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Tulip Poplar Research Study

Last summer, I invited a group of volunteers to sample a new tree essence - Tulip Poplar (Liriodendron tulipifera L.) - for a week and send me feedback on their experiences with it. I’ve finally had time in these quieter winter months to delve into their responses and pull out recurring themes. This study was an informal one - an opportunity to come together and share stories. I’d like to thank the volunteers who joined me on this odyssey! This generous group significantly expanded my understanding of this essence. So without further ado…I give you…Tulip Poplar.


Background


The Tulip Poplar (Liriodendron tulipifera L.) is actually not a poplar at all - it’s a member of the magnolia family. Its botanical name translates to tulip-bearing (tulipifera) lily tree (Liriodendron).


The Tulip Poplar is an ancient tree much like Ginkgo biloba, featured in last year’s tree study. Scientists have uncovered fossils of Tulip Poplar relatives that date back to the Upper Cretaceous period, approximately 70-100 million years ago. Two Tulip Poplar varieties made it into modern times - our North American Tulip Poplar and the Chinese Tulip Tree (Liriodendron Chinense), native to China and Vietnam.


The North American Tulip Poplars can be found nearly anywhere in the United States and even into Canada (in growing zones 4-9). The trees are among the tallest and straightest deciduous native hardwoods, often reaching upwards of 160 feet. They tend to appear about 50-150 years into a forest’s growth cycle, so their presence in a landscape can help us gauge the age of a forest.


Native Americans and early settlers used the trunks to make canoes and log cabins. Daniel Boone used a Tulip Poplar to craft a canoe that took his family into western territories.


Here in Massachusetts/New Hampshire, the Tulip Poplar blooms in May. The flowers are a favorite for honeybees and hummingbirds as they produce large amounts of nectar (about 1/3 of a teaspoon per bloom). As the summer progresses, the flowers ripen into cone-like clusters of winged seeds that eventually spread with the wind, traveling distances of about 4-5 times the height of the tree.


Medicinal Uses


The Tulip Poplar has a wide range of medicinal uses. In traditional folk medicine, the root bark was used as a tonic to stimulate sweating, increase appetite and generally support recovery through illness. The bark contains pain-relieving salicylates which can ease inflammations of various kinds including arthritis. Poultices made from Tulip Poplar were often applied to broken bones and skin eruptions (scrapes and sores) to speed healing. The Cherokee used parts of the Tulip Poplar to treat parasitic worms and other gastrointestinal issues, rheumatism, cough, fever and snake bites.


Making the Essence


Ever since I first got a look at the Tulip Poplar flower up close - a striking yellow-green, six-petaled cup with a streak of orange at the base - I knew I’d need to make the essence. Four or so years ago, I came across a Tulip Poplar in bloom in my neighborhood, and the flowers were low enough on the branches for me to really see them in detail. That initial “wow” carried me through a many-years search for a Tulip Poplar essence-making partner. (I felt I couldn’t work with the neighborhood tree because it was growing too close to the street.)


Neighborhood Tulip Poplar

I spent the next couple of years scouting different sites and asking around, but I wasn’t able to find a tree that had accessible branches in a remote enough location. I’d almost given up the search when - in February of 2022 - I went for a walk in a new spot and happened upon a Tulip Poplar on a hill overlooking the ocean. I was thrilled.



I hiked up to that tree through the winter and spring and started looking for buds in early May. I was all set to make the essence, but the tree genuinely surprised me. Although it showed signs of having bloomed before, it didn’t bloom that year. No flowers, no flower essence.


Every source I consulted indicated that Tulip Poplars bloom annually. How interesting that this one hadn’t. How interesting that I’d need to wait even longer - another whole year - to see if it might bloom the following spring. I found myself wrapped into an increasingly curious association with this tree. I was fully in the mystery at that point and fully willing to simply watch and welcome whatever might happen next.


I continued to visit the tree over the following months. I watched it change through the seasons. I got to know its energy on another level - an invisible field that I could feel as I got close, radiating outward from the trunk and rising up through my feet. When I stood next to the tree, I felt welcomed, safe, enveloped in an understated but palpable power.


