YLANG-YLANG

The Perfumery,  botany, cultivation, history, and  distillation of the flowers for essential oil,

With odor snapshots and the uses of the oil.

framed picture of Ylang flowers

YLANG-YLANG ~ Powerful Perfumery Flower

By Jeanne Rose ~ 09-20-22

<<>> 

YLANG-YLANG BOTANICAL & LATIN BINOMIAL ~   Cananga odorata    Hook. F. & Thomson. “The species and its genus have a long and rather confusing nomenclatural history that has yet to be resolved completely.”3 Turner and Veldkamp

Ylang has other common names, such as  Macassar-oil plant or perfume tree. Ylang-Ylang is said to mean ‘flower of flowers’ in the Philippines. Another book I read said that it means ‘wild’. Wikipedia says it means ‘wilderness.’ However, I was not able to confirm either. The Tagalog name is ilang-ilang.

 It is interesting to know that an antimacassar was a doily (decorative crocheted mat) designed for the back of a chair to protect it from the grease and dirt of a head that had been smoothed and scented with Macassar oil, that is, coconut or other solid oil plus Ylang as a scent.

            Naming ~ There are two forms of the plant, called Cananga odorata forma macrophylla which produces the oil called Cananga, and the more well-known Cananga odorata forma genuina which is the oil we will be discussing. They are considered different trees with different plant descriptions, forma macrophylla from Java and other islands, while forma genuina is best from Madagascar.

            I have been fortunate to have seen and smelled both types, although at the time (1990), I was not aware of a difference.

         [Cananga odorata • Variety: forma macrophylla steenis • Common Name: Ylang ylang]

Family ~ Annonaceae

COUNTRIES OF ORIGIN ~ Native to India, Indonesia, and the Macassar Islands, and the Philippines, and it grows well in the Comoros Islands of Madagascar, Réunion, as well as Haiti, and Zanzibar. The Fairchild Tropical Gardens in Coral Gables, Florida have trees, as do the Palm Beach Garden Club (I believe that was the name of the place where I spoke about 20 years ago). Palm Beach Garden Club had the Cananga trees.

ENDANGERED OR NOT ~ Ylang-ylang is not currently considered endangered. However, it is a high-risk invasive species and is listed as invasive to many parts of the Pacific.

These are photos of the leaves and flowers of Ylang, sent to me by the Fairchild Tropical Gardens in 1992. Shows a greener color than the one in the titlle.
leaves and flowers of Ylang

GENERAL DESCRIPTION OF PLANT, HABITAT & GROWTH ~ Ylang is a tall tropical tree growing over 60 feet high with large, up to six inches wide, drooping yellow flowers.  The flowers first appear green and are without fragrance and covered in white hairs, then, roughly twenty days later, change to white, then to yellow and become very fragrant. Even the dried flowers will scent a room for up six weeks.

PORTION OF PLANT USED IN DISTILLATION, HOW DISTILLED, EXTRACTION METHODS ~ The flowers are harvested fresh and hydro- or steam-distilled. In 375 Essential Oils & Hydrosols, explicit instruction is given on how to distill Ylang-Ylang flowers. See p. 159.4

1) all parts of the still must be immaculate.

2) the flowers should be fully mature, not damaged, and harvested early in the morning.

3) flowers must be taken immediately to the distillery and distilled immediately.

4) the stills are direct fired, and the water should be almost boiling when the flowers are added.

5) proceed smoothly, quickly, and uniformly with supervised eyes on distillation.

6) condensation must be efficient, and the fractions sharply cut off.

7) complete notes should be taken on all parts of the growing, harvesting, and distillation, including information on the distillation weather, water, equipment, wind, and temperature during the distillation.

         “The flowers of the tree are steam-distilled.  “The first part of the distillation produced within the first 45 minutes produces the finest oil, the fraction known as “Extra” and the receiver is then removed, and another receiver put in its place. The “Extra” is used mainly in perfumery.  The same flowers continue to be distilled for several more hours, and in 2 ½  hours, another receiver, when removed is called the 1st fraction, as the distillation continues for several more hours and the receiver is removed again and this is called the 2nd fraction, distillation will continue for up to 10-14 hours, and finally the end result is called the 3rd fraction. This last fraction is often used for removing varnishes. Sometimes the total distillation time for a ‘complete’  will take 6-8 hours. And often the entire process can take up to fourteen hours.         

            Ylang-Ylang oil can also be produced by solvent extraction, forming a concrète and absolute.4

            Yield ~ 1.5-2%. A mature tree gives 9 kilograms of fresh flowers yielding 30 grams of oil annually.

3 fractions + complete – Ylang Xtra, Ylang #1, Ylang #3, Ylang complete

            Study and work is being conducted on capturing Ylang-Ylang scent by headspace technology. This is a process used to capture the odor compounds present in the air that surround an object. Once the scent is captured and analyzed, perfumers can try to recreate it using what they have available.

photo showing how headspace technology works by enclosing a flower
Scent capture by headspace technology
Organoleptics of 8 different Ylang oils
8 different Ylang oils analyzed by their sensory qualities

>< 

ODOR DESCRIPTION ~ There is more descriptive odor information in the Blending portion of this blog post and odor snapshots at the end. I am particularly fond of the  Absolute of Ylang-Ylang and the Extra I have from 1995 and 2005.  These two types of Ylang-ylang are so rich and floral, fruity with powder and honey back notes.

        The absolute and the extra have deep rich colors and have a very satisfying and rich fatty, floral, a fruity odor that has great tenacity in a scent. The complete and the fine organic are also enjoyable with very special uses in blending and perfumery. In a blend, these top fractions have unusual power in the top note, and the fragrance fades out very slowly and elegantly in a long-lasting, floral-spicy, and very sweet way that is truly reminiscent of the fragrance of the flower.

         NOSE DIVE, a book by Harold McGee, describes the scent of Ylang as as “has balsamic and wintergreen qualities from several benzenoid-ring volatiles, and a leathery variation on cresol.”  This is a wonderful book for all scents, from the cosmos to the planet to cooked and fermented foods.

>< 

         I have been able to enjoy many of the different variations of scents of Ylang: my first experience was a cheap reproduction that made me nauseous and years later, the flowers from the Cananga tree in West Palm Beach to the picked fresh off the tree flowers from the Fairchild Tropical Garden to the many fractions of the oil that were distilled in Madagascar, to the present day as shown below.  My favorite of the modern lot is the organically grown essential oil from Madagascar, #234 as sold by Prima Fleur Botanicals.

Showing bottles of Ylang, different types: Ylang Comp. Indonesia • Ylang Comp. Madagascar • Ylang Comp. Organic Madagascar • Ylang #3 Organic Madagascar • Ylang #1 1995 Madagascar
Ylang Comp. Indonesia • Ylang Comp. Madagascar • Ylang Comp. Organic Madagascar • Ylang #3 Organic Madagascar • Ylang #1 1995 Madagascar

SOLUBILITY ~ Years ago, I had a phone call from a student that the Ylang she was using was milky and not clear when she added alcohol as a diluent. She thought she had been sold adulterated Ylang. I went to my Guenther books and read all about  Ylang and found that it is not soluble in certain amounts of alcohol. As an experiment in July of 2002, I decided to do various dilutions for my own knowledge and experimentation.

         As follows: Ylang-Ylang is not soluble in 2 volumes of 95% alcohol. That means if you add 1-volume of Ylang-Ylang to 2-volumes of alcohol, it will be milky and not clear. You have to add enough alcohol as a diluent so it is not milky.

            In September 2002, I mixed 20 drops of each of the four types of Ylang -Ylang with 10 or fewer drops of each with the two percentages of the alcohol and found that the color stayed golden color and that the mixtures were clear. However, 18 hours later, at 10 am on 9/7/02 – I looked at the mixtures and found that the Ylang-Ylang had settled out of the 85% EtOH and was still turbid in 95% grain EtOH.

            Then I reread Guenther, If your Ylang -Ylang gets milky and opalesces in alcohol, it only means that you added too little or too much alcohol – it is supposed to get milky (up to 10 volumes), and if it doesn’t get milky then you have an adulterated Ylang -Ylang. In other words, the more alcohol you add, the milkier and cloudier it gets until up to 10 volumes of 90% EtOH, and it will begin to clear — See pages 267-316 in volume 5 of Guenther’s The Essential Oils.

This was a great experiment.

§

Ylang Limerick

Ylang is so soothing and nice –

it makes up in scent with its price –

Add to perfume –

romance will loom –

And you may end up married with rice. —JeanneRose2017

YLANG-YLANG GENERAL PROPERTIES

         If you apply Ylang-Ylang externally, it is antiseptic, with the “second” and “third” fractions being antispasmodic, anti-inflammatory, and antiparasitic. If you use the oil by inhalation, it is somewhat aphrodisiac, calming, and acts as a nervine and a sedative, antidepressant, calmative, cardiotonic, and euphoric. 

YLANG-YLANG PHYSICAL USES & HOW USED ~

Application:  Add a few drops in skin care products and use them to soothe the skin, and ease light pain; it is used externally in the bath or on the body or used in perfumery. Fraction  #1 has often been recommended to be added to a blend to treat scabies and mange, although I had never had the opportunity to try this, and years later when I did, it was ineffective.

Inhalation of Ylang-Ylang:  RELAX! Ylang-Ylang, inhale to soothe anger, relieve pain, for insomnia, a euphoric that serves as an aphrodisiac, and to treat impotence. 

            Add it to Lemon oil and Lavender oil to relax your blood pressure, as studies have shown that this is a very effective formula. This mixture was found to be effective in lowering systolic blood pressure and sympathetic nerve system activity. The blend was 2•2•1 (Lemon/Lavender/Ylang complete); you can read about it here. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21157172

It is so good in perfumery and is used in soothing skin care, and by inhalation, in dilution, it eases depression and soothes anger.

Ingestion: Ylang-Ylang has been taken in the past for PMS, to regulate circulation, as a uterine tonic, aphrodisiac, and cardiotonic. However, I am not sure that the appropriate way to use these flowers is by taking the oil, as it can cause extreme tiredness.  The oil has devolved over the years. From my own personal exploration and knowledge and my uses of over 45 years, the best way to use Ylang oil is simply by inhalation for relaxation and emotional soothing and in perfumery.

Read Tomato tale #2 at the end of this article for a story about taking this oil.      

               

EMOTIONAL/ENERGETIC USES (AP OR IN) ~

Inhalation: Aphrodisiac, nervousness, anti-depressant, euphoric, relieves tension, stress, irritability, and anger, cardiotonic, sedative, PMS, physical exhaustion.

           Inhalation of Ylang #1 oil as an aphrodisiac and for insomnia, to soothe aggression and very useful in a man’s product for stress.

           Valerie Worwood suggests that Ylang-Ylang (fraction used unknown) be used to counteract anxiety, tension, stress, and shyness, among other things, and it can assist self-confidence and warmth. She says the “Ylang-Ylang personality is intensely feminine. — The Fragrant Mind, p. 398.

DIFFUSE/DIFFUSION ~ All fractions of Ylang oil can be used with other oils and used in the diffusor. It seems especially lovely to mix with Lemon and true Lavender oil to soothe the atmosphere of a room.

Contra-Indications & Personal Note: In my experience, most fractions of Ylang-Ylang are not cardiotonic but an accelerator of heart rhythm. Please be extra careful with this lovely perfumery oil.

Do not use on children or the elderly.

BLENDING and PERFUMERY ~  The top note, the first impression of the scent as it is applied to the skin, is rather fleeting and ephemeral but richly sweet and powerful. The middle and bottom notes are most lasting, fading out slowly over the course of a day.” 5

            All fractions of Ylang-Ylang blend well with an enormous variety of oils and resins and scents from all parts of plants, such as the seeds (Cardamom), roots (Vetivert), stems (Lavender), flowers (Jasmin), barks (Cedrus), and herbs such as Spearmint. It would do you well to know what fraction you have and try some blends before deciding on your favorite.

Ylang, most fractions and the complete, are so good in that its unusual top note, “a fragrance that fades out very slowly and most elegantly in a long-lasting, floral-spicy and very sweet note, truly reminiscent of the fragrance of the flower” and used in perfumery and in soothing skincare and also by inhalation (in dilution) as it eases depression cools anger.

            I have physical issues with my heart, so I cannot use the fractions of Ylang-Ylang called I, II, or III individually. They actually make me nauseous. So, I choose the absolute or extra in my perfumery of choice.

HYDROSOL ~ I am very fond of Ylang hydrosol and have it from several sources. Ylang-ylang hydrosol is quite lovely as a spray on the face and body. With a wee bit (1%) of Spearmint, it will bring joy and peacefulness. Spray this combination on pillows and bed linens for sweet sleep. By itself, it is a calming floral aroma; added to a toner, it will help combination skin or oily skin. . I would use it every day if it were available. It makes a sweet soothing spray after a warm bath and excellent facial skin toner. It can also be sprayed on the hair for a light aroma. Use it after you have shampooed and rinsed as a spray mist, and then comb it through.  

            I have used Ylang hydrosol myself many times and have always loved this particular hydrosol.

PLEASE NOTE: A true hydrosol should be distilled explicitly for the hydrosol, not as a co-product or a by-product of essential oil distillation. The plant’s cellular water has many components most are lost under pressurized short steam runs for essential oil or by using dried material. We recommend that the producers precisely distill for a product by using fresh plant material.

    

HERBAL USE ~ These flowers can be worn in the hair, and the scent will relax the body.  The flowers can also be dried and used in citrus potpourris.  They will last for months, and then the entire potpourri can be added to water on the boil, infused, and used in the bath as a relaxant.

KEY USE ~ The Oil of Perfumery

SUSTAINABILITY ~ Ylang-ylang seems to be sustainable at this point, and several large commercial companies are working with planters and growers to maintain the healthy population of these tree flowers. They work to champion responsible sourcing and support the farming community.  I hope that this is true going forward.

This work is sponsored and supported by Prima Fleur Botanicals.

§

Photo of pipette in a bottle showing the color of the essential oil (light yellow)
showing a color of the oil

ODOR SNAPSHOTS

Two odor snapshot charts showing the sensory analysis of Extra and a Complete Ylang oil.
Odor Snapshot of Extra and Ylang Comp. Organic Madagascar #234

YLANG-YLANG TOMATO TALES -1

Ylang Dog use

The aromatherapy dogs of Jeanne Rose, Wolfie and Sumo.
This is the famous Wolfie & Sumo Dogs in 1995

            “Many who have the books of Jeanne Rose, aromatherapist and author of many books concerning herbs and aromatherapy, know the story of  Sumo and Wolfie.  Sumo-dog was a full-grown Akita-Shepherd cross with the face of a puppy. Sumo was run over by a car and dragged along the pavement on his right side for some distance.  The injury to his rear right leg was severe, including severed ligaments and tendons, torn off skin, and muscles in a 180-degree rotation around the hock joint! Veterinarians recommended amputation.  Jeanne refused to allow this and treated the dog’s wounds with Tea Tree and Lavender oils as well asTea Tree water washes, and hydrosol.  Months later, there was only an almost unnoticeable scar on the length of his leg and a slight limp in Sumo’s happy gait.

             At the same time, Jeanne used Ylang-Ylang oil-#1 in a diffuser to treat her other dog, Wolfie-dog, the beautiful blue-eyed Siberian Husky. Wolfie was emotionally traumatized by the terrible incident”5 as she was also thrown by the car and then returned home refused to leave her bed while Sumo was in the hospital. She also would not go outside unless attended. Jeanne would add Ylang-Ylang #1  essential oil to the diffuser and noticed that Wolfie would get up and lie down nearer to the diffuser at times during the day and then return to her bed. When Sumo came home, she was much more at ease”. ………… (these words have been slightly altered from my book, The Aromatherapy Book”  to bring them up to date.

Warning -do not trap a dog near a diffuser without a way for it to get away. Some odors are just too strong for a dog’s sensitive sense of smell.

YLANG-YLANG TOMATO TALES -2

Gio Costanzo, Ylang, and Champagne – Gio is a really lovely friend who happens to have just become single again.  Geo is just learning about essential oils and became very intrigued when another friend of ours mentioned that they could act as ‘aphrodisiacs.’  “HOW?” was the first question asked?  “Well, you can use them to make things smell really fragrant like you can put a drop or two of Eucalyptus in your sauna to make the place smell better; you could put a drop of Ylang-Ylang in your champagne and drink it with your girlfriend; you can add essential oils to the last rinse of your laundry to make your bedding smell really sweet,” was our collective response.

Several months later, I found myself on a plane with him, flying to Texas for a football game, and asked about the aphrodisiac and if he had used it and here is his story.

He had grabbed hold of the Ylang-Ylang in the champagne answer but hadn’t listened to the part about “a drop” and had added something like 1-drop to each glass poured from his expensive bottle of champagne. He told me that he and his girlfriend had spent the evening together and had several glasses each of the bubbles but didn’t much like the taste and so went to bed, where they promptly fell asleep. “I didn’t like it, and It didn’t work very well as an aphrodisiac, but it did work to put us to sleep.”

            He also told me that I had forgotten the most important part of his story that the Ylang-ylang did not make them smell good. “I thought we were going to smell good but after drinking the champagne, we smelled so bad we couldn’t stand each other in the same bed. That was the worst part of it, and you can mention that.  Jeanne what we did was put a drop in every glass of champagne until we had used up all the Ylang. We hopped into bed, started getting hot sweats, and then the pungent smell overcame us. It was a horrid smell, and we could not wash it away. We slept in different rooms that night because of the smell. There went that romantic night! Also bad for me on the plane the next day. That’s the way my first experience with Ylang went.”

