Hinoki: Natural Essences in Abundance

Living in a hectic urban landscape, do you look forward to a return to nature, where the richness of plant essences can soothe your fatigued spirit? With the refreshing fragrance of hinoki, an ancient plant that emanates a rich store of natural energy, you would feel immersed in an oasis of comfort even in the midst of the urban jungle.

History

Hinoki is rich in ancient history. Following the rise and fall of civilisations, the cultivating ground of hinoki was gradually shifted to Taiwan. In fact, the oldest ecological system in Taiwan now lies in its hinoki forest, which has a store of precious fossils renowned throughout the world.

In Japanese, hinoki means "white cedar". In this culture where the daily bath is highly valued as a time of purification and relaxation, Hinoki is the prized wood used for building Japanese baths. Besides its popular usage in traditional Japanese architecture such as temples and shrines, hinoki is also imbued with a royal flavour, being the wood that shaped the Emperor's palaces and caskets.

Ecology

There are about six types of hinoki throughout the world, dispersed in North America, Japan and Taiwan. The mountainous regions and moist ocean climate of the Asia-Pacific shores makes them conducive for the growth of hinoki.

An evergreen tree with narrow and conical shape, hinoki reaches heights of around 40 metres. Although it is shade-tolerant when young, it ultimately prefers sunny locations. The dark green scale-like leaves will turn brownish in winter. The red-brown bark tends to peel. Its cones are small, found on short stalks and orange brown in colour.

Ideal cultivation of hinoki includes thinning, pruning and vine cutting, so as to maintain optimum growth.

Health Notes

Standing firm through the ages of time, Hinoki is endowed with an abundance of natural essences and a rich store of Phytoncidere, a self-immunity function of plants which eliminates harmful living things in the surroundings. It comes as no surprise, then, that hinoki is well known for its ability to naturally kill bacteria, viruses, viral infections and fungus. In fact, Hinoki wood has been used in Asia for centuries without rotting or falling prey to insects. The chemical composition of Hinoki also makes its wood oil highly therapeutic. The wonderful lemon fragrance of Hinoki has relaxing and decongestant effects, helping to relieve tension and stress. It is also excellent for alleviating sinus and chest congestions and respiratory problems. Unlike other woods, such as juniper and red cedar, Hinoki is gentle on skin. In fact, Hinoki is a very effective antiseptic for healing and treating skin problems, such as rashes, cuts, abrasions and minor skin irritations. Inhale the fragrance of Bel'Air's hinoki essential oil to bask in the freshness and wonderful abundance of nature.

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