Self-realization…is not a new faculty;
it is only the removal of all camouflage.
In this article, I discuss the properties of a lesser known essential oil called gandhi root and its spirit-level synchronicity with the gemstone camel jasper, the mystical symbolism associated with the camel, and when correlated, how all of these reveal the inner nature of an individual for whom gandhi root oil is specific.
Of course, no individual’s soul composition is completely addressed by the use of only one oil. In Spiritual PhytoEssencing (SPE), the key to moving an individual toward self-actualization is the formulation of customized essential oil blends that accurately reflect an individual’s singular soul-nature. In SPE, an interview is conducted, and deep imagery techniques employed, which enable the blender to identify the constitutional themes and the primary archetypal components of the person’s inner psycho-spiritual dynamics. These archetypes and themes are then proficiently matched with varying numbers of essential oils whose own inner nature is characterized by archetypes or deep forms that correspond with specific parts of that person’s soul fabric.
The resultant personalized blend constitutes a plant-soul analogue of a given individual’s “unique soul-portrait.” In other words, the blender is creating a soul-portrait in essential oils. It is this congruence between essential oil blend and a person’s inner soul identity that encourages an individual’s soul to accept the blend of integrated plant-soul essences as a “reorganizing nucleus.”
Soul level reorganization that is healing in nature always involves mobilization of what the great psychoanalyst Dr. Carl Rogers refers to as, the “self-actualizing tendency.” Healing on this level is invariably characterized by a movement away from the false “I” which the ego manufactures to appease the expectations, and conform to the concepts of others, back in the direction of one’s real self. The real self emerges from the silent background of soul existence, and it is that aspect of the self-structure that never disengages from spirit.
The term real self, refers to a person’s authentic nature carried into this life by the soul at birth. In The Mandala of Being, Richard Moss, M.D. writes: “As children we begin our lives right in the center of our sphere of being, spontaneously expressing our authentic nature; we know nothing else. However, it is not long before this begins to change, as we are partially or wrongly reflected back to ourselves by the relationships that surround us. Eventually, to a greater or lesser degree, each of us loses contact with our spontaneous essence and begins to live more or less off-center. This is a period in life—for all of us—in which soul awareness is dormant and we become identified with a false sense of self…So gradually, within the context of our early environment, we wake up to our first conscious sense of self as if materializing out of a void, and without understanding the origins of our own confusion and insecurity about ourselves.”
There is no separation between the inner spiritual self and the real self. There are no clear boundaries between the two and the operations of both of these are mutually dependent. Therefore, the only viable pathway back to ongoing connection with the spiritual world and “the center of our sphere of being” is the re-emergence of the real self. On the other hand, this re-emergence is largely dependent upon the effective penetration of the inner spiritual self into all aspects of mortal existence.
Gandhi Root (Homalomena aromatica)
Gandhi root (aka sugandh mantri), a member of the Araceae family, is an aromatic, rhizomatous, perennial herb. The approximately 140 Homalomena species are indigenous to subtropical humid regions of Asia (including northeastern India), the southwestern Pacific and Latin America. The genus name “Homalomena” derives from a Malayan vernacular name, translated as homalos, meaning flat, and mene, meaning moon.
Being a sub-tropical species, sugandh mantri loves a warm, humid environment that has a high annual rainfall. It prefers moist, shady places along river banks and in valleys. It is often found in association with other undergrowth plants like ferns.
Gandhi root essential oil is distilled from its aromatic rhizomes via steam distillation. The light yellow-colored oil, widely used in incense making, is composed primarily of linalool (32.43%), terpinen-4-ol (14.08%) and sabinene (8.35%). This oil has a woody, spicy, balsamic fragrance with a subtle floral undertone.
The common name gandhi derives from a Hindi word meaning fragrant or aromatic. The same term can be seen in the plant’s other common Hindi name sugandh mantri. The word mantri means king. Thus, sugandh mantri roughly translates as the “fragrance king”, or “king of fragrances.”
The rhizome of Homalomena aromatica is aromatic and stimulant, and when powdered, is often used as an additive to snuff and tobacco. Inhalation of the aromatic smoke from burning dried rhizomes has long been used to treat influenza. The plant’s roots are used to treat jaundice. The Tamils (an ethnic group indigenous to India and Sri Lanka) have used gandhi root (which they call merugu) medicinally for more than 3000 years. They use it in the treatment of stomach disorders, hemorrhoids, and catarrhal conditions.