By the time I visited in May of 2023 and found a profusion of flowers, I had a much deeper appreciation of the Tulip Poplar and its cycles which made the essence-making process all the more memorable. Picking one of the flowers and placing it in a bowl of water felt like a culmination, a gift of the highest order. All morning, throughout the entire process, I experienced waves of euphoria - an extraordinary mix of joy, awe and gratitude that I can’t say I’d felt before.


I would in no way trade the effort, the wait, the slow unfolding for anything. All happened as it needed to, inviting me into what was, for me, an exceptional experience with this particular tree.



Feedback


I received written feedback from 15 volunteers who took the essence for a week (3 drops 2-3x/day) and considered the following questions:

  • After you take the essence, how do you feel? What do you notice in yourself - physically, emotionally, mentally?

  • Are any noteworthy images, memories, insights, etc. coming up for you after you take a dose? 


  • Are any particular themes or issues surfacing in your daily life since starting the essence?

  • If you had to summarize your experience of this essence in a word, what would that word be?

This report is an overview of the Tulip Poplar’s most commonly-experienced effects. The primary areas of influence that I’ll be highlighting came up for at least 4 -5 people and sometimes more.


Italicized text = quotes from participants

 

1. Grounding


In the essence studies I’ve done so far, people often report feeling more grounded and secure while taking tree essences, and I received similar feedback about the Tulip Poplar. Quite a few volunteers mentioned that they felt more stable and supported after taking a dose.

  • I would sit for a few minutes after taking the essence, and the energy felt very stable, supportive and gentle.

  • I took this flower essence for a week before going away on a trip to California by myself for 10 days. I was feeling anxious since this would be the longest I would be away from my family and I was also not looking forward to flying which always makes me nervous. Tulip Poplar essence helped me feel calm, grounded and offered me a deep sense of being spiritually supported.

I always reach for tree essences when I’m working with issues or circumstances that challenge a person’s sense of security. Three participants mentioned that the study coincided with an event that involved some kind of disturbance or upheaval in chakra 1 - related to safety, health or home.


One person experienced a massive flood in her community during the essences trial.

  • I decided to continue taking the essences throughout the week while being in a natural disaster experience. My home was impacted by the flood but only mildly. However, everywhere around me, the impact was devastating…It has been a surreal experience, and tulip poplar was with me.

Another woman had a shingles outbreak during the study. The flare-up occurred before she started taking the essence.

  • My experience with the Tulip Poplar was so interesting, and came at sort of an odd time in my overall health journey…I felt it settling my stomach every time I took it, which actually ended up being so important for me during the shingles treatment. I felt like it added a layer of natural support and companionship along that unpleasant path and by helping to settle my stomach, helped to ease some of my anxiety.

A third person was in the middle of a move while taking the essence.

  • It was especially powerful for me because the trial came while I was packing up and selling my home and finding a new place to live. It was a wonderfully strong and loving support!

Tree essences, as a group, have a stabilizing effect on chakra 1 and can help us ground, move through challenging life circumstances with greater ease, adapt to new situations and even settle the system to support physical healing.

 

2. Expansion


Tree essences also offer us the equal and opposite gesture of the trees, themselves - into the heavens, providing a connection to expansive sky energy. Several participants mentioned that they felt anchored AND expanded while taking the Tulip Poplar essence.

  • It has a rooted yet expansive feeling to it.

  • The recurring words I would hear when I would take this essence were: as above, so below...There is a huge elevation, awakening and grounding feeling with this essence for me.

  • An image popped into my mind of roots and tendrils reaching out from a tree. Feelings of expansion and connection.

  • The vibrations would always move upward and outward with a yellow expansive quality, then moving further down the spine.

A couple of people experienced this expansion in terms of their viewpoint. Some felt they were given a broader perspective on the cycles of life.

  • I had this perspective of rising up a little and looking out over land.

