CALENDULA/Pot Marigold

CALENDULA/Pot Marigold

Growing Calendula flowers and a bottle of the CO2 total extract

CALENDULA plant – Infused OIL, CO2 – HERBAL USES  

Calendula officinalis is a simple garden plant with a hundred healing uses as an antiseptic and anti-inflammatory. The CO2 is also used for the treatment of skin disorders and pain as a bactericide, antiseptic, and anti-inflammatory.

Jeanne Rose ~ circa 1972 – 2023

COMMON NAME/LATIN BINOMIAL ~ Calendula, Calendula officinalis

Kingdom is Plantae (includes all the plants; eukaryotic, multicellular, and autotrophic organisms.)
Order is Asterales (cosmopolitan herbaceous species known for flowers with fused petals)
Family is Asteraceae (unique because of their composite flowers; daisies, asters, chamomile, etc.)
Tribe is Calenduleae (this group varies from herbs to shrubs with showy flower heads)
Genus is Calendula – referring to the first day of the month or the long growing period, and holds about 15-20 species of annual and perennial herbaceous plants.
species is C. officinalis – originally meaning used in cooking, medicine,  and herbalism.

The language of flowers –  Giving a gift of the pot Marigold signifies “my thoughts are with you”.

OTHER COMMON NAME/NAMING INFORMATION ~ Pot Marigold, Marigold, or Mary’s gold.

Family ~ Asteraceae and this family also include aster, daisy, composite or sunflower family, Lettuce, echinacea, Chrysanthemum, fleabane, zinnia, and so many more.

            Calendula, from the Latin calendae (the first day of the month), refers to the long flowering period of this annual herb.2.

COUNTRIES OF ORIGINS ~ This plant is probably native to the southern part of Europe but is now naturalized in many temperate climates and available in many countries. Some sites say it is native to Asia and to other places. It is grown for its herbal uses in many states across the United States. Various varieties are grown for the beauty of the flowers, but often these varieties do not have the same medicinal value or carry the resin that the originating species has.

ENDANGERED OR NOT ~ Of least concern.

GENERAL DESCRIPTION OF PLANT HABITAT AND GROWTH ~ Most species of Asteraceae are annual, biennial, or perennial herbaceous plants; and there are also members of this family that are shrubs,  vines, and trees; all of which, if you call yourself an herbalist are >HERBS< because you use all of these plants in herbalism.            

_______Calendula grows well in full sun in poor to moderate soil. When I used to teach at the world-renowned wellness center and spa, Rancho La Puerta, near Tecate, Mexico, the gardens were quite lush, and Calendula and other sun-loving plants grew abundantly. These are plants with wonderful, sticky, resinous orange or yellow flowers. The resin comes from near the green base of the flower.

­­­­­_______ If you grow it, please choose the authentic Calendula officinalis and not any of its varietal forms.

PORTION OF PLANT USED FOR EXTRACTION, EXTRACTION METHODS; DISTILLATION, HOW DISTILLED, AND YIELDS ~ The flowers are harvested and used, via carbon dioxide extract, macerated in oil, for the hydrosol; all to provide a base ingredient for skincare, therapeutics, or food. The top third of the plant, including flowers, are harvested herbally for making infused or macerated Calendula oil, for foods, and for garnishes.

            YIELD – The CO2 yield from the flowers is dependent on extraction pressure and flow rate and is from .56% up to 4.2%. 

>It is estimated that 1 acre of Calendula could keep a crew of three to four people busy every day for three or four months, with dry flower yields of 400 to 600 lbs./acre.< There are about 250 flower heads of Calendula per pound.

• Source  of CO2
~ This work is supported by Prima Fleur Botanicals. ~

PARTS OF CALENDULA USED. The flowers and leaves are used for distillation and only the flowers for infused oil.
             Calendula Leaves –The leaves can be alternate, opposite, or whorled. They may be simple but are often deeply lobed or otherwise incised, often conduplicate or revolute. The margins can be entire, or lobed, or toothed. Gather these in dry weather, in the morning, before the sun is high but after the dew has dried — for tea or for oil maceration. The whole flower can also be dried for tea.

             Calendula Flowers – The flowers are picked in the morning when they are covered and sticky with the resin and then used, and if they will be dried, it needs to be done quickly in the shade, in a good current of warm air. They can be hung in mesh bags from tree limbs or spread out on sheets of paper without touching each other. If they are dried, and the flowers have been touching, they will become discolored. Another method of drying is to spread them on screens in a warm, dry attic or over a stairway. This has been described extensively in The Herbal Studies Course, chapters 31 and 33. The flowers and leaves are used for distillation and only the flowers for infused oil.

A table laid out with fresh Calendula flowers.

             Calendula resin: When you pick Calendula, your fingers should be sticky from the resinous bracts, which form the green base of the flower head. The species Calendula officinalis resina strain was developed by medicinal herb pioneer Mark Wheeler at Pacific Botanicals in his quest for the highest resin content and specifically to increase this therapeutic substance1. This resin is an important part of Calendula’s healing and is a good indicator of strength. If you are buying Calendula, make sure you purchase the brightest yellow or orange flowers, which is a good barometer of its freshness and medicinal quality. If picking fresh flowers, the stickier (with resin), the better. The leaves and the stems very often contain secretory canals with resin or latex. This is particularly common among the Cichorioideae, a sub-family of the Asteraceae).

CALENDULA CHEMISTRY ~  The German herbal medicine manufacturer, Dr. Theiss, registered ‘Rinathei’ in 1998 for its own exclusive production use. This variety is claimed to be rich in the faradiol triterpenoids believed to be most responsible for Calendula’s anti-inflammatory activity. Also readily available is a dwarf ornamental variety, ‘Calypso Orange,’ rich in faradiols, having the highest content of 10 cultivars tested, and often a third more than ‘Erfurter Orangefarbi.’         The petals and pollen contain triterpenoid esters (an anti-inflammatory) and the carotenoids flavoxanthin and auroxanthin (antioxidants and the source of the yellow-orange coloration). The leaves and stems contain other carotenoids, mostly lutein (80%), zeaxanthin (5%), and beta-carotene. This plant extract is also widely used by cosmetic makers in their products due to the presence of compounds such as saponins, resins, and essential oils.

CALENDULA SCENT AND ORGANOLEPTICS ~ Calendula total extract is a rich and thick, almost solid CO2 extract of Calendula flowers. It is dark brown, thick, and viscous, with a low intensity of scent that is floral, earthy, vegetative, and herbaceous. This extract must be diluted for use, has a good tenacity in a carrier oil, and/or mixed with other scents in a blend for healing. It is used in many skincare products as an anti-inflammatory.

Showing a bottle of Prima Fleur Calendula Total extract



CALENDULA OFFICINALIS CO2 EXTRACT  is used for the beneficial treatment of skin disorders and pain and as a bactericide, antiseptic and anti-inflammatory. The petals and pollen contain triterpenoid esters (an anti-inflammatory) and the carotenoids flavoxanthin and auroxanthin (antioxidants and the source of the yellow-orange coloration). The leaves and stems contain other carotenoids, mostly lutein (80%), and zeaxanthin (5%), and beta-carotene. Plant extracts are also widely used by cosmetics, presumably due to the presence of compounds such as saponins, resins, and essential oils.

APPLICATION/ SKINCARE ~ Calendula officinalis CO2 is used for the treatment of skin disorders and pain, and as a bactericide, antiseptic and anti-inflammatory. The creams that are made with the carbon dioxide product are fragrant, hydrating for the face and body, and have a pleasant herbal odor.

A jar of Calendula Hydrating Face Lotion

CALENDULA for the Skin – Jeanne Rose favorite ~   Calendula CO2 and infused oil is a wonderful product to nourish dry skin. It also makes good carrier oil used in aromatherapy massage. To make the infused product, use The Aromatherapy Book and refer to pages 249-250. Calendula-infused oil is a wonderful product to have on hand. I do not recommend sun infusion, as letting something sit in the sun is an excellent way to grow bacteria. Sun sitting was very useful in hot, dry climates when one did not want to use a stove. See directions below.

         Calendula and Comfrey herbs have skin-softening properties. They can be used in a facial sauna or to make herbal or floral waters. Comfrey also reduces redness and soothes irritated skin. Add water from making your breakfast oatmeal for additional skin conditioning.


DIFFUSE/DIFFUSION ~ EMOTIONAL/ENERGETIC USE ~ The mystery of aromatherapy —Get to know the elusive essence and herb that is able to create such a variety of emotional and physical changes.

This is a relaxing earthy application, and Calendula is used in ceremony for remembrance along with Rosemary, in death and dying ceremony, and also in spell work for happiness and harmony. Its bright orange color is evocative of the sun and all that the sun is used for.

Calendula flowers with a jar of hydrating face lotion and total Calendula extract superimposted.

BLENDING & PERFUMERY ~ Calendula total, is a CO2 extract, suitable for skincare and skin  issues. I do not used it in perfumery as I consider its value to be in therapeutics, cosmetics, lotions, and creams. This extract will blend well with almost all vegetable oils.

         Use the Calendula infused oil (Olive oil) for nourishing dry skin in a full body massage.

CALENDULA HYDROSOL ~  I prefer the Calendula infusion and oil maceration to EO and hydrosol as I believe that wasting 10-30 lbs. of flowers for 3 gallons of hydrosol is an ecological waste and destruction of good flowers, not to mention the environmental waste of gallons of valuable water in the condensation part of the distillation. The hydrosol is made from fresh flowers and is being used in new ways to combat old problems.

“I know that some will disagree with me on this subject, but I strongly feel that distilling Calendula flowers is a waste of botanical product.Calendula Hydrosol is obtained from freshly picked Calendula flowers and distilled in a copper still. It produces a green and vegetative smelling hydrosol. It seems a waste of good Calendula flowers. My suggestion is to not distill it but to infuse the fresh flowers in good-quality Olive Oil for an infused oil. This can be used in all skin care lotions. It works to smooth and soothe the skin, to heal small eruptions or sores. It makes a perfect infused oil.

When you distill the Calendula, you will use up to 30 POUNDS of flowers (250 flowers per pound or 7500 flowers) to make ONLY 3 Gallons of hydrosol + all the water going through the condenser. So yes, there are some water-soluble compounds, but we can use the flowers as a tea or compress. With the Calendula infused oil, you use 1 lb. of resin-covered flowers to 1 gallon of good Olive oil. When you distill for hydrosol, you have to also think of the environmental impact of your work and the value of the water used. Sometimes an herbal product is better to use than a distilled product.”

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.


fresh Calendula flower

fresh orange Calendula flowers


~ Definitions always seem to be a problem to sort out by people and they often vary by discipline. People are prone to invent their own definitions based on  inadequate knowledge or poor teachers. Please folks, use a dictionary if you do not know  what an herbal term means.

_____Herbalists infuse (soak flowers and leaves) or decoct (boil roots and barks), in water to make medicinal teas. So, with teas, infusion = hot or room temp. liquid, no applied heat; decoction = applied and sustained heat.   

•An infusion starts with hot water, and the heat is turned off or no heat is applied once the plant material is added – it just sits and steeps covered, often until cool. Cold infusions are also an option for some things – no heat is applied but it takes more time.

•Decoctions simmer for 5-60 min. depending on the density of the material. Roots and barks taking more time than twigs and seeds.

•We macerate in alcohol to create tinctures; we also percolate — both maceration and percolation can be called tincturing. This is also called extracting by some.

Maceration is a word that confuses people. I don’t know why humans seem to have forgotten how to use a dictionary. Maceration is a specialized soaking in oil, water, fat, or a long soaking infusion in either alcohol or fat or oil. Macerate, Use a clean metal or porcelain pan; for perfumery use the type of flowers/plants required for the odor wanted and that are carefully picked (fresh). And removed and exchanged in a short time. Therapeutic maceration and fragrant maceration are two different processes.

For a Maceration – place in the warm alcohol or liquid fat or add to the fat or alcohol and allow to remain from minutes to hours; and for fragrant maceration – exchange the flowers every 24 hours, many times, until the menstruum has the scent. It may take up to 20 exchanges. Fat/oil has a particular affinity or attraction for the scent (fragrance) of flowers, and thus, as it were, draws it out of them and becomes itself, by their aid, highly perfumed.
           For therapeutic maceration, soak the plant in the warmed oil or fat for hours until the oil or fat has taken on the color and properties of the plant.            

Alcohol has an affinity for the plant’s therapeutic values. And is often called a tincture when completed.



 Healing Skin – Simply put — using a compress or infusion of the following herbs, either singly or in a combination, will be healing Calendula, Chamomile, or Comfrey.

There are many herbs that would be useful and helpful to treat torn, burn, or tattooed skin. I have written two skin care books that list many treatments. Both the Herbal Body Book and Kitchen Cosmetics would have useful information.


PROPERTIES AND USES OF HERBAL TREATMENTS ~ Pot marigold florets are edible. They are used to add flavor when Saffron is not available, and color to salads, added to smaller plates as a garnish. The leaves are edible but not very tasty. Leaves have a history as a leafy green vegetable and both leaves and flower are used to make tea.

The flowers also called Marigold are chiefly used as a local remedy. They have a stimulating action and are diaphoretic (makes you sweat) when taken as a warm tea. Given internally, it encourages a natural internal action and prevents suppuration (pus formation as in an abscess or a vesicle and the discharge of pus). The usual recipe for herbal infusion is of 1-ounce dried herb to a pint of boiling water, steep for 10-20 minutes and take internally, in doses of one tablespoonful, every hour; and used externally as a local application for sores, pus’y wounds, pimples or irritation. It is useful as an internal tea in chronic ulcer, varicose veins, etc. This infusion was formerly considered to have much value as an aperient (mild laxative) and intestinal cleanser in obstructions in the digestive system and for jaundice.

Fresh Marigold flower is a useful remedy for the pain and swelling caused by the sting of a wasp or bee when rubbed on the affected area.

•Calendula Flowers were used in ancient cultures such as Middle Easter, Green and Roman, and as a medicinal herb as well. The flowers are used to dye cosmetics, fabrics, and foods. They are an unforgettable addition or sole ingredients in an infused oil for their therapeutic value on the skin.
            An infusion of the freshly gathered flowers, drunk hot is useful in summer fevers and cold, as it gently promotes perspiration – a decoction of the flowers has been used to treat smallpox and measles. Marigold flowers are very useful for children’s ailments.

The expressed juice of the flower or the dried powdered flowers, snuffed up the nose triggers sneezing and a discharge of mucous from the head. Years ago, when I tried to express the juice of fresh flowers, I used a Champion juicer, got only a few drops of juice but used this, diluted by half with water, as nose drops for a client who had a hole in the septum.

•Calendula leaves can also be made into a poultice that will help scratches and shallow cuts to heal faster, and to help prevent infection. A strained mild infusion has also been used in eye drops.
            The leaves when chewed at first taste gummy and sweet followed by a strong penetrating salty taste.

Calendula flowers and leaves expressed juice, which contains the most of this pungent matter, especially with Rose petals has been given in cases of costiveness (retained feces), where it acts as an aperient and proved very useful for this problem. Since it is gentle, it can be used with children and in small doses for your pets. These Calendula leaves and flowers can be eaten as a salad and also been considered a medicinal culinary herb, useful in skin diseases and swollen lymph nodes of children.

Some of the stronger scented Calendula with lots of resin is recommended to remove warts.


Sometimes an herbal product is a better choice of a product to use than a distilled product.

KEY USE ~ The skincare flower.

clear and clean Calendula infused oil

Calendula infused oil  Contents: fresh Calendula flowers and virgin Olive oil



 CALENDULA INFUSED OIL is a wonderful product to nourish dry skin. It also makes good carrier oil used in aromatherapy massage. To make this product, use The Aromatherapy Book and refer to pages 249-250. or the Aromatherapy Studies Course and read up on it. Calendula Infused Oil is a wonderful product to always have on hand.

If you want your blend/infusion to have a strong good scent or to boost the olfactory powers of a scent, make sure you pick the plants when they are ready. When they are ready means at the time when their scent is the best. For instance, Jasmine at night, Tuberose early in the morning or at dark, Chamomile types in the early morning, Roses, and Calendula when the dew is dried but before the sun is high.

The best time to start infusions or blends is in the New Moon/First Quarter in a Fire sign (Aries/Leo/Sagittarius) and when the days are not humid. If that is not possible, check your moon lore in other sources, such as the Llewellyn book on Moon signs that can be used for offline reference. I am going to go back to my herbal and gardening, and perfumery basics of gardening, tincturing, infusing, weeding, blending, etc., by incorporating the moon lore,
and working by the sign of the moon. There

 I am keeping my book, Herbs & Things, open in my reading room because I want to be able to reference the formula and what I had to say then. I already visit various moon lore and weather sites on the Internet for basic charts. When I make Calendula Infused Oil or Bruise Juice, I pick and start work on a waxing to full moon when the herbs are at their fullest. Let it drain and bottle on a waning moon. For great moon information, see — any weather or U.S. Navy site or go to MoonMenu for a quick moon update. 

I do not recommend sun infusion ~ I AM NOT a proponent of letting something sit in oil for 4-6 weeks in the sun or on a windowsill or when it is hot and humid during the day and cooler at night, as this is a perfect way to create spoilage. I use the hot maceration method and get my perfect brightly-colored, clean, and clear, Calendula oil and perfect St. Johnswort Oil in about 2-3 days.

Use 1 lb. of fresh flowers to 1 gallon of organically grown Olive oil.

 Essentially, you have to get freshly picked flowers when they are ready and covered in resin; pick them in the morning when the dew is dry but the sun not yet high and infuse and macerate them slowly over a series of days in organically-grown Olive oil, heating gently but not boiling, cooling, heating, and cooling until the flowers have exuded (sweated) their liquid moisture. Keep heating and cooling until the pot lid no longer collects the condensation, pouring off the condensate into a glass and drying the inside of the lid. During hot weather, this might be done in a day, but here in San Francisco, it takes about 3 days. Cool, and allow the oil to drain into a clean container.

Don’t be lazy and choose to do this therapeutic oil with dried-out flowers. Yes, I know most other herbalists have taught you that dried is the way to go. It is a bit harder to do with clean, freshly picked flowers, but the resultant oil will be so much more healing and healthful.

• •

  1. Weigh or count out your flowers. You will need about 1 lb. or 250  flower heads + 1 gallon of Olive oil for about 120  ounces of finished infused oil.
Calendula flowers being weighed and some olive oil beside it.

2. Add the flowers and the oil together in a proper porcelain or stainless steel pot. Bring to a soft boil, and sweat off the excess water, removing the lid and pouring off the condensate into a separate container. Turn off the heat to allow the flowers to cool, and then repeat this process several times. Depending upon the humidity of the day, this may take at least 3-5 times bringing to a boil, turning off the heat, allowing the pot to cool, taking off the condensate from the lid, and then repeating the process. Repeat over and over again until no more fluid condenses on the inside of the lid … BUT do not let the contents burn.

Two different kinds of pots to use when macerating and making Calendula infused oil.

3. When pouring off the condensate, remember to not pour it back into the oil but into a separate container. This liquid can be considered a perfect hydrosol of Calendula as it is the natural exudate from the flowers. Collect it and then use it as a facial tonic within the next three days.