Sugandh mantri is very popular among the Mizo people (an ethnic group indigenous to northeastern India). They boil the petioles and eat them as a vegetable. The smoke of the burning rhizome is used as a mosquito repellent. Extracts of the plant have been shown to kill white termites. An herbal infusion of the plant is employed to ease childbirth labor. A lotion of the juice of whole plant is used to treat skin diseases. The local people of Manipur (of northeastern India) treat skin eruptions with the application of a fresh root paste.
Sugandh mantri essential oil exerts strong antimicrobial activity against various common human pathogenic fungi. An alcohol extract of the plant has been shown to exert anti-hepatitis B virus activity. In Chinese medicine, sugandh mantri is called qian nian jian meaning “thousand years of health.” It is classified as bitter, pungent and warm and associated with the liver and kidney meridians. The herb is thought to strengthen tendons and bones and is used to treat low back- and knee pain and weakness as well as numbness in the lower extremities.
The chemical profile of the essential oil suggests it exerts significant analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, anti-infectious and relaxant actions. The essential oil exerts antibacterial activity against common bacterial pathogens, including Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Proteus vulgaris. Regarding fungal infections, the essential oil has demonstrated clinically significant antifungal activity against dermatophytes (pathogenic fungi that grow on skin, mucous membranes, hair, nails and other body surfaces, causing ringworm and related diseases) and yeasts. In this reference, some of the organisms it destroys include Curvularia pallecens, Aspergillus niger and Fusarium graminearum. The essential oil has also shown high antimicrobial activity against Trichophyton rubrum, Trichophyton mentagrophytes, Microsporum fulvum, Microsporum gypseum, Trichosporon beigelii and Candida albicans. The oil is useful regarding general immune support and has value in the treatment of pain, colds, infections and injuries.
On a psycho-spiritual level, the essential oil is considered to be calming, antidepressant, balancing to the emotions, an aid to meditation and useful in preparing the soul for spiritual healing.
I have worked with both essential oils and gemstone healing for most of my career of 38 years. Actually, my connection to gemstones goes back much farther. As far back as I can recall, I’ve had a driving interest in science. As a young boy, growing up in Brooklyn, I was primarily drawn to geology and had a well-organized rock collection. By the time I was in fifth grade, I was riding the subways by myself all the way from Brooklyn to north Manhattan (in 1950s when area was far safer) to visit the American Museum of Natural History’s rock and gemstone collection at least one Sunday a month.
By my science-teaching days in the early 1970s, my focus had shifted primarily to biology and ecology, but I also taught earth science and still retained my love for rocks and gemstones. I began practicing what would ultimately become my Natural Health Science System in the late 1970s, and it was natural for me to incorporate gemstone healing into the eclectic set of healing modalities that I employed with my clients.
When, in the mid-1990s, I began developing my Spiritual PhytoEssencing system of deep soul-level healing work with essential oils, I soon began to perceive clear soul-level synchronicities between specific essential oils and gemstones. The origin of these synchronicities cannot be explained via linear scientific inquiry. As Creation is a product of divine intellect rather than human intelligence, the limited scope of science cannot provide rational explanations for the vast majority of natural phenomena.
I have found that gandhi root oil has an inherent higher-plane synchronicity with a type of brown jasper called camel jasper. Exploration reveals a profound soul-level interface between the dynamic aspect of gandhi root oil and camel jasper.
Jasper is a dense, opaque, microcrystalline variety of quartz with an earthy luster and a hardness of 6.5 to 7 on the Mohs scale. It occurs as a cavity filling or as nodules or veins in iron ores. Due to the presence of iron oxides, jasper occurs in a wide variety of colors, including deep earthy tones of red, yellow, brown and green, as well as shades of blue or purple.
Sometimes referred to as the “Supreme Nurturer,” all types of jasper provide comforting, nurturing support during times of stress or healing. It emanates energies of wholeness and peacefulness, and encourages I-Thou relation and empathic understanding.
