The Mystery of Trees

Posted on in On Our Radar by Diana Beresford-Kroeger

A Love Story

The planet is for everybody, and to reduce and take down the global forest is an absolute catastrophe for the world. Learning more about our forests is necessary for the health and the safety of the world to come, and here on this continent we have extraordinary species matched nowhere else in the world, like the wonderful array of oaks and hickories. These species and the black walnuts will do something for the future, and we need to be ambassadors and share this knowledge. Four hundred million years ago, the atmosphere was filled with carbon dioxide and man and his babies could not live here. Then the trees stepped onto the stage of life. They made a remarkable marriage happen between carbon and oxygen. That marriage took place in the shade of sunlight that stimulated the manufacture of sugars and the oxygen that all the four-legged and two-legged species require.

Stop breathing and see how long you can support yourself. The oxygen that you are breathing comes from trees and the invisible global forest of the ocean, and they hold hands with each another. Trees do something quite astonishing, which is to make both the wave form and the straight-line form of light move in a molecular dance that produces energy in a thermodynamic reaction. That produces the food that all animals eat and the oxygen we breathe. Trees have been doing this for 400 million years. These are the trees that will give us life, will give every baby in utero life, and will breathe life back into the planet. So we must protect our forest, and plant trees.

In the ancient world of China, Japan, Russia, going down into Europe, and indeed in America, we have had a thousand species of hawthorns, and these are called crataegus. These have been considered a magical species all over the world for all cultures in all times, and indeed there is magic in these trees. The magic has now been transmuted into a chemical called crataegun. It has a bitter smell, but what happens is like smelling a gorgeous apple pie that has just come out of the oven. Your salivary glands start to work, and as they start to work, the lactone comes out of the flower and goes into your salivary glands and you actually drink the lactone of crataegus. Here is the magic, the big answer: It opens the left ascending coronary artery. You will not have a heart attack while you are smelling that plant and will have been given this compound if you have had ascending artery surgery.

Abstract expressionist trees paintings. Two piece set also known as a diptych or pair.
Abstract expressionist trees paintings. Two piece set also known as a diptych or pair.

The hawthorn produces a little red apple, and in the fall the farmers all over eastern North America, when they went to get their dairy herds from the pasture, they would pick this as a trail food. This gives them crataegus and that is why lots and lots have been so healthy. But the aboriginal people took it even further. Each fruit has got five tiny little nutlets inside, and they would wash and grind these up, and they had their first cup of coffee because there’s caffeine in these little nuts and it gave them a little stimulant. So this is another example of the magic out of the forest.

The forests are communities with an extraordinary genome; they have extraordinary epigenetics. They have an immune system and a biochemical pathway system filled with serotonin, similar to ours, that links neuron paths. We have our brain at the top of our head; they have a cambia layer, and we can think of a cambia layer as a form of brain. But the tree is a chemical manufacturing system that is the wonder of the world. It is that chemistry that gives us 40% of our medicines, such as aspirin.

The tree can also do something that we know very little about. We really don’t know how the tree transports water from the soil, pulling up the aquifers into the great volumes of the tree and into the sky. The aerosols that the tree produces have got legs, with hydroxyl groups on them. These attach to the moisture vapor above the trees and they’re responsible for clouds and weather patterns, and they’re responsible, in the end, for our civilization. If we have no moisture, we cannot survive. The wonderful redwoods on the West Coast in California do something quite wondrous in the upper canopy—they produce aerosols to pull in water vapor so that the sperm can swim along the tiny sheath of water and fertilize the ovule. This is a wonder of our world.

Everything in the world is functioning like a unit, to keep it all together. We are the song of the universe, we really are the miracle of the universe in our mathematics, and the tree has this form of intelligence too. If you damage one tree, another of the same family next to it produces a phenol to help it heal and mend and cure itself.

The tree functions by means of many mouths on many, many leaves, called stomata, that open and close by means of guard cells and emit aerosols. The aerosol compounds are very, very important. As you go further north, some of these aerosols actually scrub the atmosphere and make it aseptic. We breathe in dirty air and most of us don’t get lung infections. The trees are actually doing that.