4. After the oil has taken on the deep orange color of the flowers (up to 2 days of warm maceration or of heating and cooling), let it cool enough to pour into a glass jar. Use a funnel lined with fine silk cloth or a mesh bag and pour the oil through the bag into the jar. This will collect any stray bits of plant material. If you use silk, it also will not drip off the ends as other fabrics can do. It is not necessary to use a filter or filter paper as that just adds another dimension to the product and does not remove any bacteria or yeast. If you have made the oil correctly, it will be yeast and mold-free for up to a year, and the filter paper doesn’t filter; it only makes a mess.

a silk mesh bag for straining the infused oil.

5. Now, you will have to be patient and let the finished Calendula Infused Oil sit for a day or two and settle quietly on its own while it totally cools. Any liquid that may be left will drop to the bottom of the jar and the oil can be decanted into a clean container. If the oil is cloudy, however, decant it, and you will have to heat it gently one more time to remove the fluid. My Calendula Infused oil is golden yellow-orange in color and clear and will stay this way.

5 bottles of infused Calendula oil showing how clear, clean, and orange it should be.

6. At this point, pour your oil into sterile quart or 8-oz. bottles. Label your product with its name, contents, the size of the container, and your name or phone number or website. Store them in a basement or wine cellar at about 45-55°. They will keep until you use or sell them.


            CALENDULA INFUSED OIL MEDICINAL ACTION AND USES ~ Used externally as a local application for sores, pus-filled wounds, pimples, or irritation. A lotion made from the infused oil, plus flower wax (and maybe the addition of a healing essential oil), is most useful for sprains and wounds. If you have a hydrosol distilled from these flowers, this is good for inflamed and sore eyes; use it (but only used if kept sterile).

  INGREDIENTS of Calendula infused (Olive) oil. Calendula flowers and Olive Oil. This is a wonderful product to nourish dry skin. Olive oil by itself contains the phytonutrient oleocanthal, which mimics the effect of ibuprofen in reducing inflammation in the body, and olive oil components are squalene and lignans and are being studied for their possible effects as a cancer treatment.

            USEs ~ Used for dry or sensitive skin, baby care, and also good carrier oil used in aromatherapy massage. Essentially, you have to get freshly picked flowers, infuse and macerate in olive oil, heat gently, and cool several times, removing all condensate that collects on the lid. Then allow the oil to drain into a clean, sterile container. Only the common variety with a deep orange color and sticky resin is of medicinal value. The yellow flower can also be used, but it does not make as deeply colored infused oil, and it seems of ‘lesser’ strength. Calendula Infused Oil is a wonderful product to have on hand.

½ cup Calendula-infused oil
1 cup Calendula hydrosol
½ oz beeswax [you can also use a floral wax]
10 drops EO
[healing oils such as Thyme linalool, Rosemary verbenone, or ?]

Melt beeswax in the infused oil- use a double boiler or the low setting on your oven. Make sure it is

melted and thoroughly mixed. Pour hydrosol into a clean/sterile blender; the hydrosol must cover the blades.

Wait for the infused oil to cool just enough to start a “skin” If it is too hot, it will not mix properly. Start on the low setting of your blender and slowly add the oil to your hydrosol, turning up the speed as it bogs down. When all infused oil is added, quickly add the EO. Do not over-blend. Put in clean, sterile jars, label, and refrigerate.

–Ann Harman formula–

Medicinal Action and Uses. Calendula-infused oil made from fresh flowers and organic Olive oil is a wonderful product to nourish dry skin. It also makes good carrier oil used in blends, lotions, and massage.

 Jeanne Rose Aromatherapy •


2. Dictionary of Plant Names. Allen J. Coombes. Timber Press, Portland, Oregon

The Aromatherapy Book.

 ~ JR ~


CUMIN seed has 5,000 years of history in food, folklore, perfumery, and folk medicine.
Learn more about it.

CUMIN essential oil, herb, hydrosol Profile

By Jeanne Rose ~ September 2023


COMMON NAME/LATIN BINOMIAL ~ Cumin, Cuminum cyminum,

OTHER COMMON NAME/NAMING INFORMATION ~ The English name Cumin comes from the Latin Cuminum, which was borrowed from the Greek kyminon. Cumin has many names, including Roman caraway and spice caraway, and is often mixed up with the unrelated black cumin.

FAMILY ~ Apiaceae also includes Celery, Carrots, Parsley, Dill, Fennel, and some poisonous plants such as Poison Hemlock.

COUNTRIES OF ORIGINS ~ Cumin has been cultivated since the time of the Minoans who originated in the Bronze Age civilization of Crete that flourished from about 3000 BCE to about 1100 BCE. Cumin originated in the western part of Asia and has been cultivated for these many thousands of years. 

It is grown and harvested in many parts of the world, including Asia, Central and South America, Argentina, Egypt, Iran. The largest producer is India, Mexico, Morocco, and Turkey, and the oil is often distilled in France.

ENDANGERED OR NOT ~ Not on the list of endangered or threatened species.

GENERAL DESCRIPTION OF PLANT HABITAT AND GROWTH ~ A slender, pretty, annual herb, Cumin grows up to one foot high and is confused with the Caraway plant. The scent is the primary difference. It needs a long, hot period to grow and mature, and rain will cause a lower production of the seed.

PORTION OF PLANT USED IN DISTILLATION, HOW DISTILLED, EXTRACTION METHODS, and YIELDS ~ The seeds of this plant are harvested and steam distilled in several places, including France, and whose product often has the most clean and pleasant odors of the essential oil.

Yield – 2.5%.   


  • Color – golden yellow-orange
  • Clarity – clear
  • Viscosity – non-viscous
  • Taste – bot, spicy, umami
  • Intensity of odor – 7 at first and then reduces to 5-6 and dries down to a 2
  • Tenacity – 5-8 depending upon the other ingredients in the blend,

CUMIN Seed ODOR DESCRIPTION/ AROMA ASSESSMENT ~ Peppery-spicy, vegetative, and fruity-green is the scent that this seed has with its relationship to odors, both human and doggy.  I likson’s then I am reminded of my son’s reaction to this odor, and I smile and put it away again (see the Tomato tale, later in the article).

CHEMICAL COMPONENTS of Cumin ~ Mainly 60% Aldehydes, including Cuminaldehyde at 35-65%, and up to 52% monoterpenes, terpinenal, terpinene and others.


GENERAL PROPERTIES of the Cumin Seed and Oil

PROPERTIES AND USES ~ The seed of this plant is mainly a culinary that is also used in traditional medicine and sometimes in perfumery. Both oil and seed are a digestive stimulants; the seed is for seasoning food, and the essential oil is anti-inflammatory and used via inhalation or application.

Properties (by IG=ingestion or IN=inhalation or AP=application)

Application (AP) – Anti-inflammatory, calming, improve circulation
Ingestion (IG) – Strongly antispasmodic, digestive stimulant

Inhalation (IN) – Soporific, calmative, stupefying                                                                  

Physical Uses & How used (IG or AP) ~          

Application -Hyperthyroid function, orchitis, in massage oil for poor circulation and lymphatic congestion.

Ingestion – Dyspepsia, gas, spasms

Inhalation – Ease constipation and to stimulate the appetite

APPLICATIONs of Cumin seed oil  ~ It is steam distilled in France. The Cumin seed and oil have antibacterial, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory properties that can help calm the skin and keep it free of blemishes. Cumin essential oil can help tone the skin and increase blood flow and circulation.

This natural ingredient, when ground, can also be used as a great exfoliator and an anti-bacterial in acne medications.

DIFFUSE/DIFFUSION ~ Personally, I would not use this oil in a diffusion blend, as the side effect might be to stimulate the digestive system. The essential oil is calming by inhalation and anti-spasmodic by application on the abdomen.

_____EMOTIONAL/ENERGETIC/RITUAL USE – Inhaling Cumin oil is calming, and some have told me it can also be stupefying. It is used, a drop or two, as a rub on the abdomen as an antispasmodic and for internal protection.

Cumin seed has been known since at least 2,000 B.C. The seeds were used for protection and are used in rituals; seeds and oil placed in the corners of the home for protection and used for internal protection.       



CUMIN ~ the scent of Cumin oil made my baby poop on demand. Recently, I was writing about Cardamom, and I received a message online about a story I would tell in class about the power of using essential oils.  The person who wrote to me misremembered the story and thought it was Cardamom mentioned, but it was actually Cumin scent that was the culprit.

“When I was working on the Aromatherapy Book, I was also nursing my baby. As I looked at and studied new oils, I would waft the scent near my baby and see his reaction. He was born in November and had a very pleasant disposition except for the odd but also normal habit of only pooping once every 5-7 days. This was wonderful if we wanted to go out with him because there was newasn’tneed to change a stinky diaper. However, it wasn’t so wonderful towards the end of those 5-7 days if we expected to go out because the thought of changing those enormous overflowing diapers was frightening.”When I was working on the Aromatherapy Book, I was also nursing my baby. As I looked at and studied new oils, I would waft the scent near my baby and see his reaction. He was born in November and had a charming disposition except for the odd but also regular habit of only pooping once every 5-7 days. This was wonderful if we wanted to go out with him because there was never a need to change a stinky diaper. However, it wasn’t so wonderful towards the end of those 5-7 days if we expected to go out because the thought of changing those enormous overflowing diapers was frightening.

            “One evening, while breastfeeding my son and also smelling some delicious essential oils, I opened the Cumin oil. It smelled rich and delicious, like a really good curry. I let the baby have a whiff, and he immediately rewarded me with a very full and yeasty diaper.  Well, this was very interesting.  When next we had to go out of the house, I gave the baby a smell of the Cumin oil, and he again filled his diaper, and this after only 3 days had passed since his last. And this became a standard treatment to encourage him to have a BM prior to any event or any fami”y holiday dinner – And it worked 100% of the time.” – The Aromatherapy Book: Applicadoesn’t Inhalations.  

The negative is that he now doesn’t tolerate this odor or foods that contain it, and I also almost always object.


PERFUMERY AND BLENDING WITH CUMIN ~ Cumin has a powerful scent that is very peppery-spicy, and eponymous. It is either a hated or loved smell. If used with a delicate touch in a perfume, it can add to the deep odor of a perfume, lending a woody and spicy-amber scent.

Blending within formula When used in perfumery, the essential oil can add a depth of fragrance and a spicy note. “Many reject cumin because they associate its smell with the odor of sweat, feet, or armpits, … this is due to a molecule called 3-hydroxy-3-methylhexanoic acid, which is also released by the human body on the soles of the feet and underarms…This note, when used with mastery and great delicacy, can transform simple perfumes into complex and multifaceted perfumes.1.Blending within formula When used in perfumery, the essential oil can add a depth of fragrance and a spicy note. “Many reject cumin because they associate its smell with the odor of sweat, feet, or armpits, … this is due to a molecule called 3-hydroxy-3-methylhexanoic acid, which is also released by the human body on the soles of the feet and underarms…When used with mastery and great delicacy, this note can transform simple perfumes into complex and multifaceted perfumes.1.

 ~ This work is supported by Prima Fleur Botanicals. ~

HYDROSOL ~ I think this would be a good hydrosol to have available and to use in cooking certain spicy dishes.

PLEASE NOTE: A true hydrosol should be specifically distilled for the hydrosol, not as a co-product or evenplant’sroduct 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 “UMIN ~ This is what Wikipedia says of Cumin seed, “Cumin to accentuate the sweetness of root vegetables, like carrots and beets, as well as adding complexity to vegetarian dishIt’sfrom vegetable and bean stews to grilled tofu. It’s a must-have for enhancing the savory flavor of rich meats like beef and lamb,2 and I totally agree. Also,”HERBAL USES OF CUMIN ~ This is what Wikipedia says of Cumin seed, “Cumin to accentuate the sweetness of root vegetables, like carrots and beets, as well as adding complexity to vegetarian dishes, from vegetable and bean stews to grilled tofu. It’s a must-have for enhancing the savory flavor of rich meats like beef and lamb,2 and I totally agree. Also,

            The seed is used as an aromatic digestive tonic in seasoning and many types of food. The Cumin seed and oil have antibacterial, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory properties that can helpCumin’she skin and keep it free of blemishes. Cumin’s essential oils can help tone the skin and increase blood flow and circulation. This natural ingredient, when ground, can also be used as a great exfoliator and an anti-bacterial in acne medications. It is an easy-to-use natural ingredient.

            If you grow Cumin, place the flowering seeding clusters into a paper bag and cut off close to the stem. The clusters will fall into the bag. Fold the top and attach the bags to a clothesline or wire with a clip of a clothespin. The clusters will dry, and then you can shake the bag to release the seeds. Place the seeds into clean, dry, scent-free glass bottles, label them, and store them in a warm, dry place.  Use them up within the year.

The seed is used as an aromatic digestive tonic in seasoning. This natural ingredient, when ground, can also be used as a great exfoliator and an anti-bacterial in acne medications. It is an easy-to-use natural ingredient.

HISTORICAL USES ~ The Cumin seed has a long history of use in many cultures as food and also in traditional medicine. The use of cumin goes back so far that it is even mentioned in the Old Testament and in various Greek writings. The oldest trace of use is dated to at least 5000 years ago and located in the Nile Valley region. It was present in the pharaonic tombs, probably for its unique scent. In the Middle Ages, it was used as currency. And in ancient times, it was used as a pepper in cooking thanks to its very aromatic flavor. Now it is used as a room fragrance.3.

KEY USE ~ The seed for seasoning and the EO as a digestive stimulant


  2. Wikipedia
  3. Source unknown

Aromatherapy Course – Home & Family
Copeland, Dawn. Essential Oil Profile (course work)
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.
McWorld’srold. Nose Dive, A Field Guide to the World’s Smells. Penguin Press, 2020.
Rose, Jeanne.  375 Essential Oils and Hydrosols.  Berkeley, California: Frog, Ltd., 1999
Rose, Jeanne.  The Aromatherapy Book: Applications & Inhalations.  San Francisco, California.
Rose, Jeanne. 375 Essential Oils and Hydrosols


Cumin seed maturing on the plant


THYME – the Plant & the Essential Oil

A swan planter in the garden with flowering Thyme and two bottles of Thyme oil.

Thyme seems straightforward and accurate, but it has confusing common names, complex chemistry, and sometimes opposite uses of the various chemotypes.

By Jeanne Rose ~ 8-30-23

COMMON NAME/LATIN BINOMIAL ~ Thymus vulgaris, Thymus mastichina, and Thymus satureioides

 Other Common Name/Naming Information ~ The word “thyme” originates from the Greek word thumos, which means “courage.” During the Middle Ages, it was given to jousting knights for courage in personal combat, and a sprig of the herb was carried into courtrooms to ward off diseases. During Medieval times, Thyme was considered an emblem of bravery. The word thyme may also be derived from the Greek word thymos, meaning “perfume.” and was used as incense in Greek temples. The Egyptians used it in the embalming process. The species name, vulgaris, is Latin and means “common” or “widespread.” 1.

. .. see also Herbs & Things

Family ~ Lamiaceae. Other notable members of this family are Lavender, Sage, Melissa, Savory, Oregano, Mint, Patchouli, Basil, and more.2.

COUNTRIES OF ORIGINS ~ France and Spain, although it is now grown in multiple countries.

ENDANGERED OR NOT ~ Thankfully, this plant species is considered of >Least Concern< as it is so easy to grow in multiple locations. However, knowing what chemotype you may be growing will require a laboratory test and/or some scent training.


THYME GENERAL DESCRIPTION OF PLANT HABITAT AND GROWTH ~ Perennial dwarf shrub that grows to twelve inches in height, with woody stems, tiny, slightly woolly leaves, and pink-to-lilac flowers. It is good to correctly identify this plant and be able to distinguish between multiple species and even from some of the Oregano and Marjoram types.


PORTION OF PLANT USED IN DISTILLATION, HOW DISTILLED, EXTRACTION METHODS & YIELD ~  The flowering tops of Thymus vulgaris (CT not defined) are steam distilled. 

Yield ~  0.7-1.0%.                               

Two bottles of Thyme oil showing Chemotype Borneol and Chemotype Linalol

Two Thymes

Sensory Aspects of 3 Chemotypes of Thyme oil

• •

THYME ODOR DESCRIPTIONS & ODOR ASSESSMENT ~ The borneol chemotype of Thyme smells herbaceous and floral with a back note that is lightly camphoraceous. The linaloöl chemotype of Thyme smells herbaceous, fruity & floral but not camphoraceous. The usual Thyme you will obtain is the carvacrol or cymene type, and I suggest you do not try to taste it. It is often called Red Thyme because of the color of the essential oil, the intensity of odor, and the strong irritating taste. However, this is the one that you may want in a hydrosol when you have a cold. See the hydrosol section for more information.  

CHEMICAL COMPONENTS ~ The main chemical components are a-thujone, a-pinene, b-pinene, Camphene, p-cymene, a-terpinene, linaloöl, borneol, b-caryophyllene, thymol and carvacrol. The terpenoid phenol Thymol, Isomer Carvacrol, and Cymol (used in 1855), now called paracymene, Linaloöl, and Camphene are all chemotypes of Thyme.  

The chemical name and symbol of carvacrol

 CHEMOTYPES  – There are many species, varieties, and chemotypes of Thyme, and they are extensively discussed in either of the two reference works mentioned in the Reference Section. In brief, here are the actions of these chemotypes.

Thymus vulgaris – [See also  375 Essential Oils  & Hydrosols] 

*Thyme CT borneol (alcohol•mono-terpenol) – from Thymus satureioides, also with carvacrol, inhaled to assist in the treatment of bulimia, chronic infections, and fatigue.

Thyme CT carvacrol (phenol) – warming and active,  used as an anti-infection agent in lotions or the herb in tea. Any plant with significant amounts of carvacrol will work this way.

Thyme CT cineole (oxide) – from Thymus mastichina, called Wild Marjoram, inhaled and taken to decongest the lungs and for chronic bronchitis.

Thyme CT citral (aldehyde composed of neral & geranial) – from Thymus hiemalis and others. Contains up to 34% citral, an antiviral when applied, and calming if inhaled.

Thyme CT geraniol – milder than some and valuable in skin products for acne or eczema or for problems of the ear, nose, and throat or taken internally for blood infections.

*Thyme CT linaloöl (alcohol•mono-terpenol) – the scent is warm, herbaceous, and floral with powder notes and used in products or taken for fungal infections. Thymus officinalis CT linaloöl is from the herbal tops. It is steam-distilled in France and organically grown. This EO with up to 80% linaloöl is gentle enough for children’s skin and is used in skincare products as an antiseptic and disinfectant and in blends for mood swings, mental inconsistency, and energy fluctuations.

Thyme CT paracymene (monoterpene) – from Thymus serpyllum, in blends as an antiseptic and inhaled as a tonic stimulant and pain reliever in massage blends.

Thyme CT para-Cymol is the older discarded non-systematic name for this chemical, now called Thyme CT thujanol (alcohol•mono-terpenol) – This type is a powerful antibacterial, and it is used for external male and female problems such as venereal warts and herpes.

Thyme CT thymol (phenol) – from T. vulgaris and T. zygis and oftener called Spanish Thyme. A major anti-infective,  it is used in lotions and creams or applied externally; it reduces infection. However, this is a significant skin irritant and can only be used highly diluted.

Thyme CT phenol (carbolic acid). See also carvacrol, chavicol, eugenol, and thymol.  

And I should also mention more about  Thymus mastichina, aka Sweet Marjoram. It is a species of Thyme considered to have chemical polymorphism of its main components, which determine the specific chemotype. Still, it also has other oil components that can vary depending on several growing factors responsible for quality. It has a gentle and pleasant scent and can be used for massage and skincare treatments. It is considered anti-bacterial and anti-infectious, as well as being a fungicide. It is a lovely herb and essential oil to know and use.