 §

References:

1Guenther, Ernest. The Essential Oils. Volume 5, pages 267-316.

2 http://www.jeannerose.net/articles/wedding_aromatic.html

3 A history of Cananga (Annonaceae). IM Turner, J.F. Veldkamp -Gard.Bull.Singapore, 2009- nparks.gov.sg

4 Rose, Jeanne. 375 Essential Oils & Hydrosols

5 Rose, Jeanne. The Aromatherapy Book, Applications & Inhalations.

Alpharnd@aol.com. Nadim Shaath. http://www.alpharnd.com

Harman, Ann. Harvest to Hydrosol

McGee, Harold . Nose Dive, A Field Guide to the World’s Smells.  Penguin Press, New York. 2020

Mabberley, D.J. Mabberley’s Plant Book. 2008 3rd Edition with 2014 updates. Cambridge University Press

Rose, Jeanne. 375 Essential Oils & Hydrosols. http://www.jeannerose.net/books.html

Rose, Jeanne. The Aromatherapy Book, Applications & Inhalations.

Turner, I.M. and J.F. Veldkamp .A History of Cananga (Annonaceae). Gardens’ Bulletin Singapore 61 (1): 189-204. 2009

Bibliography

Mabberley, D. J. Mabberley’s Plant-Book, 3rd edition, 2014 printing, Cambridge University Press.

Herbal Studies Course/ Jeanne Rose & Berkeley, California: North Atlantic Books, 1992

SOME CAUTIONS TO REMEMBER for all Plants and their Parts

Precautions in a box

DISCLAIMER:  This work is intended for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for accurate diagnosis and treatment by a qualified health care professional. Dosages are often not given, as that is a matter between you and your health care provider. The author is neither a chemist nor a medical doctor.  The content herein is the product of research and personal and practical experience. Institute of Aromatic & Herbal Studies  – Jeanne Rose©

showing seveal Ylang flowers
Ylang photo of flowers from Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden  by Jeanne Rose 1992

Cinnamon Bark & Leaf

Photo by Jeanne Rose of the essential oils of the leaf and bark plus the bark itself, powdered bark and leaves (a tree from the SF Conservatory of Flowers).

CINNAMON BARK & LEAF ~ botany, history, and uses.

Synopsis ~ Cinnamon is a spice, a very fragrant culinary condiment,  obtained from the inner bark of the genus Cinnamomum. Here listed are history, uses, and more.

CINNAMON BARK & LEAF, Hydrosol, Uses

Jeanne Rose – August 2022

COMMON NAME/LATIN BINOMIAL OF CINNAMON ~ Cinnamon bark & leaf, Cinnamomum verum AKA zeylanicum, or Ceylon cinnamon, true Cinnamon; the Cinnamon that is commercially used but is often adulterated.

Family ~ Lauraceae, the same family that includes the true Bay tree, Litsea spp., Sassafras spp., and Cinnamomum cassia.

COUNTRIES OF ORIGINS ~ Cinnamon was a native of Ceylon and is now grown in other areas such as Java, Sumatra, Borneo, South America, the East Indian, and West Indies, among places.

ENDANGERED OR NOT ~ The Cinnamon tree is threatened by human growth into once wild and farming areas T; the Cebu Cinnamon is endangered.

GENERAL DESCRIPTION OF PLANT HABITAT AND GROWTH ~ CEYLON CINNAMON. -This large, evergreen tree grows in mixed forests and valleys and has glossy,  thick, leathery,  alternate leaves; the entire tree has a distinct odor. The spice is “long, closely rolled quills, composed of 8 or more layers of bark of the thickness of paper; pale yellowish-brown; outer surface smooth, marked with wavy lines of bast-bundles; inner surface striate; fracture short-splintery; odor fragrant; taste sweet and warmly aromatic”-(U. S.).            There are several hundred species of the Cinnamon tree.

photo of Mabberley's Plant Book.

Find a good Field Guide Book and learn how to identify plants by their external and internal look.
Or use Mabberley’s Plant-Book for the correct names, classification, and uses.

PORTION OF Cinnamon USED FOR EXTRACTION, EXTRACTION METHODS; DISTILLATION, HOW DISTILLED, AND YIELDS ~ Distillation is one of the oldest, simplest, and most widespread methods of extracting cinnamon essential oils, especially at commercial levels. In the Cinnamon bark or leaf hydrodistillation process, water vapors at boiling temperature are used to drive out the fragrant components. Supercritical fluid extraction yields Cinnamon CO2 and is one of the techniques used for Cinnamon oil and other essential oil extraction.1

Yield – The steam distillation of the bark is about 4% yield; while the steam distillation of the leaf is about 5%.

 •

•SOURCE ~ Prima Fleur Botanicals is an excellent source of true Cinnamon essential oil

photo of Prima Fleur Cinnamon bark oil and the bark (quill) and powder

Organoleptic or Sensory qualities of the Bark and leaf.

ODOR DESCRIPTION/ AROMA ASSESSMENT ~ Cinnamon bark oil is fruity, floral, and spicy; while the Cinnamon leaf oil is spicy, woody, and vegetative.

CHEMISTRY  OF CINNAMON ~ “Regarding the differences between plant parts, it is known from Cinnamon (Cinnamomum zeylanicum) that the root-, stem-, and leaf oils differ significantly (Wijesekera et al., 1974): only the stem bark contains essential oil with up to 70% cinnamaldehyde, whereas the oil of the root bark consists mainly of camphor and linalool, and the leaves produce oils with eugenol as the main compound. In contrast to it, eugenol is 70–90% of the main compound in the stem, the leaf, and bud oils of cloves (Syzygium aromaticum) (Lawrence, 1978)”. —from Handbook of Essential Oils by Buchbauer.

The essential oil of cinnamon bark (max. 4%) is dominated by the two phenylpropanoids cinnamaldehyde (3-phenyl-acrolein, 65 to 75%) and eugenol (4-(1-propene-3-yl)-2-methoxy-phenol, 5 to 10%).

            Essential oil of cinnamon leaves, another (1%) can be obtained that consists mainly of eugenol (70 to 95%) and can be used as a substitute for clove.

Photo of Cinnamon tree, bark in quills, and dried leaves.

§

GENERAL PROPERTIES of Cinnamon

CINNAMON PROPERTIES AND USES ~ Action are stimulant, tonic, stomachic, carminative, and astringent; reputed emmenagogue can diminish milk secretion.

CINNAMON SKIN CARE ~ Add Cinnamon bark oil to your products as an antibacterial and for that delicious spicy scent. Cinnamon oil contains eugenol; it is antispasmodic, anti-infectious, and antifungal and is also indicated for tooth care, respiratory blends, or the herb tea for sleepiness or depression.

This is a skin irritant; use it with moderation and with caution.

APPLICATION/MASSAGE ~ CINNAMON CO2 (Cinnamomum zeylanicum)  Add Cinnamon to your products as an antibacterial stimulant and for that delicious spicy scent. Cinnamon CO2 retains the true scent of dried Cinnamon. You can add it to your products as part of your scent blend.

This is a skin irritant; use it with moderation and with caution.

            CHAI BLEND #6050  ~ This warm, spicey, and energizing blend is used in massage and diffusion to energize the air in a common room. Add the blend to Turmeric oil at  5% with a carrier oil for deep-tissue massage for aching joints or add to an unscented cream and use it as a body massage. The spicy blend “Chai” from Prima Fleur includes Cardamom, Cinnamon leaf, Ginger, Nutmeg, and others. … …… Not for facial skincare

CINNAMON DIFFUSE/DIFFUSION ~ EMOTIONAL/ENERGETIC USE ~ The mystery of aromatherapy is the everchanging scent —Get to know this essence that can create such a variety of emotional and physical changes. Cinnamon first stimulates and then depresses the nervous system. Cinnamon is used in medications to correct the effects and improve the drug’s flavor.

•••

BLENDING & PERFUMERY ~ Always dilute Cinnamon oil (and all the spice oils) very well, as they are skin irritants. Cinnamon bark oil blends well with most odors such as florals, citrus, woods, herbs, spices, and resins.

Here is a perfume formula.

Cinnamon Chypre Perfume formula

HYDROSOL OF CINNAMON ~ I am fortunate to have two bottles of Cinnamon bark hydrosol. I use them in cooking, as a light spray on some desserts and other foods, or as a spray to scent the room. Both these hydrosols taste delicious and can also be used in your tea (up to 1 t./cup) and as a compress for aching muscles or joints.

PLEASE NOTE: A true hydrosol should be specifically distilled for the hydrosol, not as a co-product or even a by-product of essential oil distillation. The plant’s cellular water has many components most are lost under pressurized short steam runs for essential oil or by using dried material. We recommend that the producers specifically distill for a product by using fresh plant material.

                                                                                              •

HERBAL/USE ~  Culinary uses of Cinnamon include flavoring in many products, spicing up desserts and in candies and other sweets; and eating Cinnamon cassia, which is a different species, 1-2 t./day to improve your glucose (1, 3, or 6 grams – 2 t per day).

Also, Cinnamon bark, crushed, is useful in potpourris to scent a room.

KEY USE ~ The oil of Scent and Taste.

HISTORICAL USES ~ Wiki says, “It was regarded as a suitable gift for Monarchs and for Gods. Ancient Egyptians used Cinnamon as part of their embalming rituals. Physicians from the Middle Ages used Cinnamon to help treat cold and throat ailments such as coughing, hoarseness and sore throats. And “it was the most profitable spice in the Dutch East India Company trade.”2

            It was also used as a preservative in food and adding flavor as long ago as 2000 B.C. The Bible also mentions Cinnamon.

§

This work is sponsored and supported by Prima Fleur Botanicals.

INTERESTING INFORMATION ON CINNAMON ~ Cinnamon oil from C. zeylanicum has antifungal, antiviral, bactericidal, and larvicidal properties. A liquid carbon dioxide extraction at 0.1% has been demonstrated to suppress the growth of many organisms, including E. coli, S. aureus, and C. albicans.3

§

CINNAMON LIMERICK

Cinnamon so sweet and so nice
For this you may want to pay the price
Use it for scent
But not for rent
And if you want it will kill all your lice. —JeanneRose2016

§

References

  1. Cinnamon Oil By Khalid Haddi, Lêda R.A. Faroni, Eugênio E. Oliveira • Green Pesticides Handbook, 1st Edition . 2017 . CRC Press

2. Wikipedia mention

3. PRESERVATIVES | Traditional Preservatives – Vegetable Oils. E.O. Aluyor, I.O. Oboh, in Encyclopedia of Food Microbiology, 2nd Ed., 2014. … Oils from Vegetables as Possible Preservatives

Bibliography

Mabberley, D. J. Mabberley’s Plant-Book, 3rd edition, 2014 printing, Cambridge University Press.

Rose, Jeanne. 375 Essential Oils and Hydrosols. Berkeley, California: Frog, Ltd., 1999

Rose, Jeanne. The Aromatherapy Book: Applications & Inhalations. San Francisco, California:

Herbal Studies Course/ Jeanne Rose & Berkeley, California: North Atlantic Books, 1992

SOME CAUTIONS TO REMEMBER for all Plants and their Parts

DISCLAIMER:  This work is intended for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for accurate diagnosis and treatment by a qualified health care professional. Dosages are often not given, as that is a matter between you and your health care provider. The author is neither a chemist nor a medical doctor. The content herein is the product of research and personal and practical experience. Institute of Aromatic & Herbal Studies  – Jeanne Rose©

BRUISE JUICE

BRUISE JUICE ~ How To Make It …

By Jeanne Rose

§

photo by Jeanne Rose of Bruise Juice on a background of Comfrey leaves
photo by Jeanne Rose of Bruise Juice on a background of Comfrey leaves

The Secrets of this Famous HEALING OIL Decoded

HISTORY OF BRUISE JUICE

In 1969 I was trying to figure out how to cure my paralyzed right shoulder and arm after having a particularly awful automobile accident when I drove my car into Deetjen’s restaurant in Big Sur rather than driving it off the cliff. One historical herbal information source was the nearby U.C. Medical School library. There I found a most fascinating book, “Receipts in Physick and Chirurgery,” by Sir Kenelm Digby, Knt, 1668. There was a recipe for a potent ointment that would heal an injury at a far distance. Well, that was certainly fascinating as it meant if you had an injury in New York, I could rub the same place on my own body while in San Francisco and heal your injury from 3000 miles away.

So, I set about collecting the ingredients and spent the next six months working on the formula. Since the receipt (recipe) itself was so old, the names of many of the herbs were a mystery, such as what in the heck was smallage? This is when I learned how to use the Oxford English Dictionary, a diachronic dictionary that defines the word and tells you the history of the word and where it was first used. The name smallage is simply an old name for Celery seed.

Also, the ointment was made with ‘herbs in season‘, that is, freshly picked botanicals, and put by in a large porcelain jar with oil (then it was the oil of Ben*) until you had all the ingredients together. This meant I had to start in spring and end at the beginning of the following spring. I solved this problem the first time I made ‘Bruise Juice’ by purchasing some dried herbs from Nature’s Herb Company in San Francisco, using some fresh herbs from my garden, and storing them in a large porcelain jar with Olive oil. The process and original formula are in my book, Herbs & Things, written in 1969 and published in 1972.

photo by Jeanne Rose of one season's choices of herbs for Bruise Juice
Midsummer 2020

* “The best oil is the oil of ben as it is a protection…, a security from every affliction. Anoint yourselves with it… blessings…be on them and use it.”  Ben oil is pressed from the seeds of the Moringa oleifera, known variously as the horseradish tree, ben oil tree, or drumstick tree. It has a long history in many cultures as a fragrant oil for healing and perfumery. The oil is characterized by unusually long shelf life and a mild but pleasant taste (it smells a bit fishy to me).  However, I have always used Olive oil in my Bruise Juice – it is local, organically grown, and works exceedingly well.

Olive fruit for oil and Moringa seeds

DIRECTIONS  … Do not hurry the process.
Get your ingredients together, and work evenly and slowly.
Be consistent to get the best possible product.
Develop your standard of excellence and stick to it.

If you do not invest any energy into making a product, you will get no healing from it.

§


1) COLLECT ~ I always use at least 50 – 60 different parts of herbs, roots, barks, and spices in the Bruise Juice to combat any sort of physical problem. Do you have to use so many? Maybe not, but I am trying to follow this old formula as close as possible for the magic it contains. I have made Bruise Juice using just 5 plants, with all the parts; that would be 15-25 parts if the flowers and seeds were available with the root, stems, and leaves.

Bruise Juice can be used by everyone; It is great for all athletes; football, baseball, lacrosse, basketball, rugby, track-and-field, etc., and is used on all sports injuries as well as everyday aches and injuries.

For my  Bruise Juice, I pick plants in the morning before the sun is high, but the plants are dry (with no wet dew), and I always try to start work on a waxing moon, close to a full moon. I collect the plants, comminute them a bit, place them in a large porcelain and non-aluminum pot, and add enough virgin Olive oil to cover the herbs in the pot.

…(day 1-2)

the pot, the herbs, the olive oil
the pot, the herbs, the olive oil

2) COOK ~ When all plants are collected and in the pot, I turn the heat to medium and heat until the oil is on a low bubble, and the plants start to sweat their internal cellular water. I collect this condensate from the pot’s lid into a small separate jar or glass. I like to collect the condensate into a clean glass and drink it immediately for its healing qualities.  It is the first or virgin condensate from the plants.  Then I dry the inside of the pot’s lid with a cloth and cool the pot for several hours.
 …(day 2-3)

the pot, the cellular water of plants, condensing on the lid
the pot, the cellular water of plants, condensing

3) CONDENSATE MUST BE REMOVED INTACT ~ I heat gently and cool slowly (do not refrigerate) and remove the condensate each time, and heat and cool, and remove the condensate until no more condensate collects inside the lid. At this point, the herbs should feel crisp but not smell burnt and with no internal water as the herbs have condensed the healing into itself. If they smell burnt, they are, and you need to start over. I let the pot cool and then take it off the stove and let it cool enough to handle. [Heat low and slow]
…(day 2-5)

To remove condensate, lift the lid straight up off the pot without tilting it,
move lid away from the pot, and then turn it sideways to drip into your separate glass or jar.

4) STRAIN ~ through a sieve that has been lined with a transparent or thin piece of silk or a pantyhose (do not use cotton or linen), I let it drain until no more oil comes through (this can take 2-4 hours depending on the temperature of the room). [if you wish to add essential oils, this would be the time], add and mix, then on to stage 5. [Also if you want to use some of the Bruise Juice in salad dressing, do not add any essential oils]
…(day 4-5)

Jeanne Rose photo of paint strainer used and straining herbal bits from the product
paint strainer and straining herbal bits from the product

5) SETTLE ~ Pour into a half-gallon or gallon jar, let it settle a day or two, and then bottle on a waning moon. You can also add the essential oils at this point.
…(day 5-7)

Jeanne Rose photo of Bruise Juice in the large glass jar
Bruise Juice in the large glass jar

6) BOTTLE ~ When completely settled, the oil is clear and green, and any watery or clouded liquid is clearly showing at the bottom of the jar; it is time to bottle it up. A waning moon is good, a warm day is better, and a peaceful day is best. [your intent goes a long way when creating a healing oil or ointment]

the 8-oz. bottles are filled

7) LABEL.  And make sure you label everything totally and completely.

