Gathering evergreen trees from the forest to celebrate the winter season is an ancient practice we still enjoy today. However, more than a tradition, bringing these trees into our homes offers a wealth of health benefits which we are probably unaware of, helping to support wellbeing during the tricky winter months.
With more than 30 million festive trees sold each year worldwide, 8 million of those being in the UK, we are a nation of real Christmas tree lovers. With fir, spruce and pine varieties being the most popular, we chose our trees for their shape, attractive natural colour and distinctive texture with the tree’s fresh and earthy scent also being a major part of the magic in more than one way.
An iconic emblem of Christmas, the health benefits of having real trees in our living rooms are to be found in the characteristic smell the Christmas tree releases. “Placing a real tree inside our homes in the depths of winter is like installing our own therapeutic plant pharmacy – a living machine that continues to pump out fragrant health-beneficial chemicals long after it has been cut from the ground” says Kim Lahiri, Aromacologist for Trelonk Molecular Wellbeing. This multitude of benefits is the perfect remedy for the stressful, tiring and flu-ridden time often experienced during the festive period.
Focusing on the science, the fragrance from a Christmas tree is found in the terpene and ester families of nature’s chemicals, and primarily include Bornyl acetate (an ester) and the terpenes alpha and beta-pinene, amongst others such as limonene, camphene and alpha-phellandrene. While these compounds provide us humans with a great fragrance, the Christmas trees themselves can use them in remarkable ways to increase their chances of survival.
Christmas trees prefer cooler weather and so when it’s warm, the trees release these scent molecules into the air as aerosols. More generally, trees and other plants can also use their myriad of terpenes as signals that are fundamental to survival, such as to communicate defence responses when under stress or to attract pollinators.
While Christmas tree aerosols are advantageous for the tree, they are also extremely beneficial for us, and not just because they smell great. “Numerous health benefits have been found to be associated with terpenes and esters that are commonly released by Christmas trees. These chemicals like alpha-pinene are prevalent throughout the world of essential oils and have been used traditionally for treating various ailments for centuries” comments Kim. “Alpha- and beta-pinene are renowned for their antimicrobial and antioxidant properties. Alpha-pinene has also been shown to help improve sleep and reduce anxiety. Meanwhile, beta-pinene has properties which alleviate everyday aches and pains”.
The other Christmas tree terpenes, including limonene, camphene and alpha-phellandrene, can also be used to promote human health acting as mood boosters, sedatives, relaxants and alleviators of everyday aches and pains.
The health benefits of the terpenes of Christmas trees, and many other trees, have popularised the idea of “forest bathing”; the idea that walking through forest air, thick with tree terpene-rich aerosols, can be good for your health. “Exposure to health giving plant chemicals is not to be underestimated. These chemicals are highly uplifting, relaxing and supportive to many systems within the human body including our respiratory and nervous systems.” says Kim.
For this festive period, Trelonk Wellbeing’s new-generation of essential oil products are on hand to support this hectic time of year.
With Trelonk Wellbeing’s system centred around whole plant therapy, this collection of essential and topical oils uses cutting edge extraction technology to pin-point the most powerful and effective plant molecules for their health boosting formulations. These blends are then enhanced with active terpenes, which support healthy neurotransmission in the body. It’s this combination of ancient botanical wisdom married with advanced scientific research for their super-boosted blends which distinguishes Trelonk Wellbeing’s natural health products.
Trelonk’s Power Through range, a product range which eases everyday aches and pains within your muscles and bones, and acute and chronic pain, are packed with natural compounds which can be found in conifers. Rich in ingredients such as Rosemary, Ginger and Turmeric, which also contain molecules of Alpha-pinene and Beta-pinene, enable the user to feel a high-impact result.