A chart of 4 types of Thyme oil explaining the chemistry, scent description  and medicinal uses.


Thyme linalol oil and Thyme CT linalol growing in the garden




(by IG=ingestion or IN=inhalation or AP=application) ~

Thyme types (see Chart and Chemotypes)

Ingestion:  Thyme oil is antibiotic, antiseptic, antiviral, tonic, diuretic, vermifuge, and immuno-stimulant.  

Inhalation:      Antidepressant, tonic, expectorant, antiseptic, antispasmodic, antiviral, balsamic, anti-infectious, rubefacient, and immuno-stimulant.
Application: Antiseptic, antibiotic, circulatory stimulant, pectoral, analgesic, expectorant, balsamic, anti-infectious, antiviral, tonic, rubefacient, diuretic, emmenagogue, vermifuge, antivenom, cleanser of skin, antispasmodic, antifungal, and immuno-stimulant.

Thyme CT borneol – An immune stimulant that is useful in respiratory formulas that are taken internally. This would be part of the formula, maybe 20% with Ammi visnaga, Tanacetum annuum, & a Mandarin type of oil.

Thyme CT linaloöl An antibacterial that is gentle enough for skin care and all skin care products. The only one that should be used in handwash products for children.


PHYSICAL USES & HOW USED (IG OR AP) ~ These uses generally hold true. Remember that there are many varieties and chemotypes of Thyme, and you must know what you are using. See the chart and the Chemotypes descriptions as listed above.  

    Application:    Thyme oil can be used on the body, face, and room surfaces as an antiseptic. It stimulates circulation for muscular pains, arthritis, poor circulation, physical exhaustion, and muscular debility. It can be used to clean wounds and burns. It is helpful for all infections, viral and bacterial. Thyme oil may be used for otitis, vaginitis, obesity, gout, acne, thrush, verruca, and warts to kill external parasites and hair loss. Thyme oil is helpful for all problems of the ear, nose, throat, and lungs.    

Ingestion: Throat infections, gum infections, anorexia, viruses in the blood, urethritis, cystitis, and cervicitis.          

Inhalation: Thyme oil stimulates the respiratory system, relieves the spasms of asthma, is antiseptic, clears mucous congestion, and is used for general debility and physical exhaustion. It also kills airborne bacteria.


EMOTIONAL USES (AP OR IN) ~ Thyme oil is mildly sedating and may be used in blends by application or inhalation for insomnia. It can also be uplifting and relieve depression. However, this essential oil can cause skin irritation, yet it helps with concentration and focus on particular situations when inhaled. Blend with gentle essential oils and then dilute with a carrier before use.  

Diffuse/Diffusion ~ Emotional/Energetic Use ~ The mystery of aromatherapy —Get to know this elusive essence in all its various chemotypes, as it can create multiple emotional and physical changes. Thyme Ct linaloöl is used energetically for mood swings, mental inconsistency, and energy fluctuations.  

BLENDING & PERFUMERY ~ I personally do not use most Thyme essential oil chemotypes in perfumery but do use them in blends, massage blends, or inhalation blends. I have used Thyme linaloöl in a masculine perfume-type aftershave lotion.

Thyme blends Best with most Citrus and Mediterranean oils such as Rosemary, Marjoram, and Mints. In areas where very hot weather prevails and at lower elevations, the Chemotype of carvacrol, cymene, and thymol may prevail and are powerful skin and mucous membrane irritants. This is a’‘hot’ type of Thyme and should be carefully diluted before use. These essential oil types are quite effective at very low concentrations and should not be formulated into perfumes or applied directly.

Blending Formula – You can incorporate the linaloöl type into a lovely masculine perfume or skincare product like an aftershave.

This work is sponsored and supported by Prima Fleur Botanicals. 

HYDROSOL USE ~ Be very careful of the Thyme hydrosol that you use. The different chemotypes are very different in intensity and in use. They have some of the same active properties as its essential oil but also include herbal properties. For colds, flu, or infection, take 1 t. diluted in water every other hour while awake for the first day and less on succeeding days as you get better. For external use on any type of skin infection, use the hydrosol by adding to the water that you wash with or make a compress and apply.            

Thyme hydrosol can be a powerful germicide and can be used as a mouthwash, to flavor foods, and as a wash or disinfectant and antiseptic for wounds.            

Thyme CT linaloöl hydrosol is the gentlest Thyme type of hydrosol. It is antiseptic and antifungal and can be recommended for soothing skin infections, acne, insect bites, and cleaning wounds. It can be antiviral when taken internally.            

PLEASE NOTE -A true hydrosol should be explicitly distilled for the hydrosol, not as a co-product or 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.  

a scroll

Distillation, as such, is an entirely natural phenomenon. When raising your head, you look at the clouds in the sky; those are but the evaporation visible patterns. And when you tread upon the early morning dew, it is the condensate of the night. “…  Georges Ferrando


HERBAL USE ~ I am able to grow Thymus prostratus, the creeping Thyme in my garden. The flowers and the leaves are edible and tasty, and this plant doesn’t lose its flavor when blooming. Easy and pretty to grow.

Thymus prostratus in the garden

Thymus prostratus in Jeanne Rose garden

HISTORICAL USES ~ As a medicinal and flavorant.  

INTERESTING FACTS ~ “Thyme was used medicinally by the Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans. Most present-day research has centered on Thyme’s ability as an antibacterial and anti-infectious agent, even when diffused in the air. There are several species of Thyme oil in use, and although the strongest is red Thyme with carvacrol/thymol and the gentlest is Thyme with linaloöl, their uses are often the same. The difference is in their relative strength. [See Herbs & Things for herbal information.]             The plant Thymus mastichina is usually listed under the Marjoram category, as the common name is Sweet Marjoram.  [see ]

Swan planter in the garden with Thyme prior to flowering.

Swan planter with Thyme  plant before flowering


KEY USE ~ As an antiseptic and antibiotic.

Moderation in All Things.

Be moderate in your use of essential oils, as they are just not sustainable for the environment. Be selective and more moderate in your usage.
Use the herb first as tea or the infusion. —JeanneRose 2014

SAFETY PRECAUTIONS ~ Some say do not use during pregnancy. 
Best used diluted as Thyme oil may cause skin irritations.


  1. From Wikipedia

2. Page 39, 375 Essential Oils and Hydrosols


Copeland, Dawn. Essential Oil Profiles for The Aromatherapy Studies Course

Miller, Richard & Ann. The Potential of Herbs as a Cash Crop. Acres USA. Kansas City. 1985.

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

Prakash, V. Leafy Spices. CRC Press. NY. 1990

Rose, Jeanne. Herbal Studies Course/ Jeanne Rose, Institute of Aromatic & Herbal Studies, 1992.

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

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

Rose, Jeanne. Herbs & Things. [currently out of print]



SOME CAUTIONS TO REMEMBER for all Plants and their Parts

Patch Test:  If applying a new essential oil to your skin, always perform a patch test on the inner arm (after diluting 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

Contradictions:    This work is intended for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for accurate diagnosis and treatment by a qualified healthcare professional. Dosages are often not given, as that matters between you and your healthcare 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©  


GRAND FIR Introduction ~ Abies grandis, the Grand Fir or Christmas fir,
is often confused with other trees, such as the Douglas-fir. 
This fir has a lovely citrus odor and is excellent
for fragrant wreaths and as the tree at Christmas.

Abies grandis – Grand Fir

By Jeanne Rose July 2023

Photo of Grand Fir tree branches with a bottle of the essential oil.


  COMMON NAME/LATIN BINOMIAL ~ Abies grandis (Douglas ex D. Don) Lindl., the Grand Fir or Christmas fir is often confused with other trees such as the Douglas-fir. 

A true Fir is always of the genus Abies, while a Douglas-fir (Oregon-pine) is falsely named tree with a hyphen between the words to show that the person who is writing about the plant knows that it is not a Fir or a Pine but something else. In fact, Douglas-fir is >Pseudotsuga menziesii (Mirb.) Franco, aka P. douglasii<, is a separate genus from the Fir or the Pine and more closely related to a Hemlock.  

OTHER COMMON NAMES of Grand Fir ~ giant fir, lowland white fir, great silver fir, western white fir, Vancouver fir.
FamilyPinaceae (Includes the Firs, Pines, Spruce, Hemlocks, Larch, and Cedars

COUNTRIES OF ORIGINS ~  Grand Fir is native to the Pacific Northwest of the United States and is now grown elsewhere.

ENDANGERED OR NOT ~  Conservation status of Least Concern (Population stable) The population is stable, and there is little concern with this tree in California. Abundant resin ducts throughout the trunk and branches of healthy trees are vital to survive freezing winters and to retard the invasion of bark beetle larvae. During prolonged summer droughts, stressed trees produce less resin and are more vulnerable to bark beetles.

GENERAL DESCRIPTION OF PLANT HABITAT AND GROWTHof the Grand Fir ~ Abies grandis is a large evergreen CONIFER,  identified by the needle-like leaves, flattened, 1-2 inches long and narrow, with glossy dark green above, and two green-white bands of stomata below, and slightly notched at the tip.

         On the lower leaf surface, two green-white bands of stomata are prominent. The base of each leaf is twisted a variable amount so that the leaves are nearly lying on the same plane (coplanar). Different-length leaves, all lined up in a flat plane, are a valuable way to quickly distinguish this species. The crushed needles have a citrus scent and are reminiscent of Christmas and thus are called ‘Christmas Fir.’            

“When young, Grand Fir grows in a near perfect pyramidal, Christmas tree shape and is much fuller than its cousin, the Noble Fir, Abies procera. Its attractive shape and lustrous green leaves make it a glorious addition to any landscape. Like most firs, it has a strong, balsamy, “Christmas tree” scent.”2.

Photo showing the top and bottom sides of the Grand Fir needles.

Often Fir trees are confused with the Spruce tree, but there is an easy way to tell the difference. This is my own way of deciding which tree is of which genera.

The Difference between Firs and Spruces

FIRS = Think about Abies the genus, and then A is for Amiable (soft feel) or

Abies, and the common name is Fir is for Friendly touch [Abies has needles that are soft to touch and don’t feel prickly].

The needles, when pulled off, leave a Flat scar. Flat scars make them suitable as Christmas trees because they don’t drop their needles everywhere.

Amiable name – Friendly touch – Flat scar


SPRUCE = Picea is the genus, and then P is for Prickly feel when you touch the branch, and

Picea and the common name is Spruce is for  Spiky touch, and

the needles, when pulled, leave a Peg-like Scar. 

Prickly name – Spiky touch – Peg Scar


PORTION OF PLANT USED IN DISTILLATION, HOW DISTILLED, EXTRACTION METHODS AND YIELDS ~  Wild-grown and certified organic, the leaves and twigs are distilled, usually from fallen or logged trees.

Yield ~ was 1-gallon EO per ton for oven-dried branches in one study.

This work is sponsored and supported by Prima Fleur Botanicals.


Sensory aspects of Grand Fir essential oil.

photo showing a bottle of Grand Fir Essential oil, its color and clarity.

• SCENT ASSESSMENT OF GRAND FIR ~ Grand Fir has that delicious holiday Christmas tree odor. It is green and citrus, almost fruity, with an herbaceous green heart note and a vegetative back note.

________Aroma Assessment: Green, herbaceous, and citrus.  



_______PROPERTIES AND USES GRAND FIR ESSENTIAL OIL ~ is antiseptic and indicated for respiratory infections, and the scent of the oil or branches sweetens the home. It can be used as a local disinfectant. This is one of the most lemon-scented of the ‘Firs,’ along with Douglas-Fir. Grand Fir has a powerful sweet, fresh, citrus, and refreshing odor but more citrus and less herbaceous than Douglas-Fir, well-liked as a room refresher or scent in soap blends.

•PHYSICAL USES & HOW USED (IG OR AP) ~  I  have used this in an application form in a massage blend for sore muscles and a ‘sore’ psyche and for my ongoing respiratory issues, and just to inhale to make me ‘feel good.’

    Medicinal Usage: The essential oil of this tree is used as a respiratory inhalant to ease breathing, as a home-diffused odor to purify the air, and in products for a great uplifting aroma. This scent is cheerful, pleasing, and excellent in the home to clear bad energy.  



•BODY – All of the Fir oils are excellent to be used in all manner of skin care in amounts up to 15% of the total blend to condition the skin, add a forest scent, and refresh the body in a lotion. However, Grand Fir is beneficial because it has a great citrus note and is pleasing to the senses.

•APPLICATION/ SKINCARE. It can be used as a local disinfectant in lotions for the skin. This is one of the most lemon-scented of the ‘Firs,’ with a powerful sweet, fresh, refreshing odor, well-liked as a room refresher or scent in soap blends. Jeanne loves this oil in soaps and prefers it to many others. •HAIRCARE – I rarely use the Fir oils and balsams in my hair care, although I have occasionally added a drop of Grand Fir EO to my shampoo along with Rosemary CT. verbenone to assist in hair health.

INGESTION ~ I personally have taken this oil with Sandalwood oil to ease a urinary tract infection. Only 2 drops of each 2-3 times per day, taken in a teaspoon of oil. And yes, it worked over the course of 3-days while I was teaching a conifer course at the San Francisco Botanical Gardens.

INHALATION ~ For all respiratory problems and all mental ‘pain’ problems. It is really a wonderful inhalant, just as an everyday scent. I truly love this EO for its fragrant air scent and slight citrus odor. I use it in “Progressive Inhalation” as well as to ‘clean’ the air of one’s home and to remove ‘negative energy’.

•DIFFUSE/DIFFUSION/ENERGETIC USES OF Grand Fir ~  The essential oil is used as a respiratory inhalant to ease breathing; in a home diffused odor to purify the air and in products for a great uplifting odor. If you diffuse this oil in late November and early December, you are sure to inspire the “Christmas spirit” in even the grouchiest of scrooges! It is a wonInhalation to wake up to at that particular time of year.

•Emotional Use: Refreshing and even slightly stimulating by inhalation.

PERFUMERY & BLENDING OF GRAND FIR ~  The EO can be blended with any other conifer oil, any of the citrus scents, seeds, and spices, as well as the Mediterranean plants such as Spearmint and rich deep oils such as Spikenard.

_____•Perfume ~ There are few ingredients in a perfume that perform so well to make a scent both soft and attracting as well as masculine as the sweet, citrus, green, conifer scent of the Grand Fir. All you need to do if you want this comforting scent of the forest is to add it to your basic blend. I would suggest it in the blend up to 25%, although my favorites have always been about 15%. There is something deeply relaxing and compelling about this wonderful odor.

_____•Perfumery and Cosmetics: Grand fir can be added as a fresh note to many different types of perfume blends. When one is traveling and comes across those nasty-smelling motel/hotel amenities that smell of Bitter Almonds, it is only Grand Fir essential oil that can be added to the shampoo or hand lotion samples that will negate the bitter almond smell and add its own delicious, sweet conifer note. Grand Fir essential oil mixed with other essential oils can act either as scent or therapy to all kinds of custom skin care products. Grand Fir can also be used as an inhalant with other conifers for all types of respiratory problems and conditions.  

Showing a larger bottle of Prima Fleur grand Fir oil.

Abies grandis tree in the San Francisco arboretum.

Abies grandis in the San Francisco Arboretum – Golden Gate Park.  

HYDROSOL: The Grand Fir hydrosol is organically grown from a USA source. It can be used in any skincare product for its refreshing quality, as a skin toner, and especially nice to be sprayed about a room to refresh the air. This is one of my favorite of all times hydrosols.    Bathing in the soul of this tree is a very special and most delicious fragrant event. It leaves my mind refreshed, my body relaxed, and my skin smelling like a  sweet conifer forest.

FORMULA FOR GRAND FIR HYDROSOL OR EO ~ Use a mixture of 10% Grand fir EO to 90% water or a conifer hydrosol to spray the room and scent the air or use 50•50 Grand Fir to Rosemary or mint hydrosol water solution for refreshing the sick room. When using at holiday time, and this includes any time during the season between All-Hallows and Valentine’s Day, spray the tree, spray your rooms, spray the wreaths, spray the bathrooms, spritz the decorations or the furniture, to keep everything fresh and smell good.

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.

Branch of Grand Fir and bottle of the hydrosol

HERBAL USES OF GRAND FIR BRANCHES ~ Besides the Native American uses of the bark, needles/plant.

         This is a beautiful potpourri when made with fresh-picked cuttings of conifers and Bay and some Nutmeg. It is a wonderfully fresh-scented room deodorizer. After a few days, make an infusion of the contents and throw into the bathtub for a soothing skin bath.

GRAND FIR PERFUME or Relaxation First, you will need to dilute any Absolute to about 50%.
Shake it. Let it rest.
Then take equal quantities of essential oils of Piñon Pine, Black Spruce, and Atlas Cedar,
About 30 drops total, and add 15 drops of the diluted Absolute. Add 10 drops of the Grand Fir.
Add or redInhalationoils as you wish.
Shake it up by succussion. Let it rest, and use it with a carrier oil for
Muscle relaxation or Inhalation for the mind.
Or add 100 drops of neutral spirits to make a Perfume.

Perfume and kohl bottles


KEY USE ~ Jeanne Rose calls this the “Oil of Clean Forest Air” in her course for its refreshing, healthful qualities. Air freshener and breathing tonic.

CONTRAINDICATIONS for Grand Fir oil:  nontoxic.

HISTORICAL USES ofABIES GRANDIS ~ GRAND FIR, AN AMERICAN NATIVE TREE ~  This large, grand tree, Abies grandis,  the Grand Fir, lives in the coniferous forests of the Northwest as well as is used as a landscape tree in many places of the world. Here in San Francisco, Grand Fir is used throughout the city for its shapely beauty and scent. In Strybing Arboretum, in the Redwood Forest (which 100 years ago was a lake on the edge of the Sunset District), the Grand Fir has a prominent place. When walking in the Redwood Forest, I take along a 5-foot-long hooked cane so that you can pull down a branch of this handsome tree and smell the needles. There is a conifer and citrus note to the needles that is particularly appealing.
          History –  Kwakwakawaku shamans wove their branches into headdresses and costumes and used the branches for scrubbing individuals in purification rites. The Hesquiat tribes used its branches as incense and decorative clothing for wolf dancers. Grand Fir bark was sometimes mixed with Stinging Nettles and boiled, and the resulting decoction is used for bathing and as a general tonic. The Lushoot tribe boiled needles to make medicinal tea for colds (it contains vitamin C). The Hesquait mixed the pitch of young trees with animal oil and rubbed it on the scalp as a deodorant and to prevent baldness.

• Many NW  Indian tribes used the needles, bark, and gum of Grand Fir as medicine. The compound of gum drawn on a hair across sore eyes. Infusion of bark taken for stomach ailments. Liquid pitch mixed with mountain goat tallow and taken for sore throat. Infusion of bark taken for tuberculosis. Tree branches and bark are used as medicine. Decoction of needles taken for colds. Liquid pitch mixed with mountain goat tallow and used for infected eyes.  

branches and cones of Grand Fir


USES OF GRAND FIR by Native Peoples2.