…(day 5-8)

Biodynamic BJ-2022
Biodynamic BJ-2022

§

That is it!

Here are the extra notes you may wish to have regarding the plants to use, the essential oils to add, and the whys and wherefores.

§

GENERAL CHART OF PERCENTAGES OF PLANTS

“Wherever you live, learn the plants around you.  Depend upon what grows locally. 

Plants have power,

and you can tap into this power by using them in this simple old remedy.

Use what you know.”

The plants that I use all grow in my backyard in San Francisco.
What do you grow in your area?

An idea of what percentage of each type of herb to use in your Bruise Juice.

Chart of what herbs to use and at what percentage.

Essential Oils per gallon • Each quart of Bruise Juice contains over 2.5% essential oil (about .8 oz by volume) and should contain all or some of these oils. Tea Tree essential oil by itself is not adequate. Use a simple blend.

Don’t get fancy and try to add everything that you have in your cupboard.

Plus
Plai/Teatree
– first aid in all its forms, mild, anti-bacterial, and first aid treatment
Litsea cubeba – anti-viral (in a combination — Tea Tree 9 parts • Litsea •1 part)
Palmarosa – anti-fungal and anti-yeast
Rosemary verbenone – anti-fungal (verbenone) and stimulating

§

Bruise Juice is a well-known product developed by Jeanne Rose in 1969. It was written about & described in Herbs & Things, Jeanne Rose’s Herbal – see pages 204-206. Each season of the year, the Bruise Juice is made with the freshest herbs of the season – so Spring Bruise Juice will smell and react a bit different than Summer made or Fall made Bruise Juice. Apply with fingers, cotton ball, q-tip as massage, application, or rub. Rub it on gently or firmly, as often as necessary, at least several times per day. You can make it simple or use all or some of the herbs and herb parts you have. Here is one iteration of mine.

Summer 2008 — made a simple Bruise Juice with 7 of these herbs (15 parts) including

ANALGESICSage leaf and stem – analgesic = 20%
AROMATIC – Peppermint & Bergamot mint , leaves, stems – aromatic  & Lemon Balm tops, flowers, leaves, stems – antiviral = 10%
ASTRINGENT – Rose buds, leaf, stems – astringent & Witch Hazel leaves , stems – astringent, & Yarrow flowers, stems & leaves  – astringent & healing = 20%
EMOLLIENT –  Violet leaves, & Marshmallow flowers and leaves – healing = 20%
HEALING – Comfrey leaf & stem – emollient & healing & Rosemary leaves, stems = 20%

PLUS
Essential Oils of Plai, Lavender & Rosemary

A COLLAGE of plants from 2018
A collage of plants from 2018

•••

            Some of the herbs that I have used at various times are as follows: since this is a Seasonal product, the herbs used to depend on the season that we are making the Bruise Juice. Spring Bruise Juice is often green with leaves and early flowers; Summer Bruise Juice is flowers and lots of herb parts; Fall Bruise Juice is leaves and roots; Winter Bruise Juice is often conifers, seeds, and barks. Of course, stems are different than leaves, and both are different than the flowers or seeds of the same plant.  It is the chemistry of each that is different. Look up individual plants on my blog posts for their healing qualities, as many are listed there.

[see www.jeannerose-blog.com or http://www.jeanne-blog.com]

List of plants from a summer-made bruise juice with the alchemical symbol of healing at the bottom.
List of plants from a summer-made bruise juice with the alchemical symbol of healing at the bottom.
photo of a warrior son by a jeep
Bruise Juice Baby and warrior son, Bryan Moore.

Bruise Juice is always good to be applied to children’s injuries and even when those children grow up to be Warriors.

§

101 Uses for Healing Bruise Juice – externally applied

A list of 101 uses for Bruise Juice
101 Uses for Bruise Juice

We have many users of the fabulous Bruise Juice with comments and here is one,

“I received the bottle of Bruise Juice. Thank you!! I have been using it by application religiously each morning & evening. It is a wonderful formulation. I love the scent! If you have that scent in a more concentrated formula as a fragrance application I would like to know. Warm regards … J”

In the early days, people used Bruise Juice as salad dressing (with no EO), but this is the first time that anyone wanted to use it as a scent!

“I gave blood on Saturday.  The tech person poked through the vein and it
immediately swelled bigger than my thumb.  When I got home, I put bruise
juice on it, liberally.  There was almost no bruising, and today I can
hardly see it at all.  The other arm they finally got the pint out of is
more bruised than the arm that swelled!  Good stuff!” — E.T.

Bruise Juice and Calendula oil - photo by Jeanne Rose
Bruise Juice and Calendula oil – photo by Jeanne Rose

________________________________________________

All rights reserved 2022. No part of this article may be used without prior permission from Jeanne Rose.

© Authors Copyright Jeanne Rose, info@jeannerose.net
 

Jeanne Rose has two blogs on the uses of herbs and essential oils.

Refer to them for more information.

www.jeannerose-blog.com

www.jeanne-blog.com

rosebud
Rosebud

BAY – an ancient tree

photo of Noble bay and its essential oil from the leaves.
Bay leaf & oil

Bay, an ancient tree with a long history of uses; folklore; and modern use

BAY LEAF & OIL

By Jeanne Rose

COMMON NAME/LATIN BINOMIAL ~ Bay or Mediterranean Bay, Laurus nobilis. Other names include Bay Laurel, Sweet Bay, True Laurel, or Grecian Laurel.

Family ~ Lauraceae

            The California Bay, Umbellularia californica, in Family Lauraceae, has common names, including California Laurel, Pepperwood bay tree, and Oregon Myrtle.

  • To be clear, this is why you have to learn the scientific name of any plant to truly convey who/what you are talking about.

COUNTRIES OF ORIGINS ~ The Mediterranean Basin is the home of the Bay tree and once contained widespread forests when the climate was more humid. Some remnant forests remain in the area, including southern Spain and Turkey and northern Syria, parts of Morocco, and the Canary Islands. Bay trees of this species grow in many places, including my area (California).

            Today Bay Laurel essential oil comes from several areas, including Albania, Spain, Turkey, and Bosnia.

ENDANGERED OR NOT ~ The Bay Laurel is considered a threatened plant.

GENERAL DESCRIPTION OF PLANT HABITAT AND GROWTH ~ The Laurus nobilis species is dioecious (individual flowers are either male or female), with star-shaped male and female flowers on separate plants. This means that only one sex is to be found on any plant, so both male and female plants must be grown if seed is required). It is pollinated by bees. The plant is not self-fertile.1

            In the past, even when following a text that gave me the information on how to separate plants based on their structure and using a plant ID book, I have been slow to learn the difference between the California Bay and the Mediterranean Bay.  Ann Harman gave me a quick lesson once and suggested I concentrate on the difference in the flowers; as the Noble Bay is dioecious, in that male and female flowers are on separate plants, while the California Bay is monoecious, has perfect flowers in that the males and female parts are in the same flower.

I feel that you can also tell the difference between the Bays by looking at the leaves. Mediterranean Bay leaves are more ovate, with a slight wave to their edges. California Bay has longer, slimmer, more lance-like leaves. And when shopping for true Bay, in the herb or grocery store, you will note on the label that they usually come from Italy, Greece, or somewhere else in the Mediterranean.  The taste and smell are also different – Noble Bay’s scent and taste are more delicate and refined, while California Bay’s scent and taste are stronger, more pungent, and spicier.

photo of leaves of both Noble Bay and California Bay
Photo of both the Noble Bay (top) and the California Bay (below)

Find a good Field Guide Book and learn how to identify plants by their external and internal look.

PORTION OF PLANT USED FOR EXTRACTION, EXTRACTION METHODS; DISTILLATION, HOW DISTILLED, AND YIELDS of Bay Tree ~

            Three different trees are called Bay Laurel; in this article, we will concentrate on the Mediterranean Bay Laurel, Laurus nobilis.  The other trees mistaken for this tree and also called Bay Laurel are the Umbellularia californica from California; the Haitian Bay, native to the Caribbean and used in cooking, and a cologne called Bay Rum, whose common name is also Bay rum, Pimenta racemosa. Here is a comparison photo of the leaves and flowers taken by Jeanne Rose.

a photo of 3 different trees' leaves, all called Bay but different genus and species.
Bay trees: Bay Laurel, California Bay, and Bay Rum.

            The Bay leaves are extracted by hydro-distillation and are best done in copper or stainless steel. No considerable variations were observed in the chemical composition of the oils throughout the year. Moreover, and due to the good energy and values obtained, our results showed that the exhausted plant material obtained after distillation could be a putative fibrous feed for ruminants.2

Yield ~ Essential oil yields were 0.9 ± 0.5% (v/w) of dry weight and decreased to 0.3% (v/w) when flowers or fruits were present. 2 In Bulgaria, these are the results of GC/MS.: The oil yield was 0.78%, 0.80%, and 3.25% in the fruits, twigs, and leaves, respectively.3

                                                                               •

• SOURCE (S) ~ Prima Fleur Botanicals is an excellent source of true Bay laurel essential oil.

a bottle of bay laurel essential oil; clear and colorless
fragrant Bay leaf oil

• Bay leaf oil

Chart showing organoleptics of two types of bay leaf oil.
Organoleptics of two types of Bay leaf oil

ODOR DESCRIPTION/ AROMA ASSESSMENT ~ Laurel Bay has predominant notes of herbs and florals with subsidiary notes of fruity and spicy, and Bay rum is predominantly spicy with fruity notes and back notes that include herbaceous and camphoraceous.

CHEMICAL COMPONENTS OF BAY LAUREL ~ The most abundant component found in Bay Laurel essential oils is 1,8-cineole, also called eucalyptol. The leaves contain about 1.3% essential oils (ol. lauri folii), consisting of 45% 1, 8-cineole, 12% other terpenes, 8–12% terpinyl acetate, 3–4% sesquiterpenes, 3% methyl eugenol, and other α- and β-pinenes, phellandrene, linalool, geraniol, and terpineol.

            In Bulgaria, these are the results of GC/MS.: The oil yield was 0.78%, 0.80%, and 3.25% in the fruits, twigs, and leaves, respectively.

The main constituents in the fruit EO were 1,8-cineole (33.3%), α-terpinyl acetate (10.3%), α-pinene (11.0%), β-elemene (7.5%), sabinene (6.3%), β-phellandrene (5.2%), bornyl acetate (4.4%), and camphene (4.3%).

            The components in the twig EO were 1,8-cineole (48.5%), α-terpinyl acetate (13.1%), methyl eugenol (6.6%), β-linalool (3.8%), β-pinene (3.4%), sabinene (3.3%) and terpinene-4-ol (3.3%).

The components in the leaf EO were 1,8-cineole (41.0%), α-terpinyl acetate (14.4%), sabinene (8.8%), methyl eugenol (6.0%), β-linalool (4.9%), and α-terpineol (3.1%)3

         Here in California, we have a tall local tree with fragrant and spicy leaves called Bay Laurel, Umbellularia californica.  The physical difference between the two species is not that obvious.  The essential oil separates the gentle Bay Laurel from the toxic California Bay. This difference in chemistry is an important indicator of the difference between Noble Bay and California Bay with its toxic component called umbellulone.

3-part photo of Bay leaf + essential oils of both Bay and Haitain bay + Haitian Bay leaves.

§

GENERAL PROPERTIES of Bay Laurel

In general, the Bay tree oil is used in cosmetics for soap and aroma, in perfumery,

And the leaves used in food as a spice.

PROPERTIES AND USES ~ The Bay Laurel has many properties, including abortifacient, anti-rheumatic, antiseptic, culinary appetizer, aromatic, astringent, carminative, diaphoretic, digestive, diuretic, emetic, emmenagogue, narcotic, parasiticide, stimulant, and stomachic. The leaves have been used in the treatment of cancer of the uterus and in the treatment of a variety of respiratory issues such as bronchitis and flu or in drops for earache; in the treatment of hysteria; to stimulate the appetite; relieve the pain of aching joints. Some of these uses date back to Roman times.

            Laurel fruit has been used in carminative medicines and, in the past, used to promote abortion4. How this came about is unknown. The fixed oil from the fruit is used externally to treat sprains, bruises, etc., (as an application) and is sometimes used as ear drops to relieve pain4. The essential oil from the leaves has antibacterial and fungicidal properties.

BAY OIL USED EXTERNALLY IN SKIN CARE ~ Bay oil has a pleasant scent, more herbaceous and floral than Bay Rum oil. It has use in external products as an after-shave, in body scrubs or oils, in soaps, and for use in the shower or bath.  Be wary of what you purchase as Bay Laurel, as I have seen in products by major companies using Bay rum as a substitute.  Know the difference by their scent.

DIFFUSE/DIFFUSION ~ EMOTIONAL/ENERGETIC USE ~ The mystery of aromatherapy —Get to know the subtle scents of these oils and be able to create a variety of emotional and physical changes by inhalation. Bay Laurel by inhalation is soothing to the respiratory system and is useful for colds and virus infections. Many oils can be used for the respiratory system, so choose one that you know and choose one to learn from. This will expand your knowledge of essential oils.

BLENDING & PERFUMERY

It Blends Best with citrus, herb, and resinous oils.  If you get a Laurel oil with a floral odor, use it in a skin care product.

Blending with formula – Here is an idea for using Bay leaf oil in a perfume. The Noir 29 by Le Labo is an aromatic fragrance for women and men. This scent was launched in 2015. The nose behind this fragrance is Frank Voelkl. The top notes are Fig, Bay Leaf, and Bergamot; the middle notes are Cedar (not identified which cedar), Vetiver and Musk; the base notes are Tobacco and Hay.

Leah Vautrot took this photo of Bay Leaf in Golden Gate Park.
Bay leaf, photo by Leah

§

BAY LEAF HYDROSOL ~ The Bay in my yard is usually distilled twice a year, and 1.5 gallons of the wondrous hydrosol will be collected each time.  It is drunk as a tonic (1 t. per 1 glass of water) for your entire female needs, especially when they are serious such as with uterine fibroids or breasts that ache and are tender.

This hydrosol stimulates lymph and circulation, tones the intestine, and relieves gas. It can be externally applied and will act as a broad-acting antiseptic. It can be gargled as a mouthwash to relieve the pain of sore throat or tonsillitis and for dental hygiene. Add this hydrosol to all sorts of foods or steaming vegetables for a great taste.

Several kinds of trees are called Bay.  The Mediterranean or Grecian Bay Laurel, Laurus nobilis, is the tree most often associated with the name Bay, which this article references.                     

PLEASE NOTE: A true hydrosol should be specifically distilled for the hydrosol, not as a co-product or a by-product of essential oil distillation. The plant’s cellular water has many components most are lost under pressurized short steam runs for essential oil or by using dried material. We recommend that the producers specifically distill for a product by using fresh plant material.

HERBAL USE ~ The leaves can be used in a compress or for any type of bath and is especially useful in a foot bath for aching feet or aching muscles.  And the true use of the leaves is a bouquet garni or in the seasoning of foods and sauces. The hydrosol and the whole herb infusion can be used in veterinary care for farm animals and your dogs.

KEY USE ~ The oil an expectorant or mucolytic.

HISTORICAL USES/INTERESTING INFORMATION ~ The plant was called daphne, after the mythic mountain nymph in ancient Greece. In the myth of Apollo and Daphne, the god Apollo fell in love with Daphne, a priestess of Gaia (Mother Earth), and when he tried to seduce her, she pleaded for help and called to Gaia, who transported her to Crete. In Daphne’s place, Gaia left a laurel tree, from which Apollo fashioned wreaths to console himself.  Other versions of the myth, including that of the Roman poet Ovid, state that Daphne was transformed directly into a laurel tree.4.

            The bays tree has a long history of folk use in treating many ailments, particularly as an aid to digestion and in treating bronchitis and influenza.

§

This work is sponsored and supported by Prima Fleur Botanicals.

§

SCENT SNAPSHOTS

Scent snapshots of Bay Laurel and Haitian Bay.

References

1. https://pfaf.org/user/plant.aspx?LatinName=Laurus+nobilis

2. Industrial Crops and Products, vol. 30, issue 2, September 2009, Pages 259-264, Essential oil, and by-products of distillation of bay leaves (Laurus nobilis L.) from Argentina

3. https://www.mdpi.com/1420-3049/24/4/804. Chemical Composition and Antimicrobial Activity of Laurus nobilis L. Essential Oils from Bulgaria.

4. https://www.greeka.com/greece-myths/apollo-daphne/

Bibliography

Copeland, Dawn. Essential Oil Profiles. Completed for the Aromatherapy Studies Course. 2005

Mabberley, D. J. Mabberley’s Plant-Book, 3rd edition, 2014 printing, Cambridge University Press.

Rose, Jeanne.  375 Essential Oils and Hydrosols.  Berkeley, California: Frog, Ltd., 1999

Rose, Jeanne.  The Aromatherapy Book: Applications & Inhalations.  San Francisco, California:

Herbal Studies Course/ Jeanne Rose & Berkeley, California: North Atlantic Books, 1992

SOME CAUTIONS TO REMEMBER for all Plants and their Parts

precautions chart

DISCLAIMER:  This work is intended for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for accurate diagnosis and treatment by a qualified health care professional. Dosages are often not given, as that is a matter between you and your health care provider. The author is neither a chemist nor a medical doctor.  The content herein is the product of research and personal and practical experience. Institute of Aromatic & Herbal Studies  – Jeanne Rose©

JASMIN

The Jasmine, an ancient flower, is treasured and known throughout history for over 3000 years.  It is used today mainly for perfumery. Read on!

