NEROLI. ~ A description of Bitter Orange/Neroli flower, characteristics, Jeanne Rose skincare,  formulas, and recipes on how to use this famous, important oil. Who is Neroli? “By the end of the 17th century, Anne Marie Orsini, the princess of Nerola, Italy, introduced the essence of bitter Orange tree flowers as a fashionable fragrance by using it to perfume her gloves and her bath. Since then, the term “neroli” has been used to describe this essence.”

NEROLI. Essential Oil/Hydrosol Profile

By Jeanne Rose ~ November 2023

Bitter Orange tree with leaves and flowers, flowers superimposed and 2 bottles of Neroli shown. Always know the color of the essential oil and the look of the plant.

Pretty Neroli oil

NEROLI. NAME & Scientific Name ~ CITRUS X  AURANTIUM L,  also called C. amara, C. aurantium ssp. Amara, C. iyo. It Is a cross between Citron and of C. reticulata (Mandarin) + C. maxima (Pomelo) as the female parent.  The ‘x’ in the middle of any Latin binomial simply means that the plant is a cross and in this case several types of Citrus were crossed to eventually become “Bitter Orange”.   There are many backcrosses in this group of Bitter Orange/Neroli.

            To see a chart of the five pure origin Citrus genus,
please see the post.

NEROLI NAMING HISTORY ~ Who is Neroli? “By the end of the 17th century, Anne Marie Orsini, the princess of Nerola, Italy, introduced the essence of bitter Orange tree as a fashionable fragrance by using it to perfume her gloves and her bath. Since then, the term “neroli” has been used to describe this essence.”

FAMILY ~ Rutaceae, the Citrus family

Neroli Limerick
There is a citrus flower Neroli
It is grown in the Garden Filoli
It rings all my bells
With such heavenly smells
And sure, makes me feel all holy! … JeanneRose2012

NEROLI. HISTORY & COUNTRIES OF ORIGIN ~  Native to Europe and Siberia naturalized worldwide.

         It seems that the bitter or sour orange is a native of China in the southeastern part of Asia. From there it spread out to India and Iran. The Romans did not know it and it was introduced to the Mediterranean area  around 1000 A.D. by the Arabs, and this bitter Orange was the only one known for about 500 years. Did those expert distillers and alchemists, the Moors, distill bitter Orange to get the water or the essential oil?  We don’t know. The lovely Neroli oil was first mentioned by J.B. della Porta in 1563 for the Princess of Neroli.

bitter Orange flowers

NEROLI. BITTER ORANGE. GENERAL DESCRIPTION OF PLANT, HABITAT & GROWTH ~ The bitter Orange tree that produces Neroli essential oil is very close in appearance to the sweet Orange. However, they may look similar but the fruit they produce is different. Bitter Orange produces a bitter flesh and pungent sweet essential oil from the flower (called Neroli) while sweet Orange has a sweet flesh and markedly different essential oil from the rind (called sweet Orange oil). This Orange is used as a rootstock in groves of sweet orange and if the sweet Orange can go wild, the bitter Orange rootstock will often take over and the subsequent fruit will be sour and the flowers sweet like Neroli. The tree has a long-life span,  up to 100 years. They are propagated by seed and/or grafting onto a disease-resistant rootstock; the young trees are planted out in April-May; they must be well taken care of throughout their life; early evening, or nighttime irrigation is most important in the early years to set good roots.

The flowers are harvested from late April to June when the buds just begin to open and in their early years were done according to herbal principals, “harvest in the morning when the dew is dry but before the sun is high”. Now harvesting often goes on until noon particularly on warm sunny days. If the flowers are picked when closed, the odor of the oil is ‘green’, but these yield a strong Neroli water.

JeanneRose harvesting flowers and teaching at the Olsen Organic Farm, 2003

2003, Harvesting, Neroli flowers near Fresno at Olsen Organic Farm for distilling.

PORTION OF PLANT USED IN DISTILLATION, HOW DISTILLED, EXTRACTION METHODS & YIELD ~ Bud blossoms of the true Bitter  (sour) Orange tree, Citrus x aurantium Linnaeus, (subsp. Amara) L., on being distilled yield Neroli bigarade oil. If, on the other hand, the leaves, and petioles (leaf stalk) are distilled, oil and hydrosol of Petitgrain Bigarade is obtained.  Flowers of Bitter orange must not be mixed with the flowers of sweet Orange as the  properties , specific gravity and chemistry are different.

            THE flowers are harvested from March to May or April to June depending on the area and hydro-distilled for the Neroli oil and hydrosol. > The flowers are hydro-distilled not steam-distilled and must float freely in the distillation waters (just like Roses and Ylang-Ylang).<  Annually 2-3 tons is produced, mainly in North Africa such as Morocco and Tunisia. In North Africa, the bulk of the flower harvest is hydro-distilled, and the balance extracted with volatile solvents which yields concrete and absolute of orange flowers as well as a floral wax.

YIELD ~ The small, white, waxy flowers from the citrus tree are hydro-steam distilled.  850 kg of carefully picked Orange flowers yields 1 kg of Neroli oil after distillation.  Or 1 kg of Orange blossoms yields about 1 g. of Neroli oil, and this oil is affected by the atmospheric conditions when it is distilled. Yield:  0.8-1.0%.

Flower stamp.