If you go out into the forest in a mountainous region on a warmish day that is a tiny bit humid, and you see a slight haze in the air over the forest, often people will say, “Oh it is kind of a hazy day today.” It’s actually the trees producing vast quantities of aerosols! You are seeing the aerosols in their tonnage being put into the atmosphere and cleaning the atmosphere with chemicals like alpha pinene and beta pinene from the pine forests. America has vast pine forests, many, many types of pines, and pines are smart. If you have a child, or a teenager with a learning disorder, and you bring your child into a pine forest, on a warmish day when it is a little muggy with nice fresh air, the pinene is being released as an aerosol from the stomata of the leaves and the child will breathe it in. The pinene has a slightly narcotic effect on the brain, and it is a stimulant that acts as a carburetor for the brain, so the child comes out of the forest breathing a whole lot better, clearing and opening out their lungs, but with a higher IQ and better able to pay attention.

Our urban forests are as important as the great forests of the world, and they do something incredible. We have a deadly killer amongst us right now called particulate pollution, which is pollution made up of particles of less than 2.5 microns in diameter. It’s tiny, about a tenth the size of a pollen grain, and it’s produced by cars and buses and planes. When these particles go into the deep area of the lungs, they are very hard to get out. But the extraordinary thing that trees do, by the trinomial hairs, the hairy surface on most trees’ leaves, is that they actually comb the air of this particulate pollution.

This particulate pollution also carries things called hitchhikers, which are the pesticides and herbicides being sprayed on fields. Along with large molecules like cobalt or lead or magnesium, metals, they are very dangerous for asthmatic people, and account for the rise in asthma of about 30% worldwide. So, under a tree, the leaves comb the air of this pollution and it gets onto the leaves and the rain washes it down into the soil where microbes eat it and they use it for their daily lives. If you sit under an urban tree, you are exposed to 25% less pollution. This is very important for people who have heart conditions or asthmatic problems, really important for our babies, and also for our dogs and our cats.

The trees are the most extraordinarily large species living on this Earth. They are alive. They have DNA. They are functioning like we are. When you have a very large object, maybe an elephant, or a volcano, or a tree, it produces a low-frequency sound called infrasound. It’s just recently been proven that the elephant can send out infrasound calls from one elephant to another in warning, and the trees do the same thing. These low-level rumblings can be measured in sound experiments.

The human family is created like a viola—we have our ribs, we have our chest, which is empty where there is a pair of lungs. If you think about it, we’re a receptor machine. So we can receive these sounds. Some people can receive them better than others, but children can definitely receive these infrasounds. Dogs can hear this low-level sound, birds can hear it, and perhaps monkeys can hear it also. While some people are deaf to these sounds, you can attune yourself by aligning yourself into unity, a form of all is one, a form of meditation. Then you can hear that sound. It is there in the trees. This is how birds can locate their own trees for feeding, perching, and pruning, or for tuning up their bodies to the sun.

When you have a hedgerow, you have a biodiversity of insects. It is a chain-link fence of the forest around the field that provides the biodiversity needed for your crop, for predation and for pollination. It has been proven that when you have your hedgerow, you have a 35% increase in your crop because of pollination. When you’re talking about industrial farms, you have oceanic fields. All our beneficial insects require one very essential amino acid called lysine; the queen bee, the queen wasp bee, or whatever requires lysine for egg laying. Without that they are not able to produce the huge brood that they need to do all the massive pollination, stamen by stamen by stamen. If you have oceanic fields you cannot produce lysine in the early flowering of the hedgerows, the bees cannot survive, therefore you cannot have pollination. Some of the bees are dying because they do not have sufficient food. The birds are our first line of predation, running up and down the crops and protecting them by getting all of the deleterious insects. But birds cannot do predation when you have oceanic fields.

The tree is the king of the forest. The forests evolved to be the pinnacle of the green world with its chloroplastic structure, just as we have evolved in the animal world. We have evolved our red blood cells, which contain hemoglobin, and the hemoglobin that makes us run is almost identical to the chlorophyll that makes the tree run. We have to hold hand in hand. The oxygen produced by the trees gives us the kiss of life, and we have to look to he trees and thank them like the ancients did in the long way past, because if we don’t do that, when the last tree goes, as it did on Easter Island, we too will go. No question, scientifically, spiritually, or otherwise, about that.

Diana Beresford-Kroeger is a renowned Irish botanist, medical biochemist, and author whose Bioplan deserves serious consideration. This essay was reconstructed from an interview conducted by Dr. Gary Null featured in the newly released Journeys and Awakenings: Wisdom for Spiritual Travelers, edited by Seven Pillars House of Wisdom, published by Sacred Spirit Press, an imprint of Monkfish Book Publishing.

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