The Jasmin in my back yard.
Jeanne’s Jasmin

JASMINE Absolute and Uses

By Jeanne Rose

Can I say I love the  Jasmine as it produces blooms sometimes continually here in San Francisco, the most beautiful and treasured of flowers, so highly sought after for scent, emotional medicine, skincare, and love. Known as the ‘king of flowers”.

Jasmine COMMON NAME/LATIN BINOMIAL ~  Jasmine is the common name for the fragrant vine with white, highly fragrant flowers, and Jasminum is the genus. We will discuss three Jasmine species: J. grandiflorum,  J. officinale, and J. sambac.

Other Names and background ~ Jessamine, Yasmin, Jasmine, and more; my favorite is the Pikake of Hawaii, J. sambac. Pikake means “peacock” and was named by Crown Princess Kaiulani, the last princess of the sovereign Hawaiian monarchy because she loved both peacocks and this jasmine! Jasminum sambac,= Arabian jasmine = Hawaiian jasmine or pikake from the olive family (Oleaceae) and is originally a native of India. Pikake is known outside of Hawaii as Arabian or Indian jasmine. In the Philippines, where it is, the national flower is known as Sampaguita. In China, the flower is processed as the primary component for Jasmine tea.

Family ~ Oleaceae

Jasmine flower by Mary Nell Jackson of Jackson farms.
Jasmine flower – Mary Nell Jackson – Jackson Farms

COUNTRIES OF ORIGIN FOR Jasmine ABSOLUTE ~ India, Syria, Morocco, Iran, and more.

ENDANGERED ~ Some Jasmine varieties, types, and cultivars are rare. The genus itself is not endangered. There are about 200 species of this flower around the world, and it seems wherever it is, it is loved for its strong scent.

GENERAL DESCRIPTION OF Jasmin PLANT HABITAT AND GROWTH ~ An evergreen shrub, vine, or climbing bush that is fragile and grows up to 33 feet high, with dark green leaves and small, white, star-shaped flowers, which grow well on young shoots.   A cultivated ornamental, some species are naturalized in South America and invasive in SE USA, including Hawaii and New Zealand.

            Jasminum grandiflorum = Spanish Jasmine. It originated in the valleys of the lower Himalayas and was brought to Spain by the Moors. The Jasmine absolute is obtained by extraction and is one of perfumery’s most precious materials. It is produced mainly in Egypt (8000 freshly picked flowers to make 1 g of absolute).4

                  Jasminum officinale = common Jasmine or Poet’s Jasmine has a rich scent, is native to the Himalayas, probably originated in China, and is a robust and vigorous climber to 10-15 feet.

            Jasminum sambac = Arabian jasmine = Hawaiian jasmine or Pikake is a native of India. It is a fragrant-flowered shrub, 2–3 feet wide and up to 6 feet tall, used to make fragrant leis.

alchemical symbol of wax or sap

Jasmine ~ PORTION OF PLANT USED IN EXTRACTION AND YIELDS ~ Extraction is by solvent, enfleurage of the flowers, or CO2 with natural solvents.  “1,000 pounds of flowers yield approximately 1 pound of liquid concrète, which yields 0.2% of aromatic molecules.”  Picking and extraction is better and more productive in the morning, at 5 am, than 12 hours later at 5 pm. The Jasmines are grown for perfumery and some medicinal uses.

            • Two main types of Jasmine are used for oil production – Jasminum grandiflorum and Jasminum officinale. Jasmine flower oil extracted from these two species is used in high-grade perfumes and cosmetics, such as creams, oils, soaps, and shampoos.

Jasmine – there are many species and many kinds of the scent for perfume.

Jasmine CO2
Jasmine grandflorum – concrète and Absolute
Jasmine officinale – concrète and Absolute
Jasmine sambac – absolute and Enfleurage

••

Jasmin grandiflorum plant and Prima Fleur Jasmine absolute.
Jasmin grandiflorum – plant & Prima Fleur Jasmine absolute
Organoleptics of 4 types of Jasmine scent.

SCENT DESCRIPTIONS of Jasmine ~

                  Jasmine is a classic example of a flower that continues to develop and emit its natural odor up to 24-36 hours after it has been picked; therefore, it is supremely suitable for the enfleurage technique of extracting the scent via maceration in warm fat.

Jasminum grandiflorum absolute is floral with subsidiary notes of fruity, green, woody, and back notes of sweet hay, leather, powder, oily, and honey. See the scent snapshot at the end of this article.

Jasminum sambac absolute is very complex because it has dozens of components.  It can be described as floral, with a green and woody subsidiary note and spicey and sometimes fruity back note. It is an intensely floral, rich, warm, and diffusive odor.  It doesn’t take much to make a lovely positive change in a perfume. Arabian Jasmine is cultivated, solvent-extracted from the flower. The odor-aroma is sweet and tenacious and captures the late evening odors.

Jasmin Limerick
I love the smelly Jasmin
It is not all like the Lavender Tasmin.
White and small
Climbs the wall
It can smell up a deep chasm.

History & Interesting Facts  ~ Because its scent is more pungent after sunset, Jasmine is called the “queen of the night” in India.  “The Hindu god of love, Kama, who, like the Greek Eros and the Roman Cupid, is represented with a bow, had arrows tipped with Jasmine blossoms to pierce the heart with desire. 

            “The Greek physician Dioscorides reported in the 1st century AD that the Persians used jasmine oil to perfume the air at their banquets.  Along with hyacinth and rose, they frequently appeared in Sufi poetry as a symbol of love and spiritual longing.  The plant’s name is derived from the Persian Yasmin, a common name for a girl”5.

§

CHEMISTRY AND COMPONENTS ~ • Jasmine oil is most extracted via solvents and sometimes CO2, as well as a few other ways. “It is a prevalent fragrant oil that contains benzyl acetate, terpinol, jasmone, benzyl benzoate, linalool, several alcohols, and other compounds”4. It is not steam-distilled except in some instances by private persons experimenting with their stills.

photo of Jasminum officinale on the fence.
Jasminum officinale

§

GENERAL PROPERTIES of Jasmine

The general properties of the Jasmine oil and extracts are relaxing and stimulating, antidepressant, slightly astringent, hypnotic, tonic, and the herb used in tea as a scent additive.

Properties of Jasmine are by IG=ingestion or IN=inhalation or AP=application ~. 

Inhalation –     Antidepressant, nervine, euphoric, aphrodisiac, relaxant, calmative, stimulant, sedative, and a sexual tonic.

Application –   Warming.  Antiseptic.  Antispasmodic.  Cicatrizing.  Urogenital restorative and decongestant.                                                                             

Physical Uses & How used (IG or AP) ~

Application –   Indispensable in perfumery.  Used in skin care for dry, greasy, sensitive, wrinkled, aging, mature, and irritated skin.  Massaged into the pelvis area, Jasmine relieves congestion or any menstrual problems.  It is thought to balance female hormones and regulate the menstrual cycle.  I have used it externally applied on the belly (to have an effect) as a uterine massage oil, and to prevent stretch marks.  It is somewhat antiseptic.

Inhalation –     Used to relieve labor pains and deter impotence and frigidity.

Emotional Uses (AP or IN) ~

Application –   To relieve headaches. Apply a dab around the temples.

Inhalation – To dispel depression, relieve nervous exhaustion and tension, and alleviate stress.  It makes one feel happy.  Aphrodisiac.  It is uplifting yet soothing and overcomes restlessness.

APPLICATIONS IN SKINCARE ~ Jasmine absolute is used for all skin, particularly dry or aging skin. Any blend you make and use on the face with Jasmin will reduce tension and stress in the skin and relax and smooth out wrinkles. Jasmine oil (any kind) can be used with Mandarin oil in a carrier – it is calming and soothing when inhaled and applied externally on the abdomen to prevent stretch marks, as well as in skin care products for smooth skin.

Tropical Skin Blend by Alexandra Avery

 1 oz. Kukui nut oil
 2 oz. Macadamia nut oil
 ½  oz. Aloe vera oil
 6 drops of Ylang essential oil
4 drops of Jasmine essential oil
 5 drops of Sandalwood essential oil

      Combine all ingredients and shake well.  Store in a glass perfume bottle and use over face and body while skin is still damp from bathing.

A small glass perfume bottle

recipe from a 350-year-old book

BLENDING FOR PURPOSE AND PERFUMERY ~ Jasmine absolute uniquely combines well with all floral items. It works well with woods, citrus, florals, spices, resins, and many exotic or amber-style perfumes. Add it to your synergy, drop by drop, until you achieve the scent you like.  Try a Millefeuille Perfume or Huit Fleur of all florals, such as Jasmine, Lavender, Neroli, Osmanthus, Rose, Rose geranium, Tuberose, Ylang-ylang with the green Violet leaf, and Atlas Cedar and Sandalwood as the base note.

Perfume by W. A. Poucher – 1923

Tuberose extract triple =148 cc
Orange flower extract triple = 50 cc
Cassie absolute = 0.1 cc
Ylang-ylang oil – Manila = 0.4 cc
Rose otto – Bulgarian = 1.5 cc
Jonquille extract triple = 300 cc
Jasmin extract triple = 500 cc

Use Jasmine grandiflorum concrète rather than absolute for solids…that little bit of jasmine wax adds to the scent, smoothes out the edges, and makes it more tenacious. A touch of Ylang and a little Blood Orange are also added. Use Labdanum and Tonka lightly as a base note to give depth and support the scent without intruding on the jasmine.

JASMINE Spring – 2017
Bergamot,   20
Green lemon or Grapefruit 5
Tuberose, 10
Bulgarian rose, 15
JASMINE sweet 5 (or more)
Iris (orris),  5
Violet leaf 5-10
Coffee – 5
75-100 drops of Grape spirits (95%)

[a personalized perfume made for Christine Suppes]

INHALATION AND DIFFUSION ~Are you feeling very stressed and overcome by the events of the day? Take out that bottle of Jasmine absolute, mix 10 drops Jasmine plus 10-20 drops carrier oil, and inhale as it is soothing and relaxing. 

RITUAL USE ~ Jasmine oil, either inhaled or applied to the forehead, relieves headache and stress; the oil has a history of positive use in rituals. There are many ways to use the ancient scent.

FLORAL WAXES

Jasmine WAX – The floral waxes are a great way to add floral scents to cold-processed soaps, candles, solid perfumes, and more. They are a by-product of the production of absolutes. The petals are put into a vat, and a solvent is added, which extracts the absolute. The solvent is evaporated, and alcohol is added to remove the next phase of the fragrance, a concrète – which has the softer scent of the original plant material. Finally, the alcohol is removed, and the plant waxes that are naturally contained in the petals and still holding some of their scents are left. The waxes fluctuate with every batch.

Jasmine wax photos and descriptions.
Jasmine wax

INGESTION/CULINARY USE OF THE HERB Jasmine. Jasminum is used to scent tea and some other foods.  It is generally not used itself as a tea, as it is the most prized scent of the tea.

• Crepe jasmine, Tabernaemontana divaricate is used medicinally because it contains a natural pain-killing chemical. “Chemists have synthesized a pain-relieving extract from the bark of this tropical shrub in the lab, paving the way for new drugs that lack the unwanted side effects of many opiate-based pain meds. A compound from crepe jasmine (above) that shows promise as a pain reliever has been synthesized in the lab, a feat that should kick off hard-core explorations of the compound’s drug potential.”… Despite its name, the plant isn’t closely related to scented jasmine. Instead, it comes from a plant family rich in alkaloids, compounds that are often poisonous but have been commandeered as medicine for treating malaria, cancer, and other maladies.3 [not a true Jasmine – here is where using a common name can be trouble]

• The nectar of the fragrant flowers of Carolina Jasmine, Gelsemium sempervirens, is poisonous, although its dried roots are used in medicinal preparations as a sedative. [not a true Jasmine]

HERBAL Jasmine~ There is almost nothing more relaxing than an herbal bath scented with real flowers.  Just pick the flowers and strew them in hot water. The heat extracts the fragrance, and the smoothing emollient quality of the petals is released to cleanse and soothe the skin.  Mixtures can include Rose petals, whole Jasmine flowers, chopped and muslin-bagged Comfrey and Marshmallow leaves, and/or others from the garden.

A spray of Jasmin flowers over an old wooden fence.

HYDROSOL OF Jasmine ~ Jasmine has the potential to improve any skincare product. If carefully, gently, and slowly hydro-distilled on low heat, it will keep some of its floral character plus green leaf volatiles (GLV) and can be added to any cream, lotion, tonic, moisturizer, bath, and more. It is always soothing. It can be used with Seaweed extract and other herbs for an AntiAging elixir. Try it. Read any of my (Jeanne Rose) books for many more uses.

Key Use ~ Perfumery and skincare. Oil of Scent©.

Safety Precautions ~ None known.


This work is sponsored and supported by Prima Fleur Botanicals.

SCENT SNAPSHOTS

A scent snapshop of Jasminum grandiflorum absolute.
Jasminum grandiflorum

References

1.McGee, Harold. Nose Dive – A Field Guide to the World’s Smells. Penguin Press. 2020
2.Shaath Ph.D., Nadim A. Healing Civilizations, The search for Therapeutic Essential Oils & Nutrients. Cameron + Company, Petaluma, CA. 2017
3. Natural pain-killing chemical synthesized Making conolidine in the lab could further drug research, By Rachel Ehrenberg
4. http://www.bojensen.net/EssentialOilsEng/EssentialOils.htm
5. Aromatherapy for Healing the Spirit, p. 84

Bibliography
Arctander, Steffen. Perfume and Flavor Materials of Natural Origin. 1960
Copeland, Dawn. Essential Oil Profiles. 2005
Guenther, Ernest. The Essential Oils, published by Krieger
Herbal Studies Course/ Jeanne Rose & Berkeley, California: North Atlantic Books, 1992
Mabberley, D. J. Mabberley’s Plant-Book, 3rd edition, 2014 printing, Cambridge University Press.
Piesse, Septimus. The Art of Perfumery. Lindsay & Blakiston. 1st edition. 1867
Poucher, W. A. Perfumes and Cosmetics. 1923
Rose, Jeanne.  375 Essential Oils and Hydrosols.  Berkeley, California: Frog, Ltd., 1999
Rose, Jeanne.  The Aromatherapy Book: Applications & Inhalations.  San Francisco, California
Rose, Jeanne. Natural Botanical Perfumery Workbook.  Available at http://www.jeannerose.net/books.html
Rose, Jeanne. The Herbal Body Book. Frog, Ltd. Berkeley, CA. 2000

§

Cautions
photo of perfume bottle, entitled "Rising Up"

GINGER

Zingiber officinale or Ginger is the Common Name and Latin Binomial known simply as Ginger or Ginger root.  It is known worldwide as a culinary and medicinal spice. Both an essential oil and a CO2 extract are obtained.

photo of ginger root with ginger EO superimposed on it.

GINGER EO & PLANT USES

By Jeanne Rose ~ 7-02-22

Zingiber officinale is known simply as Ginger or Ginger root.  It is known worldwide as a culinary and medicinal spice. Spice is usually the dried hard parts of aromatic plants such as bark, root, or flower buds (Cloves), or berries (Pepper) as opposed to herbs which are the softer parts such as leaves.  However, both can be defined as herbs (a plant or plant part used for food or medicine).

Family ~ Zingiberaceae which also includes Turmeric, Galangal, and the flowering ‘ginger’ Hedychium spp.

Countries of Origins ~ Native to Asia and is grown and processed in India, Nigeria, China, Nepal, and other countries.

Endangered or Not ~ The plant is more or less extinct in the wild and yet millions of tons are cultivated each year. Ginger is a flowering perennial that grows new stems from its rhizomes each spring. According to Wikipedia it probably originated in the tropical rainforest of the Indian subcontinent.

GENERAL DESCRIPTION OF GINGER’s HABITAT AND GROWTH ~  An erect perennial herb growing up to three or four feet.  It has long, lance-shaped leaves, which extend from a central stalk, and atop which grow yellow flowers with purple claws.  The stalk grows from a tuber, thick, spreading rhizome/root, which is very strongly fragrant and extends downwards.

PORTION OF PLANT USED IN DISTILLATION, HOW DISTILLED, EXTRACTION METHODS, AND YIELDS ~ The fresh or dried Ginger (“hands”) rhizome is steam distilled.  Yield: 2-4%.

Ginger root CO2 Extract (Total) ~ (Zingiber officinale) This total extract is dark and potent as well and more like the root in nature. The essential oil of Ginger does not have the irritating bite as does the herb itself and can be taken — 1-2 drops in Ginger ale for nausea. It is a pleasant addition to a drink. However, the extract of Ginger does have a ‘bite’. The scent of both is a warm, spicy, green odor and is very good in all sorts of perfume combinations. Wonderful perfumery item. The extract is true to the warmth and spice of fresh ginger root.

§

ORGANOLEPTIC CHARACTERISTICS OF GINGER ROOT OIL FROM MADAGASCAR (2022)

            Color – light yellow

            Clarity – clear

            Viscosity – non-viscous

            Taste – spicy, umami (and yes it tastes eponymously like Ginger root)

            Intensity of Odor – 5

             Tenacity – very tenacious in a blend, use by the drop in a perfume

ODOR DESCRIPTION/ AROMA ASSESSMENT – the scent feels warm and is spicy, green, and fruity.