The Neroli flowers

ESSENTIAL FLOWER WAX OR FLORAL WAX is the vegetable wax from the flowers, the solid material that is left after the plant scent is alcohol-extracted and chilled. This separates the wax (the solid material) from the essential oil. This process and new perfume substance can only be done in the laboratory or in the perfume industry.

            The production of essential wax is a result of solvent extraction that is used on delicate flowers whose scent would be destroyed by steam distillation.  Only the flowers that are undamaged and are freshly picked and selectively chosen are collected and taken to the extraction plant.  The flowers are mixed with the solvent, which results in the floral concrète.  The concrète is then thoroughly mixed with and dissolved in high proof alcohol.  Then this is chilled.  The fragrant tincture and wax separates via the cold and the tincture is filtered off. The alcohol tincture is treated via vacuum distillation or simple evaporation that removes the alcohol leaving the absolute (scent) behind. The wax is collected separately.


2 bottles of PrimaFleur Neroli oil

Neroli Oil, organoleptic (sensory) characteristics in a chart form by JeanneRose

            NEROLI ODOR DESCRIPTION ~ Neroli has a refreshing and distinctive, light to strong floral aroma with powdery and aldehydic notes, very fresh with a warm base note that resembles freshly dried hay. Because of the high price of Neroli it is ever more frequently diluted or adulterated with aromatic isolates, and synthetic odors or with Petitgrain.  It can somewhat resemble Petitgrain in its odor as often Petitgrain is used to adulterate Neroli oil.  (see Odor Snapshots at the end of the article).

            [Scent-producing floral organs (osmophores) have epidermis cells with pronounced conical shapes. The conical shape of the epidermal cells obviously increases the scent-emitting surface of the cells when compared with flat epidermal cells typical for vegetative organs. One frequently stated interpretation is that the structures facilitate emission of scent molecules by increasing the surface area of the epidermal cells.]

 This work is sponsored and supported by Prima Fleur Botanicals.

CHEMICAL COMPONENTS ~ Neroli contains l-linalyl acetate and l-linalool as well as nerolidol and indole. Ocimenes, limonene, linaloöl and linalyl acetate are higher in Neroli than Petitgrain. Indole which possesses a powerful exotic floral note at high dilution and a somewhat fresh breast-fed baby poop odor when not diluted separates and differentiates Neroli from Petitgrain.  This indole odor is sometimes very prevalent in the Neroli hydrosol. Methoxypyrazine contributes to a green character, which also is the interesting green note in Galbanum and Green Peppers. 

            [In the citrus peels, Limonene, a compound of the terpene family, is present in the essential oil of citrus peel. The limonene structure has a chiral center, and thus it is found in nature as a mirror-image, two enantiomers the (R)- and (S)-limonene. (R) is clockwise or right hand Isomer and has the characteristic sweet smell of oranges, while the (S) is counterclockwise or sinistral- left hand isomer and smells like the sour of lemons or bitter Orange. ]

         SOLUBILITY ~ The essential oil is soluble in 1-2 volumes of 80% alcohol and gets hazy to turbid if you add more.



            The properties of Neroli include a quieting calming sedative effect upon inhalation, adding the hydrosol in coffee is calming when that feeling of excess caffeine takes over after a cup or two, and the EO is used externally in skincare products to soften or as a skin-healing scar-reducing or tonic addition.


Application:    On hemorrhoids, in skin care, in perfumery. It is especially useful in skin-care products for acne, anti-aging with Galbanum and Elemi, and applied for under-eye circles.

Ingestion:   Take a scant drop in your tea for Insomnia, or for diarrhea. Put a scant drop in a bottle of champagne as an aphrodisiac.  Neroli water is used for nervous dyspepsia, abdominal spasm, and colic.  Neroli water when mixed with Orange honey and warm water is good for cranky children when drunk.

Inhalation: The oil is inhaled for fatigue, birthing, palpitations, and cardiac spasms.                                 


Application:    Apply in a balm on the wrists or back of neck for nervous depression.

Inhalation:      Inhale the scent for depression, or as a mild sedative that is both joyous and uplifting. It is stabilizing and grounding, soothing, calming and sedating and can alleviate insomnia, PMS, and soothe fever.


Inhalation:    It is used for shock, grief, and depression. It is used in blends to increase concentration, to ease the pain of emotional abuse, to ease shocking  news, with Frankincense at the death of a loved one, for manic depression of fear of personal change and feelings, for loneliness and grief. The essential oil is truly a friend of the fearful and depressed.

DIFFUSE/DIFFUSION ~ The essential oil or the Neroli hydrosol may be diffused in a child’s room for reducing a temper tantrum,  relaxing and assisting in sleep, or a ½ teaspoon of the Neroli hydrosol in water can be given for insomnia.



PrimaFleur organic Neroli Wax

NEROLI FLORAL WAX USES ~ Neroli floral wax can be added to any skincare product such as balms, lotions, creams, sunscreen products.  It will turn a lotion into a cream or a cream into a balm.  The addition of Neroli floral wax adds antioxidant properties,  aids in blocking harmful UV rays, is calming and soothing to  the skin, helps eliminate dead skin cells, helps improve dull hair when used in haircare products, helps reduce the look of fine lines and wrinkles. It contains carotenoids and is rich in Vitamin E. Neroli floral wax softens skin, and tones and soothes sensitive skin and can be used in all your anti-aging formulas. There are 1250 flowers in 1 gram of the floral wax.

