Raindrop Messenger Archive

Official Newsletter of C.A.R.E.
The Center for Aromatherapy Research and Education

Volume 2, Number 3
APRIL 2004

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1. Bees: The First Aromatherapists
2. Cursed Fish Tank

IMPORTANT NOTE: The information in this newsletter is not meant
to diagnose, prescribe, or substitute for professional medical
assistance. It is provided as information only for your better
understanding of holistic health. In case of medical need, please
consult an appropriate licensed professional.


1. Bees: The First Aromatherapists
by David Stewart, Ph.D., R.A.

You could call it Sex in Advertising. Contrary to what you may
think, the first to employ sex in advertising were not people.
It was plants. In order to attract insects to pollinate them,
plant's most common device is to produce oily compounds
that imitate sexual pheromones. Pheromones are fragrant
chemicals secreted by animals to attract the opposite sex
for purposes of reproduction. By producing sexually attractive
fragrances, plants trick either the male and/or the female of
a species to visit them and carry pollen from one flower to

These imitation pheromones comprise many of the fragrances
we love in essential oils which have been the foundation of the
perfume business for thousands of years. They are aphrodisiac
to many members of the animal kingdom and they are
aphrodisiac to us. Plants and flowers have seduced us all,
and we love it.

Bees as the First Aromatherapists
There are some 600 species of orchids that enlist the aid
of bees for pollination. They are called “bee orchids.” There
is also a corresponding group of bees, called “euglossine bees.”
These orchids and these bees were made for each other.

Euglossine bees come in about 175 brightly colored species
in five genera. They are not like honey bees. They don’t live
in colonies, nor do they make honey. Their specialty is in
collecting fragrance chemicals (i.e. essential oils). They are
natural born aromatherapists.

Most flowers will reward their insect pollinators with either
a nectar (sugar water stored in the flower's cup) or pollen
(a high protein food). However, the group of orchids that
euglossine bees pollinate bear flowers with no nectar and no
pollen that can serve as food. So there are no sweet or
nourishing rewards to entice them to visit. What the flowers
do offer are copious quantities of fragrant essential oils that
the bees love—the male bees, that is. The female bees could
care less and never visit the flowers. This is a case where
pollination is exclusively by male bees only.

Among these 600 species of orchids, more than sixty
different aromatic compounds have been identified with
each plant employing at least a dozen of them in fashioning
their particular perfume to entice the male bees. The
compounds identified are common to many plants other
than orchids. These include 1,8 cineol (found in eucalyptus,
rosemary, ravensara, and dozens of other plants), benzyl
cetate (found in jasmine, ylang ylang, and Roman chamomile),
and a-pinene (found in pine, frankincense, galbanum, the
rose of sharon, and hundreds of others).

When a male bee comes to visit an orchid soliciting its
attention, it does not look for pollen or nectar. It goes
straight for the fragrant oils of the flower. He begins by
emitting a blend of his own oils onto the oil droplets of the
orchid. The bee’s oil gland is in his head and acts as a solvent
to facilitate gathering up the orchid’s oil secretions. Using
brushes on his front pair of feet, he scrubs the plant
surface and mops up the mixture until the mopheads on
his feet are saturated and unable to hold any more. This
takes about 30 seconds. Then, hovering over the petals,
he quickly transfers the accumulated perfume to storage
containers in his hind legs. Amazingly, the chambers within
the hind legs then separate the bees solvent oils from those
of the flower and return it to the bee’s head for reuse. What
remains in the hind leg pouches is pure orchid oil.

After working for a time at accumulating a cache of oil, the
bee then begins to act strangely, slipping and falling down,
as if he were drunk and out of his head in ecstasy. This may
go on for an hour or more, as the bee blissfully enjoys the
fragrances it has gathered. It appears that the fragrances
that so attract the male bee imitate the sex pheromones of
the females.

Meanwhile, the orchid does not let the bee escape without a
load of pollen. This it accomplished by a trigger mechanism
that shoots a pollen packet at the bee with considerable
force, knocking him down, but ensuring that the pollen sticks
to his body. Thus the pollen is transferred to the next orchid.

Besides the enjoyment of their mood elevating qualities, what
does the male euglossine bee get of his efforts to harvest
the essential oils of the orchid flower? Longevity is one of
the benefits. Without gathering these fragrances from
these flowers, the male bees have shortened life spans and
reduced fertility.

Thus, the first aromatherapists were not people. Bees, not
humans, were the first to gather and concentrate essential
oils for personal health, pleasure, longevity, hormonal balance,
and, perhaps, even for emotional release. Who knows?

NOTE: The extract above is from Dr. Stewart's new book
to be released in the Fall of 2004. It is to be called
The Chemistry of Essential Oils Made Simple and its
subtitle is God's Love Manifest in Molecules.
425 pages, its price will be $29.95


2. Cursed Fish Tank
by Nandini Weitzman

I have been trying to have a happy fish for the past 3 years.
I would have been happy to have fish who survived more than a
month! My fish kept on dying. When I mean dying: I mean at
worst 7 at a time floating on the top of my 30 gallon tank for
no apparent reason. I was taking the pH, adding chemicals to
balance out the water. You name it, I gave them prescribed
medicine the whole lot.

So I thought, maybe gold fish weren't for me. I changed the
type of fish from goldfish to fresh water tropical fish. For a
while the Fresh water tropicals were happy campers then they
ALL died except one.

My mother told me to get rid of the tank, it was cursed. My Mom
is Jamaican so this tank being dubbed cursed was a big deal.

I started AGAIN. I bought some beautiful fish. And guess what?
You got it. I started having fish loss AGAIN.

It pained me to see this beautiful BIG angel fish lying on the floor
of my tank. Angelfish don't float like goldfish when they die.
Oh my heavens! Look at what I had become: the expert on fish
dying. Just ask and I would tell you which one after death floats,
sinks or stinks! Yup that was how bad it was!

That was it. I was desperate. This could not go on. My tank
was NOT cursed!

I took my Thieves Oil, took a deep breath and put 2 drops in
my 30 gallon tank....Thrilled to say the fish loss stopped there.

Since then I have added new fish and still there has been ZERO
FISH LOSS. That is 100% success rate! Happy fish owner,
happy fish! Every time a fish looks a little down or I have to
postpone changing the water I add 2 drops of Thieves.

Works like a charm.


Official Newsletter of C.A.R.E.
The Center for Aromatherapy Research and Education
Rt. 4, Box 646, Marble Hill, Missouri USA 63764
(573) 238-4846