Abies grandis (Dougl. ex D. Don) Lindl. Grand Fir; Pinaceae Thompson Fiber (Mats, Rugs & Bedding); Boughs used as bedding and temporary floor coverings and changed every two to three days. Turner, Nancy J., Laurence C. Thompson, and M. Terry Thompson et al. 1990 Thompson Ethnobotany: Knowledge and Usage of Plants by the Thompson Indians of British Columbia. Victoria. Royal British Columbia Museum (p. 97)  

Abies grandis (Dougl. ex D. Don) Lindl. Grand Fir; Pinaceae Thompson Fiber (Mats, Rugs & Bedding); Branches used for bedding. Steedman, E.V. 1928 The Ethnobotany of the Thompson Indians of British Columbia. SI-BAE Annual Report #45:441-522 (p. 496)  

Abies grandis (Dougl. ex D. Don) Lindl. Grand Fir; Pinaceae Chehalis Other (Fuel); Wood used for fuel. Gunther, Erna 1973 Ethnobotany of Western Washington. Seattle. University of Washington Press. Revised (p. 19)  

Abies grandis (Dougl. ex D. Don) Lindl. Grand Fir; Pinaceae Hesquiat Other (Incense & Fragrance) Fragrant boughs placed under bedding as an incense. Turner, Nancy J., and Barbara S. Efrat 1982 Ethnobotany of the Hesquiat Indians of Vancouver Island. Victoria. British Columbia Provincial Museum (p. 41)  

Abies grandis (Dougl. ex D. Don) Lindl. Grand Fir; Pinaceae Nitinaht Other (Hunting & Fishing Item) Long, hard knots used to make halibut hooks. Turner, Nancy J., John Thomas, Barry F. Carlson, and Robert T. Ogilvie 1983 Ethnobotany of the Nitinaht Indians of Vancouver Island. Victoria. British Columbia Provincial Museum (p. 71)  

Abies grandis (Dougl. ex D. Don) Lindl. Grand Fir; Pinaceae Nitinaht Other (Incense & Fragrance) Boughs bundled up and used as home air fresheners. Turner, Nancy J., John Thomas, Barry F. Carlson, and Robert T. Ogilvie 1983. Ethnobotany of the Nitinaht Indians of Vancouver Island. Victoria. British Columbia Provincial Museum (p. 71)


Contradictions: Caution use of conifer oils on children under 5 years.

•Safety Precautions: Dilute as needed. No known 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.  


1.[fall 2001 issue of the Aromatic News]


Harman, Ann. Harvest to Hydrosol, 1st edition, 2015, IAG Botanics.
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. North Atlantic Books. 2000:
Herbal Studies Course/ Jeanne Rose .2015 edition. San Francisco, California

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 healthcare 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©


CILANTRO/CORIANDER herb & oil  profile

by Jeanne Rose

photo of coriander seeds, cilantro leaf and essential oils of Coriander seeds CO2, and steam-distilled


CORIANDER, Coriandrum sativum ~ oil from the seed is called Coriander seed oil, while the plant and oil of the leaf is called Cilantro leaf oil.

BOTANICAL FAMILY ~ Apiaceae family includes 3700 species, including Cumin, Coriander, Fennel, and Dill.

COUNTRIES OF ORIGIN ~ Native to Europe and growing wherever it is planted.

ENDANGERED ~ This plant is GNR (no status).

GENERAL DESCRIPTION OF PLANT, HABITAT & GROWTH ~ Coriander belonging to the carrot family (Apiaceae), is a large group of flowering plants. The members of this family are often aromatic, and the plants are characterized by hollow stems, taproots, and flat-topped flower clusters known as umbels.

Coriander is an intensely aromatic annual or biennial herb/plant whose leaves are called Cilantro. It is between one and three feet high, with few fine, spindly leaves and delicate whitish pink edible flowers, followed by green seeds called Coriander seeds. To harvest the correct plant, you must grow the proper plant variety, and each plant grown should be grown in the proper terroir for the healthiest plant. Grow organically without chemical pesticides or herbicides. Harvest at the correct time to ensure peak properties, and that is just before the herb flowers and bolts, and harvest for the seeds when they are young and green or when they are ripe and brown, depending on your desires for taste and longevity. 

Many people dislike the odor of Cilantro leaves; it is produced by aldehydes that also are “emitted by various insects, including stinkbugs. ….This scent is released by pounding or cooking. And for gardeners, the aldehyde content of cilantro plants rises as they develop, so the leaves smell mildest before the flower buds appear, strongest  as the small green fruits are maturing.”3

Coriander flowers and leaves



  Always distill with good equipment at the proper temperature and pressure to preserve oil molecules.

Cilantro, or Chinese Parsley, oil is steam distilled from the leaves.     

Coriander seed oil is steam distilled from the crushed, ripe seeds.             

“The world has two key sources of coriander, each operating on a different schedule. In Morocco, coriander is planted in February and harvested in May. In contrast, in Eastern Europe (essentially Bulgaria and Romania), planting is in February, and the harvest is from July to August. Eastern Europe’s longer growing season results in higher levels of essential oils, around 0.8 to 1.2 percent, compared to Morocco at 0.8 to 1 percent. This level determines the intensity of flavour, but not the proportions of citrus to mellow spice, which varies depending on the source.”1

 Yield: 0.8-1.0% for the seeds.


SOURCE ~ This work is sponsored and supported by Prima Fleur Botanicals. 

Coriander seed oil SD and Coriander seed, total CO2


Chart of organoleptic characteristics of Cilantro leaf and Coriander seed oi.

ODOR DESCRIPTION  AND AROMA ASSESSMENT – This plant has a curious and eponymous odor. Each part is different; the flower is pleasant, the mature leaves have a curious ‘soapy’ odor, and the seeds and oil especially are fresh and grassy odor – each has a different odor based on the chemistry.  Where the scent of the seed and flower are almost always acceptable, the scent of the leaves is disliked by half of the people smelling them.  The chemistry of each part is different, and the taste as well.  This is one plant and essential oil that should be individually assessed for scent.

CHEMICAL COMPONENTS of Cilantro/Coriander

Cilantro leaf has unpleasant-smelling aldehydes such as decanal (a fatty lipid,  an aldehyde molecule with a musty, fatty, grassy odor). Decanal is also part of the odor of Buckwheat.
Cilantro flowers have benzofuran and others. Benzofuran is in the odor of Daisies and Sunflowers. Coriander seeds include mainly Linaloöl, with Limonene, Gamma-Terpinene, Geraniol, and more.


HISTORICAL USES ~    Aromatic stimulant, culinary spice, and aphrodisiac.

INTERESTING FACTS ~ A remedy for the bite of the two-headed serpent. “Coriandrum is derived from the Latin koras meaning ‘bedbug.’  This is because the odor of its fresh leaves apparently resembled the insect’s smell (and is known in the odor of stinkbugs). . . Cultivated for over 3,000 years, Coriander is mentioned in all the medieval medical texts, by the Greeks, in the Bible, and by early Sanskrit writers” Aromatherapy for healing the Spirit, p.64.2

Coriander/Cilantro botanical specimen

botanical illustration of Coriander, all parts.


PROPERTIES of Coriander seed and leaf


CILANTRO LEAF oil (the leaf of Coriander) is used mainly as it is rich in antioxidants, aids digestion, can be a powerful cleanser and detoxifier; in skincare, it is soothing to the skin, and it flavors foods many foods, in particular, salsa.  

CORIANDER SEED oil is used by inhalation (IN) as it is relaxing, soporific, and sedative; by application (AP), it is used in skincare as it is anti-inflammatory and warming; and this essential oil is occasionally taken internally to soothe the stomach, as a carminative and antispasmodic and aid elimination (depurative, once known as an alterative).

•                                                                                PHYSICAL USES & HOW USED (IG OR AP) Ingestion (IN)of the herb ~ The herb tea is used for stomachache or to alleviate gas.  The essential oil has been used for flatulence, digestive problems, and as a stimulant to the entire body.

Application (AP) of the seed oil – A warming pain-easer for arthritis and rheumatism, for oily skin, clears blackheads, for skin impurities, in perfumery, and as a revivifying stimulant during convalescence.                                          

EMOTIONAL/RITUAL/ ENERGETIC by Diffusion ~ Cilantro oil and Coriander oil may have similar emotional benefits, such as relief from stress and energetic support to assist them in respecting boundaries or finding the courage to complete a difficult task or processing the events of life, and stay true to their self.            

These oils can be applied to ease externally to ease migraine headaches. Dilute in your favorite carrier oil to about 10% and massage around the temples and the back of the neck.  Also, inhaling may ease stress, anxiety, insomnia, and mental fatigue. Remember, in these cases, the scent should be pleasing and acceptable.

BLENDING AND PERFUMERY ~ Depending on your uses for these two oils, your blends may include Fennel, Dill, and other family members. Coriander and Cilantro are used in some very fashionable, high-end perfumes. They are described by D.S. & Durgas as “It is an everyday scent, light enough to meld with skin and project its presence with a subtle aura. Fresh, but unique with its pungent green atmosphere.”           

Cilantro leaf EO Blends best with strong florals such as Jasmin, and Ylang-ylang, citrus odors such as Clary sage, Lemon, Grapefruit, Neroli,  spicy odors such as any kind of Pepper, Nutmeg,  Cinnamon, Cardamom, and Ginger, vegetative/herbaceous odors such as Palmarosa, Petitgrain, Geranium, and Galbanum to enhance the green grassy odor, and deep woody odors like Vetiver.
Coriander seed EO blends with florals, citrus, woods, and spicey odors.

HYDROSOL ~ If I had this hydrosol, first, I would smell it carefully and then decide if  I would use it.  I would think that I would prefer the Coriander hydrosol before the Cilantro hydrosol.  But both could be used as a digestive drink.

PLEASE NOTE: A true hydrosol should be specifically distilled for the hydrosol, not as a co-product or 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.


Coriander seed oil, 2 types, in a small bowl of the seeds

HERBAL USE AND PROPERTIES ~ When I was able to grow Coriander, I enjoyed the flowers in salads. I harvested the seeds as they were green turning to brown and cut the seed heads directly into a small paper bag, which I then tied off the top and would hang the bag in the house until the heads had dried, and the seeds had dropped into the bottom of the bag.  It is an easy method. When the seeds were thoroughly dried, they were stored in a labeled glass jar for use during the winter.

I enjoy the taste of the seeds in gin when it is used as a flavor ingredient, and I am neutral about the taste of Cilantro and will eat it in tacos.  My son, however, is violently opposed to eating or smelling Cilantro.

Herbally, Coriander seed and when picked with the leaf and flowers, are used in teas and infusions; for stomach ache or flatulence, in a foot wash for athletes’ foot (with other herbs), in blended herbal remedies for the respiratory system, and also for scant or painful urinary complaints.

This is one herb that I use in cooking, in some herbal teas, and sometimes when making my Bruise Juice. The seed is good in Middle Eastern cooking and is ground for soup, stew, and many vegetable and meat dishes. It is part of many traditional spice blends in Asian, Indian, and Latin cuisine.

CILANTRO ~ some people truly dislike Cilantro.  “Cilantro and arugula, I don’t like at all. They’re both green herbs; they have kind of a dead taste to me.”…Julia Child said and “I would never order it, and “I would pick it out if I saw it and throw it on the floor.”           

Apparently, Ms. Child had plenty of company for her feelings about Cilantro. The Oxford Companion to Food notes that the word “coriander” is said to derive from the Greek word for bedbug, that cilantro aroma “has been compared with the smell of bug-infested bedclothes” and that “Europeans often have difficulty in overcoming their initial aversion to this smell.”            

Charles J. Wysocki of the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia studied Cilantro and found that some people may be genetically predisposed to dislike it.

“Modern Cilantro haters often describe the flavor as soapy rather than buggy. I don’t hate Cilantro, but it does sometimes remind me of hand lotion. Each of these associations turns out to make good chemical sense. Flavor chemists have found that cilantro aroma is created by a half-dozen or so substances, and most of these are modified fragments of fat molecules called aldehydes. The same or similar aldehydes are also found in soaps and lotions and the bug family of insects. Decanal and (E)-2-decenal were the most abundant compounds, accounting for more than 80% of the total amount of identified compounds.”4

KEY USE ~ Herb For Digestive Problems and EO of seed/leaf for aching muscles and to reduce gut gas. •

Coriander seeds uncracked



“Coriandrum sativum L. (C. sativum) is one of the most useful essential oil-bearing spices and medicinal plants, belonging to the family Umbelliferae/Apiaceae. The leaves and seeds of the plant are widely used in folk medicine and as a seasoning in food preparation. The C. sativum essential oil and extracts possess promising antibacterial, antifungal, and anti-oxidative activities as various chemical components in different parts of the plant, which thus play a great role in maintaining the shelf-life of foods by preventing their spoilage. This edible plant is non-toxic to humans, and the C. sativum essential oil is thus used in different ways, viz., in foods (like flavoring and preservatives) and in pharmaceutical products (therapeutic action) as well as in perfumes (fragrances and lotions). The current updates on the usefulness of the plant C. sativum are due to scientific research published in different web-based journals.5.”

SAFETY PRECAUTIONS:          Dilute for external use; otherwise, none known.



2. Mojay, Gabriel.  Aromatherapy for Healing the Spirit.  Rochester, Vermont:  Healing Arts Press, 1999. 3.McGee, Harold. Nose Dive. 1st edition, 2020, pages 258-259.

4. April 14, 2010, Section D, Page 1 of the New York Times, The Curious Cook, by Harold McGee

5 Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Biomedicine, Vol. 5, Issue 6, June 2015, Pages 421-428


Copeland, Dawn. Basic Profiles from the Aromatherapy Studies Course. 2005

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.

Worwood, Susan & Valerie Ann.  essential aromatherapy, a pocket guide to essential oils and aromatherapy. Novato, CA. New World Library, 2003.



Scent snapshot of the analyzed oil of Cilantro and Coriander.


Moderation in All Things.
Be moderate in using essential oils, as they are not environmentally sustainable.
Be selective and more moderate in your usage.
Use the herb first as tea or the infusion. —JeanneRose 2014

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 healthcare 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


By Jeanne Rose

The bath and the herbs and essentials one can use in a bath are for complete stimulation, relaxation, and cleansing.  Essential oil and herbal recipes for bathing and making your own home aromatherapy and a healing spa.

BATHS ~ AROMATIC & HERBAL Baths & • Showers

The Cammy Bath showing herbs and essential oils.

Fig 1. -Cammy Bath ingredients with essential oils courtesy of

 ~ §~

Showers are to clean the body
while baths are to heal the mind and body and are used to cleanse the spirit.

         Hydro- or water therapy has been used for healing for thousands of years, employing a system of bathing rituals and various therapeutic baths to aid in healing various body systems. It has been prescribed since before the Roman baths. Do you know that you can restore some aspects to your body by bathing, that is, taking a bath with herbs or salts or whatever appeals to you. These elements will actually get into your body via your skin.

         Magnesium is an essential mineral, and 35% of the magnesium you ingest is in your body fluids and tissues. Soaking in magnesium-rich waters helps restore balance so your muscles can ease up and relax. Herbal infusions from plants such as Alfalfa, Horsetail, Nettle, and Red clover contain lots of magnesium, and with added Epsom salts and a calming essential oil such as Lavender, you will have a healthful, relaxing bath. Add Rosemary herb, a, hydrosol, and essential oil; it is rejuvenating and anti-aging.

         Negative ions are charged with electricity and help promote feelings of physical and psychological well-being. They are especially prominent in the waters of a waterfall or the moving waters of mineral springs.  Negative ions in the water are beneficial for physical and mental fatigue, reduce depression in some, and they relax your body and renew your energy by enhancing overall circulation and soothing your daily tensions.

         For women and, yes, even men, the bath, especially herbal baths, and mineral baths, promotes skin health and beauty by opening pores, removing dead skin and impurities, and leaving the skin soft, clean, and silky smooth. The bath also relieves the pain from some chronic illnesses, including rheumatism and joint pain.



Treat Chronic Pain,  Ease Fatigue,  Promote Relaxation

•Remember that a bath, particularly a soaking bath, is to soothe your mind, relax your body and ease your stress. Yes, of course, it can also clean your skin, but for the full power of a bath, take a quick shower first to get rid of grime, then run a bath and relax in those healing waters. Remember, we are an inner ocean and need water to drink and soak into.           

1. Take a quick shower with soap and a brush to clean your skin. If you like, sprinkle a drop or two of essential oil on your skin and rub it around.
            2. Open the taps in the tub and add the herbs-salts-goodies-essential oils you have chosen. Don’t forget those aching muscles need magnesium, and some herbs and Epsom salts have high levels.
            3. Run the water hot but not boiling.
            4. Use an herbal infusion from 4-6 ounces of your bath herbs or 1-cup bath salts per bath and some hydrosol OR pop the herbs into a large rice infuser and put the whole thing into the tub.

            5. Get in. If the tub is small and your shoulders ache, lie flat on the bottom to soak your shoulders; if the tub is small and your legs ache, sit upright and think relaxing thoughts; if everything aches, take turns soaking one part and then the other OR get a big Victorian tub. and soak at least 22 minutes. This is the time it takes for those toxic products to get moving and released out of the body and into the tub water and rinsed down the drain.

            6. Get out of the tub and wrap in a blanket or towel, do not rub dry. If you have one, wrap it in a big linen towel*. Go to bed to get the full effects of the bath.

            *[Linum usitatissimum is Flax and the oldest fiber known to man; linen has a rich history as the traditional fiber of hospitality and beauty. No other fiber so exudes such old-world elegance yet delivers modern practicality. Linen is lint-free, non-allergenic, soft, smooth, and durable; linen is distinguished by a unique natural luster that improves with use.]

7. Now think of your happy place, smell a favorite essential oil and relax in a big chair and look at nature, or sleep and dream the dreams.

A large mesh rice ball filled with herbs for the bath

Fig. 2 – Rice ball cooker

GENERAL INSTRUCTIONS for Herbal Baths ~ are great for the skin and healthy for the mind and body.  To make an excellent herbal bath, first, make an infusion of the herbs.

  1. Add 4-6 oz of your choice of herbs to 2 quarts of water. Bring to a boil, turn off the heat, cover, and let cool while you run your bath.
  2. Pour the liquid directly into the bathtub through a strainer, put the herbs into a bag, and throw that into the bath.

2a. You can also simply put herbs into a large rice boiler (see picture above)  and put them into the off-the-boil water. The herbs need time to release their tonic goodness into the water.  Then place all in the warm bath. 

3. Keep the herbs as healthy mulch for the garden.

You can choose soothing herbs such as Rose petals and Comfrey, astringent herbs such as Witch Hazel, tonifying herbs such as any of the citrus peels with anti-aging Rosemary, and healing herbs such as Comfrey root or Marshmallow root.  Essential oils can also be added after the bath as a rubdown; about 2-5 drops are plenty.

HERBS to Use ~ There are so many herbs that can be used in the bath or made into infusion form and sprayed on the body after the shower, and some of these are Calendula, Chamomile, Comfrey, Geranium, Lavender, Peppermint, Roses, Rosemary, Sage, Seaweed and Witch Hazel; for anything else, you can think of. See The Herbal Body Book, Chapter XX, “Herbal Baths, The Wonder Cure”.

•Citrus Solstice Bath – Whole Yuzu fruits (or Oranges) are floated in the hot water of the bath, sometimes enclosed in a cloth bag, releasing their aroma. The fruit may also be cut in half, allowing the citrus juice to mingle with the bathwater. The Yuzu bath, known commonly as yuzuyu but also as yuzuburo, is said to guard against colds, treat the roughness of skin, warm the body, and relax the mind.

Bundles of Birch twigs were used in Russian banyas to gently strike the body to stimulate whole-body circulation. The banya was a small room that could be used both as a sauna or steam room. The bathhouse keepers used scrubbers of many kinds, including those made of green branches of the Birch tied to a stick. Birch twigs contain acetylsalicylic acid, a precursor to aspirin, and relieve pain while improving circulation as the steam releases the Birch’s volatile oils.