NEROLI HYDROSOL (Orange Flower WATER) & BITTER ORANGE PEEL Uses ) ~ Neroli hydrosol/water is one of the most important herbal products used in the Middle Eastern world. True Neroli hydrosol is used in Spain and Tunisia in foods as a flavoring agent particularly in baked goods, confectionary and in drinks and it is  the hydrosol that is taken for insomnia. The bitter Orange peel is also used as a sweetmeat in Greece and Turkey and is a delicious addition to a variety to desserts such as ice-cream.

JeanneRose in the distilling area at Olsen Organic Farm 2003

JeanneRose distilling orange flowers at Olsen Organic Farm – 2003


NEROLI HYDROSOL ~   In March 2003, I had the opportunity to distill 5 pounds of organic Orange flowers for sweet Neroli Hydrosol obtained from a sweet navel Orange, variety Atwood in Lindsay, CA. from the Olsen Organic Farm. As follows.

            The trees were grown in the foothills edging the great central valley of California near the town of Lindsay. The trees are grown organically, at 500 feet with a west exposure in full sun and the area is certified organic. The area is irrigated via the San Joaquin River. The soil is USDA Porterville cobbly clay. There is about 12 inches of rainfall per year. The harvest was on Wednesday 3/25/03 from about 15 trees. Harvest weather was overcast to full sun, about 75°F  with 30% humidity.  It took 6 hours for two persons to fill 13 five-gallon buckets with twigs and flowers. This was transported to San Francisco and arrived on Thursday. Each tree produced about 1 bucket (3.3 lbs./bucket) of easily available twigs with flowers.  This effectively gently pruned the tree of excess flowers and will leave it able to produce more and tastier Oranges.

            At the farm on the following Saturday, we started with 43 pounds of twiglets that had blossoms and buds attached. It took 3-man hours (1 hour each for 3 persons) to pick off the flowers and to accumulate the 5 pounds of just-opened flowers with the balance of the twigs and flowers saved for the larger still.  The fragrance was sweet, intense, floral, and fruity with some green back notes. We assembled the 25-liter copper alembic still and loaded it at 2 pm with 5 lbs. of morning picked flowers and 3 gallons of spring water. The flowers were kept above the bottom of the pot with a (copper) grid and freely floating in the boiling water. Distillation ran very well, and the distillate began to run at about 2:15 p.m. We continued the distillation until 5:45 pm at which time 1.5 gallons of Orange flower hydrosol had been accumulated. The pH changed from 6.1 at 2:25 pm to 5.3 at 2:45 pm and continued at 5.3 until the end. The heads (scent) had an odor of fruit, green and floral, the body (scent) was floral, fruity, and citrus. Distillation was discontinued when the odor began to get green with no floral or citrus notes.

            A 4-inch copper tube was added to the gooseneck. Two hours of distillation produced 1.2 gallons of hydrosol. pH began at 5, the scent being green and citrus and as the distillation continued, pH became more acid to 4.4, the scent becoming more rich, citrus, and spicy. 3 ml of essential oil was produced from the 38 pounds of twigs and flowers. [The balance of the leaves and flowers (38 pounds) that had been picked was sent to the larger stainless-steel unit, 1-hour north  and produced hydrosol about 1 quart per pound.]

            Neroli Hydrosol Use – 2003. This was a wonderful hydrosol, very fragrant and sweet.  It was used in skin care products and simply as a mister.  Several misting products were produced using the hydrosol. Mixed 50/50 with Spearmint hydrosol produced a very refreshing and fragrant fruity, citrus mint hydrosol. Fabulous…oh how I wish I had some now.


            There are many Neroli hydrosol/Orange flower water  products on the market. Many are available in your nearby liquor/bottle store as an addition to beverages. Others are available through your herbal/aromatic stores.

4 types of Neroli flower water

Hydrosol from Morocco and a trio of Neroli/Orange flower water. Photo of Neroli Hydrosol courtesy of Nature’s Gift  (

            In the book, Harvest to Hydrosol, is a GC-MS of a Neroli from Canada, 2013, that shows sorbic acid -a preservative, and a large amount of a-terpineol and an even larger amount of linalool. What I found most interesting however, was the tiny amount of the unpleasant greasy smelling aldehyde nonanal and may be what makes Neroli excellent for perfumery but not in a deodorant.

KEY USE ~ Neroli is inhaled for depression and fatigue and used extensively in fine perfumery and the hydrosol taken for insomnia.


A snakelike progression of essential oils for perfumery showing the many colors of the oils.


Read the Perfumery blog to understand some of the nuances of Perfumery.

Read this ….

Scent Rising Up

BLENDING ~Neroli blends well with just about any oil and especially with other citrus such as Grapefruit and Bergamot; and deeply floral odors such as Champaca, Osmanthus; with woody odors such as all the different Sandalwoods or Tonka bean; seed odors such as Coriander; spicy odors like Cardamom, Nutmeg and Styrax; the resin odors of Frankincense, Galbanum, Balsam of Peru/Tolu.


The famous eau de cologne was made by Italian perfumer J.M. Farina of Cologne, Germany, who created a blend of essential oils inspired by the princess of Nerola. The blend included Bergamot, Lemon, Bitter Bigarade, Neroli and Rosemary. Cologne water of the most superior and incomparable quality is made by first dissolving the essential oils in the alcohols and then distilling it, then adding the Rosemary and Neroli (water) to the distillate.

