Connecting with Natural Plant Intelligence

Posted on January 25, 2017 0

Connecting with Natural Plant Intelligence

Most of us think of plants as being silent and simple. They make food from sunshine, photosynthesize, and in turn feed animals and humans. However, in nature plants are very complex and are not as sedentary or solidarity as we imagine. Even though they do not have eyes or ears, they have very unique ways to perceive their environment and adapt accordingly. Plants actively respond to the elements, nutrients, herbivores, and predators around them through extensive communication and cooperation. Truly this plant kingdom of nature is full of wondrous treasures.

Plant Intelligence

Could plants have a memory or a nervous system? In the documentary, “How Plants Communicate & Think,” Francis Halle, a botanist and professor, specializing in trees and the ecology of the tropical rainforest, states “The more genes an organism has the more evolved we perceive that it is.” 1 However, to the surprise of many botanists, plants do have more genes to adapt than humans. Plants and animals have evolved together and have a symbiotic relationship. Plants feed the animals and the animals assist in carrying the plant spores, pollinating the plants and dispersing their seed. The plant’s rules of survival are through adaptation, communication and cooperation.

Botanist, Dieter Volkmann PhD., is a leader in the research of plant intelligence at the University of Bonn, in Germany. He is studying the way plants perceive and react to their environment, in ways they find light, air, and nutrients as well as communicate with each other. Not only are these observed as sensations from plants, but also that there is some kind of consciousness in the plant world.

Plant Memory

Do plants have a type of central nervous system that responds to stimulation, perception and previous experience? Recent advances in plant cell biology and neurosciences reveal surprising similarities between plant cells and neurons. “They have signal input and signal output poles, secrete signaling molecules via robust endocytosis-driven vesicle recycling apparatus, and are capable of sensory perception and integration of these multiple sensory perceptions into adaptive actions that serve for survival of organisms, harboring these cells specialized for signaling and communication. Moreover, neurons and plant cells have in common abilities to generate spontaneously action potentials, which convey electric signaling across tissues of multicellular organisms.” 2

Plants can remember reactions, store a certain chemical signal and response at a later time. Dr. František Baluška, a biologist that has been studying the brain theory of plant roots, has found a physiological function at the tip of the root that can integrate chemical sensitivities to adapt. In addition, there is a zone of transition in the upper area of a plant root that contains cells also found in animal muscle tissue. These cells interact with the synapse of nerves, as well as with memory and thought.

The roots of a plant can process complex information, much like our nervous system, to alert communications with a plant to either flourish, or to go dormant. The plant neurobiology is similar in structure and molecular levels to a vertebrae neurons system. Plant cells may differ in function but are very similar to neuron and synapsis which form nerve circuits. The mechanics may be different in plants, animals and humans but the results are almost identical.

Plant Defense

Approximately over 400,000 species of plants cover the earth. Each one is remarkable, but none can survive on the earth alone. All life depends on connections that are vital for these unique eco systems to survive.

The oldest known individual tree in the world is "Old Tjikko," a Norway spruce (Picea abies) in Sweden; it is 9,550 years old. One of the oldest trees in North America is the Pinus longaeva; the Great Basin bristlecone pine has been around for over 5,000 years.

How have these trees survived so long? Trees and plants can leave a chemical trail for others to follow. They can react to nutrients that are transported by fluids in the air and in the earth. In addition, they communicate through the fungi and algae networks to extend their roots to gather nutrients and alert others in the area of any damage and infections.

“Mycorrhizal describes the mutually beneficial relationship between the plant and root fungus. These specialized fungi colonize plant roots and extend far into the soil. Mycorrhizal fungal filaments in the soil are truly extensions of root systems and are more effective in nutrient and water absorption than the roots themselves. More than 90 percent of plant species in natural areas form a symbiotic relationship with the beneficial mycorrhizal fungi.

This plant/fungi relationship increases the surface absorbing area of roots 100 to 1,000 times, thereby greatly improving the ability of the plant to access soil resources. Several miles of fungal filaments can be present in less than a thimbleful of soil. Mycorrhizal fungi increase nutrient uptake not only by increasing the surface absorbing area of the roots, but also release powerful enzymes into the soil that dissolve hard-to-capture nutrients, such as organic nitrogen, phosphorus, iron and other “tightly bound” soil nutrients.

This extraction process is particularly important in plant nutrition and explains why non-mycorrhizal plants require high levels of fertilization to maintain their health. Mycorrhizal fungi form an intricate web that captures and assimilates nutrients, conserving the nutrient capital in soils.” 3

During the growth process, plants produce a variety of compounds that can be divided into primary metabolites and secondary metabolites. Primary metabolites are essential for the survival of the plant and include sugars, proteins, and amino acids. Plants have their own survival mechanisms that can create their own anti-bodies.