Camel jasper is a variety of brown jasper. Brown jasper ranges from deep chocolate brown, gold- to reddish-brown, to tan or ivory, and is characterized by artful banding, flow patterns and veining. Brown jasper is connected to the Earth energy, and so, unsurprisingly, encourages deep environmental awareness. It encourages psycho-spiritual centering, balance and stability; and, primarily through grounding, can help to ameliorate anger, fear, anxiety or panic. Brown jasper deepens meditation and is thought to help facilitate karmic healing related to past life woundings.
Notably, most of the commercially available camel jasper is mined in India. Similarly, most gandhi root essential oil is distilled in India.
The following healing actions are associated with brown jasper: conducive for deep, grounded meditation; inspires calmness, objectivity and positive attitude regarding problems and obstacles one is facing; facilitates past life regression; activates the root (1st) chakra; through its connection to Earth, it engenders stability, security and protection, nurturing and healing; promotes ecological awareness; helps ameliorate geopathic stress (negative health effects upon the body caused by geoelectromagnetic frequencies) and environmental stressors including noise pollution, air and water pollution and electromagnetic fields (from electronic devices); strengthens the immune system; helps in both physical detoxification and detoxification of negative thought forms; stabilizes the aura; increases mental and physical stamina; strengthens the stomach and intestines; helps balance body’s mineral content.
Brown jasper may have value in the treatment of the following symptoms: fear; anger; anxiety; insecurity related to finances; chronic self-criticism; guilt feelings about past personal failures; nightmares; hyperactivity; tobacco addiction; autotoxemia; emotional weakness due to prolonged illness and/or hospitalization; lethargy and poor stamina; weakness and loss of natural instincts in urban pets; allergies; circulatory weakness; poor night vision; gastroenteritis; IBS; celiac disease; Crohn’s disease; chronic constipation; loss of libido; dry skin.
Camel: Symbolic Meaning
As gandhi root oil has a synchronistic relationship with camel jasper, the mystical symbolism associated with the camel provides important clues regarding the inner nature of the oil. One of the most prominent camel themes is journeying, especially arduous, long-distance travel and the stamina required for this activity.
Camels are masters of the conservation of water. Camels have certain physiological mechanisms for conserving water and avoiding dehydration which enable them to be active in the desert for about 21 days without water. The camel mainly stores water in its bloodstream and the large cells of its stomach lining. The animal can drink as much as 30 gallons of water in less than 15 minutes.
The camel’s hump is a storage depot for fat. When food is scarce, they use this fat reserve for fuel. Water is a by-product of their cellular metabolism of fats (metabolized fats produce hydrogen which, when combined with oxygen, yields water (H2O).
Camels also do not sweat as much as humans and their metabolism lowers at night to reduce body temperature and thus the need for sweating. They are also covered with thick fur which seals out the daytime heat. Camels also have the ability to maintain their blood volume despite lack of fluid intake. Once the human body loses about 12% of its water content, the blood becomes too thick to circulate properly. On the other hand, a camel’s blood maintains its proper consistency until the animal has lost as much as 25% of its weight as a result of dehydration.
Accordingly, symbolically, the camel reminds us to pace ourselves, and to closely monitor our energy level. In general, the camel highlights the importance of conscious conservation and responsible self-regulation. The camel represents endurance. They inhabit harsh climates and terrain and endure sustained periods of stress. The animal maintains a type of positivity even during the most stressful of journeys.
In Spiritual PhytoEssencing, the term archetype refers to a unique intangible construct of the soul, a deep form that generates a pattern of characteristic potentials. Accordingly, particular identifiable patterns of emotions and physical predispositions are viewed as tangible expressions of underlying psycho-spiritual archetypes. In turn, these expressions are considered to be archetypal images.
Spiritual PhytoEssencing case-study analysis largely depends upon the ability to perceive archetypal modes and trace these back to specific archetypes. An archetypal mode (a type of archetypal image) is a specific combination of selected perceptual filters employed by the ego and a particular psychosocial role that the ego then activates in relation to everyday experiences. Archetypal modes are essentially a combination of behavioral and reactional modes.