3 bottles of oil, Ginger CO2, wild Ginger EO, and organic Ginger EO
Ginger CO2, wild Ginger EO, and organic Ginger

§

GENERAL PROPERTIES OF Ginger oil and plant

Ginger oil as well as the herb tea are a stimulant. The essential oil of Ginger (Zingiber officinale), when tasted, does not have the irritating bite as does the herb itself and can be used for nausea  (1-2 drops in Ginger ale ). The scent is warm, spicy, green, and very good in all sorts of therapeutic and perfume combinations. It can also be used in skincare in cleansing creams and cleansing body and skin care products for a spicy scent and stimulating action. 

         Ginger root CO2 Extract (Total) ~ (Zingiber officinale) This total extract is dark and potent as well and more like the root in nature. The extract of Ginger has a ‘bite’ to it as does the herb. The essential oil of Ginger does not have an irritating bite and can be taken — 1-2 drops in Ginger ale for nausea. It is a pleasant addition to a drink. The extract is true to the warmth and spice of fresh ginger root. The scent of both is a warm, spicy, green odor and is very good in all sorts of perfume combinations. Wonderful perfumery items. Ginger oil and extract have many accommodating features for blends and are used in creams and lotions for massage for warm stimulation. Especially good if used in moderation.

\•/

PROPERTIES AND USES ~ By Ingestion, this is a powerful tonic for the entire digestive system. The herb tea is Indicated for appetite problems, gut spasms, abdominal distention, stomachache, indigestion, flatulence, diarrhea, and anorexia.  Ginger root and essential oil are widely used for flavoring.  Add 1 drop of Ginger EO to Ginger Ale or carbonated water as an aperitive.

APPLICATION ~  Put a drop or two in your hands and rub them together and then apply to cold hands and feet, on the chest as a tonic for the heart, and on your limbs as a powerful rubefacient for rheumatic pain, arthritis, lower backache, muscle fatigue, chronic bronchitis, chest pains, colds and flu, fever, sore, throat, swollen glands, and numbness.

bottle of Prima Fleur Ginger essential oil
Ginger EO

INHALATION ~ Zingiber cassumunar (Plai) is used for bronchitis and asthma. Zingiber officinale is used for jet lag, motion and travel sickness, seasickness, nausea, morning sickness, as a sexual tonic, heartwarming odor, and to ease confusion. Inhaling Ginger oil may improve circulation and reduce numbness.

Emotional/Energetic Use ~ Use by application as a sexual tonic.

DIFFUSE/DIFFUSION ~ When added to blends it is warming and invigorating and especially pleasant on cold winter days.

BLENDING AND PERFUMERY ~ Blends well with citrus, orange, spices, cardamom, cinnamon, vanilla, benzoin, cedar, sandalwood, and other woods.

A Ginger Perfume

  1. 3 mL (or 0.1 oz.) organic carrier oil.
  2. 4 drops organic fresh ginger essential oil.
  3. 4 drops organic mandarin essential oil.
  4. 6 drops organic lemon essential oil.
  5. 2 drops organic lime peel essential oil.

Mix the oils together and succuss. Add the carrier oil and succuss again.

Label. Let it age and meld for a few weeks before using.

ginger root photo
Ginger root

HYDROSOL ~ Tracy Feldstein mentioned the uses of Ginger hydrosol in the FB group; “Strange things I have done with ginger Hydrosol: 1-used it as an ingredient in carrot soup. 2 – fogged the apartment of a woman who had mold Sensitivity from a previous apartment. (part of a Lyme disease problem) 3- added 3 cups to a hot tub. … (my husband loves doing this it feels really good. ) I have had no negative results from doing this and quite a bit of positive feedback.”

Martin Hardie says that “It grows wild in Timor. The people make a hydrosol with it and he has found it great for itchy scalp and pouring out into a hot bath makes a very relaxing bath that will often put him into a deep sleep.”

PLEASE NOTE: A true hydrosol should be specifically distilled for the hydrosol, not as a co-product or even a by-product of essential oil distillation. The plant’s cellular water has many components most are lost under pressurized short steam runs for essential oil, or by using dried material. We recommend that the producers specifically distill for a product by using plant material that is fresh.

Hydrosol sample from Wai'iti
Hydrosol sample from Wai’iti

§

HERBAL ~ Ginger root herb helps to stimulate digestion and ease flatulence. It has antiseptic qualities. Ginger root herb extracts have been studied for use in fighting bacteria and fungi, treating convulsions, pain, spasms, and allergic reactions.  Animal experiments have shown that fresh ginger relieves pain and inflammation. A Ginger decoction can be used as a cleansing mouthwash; infused in yogurt and eaten helps to stimulate digestion and ease flatulence. It has antiseptic qualities.

            Drinking the tea may help with circulation and improve your immune system.

What is an Herb? [to an herbalist]

Any plant or any plant part is valued for its medicinal, savory, or aromatic qualities.

 [tree, shrub, moss, mold, algae, any plant part]…

            (Our use as well as the old Herbalists).

What is an Herb [to a botanist]?

Botanist: An annual or biannual plant that does not develop persistent woody tissue.

What is an Herb [to a cook]?

Culinary: The top of a plant as opposed to the bottom. 

(Think of Celery: Celery root, Celery seed, Celery leaf, Celery herb.) What is Celery?

CULINARY Uses ~ Ginger is much used in many types of cuisines and in meats, seafood, and vegetarian styles of food.  It is used as a spice in desserts, cookies, bread, preserves, in soft drinks and in tea. Whole pieces of Ginger flavors soups, condiments, stir-fries, rice, marinades and glazes, sauces, and salad dressings.

Ginger recipe that can be used with soda, or tea, to flavor or to ease digestion.

Use 1-2 tablespoons per drink.

 Ginger Syrup is a decoction made from 1-cup thinly sliced Ginger root simmered in 1-cup water for 10 minutes, strained out, and then 1-cup sugar added and gently heated until the sugar is dissolved about another 10-minutes. The strained-out pieces can be added to flavor honey (to just cover) as the Ginger still has taste and aroma.

            Ginger is also used to scent and flavor many foods during holidays, including the Gingerbread house.

Gingerbread House at the Waterbar at Christmas 2018
Gingerbread House at the Waterbar at Christmas 2018

§

CHEMICAL COMPONENTS ~ Alpha & Beta Zingiberene, ar-curcumene, Camphene, Neral, and B-bisabolene

HISTORICAL USES AND INTERESTING INFORMATION ~  Culinary & medicinal purposes, especially as a digestive stimulant, and as an aphrodisiac. One of the most important and oldest spices, ginger was one of the first spices to travel the “Spice Route” from Asia to Europe.  “Long known as an aphrodisiac in China, India, and elsewhere.  In Senegal, West Africa, the women make belts with the rhizome, in the hope of arousing their partner’s sexual interest” essential aromatherapy, p.136.  When used in perfumery, it creates an oriental-type blend.

Key Use: Digestive problems, nausea, for flavoring, as a rubefacient, expectorant, and as an aphrodisiac.

§

This work is sponsored and supported by Prima Fleur Botanicals.

§

WHAT TO KNOW

Safety Precautions for Ginger: None known.  Non-toxic.  The essential oil is Non-irritant.

Patch Test:  If applying a new essential oil to your skin always perform a patch test to the inner arm (after you have diluted the EO in a vegetable carrier oil). —Wash an area of your forearm about the size of a quarter and dry carefully. Apply a diluted drop (1 drop EO + 1 drop carrier) to the area. Then apply a loose band-aid and wait 24 hours. If there is no reaction then go ahead and use the oil in your formulas.—The Aromatherapy Book, Applications &  Inhalations, p. 64

DISCLAIMER:  This work is intended for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for accurate diagnosis and treatment by a qualified health care professional. Dosages are often not given, as that is a matter between you and your health care provider. The author is neither a chemist nor a medical doctor.  The content herein is the product of research and personal and practical experience. Institute of Aromatic & Herbal Studies  – Jeanne Rose©

§

REFERENCES:

http://jeanne-blog.com/co2-extract/
Mabberley, D. J. Mabberley’s Plant-Book, 3rd edition, 2014 printing, Cambridge University Press.

Rose, Jeanne.  375 Essential Oils and Hydrosols.  Berkeley, California: Frog, Ltd., 1999

Rose, Jeanne.  The Aromatherapy Book: Applications & Inhalations.  San Francisco, California:

Herbal Studies Course/ Jeanne Rose & Berkeley, California: North Atlantic Books, 1992

Mojay, Gabriel.  Aromatherapy for Healing the Spirit.  Rochester, Vermont:  Healing Arts Press,

Worwood, Susan & Valerie Ann.  essential aromatherapy, Novato, California: New World Library, 2003.

BLUE CHAMOMILE

BLUE CHAMOMILE OIL and herb uses

 June 2022

the blue oils are many essential oils from two botanical groups that when distilled produce a blue-colored oil. They are all anti-inflammatory and very helpful to skin health.

bottle of German CHAMOMILE and a scent blotter showing the color of the oil
blue Chamomile ~ PrimaFleur

§

Three things to learn about blue-colored oils

1. the blue oils are blue in color

2. there is no blue in the plant itself

3. if the color of the EO is turning — brown to yellow it is oxidized, don’t use it.

••

NAMING ~ The plant we are discussing is Matricaria chamomilla, the German or Sweet Chamomile, an annual plant, from words meaning a low-growing plant (chamo) and mother or uterus (matri) named for the uses that this plant had for women.

            FAMILY ~ Asteraceae. The Asteraceae family includes the Chamaemelum, Matricaria, Artemisia, Tanacetum, and Achillea.

COUNTRIES OF ORIGIN:  Native to Europe, and West Asia, and naturalized worldwide.

§

GENERAL DESCRIPTION OF PLANT, HABITAT & GROWTH ~ Even experts are confused by the variety of looks that each of the various species of the blue-oil group attains and the physical descriptions have been described in greater detail in more scholarly texts and also more simply in an article I wrote for the Aromatic Plant Project in 1994. See especially the references at the end of the articles numbers 8, 9, 10, and 11.

            A plant grown near water will often be more luxuriant than the same exact plant grown without water. Be aware of the terroir in which a plant does best and if growing it on your own try to imitate the best environment.  Rich soil and abundant water may not be what makes a plant grow to its best.

            “Matricaria chamomilla, Sweet Chamomile,  Sweet Chamomile.  Sweet-scented, much-branched, glabrous annual, to 2 ½ feet; leaves to 2-3/8-inch-long, 2-pinnatifid into linear segments; heads 1 inch across, receptacle conical; disc flowers yellow, 5-lobed, ray flowers 10-20, white, reflexed, achenes 5-ribbed.  Europe to West Asia; naturalized in North America.”11

fresh annual Chamomile flowers. Image 2010
fresh Chamomile flowers

§

PORTION OF PLANT USED IN DISTILLATION, HOW DISTILLED, EXTRACTION METHODS ~ In the plants that produce blue-colored oil, the flowers are the best part to distill whether by steam or hydro-distillation. They should be picked early in the day for the most abundant matricin and distilled immediately. As an example, for the best German Chamomile EO or hydrosol, only the top flowering parts are harvested. Chamazulene itself does not occur in the plant but is formed from a sesquiterpene lactone called matricin during the steam distillation process. Don’t expect to make herbal remedies with plants that produce blue oils to have a blue product. These plants should be carefully steam-distilled mainly from the flower, the hydrosol immediately frozen (to preserve the blue color) and the essential oil collected and stored in the freezer to preserve it from oxidation.

alchemical symbol for distillation

            “The Magic of Distillation is being able to observe and watch something colorless change into something gorgeously blue. There is pure magic to distillation with the plants that contain matricin – that magical alchemical moment when you are distilling that the matricin dies and becomes something new. It changes within the blink of an eye from the plant’s colorless clear essential oil liquid and turns the perfect blue of the azulene. A different blue for each of the plants. Best observed via a glass receiver or Florentine style filtering flask.”

            Chamomile CO2  is a product that we should mention.  It is a thick, CO2  extracted, solid, unctuous matter from Chamomile flowers (M. chamomilla [recutita]) that contains all the natural herbal parts of the flower plus the essential oil.  It smells just like the fresh flowers and could play an important part in your cosmetics and body-care products, whether they are homemade or for the professional market.  I have made a hand lotion with this, using enough of the Chamomile CO2 to scent the lotion with a delicious apple scent, and then added the essential oil to color it a pale blue.  Altogether a very aesthetically pleasing and beautiful product. 

SUSTAINABILITY ~ It is important that you examine each of the plants you use for their ability to reproduce before you choose to harvest or wildcraft them.  Many plants are in dire straits because of human incursion into their environment.  Best to learn to grow what you want to harvest.

            In my 30  years with the plants that produce a blue oil, I have seen a half dozen farmers learn to grow several of the blue-oiled plants and then pull them from the soil because it took so long for consumers to learn and know them. You cannot expect farmers to grow plants that cannot be sold due to consumer ignorance.

STORAGE ~ All the blue-colored oils are likely to oxidize in time due to the azulenes and they should be stored in the freezer.  With the blue oils, you must be very careful and conscious of their color. If it is oxidizing, it will go from a beautiful blue to a green, greenish-black, and eventually to brown. If brown put it down and do not use it for therapy or medicinal use. The scent will also change and become what can only be described as ‘nasty’ — the scent impossible to wash off your hands. This is why you must always check the organoleptic qualities of your essential oils – there is much to be learned by their color, clarity, viscosity, and intensity.

§

bottle of German Chamomile oil superimposed on the flowers

organoleptics of blue Chamomile oil
organoleptics of blue Chamomile

ODOR DESCRIPTION ~ •Blue Chamomile, Matricaria chamomilla, has a deep blue color and an aroma of fruit and toasted nuts.
           •Roman Chamomile, Chamaemelum nobile, is pale blue to colorless and fruity, herbaceous and oily-aldehydic.

The left side nostril smells the scent; right side nostril smells the intensity. So, smell on the left side, then smell on the right and then waft back and forth under the nose to get the entire scent experience.

IF ANY OF THESE ODORS are tending to an unpleasant fungal side, they are oxidizing. Remember, that you can know them by their scent. If the scent is changing, also check the color and if moving from a blue to dirty blue or brown, the oil is probably oxidizing and unusable.   Remember to store these oils in the freezer.

TASTE THE OILS. Taste does not mean eating, it only means when you put a sample on a scent strip, that after checking the fragrance you can give a lick to the strip to get the taste of the oil. Steam-distilled oils or CO2 extracts can be tasted this way. You must use all your senses to know your oils. 

SOLUBILITY ~ German Chamomile is soluble in 90-95% alcohol. It helps to always have on hand organic high-proof alcohol in which to dissolve your oils or to use in perfumery. See https://organicalcohol.com/

CHEMISTRY OF BLUE CHAMOMILE ~ Matricaria chamomilla The main compounds identified were α-bisabolol (56.86%), trans-trans-farnesol (15.64%), cis-β-farnesene (7.12%), guaiazulene (4.24%), α-cubebene (2.69%), α-bisabolol oxide A (2.19%) and chamazulene (2.18%) and in another study In Matricaria recutita major compounds were chamazulene (31.2 %), 1,8-cineole (15.2 %) β-pinene (10.11 %), α-pinene (8.14 %), α-bisabolol (7.45 %) and terpinen-4-ol (4.11 %)

§

GENERAL PROPERTIES OF BLUE Chamomile

The main property of any of the blue oils is as an anti-inflammatory, to control inflammation, usually of the skin, and on some occasions, when taken internally, to control inner inflammation. The blue oils are anti-inflammatory, generally because of the azulene content, although there are other factors such as bisabolol that is also inflammatory.

         They can be used by AP=application, IG=ingestion or IN=inhalation.

Inhalation ~ The blue oils have many uses in blends and are used via inhalation or in the blends used in inhalers. They can be relaxing and calming.

PHYSICAL USES & HOW USED (IG OR AP)

            APPLICATION ~   The blue Chamomile oil with its component of azulene is anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and antibacterial and considered an exceptional plant and oil in skincare. Using a combination of coconut oil and  German Chamomile herb extract or maceration will result in a powerful anti-inflammatory oil that spreads easily across the skin, with no friction, delivering the active constituents to the area where their anti-irritant and anti-inflammatory components can go to work to heal. The results are comparable to any western, medicated, product.

• Blue Chamomile EO from Matricaria chamomilla is mentioned in P. Davis’s book, “use of German Blue Chamomile can be especially helpful where skin conditions may be aggravated by stress, and indeed where stress may be the underlying cause.” The two key constituents, (-)-alpha-bisabolol and chamazulene both of which are anti-inflammatory, account for 50-65 percent of total volatile oil content.

• Blue Chamomile CO2 from Matricaria chamomilla CO2is a dark greenish-brown, an opaque, thick, and viscous product of carbon dioxide extraction. It retains more of the natural floral odor of the flower and is a strong anti-inflammatory when added to any skincare product. Use it by taking a bit and working it well into some of your skin cream or lotion and then add more lotion until all is incorporated. In commercial products when Chamomile CO2 is used it is normally around 0.2±% of the total.