  • I felt like Tulip Poplar was encouraging me to trust the timing of my life, of how things are unfolding, the cycles of time. And to joyfully work these cycles, knowing that they are ultimately very supportive over time. It was speaking about larger-than-human-time, larger-than-human-life, a much more expansive view and visioning.

One person felt that the essence helped her see differently by supporting a neutral state of presence. Without so much interference from thoughts or feelings, she was able to access a different perspective.

  • The essence would immediately pull me out of the emotional and mental bodies and into a higher perspective - PRESENCE - in order to observe what was happening…The best way I can think to describe it is standing in a field of creation separated from survival energy and emotional and mental patterns. Connected to everything from a place of love and able to witness without being bogged down or in judgement about anything. 

Although tree essences all seem to have the capacity to ground and expand, I’ve noticed that every tree seems to enact this potential in a slightly different way. The nuances of each are a source of ongoing inquiry for me.


What follows is an overview of qualities that are unique to the Tulip Poplar essence - a collection of energetic effects that are not necessarily shared with other trees.

 

3. Being Who We Truly Are - In Fullness & Joy


It seems that the Tulip Poplar essence can help us get in touch with who we are at our core - inviting us to fully embody and express our heart’s truth. Many people mentioned that they felt a stronger sense of self and a boost in confidence after starting the essence.

  • Some themes that have come up during this time are issues surrounding confidence and stepping into who I really am and knowing that it’s all coming from within.

  • The essence brought with it a strengthening sense of self and calm knowing for me.

  • I feel my confidence has strengthened, and I have a feeling of determination around me.

  • If I had to summarize this essence, it would be full expression of self.

This experience of embracing the self, I heard from several people, isn’t a weighty, super-serious undertaking - there is joy, fun and celebration in embracing who we genuinely are.

  • Another aspect that came up for me a few times was the image of an orangutan…I felt that the orangutan was reminding me of the deep wisdom I possess already inside. It was not a serious orangutan and felt light and humorous, so I also feel that it was a reminder that in my life, I must remember the joyful wisdom in having fun by fully being my unique self without worrying about the judgement of others. It was about a joyful sense of being embodied in my individuality and having fun along the way.

  • Innocent, joy, playful heart, lifting spirits in a childlike way. Light, easy, flow, want to dance, I have a vision of a small girl around 5ish in a fun dress twirling and dancing freely, not organized, but moving just for fun and laughing.

For many others, the essence initiated a process - a more gradual or layered unfolding over the course of the week that would eventually lead to the same open-hearted sense of self. Those who went on more of a journey with the essence felt it helped in two ways: it had the potential to create a safe space for the heart/self to heal if needed. It also helped to release any negative beliefs, fears, etc. that were blocking the individual from feeling his/her/their own loving power.

 

4. A Safe Space for the Self


A couple of participants mentioned that the essence offered a sense of protection - which allowed the self and especially the heart (if wounded in any way) to heal and build strength. The essence seemed to provide an initial boundary that enabled individuals to set and hold their own boundaries in time and to allow space for the true self to grow.

  • The first few times I took the essence, I saw a bunch of scenarios in which my heart had been badly hurt in the past, and I re-experienced all of that pain. The incidents involved being rejected, feeling unwanted or unloved. I then saw and felt the Tulip Poplar flower sinking into my chest and surrounding my heart. I felt profoundly protected and supported. It took some time and multiple doses of Tulip Poplar for that feeling of vulnerability and hurt to begin to ease and clear, but throughout the whole process, I was very aware that I had help and that the essence (and the tree, itself) was offering me the fiercely safe space I needed for heart-healing.

  • Other themes that came up were related to setting my boundaries with others, but not in a harsh way. It was more in my spirit and mental beings that I internally set the boundaries so that the energy from my solar plexus stays within my field and that I can distinguish this from that of others around me.

  • If I had to summarize the experience of this essence, the tulip poplar flower essence was a delight! It supported me in bringing together my fully embodied self, which in turn influenced my ability to set boundaries and protect my field from that of external energies.

