the figwort family found growing in arid regions of North-Western New South Wales, Southern/central Queensland and northern South Australia. An evergreen, it is mostly more shrub-like, growing to 3 metres high, however it can reach up to 8 metres tall.
The Oil: The plentiful trees are wild harvested and the bark and wood is steam distilled for around 7 days. The oil isbrown to yellow-brown in colour and has a viscous, honey-like texture.
Scent: A woody, smoky, rather complex aroma; a bit leathery with smooth sweet notes and malt and whiskey accents that bring a certain levity.
Blends well with: Other woody and floral scents, cypress, cedarwood, sandalwood, vetivert, rose, rose geranium, honey myrtle, ylang ylang.
Indications: Analgesic, anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, cicatrisant, anti-psychotic, immune tonic, sedative, nervine, fixative.
Precautions: No formal testing. Avoid use in pregnancy. The oil is rich in ketones, and should not be taken internally.