            CO2 extracts are closer in composition to the oil as it occurs in the plant and has better solubility in the product. A wonderful fruity-scented healing addition to any skincare application.

scent blotters dipped in german Chamomile essential oil and CO2 extracted
German Chamomile CO2 – EO ~
color and viscosity

EMOTIONAL/RITUAL USE ~ Many sources list a litany of magical and spiritual traditions for the  Blue Chamomile as well as Roman Chamomile. These sources list its use in spells for peace, love, tranquility, and purification. In ritual, they are used to instill stillness, become spiritually aware, give inner peace, and to become emotionally stable. These are all attributes we can use.

BLENDING ~ The Chamomiles can be blended with just about any herb or citrus or wood or resin. It works well with flowers, barks, and spices.  •Blue Chamomile is used in very small amounts to give a soft blue note to blends and perfumes and warmth and softness.

SKIN FORMULA FOR ROSACEA

Rosacea is a chronic, inflammatory skin condition that principally affects the face. Rosacea causes facial redness and produces small, red, pus-filled pustules (bumps). Rosacea worsens with time if left untreated.

Skin Care Creme

20 drops Calophyllum inophyllum aka Tamanu or Foraha – cold-pressed oil

10 drops Helichrysum angustifolium aka Everlasting or Immortelle

2 drops Blue Chamomile CO2  or West Coast Blue Artemis

.5 oz aloe vera gel

1 small scoop oat beta glucan

up to 1 oz Calendula-infused oil

Mix the essential oils to create a synergy, then add the carriers and shake vigorously again.  Apply 3 times a day until treatment takes hold, then two times per day until your skin gets sensitive, then 1 time per day, and then weekly.  This treatment plus dietary changes, pure water, and clean and simple soap (handcrafted, there are many choices), will reduce your Rosacea by 60%.

HERBAL USES OF THE ANNUAL CHAMOMILE ~  German chamomile is by far the most popular and widely used variety of chamomile the world over. The herb tea is 
anti-allergenic, anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, calmative, carminative, digestive, mild bitter, nervine, and sedative. The herb tea is used in shampoo, and for the skin, internally for diarrhea, and colic, and simply to soothe the digestive tract.

scroll

THE NASTY TOMATO TALE OF OXIDIZED BLUE CHAMOMILE

            I enjoy telling my stories because it helps people, students, and teachers alike, to understand what sometimes happens when you use essential oils and what is being sold in the retail market. 

            A few years ago, I was in Hopland, CA at a store that sold equipment to save energy in the household. They had a small counter of ‘organic’ skincare and some essential oils. And one of the essential oils was Blue Chamomile in 15 ml-size brown glass bottles and it was listed at a truly small and ridiculous price for the amount of oil. This piqued my interest, and I asked the saleslady if I could smell this oil and look at the color.  The smell was truly awful – like rotten vegetation and spoiled cabbage. The color was even worse a ripening brown that looked like runny feces and together with the scent, one wondered what was in that bottle. A bit had gotten on my fingers, and I was so repulsed at its sticky scent that I ran to their bathroom to wash my hands, but no amount of soap was going to remove that putrid odor. At that moment, I might have chosen to remove the finger to get rid of the scent.

            I informed the salesperson that they were selling a truly awful, out-of-date, old, and rancid, oxidized blue Chamomile. They left it on the shelf. When I got home, I wrote the store manager as well. Their response? “well, the consumer is getting a good price”. Then I found and called the distributor in Florida, and they were very dismissive, saying that they had gotten a really good deal on this oil and were doing the consumer a favor by making it available.

            Truly, those who are reading this — This is NOT a favor to you to save money but to purchase something rotten and loathsome. Would you be pleased to buy an old rotten zucchini if it were a price reduction?  My point is that you should get to know what you want, what it should look like including color, what it should smell like and make sure you do not waste your money on a bad product.

 This is one of the downsides of brown glass bottles. You cannot see what you are purchasing. Color is important – if it is a blue essential oil, it should be a blue color if it is a CO2 extraction it will be greenish-brown . Remember that!

25-gallon still showing with the clear glass receiver filled with the blue-colored hydrosol and some essential oil

Sponsored and supported by Prima Fleur Botanicals.

QUESTIONS THAT WERE ASKED ~ These are the simple answers to certain questions that were asked and answered above in longer terms.

  • Are all blue oils anti-inflammatory? YES because of the content of azulene and bisabolol.
  • Do blue oils oxidize faster than other oils? YES, they seem to – remember to keep them in the freezer.
  • If I am making a blend with blue oils, how should I preserve them? MAKE SMALL AMOUNTS, USE THEM UP, AND THEN MAKE THEM AGAIN.
  • How long before they turn green or brown? DEPENDS ON HOW THEY ARE CARED FOR IN THE BEGINNING
  • Are they still good once they turn green? NO, this means they are oxidizing.
  • Why are some distillations a darker blue than other distillations of the same oil? DEPENDS ON THE ATTENTION OF THE DISTILLER AND HOW CAREFUL THEY ARE WITH THE HARVEST; WHAT PART OF THE PLANT IS HARVESTED AND THE DISTILLING PROCESS. It also depends upon the weight of flowers to green tops.

Distiller = the person doing the distillation; Still = the object used to distill

  • Can there be allergic or skin reactions to chamazulene? THERE HAVE BEEN SOME REPORTS OF ALLERGIC RESPONSES TO AZULENE AND TO PLANTS CONTAINING MATRICIN
  • Are blue oils good for compromised skin conditions? DEPENDS ON THE BLUE OIL, SOME HAVE BEEN USED FOR SKIN CANCER such as Artemisia arborescens from Morocco because of the thujone content and A. arborescens from Oregon which has no thujone, it has camphor).
  • Are they safe to use on children? Roman Chamomile can be used, VERY DILUTED IN SMALL AMOUNTS, plant tea recommends being used first.

§

ESSAY ON BLUE OILS AND AZULENE

INTRODUCTION ~ Many of the blue oils with their vivid blue-colored azulene have similar uses as an anti-inflammatory because of their azulene content. There are cases where it is important to know EXACTLY which oil from which plant you have or need.  As with anything, the best way to clarify confusion is to research and experiment using valid informative texts.  Do not purchase these expensive blue oils until you truly know which one you want.

            Remember for each terroir that each year of growth, each harvest and each separate distillation will result in oil with slightly different amounts of chemical components and possibly slightly different colors.  The terroir or environment and individual ecology of a plant are important in the resultant essential oil.  A year or two of great drought may result in a lower yield of essential oil but with improved or “stronger” components. A GC/MS is good but is only one aspect of ‘knowing’ an essential oil. The fragrance of any particular essential oil varies slightly from year to year and is totally dependent on the vagaries of “Mother Nature”7 and even the skill of the distiller.  Always know what part of the plant is being harvested for the oil.

            WHY DO WE CALL THEM THE ‘BLUE OILS  ~ We call them ‘blue oils’ because they are blue in color? Yes, essential oils have color. These colors include a pale sky blue such as in Roman Chamomile (although it seems to quickly lose that color),  ) or the royal, blue-colored oil such as Blue Chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla) and sapphire-Blue Cypress (Callitris intratropica). Some of these plants are related and some are not.

            COLOR & CHEMISTRY OF THE BLUE OILS ~ By examining these oils one can see which were the old and improperly stored oils and even last year’s distillation by their color. Sometimes it is a disadvantage for the essential oils to be sold in brown bottles because the consumer cannot judge the age and quality of the oil by the color or examine them carefully for color and scent before purchase.

The consumer must take some responsibility and learn the Latin binomial and make sure essential oils are labeled completely before they buy them.   These blue-colored oils will show age and oxidation with a change in color from blue to greenish-black or to green or from pale yellow to yellow-brown. If blackish or brown – put it down.

            The blue Chamazulene itself does not occur in the plant but forms during the distillation process from a sesquiterpene lactone called matricin. Usually, the flowers of these plants are yellow sometimes white. The molecule called azulene is a dark blue color. It is composed of two terpenoids; this molecule is also found in some of the pigments of mushrooms, plants like guaiac wood oil, and also in marine invertebrates, and corals.

The azulene itself, although usually a shade of blue, can also be green, violet, blue/violet, and red/violet.  It is a brilliant rainbow of color due to its chemical structure. 12

            Azulene has a long history, dating back to the 15th century as the azure-blue chromophore obtained by steam distillation of German Chamomile. The chromophore was discovered in Yarrow and Wormwood and named in 1863 by Septimus Piesse.

            THE BENEFITS OF AZULENE IN CHAMOMILE ESSENTIAL OIL. The use of chamomile is increasing as the knowledge of azulene (chamazulene) grows. Azulene occurs in significant amounts in Matricaria chamomilla, (Matricaria recutita) and the use of this herb has surpassed even its cousin Roman Chamomile as the essential oil to use for skincare. Azulene and bisabolol are both in the GCMS of the deep blue essential oil. Both are powerfully anti-inflammatory. ”In one study on albino rats, German Chamomile was found to heal wound burning significantly compared to topical olive oil. Bisabolol itself has been studied and shown to be non-toxic and non-sensitizing, even when taken internally in large doses. The bisabolol offers rosacea sufferers an opportunity to alleviate itching and irritation, but azulene also goes a long way towards reducing rosacea’s redness by soothing inflamed capillaries.”

fresh flowers of German (blue) annual Chamomile
(JR photo 2010)

REFERENCES:

Arctander, Steffen. . Perfume and Flavor Materials of Natural Origin. (Elizabeth, NJ: Steffen Arctander, 1960.)

Harman, Ann. Harvest to Hydrosol

Mabberley, D.J., Mabberley’s Plant Book, 2008 Third Edition with 2014 updates, Cambridge University Press

Rose, Jeanne. 375 Essential Oils and Hydrosols.

Rose, Jeanne. The Aromatherapy Book, Applications & Inhalations.

Rose, Jeanne. Hydrosols & Aromatic Waters. http://www.jeannerose.net/books.html

Worwood, Susan & Valerie Ann. Aromatherapy.

NOTES TO TEXT & BIBLIOGRAPHY of all the Blue Oils

http://jeanne-blog.com/blue-oils-pt-1/

http://jeanne-blog.com/blue-oils-pt-2/

1. Parsons, Pamela. “Chamomile”. The Aromatic “Thymes“. (Spring 1994) 2:2.

2. Arctander, Steffen. Perfume and Flavor Materials of Natural Origin. (Elizabeth, NJ: Steffen Arctander, 1960.)

3. Franchomme, P. and Penoel, Docteur D. L’Aromatherapie Exactement. (Limoges, France: Roger Jollois Editeur, 1990.)

4. Guenther, Ernest, Ph.D. The Essential Oils.  (Malabar, FL: Krieger Publishing Company 1976.) (original edition 1952.) (in VI volumes)

5. Parry, Ernest J.  Parry’s Cyclopedia of Perfumery. Philadelphia, PA: P. Blakisont’s Son & Co., 1925.) (in II volumes)

6. Rose, Jeanne. The Aromatherapy Book: Applications & Inhalations.  (Berkeley, CA: North Atlantic Books, 3rd edition, 1994.) Available from http://www.JeanneRose.net/books.html

7. Rose, Jeanne. 375 Essential Oils and Hydrosols. (San Francisco, CA: Jeanne Rose Aromatherapy, 3rd edition, 1994.) Available from http://www.JeanneRose.net/books.html

8. Tutin, Heywood, Burges, Moore, Valentine, Walters and Webb, Editors.  Flora Europaea, Vol. 4. (Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press, 1976.)

9. Mabberley, D.J. The Plant Book. (Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press, corrected reprint, 1989.)

10. Lewis, Walter H. “Notes on Economic Plants.” Economic Botany. 46(4) pp. 426-430. (1992.)

11. Bailey, L.H., staff of. Hortus Third. (Cornell, New York: Hortorium, Cornell University, 1977.)

12. http://www.aromaticplantproject.com/articles_archive/azulene_chamomile.html

13. The Blue Oils. By Jeanne Rose. Published in “The Aromatic Plant Project” from archives •1994

14. http://nathistoc.bio.uci.edu/Plant

15 Mugwort (Artemisia vulgaris, Artemisia douglasiana, Artemisia argyi) in the Treatment of Menopause, Premenstrual Syndrome, Dysmenorrhea and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder by James David Adams, Cecilia Garcia, Garima Garg University of Southern California, School of Pharmacy, Los Angeles, USA, 2012

16. Yield and chemical composition of the essential oil of Moroccan chamomile [Cladanthus mixtus (L.) Chevall.] growing wild at different sites in Morocco. A Elouaddari, A El Amrani, JJ Eddine… – Flavour and …, 2013 – Wiley Online Library

Chart of Safety Issues
Safety Issues
'Rising up"

CARDAMOM

CARDAMOM  Profile of the Herb and Essential oil

Cardamom seeds and a bottle of Cardamom CO2 showing
Cardamom seeds and oil

A Compilation From Jeanne Rose files

Synopsis ~ Cardamom is such a wonderful-looking plant, with many uses both in culinary,

in Chinese herbal medicine,  and especially in perfumery. It is not much

used in the West but here is an outline of some of its many qualities.

Common Name/Scientific name ~ Cardamom seed (Elettaria cardamomum)

Family ~ Zingiberaceae

Countries of Origins ~ Cardamom is cultivated in Guatemala (the biggest producer and exporter), Malaysia, and Tanzania and is native to India and Indonesia. There is also Black cardamom which is cultivated in Nepal, Sikkim, and parts of India and Bhutan.

Historical Uses ~ Cardamom is used as a spice and as an ingredient in traditional medicine systems of the traditional Chinese herbal medicine. There are two forms of Cardamom, and they are used as flavorings and cooking spices in both food and drink, and medicine. E. cardamomum (green cardamom) is used as a spice, a masticatory and it is also smoked and was reportedly used as an antidote for both snake and scorpion venom.

ENDANGERED OR NOT ~ Cardamom is not an endangered species, although growing it in some areas of Vietnam threatens the native forest and species of animals that live there.

GENERAL DESCRIPTION OF PLANT HABITAT AND GROWTH of Cardamom

Cardamom is a low-growing, leafy tropical plant, which grows on the jungle floor in the wild. Cardamoms have smooth green leaves on long stalks, spicily scented when bruised. The leaves have a different odor than the seeds. The leaves are used for cooking and to wrap fish, rice, or vegetables for flavor. The cardamom pods sold for cooking are picked when unripe. These seeds will not grow if you try to sow them.

               Grow it, it’s quite easy, but they are fussy and do not like drafts or sudden changes of temperature or direct sunlight. They grow best in a warm, steamy, shady place, like a warm bathroom, and should be misted daily with pure water. Alternatively, stand the pot on a big saucer of pebbles which are kept moist, to encourage a humid atmosphere around the plant. In winter, don’t water as frequently as during the summer. Feed with a foliage house-plant food (high nitrogen, low potash) when the plant is growing.

cardamom leaves
Cardamom leaves

PORTION OF PLANT USED IN DISTILLATION, HOW DISTILLED, EXTRACTION METHODS AND YS ~ Solvent extracted for an absolute. Extraction by CO2 yields a deeper richer product with a more pronounced Cardamom scent. Cardamom seed oil is also extracted by steam distillation from the seeds of the fruit gathered just before they are ripe.

YIELD is 1-5 %.

CHEMISTRY ~ The chemical composition and components of cardamom oil are a-pinene, b-pinene, sabinene, myrcene, a-phellandrene, limonene, 1,8-cineole, y-terpinene, p-cymene, terpinolene, linalool, linalyl acetate, terpinene-4-oil, a-terpineol, a-terpineol acetate, citronellol, nerol, geraniol, methyl eugenol, and trans-nerolidol.

ORGANOLEPTIC CHARACTERISTICS of Cardamom

• Color – dark yellow

• Clarity – clear

• Viscosity – not viscous

• Intensity of odor – 4 (scale is 1-10)

• Tenacity in a blend – Can be quite tenacious, use in moderation

Cardamom CO2 total bottle, shows color
Cardamom CO2 total

ODOR DESCRIPTION/ AROMA ASSESSMENT ~ Cardamom is primarily a spicy note, with subsidiary notes of fruity and fatty and the sweet back notes of hay and honey and a bit of a leather harness. One odor snapshot is shown at the end of this article.

§

GENERAL PROPERTIES of CARDAMOM

The therapeutic properties of Cardamom oil are antiseptic, and stimulant, and the Cardamom seeds when eaten are antispasmodic, carminative, cephalic, digestive, diuretic, expectorant, and tonic.

Properties and Uses ~ Cardamom seeds are used in South Asia to treat infections in teeth and gums, to prevent and treat throat troubles, congestion of the lungs and pulmonary tuberculosis, inflammation of eyelids, and also digestive disorders. It also is used to break up kidney stones and gallstones.

The oil is used with massage oil or diluted in the bath. It can assist with the digestive system (a drop in a cup of tea), coughs  (via inhalation), or as a general tonic. It is excellent in the bath with other sweet oils, leaving you feeling refreshed and stimulated.

APPLICATION/ SKINCARE ~ Cardamom seeds and oil are somewhat antibacterial and can be used in skincare blends, masks, creams, and applications for mild skin breakouts to help clear the skin.  It is often used to lighten the skin or even out the skin tone.

Honey masks are always helpful in this circumstance.  Any honey mixed with a scant teaspoon of ground, powdered cardamom, and applied to the face with a light rub and then rinsed clean with clear water will act as a tonic cleanser.  The essential oil is very intense and can be added only in tiny, less than a drop, amount.