            A thirteenth-century manuscript of Sachsenspiegel shows bathers massaging themselves with leaves (Lyons and Petrucelli, p. 364)

a page of a book showing bathers in the sauna scrubbing themselves with bunches of birch leaves

Above: Bathers in the sauna scrub and/or beat themselves with bunches of leaves.

(Sachsenspiegel, 15th c., Universitatbibliothek, Heidelberg)Fig. 3



•GENERAL DETOX BATH – a quick shower to clean the skin. Then …

___1. Add 2 cups Epsom salt (and herbs, kelp, or Moor mud) to a standard tub full of water. If your tub is bigger, add more.

___2. Ideally, you want the water to be very hot. We are looking to create a nice sweat.

___3. If your bath water is not filtered, add 1 cup of baking soda as this helps neutralize the chemicals, primarily chlorine, as well as increase mineral absorption.

___4. Immerse yourself in the water all the way up to your neck. You want as much of your body underwater as you can. Close your eyes, do some breathing exercises, and soak for at least 20 minutes.

___5. Once you are done soaking, rise out of the tub very slowly and cautiously. You may feel light-headed; this will go away as you shower off quickly in cool water.

___6. It is important not to use harsh soaps or shampoos in the bath, as your pores are open and will just absorb the bad items found in those products.

___7. Once dry, you can apply a natural moisturizer like body butter, shea butter, or coconut oil and some natural deodorant, but again no lotions with perfumes, dyes, or chemicals.

___8. Many recommend that you do not eat before or after taking a detox bath. However, in the Middle Ages, often a meal was served in the tub on floating tables while people socialized in the bath; I think this is best not done.

___9. Instead, hydrate yourself by drinking water or light herbal tea before and after.

__10. Allow time after your bath to rest and rejuvenate.

•BATHS Recipes  ~ See individual listings for different baths and therapies.•

            Showers are to clean the body, while immersion Baths are to heal the mind and body and are used ritually to cleanse the spirit.

Hydrotherapy is a system of bathing rituals or various therapeutic baths to aid in the healing of various systems of the body. It has been prescribed since before the Roman baths with their distinct and separate rooms of various temperature baths.

            However, full body immersion is the key to cleansing the body of illness, and with shallow modern baths where only the lower part of the body is fully immersed, this does not lend itself to a healing experience. In a modern bath, one must lay down flat on your back in the tub with the legs up and out in order to get the proper healing effects. Worried about your hair? Wear a shower cap.

            In a bath/hydrotherapy treatment, it is important to use three baths per week of 20-30 minutes each. The temperature of the water is not important. Start with warm baths; add Seaweeds, Moor mud, various types of salts, herbs, and/or hydrosols. Seaweed bath information will be coming.

            •Balneotherapy. Balneotherapy is using the therapy of mineralized water in the treatment of disease by bathing, especially in mineral springs. (The use of the minerals in hot springs for therapeutic bathing). Balneotherapy (spa therapy) is the act of bathing in thermal or mineral waters at temperatures of about 34° C (98.6° F). The hydrostatic force of the water is thought to bring about pain relief, which may result from taking stress off the affected joint, relaxation, or other factors. It is most commonly recommended for patients with psoriasis or rheumatoid arthritis. Balneotherapy uses mineral salts or water. Simply open the tap or get into a bath of mineral salts —  water energy will draw the minerals in.
             Bathing lifts the spirits and relaxes the body. You can use a blend of salts, herbs, and/or oils such as Hinoki Wood, Rosemary verbenone, Atlas cedar, or chlorophyll.  Minerals from the earth help clean the body and help to heal the agitated mind.

There’s no place like a bath to stretch your soul and listen to your own inner voice. -Seneca

            Bathing in Thermal Waters. increases body metabolism, including stimulating the secretions of the intestinal tract and the liver, aiding digestion. It is my feeling that a repeated series of baths, five, using hot springs or mineral or Moor bathing (especially over a 3- to 4-week period) can help normalize the functions of the endocrine glands as well as the functioning of the body’s autonomic nervous system. Trace amounts of minerals such as carbon dioxide, sulfur, calcium, magnesium, and lithium are absorbed by the body and provide healing effects to various body organs and systems. These healing effects can include stimulating the immune system, leading to enhanced immunity; physical and mental relaxation; the production of endorphins; and normalized gland function. Mineral springs contain high amounts of negative ions, which can help promote feelings of physical and psychological well-being.

            The direct application of mineralized thermal waters (especially those containing sulfur) can have a therapeutic effect on diseases of the skin, including psoriasis, dermatitis, and fungal infections. Some mineral waters are also used to help the healing of wounds and other skin injuries.

            •Relaxing Bath. Use a bath as full immersion therapy. Hot water to the neck provides an ultra-warm environment for the body that helps to boost blood flow and, in turn, promotes a more complete relaxation for the body.

            •Forget Your Troubles Bath. I believe that there is no ritual more important to well-being than a warm bath at the end of the day or at least three times per week. Hinoki and Cedar, both the branches (herb) and their essential oil, are relaxing, and Sage herb and Lemon peel and their essential oils are purifying and healing while the chlorophyll in the plants is cleansing.  Bathing is thus transformed into a walk with nature. Slip yourself into this floating, watery, citrus-woody scented, mineral-rich bath and forget your troubles.

picture of lemons, hinoki leaf, and sage for a bath

Fig. 5.

            Indications for Balneotherapy are chronic diseases such as rheumatic diseases; metabolic diseases such as diabetes, obesity, and gout; chronic gastrointestinal or respiratory diseases such as asthma and COPD; circulatory diseases, especially moderate or mild hypertension; chronic skin diseases; psychosomatic and stress-related diseases; hearing disorders such as those affecting balance; chronic gynecological diseases; and other ailments.

         •A Bath Formula. Use up to 4 oz of herbs per bath, enclose in cloth or a rice ball, anything that you have will do, and then add 5-10 drops of a blend of essential oils. Equal amounts of the essential oils of Hinoki wood (Chamaecyparis obtusa), Owyhee (Artemisia ludoviciana) or Roman Chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile), Atlas cedar (Cedrus atlantica), Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis CT verbenone), Sage (Salvia officinalis), and Lemon (Citrus limon) can be mixed and 10 or so drops added per bath.

            “This ritual-based body treatment (of baths) is founded on the principle that stimulating blood flow through the body helps to release the flow of vital energy in the body. Combined with the benefits of warm water, these minerals are known to ease muscles, soften the skin and renew the body. By blending these exceptional ingredients and pure scents, healing occurs deep in the skin, and the mind is similarly relaxed and inspired.  Roots, herbs, and flowers hold life and health for the human body. The Hinoki scent for bathing is inspired by the sensual art of caring for the body as it was developed and created in Japan. Always use one hundred percent botanically based pure essential oil and pure salts derived from clear springs.”  —Kneipp  Keep your products free of drying agents, dyes, synthetics, preservatives, and synthetic colors.

           •Directions for Salt Bath. Empty up to 1 lb. of mixed salts, and you can add 5-10 drops of essential oil mixture, plus Sea-Lettuce (a seaweed) to a very warm bath. Water becomes naturally green because of the chlorophyll of the seaweed and is buoyant with rich minerals from the salts. Step in. Steep yourself for 22 minutes. Step out and into a big warm towel.

            •More Bath Formulas. A simple aromatic bath is the infused herbs of any fresh ones that you have available with 5-10 drops of complementary essential oils. i.e., 4 oz. Citrus peels infusion plus citrus and Patchouli oil [1 drop each Grapefruit, Lemon, Orange, and Neroli + 4 drops Patchouli]. When using citrus oils, it is best to add them first to the herbs and mix carefully and then put the combination into a bag which is then put into the tub. Get into the tub before the herbs because citrus oils can burn and irritate the genitals and delicate skin if they get concentrated and if just poured into the tub without being mixed first. (essential oils float on water)

______•Hydrosol-Essential Oil Bath. For example, for hypertension, shower and clean first, then fill the tub and use body temperature water; add 1 cup of Rose Geranium or Rosemary hydrosol; if you wish, you can also add the appropriate essential oils, soak for 20 minutes, wrap in a large towel, drink a cup of your Hypertension Tea Blend, and go to bed. Melissa is the most useful but difficult to obtain, but Lavender or Rose Geranium hydrosols can also be used. Don’t have hydrosols? Call Prima Fleur Botanicals for their list. It is easy to use the herbal infusions of the herbs mentioned above.

Essential oils, roses, for a stress relieving bath

Fig. 6-Stress Bath

            Fangotherapy .(fango = mud from Italy thermal springs) or Pelotherapy is volcanic ash or mud used with thermal springs in curative treatment at SPAs. In California, there is only one hot springs that uses the true Fangotherapy — Indian Springs in Calistoga, CA, and they also have the best outdoor pool. It can also mean any clay or mud used in therapy.

            •Hot Springs. The water from a hot spring gradually increases the temperature of the body, which helps to kill harmful germs and viruses. Bathing in mineral springs increases the static water pressure on the body, which increases blood circulation and oxygenation of the cell, and the minerals in the water get soaked up by the skin. This increases blood flow and also helps to dissolve and eliminate ‘toxins’ from the body. Mineral and Hot Springs bathing increases the flow of oxygen-rich blood throughout the body, improving hydration and nourishment to vital organs and tissues.

            If you visit California, try the bubbling naturally carbonated waters in the lovely and charming tubs at Vichy Hot Springs in Ukiah, CA.


            I have been fortunate and bathed in many different hot springs in the western part of the United States including Lithia Springs in Steamboat Springs, CO (lithium); Esalen Hot Springs in Big Sur, CA (sulfur); Ojo Caliente in New Mexico (arsenic); the naturally carbonated hot springs at Vichy Springs, Ukiah, CA (bubbles like champagne surround your body); as well as the thermal baths at the Arlington Resort Hotel in Hot Springs, AR; the mineral baths (sulfur) at the fabulous Green Brier Resort in West Virginia; the waters at Rancho La Puerta in Mexico; Hot Springs (radium) in Banff, Canada; and many wild and willful hot springs that pop out of the ground and in streams in Nevada, southern Idaho, and Oregon. Many of these were followed by the application of herbs in the form of wraps, compresses, rinses, and poultices to increase the water’s curative effects.

             See The Herbal Body Book for many formulas and enroll in our Aromatherapy Course-Home & Family.

a pond with a hot springs  in the desert

Fig.7. Photo of Parker Ranch pond with hot springs by Michael S. Moore…

            • the treatment of disorders by the application of water, especially externally by immersion or use of water in any way as a treatment. Water used in therapy, especially as a compress, packs, masks, wraps, hot water, cold water, sprays, immersion, cold water, hot water, etc.

            •Hydrosol the use of herbal and floral hydrosols with any other hydrotherapy to affect change in the body. A hydrosol is a non-alcoholic water solution obtained from plant distillation. It is the solution in which the distillate obtained is a liquid that contains the micro-drops of essential oils and the infused properties of the plants that were distilled. has hydrosols.



            •Hydrosol Bath from 2016.  “Today in April,  I took a hydrosol bath. I used Choisya hydrosol and Rose Geranium hydrosol. These I had personally distilled.  The Choisya contains components that are considered absorbable, pain-relieving, and antiaging such as phellandrene, and the Rose Geranium is a beautifying skin tonic. I added about 1 cup of each of the hydrosols. I also added about 2 cups of Rosemary infusion from my large garden Rosemary plant. Rosemary is also anti-aging and rejuvenating. The hydrosol is added to the bath — Rosemary can be absorbed into the skin, and so when the Rosemary infusion is added to the bath, it adds its unique anti-aging qualities, is slightly stimulating, and is very comforting.  Use about a 1-cup/bath Rosemary infusion or hydrosol as a fine tonic addition.   I added very warm water and sat and soaked for 22 minutes before I washed with a bar of natural soap and then rinsed with clear water.”  It was a wonderful and refreshing cleansing bath. You should all try it.


            •Pelotherapy. (pelo from the Greek word for clay or mud) is the therapeutic application of mud to the body. It is used in conjunction with other forms of therapy, especially hydrotherapy, balneotherapy, or thalassotherapy.

            •Shower, Sprays, or Herbal Hand-Foot Bath Therapy is part of the hand-and-body baths that were once written about by the French doctor Maurice Mességué, a French herbalist who began practicing in earnest in 1947, a time in North America when there were virtually no herbalists but many hot springs available.  Mességué primarily used hand and foot baths to administer herbs as compress, poultice, and soaks,  and was a champion of carefully harvested and prepared herbal formulas from his locally-grown herbs, and that he also used as medicines. If you do not have a tub, any part of the body can benefit from sprays or washes and soaks with herbal and aromatic waters.

            Shower or Spray therapy and baths can be more effective if used with consideration of what you want to accomplish, and they can boost the immune system if you follow with a 3-minute cold shower.

            First, take a shower with soap to clean. Then take a few drops of your favorite blend of essential oils and massage into the skin – from head to toe. Now, take a shower for refreshment, run in bursts of hot and cold for circulation, or from soft to ‘hard rain’ to stimulate or use the hand-held spray attachment at various settings, including ‘waterfall’ or ‘rainfall’ settings. Be conscious of the effect you wish. Use a rinse of any herbal infusion and then step out and wrap in a big warm towel and have a cup of tea.

______•Seaweed baths (part of an herbal bath) are the best, remember the seaweeds swell up and become thick and plump with the algin that soothes and heals your skin.  Just don’t let the seaweed slip down the drain. Always ‘capture’ the Seaweed that is in the tub in a net bag or sieve before you remove the plug from the tub drain.  You can hang the seaweed outside to dry so that you can use it another day.

•Seaweed-Rosemary Herb Bath

Rosemary, Seaweed, and Comfrey leaf for a bath.

Fig. 9. A very good Comfrey, Rosemary, Seaweed Bath

            •Thalassotherapy is the use of seawater or seaweeds as a therapeutic treatment. Thalasso comes from the ancient Greek meaning ‘ocean’. Thalassotherapy uses the nutrients in seawater and Seaweed. The different nutrients found in the sea plants help to nourish and cleanse the body. The theory is that seawater has practically the same chemical makeup as human plasma, so the body easily absorbs the water that is rich with nutrients from sea plants or plant matter. I  personally adore bathing in warm seawater with fat strands of Seaweed wrapping around my body, nourishing the skin, and keeping me ‘at one with the mother ocean’.


            Wash your beard. Okay men this is important. …Swiss researchers tested the facial hair of men and dog fur from various breeds. A new study finds men with beards carry more germs than the fur on dogs. “Study author Professor Andreas Gutzeit told the BBC that the researchers found a significantly higher bacterial load in the men’s beards compared with the dogs’ fur. Some of the men tested positive for microbes that actually posed a threat to human health. Experts say men should shampoo their beards regularly.” (Prof. Dr. med. Andreas Gutzeit)

My dog Wolfie sitting on the steps.

Fig. 8. 1995 – My black & white husky – Wolfie. She only had 4 baths in her 15 years.


            RECIPES AND FORMULAS are also available in The SKIN/Spa Booklet produced for Jeanne’s SPA class called Salud Per Aqua or Health Through Water by Jeanne Rose. SPA Booklet (Salve per Aqua) and A Seminar by Jeanne Rose is a collection of Jeanne’s personal SPA information and formulas.

•The Toilet of Flora – An Aromatic Bath

A page from "The Toilet of Flora", an antiquarian book of cosmetic recipes

A page from my personal copy, Fig. 10

            • OTHER PLANT MATERIALS that are considered herbs in the herbal bath context ~ Oatmeal, bran, Wheat Germ, honey, egg yolk, Papaya, Mango, Avocado peels and pits, Corn meal, silk powder.



Oatmeal, a blender, and ground oats for a bath

Colloidal Oatmeal Bath – Fig. 11

            You need Oatmeal in a finely ground form for the bath. You can buy that in boxes in the store or you can make it. Once you grind the Oat grain or flake you have an emollient and thus soothing product for the skin — it is called colloidal oatmeal. I have always added an infusion of Comfrey root and a hydrosol or sometimes a few drops of soothing essential oils of some sort, such as Lavender or Helichrysum. But it is the colloidal oatmeal that is most important. You can purchase or you can make your own for your bath – a bit messy but well worth the effort.

MAKE YOUR OWN OATMEAL BATH (this is for soaking not with soap and water)

You have the option to buy the commercially prepared product at around $11 for eight single-use packets, or you can make your own at home for around $1.

            Here’s how: You’ll need a blender, food processor, or coffee grinder and 1 cup of oatmeal. You can use instant oatmeal (unflavored), quick oats, stone-ground oats or slow-cooking oats- all work equally as well. Blend or process the oats on the highest setting until you have a very fine, consistent powder. To test the colloidal property of the oats, stir 1 tablespoon of oats into a glass of warm water. If the oats readily absorb the water and give it a milky look and a silky feel, you’ve blended long enough.

            Giving the bath: Sprinkle the oats into a tub of running water and stir the water with your hand several times to ensure even distribution. Feel along the bottom of the tub for clumps and break up any you find. Take care getting into the tub as the Oats will make the tub even more slippery than usual. Soak in the tub for 20-25 minutes and pat dry with a soft towel rather than rubbing. You can use this bath once or twice a day or more if you need it and it is excellent for children.

Common uses for Oatmeal Baths …
•Anal itching (often from pinworms)
•Chicken pox
•Diaper rash
•Dry skin
•Insect bites
•Poison Ivy, Oak, and Sumac


•ESSENTIAL OILS & HYDROSOLS ~ The Aromatherapy Book, Applications & Inhalations is the book to read. Chapter 1, Tables 1 and 2, will tell you which oils to use for which condition. Try the same essential oils as the herbs that you have chosen. Add a drop of Chamomile, Lavender, Neroli, Palmarosa, Rosemary, or Ylang-Ylang after the bath and as a rubdown. Use hydrosols of Lavender, Geranium, Melissa, and Rosemary in your bath for skin health and well-being.

This work is supported by Prima Fleur Botanicals.

11 bottles of essential oils from Prima Fleur Botanicals

Fig. 12. So many beautiful essential oils to choose from


Baths relax and cool the emotions
They remind you of the deep blue ocean
Showers are nice
And remove all the lice
But baths clean the soul of commotion…. JeanneRose 2012

An illustration from Le Roman de la Momie, illustrated by George Barbier of women in a public bath

Fig. 13.  Le Roman de la Momie, illustrated by George Barbier

      Would you like to learn how to make your own products and to treat your skin like a royal? Have you ever wondered why some women have such wonderful complexions? The Herbal Body Book and The SPA/Skin Care Booklet have everything you need to know about skin, salt, water, hydrosols, essential oils, herbs for the skin and body and to make your own products. Herbs and essential oils have a profound ability to penetrate the skin and can have a very rejuvenating affect. Read the book and try some of the 400 recipes. There is also the articles section at and this blog with other posts.

           •Soap for all your healing needs. There are so many lovely handmade bars of soap that are now available at  your local retailer or can be made. I once wrote a small book on 200 different soaps that I had tried. My favorites always ended up being the simplest and less complicated.

a bar of soap

Fig. 13. A bar of simple natural soap


            You can make your own plain simple soap in a pot and grow the herbs you need in your yard for your bath, or you can purchase them from your Herb Store or nearby Farmer’s Market.  Read The Herbal Body Book by Jeanne Rose for more bath and soap ideas.

•Herbal bath for aching muscles•

The objective and purpose are to prepare a mix used in a bath for aching muscles of the back.