In Jungian psychology, archetypes are considered to be inherited patterns of thought or symbolic imagery, present in the individual unconscious, which derive from the infinite inventory of past experiences stored within the collective unconscious. While Jung’s concept of the collective unconscious is undoubtedly a rich source of the formative archetypes of the soul, Spiritual PhytoEssencing also places emphasis on genetic memory and past lives as primary sources of influential archetypes.
A miasm is the homeopathic concept that (being a homeopath myself) I have adapted into Spiritual PhytoEssencing an archetype with a characteristic pattern of archetypal modes and physical disease propensities that is transmitted from generation to generation bioenergetically rather than genetically. In Spiritual PhytoEssencing, it is believed that miasms can also be transmitted from one incarnation to the next along the cycle of birth, death and rebirth.
Although most of the miasms are named for particular diseases, such as cancer or tuberculosis, a miasm itself is not an actual disease state, but rather, a soul archetype that generates a complex of constitutional traits and reactional tendencies that resemble the presentation and/or thematic pattern of the disease for which it is named.
Accordingly, each of the miasms has characteristic physical and emotional qualities (i.e., archetypal images) and symptoms, which, in conjunction, announce its presence. Similarly, essential oils, based upon their plant characteristics and history, the nature of the symptoms for which they are specific as well as their diverse portfolio of synchronicities (e.g., chakras, gemstone, homeopathic remedy, etc.), have a special affinity for one or more of the miasms.
The identification of an individual’s prominent miasmatic influences, and specific essential oil responses to them, provides great guidance regarding essential oil selection for deep soul-level healing work. Also, it opens up a new, heretofore unexplored, dynamic in work with essential oils that enables the practitioner to more effectively penetrate the layers of superficial symptoms in a case and gain access to the germinal, central disharmony on the psycho-spiritual plane.
Gandhi Root and the Ringworm Miasm
Among the various miasms, gandhi root oil is most closely associated with the Ringworm miasm (a miasm first described by noted homeopath Dr. Rajan Sankaran). The major themes of this miasm are: it is a difficult situation; things are not easy—beyond easy reach; problems linger and do not get solved because there are many ifs and buts; however, there is hope. The key word of this miasm is “trying.” The individual alternates between periods of trying with a feeling of optimism and periods of giving up. This period of resignation is then followed by another period of “trying.”
Ringworm is characterized by periods when the eruption is relatively benign in alternation with periods of inflammation and intense itching. A good illustration of the main theme of this miasm is an overweight individual who periodically makes attempts to lose weight, gives up and eventually tries again. The rationale is: I will try and if I succeed that will be good, but if I fail, I guess I’ll just have to be stuck where I am. In the failed compensated state of this miasm, the individual gives up hope, becomes completely resigned, no longer tries and feels condemned.
Notably, in India, a lotion of the juice of the whole gandhi root plant is used to treat skin diseases. The local people of Manipur (of northeastern India) treat skin eruptions with the application of a fresh root paste.
The chemical profile of gandhi root essential oil suggests it exerts significant anti-inflammatory and anti-infectious actions. Ringworm (aka tinea corporis) is an infectious skin disorder that, despite its name, is not caused by worms. Instead, it is caused by fungi called dermatophytes (pathogenic fungi that grow on skin, mucous membranes, hair, nails and other body surfaces, causing ringworm and related diseases). The fungi that cause ringworm live and spread on the outer layer of skin.
Ringworm of the skin is most commonly caused by the fungus Trichophyton rubrum, which spreads via human-to-human contact. Less commonly, a more severe form of the infection spread by cats and dogs, is caused by Microsporum canis.
In this reference, gandhi root oil exerts antifungal activity against dermatophytes and yeasts. In this reference, gandhi root oil has been shown to destroy Trichophyton rubrum, Microsporum fulvum and Microsporum gypseum. The oil is also useful regarding general immune support.
The gandhi root individual alternates between commitment to the long journey of self-actualization and resignation to stuckness in an unfulfilling limbo state at the borderline between the real self and the manufactured ideal self. As noted above, the great psychotherapist Dr. Carl Rogers believed that the human being has an inherent “self-actualizing tendency” — an innate drive that compels the person to actualize his or her authentic self in daily life. Accordingly, a “fully-functioning person” is one whose directional process toward self-actualization is in continuous motion.