            1st Method: “Cologne water of the most superior and incomparable quality is made by dissolving the essential oils in the alcohols* and then distilling it, then adding the Rosemary oil and Neroli oil to the distillate. The classic eau de cologne contained Bergamot, Lemon, Bitter Bigarade + grape alcohol, Neroli water and either Rosemary hydrosol or Neroli essential oil.”

*This refers only to neutral grape spirits.

Original eau de cologne formula from a 175 year old book.


            2nd Method: Dissolve the aromatics in 95% neutral grape spirits — distill — add the Neroli and the Rosemary. Effect the dilution required with Orange flower water or Rose water by adding up to 8-10 quarts or if the original formula is divided by 10 use 3-4 cups of the floral water.


TOP – Neroli 5 – 10 drops
HEART – Rose Bourbonia 10 drops
BASE – Sandalwood Hawaiian 10 drops
Diluent – Cane Alcohol 50 drops

BROWN SUGAR FORMULA. The essence of brown sugar; sweet and fortifying, uplifting, and refreshing. Use as an inhalant or in blends — aftershave, astringent tonics, face wash or a sweet massage.

            Smell brown sugar first to establish the scent in your mind and then start blending. Mix together, Lemon, Neroli, Patchouli, Tangerine.  Mix these basic scents together in the combination that will most resemble brown sugar.

(the numbers are in drops, by volume  not weight)
Top Note – 20 of Lavender abs + 20 of Neroli abs
bridge to the heart note –  2 of Bergamot
Heart Note – 10 of Champaca + 5 of Orange  + 20 of Jasmine abs
  bridge to the base note – 1 of Cardamom
Base Note – 6 of Patchouli  + 6 of Spikenard
Fixative note –  (1•1000) Make a dilution first & use 1-drop of the Ambergris dilution
Add 100-200 drops grape spirits to dilute. You want a perfume at 25-50%.

Here is a lovely Perfume with Neroli that I call

Neroli perfume formula

To make these lovely perfumes, mix each note separately and let them age for a week. After a week mix the main notes together and then let that age. Then in the 3rd week, start adding the bridge note — all of it or part of it, however you like. Now let that age again. Then add an equal amount of carrier (200 drops). I prefer neutral grape spirits, but you can use a carrier oil if you wish. It just makes a different smelling perfume. Age again and then finally after a month or 5 weeks you will have a fabulous perfume at 50%. You may wish to dilute to 25%.

perfume bottles, porcelain plate, and a pyramid


HISTORICAL USES  ~ This tree, Citrus x aurantium, the bitter orange tree produces three different essential oils and a precious hydrosol. Bitter Orange oil comes from the peel of the ripe fruit, Petitgrain oil is distilled from the leaves and twigs, and Neroli oil is hydro-distilled from the flowers of the tree and the precious orange-flower water or Neroli hydrosol is the water of the distillation.

            The bitter peel is preserved in sugar and eaten as a sweet with coffee.

Bitter Orange sweet to eat when drinking coffee

Bitter Orange Peel as a sweet

INTERESTING FACTS ~ “Neroli was employed as a scent by the prostitutes of Madrid, so they would be recognized by its aroma.  On the other hand, the blossoms were worn as a bridal headdress and carried as a bouquet, symbolizing purity, and virginity.  Together with Lavender, Bergamot, Lemon, and Rosemary oils, Neroli was a key constituent of the classic toilet water eau-de-Cologne” Aromatherapy for Healing the Spirit, p.100.           

            • Fine perfumes can only be made with freshly distilled 70-95% neutral grape spirits.  All the older perfumes were diluted down with neutral grape spirits. Originally, they were considered medicines and were taken internally by the drop. After the introduction of synthetics, around 1850, perfumes were made with chemicalized ingredients and were no longer edible.  However, even today certain uplifting ‘spirits’ are sold in Europe as a tonic against seasickness, carsickness, and all sorts of nausea.

Neroli so special and sweet
It doesn’t smell like a beet
When I’m nervous or sad
And don’t want to feel bad
I diffuse it and jump to my feet. —JeanneRose

Neroli flower stamp

NEROLI • A Favorite Tomato Tale from 1994

At the age of seven, Gloria Rawlinson (1918–1995), the poet, was afflicted with polio. She had been born in Tonga and raised in New Zealand. She was hospitalized for four years as a result of the polio and was bedridden or confined to a wheelchair for the rest of her life. She became a poet of significant achievement, eventually to be crowned the “the child poet of New Zealand” and later to become a biographer of other significant authors. She wrote the Perfume Vendor in 1935,  a book of poems heavily influenced with the exotic scents of Tonga and New Zealand. I heard of this talented poet towards the end of her life, about 1990 and was given her book as a gift by a friend. The book is fantastical, child-like, original  and a lovely  fragrant read. I included her poem of the same name, The Perfume Vendor” in my own book called The Aromatherapy Book that was published in 1992.  Around this time, maybe 1993, I was invited to a formal event at the New Zealand Embassy here in San Francisco where I met the Consul General. I had wanted to write a thank-you note to Gloria Rawlinson for the hours of enjoyable reading, and I mentioned this to him. We spoke for a moment, and he said he would see if her address was available. Several days after the event, I received Ms. Rawlinson address in the mail and promptly wrote her a letter. I am hoping that she received the letter and knew that there were still fans of hers in the United States. She had suffered ill-health for years and died in 1995.

Here is a small part of a poem from the Perfume Vendor ...

