Roman Chamomile, Chamaemelum nobile, one of the nine or more blue essential oils from several botanical groups that, when distilled, produce a blue-colored oil. They are all anti-inflammatory and beneficial to skin health. This article discusses only Roman Chamomile.

PHOTO of Roman Chamomile plant and its essential oil
Roman Chamomile – plant & EO

ROMAN CHAMOMILE ~ History, Naming, Uses, Skincare

By Jeanne Rose

NAMING AND BACKGROUND of Roman Chamomile ~ two significant types of Chamomiles are used as herbal home remedies and for their essential oils: Chamaemelum nobile or Anthemis nobilis, also known as Roman or English chamomile, Matricaria chamomilla, also known as German or Hungarian chamomile, they are two of the most widely used medicinal herbs and essential oils worldwide.

_____FAMILY ~ These two close herbal relatives are different plants of the same plant family – Asteraceae [Compositae].

•Both have an aromatic scent and bear small, daisy-like blossoms about one inch in diameter. They have similar but different properties and different chemistry, but many herbalists use them interchangeably in herbal remedies. However, they have some distinct differences, as one is a perennial, while the other is an annual.

’            The one that is often most desired as a fragrant lawn substitute is the perennial double Chamomile, Chamaemelum nobile ‘Flore Pleno’. This is an old selection that has been in use for hundreds of years. It forms a low evergreen mat with ferny leaves and fluffy white flowers in early summer. The flowers can be dried and used for tea or mowed, dried, and used for fragrant potpourri.‘            The one most frequently desired as a fragrant lawn substitute is the perennial double Chamomile, Chamaemelum nobile ‘Flore Pleno.’ This is an old selection that has been in use for hundreds of years. It forms a low evergreen mat with ferny leaves and fluffy white flowers in early summer. The flowers can be dried and used for tea or mowed, dried, and used for fragrant potpourri.

photo of double Roman Chamomile - "flore pleno"
”double Roman Chamomile “flore pleno”

COUNTRIES OF ORIGIN for Roman Chamomile ~ The essential oil is most often obtained from  Italy. At the same time, the herb is grown throughout Europe and in many other areas, including South America and the USA.

ENDANGERED ~ Roman Chamomile is of the least concern. Wikipedia says, “Chamaemelum nobile is listed as least concern, but the plant population in the UK is decreasing significantly by drainage of wet grasslands, decrease in grazing, and the reduction of pasture that was used as arable fields” .15

GENERAL DESCRIPTION OF PLANT HABITAT AND GROWTH ~ Chamaemelum nobile is a perennial, “has daisy-like white flowers and procumbent stems; the leaves are alternate, bipinnate, finely dissected, and downy to glabrous. The solitary, terminal flowerheads, rising 20–30 cm (8–12 in) above the ground, consist of prominent yellow disk flowers and silver-white ray flowers. The flowering time in the Northern Hemisphere is June and July …. Although the plant is often confused with German chamChamomiletricaria chamomilla), its morphology, properties, and chemical composition are markedly different.” 15

PORTION OF PLANT USED IN EXTRACTION AND YIELDS ~ The flowers are steam or hydrodistilled. The color of the essential oil is vital as one of the constituents of the essential oil contains an azulene named chamazulene and a component called bisabolol.  Bisabolol and chamazulene occur only in the morning and evening collections of the plant, and the plant must be distilled at this time.

_____YIELD ~ The yield of essential oil from Roman chamomile is greatly influenced by the method of drying the flowers. In Iran, the oil content of the shade-dried flowers was the most prominent (1.9% w/w) compared to sun-drying (0.4% w/w) and oven-drying at 40 °C (0.9% w/w).16

Elsewhere yield has been reported at 0.8% to 1.0%.

STORAGE ~ Store the essential oil in the freezer.


ORGANOLEPTICS & CHEMISTRY ~ We call these Chamomile oils ‘blue oils’ because they are blue in color. Yes, essential oils have color. These colors include a pale sky blue such as freshly distilled Roman Chamomile, although it seems to quickly lose that color, and many darker blues as well.

The plant has no azulene, as it is produced during the distillation process. The EO molecule called azulene is a dark blue color. It is composed of two terpenoids; vetivazulene, a derivative of Vetivert, and guaiazulene (also called azulon), mainly from guaiac and chamomile oil. This molecule is also found in some pigments of mushrooms, plants like guaiac wood oil, and marine invertebrates such as jellyfish and corals. Azulenes, although usually shades of blue, can also be green, violet, blue/violet, and red/violet.  It is a brilliant rainbow of color due to its chemical structure. 12

Please Note ~ that the blue chamazulene itself does not occur in the plant but is formed from a sesquiterpene lactone called matricine during the steam distillation process.

