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The magic of trees

Updated on August 27, 2013
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Trees are amazing in so many ways.

Who can deny their beauty especially in Autumn when their leaves turn to reds and golds filling our hearts with joy as we behold them?

Are you feeling sad? Spend some time in the forest. Sit beneath a tree and look around you at its neighbours and draw inspiration and help from them.

Most trees out live humans - mature trees in the forest will have started lifelong before you ever came into being, and have withstood storm and tempest.

For this reason they offer stability and wisdom in times of need.

The scent of the flowers of the Lime tree is said to have magical properties - if you fall asleep under a Lime tree watch out you aren't taken off to fairyland by the fairies!

In rural communities, hedge cutters to this day spare the Elder as the tree is regarded as having magical properties. It is considered bad luck to cut down an Elder. Judas Iscariot was said to have hanged himself from its branches, and according to legend the cross of the crucifixion was made from the wood of the Elder tree.

The Laurel tree has possessed great symbolic importance since Roman times. A crown made from its leaves were worn by emperors, poets and heroes. It is associated with learning and intelligence.

In Irish mythology there was a magical Rowan tree guarded by a dragon. As the berries were considered to possess powers of longevity if eaten, anyone attempting to pick the berries would be burned to a cinder by the dragon. The dragon was thought to protect the Rowan and the Rowan protected the dragon. If you carry a small piece of the tree about your person it will prevent you being whisked away by the fairies, especially on Midsummer's eve when they are particularly mischievous! You'd better wear a piece when you're sitting under the Lime tree then!!

The Buddha achieved enlightenment whilst sitting under a Bodhi tree.


All over the world humans are felling trees to make way for crops and cattle or to search for oil and minerals for mining.

This has gone on for thousands of years and isn't just a modern phenomenon.

People have needed to make clearings to build their communities. Houses and furniture were made from wood and it has always has been used as fuel.

Dartmoor in Devon, where I live, was once virtually covered by trees, mainly oaks. Now only a few pockets of ancient woodland survive, most of them in river valleys. Dartmoor itself is almost entirely moorland, practically devoid of trees. The name 'Dart' is believed to come from an ancient Celtic word 'Der' meaning oak.

The Amazonian Rainforest is not only rich in flora and fauna but also plays an important part in maintaining the health of Planet Earth by regulating oxygen/carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere.

They say that climate change is happening because carbon dioxide emissions are hugely on the increase. So why deforest huge swathes of the planet? We desperately need MORE trees not fewer, to regulate the chemistry of the atmosphere.

And not only that - who has given thought to the idea that forests actually COOL the planet, whereas concrete jungles heat it up?

Trees provide shelter from the sun and a good balance of moisture as well as being an important ecosystem for millions of plants and creatures.

So plant a tree today! We need more trees!

Medicinal benefits of trees

Many people are interested in herbal medicines, myself included.

But have you ever thought that trees, too, can provide natural, gentle health benefits?

And not just the exotics found in Asia, but many common trees found in woodlands, parks and lining the streets of the UK, US and Europe have healing properties.

Below I shall list 5 common trees that can offer health benefits.


BIRCH

The main part of the birch used medicinally is the leaves. They can be useful for reducing infammation and may help with arthritis. They may also help with eczema, psoriasis and cystitis.

Make an infusion from the leaves and drink 3-4 times a day. Birch tar oil has been used for centuries to help alleviate skin conditions.


OAK

Oak bark can be used to help alleviate diarrhoea. It may help with sore throats, mouth inflammation and wounds. Use as a gargle for sore throats and as an ointment for piles.


HAWTHORN

In clinical trials hawthorn has been shown to be at least as effective if not MORE so than conventional drugs to treat hypertension. In fact it is also useful for hypotension as it actually regulates the blood pressure. Hawthorn also helps with palpitations and irregular heartbeats. Make a tea from the leaves, or a tincture from new tops including flowers. A tincture is made by soaking the tops in alcohol (eg vodka) for a few weeks until all the goodness has been extracted. Keep in a dark place.Take a couple of teaspoons in water twice a day (see my hub on Natural ways to reduce your blood pressure). http://justhelen.hubpages.com/hub/Natural-ways-to-help-reduce-your-blood-pressure)


LIME

Limeflowers makes a declicious honey flavoured tea and can be used to aid sleep, reduce anxiety and depression, support the immune system and may help prevent heart disease by relaxing the arteries. It can also help cure coughs and colds. Try a few cups a day.


ELDER

Elder flowers and berries have always been popular with wine makers, and medicinally are used to treat colds and flu. Elder may also play a role in controlling diabetes showing it to have insulin like qualities. The flowers are also useful to treat hayfever, sinusitis and ear infections. Juice made from the berries may have potential cancer preventing effects as well as warding off viral infections. A compress made from the leaves help soothe bruises and sprains.



Trees sometimes mimic other creatures, which can come as a bit of a shock when you're wandering around the forest in a trippy frame of mind! Take a look as these weird critters - they are all completely genuine and were taken in Epping Forest.