            •Add ½-cup clary sage tops, ½-cup strawberry leaves, ½-cup pennyroyal tops, ¼-cup fine-chopped comfrey root, ¼-cup chamomile and ¼-cup fine-chopped white willow bark. Mix this all up and store in a light-proof container.

            •Bring to a boil 1-cup of the mix mentioned with 2 quarts of water. Simmer, without boiling, for 15 min.

            •Pour the liquid part of the mix through a sieve or strainer into a hot bath.

            •Take the solid part and put it into a washcloth or cloth bag that will be used to wash your back.

            •Now stay at least 20-25 min in the bath and enjoy.

            Results: A warm-to-hot bath is always very relaxing and good for the muscles. But with that mix, and mainly (in my opinion) with the comfrey root, it adds a huge benefit to the hot bath. When I took it, I quickly felt a relaxing and soothing effect on my back muscles. I really appreciated that moment and will do it again for sure.



A mineral spring, rice ball with herbs and Seneca in a bath for dying.

INTERESTING INFORMATION about the Bath ~ In 65 CE, Nero wrongfully accused the aging Seneca, his childhood tutor, longtime political advisor, and minister, of complicity in the Pisonian plot to murder him. Nero ordered Seneca to commit suicide as punishment for his alleged crime. The death of Lucius Annaeus Seneca (c. 1 BC–AD 65), an ancient Roman stoic philosopher and statesman who cut his wrists and then entered a bathtub to quicken his death after Emperor Nero ordered him to commit suicide. Stoicism was concerned with the acceptance of one’s own mortality, and, indeed, the philosopher shown here appears unaffected by his impending death.


Sources: is known for premium quality products, essential oils and hydrosols, carrier oils, and specialty ingredients.

•Seaweed is available from Mermaid Botanicals, now that the glorious seaweed man, Ryan Drum, has retired.

The SKIN/SPA booklet produced for Jeanne’s SPA class is subtitled Salud Per Aqua or Health Through Water. SPA Booklet (Salve per Aqua) was written for a seminar by Jeanne Rose and is a collection of Jeanne’s personal SPA information and formulas.


Bibliography: . Product materials.

Rose, Jeanne. The Herbal Body Book. Still available from

Rose, Jeanne. The SKIN/Spa Booklet. Available from Jeanne Rose’s website.
The New Shorter Oxford English Dictionary

The Toilet of Flora. J. Murray, London. 1779 was reprinted in 1939 from Mrs. Rosetta E. Clarkson’s original edition.


CEDARwood, A  Profile of True Cedar
By Jeanne Rose

Image of a Cedar tree with a bottle of its essential oil in front.

Atlas Cedar, Cedrus atlantica, and Deodar Cedar, C. deodara are profiled.


COMMON NAME/LATIN BINOMIAL OF TRUE CEDAR ~   The Cedar tree is so lovely, and it is often confused with every other tree there is.  And other trees that are totally unrelated are called ‘cedar’ by older, ignorant, common usage. There are Pine trees, Cypress trees, Thuja trees, Juniper trees, and Calocedrus trees, all called Cedar, but only the Cedrus genus is the true Cedar tree.

Cedrus libani var. atlantica Manetti (fam. Pinaceae) is a true Cedar, the original one from Morocco. Here we are only discussing the genus Cedrus. There are two main species: Cedrus atlantica, the Atlas Cedar, and C. deodara, the Himalayan cedar.  That is it.


            Atlas Cedar (wood) Cedrus libani ssp atlantica. Cedrus is Latin for evergreen conifers +  libani, meaning Mt. Lebanon, the name of the mountain, and atlantica meaning a large ocean, while the common name of Atlas Cedar means coming from the Atlas mountains. Botanical names always mean something. A majority of the modern sources treat Cedrus atlantica as a distinct species but some sources consider it a subspecies of the Lebanon Cedar (C. libani subsp. atlantica).

See Chapter Two of my book, “375 Essential Oils and Hydrosols,” for the meaning of the other aromatic-therapy plant names.


             Cedar-wood (the dash shows that you know they are not cedars) and is of the Conifer family, Cupressaceae. These are of different genera, in this case, Juniperus and Thuja. The trees have scales and not needles. While true Cedars have needles (Pinaceae) and not scales.

              Juniperus virginiana is indigenous to Virginia and is not an old-world tree. It is called red cedar-wood, and the oil of the bark is both organoleptically and chemically different from true Cedar. It contains cedrol and cedrene. It is used as a slight moth-repellent wood for closets and boxes.   Juniperus virginiana is called Cedar via the ignorance of people coming from the Olde Worlde to the Newe and thinking it looked like what they knew from the past. It should be spelled cedar-wood to separate it from the true Cedar of Cedrus. It is indigenous to Virginia and is not an Olde-Worlde tree. It is called red cedar-wood, and the oil of the bark organoleptic and chemical composition is different. It contains cedrol and cedrene. It is used as a slight moth-repellent wood for closets and boxes.

Other trees called Cedar that are not – African-Cedar  – Juniperus procera, American /red/Pencil-Cedar – Juniperus virginiana  Aka Eastern Red-Cedar, Southern Red-Cedar – Juniperus silicola.

>See Chart at end of Article<

FAMILY ~ Atlas Cedar and Himalayan Cedar belong to the Pine family (Pinaceae), Cedrus genus. They have needles and not scales. The essential oils of the bark are almost identical in organoleptic and chemical composition. They contain the alcohol ‘atlantone.’ This is a wonderful oil to use in aromatherapy.


COUNTRIES OF ORIGINS ~ Cedrus deodara (Deodar Cedar, Himalayan Cedar, or Deodar; Urdu: deodār; Hindi, Sanskrit:  devadāru;) is a species of true Cedar native to the western Himalayas in eastern Afghanistan, northern Pakistan, north-central India, southwesternmost Tibet, and western Nepal, occurring at 1500–3200 m. altitude. It is a large evergreen coniferous tree reaching 40–50 m tall, exceptionally 60 m, with a trunk up to 3 m. diameter. It has a conic crown with level branches and drooping branchlets.

branch of atlas Cedar tree

Our beautiful Cedrus atlantica in Golden Gate Park. So majestic.


Cedar trees – GENERAL DESCRIPTION OF PLANT HABITAT AND GROWTH ~ Fully grown, the Atlas cedar is a coniferous, evergreen tree with wide branches tapering to a height of 50 feet with a trunk diameter of 4.9 to 6.6 ft.  The branches are covered with long needles, having barrel-shaped cones standing upright on the branches.  Some of the Cedars in Lebanon, however, are said to be one hundred feet high and over 2,000 years old.                             

There are several examples of the tree in the front center area of the San Francisco Botanical Garden. I have also seen these lovely trees as an entrance allée to the government buildings of Sacramento, all over Golden Gate Park, and near the entrance to the University of Arizona in Tucson.

ENDANGERED OR NOT ~ Cedrus atlantica is grown in many countries; the Lebanese cedar is an endangered species due to over-exploitation and the destruction of its natural habitat, Cedrus libani is vulnerable, and in some areas of its heritage growth, it is endangered.

PORTION OF PLANT USED FOR EXTRACTION, EXTRACTION METHODS; DISTILLATION, HOW DISTILLED, AND YIELDS ~ The wood, chips, and sawdust are steam distilled.  Yield: 3-5%.                                                     


This work is sponsored and supported by Prima Fleur Botanicals.

bottle of Prima Fleur Cedarwood oil,Cedrus atlantica


            Color:                          Deep golden yellow

            Clarity:                        Clear

            Viscosity:                    Non-viscous

            Taste:                          Tastes bitter, camphoraceous, smooth, slightly astringent

                                                           (reminds me of a deep fragrant cave).

            Intensity of Odor:       4

            Tenacity of Odor:        6

CHEMICAL COMPONENTS ~ It contains cadinene, atlantone, cedrol, and alpha and beta Cedrene, and Caryophyllene.

ODOR DESCRIPTION/ AROMA ASSESSMENT of Cedar Oil ~ The oil from the wood has a clean deep gold color with a rich, fruity, floral, wood odor that contains up to 80% Sesquiterpenes and Sesquiterpenols.

(see Scent snapshot at the end, comparing Atlas Cedar and Virginia Cedar-wood).


GENERAL PROPERTIES of Cedar oil and plant

We are only discussing Cedrus spp.

     The EO has antiseptic properties that are especially useful in the respiratory and urinary tract, for inflammation of the urethra or bladder, and to treat bronchitis. A drop of the EO in half a cup of water is an excellent gargle for a sore throat. Add it with a few drops of Eucalyptus EO in a bowl of steaming water to reduce nasal or lung congestion. It can also be used like a homemade “Vicks-Vapo-Rub.” It can be taken internally as a lymphatic tonic and may help reduce water retention. External application of the EO can be used for the scalp, especially for alopecia,  and skin diseases. Add the EO to shampoos or facial washes to reduce oily secretions and combine with Galbanum to support wound healing.

•Physical Uses & How used – Application and in massage; It is used for arteriosclerosis, the retention of fluid in the tissue (edema), cellulite reduction, and in skin care for reducing oily secretions.  It is also used for cleansing, as a general tonic, acne, rheumatism, cystitis, and scalp disorder.

Cedarwood is used by application and inhalation for chest infections and asthma.

A formula by Jeanne Rose for the skin and scalp. Mix together 20 drops each of Thyme borneol, Rosemary cineol, and 40 drops of Atlas Cedar essential oils.  Add 80 drops of  Jojoba oil.  Agitate, and succuss. Use 3-4 drops on your hairbrush and brush your hair from scalp to ends every day. This will encourage hair growth and discourage alopecia.

There was a young man from Natchez,
Whose head was balding in patches.
He used Atlas Cedar for sure,
And Rosemary that was pure
And now he no longer scratches.

            This formula also smells very nice and can be used for facial care when there is acne or even using it to massage over the limbs.

•Properties by Inhalation – Cedar is a tonic to the respiratory system.  When applied in a massage blend it assists as an arterial regenerative, lymphatic tonic, antiseptic, fungicide, tonic, anti-seborrheic, and regenerative.    

•Ingestion – If a drop or two are taken in a teaspoon of honey, it aids in urinary tract infections.

•Emotional Uses –  Used by Inhalation for anxiety. 


DIFFUSE/DIFFUSION ~ EMOTIONAL/ENERGETIC USE ~ The mystery of aromatherapy —Get to know the elusive essence that is able to create such a variety of emotional and physical changes.

            Cultural importance in the Indian subcontinent – The deodar tree is the national tree of Pakistan. Among Hindus, it is worshipped as a divine tree, particularly in Kashmir and Punjab villages, as the name deodar suggests. The first half of the word deva means the words divine, deity, Deus, and Zeus, and the second part connotes durum, druid, tree, and true.

            Forests full of deodar trees were the popular resting places for sages and religious scholars as per ancient Indian mythology.3

            For an excellent Focus Blend to be used in Yoga,  a blend of Cedarwood/Spikenard/Patchouli.

BLENDING & PERFUMERY with Atlas or Deodar Cedar – These Cedrus oils are a wonderful woody, floral, and fruity scent with deep intensity and are excellent in a base note blend for tenacity. They blend Best with citrus, wood, and florals.

formula for a true Cedar perfume, called Green Harmony, from Jeanne Rose Aromatherapy.

HYDROSOL ~ At this time, I have not been able to find and use the true Cedar as a  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.

HERBAL USE ~ Construction material  – Deodar is in great demand as a building material because of its durability, rot-resistant character, and fine, close grain, which is capable of taking a high polish. Its historical use to construct religious temples and as a landscape around temples is well recorded. Its rot-resistant character also makes it an ideal wood for constructing the famous houseboats of Srinagar, Kashmir. In India, during the British colonial period, deodar wood was used extensively for the construction of barracks, public buildings, bridges, canals, and railway cars.1

2 side by side photos of true Cedarwood, Cedrus atlantica with a false cedar-wood, Juniperus virginiana


            Fifty years ago, when I first started collecting historical books on plants (herbs and aromatics), I was put off by so many books with the names and history of plants just plain wrong. As a science major at college (1954-1959), I was educated by and the assistant of a botanist who was a stickler in the use of correct Latin binomials and the history of each plant. He said, “You don’t need to pronounce the name correctly, but you do need to spell it correctly”. The Latin names are the same all over the world. 

            One of the first books I obtained was a first-edition book, dated 1951, that stated the trees that were used to build the temple of Solomon in ancient Jerusalem was the American Cedarwood named Juniperus virginiana. Well, anyone with a lick of sense knows that the Temple of Solomon was built around 1000 B.C.E. (before the common era) in the Middle East and that the tree called Juniperus virginiana is a species of Juniper indigenous to and native to eastern North America and was not named or identified or found until the early 1600s. (Yes, the Native Americans of the area used this tree, but these are not the people of Solomon’s era.) I discarded that book immediately and cannot even remember its name.   But I also saw this same misinformation that “Cedrus species is a North American tree…of the family Cupressaceae” in one of our modern books on aromatherapy, published in 1995 by two well-known teachers of aromatherapy.

             In 1972, I also started collecting the true ancient rare historical books, including a copy of Gerard’s Herbal from 1632 and a copy of Plinie’s Herbal published in 1601. These, I used to give me a real background and a good grounding in the aromatic plants and herbs that were to eventually make up my life’s work.

            I enjoy taxonomy now, although not so much back in 1957. Names are important, and you should know the names of the plants that you use, just like you should know the names of the friends that you love. You wouldn’t call every female you know ‘sis’ – would you? So, don’t go calling all the trees cedar, either.

chart of the many trees called 'cedarwood'

KEY USE ~ Prepare the dead and Respiratory disorders.                  

HISTORICAL USES ~  From the Sanskrit for “Timber of the gods”.2

INTERESTING INFORMATION ~ In mummification and to repel vermin. “Repellant to insects.  Used by the ancient Egyptians for mummification and by other ancient cultures for sarcophagi and palace and temple material.  Sometimes called ‘satinwood.’  The Latin name means ‘Atlas Cedar’, the tree growing in the Atlas Mountains that span Morocco and Algeria.  Different species of cedars are found all over the world.  Native Americans use cedar as medicine and burn it for purification”4.

The Cedar of Solomon, with the Egyptian heiroglyphics and a branch of the tree.

Native American lore says that when the great mystery gave a gift to each species, the young trees were given a task to stay awake for 7 days and watch over the forest; the trees fell asleep species by species leaving only the young conifers that were so excited that they could not fall asleep. By the 7th night the only trees left awake were the Fir, Pine, Spruce, Cedar, Holly, and Laurel. The great mystery was very happy, “What wonderful endurance you have,” and gave them the gift of forever remaining green – thus the Evergreens. They were proclaimed the guardians of the forest and given exceptional healing qualities. (from the Herbal Studies Course)


ABSTRACT/SCIENTIFIC DATA ~ Arch Dermatol. 1998 Nov;134(11):1349-52. by Hay IC, Jamieson M, Ormerod AD.

Department of Dermatology, Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, Foresterhill, Scotland.


OBJECTIVE: To investigate the efficacy of aromatherapy in the treatment of patients with alopecia areata.

DESIGN: A randomized, double-blind, controlled trial of 7 months duration, with follow-up at 3 and 7 months.

SETTING: Dermatology outpatient department.

PARTICIPANTS: Eighty-six patients diagnosed as having alopecia areata.

INTERVENTION: Eighty-six patients were randomized into 2 groups. The active group massaged essential oils (thyme, rosemary, lavender, and cedarwood) in a mixture of carrier oils (jojoba and grapeseed) into their scalp daily. The control group used only carrier oils for their massage, also daily.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Treatment success was evaluated on sequential photographs by 2 dermatologists (I.C.H. and A.D.O.) independently. Similarly, the degree of improvement was measured by 2 methods: a 6-point scale and computerized analysis of traced areas of alopecia.

RESULTS: Nineteen (44%) of 43 patients in the active group showed improvement compared with 6 (15%) of 41 patients in the control group (P = .008). An alopecia scale was applied by blinded observers on sequential photographs and was shown to be reproducible with good interobserver agreement (kappa = 0.84). The degree of improvement on photographic assessment was significant (P = .05). Demographic analysis showed that the 2 groups were well matched for prognostic factors.

CONCLUSIONS: The results show aromatherapy to be a safe and effective treatment for alopecia areata. Treatment with these essential oils was significantly more effective than treatment with the carrier oil alone (P = .008 for the primary outcome measure). We also successfully applied an evidence-based method to an alternative therapy.



Scent snapshots of true cedarwood and Virginia cedar-wood showing the difference in the scent.

1.Wikipedia – Cedrus deodara
4. essential aromatherapy, p.122


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.
Mojay, Gabriel.  Aromatherapy for Healing the Spirit.  Rochester, VT:  Healing Arts Press,1999.
Ohloff, Gunther. Scent and Fragrances
Rose, Jeanne.  375 Essential Oils and Hydrosols.  Berkeley, California: Frog, Ltd., 1999
Rose, Jeanne.  The Aromatherapy Book: Applications & Inhalations.  San Francisco, California:
Rose, Jeanne.  The Aromatherapy Book: Applications & Inhalations.  San Francisco, California:
Rose, Jeanne. Certification II Booklet “Botany, Chemistry and More”
Rose, Jeanne. Herbal Studies Course. 1990


Safety Precautions


PALMAROSA grass-eo


An ambitious discussion of the essential oil of the grass oil from Palmarosa,  
Its herbal uses, growth, description, organoleptic qualities, and essential oil uses oil.

photo of Palmarosa oil in a field of Palmrosa grass


By Jeanne Rose ~ June 2023

ESSENTIAL OIL PROFILE ~ Palmarosa. PALMAROSA GRASS is a genus of the Gramineae (Poaceae) family of grasses. The genus Cymbopogon contains many species of grass that yield aromatic essential oils that use in scent, ‘herbal’ insecticides, medicine, and for flavoring foods. The species martini has also been separated into the areas in which it lives, its terroir, with the variety motia or mota, commonly called >Palmarosa or Geranium Grass< and harvested in the highlands of India or Nepal and the variety sofia or sofiya, commonly called >Gingergrass< harvested in the lowlands of India.

LATIN BINOMIAL/BOTANICAL FAMILY ~ Cymbopogon martini var. motia syn. Andropogon martini ~ also Cymbopogon martinii of the Family Gramineae (Poaceae).

Naming: Cymbopogon martini was named by W. Roxburgh after the shape and look of the plant, while the species was named after General Martin, who collected the seeds in the highlands of India as he described…a long grass…so strong an aromatic and pungent taste, that animal’s taste of it.” — from “375 Essential Oils & Hydrosols”.

Essential Oil Plants of the Grass Family ~ Gramineae (Poaceae).
Chrysopogon zizanioides is commonly known as Vetiver, a bunch grass whose roots are used.
Cymbopogon nardus is Citronella grass.
Cymbopogon citratus West Indian Lemongrass;
Cymbopogon flexuosus is East Indian Lemongrass
Cymbopogon martini var. motia is Palmarosa grass, syn. Andropogon martini or Cymbopogon martinii.
Cymbopogon martinii var. sofia is Gingergrass
Cymbopogon nardus is Citronella grass.