”Roman chamomile EO is insoluble in glycerin ““Upon exposure to air and light and on prolonged standing, the light blue color of the oil changes first to green, to yellow, and later to yellow-brown.  This oil presents one of the highest ester values of all essential oils, from 272 to 293.5” World of Aromatherapy, p. 203. Esters are used in skincare.


Odor Profile (snapshot) Roman Chamomile
Odor Profile (snapshot) Roman Chamomile



a symbol for a 'smiling' drop of oil indicating its safety to use
No Worries

A symbol from The Aromatherapy Book by Jeanne Rose – EO can be freely used.

’The main property of any ‘’blue oils’ is as an anti-inflammatory, to control inflammation, usually of the skin, and on some occasions, when taken internally, to control inner inflammation. Shirley Price considered Roman Chamomile the best of all essential oils to use. The main property of any ‘blue oils’ is as an anti-inflammatory, to control inflammation, usually of the skin, and on some occasions, when taken internally, to control internal inflammation. Shirley Price considered Roman Chamomile the best of all essential oils to use.


            APPLICATION ~   The blue oils with the component of azulene are anti-inflammatory, analgesic and antibacterial and are predominantly considered unusual plants and oil for skincare.

The Benefits of Azulene in Chamomile Essential Oil. The use of chamChamomileincreasing as the knowledge of azulene (chamazulene) grows. Azulene is significant in Matricaria chamomilla (Matricaria recutita), and this herb has surpassed even its cousin Roman Chamomile as the essential oil for skincare. Both are powerfully anti-inflammatory.

            SOME FORMULAS

•Rosacea is a chronic, inflammatory skin condition that affects the face. Rosacea causes facial redness and produces small, red, pus-filled pustules (bumps). Rosacea worsens with time if left untreated. Add Roman Chamomile in about 5% to any blend used for rosacea.

• Clay-Mask for Delicate, Inflamed Skin …

Make a paste of white clay and water (or flower water).  Add 1 drop of Chamaemelum nobile – Roman chamChamomilepply to clean face and let dry for up to 15 minutes.  Rinse off carefully and spray with hydrosol of Roman Chamomile, Lavender, or any other you might have.

’• Neuritis and neuralgia and a shingles remedy. – Formula of Essential Oils at 8% includes Helichrysum, Rosemary verbenone, Ravensara, and Roman Chamomile. Add 42% of the total in Calophyllum and Calendula infused oil for the balance of the formula at 50%. If possible, make this formula by weight, not volume. Shingles are very painful, a viral condition from old chicken pox stored in your body. I do not believe essential oils can ‘cure’ it, but they can help ease the pain. There is a long article on my website about this. See

• Neuritis and neuralgia and a Shingles remedy. – Formula of Essential Oils at 8% includes Helichrysum, Rosemary verbenone, Ravensara, and Roman Chamomile. Add 42% of the total in Calophyllum and Calendula infused oil for the balance of the formula at 50%. If possible, make this formula by weight, not volume. Shingles are very painful, a viral condition from old chicken pox stored in your body. I do not believe essential oils can ‘cure’ it, but they can help ease the pain. There is a long article on my website about this. See

         A Formula for neuritis. Get a 1-oz bottle, add 30 drops of Roman Chamomile, 20 drops of Rosemary verbenone, and 10 drops of Ravensara. Then fill with carrier oil. I prefer to use a cold-pressed Olive oil that has also been pressed with Lavender flowers [see Sciabica Olive Oil].  Shake vigorously and label and use at will.

INHALATION ~    Any blue oils have many uses in blends and are used via inhalation or in the blends used in inhalers. Roman Chamomile is most easily obtainable and can be used in an inhaler, salt inhaler, or mixed with Eucalyptus radiata and rubbed on the chest for inhalation, and used to relieve breathing.

DIFFUSE/DIFFUSION ~ Use these rare blue oils in moderation. If the herb works, use that first before the essential oil. They can be blended with just about any selection of oil to suit your purposes. I have a favorite at my desk of Eucalyptus smithii + Chamaemelum nobile in a small bottle that I use to inhale periodically when I am working at the computer.