Baby Buddha
Baby Buddha | Source
Bear
Bear | Source
Fish
Fish | Source
Terror!
Terror! | Source

and the winner is -

Triceratops
Triceratops | Source

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    • no body profile image

      Robert E Smith 3 years ago from Rochester, New York

      Good to know and I will be looking for it.

    • just helen profile image
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      just helen 3 years ago from Dartmoor UK

      Thank you so much for your beautiful message,Bob. It is good to meet another person who appreciates the beauty of trees. Thank you for following me on HB. I will check out some of your hubs, too.

      Incidentally, I DO have a hub on music but I unpublished it as it needs work doing on it. It will berepublished soon, so please come back to check!

      Good luck with your ocarina...

    • no body profile image

      Robert E Smith 3 years ago from Rochester, New York

      I just recently did a search of different woods (trees) so I could choose the right wood for my Fairy Ring Mushroom Company Ocarina. I have always loved trees for all the reasons you have stated and more. I also used to walk in the woods to find "animals" in the tree formations. I would find them but then I would never seem to find that tree again. As a kid it occurred to me that they were moving around. So anyway, I researched some woods and the trees they come from. I chose Bloodwood because of the fact that the tree oozes sap that resembles blood that is also used as medicine to heal sicknesses. Of course, being a Christian my reason for getting Bloodwood is so that the talk of the ocarina will lead into Jesus Christ dying for our sins. Then I also chose Jatoba, that beautiful warm dark wood that people use in marriages. They decorate the wedding place with wreaths of Jatoba boughs because the leaves are paired and look like two lovers. It is seen as good luck for the newlyweds to be married under the branches. But my reason for using it in my ocarina is that will allow me to talk about Jesus and His "bride" the church. I can explain that God says that after a person receives Him as personal Savior that person becomes part of His Bride. Then I chose canarywood for its name and that the ocarina will be used to sing to Jesus. I used a picture of this ocarina in my latest hub about music. I saw from a comment you made to somebody that you are a music teacher. I am following you now because I thought you may have some insight on music in your articles in the future. I thoroughly loved this article and the pictures of trees. God bless you, Bob Smith (no body on Hubpages).

    • just helen profile image
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      just helen 4 years ago from Dartmoor UK

      Thanks for your comment Au Fait! Apparently the Turkish unrest was precipated by the threat to cut down trees in the park.

    • Au fait profile image

      C E Clark 4 years ago from North Texas

      I love trees. Wish people would stop cutting down living trees. They contribute so much.

    • just helen profile image
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      just helen 4 years ago from Dartmoor UK

      Thanks for your comments, rebecca and au fait! How can we do other than revere and respect trees, when they do so much for us?

    • rebeccamealey profile image

      Rebecca Mealey 4 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

      How beautiful, and so true. Trees are so awesome. So important, we must revere them, and you have done so, so nicely!

    • Au fait profile image

      C E Clark 4 years ago from North Texas

      Such a great hub with so much useful and interesting information about trees! I love trees. Even in winter they can be so pretty with the snow covering them and when the sun comes out they sparkle and glisten like millions of diamonds. Fantastic photos too, with such interesting shapes. Voting this hub up and will share with my followers!

    • just helen profile image
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      just helen 4 years ago from Dartmoor UK

      Thank you Imogen! Yes, trees are incredible aren't they!

    • Imogen French profile image

      Imogen French 4 years ago from Southwest England

      I have a bit of an obsession with trees and their forms too - the pictures are gorgeous. Nice hub :)

    • just helen profile image
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      just helen 5 years ago from Dartmoor UK

      Thank you CyberShelley and Suhail and my dog for your lovely comments. Trees are an abiding passion of mine and my husband's. I would love to see the white cedars you talk of... maybe one day!

    • Suhail and my dog profile image

      Suhail Zubaid aka Clark Kent 5 years ago from Mississauga, ON

      When I am hiking with my dog or with a bigger 'human' groups, I take lots of pictures of trees as a group and as individuals. Some eastern white cedars in Ontario are over 1000 years old and I have taken pictures of many ancient cedars on the cliffs. Your pictures remind me that the 10 oldest cedars have been creatively given characteristic names on the basis of their appearances like The Ghost, The Cliff Giant, The Bowspirit, The Alien, The Hunchback, The Snake, The Ancient One, etc.

      It is unfortunate that we humans do to our carelessness subject trees to disease that causes their devastation. An example that readily comes to mind is ruination of American Chestnut Tree caused by chestnut blight.

      I liked your hub. It is useful and interesting.

    • CyberShelley profile image

      Shelley Watson 5 years ago

      Helen, Hello again, this is just such a beautiful hub that I must share it! Also up and interesting.

    • just helen profile image
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      just helen 5 years ago from Dartmoor UK

      Thank you for your lovely comments KoffeeKlatch Gals! I agree, trees are truly amazing.

    • KoffeeKlatch Gals profile image

      Susan Haze 5 years ago from Sunny Florida

      Trees are truly amazing. Not only in their ability to shelter and comfort but also in their ability to help with health benefits. Great hub. Up and interesting.