OH! My place is taken I see—
The other vendors envy me,
The perfume-merchant, Neroli. …..
I am come home
To my scent bazaar,
With the rhizome
Of Iris florentina,
(You call it orris-root)—
Gum-resins, myrrh, opopanax,
Tolu, and sandal-wood, storax
And fifteen ounces of oil of cedar to boot— ……
“Ben Neroli—Ben Neroli—
Will you please allow me?
To dip
My little finger-tip
In the Jasmine bowl?”

SCIENCE ARTICLE: NEROLI – PAIN REDUCING. J Nat Med. 2015 Jul;69(3):324-31. doi: 10.1007/s11418-015-0896-6. Epub 2015 Mar 12.Analgesic and anti-inflammatory activities of Citrus aurantium L. blossoms essential oil (neroli): involvement of the nitric oxide/cyclic-guanosine monophosphate pathway. Khodabakhsh P1, Shafaroodi H, Asgarpanah J.
The analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties of Citrus aurantium L. blossoms essential oil (neroli) was investigated in mice and rats. The analgesic activity of neroli was assessed … while acute and chronic anti-inflammatory effects were investigated …. … The results suggest that neroli possesses biologically active constituent(s) that have significant activity against acute and especially chronic inflammation and have central and peripheral antinociceptive effects which support the ethnomedicinal claims of the use of the plant in the management of pain and inflammation.
PMID: 25762161 [PubMed – in process].

Guenther, Ernest. The Essential Oils. Krieger Publishing Company, FL. 1974
Harman, Ann. Harvest to Hydrosol, 1st edition, 2015, IAG Botanics
Mabberley, D.J., Mabberley’s Plant Book, 2008 3rd Edition  2014 updates, Cambridge University Press
Mabberley, D.J., Mabberley’s Plant Book, 2008 3rd Edition  2014 updates, Cambridge University Press
Ohloff, Günther. Scent and Fragrances, The Fascination of Odors. Springer-Verlag.
Rawlinson, Gloria. The Perfume Vendor. Hutchinson & Co. 1937.
Rose, Jeanne. 375 Essential Oils and Hydrosols.
Rose, Jeanne. Natural Botanical Perfumery. Available from the author at

2 snapshots of neroli scent
Sweet Orange flowers

Orange flowers Lindsay, CA


MANDARIN & TANGERINE  OIL and the Plant ~ A complete description of this part of the Citrus family with familial ties, country of origin, characteristics, body care, skin care, formulas, and recipes on how to use this oil.

Essential oil of tangerine and Mandarin from PrimaFleurBotanicals.
Photo by JeanneRose

Mandarin and Tangerine, both are Citrus reticulata Blanco var., either Mandarin or Tangerine are the LATIN BINOMIAL/BOTANICAL names while Clementine is considered Citrus x reticulata var. Clementine and is discussed elsewhere >

            If you want to twist your brain cells,  look at the incestuous crosses, backcrossing, mutations, aberrations, speciation events, hybrids, genetic mixings, varieties, groups or outgroups, rootstock changes, and terroir effects of the many Citrus types to understand the various citrus fruits, we have now.
Anywhere from 12 up to 162, different ones are accorded subspecies or varietal names. Mandarin can be called Citrus reticulata var. mandarin, and Tangerine can be called Citrus reticulata var. tangerina.  Mandarin has also been called var. deliciosa, and of course, it has other names as well.
            But as Mabberley says of citrus, “… the morphological distinctions are slight and much of the commercially significant striking degustatory distinction rests on a subtlety, the presence and relative proportions of the two stereoisomers of limonene, one of which is bitter (as in lemon), the other sweet (as in mandarin), resulting in the differing tastes (and smell) of the flesh and juice.”

By Jeanne Rose ~ November 2023

            There is a naming problem in citrus, and it is complicated by the number of edible citrus that are recognized … up to 162.



Examples of hybrid Citrus, showing their derivation from the pure founder species, from an analogous chart in Curk et al., 2016, with addition from Swingle’s original limequat report.  — Author Agricolae

FAMILY ~ Rutaceae

            NAMING ~ All Tangerines are Mandarins, but not all Mandarins are Tangerines generally, this is a difference of terroir. A Tangerine is a cultivar of the Mandarin Citrus reticulata. Despite the common name, it is just a different variety of Mandarin, Mandarin from China, and Tangerine from the Americas.

            “Asian art, especially from China and India, often features the Mandarin crowned with thin, green leaves and clinging delicately from a willowy tree. Mandarins are noted for loose skin, often referred to as “kid glove” because it’s soft and easy to peel, the Mandarin that we know is juicy and somewhat tart with seeds. The height of the winter season finds an abundance of Mandarins in the markets, often sitting next to Tangerines.”1

                  All citrus is native to Asia, the Philippines, and India, and it found its way from the orchards and the art easel across the Eur-Asian continent to Europe and then to the United States.

            INTERESTING FACTS about the Naming  ~ The name comes from the mandarins of Cochin, China, where it originates, and to whom the fruit was offered as a gift”, Essential Aromatherapy, p. 147. Mandarins or Tangerines are given at Christmas in the Christmas stocking as a stand-in for the gold coins that were a tradition. They are also given for good luck and abundance at Chinese New Year, which normally is in late January and February.

                        Tangerines, Clementine, and Satsumas are three varieties of the mandarin orange and the most popular. Because the Mandarin orange can easily be crossed with other citrus, varieties pop up in differing climates (terroir) worldwide. Growing seasons also differ, with some Tangerine harvests coming in through June.