EMOTIONAL/RITUAL/ENERGETIC USES ~ Inhalation of Roman Chamomile may help with nervous tics, asthma, insomnia, headache, depression, and nervousness. It is very useful for hysteria, anger, and child tantrums.

” Many sources list a litany of magical and spiritual traditions for the  Roman Chamomile. These sources list its use in spells for peace, love, tranquility, and purification. Teddy Fearnhamm, an aromatherapy teacher, says,““a cascade of Roman Chamomile and you immediately feel loved.” In ritual, it is used to instill stillness, become spiritually aware, give inner peace, and become emotionally stable. These are all attributes we can use.“ Many sources list a litany of magical and spiritual traditions for the  Roman Chamomile. These sources list its use in spells for peace, love, tranquility, and purification. Teddy Fearnhamm, an aromatherapy teacher, says, “a cascade of Roman Chamomile and you immediately feel loved.” In ritual, it is used to instill stillness, become spiritually aware, give inner peace, and become emotionally stable. These are all attributes we can use.


            Years ago, when my boy was about 8 years old, we were all gathered together around the dining room table, friends and family, having a glass of wine and chatting. I live in the city and up two flights of stairs from the street. The boys, my son, and his friend were on their BMX bikes, riding up and down the length of the 15-foot hall and creating a tremendous cacophony. It was very noisy. I quietly got up, put some Roman Chamomile into a diffuser, aimed the nozzle towards the hall, and diffused this essential oil into the atmosphere. It was only minutes before the noise died off, and quiet reigned in the house. Too quiet, actually. I got up and went into the bedroom, and now the boys were having a great time smoothing Vaseline into their hair and trying to get it to stand up in greasy peaks for that fashionable punk look. My son was laughing and enjoying the mess. Getting that Vaseline out of the hair is another story.

Roman Chamomile essential oil showing its pale yellow color
Roman Chamomile essential oil

BLENDING ~ Chamomile oils can be blended with just about any herb or citrus or wood, or resin. It works well with flowers, bark, and spices. Arctander states that Roman Chamomile is used as a trace additive [and] imparts a warm yet fresh note and a natural depth that is difficult to obtain by other means.

             Roman Chamomile has little chamazulene and thus has gentler anti-inflammatory properties. It also has a higher alcohol content than its cousin, German Chamomile is the better choice for skin conditions and other topical applications. It is used for skin diseases, acne, chilblains (painfully inflamed skin patches from the cold), and all skin irritations; applied as a compress for menstrual problems, neuritis (pins and needles in the limbs), neuralgia (sharp nerve pain), surgical intervention and pain relief, and used in perfumery. I have used it in massage blends for relaxation. Rub a bit on the gums for teething pain.

HERBAL USES OF ROMAN CHAMOMILE flowers ~ Roman chamomile flower tea is anti-allergenic, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antispasmodic, a bitter tonic tea, carminative tea, digestive tea, emmenagogue tea (lightly promotes menstrual flow), nervine, and it is calming and stomachic. Roman chamomile oil is used as a tea for its internal and external properties, as an antispasmodic and anti-inflammatory, and to relieve gastrointestinal issues.

 Flowers and essential oil are used in skincare formulas as an anti-inflammatory. The EO is inhaled for asthma, used orally, and is best for all uses.

Please Note ~ that the blue chamazulene itself does not occur in the plant but is formed from a sesquiterpene lactone called matricine during the steam distillation process.

So, don’t expect to make herbal remedies with plants that produce blue oils and have a blue-colored product. These plants should be freshly picked in the morning and carefully distilled from the flowering tops, and the hydrosol is immediately frozen (to preserve the light blue color). The essential oil is collected and stored in the freezer to preserve it from oxidation.

KEY USE ~ Use Roman Chamomile and any of the other Blue Oils to relieve inflammation and inhale to relieve asthma.

HYDROSOL ~   Any hydrosols obtained while distilling plants will be acidic in nature and skin-loving for you. In particular, Roman Chamomile produces quite effective hydrosols. The EO is only blue if the plants are picked in the morning ‘when the dew is dry but the sun not yet high‘, and if mature flowers rather than leaves are picked. The hydrosol waters are anti-inflammatory and can be added to any lotion or cream. If you add them when the blue is still in the waters, the essential oil has not quite settled. These products need to be refrigerated.

