It’s the same every year. Suddenly the light shifts from the burning clarity of high summer, to a more mellow yellow tone. It’s the colour of late summer, and I feel it in my digestion and energy levels. I have a slight discomfort in my stomach, an intolerance of starch and sugar and a desire for light food, steamed veggies sounds delicious. And an absolute craving for seeds, sunflower and pumpkin on everything. If I don’t honour these food intolerances, and get tempted to eat that nice fresh bread roll I will get indigestion and cough as the Damp rises to my lungs. Energetically I feel sluggish and uninspired.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine Late Summer is the time of the Earth element and the meridians of the Stomach and Spleen. Any weaknesses in these areas are likely to show up now. It’s when the Earth type dog (your friendly labrador) is likely to develop fungal infections, or gunky black ears. Or perhaps your slightly overweight, food loving horse gets a bout of diarrhoea. These would both be indicators that the Earth element needs attention. And if you want to get ahead of the game, it’s time to offer some aromatics.
At this time of year, many aromatic herbs are setting seed. Notably, those renowned for digestive support, such as dill (Anethenum graveolens), sweet fennel (Foeniculum vulgare var doce) and wild carrot (Daucus carota). Naturally, essential oils from seeds support the Earth element too. The wisdom of nature. Even better, we have plentiful quantities of all these plants available to harvest and put in our still. So we set out with some visiting guests to gather carrot seed, which grows wild on our land.
Every time we gather herbs for distillation it is a journey (join us if you want to). Everything is taken into consideration, the weather, the mood of the day, the people involved. How we feel when harvesting, how the dogs behave. When we gathered the carrot seed, it was a beautiful morning, with clear blue sky. We felt nourished and regenerated by our connection with the land, and the abundance of it. The dogs were happy and playful but very grounded and connected.
We carefully picked the beautiful curled umbels, shaking out the insects nestled there, being sure to leave them plentiful alternative accommodation by not picking too much from one plant. That grounded, nurturing energy carried through to the distillation and we have a few litres of delightful hydrosol and a couple of millilitres of oil.
Atum the Fearless Quarter Hounder must have been feeling the season shift too. He hung around the distillery till we offered him a smell of the finished product. He took a good sniff, and a small lick and took himself off to bed.
When my digestion started complaining, and my energy levels dipped, I put one drop of carrot seed hydrosol in a litre of water and sipped at it over a couple of days (I could also have put one drop of essential oil in 5 or 10 ml of essential oil and smelled it over a few days for a similar effect). The first day I sipped every half our or so, whenever I thought of it. By the end of the second day I was taking a small glug every hour or more. By the 3rd day I had lost interest in the water and was feeling much revived. Suddenly on day 5 I drank a glass full to finish off the bottle and that was it. Digestion feels much better and energy levels are good. I am luxuriating in the last hazy lazy days of summer. Such is the power of hydrosols, a tiny amount has a powerful effect. In fact, in our highly unscientific experiments, based mostly on observing what our animals select along with a littel self experimentation, the higher the dilution the stronger the effect, as in homeopathy.
Carrot seed is about nourishment, cell regeneration, emotional balance, self-nurture. It gives a feeling of “No big deal, I can do that”. It creates lots of inner space, so caring for the needs of others doesn’t feel like a burden.
Late summer can be demanding on the digestive system and anyone in a caring role may be feeling the strain. So be sure to feed yourself and your animals a clean fresh diet, low in starches and sugars. No grains. Nothing too hot or too cold. Offer essential oils or hydrosols of distilled from seeds or resins, the fragrances that suit Earth element best. And be sure to take some quiet time to replenish yourself.
If you would like to learn more about animal aromatics and holitstic health, or how the 5 elements can help you keep your animals happy and healthy, check out our courses
This is what I say about carrot seed in my book
Element: Earth (Wood, Water)
History and Character
Wild carrot has a graceful, white flower growing from a succulent root, similar to the yellow carrot we know so well but smaller and paler. The finest carrot seed essential oil is wild-harvested in France, where the plant can be found in the fields and hedgerows of rural areas. The oil is well accepted by all types of animal and is highly nourishing, physically and emotionally. Carrot seed regenerates liver cells, helps repair damaged skin, rebuilds poor quality hooves and nails, and encourages the production of healthy tissue in smooth muscles. I often use it where an animal has, or has had, a high worm load, as it is vermifuge and helps repair damage to the stomach lining. Because of its high levels of nutrients, this is the oil to use if there is any history of physical or emotional neglect, abandonment or starvation. Because of its connection to nourishment, it is a good oil for loss of appetite and the loss of appetite for life. Like a true earth mother it responds to our needs and helps rebuild the system from the inside out.
Wild Carrot, Queen Anne’s lace, Birds Nest.
Extraction and Characteristics
Steam distilled from the dried seeds.
Damp earth, sweet, musty, warm.
Terpenes: ?-pinene, sabinene
Esters: geranyl acetate
Alcohols: carotol, daucol, geraniol,
Anthelmintic, antiseptic, carminative, detoxicant, diuretic, emmenagogue, hepatic, regenerative, smooth muscle relaxant, stimulant, tonic, vasodilator.
Generally non-toxic, non-sensitising. Can be harsh on skin, dilute well.
- Loss of appetite
- Liver damage
- Malnutrition (past or present)
- Slow-healing wounds
- Poor skin and hooves
- Heart murmurs
- Emotional neglect or abandonment
- Loss of will to live
- Lack of zest
Think ‘Carrot Seed’ for:
Any time there is or has been abandonment or neglect, emotional or physical.
An inability to give or receive nurture, especially if the animal is underweight or heals slowly or has a poor quality coat or hooves/nails.