Rogers identified the “real self” as the aspect of one’s being that is served by the self-actualizing tendency, follows organic valuing (via sensing, feeling and connection to spirit) of one’s daily experiences, needs and receives positive regard and self-regard. It is the “you” that is associated with continuous presence of being.
On the other hand, to the extent that one’s milieu inhibits the self-actualizing tendency, the individual defers to conditions of worth assigned by others that are out of step with one’s own organic valuing of life experiences, and receives only conditional positive regard and self-regard (depending upon deference to conditions of worth) that we develop instead of an “ideal self.”
To Rogers, the ideal self is something other than real (i.e., illusory), something that is always out of reach of what is real within us — a standard we cannot sustain indefinitely because it is not grounded in who we really are. This gap between the real self and the ideal self, the “I am” and the “I should” is called incongruity. Whereas the real self is the “you” that is associated with continuous presence of being, the ideal self is the “you” associated with perpetual becoming (always becoming rather than “being”) without getting any nearer to soul fulfillment.
As discussed above, within the context of gandhi root oil’s synchronicity with camel jasper, one of the most prominent camel themes is journeying, especially arduous, long-distance travel and the stamina required for this activity.
In the case of the gandhi root individual, the arduous, long-distance journey is that of the directional process of the self-actualizing tendency. This directional process never assumes the form of a straight line. Instead, the velocity of the directional process is inversely proportional to one’s level of psychical resistance. In turn, the level of psychical resistance is directly proportional to the inhibitive circumstances in one’s life and the tenacity of the ideal self.
When the long journey of the directional process of the self-actualizing tendency, despite the friction offered by one’s everyday life, maintains its forward momentum, then the gandhi root individual (consistent with her Ringworm miasm affinity) feels that: things are not easy—beyond easy reach; problems linger and do not get solved because there are many ifs and buts; however, there is hope.
Conversely, when that long-journey is completely halted by the circumstances of one’s everyday existence, then the gandhi root individual becomes stressed, anxious, discouraged, depressed, estranged from spirit and the natural world, loses positivity and concludes: I guess I’ll just have to be stuck where I am.
The following major qualities and symptoms from the composite gandhi root oil picture highlight gandhi root’s potential regarding the long journey of the directional process of the self-actualizing tendency:
On a psycho-spiritual level, the essential oil is considered to be calming, antidepressant, balancing to the emotions, an aid to meditation and useful in preparing the soul for spiritual healing. Jasper encourages connection to the inherent spiritual understanding and sacredness of the natural world. It heightens one’s valuing of times of solitude in Nature during which one can develop I-Thou relation with all that is ensouled or inspirited in the natural world. Sometimes referred to as the “Supreme Nurturer,” jasper provides comforting, nurturing support during times of stress or healing. It emanates energies of wholeness and peacefulness, and encourages I-Thou relation and empathic understanding.
On a psycho-spiritual level, jasper: balances yin and yang energies; strengthens, calms and stabilizes the emotional body; enhances one’s ability to relax; aids meditation; serves as a protective stone in general with particular value during travel; shields one from invasive negative energies; ameliorates stress-induced emotional symptoms; counteracts depression and grief; brings beauty into specific life situations; helps one to come to peace regarding difficult situations including endings, such as the ending of a personal relationship; has value in the treatment of emotional trauma; sharpens mental faculties; aids in the making of wise decisions that avoid entanglement in negative situations.
The following healing actions are associated with brown jasper: conducive for deep, grounded meditation; inspires calmness, objectivity and positive attitude regarding problems and obstacles one is facing; through its connection to Earth, it engenders stability, security and protection, nurturing and healing; helps in detoxification of negative thought-forms; stabilizes the aura; increases mental and physical stamina. Brown jasper may have value in the treatment of the following symptoms: fear; anger; anxiety; insecurity related to finances; chronic self-criticism; guilt feelings about past personal failures.
While in aromatherapy, gandhi root oil is little-used, in Spiritual PhytoEssencing it is considered to be an important oil, largely because of its unique value in sustaining those with a strong archetypal affinity for it on their long journey toward self-actualization. In Talks with Ramana Maharshi, the 20th century Indian sage observes: “Self-realization…is not a new faculty; it is only the removal of all camouflage.” For many people, gandhi root oil can assist in this removal process.