COUNTRIES OF ORIGIN OF ESSENTIAL OIL ~ Good quality Mandarin oil comes from Italy, Clementine oil from Italy and the United States, and Tangerine oil from the USA.

Clementine and Mandarin fruit from two separate farms. Photo by JeanneRose

GENERAL DESCRIPTION OF PLANT, HABITAT, & GROWTH ~ Mandarin and Tangerine are from a fruit-producing evergreen shrub with dark-green glossy leaves and fragrant flowers.

            Mandarin, Citrus reticulata (syn. C. nobilis) (Rutaceae). “The Mandarin tree comes from southern China (a Mandarin was a Chinese government official attired in a yellow dress). Today, the Mandarin fruit is mostly known as the seed-less, loosely peeled variety sometimes called Clementine, created by Pierre Clément in a lucky crossing experiment around 1900 when he was a leader of the agricultural school in Oran in Algeria.” 2

            “Mandarin groves are well-known in Sicily and are scattered throughout the provinces of Messina, Catania, and Palermo. Mandarin oil is made by collecting the fruit peel and cold-pressing.

            The oil called Green Mandarin (not ripe) is harvested from February through May; the oil called yellow Mandarin (not fully ripe) is harvested during October and November, and (fully ripe) red Mandarin oil from fruits harvested from December to January.

            Tangerine, Citrus reticulata, “Dancy Tangerine is direct from an established manufacturer (since 1985) in Florida with access to some of the freshest fruit available.”3 The largest plantings come from Florida.

            The first American tangerine was introduced to the market by the legendary citrus grower Col. Adam Dancy in 1867-1868. This acidic, richly flavored fruit immediately established a new category of citrus product in the United States – less tart than an orange, more complex and brighter than a Pomelo, and not oversweet like the Chinese Sweet Orange then in fashion.4 

            The Tangerine is just a variety of Mandarin orange and is often confused with the Clementine. They are both very close in taste and appearance but not the same fruit. Tangerines are a tropical fruit and are grown in USA climate zones 8 to 11. Standard trees that are planted outdoors will reach a height between 10 and 15 feet. Plant it where it is sunny and warm in good soil. As they grow, the tree branches may bow down, and there may be wart-like growths on the trunk. As with many citrus, they may be grown on a different rootstock. Ripe and ready to pick from February to April — the harvest season depends on terroir and may differ in different areas.

             Clementine, Citrus x reticulata, a popular stocking stuffer during the Christmas holiday, is the smallest member of this group. The honey-sweet, seedless Clementine is the most eater-friendly of the Mandarin orange types and is a subgroup of the Tangerine. Tangerine vs. Clementine qualities include a thin skin on the Clementine that is tighter than a Tangerine but so easy to peel that a child can do it. They are harvested from February to April, depending on the area.

            The differences between Mandarin and Tangerine cannot be explained by the differences in the way the oil is expressed because often identical methods are used… “The soil, climatic and cultural conditions (terroir) prevailing in the various producing sections …have a certain, perhaps a fundamental, influence upon the chemical composition and, therefore, upon the physicochemical properties of the oils.”5

Tangerine and Clementine Differences ~ Tangerines are smaller and sweeter than an Orange yet larger than a Mandarin, and they have a rind that’s darker in color. The Tangerine emigrated to America from Morocco’s port of Tangiers, from which it got its name. Tangerine qualities include a reddish-orange skin that distinguishes it from the lighter-skinned Mandarin. Tangerines are the most popular type of Mandarin, but they are more tart in taste. Like the Mandarin, Tangerines have seeds. The longer growing season puts Tangerines in the market from November through May.

“Lemon and Orange oils and other citrus oils improve after a year or two of cold storage in that some of the dissolved waxes separate from the oil and may be removed easily by filtration. The resulting oils are more soluble and produce clearer extracts. Neither odor nor flavor is impaired if the oils are kept in tin-lined fully filled drums.”5

Mandarin fruit with six oils of Mandarin and Tangerine, plus a bottle of Mandarin hydrosol.  Photo by JeanneRose

All the many Mandarin oils, Tangerine oils and Clementine oils I have collected over the years – all in one place at one time.


            For Mandarin fruit, 100 kg of whole fruit yields 750-850 g. of oil. Green Mandarin essential oil is cold pressed from the peel of unripe green fruits. Yellow Mandarin essential oil is cold pressed from the peel of partially ripened fruits. Red Mandarin essential oil is cold pressed from the peel of fully ripened, mature fruits. The scent of each of these oils is slightly different and will express this slight difference into any blends used.

            Tangerine, when using the rotary juice extractor for juice (cuts and halves and expresses the juice) and then the screw press is used to extract the peel oil, the peel yields an oil of a deep orange color and very nice odor and flavor. The yield is about 2 lb. per U.S.  ton of fruit.

            Clementine is not mentioned in Guenther’s book, and I have been unable to find an exact yield of essential oil to weight in any one of the 10 sources that were checked.

             Yield is 0.7%-0.8%. The essential oil of these citruses is either cold-pressed or sometimes steam-distilled from the peel (flavedo).

Mandarin is named in relationship to its ripeness when harvested.