While taking the essence, the following participant had an experience of regathering aspects of herself that had gotten scattered due to past hurts - a variety of boundary-setting perhaps, as she felt better able to hold/contain her own energy.

  • The 2 weeks that I took this I had a lot of flashbacks to my teen years. Especially the time right before my father had left my family. I could see and remember before that incident how confident and happy I was. I could see where after my Dad left I had also abandoned myself up until recently. I was shown in a vision that I had come full circle and was now fully centered in my body and had regathered my power that I had scattered around. I am that happy confident 13-year-old again, and it feels amazing!!!!

 

5. Releasing Blocks


A lot of participants mentioned that the Tulip Poplar showed them significant events, wounds, embedded beliefs, etc. that were blocking them from fully realizing their heart’s truth and showing their uniqueness to the world. The essence shines a light on these sometimes painful areas, but with continued use, it can help us clear and move beyond whatever may be standing in our way.

  • The overall theme of working with Tulip Poplar was sorting through whatever was blocking me from being in pure presence and creation energy and addressing it.

  • It felt like it was assisting me in in listening to the place inside where I may have inspirations that are usually blocked or veiled by other aspects of myself.

  • I had a lot of spinning in my head for the first few days. It felt like my body and mind were unwinding from past beliefs I had about myself (and they were not positive beliefs, I might add).

  • I have studied and practiced plant medicine, energy work, spiritual arts for over a decade but I haven’t been able to weave it all together and create something with it, yet…it is still my dream job. There is a lot of sadness around not seeing it flourish and it came in strong this month. Also, a lot of nervous/anxious energy. It was very hard to move past it sometimes…I started observing my procrastination habits…I pushed through the “I won’t be able to make it” or “I don’t want to” or “I am feeling anxious” and then, even with confidence, I said to myself “I got this”and I accomplished things that I had kept on the shelf for months.

  • I spent the first few days after taking the essence for the first time feeling like a shitty person. I could see all of the things I do wrong, did wrong, etc…or maybe not all, but a lot. I felt incredibly down in the dumps. This was a reflection period of past should-haves or could-have-done-it-differently. A lot was centered around being a mom and a partner…I felt incredibly low self-worth and almost reached for the Worthiness blend, but didn’t. I stuck with the Tulip Poplar.

This last person went on to describe a series of serendipitous events in her professional life after this challenging first phase - a reminder that the essence can ultimately liberate a lot energy, support flow in our lives and help us step into ourselves in a new way.

  • Then what started to happen was pretty cool. I suddenly decided that I would open to in-person sessions. I did, and then people scheduled. Then one day I decided I was going to start a local collective - a sharing and connecting around this work and plants and the natural world. And I had a great response. Shortly after, the herbalist I work with wrote to me to ask if I would like to co-teach a clinic with him. Then I had various locals who work on summer farms here reach out for help. So the things just kept coming to confirm what direction I needed to be going in - and really was saying “Step into your power now. You got this.” And that I really needed to be putting my energy towards being the witch that not only stands at the borders, but also connects everyone together.

 

6. Speaking Our Truth


The Tulip Poplar essence not only helps us reconnect with our authentic self - it also helps us speak from and about this self. Many people in the study said they felt an urge or renewed capacity to share more of who they truly are with others and express their feelings honestly.

  • While I felt like the Tulip Poplar did affect my throat chakra, it felt like it more aligned my throat chakra to my other chakras so what feels more true for myself can be spoken with the confidence that you feel with deep knowing. This allowed me to speak more truthfully in alignment with my truer self.

  • I would say that (the themes of this essence) were related to expressing my true self completely, humbly, but without concern of the opinions of others. I felt that this essence helped me feel more embodied and comfortable with who I am on all levels. I felt expressive and uplifted.

  • I felt like this essence was encouraging me to face very old familial/ancestral patterns about being seen, being in my power and expressing myself authentically. It felt very Leonine in its way of imparting warm courage, taking risks that feel big, like a very loving Elder believing in me. And to be this warm, generous-hearted witness for others, too.