DIFFUSE/DIFFUSION ~ This is a cheerful, spicy oil to use in a blend, in a diffuser, or in massage oil.  Here are two samples of formulas using Cardamom in the blend.

    AMBIANCE BLEND #6044 of Blood Orange, Ylang complete, Cardamom, and other oils,  is used with moisturizing body oil for grounding and calming – in massage oil. Inhale directly for centering and easing your body. This grouping of essential oils is sweet, cheerful, and calming and is a good all-body rub for starting a happy day.

            BAHAMA BLEND #6004 ~  So warming and soothing as a massage, feels tropical and relaxing like you are sitting in your chair on the warm sand. Use as an application in the evening and get that warm spicy Vanilla/Cardamom aphrodisiacal feeling and a delicious floral scent of Jasmine and Mimosa. Use in your room in the diffuser.

EMOTIONAL/ENERGETIC USE ~  There is some material on the internet that attributes many qualities to Cardamom.  Here is one.  Cardamom enables us to balance this part of ourselves and let go of some of the rigidity that a dominant mental body can have on us.”‑1

PERFUMERY with Cardamom ~ Cardamom, Whole seed CO2 Extract (Elettaria cardamomum) via carbon dioxide extraction yields the aroma of fresh cardamom pods. A small amount goes a long way! It is wonderful to use in perfumery as a spicy and woody bridge note between the flowers and the roots of plants such as Jasmine and Vetivert.

            BLENDING with other oils ~ Cardamom is a spicy-smelling seed, and the CO2 extract and essential oil are both excellent to blend with a variety of other scents. Try any of the other spicy oils, most wood oils such as Sandalwood, true Cedar, florals such as Lavender, Neroli, Ylang, and Rose, and especially with the culinary scents such as Coffee, Chocolate, and Ginger.  It works well as a bridge note in most exotic blends.

Blend ~ Besides the two blends listed above, PrimaFleur has another called CHAI BLEND #6050  which is a warm, spicey, and energizing blend that is used in Massage, and also in diffusion to energize the air in a common room. Added to Turmeric oil at  5% with a bland carrier oil it works well for deep-tissue massage for aching joints or to add to an unscented cream and use for a body massage.  This is not for facial skin care. This spicy blend includes Cardamom, Cinnamon leaf, Ginger, Nutmeg, and others.

Simple Food-Scented Perfume

30 drops of Cardamom CO2
 30 drops of Coffee absolute
10 drops of Cocoa absolute
2-3 drops of Cinnamon bark

Mix together in a ½ oz clear glass bottle, succuss vigorously. 
Add Orange spirits*, enough to dilute the blend. 
Smell it, and add more spirits if necessary (I used almost ½ oz.)

Organic spirits are available from https://organicalcohol.com/. They carry a full line of fine high-quality spirits including grape, cane, corn, wheat, coconut, orange, pear, and lychee alcohols.

HYDROSOL ~ I have not had the opportunity to experience a Cardamom hydrosol.

PLEASE NOTE: A true hydrosol should be specifically distilled for the hydrosol, not as a co-product or even a by-product of essential oil distillation. The plant’s cellular water has many components most are lost under pressurized short steam runs for essential oil, or by using dried material. We recommend that the producers specifically distill for a product by using plant material that is fresh.

§

Two Cardamom plants growing in San Francisco

Jeanne Rose Cardamom plants

KEY USE ~ Best used in food, beverage, and in perfumery.

This work is sponsored and supported by Prima Fleur Botanicals.

§

Patch Test ~  If applying a new essential oil to your skin always perform a patch test to the inner arm (after you have diluted the EO in a vegetable carrier oil). —Wash an area of your forearm about the size of a quarter and dry carefully. Apply a diluted drop (1 drop EO + 1 drop carrier) to the area. Then apply a loose band-aid and wait 24 hours. If there is no reaction then go ahead and use the oil in your formulas.—The Aromatherapy Book, Applications &  Inhalations, p. 64

REFERENCES

1https://www.cathysattars.com/cardamom-heals-the-mental-body/

http://www.bojensen.net/EssentialOilsEng/EssentialOils.htm

CO2 EXTRACT

Arctander, Steffen. Perfume and Flavor Materials of Natural Origin
Mabberley, D. J. Mabberley’s Plant-Book, 3rd edition, 2014 printing, Cambridge University Press.

Rose, Jeanne.  375 Essential Oils and Hydrosols.  Berkeley, California: Frog, Ltd., 1999

Rose, Jeanne.  The Aromatherapy Book: Applications & Inhalations.  San Francisco, California:

Herbal Studies Course/ Jeanne Rose & Berkeley, California: North Atlantic Books, 1992

DISCLAIMER:  This work is intended for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for accurate diagnosis and treatment by a qualified health care professional. Dosages are often not given, as that is a matter between you and your health care provider. The author is neither a chemist nor a medical doctor.  The content herein is the product of research and personal and practical experience. Institute of Aromatic & Herbal Studies  – Jeanne Rose©

Odor Snapshot of Cardamom

Helichrysum

HELICHRYSUM, the Essential Oil

The Helichrysum species are difficult to tell apart and contain a rare therapeutic essential oil that is used to reduce pain (analgesic) and reduce bruising.

By Jeanne Rose ~ 5-12-22

unknown origin of photo

Common Name/Latin Binomial ~ Helichrysum angustifolium DC. often called Everlasting and Immortal. The four species that are most used in medicine and aromatherapy in the genus Helichrysum are. Helichrysum bracteiferum (Madagascar), Helichrysum gymnocephalum (from several countries), Helichrysum italicum (Corsica), and Helichrysum odoratissimum (South Africa).

Other Common Name/Naming Information ~ The various species of Helichrysum are often hard to tell apart as they are polymorphic, that is, appearing in several different forms. They have common names such as Immortal and strawflower and some kinds are grown as everlastings, that is, they retain their shape and color when dried. Helichrysum is derived from the Greek name for sun and gold.

Family ~ Asteraceae

Countries of Origins Helichrysum ~ Helichrysum italicum (H. angustifolium) Italian everlasting, Immortelle. The genus Helichrysum includes around 500 species from Europe, Asia, Africa, and Australia. They grow wild in many Mediterranean countries.

Endangered or Not ~ Some species of Helichrysum are listed as endangered.

Historical & Interesting ~ Most Italian oils are orange-colored.  The finest and most therapeutic Helichrysum comes from Sicily – it is greenish-colored, and honey-scented and contains the anti-hematomic (stops bruising) diketones called italidone.  American and Croatian grown oil has been found to contain neryl acetate for skincare but rarely contain italidone.  The finest Helichrysum essential oil is a result of its terroir and point of origin, the parts of the plant used, and harvest time.

General description of Plant habitat and growth ~ Etymology (the study of the origin of words and the way in which their meanings have changed throughout history.) – The composite flowers of Helichrysums are surrounded by desiccated, colored, membranous sepals, remaining unchanged when the plant is dried – whence the name ‘everlasting’. Helichrysums can be perennials or annuals or shrubs.

gathering Helichrysum

Gathering

*

Portion of plant used in distillation, how distilled, extraction methods, and yields ~ Helichrysum oil is produced on a limited scale by steam distillation or solvent extraction of the flowering tops of Italian everlasting, H. italicum, and closely related species. Harvest must be done by the hand of the flowering tops and leaves. They should be wild grown. Distilling must be done as soon as possible after harvest. If the plants are kept longer that 24 hours, the plant material will start to fade and to ferment and the oil will be of poor quality.       Helichrysum can be solvent extracted to an absolute.

Yield ~ the plants contain as little as 0.2-0.5% essential oil

bottle of Helichrysum oil
beautiful example of Helichrysum from Prima Fleur Botanicals

Helichrysum – Organoleptic Characteristics of the Essential oil

The oils of Helichrysum are very different colors depending upon where they are grown, from an orange color to yellow and some of the most interesting are green in color.

Color – usually yellow
Clarity – clear
Viscosity – non-viscous
Intensity of odor – soft intensity, about 4-5
Tenacity – a tenacious scent that can be recognized within a blend
Odor Description/ Aroma Assessment ~ It has a rich, honeyed, herbaceous, sweet hay aroma and has been used for special effects in perfumery but is mostly used in blends for pain relief.

§

GENERAL PROPERTIES & Uses of Helichrysum

Properties and Uses ~ Several studies have confirmed that Helichrysum italicum  (*H. italicum (Roth) G. Don) essential oil from Algeria exhibits interesting antimicrobial activity that seems to be due to the large diversity of its chemical contents. Therefore, the essential oil of H. italicum (Roth) G. Don might be used as a therapeutic agent and these compounds can be applied to medicinal and pharmaceutical purposes.1

Physical Uses ~ Some Helichrysum oil from Corsica contains diketones, which are anti-hematomic, that is, the use reduces the effects of bruising. The oil is also analgesic (reduces pain) and can be used in a compress to areas that have been banged and bumped and to older injuries and aches and pains.

Other Physical Uses include Helichrysum has important anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and sedative properties. It can be used as an external application for Dupuytren’s contracture, (another possible use is for Peyronie Syndrome), arthritis, and trigger finger. It has regenerative properties and is used to resolve old scar tissue, treat burns,  and taken in a tincture or carrier as an internal use for ulcers or stomach lining or mouth wash for inflammation of the gums. In France, it is used by ingestion to regulate cholesterol (I do not know how or how much) It also has detoxifying properties and can be used on herpes, acne, and by inhalation to help one to cease smoking.

STOP SMOKING
No-Smoking/Heal Damage done by Drugs

Use by Inhalation & Application
3 parts Lemon – cleanser and astringent
2 parts Rose Geranium – adrenal tonic
1 part Helichrysum – healing, antihematomic

Morton’s Neuroma Formula. A Helichrysum-based product can be effective. Helichrysum is more anti-inflammatory than German Chamomile, and often more tissue regenerating than Comfrey or Lavender and is both anti-inflammatory and analgesic. It is said to have corticoid-like effects.

Helichrysum Salve or Oil A 10-15% essential oil formula in Calophyllum oil and Calendula infused oil, thickened with beeswax. The formula of oils is to use 15% EO to 85% carrier
35% Helichrysum – soothing/healing
25% Rosemary cineol – stimulating/healing
20% Basil analgesic/warming/healing essential oil
20% Lavender aromatic/healing essential oil
Add 15% EO to 85% Carrier of Calophyllum & Calendula
You can change the ingredients around for different results.

Application & Skincare ~ Regarding essential oils for the recovery of scars and keloids, here is a wonderful formula using Helichrysum. Supplementary information can be read in my book, “375 Essential Oils and Hydrosols” and get a copy of this book as it will help you with education and information.

Scar Care Formula & EO
20% Rosehip Seed oil20% Calophyllum inophyllum50% Calendula infused oil
            10% essential oils:
              4% Helichrysum
             
3% Lavender – high altitude
             
3% Blue Chamomile

Mix everything and apply as often as possible, several times per day.

§

Inhalation ~ Use inhalation of the mixture to help one to stop smoking. Inhale as often as necessary to repel your use of cigarettes. [see formula above]

            Diffusion – This is such a special and expensive essential oil; I do not recommend its use via a diffuser.

Emotional/Energetic Use ~ Often used to inhale to release trauma and for peace and a quiet mind.

Short List of Helichrysum Uses from Rivendell Aromatics

Helichrysum/Immortelle: Helichrysum italicum

Arthritis Pain – anti-inflammatory

Emotional –  Heals emotional scars, connects body and spirit, and opens inner spiritual life. 

Face & skin –  Clear Acne, Rosacea, Age spots & Scars

Infections – bacterial & fungal

Mouthwash – heal gingivitis & sores

Respiratory –  Inhale mist for asthma, bronchitis, cough

Surgery – helps heal incisions and needle wounds, helps to detoxify the liver of anesthetic & drugs

Wounds –: Reduce swelling of bruises, bumps, nosebleeds, 

Personal use –  Strong anti-inflammatory – has worked well for my aging mother as she was able to stop taking prescription pain medication for her arthritis, and she noticed that her ‘age spots’ faded. 

Strong effective remedy for hematoma bruises and aches and pains from trauma or overworking a muscle. And I have also used Helichrysum hydrosol plus Bay hydrosol as a mouth wash for serious gum problems.

Herbal & Hydrosol Use ~ I have found that the best use for Helichrysum flowers is in flower arrangements as they are very dry and thus last quite a while.  Other than this, hydrosol is the most efficient and best use of this hard-to-distill plant. The hydrosol can be used directly as a facial tonic, as an ingredient in any skincare product, and as a direct spray for calming and cooling.

The average yield is 1 lb. of plant material and 1-2 lbs.  (2 cups to 1 quart) of hydrosol out. (One gallon of distilled water weighs approx. 8.32 lbs.)

Key Use: Oil for delicate skin care.

§

Chemistry and Comparison of Main Components ~ The major ingredient of typical Helichrysum oil is neryl acetate (up to 40 %). Moreover, a number of unusual beta-diketones are present in some samples in significant amounts, e.g., 4,6,9-trimethyldec-8-en-3,5-dione. One of the components of the EO from Corsica is italidone, a double-bonded ketone that is an anti-hematomic i.e., it helps reduce bruising. Other species contain neral acetate, an important ester used for soothing and healing and for skincare.

Chemistry of Helichrysum (the Essential Oil Certificate of Analysis) by Arthur Tucker – 10/22/03

GCMS of Helichrysum by Arthur Tucker

§

A Story of HYDROSOL ~ Helichrysum, Helichrysum angustifolia dc.,

called Everlasting and Immortal among other names

DISTILLATION TIDBITS •      the various species of Helichrysum are hard to tell apart, they are polymorphic (have many shapes). They grow wild in many Mediterranean countries. Most Italian oils are orange-colored.  The finest and most therapeutic Helichrysum comes from Sicily – it is greenish-colored, and honey-scented and contains the anti-hematomic (stops bruising) diketones called italidone. To date, no American or Croatian grown oil has been found to contain italidone.  This oil can be taken internally for liver problems and is used externally as a regenerative and to resolve scar tissue. See page 88-89 in 375 Essential Oils and Hydrosols.  Hydrosol is used to bathe fresh wounds, it is healing and soothing.  It is not yet known what the USA-grown hydrosol will do in actual practice.

                  Specific gravity is .0.89-.92 ± .002 and the plants contain as little as 0.2-0.5% essential oil.

                  Harvest must be done by the hand of the flowering tops and leaves. They should be wild grown. Distilling must be done as soon as possible after harvest. If the plants are kept longer than 24 hours, the plant material will start to fade and to ferment and the oil will be of poor quality.——2001

Distillation of California grown Helichrysum September 23, 2003. On 9/23/03, I received 5 lbs. plus of Helichrysum flowering tops grown and harvested by Sandy Messori in California and distilled it in a 25-liter copper still.  The information is as follows: Latin binomial and variety. Helichrysum italicum. The grower did not know the variety or chemotype.

Terroir (where and how grown). The area is near Carpentaria, CA and the field is located in a protected canyon called Casitas Pass, 4 miles from the Pacific Ocean. It is at about 900 feet elevation, in an area that was once an oak forest and is now an avocado orchard.  The area was cleared by a landslide about 7 years ago and the soil that was ‘unearthed’ by the slide, the ‘virgin’ soil, was allowed to be fallow, never planted with trees or crops. The soil is heavy clay, but the slope allows plenty of drainage for these drought-tolerant plants that are native to the southern part of Europe bordering the Mediterranean Ocean (Italian Riviera, Dalmatian Islands, and French Riviera.  The plants have similar needs to Lavender. 

These plants were grown on clay soil on a gentle 20-30% W – NW facing slope. The plants were not watered as in June there had been a light rain.  The springtime weather was very cool and gloomy well into the summer (July).  Then it was bright and sunny the rest of the summer.  The soil around the plants is covered with a dark-colored weed cloth that helps keep the soil warm and conserves moisture.  There is full sun exposure all day long.

Harvest. The plants were harvested on 9/22/03 between noon and 12:30 pm. It was a clear and sunny day with a slight mist down by the ocean, which gives the growing area some slight humidity. The temperature was 74° F with a slight breeze from the west at noon. The morning dew had dried off the plants. The nighttime temperatures had been 55-60° F. The tops were cut 3-6 inches in length with immature flower heads, some mature flowers as well, 5 lbs. were laid lengthwise in a box and shipped by Fed Ex to arrive by 10 am the following day in San Francisco.

Distillation occurred on September 23, Autumn Equinox, 2003. On Tuesday, I received the FedEx package at 10:30 a.m. and immediately set up the 25-liter copper stovetop still. The plants picked weighed 5 lbs. and were placed in the pot on a copper grid to keep the plants out of the water. The still was put together at 11:08 a.m., it was 75° F in the kitchen. Three gallons of 60° F. spring water were added to the pot, the heat turned on, the rest of the connections were made, and 2 gallons of warm water added to the condenser. There was heat at the head at 11:20 a.m., at the gooseneck at 11:30 a.m., and at the condenser at 11:35 a.m. The connections were secure, and the distillate started at 11:42 a.m. The heads (first plant aroma) were strongly herbaceous and with floral back notes.  During the distillation, the scent stayed strongly honeyed, herbal, and floral.  pH stayed at 4.2 ± .1 throughout the distillation that lasted 3 hours. At 12:15 p.m. the scent or body note was flattening out, but the odor could still be characterized as herbal, honey and floral. The distillation was slowed by turning down the heat during the middle of the time which seemed to improve the odor as well as slow the distillate into the receiver. At 3:42 p.m. after 3 hours of distillation, 6 quarts of hydrosol had been collected and a vegetative back note was creeping into the scent. Distillation was stopped at this evidence of a tail note.