THE Sensory
Color:Light yellowYellow to greenishGreen-yellowGolden orangePale yellow
Taste of EO:Sour, bitter backsourBitterSweet, sour back noteBitter, sour
Intensity of Odor from 1 – 10543-44-54
Tenacity in blend From 1-10444-54-54

ODOR DESCRIPTION ~ The scent of two of these five oils is shown in the ‘snapshot’ odor charts at the end of this post.  They are all citrus, fruity, and then with various back notes that separate them by odor. “You will know them by their odor.”7

           MANDARIN ~ The scent is certainly connected to the chemistry. Mandarin (Citrus reticulata Blanco) and the cold-pressed oils of Tangerine and Clementine contain considerable amounts of methyl N-methyl anthranilate.  According to some, if you mix this component with thymol in the correct proportions, you can duplicate a scent that is reminiscent of Mandarin. Add the terpenes of y-terpinene and –b-pinene, and you can get an even more natural scent. A-sinensal is abundant in Mandarin oil up to 0.2%.

           When Clementine from Spain was analyzed by GC/MS, several new odorants were found but ‘No single odorant emerged as being characteristic of clementine oil aroma.8

This work is sponsored and supported by Prima Fleur Botanicals.

SOLUBILITY ~ Mandarin is soluble in 7-10 volumes of 90% alcohol with some turbidity, and Tangerine is incompletely soluble in 95% alcohol. With some age, the waxes will separate out and can be filtered off, and the oil is more soluble.


CHEMICAL COMPONENTS ~ The morphological distinctions of citrus are slight …. and much of the (taste test) distinction rests on a subtlety, the presence, and relative proportions of the two stereoisomers of limonene, one of which is bitter (as in lemon), the other sweet (as in mandarin), resulting in the differing tastes (and scent) of the flesh and juice.

            “Mandarin oil is made by cold-pressing the peels of true Mandarin and has an elegant, deep, sweet, orange-like character; it is used in liqueurs and perfumery. The major odor impact compounds are the sesquiterpene aldehyde alpha-sinensal, also characterizing orange oil, and the aromatic ester methyl N-methyl anthranilate, giving the oil a neroli-like character (and a blue fluorescence).”

            “ Clementine peel oil, on the other hand, is dominated by unsaturated aliphatic aldehydes…., with an odor reminiscent of Coriander leaf and having a high tenacity on the skin, together with sinensal and linalool.”2

HISTORICAL USES ~ Mandarin/Tangerine trees’ fruit was historically used for digestive purposes.

Mandarin at the Farmers Market. Photo by JeanneRose

Photo by Jeanne Rose


GENERAL PROPERTIES of Mandarin/Tangerine Oil and Herb/Fruit

            Properties are by IG=ingestion, IN=inhalation or AP=application. By Ingestion, these citrus fruits (not the EO) are digestive, tonic, and stomachic; by inhalation, the EO is sedative, soporific, relaxant, calmative, tonic, and antispasmodic; and by application, the EO is astringent and slightly antiseptic.      


            Application ~ If you use the essential oil in your skincare products, Mandarin and Tangerine will give these products slightly astringency and be slightly antiseptic.  In a moisturizer, they will help tone and tighten skin, contributing to healthier and younger-looking skin.

            Ingestion ~ The essential oils of Clementine, Tangerine, and Mandarin are used in food products, so yes, they are used internally. But these are extremely small amounts of the EO in any product; we suggest that unless they are significantly, very highly diluted in food or in an oil, that you eat the fruits and use the oils in external blends or by inhalation.

            EMOTIONAL/ENERGETIC/MEDITATIVE USES (AP OR IN) ~ Tangerine or yellow or red Mandarin EO will soothe grief, anger, and shock and, when combined with Marjoram in a diffuser or, upon inhalation, will aid sleep.  Since Mandarin is usually more expensive than Tangerine, I suggest you use Tangerine and I suspect that Clementine will work as well as any of these.

            DIFFUSE/DIFFUSION ~ These warm, sparkling-bright citrus oils have great value in blends to cleanse the room air and refresh the senses. They are often very calming, soothing, and relaxing.

showing a number of paperweights, and perfume bottles, photo by Jeanne Rose

JeanneRose photo of perfume bottles and paperweights

BLENDING & PERFUMERY ~ Mandarin, Tangerine, and Clementine will blend well with all other citrus and can feminize the deep Chypre blends, warm-up woody blends, and work to brighten any floral blend. These three can be used with resins and Mediterranean herbs such as Marjoram, Lavender, and Rosemary,  and they are an important part of most top notes in fine perfumery.     For a crisp scent, use green Mandarin or green Lemon; for warmer heart notes, use the riper citrus such as yellow or red Mandarin and Tangerine.

Think shiny suits, cigarette smoke, martinis,
big flashy cars and brunettes
TOP NOTE – 68-78
58 d Elemi
10 d. Green Mandarin
10 d green Lemon
10 d Cocoa abs
18 d Black Pepper
28 d Jasmine sambac abs
22 Rose abs
4 d Tobacco
2 d Juniper (Juniperus communis)
12 d Cinnamon
16 d Zdravetz
48 d Sandalwood
(I prefer New Caledonia Sandalwood here)

HYDROSOL ~ I have been having a fine time using Mandarin hydrosol in my bath to soothe the skin and on my face as a toner. I have also used a teaspoon full in my tea in the afternoon and tried a bit in coffee to take the edge off the tannins. The citrus hydrosols are readily available in season or by special order from various companies.

