The Majestic Seed
As we were preparing our botanical garden for the year, I started contemplating the majestic seed. All plants come from this basic life seed structure that is truly magnificent. I am amazed at the diversity in the seed individuality of different plants and the process they go through in becoming plants.
The basics that seeds need to germinate and sprout in the ground:
Water to sprout and grow
Sun (warmth and light) to flourish
To find out if seeds are viable, you can sprout them first. Start by soaking the seeds in filtered or purified water for 8-12 hours, filter off the water, and then leave in a dark warm environment. Rinse with purified water daily until they sprout. Once the sprouting process has begun, you can put them on the counter to have light. It can take seeds 7 to 20 days to sprout in the soil; however, pre-sprouting indoors only takes 2-4 days.
Sprouting seeds before planting cuts down on the germination process drastically. Once they sprout, they can be planted in containers or directly into the ground.
During the early stages of growth, the seedling depends on the seed's food supply until it is big enough for its leaves to begin making nourishment through photosynthesis.
Process of Photosynthesis
Photosynthesis is the process through which plants convert light energy from the sun to chemical energy. The chemical energy is then stored as sugar. During photosynthesis, plants capture light energy and use it to convert water, carbon dioxide, and minerals into oxygen (released into the air) and glucose (stored in the plant and used as food). The foremost thing that one needs to understand is that photosynthesis is vital for all lifeforms on the Earth and not just plants. The chemical energy stored in plants is transferred to animals and humans when they consume plant matter. It also helps in maintaining a healthy level of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. All of the oxygen available for living organisms comes from plants!
Six factors that influence the rate of photosynthesis:
Carbon dioxide availability
The higher the light intensity, temperature, carbon dioxide, and chlorophyll concentration, the faster the photosynthesis rate occurs.
For many years I have also been using “seed” essential oils in aromatherapy blends. Essential oils that come from seeds include anise (Pimpinella anisum), black pepper (Piper nigrum), cardamom (Elettaria cardamomum), carrot (Daucus carota), coriander (Coriandrum sativum), cumin (Cuminum cyminum), dill (Anethum graveolens), fennel (Foeniculum vulgare), and nutmeg (Myristica fragrans).
Coriander (Coriandrum sativum) is one of my favorite seed essential oils. It can be used in aromatherapy for topical blends with carrier oils, disbursed with a carrier into the bath, shower scrubs, room spray, diffusing, perfume and cologne.
Family: Apiaceae (Umbelliferae)
Origin: Introduced to the world by Morocco and native to Europe and Western Asia. Coriander is now cultivated worldwide, mainly in Russia, Armenia, the Caucasus, the Mediterranean, Poland, Hungary, Holland, France, and England.
Plant description: Coriander is a small, strongly fragrant, annual herb, growing to 3 ft. high. The leaves are delicate and bright green. When the leaves are crushed, they give off an unpleasant aroma. Pale pink to white lacey flowers are produced, followed by green seeds that turn brown-grey.
Part of plant used for essential oil: Dried seeds.
Extraction method: Steam distilled.
Main Chemical Constituents: α-pinene, camphene, β-pinene, sabinene, myrcene, limonene, g-terpinene, p-cymene, linalool, camphor, α-terpineol, geraniol, geraniol acetate.
PRECAUTIONS: Generally non-toxic, non-irritating, non-sensitizing. Use in moderation.
Properties: Analgesic, anesthetic, aperitif, aphrodisiac, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antirheumatic, antispasmodic, deodorant, depurative, digestive, carminative, cytotoxic, emmenagogue, febrifuge, fungicidal, hepatic, larvicidal, lipolytic, revitalizing, and stomachic.
Circulation, Muscles, Joints: Accumulation of fluids and toxins, arthritis, gout, muscular aches and pains, muscle spasms, poor circulation, rheumatism, spleen tonic, and stiffness.
Digestive System: Anorexia, appetite stimulant, colic, dyspepsia, flatulence, halitosis, hemorrhoids, stomach cramps, and nausea.
Immune System: Colds, flu, and measles.
Nervous System/Emotional: Debility, mental fatigue, memory, migraine headache, neuralgia, and nervous exhaustion.
Reproductive/Urinary System: Irregular menses, infertility revitalizes the glandular system and stimulates estrogen.
History: The use of coriander dates back to 5,000 B.C. The Egyptians referred to coriander as a spice of happiness, and it was found in the tomb of King Ramses II. The Egyptians also added coriander to wine to increase the intoxicating effects. The Chinese record its use in the third century B.C. and believed the coriander seeds to contain the power of immortality. The Greek and Roman physicians, including Hippocrates, used coriander as a medicinal herb. The Romans introduced coriander to Britain and France, where it was used to aid in childbirth.
Many thanks to our graduate student Haly JensenHof for contributing to the coriander profile above. ~
Seeds have also been used throughout history as cooking spices to stimulate and enhance digestion.
Need a quick digestive blend for topical use?
In 1oz. of sesame (Sesamum indicum) oil, mix in the essential oils of:
5 drops coriander (Coriandrum sativum)
4 drops black pepper (Piper nigrum)
3 drops cardamom (Elettaria cardamomum)
This 2% dilution blend is specific for adults as a topical application used 2-3X day. Apply on the abdomen and the mid-back to the sacrum. Not recommended for children under ten years of age or in the bath.
Dandelion picture; free for commercial use; CCO Creative Commons; found on Pixabay;
https://pixabay.com/photos/dandelion-plant-close-up-macro-4211064/; Retrieved May 20, 2019.
Germination Image; free for commercial use; Markéta Machová; CCO Creative Commons; found on Pixabay; from Pixabay; https://pixabay.com/illustrations/germination-dicotyledon-sprout-seed-3989959/; Retrieved May 26, 2019.
Photosynthesis Image; free for commercial use; found on Wikipedia; https://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/Photosynthesis; Retrieved May 20, 2019.
https://www.eartheclipse.com/biology/step-by-step-process-photosynthesis.html; Retrieved May 26, 2019.
https://biologywise.com/process-of-photosynthesis; Retrieved May 26, 2019.
http://www.mbgnet.net/bioplants/grow.html Retrieved May 27, 2019.
Coriander seed picture; free for commercial use; CCO Creative Commons; found on Pixabay; https://pixabay.com/photos/coriander-seeds-bowl-spices-390708/; Retrieved May 20, 2019.
Coriander Profile References:
Battaglia, Salvatore; The Complete Guide to Aromatherapy, Third Edition; Brisbane AU; Black Pepper Creative; 2018; pages 254-257.
Lawless, Julia; The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Essential Oils; Dorset, UK; Element Books; 1995; page 127.
Sellar, Wanda; The Directory of Essential Oils; Brisbane AU; The International Centre of Holistic Aromatherapy; 2003; pages 56-57.
Schiller, Carol & Schiller, David; The Aromatherapy Encyclopedia; Laguna Beach, CA; Basic Health Publications, Inc.; 2008; page 100.
Tisserand, Robert, and Young, Rodney, Essential Oil Safety, second edition, London, UK, Churchill Livingston, 2014; p. 260-261.
Watson, Franzesca; Aromatherapy Blends & Remedies; Berwick, UK; Thorsons; 1995; pages 94-95