COUNTRIES OF ORIGIN ~ Palmarosa is native to India, now grown elsewhere. “Palmarosa is wildly grown in wetlands in provinces of India, including Nepal. The Palmarosa oil is extracted from the stem of the grass by distillation of dried leaves. Once the stems and leaves have been distilled for two to three hours, to separate the oil from the Palmarosa, the leftover distilled grass is turned into organic matter and becomes manure or is composted.” —Wikipedia.

photo of Palmarosa grass in a field

Palmarosa grass in the field

GENERAL DESCRIPTION OF PLANT, HABITAT & GROWTH ~ Palmarosa is a wild-growing or farmed plant native to India but now grown elsewhere. It is a green and straw-colored grass with long stems ending in tufts and whose grassy leaves are very fragrant and produce small, yellow flowers.

GROWTH ~ Nepal and Palmarosa, Sri Lanka – They are organically grown.

PORTION OF PLANT USED IN DISTILLATION, HOW DISTILLED, EXTRACTION METHODS & YIELD ~ The essential oil is distilled from the leaves, stems, and flower heads, and the finest oils with the most effective components come from highland grown plants, var. motia. The plants yield up to 1.7% EO, with the main components being citronellal, citral, and geraniol up to 85% of the total. Steam distillation is of fresh or dried grass before flowering. 

        Yield:  1.0-1.5% and up to 1.7% EO per weight

SUSTAINABILITY ~ you must 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 gather.



Color:                          Colorless to pale gold to yellow
Clarity:                         Clear
Viscosity:                    Non-viscous, watery
Taste:                          Mild, smooth, bitter, slightly analgesic, hot,
Odor Intensity:           4-5
Odor Tenacity:             5
Solubility:                   Insoluble in water, soluble in alcohol, and fixed oils

ODOR DESCRIPTION ~ is woody, herbaceous, citrus, and very occasionally fruity/floral. First, I want to say that Palmarosa highlands or Gingergrass lowlands do not smell like Rose or Rose Geranium or Ginger — not at all! I have sampled many types, and they are usually a green and citrus scent, not Rose at all.

            The Prima Fleur Palmarosa from Nepal had a soft intensity of 4 and had a Green Predominant note, Herbal Subsidiary note, and Citrus, herbaceous, wood Back note with fruity, and spice missing.
Very pleasant odor.

photo of Palmarosa oil supplied by Prima Fleur Botanicals

This work is sponsored and supported
by Prima Fleur Botanicals

CHEMICAL COMPONENTS ~ the main components are citronellal, citral and geraniol, Geranyl Acetate, Linaloöl, Alpha-Humulene, and Beta-Caryophyllene.

            “Essential oils distilled from the whole herb, leaf lamina, leaf sheath, and inflorescence of Palmarosa plants cultivated in south India were analyzed by GC and GC/MS. Inflorescence (2.00%) and leaf lamina (1.40%) (flowers and leaf) produced significantly higher oil yield than whole herb (0.75%) and leaf sheath (0.33%). The Palmarosa stem did not produce oil. Seventeen constituents accounting for 95.6–97.1% of the oils were identified. (E)-β-Ocimene (1.2–4.3%), linalool (0.8–2.0%), geraniol (70.1–85.3%), geranyl acetate (4.3–14.8%) and (E, Z)-farnesol (1.6–3.4%) were the major components. Whole herb oil was richer in linalool, β-caryophyllene and (E, Z)-farnesol. Leaf lamina and leaf sheath oils were richer in geraniol. Inflorescence oil was richer in (E)-β-Ocimene and geranyl acetate. To the best of the authors’ knowledge, this is the first report on the oil profiles of leaf lamina and leaf sheath of Palmarosa.” —JEOR

~ ~ ~

HISTORY AND INTERESTING FACTS: Palmarosa has been used to adulterate Rose oil because the high geraniol content makes it smell ‘rose-like’ to some persons. In the past, it was called ‘Turkish geranium oil.’ “It is shaken with gum Arabic solution and left in the sun—a process which makes it lighter in color, thus more like distilled Rose oil” Essential Aromatherapy, p. 156. According to Arctander, “Palmarosa oil is the best natural source of geraniol of all essential oils.”



Fine perfumes, candles, and herbal pillows with the pleasing smell of rose are often, in fact, scented with Palmarosa. It is also used to flavor tobacco. “Palmarosa oil has been shown to be an effective insect repellent when applied to stored grain and beans, an anthelmintic against nematodes, and an antifungal and mosquito repellent.”—Greenfield Agro Forestry

            Application: When applied in creams, lotion, and products, Palmarosa can be cellular regenerative, particularly in herbal products with the herb Comfrey leaf; it is antiseptic; and with Rosemary verbenone, Frankincense, and Spikenard, it is antifungal; in products, it helps to increase the antibacterial, analgesic, anti-infectious effects.

             Marguerite Maury (1961) and others, including current skincare product makers, know that this oil is regenerative, especially when used with Elemi and Galbanum. Palmarosa, (Cymbopogon martini var. motia), is a grass that releases a versatile essential oil, somewhat anti-infective. It soothes and regenerates the skin. It works exceptionally well for dry, lifeless, irritated, sensitive, or wrinkled skin.

(see formulas at the end of this article)

            Inhalation: In aromatherapy, the EO is used by inhalation as a tonic to the heart, antiviral, relaxing, and soothing to the nervous system. Doulas and birth coaches have used Palmarosa as a relaxant in birthing.

            Uses: You can use Palmarosa in all sorts of skincare products. It works well to reduce acne, scar tissue, relieve dry skin, and reduce the look of wrinkles in old skin. It aids in the regulation of oil production of the skin. With other oils (mentioned above), it relieves athlete’s foot fungus.

             “Palmarosa oil is also known as an antifungal that fights against Aspergillus niger, commonly known as black mold, Chaetomium globosum, also known as moldy soil, and Penicillium funiculosum, which is a plant pathogen.” —Wikipedia.

DIFFUSE/DIFFUSION ~ Because it is somewhat antiseptic and antifungal, Palmarosa EO works very well in a diffuser to clear a sickroom. Diffuse no more than 5 minutes out of 30 and less if the scent is still strong after 15 minutes or if the ill person is a child (under 14) or an elderly or very sick person.

An old photo of Palmarosa oil being distilled in India.

ENERGETICS-EMOTIONS USES ~ it is used as a nervous relaxant for stress-related problems. It is also used for physical exhaustion.

            Used in ritual/energetic work to attract love—The Aromatherapy Book

One customer stated the following, “This Palmarosa, a relative of Lemongrass, creates a feeling of security. It is used to reduce stress and tension and promotes feelings of well-being. This oil reduces nervous tension. Excellent oil for home diffusion.”

A grower I knew said this grass is strong and has a gentle presence. Therefore, it really

strengthens a soul, and fortifies the body.

INTERNAL USAGE IN HUMANS ~    Not tested in humans, it is suggested that the EO not be taken internally. However, in 2014 after some testing, Palmarosa herb/oil was considered safe for human consumption in low concentrations and in very small amounts; used occasionally, it can assist in removing pathogenic intestinal flora.

______I would suggest adding a small amount of the hydrosol to water to drink and not drinking the EO. If you have the opportunity, drink the tea. There are occasional recommendations that it can be used both as an inhalant and internally in anorexia.

BLENDING and Perfumery ~ Samples of this Palmarosa oil can have a rich intensity or a very low intensity, although the tenacity in a blend is quite pronounced. It works well with herbal scents like Geranium, Lavender, and Rosemary, resinous oils such as Frankincense, citrus oils like Bergamot and Grapefruit, and rooty oils such as Spikenard and Vetivert.

photo of one bunch of Palmarosa grass in flower in Nepal.

A plant from Nepal

HYDROSOL ~ This grass is beautiful and aromatic. Adding Palmarosa hydrosol to food and for healing skin is a gentle way to add a rosy note to dessert or cosmetics. It can be a very potent healer. It does “open doors” for people who are new to hydrosols. Palmarosa blends well with other hydrosols, and it’s excellent for a deodorant or body perfume. We have read it is suitable for the gut biome and has antiseptic qualities.
            There is a sweet freshening effect of Palmarosa hydrosol; it is slightly astringent and used as a facial toner, hair tonic, and mood lifter. This hydrosol can refresh your mood, your linen bedclothes, or the inside of your car. Ms. C. Durney personally takes a pint and pours it on her forehead to soak all the hair follicles, as this may thicken hair and tighten the pores and provide a delicate deodorizing effect to the entire system. I would use it with Rosemary infusion or hydrosol for the hair.

KEY USAGE ~ “Oil of Antifungal” as stated in the Jeanne Rose “Aromatherapy Course-Home & Family” course.

Toxicity: If added directly to water, the EO is moderately toxic-to-toxic to fish, fungi, and mollusks. In other words, do not pour it down the drain – dispose safely.

SAFETY PRECAUTIONS: When used externally in moderation, it is non-toxic and non-irritating.  Moderation in use is recommended. Do not diffuse oVetiveror children.

Safety Precautions


Science Abstracts ~ Abstract from Food and Chemical Toxicology Volume 68, June 2014, Pages 71–77. . —, Evaluation of toxicity of essential oils Palmarosa, Vetiverlla, lemongrass and vetiver in human lymphocytes “The present investigation was undertaken to study the cytotoxic and genotoxic potential of the essential oils (Palmarosa, citronella, lemongrass, and vetiver) and monoterpenoids (citral and geraniol) in human lymphocytes. Trypan blue dye exclusion and MTT test was used to evaluate cytotoxicity. The genotoxicity studies were carried out by comet and DNA diffusion assays. Apoptosis was confirmed by Annexin/PI double staining. In addition, the generation of reactive oxygen species was evaluated by DCFH-DA staining using flow cytometry. The results demonstrated that the four essential oils and citral induced cytotoxicity and genotoxicity at higher concentrations. The essential oils were found to induce oxidative stress, evidenced by the generation of reactive oxygen species. Except for geraniol, induction of apoptosis was confirmed at higher concentrations of the test substances. Based on the results, the four essential oils are considered safe for human consumption at low concentrations.”

Palmarosa grass being placed in the still in Nepal.

Palmarosa grass – Filling the still in Nepal

Bibliography ~

Guenther, Ernest. The Essential Oils. Krieger.

Journal of Essential Oil Research, Vol. 21, Issue 6, 2009. Essential oil Profiles of Different Parts of Palmarosa (Cymbopogon martini (Roxb.) Wats. var. motia Burk.)

Mabberley, D. J. Mabberley’s Plant-Book. 3rd edition 2008, reprinted with corrections 2014.

Rose, Jeanne. 375 Essential Oils and Hydrosols.

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

Sonali Sinha, Manivannan Jothiramajayam, Manosij Ghosh, Anita Mukherjee Food and Chemical Toxicology Volume 68, June 2014, Pages 71–77, Evaluation of toxicity of essential oils Palmarosa, citronella, —————-lemongrass and vetiver in human lymphocytes

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 healthcare 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©

This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.



Palmarosa grass, cut into lengths
Rosemary herb cut and sifted
Basil leaves, cut and sifted

Directions: Mix the herbs together, using any amounts you wish. Store the greater part of the product in an airtight container. When needed, shampoo hair, rinse, and follow with this hair rinse using ½ oz. Herbs simmered for a few minutes in 2 cups of water. Strain. When cool enough, rinse through the hair repeatedly, catching the run-off and reusing.

Dosage: How much and, when, how often
How much to take or do: ½ oz. by wt. of herbs per 2 cups by vol. water
How much to take or do: ½ oz. by wt. of herbs per 2 cups by vol. water
When to take or do: Use after each shampoo
How often to take or do: At least once per week
How long to take: Use at least for a month. Then try another formula and return to this one every other month for 6 months.


EO HAIR GROWTH OIL ~ this is anti-fungal, pro-growth, anti-aging, and healthy for the scalp and hair.
Palmarosa oil 25% or Gingergrass 25%
Rosemary oil 25% (verbenone type)
Jojoba oil 50%

Directions: Mix thoroughly. Shake; use only 1-2 drops per application. Apply to brush and brush hair or apply by fingertips to the scalp and massage into the scalp at least twice/day.
Label: Put into 1-ounce bottle and label fully with the name of the product, ingredients, how to use, and your contact information.


Antifungal Treatment –  Frankincense, Palmarosa (Cymbopogon martini var. motia), Rosemary verbenone, and Spikenard essential oils are used in equal amounts and at 10% of the total product. For instance, use 4 drops of each essential oil and add to 100 drops of a carrier, whether lotion or oil (40/20 Calophyllum/Sea Buckthorn + 40 Calendula Infused oil or Bruise Juice. Apply several times per day and before bed. Both Frankincense and the Rosemary chemotype verbenone contain verbenone, an unusual ketone that is antifungal, and Palmarosa is considered antifungal as well.

CUTICLE NAIL TREATMENT –  Equal quantities of each of several of these carrier oils, especially Jojoba, Calendula, Gotu Kola, Calophyllum, and Sea Buckthorn, to equal 1 ounce of carrier oil.

Add to this
5 drops Blue Cypress
5 drops Helichrysum
10 drops Neroli
15 drops Palmarosa
10 drops Pelargonium Rose
This is a therapeutic 10% mixture of essential oils to carrier oil.

Dip your fingernails into the mixture, soak for a few minutes, then carefully rub the excess into the nail bed.  Repeat daily for a week.  Then weekly.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

photo of four different bottles of Cymbopogon; 3 of Palmarosa and 1 of Gingergrass

Cymbopogon martini var. motia (highland) and var. sofia (lowland)


Palmarosa oil limerick
I love rosy, grassy Palmarosa
It goes in Bruise Juice for the toes-a
As an antiviral
It isn’t chiral
But it pleases me from toes to nose-a…JeanneRose

Palmarosa grass up close

~ JR ~

MAY CHANG – Litsea cubeba

MAY CHANG – Litsea cubeba

Essential Oil Profile

photo of berries and essential oils

May Chang – Litsea cubeba

Background, history, name, use, and essential oil

Jeanne Rose

Summary ~ May Chang, Litsea cubeba, gives us an oil beautiful in name, color, and scent. In a diffuser, it can cleanse the environment, ease breathing and uplift the spirit. Diluted in a blend with a carrier oil (Rice Bran oil is good) is healing and regenerative to the skin and leaves a clean and refreshing scent.

COMMON NAME/LATIN BINOMIAL ~ Litsea cubeba, the common name includes May Chang, Exotic verbena, tropical verbena (unrelated to lemon verbena), Kilemo, or Mountain Pepper.

         Family ~ Lauraceae, or the laurels, is a plant family that includes the true laurel, Mediterranean Bay, and its closest relatives. This family comprises about 2850 known species, including Avocado, Bay Laurel, Cinnamon, Clove, Massoia, and more.      

COUNTRIES OF ORIGINS: COUNTRIES OF ORIGIN ~ China primarily produces Litsea cubeba oil. It is also cultivated in Taiwan, Japan, and Indonesia.

ENDANGERED OR NOT ~ This species is classified as a ‘Non-Timber Forest Product’ because it produces essential oils from several parts of the tree, such as leaves, fruits, flowers, and bark.

Unfortunately, the raw material for May chang oil has been obtained from natural forests, not cultivation. Continuous exploitation without cultivation efforts will threaten the existence of this endemic species.2.

GENERAL DESCRIPTION OF PLANT HABITAT AND GROWTH ~ Litsea cubeba is obtained from the small peppercorn-shaped fruits resembling the black peppercorns of another plant. Litsea cubeba, the aromatic Litsea or May Chang, is a deciduous to an evergreen tree or shrub 5–12 meters high. It flowers from March-April, and the seeds ripen from August to September. This small tropical tree has lemon-scented leaves and flowers, and the small berries resemble green or black peppercorns. The species is hermaphrodite, which has both male and female organs.1. It is native to the Southern Chinese region, including Sichuan, Guizhou, Yunnan, Taiwan and Fujian, and Southeast Asian countries such as Indonesia, Malaysia, and Cambodia.

SUSTAINABILITY ~ you must 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.

PORTION OF PLANT USED IN DISTILLATION, HOW DISTILLED, EXTRACTION METHODS, AND YIELDS ~ Berries are steam-distilled to produce the essential oil, sometimes solvent extracted for the absolute. Sometimes the leaves are distilled as well.

         Yield ~ 3-5% from the berries

photo of berries

ORGANOLEPTIC CHARACTERISTICS OF ESSENTIAL OIL ~A pale yellow liquid, clear, not-viscous, intensity 5-6, taste is tart and irritating, with a tart lemon-fresh and fruity odor. The scent of May Chang has been compared to Lemongrass and Lemon verbena. It is considered sweeter and finer than Lemongrass and a possible fragrance alternative to the costly Lemon verbena (not an option in terms of therapeutic potential). It has been used to adulterate both Lemon Verbena and Lemon Balm (Melissa) oils — both of which have a woody back note, while Litsea does not.

Aroma Assessment ~ The scent of May Chang has been compared to Lemongrass and Lemon verbena, but if you smelled the latter, you would know that it does not. It is considered sweeter and more refined than Lemongrass. It has been used as a possible fragrance alternative to the costly Lemon Verbena (not an alternative in terms of therapeutic potential). It has been used to adulterate both Lemon Verbena and Lemon Balm (Melissa), which have a woody back note, while Litsea does not.

  • Color – pale yellow
  • Clarity – clear
  • Viscosity – not viscous
  • Intensity of odor – 5-6
  • Tenacity of odor – 6-7
  • Taste – strong, bitter, aromatic, and sour

Chemical Composition: Litsea cubeba is valued because of its high citral content, estimated to be at 75%. Geraniol is the alpha-citral, and Neral is the beta-citral. The sensitization risk, due to the high citral level, is mitigated by the presence of the chemical limonene.



May Chang is most valued for its anti-inflammatory and calming properties. Other therapeutic actions are astringent, antiseptic, insecticide, hypotensive, stimulant, and tonic. The oil is used as a scent (especially in bar soap) and for flavoring in its own right. It is also used as a raw material by the chemical industry for the synthesis of vitamin A and for violet-like fragrances.

         Circulatory system: Research in China has focused on the oil’s ability to regulate cardiac arrhythmia.

SKIN CARE ~  This oil is helpful for general skin cleansing due to its antiseptic properties. It is also beneficial to the aromatherapy treatment of oily, acne-infected skin areas. It can be used directly on a cold sore (lip or nose) or wart to kill the virus, but this will sting. Best to always use this oil in dilution.

APPLICATION ~ There have been times in the past when I would develop a cold-sore/herpes outbreak on my lip. This was easily but painfully treated by directly applying a drop of one of three high citral-containing essential oils; Litsea cubeba, Lemon verbena, or Melissa. Litsea is, by far, the easiest to obtain. At the first notice of irritation on your lip, apply the tiniest drop of EO. Yes, it will burn, but it is killing the virus, Apply again about three times per day. Herpes will not develop and will disappear by the 2nd day.

INHALATION ~ May Chang seems to work very well on the respiratory system as it functions as a bronchial dilator and is, therefore, helpful for relieving symptoms associated with bronchitis and asthma. “When given orally or by inhalation (citral), may possess prominent protective effects against bronchial asthma that is induced by inhalation of broncho-constrictors. May Chang oil may inhibit anaphylactic shock when inhaled and has a relaxing effect on the tracheal muscle.” (I am unable to find the original quote to cite)

            •Diffuse/Diffusion – Effect on the nervous system ~  This oil is helpful in the treatment of fatigue, lethargy, insomnia, anxiety, and depression. It should be used in a blend along with limonene oil, such as Orange peel or Lemon peel oil, and with a gentler oil, such as a high linalool Lavender oil.