            Roman Chamomile ~ I adore Roman Chamomile hydrosol. I use it in the bath, as a facial toner, and to spray my sheets for sleeping. Ann Harman found that in testing Roman Chamomile hydrosol, there was 0.0042% of EO in it. The hydrosol comprised 61 components, mainly sorbic acid, trans-pinocarveol, and lesser amounts of ketones, acids, and other components.

single Roman Chamomile flowers & EO
single Roman Chamomile flowers & EO

INTERESTING/SCIENCE/HISTORICAL USES ~ Historically, the Noble Chamomile called the Roman Chamomile, is often a double flower. It was grown interspersed with lawn plants as a ground cover that provided fragrance when being walked upon. Wet laundry, especially sheets, was laid down to dry on this fragrant cover plant, and while drying, they would pick up the sweet apple scent of the plants. In the past, when I could grow large amounts of this plant, I could place my clean, washed cashmere sweaters out to dry, and they would come back to me with the calming scent of chamomile.


This work is sponsored and supported by Prima Fleur Botanicals



            The blue color is the sesquiterpene AZULENE. All essential oils containing azulene are anti-inflammatory as a property both by inhalation and by application and occur in EO only, not in the plant (matricine).

            **Oxidation changes the chemical composition of the essential oil.  If any of these oils are greenish-black or brown when they should be light blue to deep blue, it indicates oxidation, age, and the existence of free radicals, and they should not be used for therapy.  Furthermore, if the clear-to-yellow oils appear deep yellow to deep brown, they, too, have oxidized and are too old to use therapeutically. 

A chart of most of the blue oils and correct scientific names, common names, symbol  of use, color, scent, chemical component and how used.
© This table is copyrighted 2005  and may not be used without the express permission of  Jeanne Rose Aromatherapy •



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

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

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

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

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

6. Rose, Jeanne. The Aromatherapy Book: Applications & Inhalations.  (Berkeley, CA: North Atlantic Books, 3rd edition, 1994.) Available from

7. Rose, Jeanne. 375 Essential Oils and Hydrosols. (San Francisco, CA: Jeanne Rose Aromatherapy, 3rd edition, 1994.) Available from

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

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

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

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


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


15. Wikipedia. Chamaemelum nobile

16. R. Omidbaigi, F. Sefidkon, F. Kazemi. Influence of drying methods on the essential oil content and composition of Roman chamomile. Flavor and Fragrance Journal. 29 March 2004.


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

Harman, Ann. Harvest to Hydrosol

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

Rose, Jeanne. 375 Essential Oils and Hydrosols.

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

Rose, Jeanne. Hydrosols & Aromatic Waters.

Worwood, Susan & Valerie Ann. Aromatherapy.

Safety Precautions.

Moderation in All Things.

Be moderate in using essential oils, as they are not sustainable for the environment.

Be selective and more moderate in your usage.

Use the herb first as tea or the infusion. —JeanneRose 2014

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photo  of Oregano oil and plant
Oregano oil and plant

Synopsis ~ We are discussing the high carvacrol culinary Oregano called ‘Greek or  Italian Oregano’. Many different members of this grouping are called Oregano. To get what you want, know the difference, the correct name, and the uses of each.

OREGANO/MARJORAM – the names of confusion

By Jeanne Rose ~ 10-2022


COMMON NAME/LATIN BINOMIAL ~ OREGANO IS ORIGANUM VULGARE, and it has many varieties and chemotypes. The word Oregano is also used for like-named cousins and even other genera, such as some types of  Marjoram and Thyme.


Many of the Oregano and Marjoram types were in a kit I once made to help people to learn the difference between the Oregano, Thyme, and Marjoram types. Here are some of the most well-known.

_____1. OREGANO OR WILD MARJORAM, Origanum vulgare. This one is simple, not as flavorful or pungent as the Greek Oregano variety called hirtum.

_____2. OREGANO OR GREEK OREGANO, ORIGANUM VULGARE subsp. HIRTUM  and usually CT (chemotype carvacrol), aka O. vulgare heracleoticum. Formerly listed botanically as Origanum heracleoticum, it has a strong herbaceous scent, and the taste burns the mucous membrane from the strongly tasting and scented phenol, carvacrol. The main component is up to 75% carvacrol from the leaves, stems, and flowers. This signature chemical is responsible for the sharp, pungent flavor of the culinary Oregano. [Organoleptically, this particular Oregano is light gold to red in color, clear, non-viscous, with a scent intensity of 6-8, and has an irritating taste].

