On the 17th of november 2014 the oil importer Sjankara (NL /BE) was proud to present their CERTISYS certification. The CERTISYS certification makes their biological essential oils number 1 of the BENELUX, and number 3 in Europe! For this reason Sjankara organized a festive afternoon where I was asked to give a little presentation of my ART and and scent objects in whom I frequently use Sjankara essential oils.
At this event we enjoyed the presentation of Geert Devlieghere: the founder of Sjankara. He showed us some of the lesser known essential oils, like Solidago Canadesis and Ocotea Quixos (Ishpink).
After his presentation I took him apart for a little chat to dive a little deeper in the matter of natural essential oils.
This last oil, Ishpink, Geert counts as one of his personal favourites. He discovered a little ecological distillery in Ecuador where they produce this wonderful Cinnamon- like oil. Cinnamon-like because it contains a much lower level of the component cinnamaldehyde, responsible for skin irritation found in common cinnamon oil. Besides this difference, it does have marvalous anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties. The Ocotea quixos is an evergreen tree which can be found in the Amazon forests of Ecuador and Colombia. The bark is traditionally used in Indian native medicine for spicing ritual food and for its anti-inflammatory properties. As there is no other name than the native Indian name of ‘Ishpink’, and the taste resembles cinnamon, it is also now has received the name of 'Ecuadorian' (or 'American') cinnamon.
As a scent psychologist I was of course very interested if Geert had found a psychological effect of Isphink. Geert claims that the oil is very good as an anti-stress and grief-relief support. Asking ‘why is this’, there is a shown a connection between the calming properties of aldehydes and relief of tention in the mind. When he told this, of course I wanted to know more, so I 'dove' into some historical- antropological facts.
And, guess what, I came across some interesting things why there could be a (psychological) historical connection between grief relief and Ishpink.
Ishpink is used in spicing of ritual food like ‘mazamorra morada’, also known as ‘purple soup’. Mazamorra morada is made from purple amaranth and fruits like blue berries and pine apple. It goes way back to the Incan period where it signifies the offering of animal blood to the gods. It is still used today by native Indians in a ritual 'to spent time with the spirits of their departed loved ones'. At the pre-hispanic time it was probably made of blue corn flour and the flavoured with Ishphink. (isphingo).The flour of the blue corn was ‘ripened ‘ by putting it in luke warm water for the fermenting process and the isphink created the specific cinnamon taste. Today, in urban life, the ritual is also adapted by the Christian church in both Ecuador and Peru, where it’s is served on the 2nd of november ‘the day of the dead’ know in Europe on the 1st of november as ‘All saints”. When we consider historical or conditioned scent awareness it seems Ishpink does have a connection with grief processing.
Isn’t that something?
Note: if you want to use Ishpink for it’s psychological effects: use a safe way of inhaling.
1 drop on a tissue, not to close to the mouth/ nose. If you suffer from asthma, better not.