•Emotional/Energetic Use ~ In a diffuser, Litsea cubeba is a useful addition to a blend as it is emotionally uplifting, clearing, and naturally refreshing. Tone its exuberance with Lemon or Grapefruit oil, and it will clear a room of negative energy and ‘clean’ a space for you.

photo of flowers

Litsea flowers on the tree

NATURAL PERFUMERY & Blending ~ Blends well with Cedarwood, Chamomiles, citrus odors, Eucalyptus, Ginger, Palmarosa, and more, such as Patchouli, Labdanum, Oakmoss, and Ylang. Battaglia recommends using May Chang with the following essential oils: Basil, Bergamot, Geranium, Ginger, Jasmine, Rose, Rosemary, and Rosewood.

It is best used in smaller quantities as a bridge note or connecting note.

Extra information about citral and bridge notes.


basic perfume formula and a formula using May Chang

HYDROSOL ~ I have not had Litsea hydrosol. It might be slightly irritating if sprayed on the face directly, but it would work well as an application to acne sores and/or sprayed on minor cuts.

PLEASE NOTE: A true hydrosol should be explicitly distilled for the hydrosol, not as a co-product or by-product of essential oil distillation. The plant’s cellular water has many components, and 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.

CULINARY AND HERBAL USES ~ The berries are used extensively as a spice by the aboriginal peoples of Taiwan; it is seen as one of the features of aboriginal cuisine.

HISTORICAL & INTERESTING USES ~ Litsea plants are the primary source of traditional medicines, but they also serve as a secondary food source for muga silkworms (Antheraea assama). The silk from the muga silkworms produced from the Litsea plant is very attractive and more expensive than the silk produced from other plants. The silk cocoons fed with Litsea produce a creamy, glossy silk five times more costly than silk produced from a primary source of food plant, i.e., Machilus bombycina King4. [Silkworms mostly eat mulberry leaves. Silkworms eat vegetables mostly, especially mulberry leaves, and they are predominantly herbivores. The quality of food they eat determines the quality of silk they spin].


ABSTRACT/SCIENTIFIC DATA ~ “…The plant [Litsea cubeba] possesses medicinal properties. It has been traditionally used for curing various gastrointestinal ailments (e.g., diarrhea, stomachache, indigestion, and gastroenteritis) along with diabetes, edema, cold, arthritis, asthma, and traumatic injury. Besides its medicinal properties, Litsea is known for its essential oil, which has a protective action against several bacteria, possesses antioxidant and antiparasitic properties, exerts acute and genetic toxicity and cytotoxicity, and can even prevent several cancers. …” 3.

Key Use ~ Oil of Soap Odor

This work is sponsored and supported
by Prima Fleur Botanicals.

photo of two bottles of different Litsea cubeba essential oil from PrimaFleurBotanicals




3.Ethnopharmacological Properties and Medicinal Uses of Litsea cubeba. Y Heryati et al 2022 IOP Conf. Ser.: Earth Environ. Sci. 959 012045



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

——. Respiratory Chart. 2002

Battaglia, Salvatore, The Complete Guide to Aromatherapy. The Perfect Potion Pty Ltd, 1995.

Herbal Studies Course/ Jeanne Rose, California: 1992

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

Rose, Jeanne, 375 Essential Oils and Hydrosols. Frog, 1999

Webb, Mark A. Bush Sense.2000

Williams David, The Chemistry of Essential Oils. Micelle Press, 1996.

Safety Precautions


MASTIC EO & Tree Resin ~ Mastic EO & tree resin to understand the nature of Mastic, its description,

distillation methods, particular plant properties, uses, and science ~

MASTIC Essential Oil &/or Herb Resin Profile

By Jeanne Rose and other sources ~ 2023

INTRODUCTION ~ Mastic is a resin. I love the resins; I love to burn them for magic and ritual and, above all, use their essential oils in healing blends and via inhalation.

COMMON NAME/LATIN BINOMIAL ~ Gum Mastic / (Pistacia lentiscus L.) is an oleoresin from a flowering shrub and contains very little oil. Other common names include Gum Mastic or Chios Mastic Gum in Greece. The word “masticate” comes from an ancient Greek word from the Greek practice of chewing this interestingly flavorful resin as gum in addition to freshening the breath and fighting tooth decay.

—-Family – Anacardiaceae is most often known as the cashew family; they are flowering plants with over 800 species, some of which produce an irritant called urushiol.

MASTIC EO &  the HERB RESIN is known from Greece but grows in Mediterranean Europe and Northern Africa, Algeria, Morocco, and the Canary Islands. Only the true Mastic tree, the variety chia, has the qualities that are desirable. This variety grows well only in this specific area that has the perfect terroir, that is, the southeast corner of the island of Chios, a Greek island in the Aegean Sea.

ENDANGERED OR NOT ~ A tree called Mastic (species unknown) is considered critically endangered in the Cayman Islands. The Pistacia lentiscus is considered threatened and endangered.

GENERAL DESCRIPTION OF PLANT HABITAT AND GROWTH ~ The Mastic tree, Pistacia lentiscus, is a flowering shrub with a strong smell of resin; it is a dioecious tree with separate male and female plants. It is an evergreen from 1 to 5 m high and grows in dry and rocky areas in Mediterranean Europe. The leaves are alternate, leathery, and compound with five or six pairs of deep-green leaflets but no terminal leaflet. It has very small flowers; the male flowers are vivid red with five stamens, and the female flowers are green with a 3-part style. The fruit is a drupe (a fleshy fruit with thin skin and a central stone containing the seed). It is first red and then black when ripe, about 4 mm. in diameter.

PORTION OF THE PLANT USED IN DISTILLATION, HOW DISTILLED, EXTRACTION METHODS, AND YIELDS ~ Mastic is an oleoresin containing a little oil. The oleoresin is produced primarily in the secretory tissues of the bark of stems and branches. “Mastic resin collecting is restricted to the southeastern corner of the island of Chios.
–––––– “The resin is collected by making small cuts made in the bark of the main branches and then allowing the trees to drip the sap onto the specially prepared ground below. The harvesting is done during the summer between July and October. After the Mastic is collected, it is washed manually and is set aside to dry, away from the sun, as it will start melting again.”3 The ground is prepared with fine white kaolin clay on spread on the ground and Mastic falls on it and keeps it clean.

______In Greece to get the Mastic from the Mastic tree is very precise work and takes all summer. First, the ground around the tree is cleaned, then the tree is carved with a special needle to a depth of about 3 mm. Now the Mastic flows slowly from the tree. The first Mastic is collected after fifteen days when it has become more solid.

_____YIELD is 0.7-1 and occasionally up to 3% EO.

                                                         ORGANOLEPTIC CHARACTERISTICS OF MASTIC oil
                       EO is pale yellow
Clarity                        Clear
Viscosity                     Very slightly viscous
Taste                           Bitter (We do not recommend ingestion-only chewing of the resin)
Intensity of odor        5

 Intensity scale of odor ~ On a scale of 1-10, if Usnea is a 1, Lavender a 2, Tea Tree a 5, and Cinnamon or Massoia is 8; then Mastic is about 5-6 in intensity.

 Odor Description/ Aroma Assessment: The Mastic odor is green, with strong smoky, herbaceous, and fruity notes and hints of spice, citrus, conifer, wood, and leather. Excellent to use in a gentleman’s fragrance or for a brunette woman.

Sources ~ This work is sponsored and supported by Prima Fleur Botanicals.

• •

CHEMICAL COMPONENTS OF MASTIC ~ The main components were α-pinene (58.86–77.10%), camphene (0.75–1.04%), β-pinene (1.26–2.46%), myrcene (0.23–12.27%), linalool (0.45–3.71%), and β-caryophyllene (0.70–1.47%).

 TASTE ~ I have chewed the gum and tasted this sweet with tea for years, yet I am at a loss to describe the taste of Mastic. I suggest that you give it a try as it is a very special savor, and most memorable. It starts out floral and slightly bitter and then smooths its way to a herbal and sweetish taste. Delicious!




The essential oil is produced by steam distillation from the oleoresin or occasionally directly from the leaves and branches. It is considered antimicrobial, antiseptic, antispasmodic, diuretic, astringent, expectorant and stimulant. Mastic (Pistacia lentiscus) resin and EO have a plethora of qualities and uses. The resin is said to absorb cholesterol when masticated, and is an antibacterial and, acts as an oral antiseptic, tightens the gums, helps digestion, heals wounds; and scientists recently discovered that when it is administrated in small doses over a period of time, it cures stomach ulcers.

The EO is used to heal external skin problems.

Mastic varnish has been in use for thousands of years and is primarily obtained from male trees and used to protect oil and watercolor paintings. The varnish is also used in lithography and cement for precious stones1.

PROPERTIES AND USES ~ Gum Mastic is used in medicine, pharmaceutical products like medical creams and dental toothpaste, and cures for ulcers; it is used in the paint industry, cosmetics, paint varnish, and artists use it both as an adhesive and to color oil. In the food industry, gum Mastic is used in liqueurs, ice cream, pure Mastic gum, chewing gum, and the most precious of all — Mastic EO.

After the oil is removed, a small, very durable, and pliable bit of chewing gum is left that lasts for a long time without disintegrating. This is the Olde Worlde chewing gum, while Spruce and Pine gums were traditionally chewed in the Newe Worlde of the USA and Canada.

It is suggested by Franchomme and Daniel Pénoël that Mastic EO can assist cardiovascular function. It also is useful as an inhalant for assisting bronchitis, coughs, and colds and application of muscular aches and pains.  An interesting oil.

APPLICATION/ SKINCARE:  GUM MASTIC (Pistacia lentiscus) ~ Mastic is widely used in the preparation of ointments for skin afflictions like burns and eczema, frostbite, cancers, as well as other external skin afflictions, including the manufacture of plasters.  Mastic EO is used in products as well, both for this effect and its scent.

                                                                       Skin Care Recipe ___________________________________
A teaspoon of any unscented cleansing creams with a slight drop of Mastic EO works well in cleansing the skin. Apply a warm wet washcloth to warm the skin, and gently massage it into the skin for 10 seconds, then warm the skin again with the warm wet washcloth and gently wipe. This is great in the morning as a wake-up ritual. This is also considered to be rejuvenating.

Other Uses: Mastic is found in varnishes.

DIFFUSE/DIFFUSION: Since Mastic oil is from a resinous material, it can be diffused by using a FanFuser on the scent disc but not from a glass-enclosed diffuser as the resin and will clog the diffuser. The scent should be used as an accessory odor, not the primary odor.

Fan Diffuser 

EMOTIONAL/ENERGETIC USE: Aleister Crowley considered Mastic to be pale yellow, energetically and clean, and free from prejudice, whether for or against any moral idea. It is used in a ritual blend to intensify them and quicken their rate of vibration. Mastic is used as incense for Pisces people.

BLENDS AND PERFUMERY ~ I like to use Mastic EO & Herb resin in my Natural Perfumery class as a tincture and used as a fixative where it lends a subtle smoky note. 

Blends Best ~ Citrus scents, Lavender-fern combos as a top note and in floral odors. I enjoy using Mastic in massage blends.

Use the essential oils in moderation. Use the herb tea or resin when it is more appropriate.

HERBAL USE OF MASTIC ~ The Mastic fruit (berries) can be crushed to obtain an oil that is used in liquor, or they can be used whole to flavor preserved meats and sausages. The leaf and stems of the plants are burned to smoke meats. Masticha is often prepared in a liquid form, mixed with honey or sugar, and spooned into cold water as the main flavor for a refreshing drink. “In Greece, it is mixed with sugar and water to form a thick white cream eaten by the spoonful with dark bitter coffee.” — 375 Essential Oils & Hydrosols.
                 Pistacia lentiscus is used occasionally as a chewing resin to improve breath, prevent tooth decay, and heal the gums.

            BATHING ~ Francis Bacon’s prescription for a bath is as follows, “First, before bathing, rub and anoint the Body with Oyle, and Salves, that the Bath’s moistening heate and virtue may penetrate into the Body, and not the liquor’s watery part: then sit 2 hours in the Bath; after Bathing wrap the Body in a seare-cloth made of Masticke, Myrrh, Pomander and Saffron, for staying the perspiration or breathing of the pores, until the softening of the Body, having layne thus in seare-cloth 24 hours, bee growne solid and hard. Lastly, with an oynment of Oyle, Salt and Saffron, the seare-cloth being taken off, anoint the Body.” (cited by Classen, Howes & Synnott)

             CULINARY USE ~ “One typical spoon sweet is from the island of Chios called the ipovrichio or submarine. It can be flavored with Vanilla or is made from mastic resin, for which the Aegean island is famous. This is a sugary fondant to be served on a teaspoon and dipped into a glass of ice-cold water, thus why it is referred to as a submarine. Once you get your spoon submerged, the fondant softens, and you go to work licking the spoon like a fondant lollipop of sorts. During the summer, you will see people at the beach or cafeterias enjoying a submarine. This dessert is loved by children and adults alike. Although the typical flavors are Vanilla and Mastic, if you opt to make the sweet dessert at home, you can also add fresh berry juices to flavor and experience a glimpse of summertime traditions in Greece.”3

• Greece also makes a resinated white or rose wine that’s infused with sap from an Aleppo pine tree (Pinus halepensis). This wine is called Retsina and emerged from an ancient winemaking tradition that can be traced back as far back as the 2nd century BC.4 This wine has a unique flavor said to have originated from the practice of sealing wine vessels, the amphorae, with the resin of this tree. 

Since antiquity,  the resin of the Mastic tree that grows on the Greek island of Chios is also used to flavor wine and gives it a very special and surprising taste.



Mastic is a translucent sticky substance similar to tree sap, and when combined with sugar, lemon juice, and water is served on a spoon immersed in cold water. This is a special treat called a spoon sweet. In Greece, this ‘spoon sweet’ specialty is called a Submarine. It is delicious!
              In December 1993, I had a very formal 8-course meal for friends, and the 7th course was a cheese course of Roquefort with Aromatherapy sweetmeats of Bergamot candied peels, Bitter Orange candied peels and Mastic sweet on Lavender Honey Thins with a delicious wine of Muscat de Beaumes de Venise. It was a very successful meal.

#2 – Mastic Tomato Tale

CHEWING MASTIC. In 2018 at a Resin Distillation Conference in Spokane, WA., I asked several well-known gum chewers if they wanted to try Mastic. “Yes, of course,” they said, but in fact, they were unable to learn to chew it or even try past 30 minutes. This is great gum and can be chewed for 4 hours without losing its eponymous taste, and it is good for the teeth.

And the occasional chewing of a Mastic ball will ease the pain of a tooth carie or cavity, act as a mouth antibacterial, and has in the past been used as a temporary tooth filling.  Remember this when you travel out of the country to carry some Mastic resin with you, both to burn as a magical fragrant incense and also as a first aid remedy. Really, we are forgetting some of our simplest first-aid skills!

Mastic resin pieces are also delicious when chewed like American chewing gum. It has a mild taste that is not lost after hours of chewing, and it can be chewed for hours. The problem is that Mastic takes a few times to learn how to chew, as a small ball of resin needs to be soaked in the mouth first to get to perfect mastication texture. Then you need to roll it around in the mouth once in a while so that it doesn’t stick to your fillings.

Mastic is tasteless in a tasty way, and a small tear (piece) can be chewed for hours without seeming to melt away. Since it does not have a strong taste, it doesn’t get tiring to chew like American chewing gum. I put a small tear in my mouth when writing this part of the article, slowly let it soften in my mouth, and then chewed it a bit and still had it in my mouth three hours later. It was pleasant to chew. I also love Chicle but think I like Mastic more.

The taste is floral with a bitter edge. As you hold it in your mouth, saliva begins to flow, which softens the Mastic, chewing becomes easier, and the floral taste softens and becomes quite pleasant.­


AROMATHERAPY SALONS …  Years ago, I would have meetings in my home with women that I called “Aromatherapy Salons.” We would discuss various aromatic subjects, aromatherapy, essential oils, and drink fragrant tea, have tea cookies and sweetmeats. (A sweetmeat is a delicacy prepared with sugar, honey, or the like, as preserves, candy, or, formerly, cakes or pastries. Usually, they are any sweet delicacy of the confectionery or candy kind, such as candied fruit, sugar-covered nuts, sugarplums, bonbons, or balls or sticks of candy) One of my favorites sweetmeats was to use the Mastic from Greece that came as a smooth sweet white cream; a small spoonful on a cookie with tea was delicious, but it was especially tasty with bitter coffee.

• • •

HYDROSOL: I do not as yet know a source for the hydrosol or its use. However, I postulate that its hydrosol would make a good antibacterial mouthwash.

 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.

 Key Use ~ Resin is a masticatory and is also used to burn to cleanse spaces and EO in skin care.

 HISTORICAL USES ~ The Mastic resin has been used for chewing since the time of Theophrastus, in relieving halitosis and as a filler for caries, and is also used in varnishes for oil pictures.  It is also an ingredient in Ouzo. Ouzo is a high-proof drink whose production begins with distillation in copper stills of 96% alcohol by volume and herbs. Anise is added, sometimes with other flavorings such as Cardamom, Cinnamon, Cloves, Coriander, Fennel, Mastic, and Star Anise.

“In January 1992, National Geographic mentioned that Columbus, sent by Genoese traders to cash in on the money-making crop of Mastic, visited Chios at least once”. — The Aromatherapy Book.

INTERESTING INFORMATION ~ It is believed that the Sardinian warbler [a bird] is only found near fruiting shrubs of this species [Mastic].2 The tear-shaped drops of Mastic gum are associated with Saint Isadoros, whose martyred body was dragged under a Mastic tree where it wept the resinous tears called Mastic.

Ancient Egyptians employed Mastic during their embalming procedures, while Biblical scholars believe that bakha—derived from the Hebrew term for weeping (and, thus, the tear-shaped pieces of Mastic gum)—was none other than the Mastic tree.



—–Researchers at Nottingham University Hospital and Barnet General Hospital have found that Chios Mastic is an effective treatment for ulcers. The findings showed that even in small doses of one gram a day for two weeks, Mastic gum could cure peptic ulcers.

—–In recent years, university researchers have provided scientific evidence for the medicinal properties of Mastic resin. A 1985 study by the University of Thessaloniki and by the Meikai University discovered that Mastic could reduce bacterial plaque in the mouth by 41.5%. A 1998 study by the University of Athens found that Mastic oil has antibacterial and antifungal properties. A recent and extensive study showed that Mastic gum reduced H. pylori populations after an insoluble and sticky polymer (poly-β-myrcene) constituent of Mastic gum was removed and taken for a longer period of time. Further analysis showed the acid fraction was the most active antibacterial extract, and the most active pure compound was isomasticadienolic acid.

CONTRAINDICATIONS ~ Side effects of taking Mastic gum may include nausea, diarrhea, and constipation.

Arctander, Steffen. Perfume and Flavor Materials of Natural Origin. Arctander. 1960
Aromatherapy Studies Course/ Jeanne Rose, San Francisco, California, 1992
Dioscorides. The Greek Herbal of Dioscorides. Translated in 1655 by Goodyer and printed in 1933.
Guenther, Ernest. The Essential Oils. Krieger Publishing. Florida. 1976
1Langenheim, Jean H. Plant Resins • Chemistry, Evolution, Ecology, Ethnobotany.  Timber Press. 2003
2Mabberley, 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:
3Wikipedia – Mastic

Other References are included within the body of the work.

The Jeanne Rose Aromatherapy Studies Course carries these blog posts as well as much more information on the many aspects of essential oils, hydrosols, absolutes, and aromatic ingredients for health and skin care.

My latest analyses of Mastic using the Advanced Vocabulary of OdorSee Natural Perfumery Workbook to use.