  • I had thoughts of a recent ending of a friendship in which my voice was not expressed. I did not say to her how I felt in response to her text…The essence was showing me an opening of energy in my heart and head along with an urge to speak. My throat felt like it wanted to be active, to do or say something.

 

7. Activations in the Energy Body/Body


Volunteers most often mentioned sensations in the heart and throat after taking a dose. A few people said that the essence seemed to highlight a relationship between these two areas which underscores the themes of feeling and speaking the heart’s truth.

  • When I began taking Tulip Poplar, the first sensations began in my heart space and would work its way up through the collarbone, throat and head and then beyond while also moving downward through spine.

  • The essence was showing me an opening of energy in my heart and head along with an urge to speak. My throat felt like it wanted to be active, to do or say something.

  • My attention was drawn to the throat - image of a cone-shaped opening. The energy started at the neck, going up and out, like a collar that has receptors coming from the neck similar to the tulip poplar flower. As I focused on that, I felt aware of my heart, and the relationship between the throat and heart.

  • I felt the essence present in my heart initially. Gobsmacked, right in the heart...I experienced a deep impression, a penetration of my heart sphere, then a sensation of a radiant circle emanating from my heart, out into the world. This was accompanied with a clear experience of peace and safety...almost as if a scouring was occurring from the heart out.

  • I felt pressure in my third eye and also a sense of inner joy or happiness welling up in my heart…I felt my heart opening and filled with love.

  • I felt pretty grounded and my heart felt nice and open.

For some, the heart activation resulted in more openness and connection in their relationships and/or an increased awareness of the flow of giving and receiving - an expression of an open heart chakra.

  • I did notice that I also felt much more at ease in my relationships, and closer to the people in my life…I would say that it’s made me more open to connecting with the people in my life. In general, I only let people in to a certain point, and since taking the essence, I feel like I’m able to let my walls down a little more.

  • This essence is about the restoration of the essence of family and how family communes and connects with the community of other species. How we support each other and give and receive. The essence of giving and receiving, that flow between of love, care, share, service, support and harmony.

With regular dosing, a couple of people felt the essence at work in other parts of the body/in all of the chakra centers.

  • I kept seeing/feeling their flowers in my body in different places.

  • After my first few doses, I felt a lot of activity in my heart and throat areas. By the end of the study, I felt and saw Tulip Poplar flowers in every chakra.

The woman with the shingles outbreak had a unique physical experience that stood out from other people’s reports. In her case, the Tulip Poplar essence seemed to deliver some of the same healing qualities as its herbal counterpart - namely, settling her stomach (as discussed in part 1) and, to some extent, addressing rheumatic discomforts and bringing energy to the rash site.

  • I also noticed that it had some effect, though not as strongly, in my joints, as well as occasionally felt its energy and presence being drawn to my shingles rash site. So, in that way, I felt like it had some anti-inflammatory properties.

Her experience raises questions about the essence’s possible role in more acute physical conditions which will certainly require further inquiry.

 

The Tulip Poplar essence helps us accept and love the self. With this tree’s energetic support, we are able to heal from past hurts, hold a safe container for ourselves and embody and express who we actually are. We are able to access the joy and the power of our heart’s truth - our wholeness - and expand outward into the world with love and confidence. We are also able, with the essence’s help, to ground, stabilize and develop our own root system - and/or experience expansion, welcoming a different perspective on ourselves, our lives, our purpose.

 

Tulip Poplar ~ I live my heart’s truth.


Indications

  1. For those who have trouble showing who they truly are or expressing their special gifts; supports courage, self-realization and self-expression; helps us develop a stronger sense of self and self-love

  2. For those who’ve experienced a heart wound that damages confidence and self-esteem or who are mired in negative beliefs about themselves

  3. For those who need support with grounding or expanding in their lives; offers an experience of rootedness and security; invites expansion into the cosmos; supports different perspectives, states of consciousness, realms beyond our day-to-day reality

Thanks again to all of the volunteers who took the time to investigate the essence with me!

If you'd like to purchase this essence or explore tree essences in a private session, drop me a line at jennifer@jelmore.com.






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