This variety acts as a disinfectant, preservative, and anti-bacterial; infusions made from Greek Oregano have a wide range of purposes, from a simple cleansing mouthwash to reducing bloat, stomach cramps, and coughs.

            Greek Oregano is a very spicy herb. [Its parent, Origanum vulgare, has little flavor and no taste in culinary preparations and is often commercially grown and offered incorrectly as Greek Oregano. This plant is often also known as Wild Marjoram and is a highly invasive plant with a pink flower.]   Origanum vulgare hirtum is the true Greek Oregano with a very intense bite that can numb the end of your tongue when fresh. Like all culinary Oreganos, the flower of Greek Oregano is white.

_____3. OREGANO, ORIGANUM VULGARE VAR.COMPACTUMis a small compact mound of leaves with an appreciated flavor, white to pinkish flower, and is steam-distilled for its essential oil [pale yellow to gold, clear, non-viscous, 5-8 intensity, depending upon the amount of carvacrol].            

photo of Greek Oregano flowers
Greek Oregano flowers

MARJORAM is in several genera, including Origanum and Thymus

  ____ 4. Marjoram, Origanum majorana [the oil has very little color, clear, non-viscous, 6, herbaceous]

_____ 5. Sweet Marjoram, Origanum majorana [the oil has very little color, clear, non-viscous, 5, herbaceous, even fruity]  …  See

_____ 6. Sweet Marjoram CO2, Origanum majorana, is reddish, with a stronger, more definitive odor.

_____ 7.  Pot Marjoram or Cretan Oregano, Origanum onites. I love this plant for its scent.

_____ 8. Spanish Marjoram, Thymus mastichina. See the entry above. This is also called ‘sweet Marjoram’. This oil is herbaceous (no camphor note) with a sweetness of fruit and some citrus [very little color, clear, non-viscous, the intensity of 4. Components are 50% cineole, camphor  & camphene.   

_____ 9. Spanish Oregano. Thymus capitatus. This oil is vegetative, fungal, herbaceous, and spicey. Also sometimes called Turkish Oregano, which adds to the confusion of these like-named plants and oils. The components are thymol, alpha-amyrin, carvacrol + beta-Caryophyllene. Thymus essential oil inhibits the growth of both Botrytis cinerea and Penicillium italicum. SEM observations also indicated that the mycelia of both fungi were severely injured by applying T. capitatus essential oil. It kills mosquitoes. [SEM = Scanning Electron Microscopy]


THYME called Thymus.

_____ 10. Spanish Oregano and also called Spanish Thyme, Thymus nummularius is called pizza Thyme.

_____ 11. Sweet Thyme, French White Thyme, Thymus vulgaris, also Thyme English Red Thyme has a fruity, green, herbaceous, spicy scent; the oil is very light gold, clear, non-viscous, 4 in intensity.

_____ 12.Thyme Spanish Red Thyme, Thymus vulgaris, has a spicy, herbaceous, green, hot dark red, clear, non-viscous, and strong intensity.                    

_____ 13. Thyme CT Borneol, Thymus satureioides. The scent is green, herbaceous, and woody, and the oil is red, clear, and non-viscous, 6, with a vegetative taste.                    

_____ 14. Thyme CT linalool, Thymus vulgaris CT linalool. The scent is herbaceous (no camphor note) and with floral and fruity notes. The essential oil is steam-distilled from the clover-dried herb, and the herb originates in either Hungary or France. It is produced with minimal pesticides or organically grown. The scent is of the oil strongly sweet-herbaceous, and fresh. Thyme linalool is regulating and a tonic, so useful for mood swings, mental inconsistency, and energy fluctuations and is used like Tea Tree. This oil is versatile, and when used in dilution, it helps to cleanse and disinfect the skin for those prone to frequent or recurring infections.

_____ 15. Thyme CT p-cymene from  [Bosnia & Herzegovina] Thymus vulgaris CT paracymene  

_____ 16. Thyme CT thymol, Thymus vulgaris CT thymol                            

_____ 17. Spain White Serpolet, Wild Thyme, Thymus serpyllum


_____ 18. Mexican oregano (Lippia graveolens) was one of the herbs listed in the Aztec herbal of 1552, written in the Aztec language Nahuatl. The Nahuatl name for the herb was ahuiyac-xihuitl, which means “fragrant, savory herb.” In one formula, it was included with other herbs and fluid of choice in a hot foot bath to be used “against lassitude.”

a page From the Badianus Manuscript showing Mexican Oregano and a formula for lassitude.
from the Badianus Manuscript – 1552

Traditionally Mexican oregano was used for digestive issues such as colic, indigestion, and flatulence, for motion sickness, for menstrual cramps, to induce menstruation, for earaches and toothaches, and for upper respiratory infections and coughs. It’s also used as a common culinary spice. A common Latin American spice blend, adobo, usually includes oregano. – Bevin Clare

FAMILY ~ Lamiaceae, also called the Mint family, has fragrant and flavorful leaves and flowering tops.