5 pounds of cut tops with mature and immature flower heads yielded 6 quarts of hydrosol and 1 ml. of essential oil.  The essential oil was sent for analysis and this information is added.

                  When Sandy Messori, the grower, distilled on her glass still, she got much less hydrosol but more of the essential oil. “Jeanne, so much hydrosol with just 5 pounds of material.  It has a nice honey/toast scent.  The hydrosol I get has a stronger, more pungent scent since I am using a smaller still and get only about 2 liters during a 3-hour distillation.  And from 8 pounds of material, I get about 8 -10 MLS. of  essential oil.” Sandy Messori of Rivendell Aromatics • 

PLEASE NOTE: A true hydrosol should be specifically distilled for the hydrosol, not as a co-product or even a by-product of essential oil distillation. The plant’s cellular water has many components most are lost under pressurized short steam runs for essential oil, or by using dried material. We recommend that the producers specifically distill for a product by using plant material that is fresh.

This work is sponsored and supported by Prima Fleur Botanicals.

Prima Fleur Helichrysum oil superimposed on Helichrysum plants
Prima Fleur Helichrysum oil over a bed of Helichrysum

SAFETY PRECAUTIONS

Patch Test:  If applying a new essential oil to your skin always perform a patch test on the inner arm (after you have diluted the EO in a vegetable carrier oil). —Wash an area of your forearm about the size of a quarter and dry carefully. Apply a diluted drop (1 drop EO + 1 drop carrier) to the area. Then apply a loose band-aid and wait 24 hours. If there is no reaction then go ahead and use the oil in your formulas.—The Aromatherapy Book, Applications &  Inhalations, p. 64

Do not Ingest essential oils, please.

DISCLAIMER:  This work is intended for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for accurate diagnosis and treatment by a qualified health care professional. Dosages are often not given, as that is a matter between you and your health care provider. The author is neither a chemist nor a medical doctor.  The content herein is the product of research and personal and practical experience. Institute of Aromatic & Herbal Studies  – Jeanne Rose©

§

References:
Guenther, The Essential Oils
Herbal Studies Course/ Jeanne Rose & Berkeley, California: North Atlantic Books, http://www.bojensen.net/EssentialOilsEng/EssentialOils13A/EssentialOils13A.htm

1http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5506734/
Mabberley, D. J. Mabberley’s Plant-Book, 3rd edition, 2014 printing, Cambridge University Press.
Rose, Jeanne.  375 Essential Oils and Hydrosols.  Berkeley, California: Frog, Ltd., 1999
Rose, Jeanne.  The Aromatherapy Book: Applications & Inhalations.  San Francisco, California:

botanical drawing of Helichrysum

LEMON BALM & LEMON VERBENA

LEMON BALM & LEMON VERBENA

By Jeanne Rose ~ 4-20-22

photo from the garden of Lemon vebena and Lemon Balm
Lemon Verbena and Lemon Balm

Lemon Balm and Lemon Verbena are from two different genera and family.  They are not the same and yet I am writing about them together because they often have the same properties, in both essential oil and herbal use.

                                                                          COMMON NAME/LATIN BINOMIAL/FAMILY

Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis) and Family Lamiaceae

Lemon Verbena (Aloysia triphylla) and Family Verbenaceae

                                                        OTHER COMMON NAME/NAMING INFORMATION ~
Lemon Balm is often called  Balm, Balm Mint, Bálsamo de Limón, Common Balm, Cure-All, Dropsy Plant, Honey Plant, Melisa, Melissa, Melissa officinalis, Melissae Folium, Mélisse, Mélisse Citronnelle, Mélisse Officinale, Melissenblatt, Monarde, Sweet Balm, Sweet Mary, Toronjil.

AND

Lemon Verbena has many names and confusing scientific names including Aloysia citrodora, Aloysia triphylla, Lippia citrodora, Lippia triphylla, Zappania citrodora and common names such as Cedrón, Herb Louisa, Hierba Luisa, Lemon-Scented Verbena, Louisa, Verbena Citrodora, Verbena triphylla, Verveine Citronnée, Verveine Citronnelle, Verveine des Indes, Verveine du Chili, Verveine du Pérou, Verveine Odorante.

            So, know these two plants by their physiology and anatomy – look and them and memorize their looks, smell, taste, and touch.

                                                                  COUNTRIES OF ORIGINS & Harvest Locations

Lemon Balm grows easily in many places and is distilled in Bulgaria, France, and Italy.

Lemon Verbena is distilled in Chile, Argentina, and Morocco. I have seen a Lemon Verbena tree here in San Francisco that had grown up to the 2nd story window and the one in the backyard that I grew from a 2-inch baby in 1969, grew to about 12 feet in height with a trunk measurement of 18 inches, even though I distilled the top third of it yearly. A great wind broke one of the main branches – then I duct-taped the broken ends together and it lasted until the duct tape rotted away. I think my tree finally aged out as it fell in another windstorm and now the fallen trunk is a host for various types of mushrooms.

HISTORICAL USES and INTERESTING INFORMATION ~

Melissa was called the ‘elixir of life’ by Avicenna, the ancient Roman physician. The herb was associated particularly with nervous disorders, the heart, and emotions. Melissa was used for anxiety, melancholy, and to strengthen and revive the vital spirit.


Lemon verbena or Verveine is the French word for the plant known as Lemon Verbena. The correct Latin binomial for Lemon Verbena is Aloysia triphylla and not anything else. Verbena is a genus of the plant named from the Latin meaning ‘sacred bough of olive etc.’. Vervain is the French word for the same from medieval Latin. It is the Verbena officinalis used by herbalists and they refer to the old spice Vervain.

         Latin is favored in gardening terminology since Carl Linnaeus, the Swedish botanist introduced the plant naming system in use today – a plant family is divided into various genus names and then sub-divided into species and then cultivar.

ENDANGERED OR NOT ~ Neither Lemon balm nor Lemon verbena are endangered or threatened.  Both grow easily in a natural environment or from cuttings.

GENERAL DESCRIPTION OF PLANT HABITAT AND GROWTH of Lemon balm & Lemon verbena

Melissa/Lemon Balm … this plant naturalizes easily, reproduces by underground stems, and will grow up to 18 inches in height, spreading easily. Melissa grows best in ‘alluvial soil; excess water is harmful, while yields diminish in light and dry soils’ (Guenther). Melissa produces more of the chemical citral (anti-viral) prior to flowering. After flowering, it contains more citronellal.

photo of spring growing Lemon Balm. San Francisco, April 20, 2022
Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis) April 2022

Lemon Balm

Lemon verbena (Aloysia citriodora) is a woody shrub, and its narrow glossy leaves grow quickly in hot summer weather, replenishing as you harvest throughout the growing season. Pick it before it flowers.

Lemon verbena about 5 feet tall growing in the garden with one trunk,.
Lemon verbena

PORTION OF PLANT USED IN DISTILLATION, HOW DISTILLED, EXTRACTION METHODS & Yield

Melissa -The percentage of citral depends on the seed source and when distilled. Citral has been found to range between 8.8 and 75.0%, with citronellal between 1.0 and 52.0%, citronellol dominating after flowering. The percentage of citral is highest in young leaves and just before flowering, but favorable growing conditions are very important. After a 6 months period of storage, the citral content decreases from 84 to 50%. As the plants become older, the percentage of citral decreases from 37 to 12%, and citronellal increases from 1 to 32%.

            A great deal of the oil sold as Melissa or Lemon Verbena is actually a blend of lemongrass and citronella or May Chang oils – ‘true’ Melissa or Lemon Verbena oil have their own unique aromas and properties.

The high cost of these oils is a result of needing 3.5 to 7.5 tons of plant material to produce 1 pound of essential oil.

Yield – Yields of Melissa are as low as 0.014% for distillation of the fresh herb to 0.112% for dried herb, increasing to 0.13% using cohobation. True oil is extremely expensive.


The yield of Lemon Verbena
is also very low, with 0.1 to 0.7% yield, on average, 20 kilograms of oil, the equivalent of 18 pounds of oil per acre. “Because the oil yields are very low, the leaves are steam-distilled as soon as possible after harvest to minimize vaporization.” – IPlantz.com

Name Latin NameChemo-typeComponent Distilled for & YieldWhen to DistillWhyTherapeutic Use
Lemon Verbena Aloysia triphyllaCitral but there are several including thujones, citronella, carvone, and citralCitral   Yield is low less than 0.3 to 0.5%— Distill before it flowers.  The leaves and flower buds are taken, and steam-distilled, the heavier stems discarded, It produces about 2-3cups of hydrosol per pound of fresh leaf distilled. The proportion of essential oil produced is very small about 0.02% or less by weight.Lemon verbena produces more citral before it flowers and more citronellal after it flowers.Citral is an anti-viral. [See also Melissa], as a beverage (1 t. /glass of carbonated, sweetened water)
Melissa Melissa officinalisCitralCitral –also citronellal (23.44%), geranial (16.22%), linalyl acetate (11.65%) and caryophyllene (11.77%).  The yield is low less than 0.05%  — Distill Melissa before it flowers.  The entire above-ground plant is taken, the heavier stems discarded, and steam distilled. It produces about 1 quart of hydrosol per pound of the fresh plant distilled. The proportion of essential oil produced is very small about 0.02% by weight.Melissa produces more citral before it flowers and more citronellal after it flowersCitral is an anti-viral. The essential oil can be applied directly to herpes on the lips and nose. The herb tea is relaxing and helps one to concentrate. The hydrosol is excellent as a wash on wounds, or as a beverage.

ODOR DESCRIPTION/ AROMA ASSESSMENT

ORGANOLEPTIC CHARACTERISTICS ~

Essential OilLemon BalmLemon Verbena
ColorPale yellowPale yellow
Clarityclearclear
ViscosityNon-viscousNon-viscous
Intensity Of Odor (This scale is from 1-10 with 1 being of the least intensity of odor and 10 being very intense)4-54-5

ODOR ASSESSMENT

Melissa essential oil has a citrus, herbaceous and somewhat vegetative odor with a bit of fresh fern or green note and back note of wood. If it does not have the vegetative subsidiary note it probably is not true Melissa oil. Melissa oil does not smell like Lemon or May Chang oil.

Lemon Verbena essential oil Scent — Green, vegetative, herbaceous, and floral with a strong citrus character.  Lemon verbena is different from either Melissa or Lemon peel. This scent is strongly citrus with a floral note and a woody finish.  It is expensive and often other oils are substituted for it. It is a powerful anti-inflammatory. 

Lemon verbena picked and fresh photo
Lemon Verbena fresh-picked and still on the tree

§

GENERAL PROPERTIES of Lemon Balm and Lemon Verbena

PROPERTIES AND USES of the oils ~

Melissa oilThe properties are hypotensive, a calming sedative, and anti-inflammatory. Melissa oil is used for insomnia, hysteria, and irritability by inhalation and will relieve a lip or nose cold sore if applied externally.  

Lemon Verbena – This essential oil is a powerful anti-inflammatory, fever reducer, and sedative. It is generally inhaled for stress, insomnia, depression, nervous fatigue and to help during an asthmatic crisis. Strongly anti-viral, it can be applied directly to a lip or nose cold sore to reduce pain and symptoms.

APPLICATION/ SKINCARELemon Verbena And Melissa Essential Oils are very expensive because not much is produced.  I would suggest that you not use it in skincare as it can be irritating.  Use the herb instead as a tea, compress, hydrosol spray, etc.

EMOTIONAL/ENERGETIC USE – Eden Botanicals suggest Lemon verbena as a vibrant oil and a favorite ally to brighten low moods – perfect to diffuse or include in hand and foot balms, body mists, and massage oils.

DIFFUSE/DIFFUSION – It is wasteful to use these two essential oils in a diffuser. They are expensive and can be irritating.  Use other oils and use these herbs as in a tea blend or bath.

Lemon verbena and Lemon Balm blend best with other lemon-scented herbs but are best used in their original herbal form.

HYDROSOL: These herbs must be picked early in the day; too late in the day and distilled too late in the day and both of these factors change the chemistry of the resulting hydrosol. As the plant ages, citral is reduced and citronella increases. And both decrease as the day wears on. This plant needs to be harvested and distilled in the early morning (about 9 a.m. and in the still by about 10 a.m.) in San Francisco. Maybe even with the dew on it.

            Use of the Hydrosol — MELISSA or Lemon Balm, is one of the most expensive of the essential oils but the hydrosol is affordable. The herb has potent uses in the skin and body care.  The essential oil costs as much as $1 per drop but along with the essential oil is produced a wonderful hydrosol. The hydrosol is available for all your skin needs. This watery distillate, the hydrosol, which is the first 25% of the distillation, contains all the potency of the essential oil as well as the powerful therapeutic effects of the herbal extract. The pH is often a bit higher than other hydrosols because the herb is so light and it is very difficult to pack the still enough to get a good weight and thus a good pH, about 5 or so. Hydrosol has powerful and positive uses for any skincare product.  It is antifungal, relieves skin infection and breakouts, and can cure herpes. This hydrosol is considered useful in tonic drinks for ‘attention deficit disorder’ and dietary uses.  Has a wonderful lemony scent that is attractive to men and women as well as the teenage market.

            Other Uses for Melissa hydrosol – This is a good spray for the face and body for emotional calmness, soothing anger, and relieving insomnia. One teaspoon added to the clay mask for skin healing; add to regular tea for a delicious new taste treat. This hydrosol has powerful and positive uses for any skincare product. 

            More Uses for Melissa hydrosol: Drink the hydrosol by itself, diluted with water or soda, over ice for a wonderful, refreshing tonic drink.

a tin can of picked Lemon verbena stems
a can of picked Lemon Verbena

Lemon verbena (Aloysia triphylla) and Melissa (Melissa officinalis) hydrosol – are mental relaxants when ingested or applied, and a physical relaxant when ingested. Make a warm compress using 3-5 tablespoons of hydrosol per quart of water and apply or sip throughout the day to balance the endocrine system and relax mind and body. Or simply fill a spray bottle and mist away.

Lemon Verbena hydrosol can be applied to relieve PMS or dysmenorrhea.

PLEASE NOTE ~ a true hydrosol should be specifically distilled for the hydrosol, not as a co-product or even a by-product of essential oil distillation. The plant’s cellular water has many components most are lost under pressurized short steam runs for essential oil, or by using dried material. We recommend that the producers specifically distill for a product by using plant material that is fresh.

HERBAL USES OF LEMON VERBENA & MELISSA

The herb tea or hydrosol of Lemon verbena is very useful as a tonic beverage to be taken before bed for sleeping. It is a delicious tea and can be drunk anytime as it is relaxing and soothing. It has found use in the treatment of Crohn’s disease which is an anti-inflammatory disease that affects the gastrointestinal tract. If drinking the hydrosol, use 1 T/cup of water or sparkling water. The tea is helpful for sleeping, the hydrosol as a facial spray has the opposite effect and can help to keep you awake on a long drive.

The herb tea of Lemon Balm is a delicious drink or can be used therapeutically for soothing stomach cramps, indigestion, and nausea. It is also lightly stimulating and a good tea to drink when studying. I especially enjoy using a goodly quantity of this herb, as one of my favorite bath herbs. The crushed leaves, when rubbed on the skin, are used as a repellant for mosquitos.

§

KEY USE ~ Direct application of Melissa EO for herpes around mouth and nose. Hydrosol to calm stomach and nerves. Inhale scent to wake up and be aware.

Lemon verbena tea for soothing the gastrointestinal tract.

§

CHEMICAL COMPONENTS & PHYSIOCHEMICAL PROPERTIES ~

            Collections of Lemon Verbena in Argentina evidenced four different chemotypes, named after the dominant component as follows: thujones, citronellal, carvone, and citral(neral + geranial). In the populations of Salta and Catamarca, linalool appeared as a new different chemotype. … https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0305197817300996

            Chemical components were identified by B. Lawrence as  35-40% citral (a combination of neral and geranial); 13% limonene, 6% citronellol, 6% geraniol, nerol 5%; many other components depending on when harvested. —Essential Oils 1976-1992 by Brian Lawrence.

            A powerful anti-viral. Melissa has many chemotypes and many chemical varieties. Most interesting is that this scent, which is citrus, also has back notes of sweet wood. This is a very expensive oil and not the least like other citrus scents. 

This work is sponsored and supported by Prima Fleur Botanicals.

SAFETY PRECAUTIONS:

lists of safety precautions
Safety Precautions

References:

Mabberley, D. J. Mabberley’s Plant-Book, 3rd edition, 2014 printing, Cambridge University Press.

Rose, Jeanne.  375 Essential Oils and Hydrosols.  Berkeley, California: Frog, Ltd., 1999

Rose, Jeanne.  The Aromatherapy Book: Applications & Inhalations.  San Francisco, California:

Herbal Studies Course/ Jeanne Rose & Berkeley, California: North Atlantic Books, 1992

DISCLAIMER:  This work is intended for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for accurate diagnosis and treatment by a qualified health care professional. Dosages are often not given, as that is a matter between you and your health care provider. The author is neither a chemist nor a medical doctor.  The content herein is the product of research and personal and practical experience. Institute of Aromatic & Herbal Studies  – Jeanne Rose©

waft symbol