Secondary metabolites were once believed to be waste products. They are not essential to the plant’s survival, but the plant does suffer without them. In order for the plants to stay healthy, secondary metabolism plays a pinnacle role in keeping all of the plants' systems working properly. A common role of secondary metabolites in plants is defense mechanisms and act as signals for symbiotic bacteria, attractants for pollinators and seed-dispersing animals, allopathic agents in natural habitats, physical and chemical barriers to abiotic stressors, such as UV and evaporation, and endogenous regulators of plant growth hormones. Many secondary metabolites are also useful for healing in humans such as essential oils.

Connecting Deeper with Plant Intelligence

Humans are very much like a plant; they draw in the needed energy to nourish physical, emotional and spiritual states. This can essentially energize cells or cause increases in cortisol and catabolize cells depending on if there is an emotional trigger.
Knowing that plants have their own unique language at a molecular level to communicate with each other prevents disease and repel pests. How can we connect with this to raise healing awareness for ourselves?

Dr. Olivia Bader-Lee suggests that the field of bioenergy is now ever evolving and that studies on the plant and animal world will soon translate and demonstrate what energy metaphysicians have known all along -- that humans can heal each other simply through energy transfer just as plants do. “Humans can absorb and heal through other humans, animals, and any part of nature. That’s why being around nature is often uplifting, energizing, and healing for so many people. When energy studies become more advanced in the coming years, we will eventually see this translated to human beings as well,” states Bader-Lee. “The human organism is very much like a plant, it draws needed energy to feed emotional states and this can essentially energize cells or cause increases in cortisol and catabolize cells depending on the emotional trigger.” 2

Plants have scientifically been show to draw alternative sources of energy from other plants. Plants influence each other in many ways and they communicate through “nanomechanical oscillations” vibrations on the tiniest atomic or molecular scale or as close as you can get to telepathic communication.

I recently did an interview with Peter May, an essential oil distiller and owner of Windhorse Botanicals and Sonic Apothecary (plant music). He recommends several ways in which we can connect deeper with nature and the healing essence. May states “We can use the elements and sound of the plants as a precursor to bridge this communication in healing ourselves.” 6 The elements we can use: Earth - the medicine of the plants and trees; fire - from the warmth of the sun; and air - prana or life force. These precursors can assist you to quiet your mind and learn what is a balanced and healthy state of being.

One of May's plant allies is the pinion pine (Pinus edulis). From his experience with these trees he learned that the chemical constituents of the sesquiterpenes help to active certain parts of the brain, particularly the pineal gland. This gland is one of the smallest yet important endocrine glands found in the brain. The pineal gland produces melatonin, which helps maintain circadian rhythm and regulate reproductive hormones. Physiologically, in conjunction with the hypothalamus gland, the pineal gland controls the sex drive, hunger, thirst and it is the biological clock that determines the body’s normal aging process.

Inhalation of the essential oils high in sesquiterpenes like pinion pine are very fast acting communication for the pineal gland.

May also formulates a mixture of shea butter (Vitellaria paradoxa), ormus extract, pinion pine (Pinus edulis), frankincense (Boswellia serrata) and myrrh (Commiphora myrrha) in his Clear Mind Star Nectar blend that can powerfully enhance glandular activation and pain release.

Let us learn, and create a partnership with plants that teaches us to balance and heal. Learn to adapt, communicate, and cooperate with each other from the essential nature of the marvelous plant kingdom.

“If animals disappeared from the Earth plants would be okay, they could survive. But if plants disappeared, I don’t think humans and animals would survive. We are really like secondary organisms in relation to plants. We are dependent on them completely.” 5


1. YouTube website, BBC Documentary: How Plants Communicate and Think:

2.  Mycorrhizae website, Mycorrhizal Fungi:

3.  It's All About I website, Scientists Find that Plants are Intelligent and Communicate Telepathically, Dr. Olivia Bader-Lee:

4.  US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health website: The 'Root-brain' Hypothesis of Charles and Francis Drwin, František Baluška:

5.  Peter May: Interview with Shanti Dechen, April 19, 2016 For more information on Peter’s trainings, products and plant music:

Other Resources:

• Documentary: In the Mind of Plants by Jacques Mitsch:

• PBS Documentary: What do Plants Talk About?:

• US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health website: Antimicrobial Properties of Plant Secondary Metabolites, Wallace, RJ:

About Shanti Dechen:

Shanti Dechen, CCAP, CAI, LMT is the founder and director of Aroma Apothecary Healing Arts Academy, is a Certified Clinical Aromatherapist, clinical health practitioner and a certified massage therapist since 1979. She has a university background in healing and the sciences—over 15,000 hours of extensive holistic training and certification in bodymind therapies. She is the NAHA Regional Director of Colorado and lives in the beautiful mountain community of Crestone.

To learn more about Shanti, please visit her website at: or email her at

Click here to purchase the NAHA 2016.2 Summer Journal


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