COUNTRIES OF ORIGINS ~ Oregano, called Turkish, Greek, or Italian Oregano, is native to the hills of the Mediterranean countries and western Asia and has naturalized in many parts of Mexico and the United States.


HARVEST LOCATION ~ Prima Fleur carries Origanum compactum, organically grown in France.

ENDANGERED OR NOT ~ “Wild Oregano is a perennial plant of the Lamiaceae family and is native to the Mediterranean Basin; it grows naturally only in southern Spain and northern Morocco, where it can be found on rocky hillsides.  Due to overharvesting, the species is severely endangered in its native regions” and habitat. ‑‑ Biolandes, an essential oil and perfumery company.

            Origanum compactum L. (Lamiaceae) is one of the most important medicinal species in terms of ethnobotany in Morocco. It is considered a very threatened species as it is heavily exploited. Its domestication remains the most efficient way to safeguard it for future generations.7


GENERAL DESCRIPTION OF PLANT HABITAT AND GROWTH ~ The true culinary Oregano, aka Greek or Italian Oregano, Origanum vulgaris hirtum is a woody perennial flowering herb, with white flowers, vigorous and very hardy, with hairy foliage. Other types of Oregano with less intense flavor have pink flowers and are not so hairy.

close-up photo of hairy leaves of Greek Oregano, variety hirtum.
hairy leaves of Greek Oregano, variety hirtum.

Greek Oregano is a very spicy herb. The parent, Origanum vulgare, has little flavor and is a culinary zero but is often grown commercially and incorrectly offered as Greek Oregano. This plant is also often known as Wild Marjoram and is an extremely invasive plant with a pink flower.   Origanum vulgaris hirtum is the true Greek Oregano with a flavor so intense it numbs the end of your tongue when fresh. Like all culinary Oreganos, the flower of Greek Oregano is white and with an “excellent reputation for flavor and pungency, as well as medicinal uses, strong, archetypal oregano flavor (Greek kaliteri: the best).”1

a photo of Origanum vulgare var compactum flowers
Origanum vulgare var compactum flowers

The Oregano used in aromatherapy, body care, and in diffusers is usually Origanum vulgare var compactum. It is grown in France and Morocco, where it is called Zaatar, and it is used as an aromatic medicinal plant. This is a compact, bushy perennial that forms a low mound (10 inches wide by six inches high) of soft leaves and attractive sprays of white to pinkish-white flowers. It grows well in full sun in average, dry to medium, well-drained soils. These tasty leaves love heat and are drought-tolerant. It does not do well in areas of high humidity. Cut back in the spring to encourage new growth. Apparently, the leaves are toxic to dogs, cats, and horses.

[Oregano is not safe for cats, (dogs, or horses), according to the ASPCA. This herb, unlike basil, sage, and thyme, should not be administered to cats orally or topically. It doesn’t matter if the plant is fresh or dried; it’s toxic. Phenols and terpenoids are poisonous essential oils for cats found in oregano.3]


~  There is a solvent-extracted absolute and a CO2 produced scent from the leaves. The leaves are usually either steam-distilled or solvent extracted.  The steam-distillate is the usual product.

            YIELD of Steam Distillate ~ is 1.2%

Essential oils showing color of oil with Oregano compactum with dark yellow oil.
Essential oils showing the color of oil


Sensory qualities of 3 essential oil of genus Origanum
Sensory qualities of 3 essential oil of genus Origanum


For this purpose, a wide evaluation of the existing variability all over the Moroccan territory was tested. The essential oils of 527 individual plants belonging to 88 populations collected from the whole distribution area of the species in Morocco were analyzed by GC/MS. The dominant constituents were carvacrol (0 – 96.3%), thymol (0 – 80.7%), p-cymene (0.2 – 58.6%), γ-terpinene (0 – 35.2%), carvacryl methyl ether (0 – 36.2%), and α-terpineol (0 – 25.8%).4

            As you can see, there is a significant chemistry variation in this native environment.





            Environmental factors, the terroir, plays a huge role in the chemistry of Oregano. Within varieties on various islands, chemistry can change significantly. Temperature, humidity, soil type, day length, climate, altitude, amount of available water, etc. The chemical composition also depends on the season and vegetative period of the plant.These all make up the terroir.

a complex chart showing many types of Oregano, Thyme, and Marjoram, chemistry, what their sensory characteristics are, and uses.

All rights reserved 2007. No part of this article may be used without the prior permission of Jeanne Rose©

Let us start out with the fact all plants called Oregano are in the Origanum genus and that most plants called Marjoram are either in the Thymus or Origanum genus.  In the past, Marjoram used to have its own genus. Now Oregano is the genus, and Marjoram or Sweet marjoram (Origanum majorana) is only one variety or species of over fifty types of the genus Oregano. Pot marjoram (Origanum onites) is another species, but even this causes confusion, sometimes being called Cretan Oregano because of its place of origin. In Spain, there is Thymus nummularius, and in Mexico, there are Lippia graveolens (see photo above of page from Badianus manuscript); both are sold as Oregano and used in place of Oregano. One last example of how it all is jumbled: Origanum vulgare, or what is taken for common Oregano, is also known as wild Marjoram or Thyme.

Yes, it is confusing, and in this group of plants, it is very helpful to also know the place of origin and the chemotype as well as the scientific name.

            Both Marjoram and Oregano are steam inhalants to clear the sinuses and relieve laryngitis. “The combination of carvacrol and cymene in this oil results in an increased antibacterial effect on the growth and a synergistic effect on the viability of Listeria. There is monocytogenes in low concentrations. It can be used to preserve foods or cosmetics. … “Know the Latin binomial – to be assured”2

For more information on the uses of the Marjoram/Oregano/Thyme essential oil and Hydrosols,

see 375 Essential Oils & Hydrosols by Jeanne Rose.


Oregano has been used for a long time by the Moroccan population for medicinal properties and food preparation purposes. This application is not wide because of its bitterness, despite the pleasant odor. The taste is very intense, quite unpleasant, and intensely bitter, so its culinary application is limited to the region of origin, such as Morocco, where It is mainly used as a culinary condiment and primarily employed in popular medicine for the treatment of ailments such as dysentery, colitis, bronco-pulmonary issues, gastric acidity, and gastrointestinal diseases. O. compactum is also used as a preservative for the melted butter item called (smen).6  Smen is salted aged and fermented butter that is made in Morocco.

APPLICATION/ SKINCARE ~ I only use the high carvacrol-containing Oregano oil for the skin in a preservative formula for lotions and creams. Here, it is in a low enough percentage that it will not cause irritation.

For the full article, please refer to

Preserve Formula

The following formula should be used at 1.5%, that is, 1.5 ml to a 4 oz. jar:  
Too much Cinnamon? – Reduce the amount
     2 ml  Oregano CT carvacrol
     2 ml  Palmarosa with geraniol
     1.5 ml  Cinnamon leaf
     2 ml Thyme [50%  paracymene and 50% Thymus vulgaris with thymol] 
A formula to preserve cosmetics

DIFFUSE/DIFFUSION for Oregano ~ I strongly suggest that you do not diffuse this high carvacrol oil into your home. Save it for its strong medicinal properties.


EMOTIONAL/ENERGETIC USE ~ Saturday, October 1, was a special day for me. The previous Tuesday, I had been introduced to a new bottle of sparkling wine/champagne that was delicious and new to my tastebuds, and it came from a winery in my state called Lichen Estate. This champagne (it’s California, so it is really sparkling wine) stunned me with its deliciousness. I tried it first at Waterbar in San Francisco.  I came home and got on the phone and called Lichen Estate, and had an informative discussion with Doug, the owner. This call initiated a long conversation about this and that and an order from me to obtain some of their delicious wine. It arrived in record time, and I invited a journalist from the S.F. Chronicle, Tony Bravo, to share a bottle with me. I chilled the 2013 Cuvée. When he arrived on Saturday, we had to mask up as I had just inhaled and dropped some of the Oregano oil with high carvacrol all over me and the house. This essential oil filled my house with its odor and my nose with pungency, and the intensity of the carvacrol made me slightly delirious.  I started to speak very loudly and laughed rather insanely.  The champagne? Well, I had chilled the Cuvée, and we decided to taste it in different types of Riedel glassware and plain wine glasses and pulled out six to taste from.  We also closed ourselves into the kitchen, which speaks well for not having an open floor plan, as the Oregano scent was exuberantly manifesting itself in the rest of the house.  The champagne had a pleasing and attractive odor and a fine and delicious taste. But both together? It was like drinking champagne in a pizza oven.

            Emotionally –  the wine was delicious, and when we finished the bottle, the scent in the house was calmer and more of the culinary plant odor rather than the intensity of the essential oil. I felt happy, and the scent was very homely, as if I was back in the home of my Italian godmother and eating some of her delicious homemade pasta.


HYDROSOL & another Oregano Tomato Tale ~ I have had the opportunity to distill Oregano, and not knowing the extreme variability of this plant at the time, I was amazed at the dark red hydrosol that was obtained.  This was in Grand Rapids, MI, in 2009 with my Distillation class at the home of Linda Beyer. This hydrosol was intensely pungent, tasting and smelling.  I took an 8 oz. bottle home with me and used it over the next few years as a cold and flu preventative and a therapeutic treatment. Of course, it has to be diluted with water or juice, about 1 teaspoon of hydrosol per glass of liquid or juice; this dilution is best to soften the pungency of the Oregano hydrosol.  This would be taken 4-6 daily at 4-hour intervals while awake.  It certainly worked very well, indeed.

two hydrosols of Oregano

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

CULINARY USE of Oregano ~ Oregano is used in cooking to flavor soups and sauces, pizza, meatballs, and many other foods. Cultivars traded as Italian, Sicilian, etc., are often a hardy sweet marjoram hybrid (O. majorana or O. majoricum), and the southern strongly Adriatic, O. v. subsp. hirtum and sweet marjoram (O. majorana). They have a reputation for sweet and spicy tones with slight bitterness and are prized for their flavor and compatibility with various recipes and sauces.5


HISTORICAL USES ~ Use of Greek oregano dates back to ancient Greece, where it was said that it was created by the love goddess Aphrodite, who grew it in her garden atop Mount Olympus as a symbol of joy. It was commonly planted around homes to ward off evil spirits.

            Despite the heavy association of Oregano with Italy, Oregano likely originated in Greece. Ancient Greeks used to let their cattle graze on fields of Oregano in the belief that it produced tastier meat. Even the name Oregano comes from the Greek, meaning “joy of the mountain.”

KEY USE ~ The oil of Disinfection.



  2. Aromatherapy Course – Home & Family
  3. Wikipedia
  4. Origanum compactum Benth: A Review on Phytochemistry and Pharmacological Properties • Abdelhakim Bouyahya1,etc.• Biochemistry-Immunology Laboratory, Department of Biology, Faculty of Sciences, Mohammed V University, Rabat, Morocco
  5. Wikipedia,
  6. 5. Med. Aromat. Plants, Vol 5, Issue 4, 1000252
  7.  Chemical Polymorphism of Origanum compactum Grown in All Natural Habitats in Morocco, Kaoutar Aboukhalid, etc.•


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

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

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

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

This work is sponsored and supported by Prima Fleur Botanicals.



Precautions to remember for all plants and their parts.
Cowboy boot growing Oregano
Cowboy boot Organo


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

With odor snapshots and the uses of the oil.

framed picture of Ylang flowers

YLANG-YLANG ~ Powerful Perfumery Flower

By Jeanne Rose ~ 09-20-22


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

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

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

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

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

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

Family ~ Annonaceae

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

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

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

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

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

1) all parts of the still must be immaculate.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

This was a great experiment.


Ylang Limerick

Ylang is so soothing and nice –

it makes up in scent with its price –

Add to perfume –

romance will loom –

And you may end up married with rice. —JeanneRose2017


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


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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

Do not use on children or the elderly.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

KEY USE ~ The Oil of Perfumery

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

This work is sponsored and supported by Prima Fleur Botanicals.


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


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


Ylang Dog use

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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



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


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

4 Rose, Jeanne. 375 Essential Oils & Hydrosols

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

Harman, Ann. Harvest to Hydrosol

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

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

Rose, Jeanne. 375 Essential Oils & Hydrosols.

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

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


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

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

SOME CAUTIONS TO REMEMBER for all Plants and their Parts

Precautions in a box

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

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