HERBAL USE OF THESE FRUITS AND PEELS ~ When you use citrus, there are many ways that all parts can be used. You can squeeze and drink the juice, then dry the peel for potpourri; you can eat the fruit and collect the peels to hydro-distill for a lovely hydrosol, or you can slice and dry the fruit and use it for decorations on your Christmas tree or in your winter potpourri. The dried slices of any citrus look very festive on a Christmas tree, and then when Christmas is over, the slices can be used to scent your potpourri; if there is enough scent left, they can be tinctured for perfume. I don’t think I would eat them at this point as they would have been in the air for over two weeks and will smell rather ‘tired.’

dried Mandarin slices

Dried Mandarin slices – I hang these on the Christmas tree for scent and color.

            Food Usage ~ TESTED AGAINST MICROORGANISMS ~ The essential oils from peels of Mandarin and Clementine were examined and tested. “Among the tested microorganisms, the oils were very active against Candida albicans, Escherichia coli, Lysteria innocua, Methicillin-Resistant S. aureus, and Staphylococcus aureus with an inhibition zone varied from 9.16 to 27.63 mm. … All citrus oils studied exhibited antioxidant activity as DPPH free radical scavenger and reducing power in dose-dependent manner. Mandarin oil showed the strongest activity compared to Clementine and the Wilking cultivar essential oils.

The oils may be recommended as safe plant-based antimicrobials as well as antioxidants for enhancement of shelf life of food commodities.”6

KEY USE ~ The fruit as a food and the essential oil as a sleeping aid.


Tangerine & Green Mandarin

Read The Aromatherapy Book, Chapter 3, pages 63-66 and 375 Essential Oils and Hydrosols,
Chapter 3, pages 27-31. These two books will assist you in learning how to describe odors. Available at

 The limbic system is the seat of memory and learning. Smell from the left nostril and then to the right nostril. The right nostril (right brain-creative) is important in detecting and evaluating the intensity of odor, and this hints at a broad olfactory asymmetry, and the left nostril (left brain or logical) is for smelling location or place.

First Smell and 2nd Smell. “Lurking in the olfactory epithelium, among the mucus-exuding cells, are cells that are part of the system that innervates the face (trigeminal nerve).  It is suspected that pungent and putrid molecules penetrate them, interact with their proteins, and stimulate them to fire.  Thus, there are two types of olfaction: first smell, the ordinary type for specific odors, and second smell for nonspecific pungency and putridity.”

There is also left brain and right brain smell-ability. The left brain smells location (maybe via logical use of EMG waves), while the right brain smells intensity. The closer you get – the more intense the odor.

References to articles

5 Guenther: THE ESSENTIAL OILS, volume III, Citrus oils: Krieger. 1949.
6 Chemical profile, antimicrobial and antioxidant activities of Citrus reticulata and Citrus clementina (L.) essential oils, International Food Research Journal 24(4) · August 2017
7 Jeanne Rose lectures and “Natural Perfumery” workbook
6 Chemical profile, antimicrobial and antioxidant activities of Citrus reticulata and Citrus clementina (L.) essential oils, International Food Research Journal 24(4) · August 2017
7 Jeanne Rose lectures and “Natural Perfumery” workbook
8 Characterization of the major odorants found in the peel oil of Clementine. Flavour and Fragrance Journal. 04 July 2003.

Copeland, Dawn. Essential Oil Profiles. Aromatherapy Studies Course. 2000.
Harman, Ann. Harvest to Hydrosol
Mabberley, D.J., Mabberley’s Plant Book, 2008 Third Edition with 2014 updates, Cambridge University Press
Ohloff, Günther:  Scent and Fragrances: Springer-Verlag. 1990. Translated by Pickenhagen and Lawrence
Rose, Jeanne. 375 Essential Oils and Hydrosols
Rose, Jeanne. Natural Botanical Perfumery Workbook. 2000
Rose, Jeanne. The Aromatherapy Book, Applications & Inhalations

Safety Precautions information

WHAT IS THE ‘X’ FOR IN THE NAME ~ Hybrids have an ‘x’ between the genus name and the species name. “Hybrids either get their parents’ names with an ‘x’ in between parent names (mother listed first), or a brand-new species epithet preceded by an ‘x.’  The name for the orange can be listed as Citrus maxima x Citrus reticulata or Citrus x aurantium.  You often see the name Citrus sinensis or Citrus x sinensis for oranges, but those are synonym names that should not be used anymore.”


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 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 were 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 the 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 no 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 family holiday dinner – And it worked 100% of the time.” – The Aromatherapy Book: Application & 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 CUMIN ~ This is what Wikipedia says of Cumin seed, “Cumin accentuates 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 help 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


Jeanne Rose -copyright- 2016 ~  May not be reproduced without permission.


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


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 ~

Elemi Resin

Elemi Resin & Essential Oil Profile & Uses

Jeanne Rose

Synopsis: Elemi, native to the Philippines, the bark resin is extracted and steam distilled;
the E.O. is clear and pale yellow with a citrus scent,
is therapeutic and used in perfumery as a bridge note or fixative
and in skin care (with Galbanum) to rejuvenate and soothe the complexion.
The resin has a history of medicinal uses.

Jeanne Rose photo of Elemi EO on the resin and in front of a piece of wood

Elemi E.O. and resin

LATIN BINOMIAL/BOTANICAL NAME ~ Elemi (Canarium luzonicum) (Blume) A.Gray and from Family Burseraceae. The tree bark produces a resin generally grouped as a balsam; it is more viscous than an oleoresin, very gooey, soft, malleable, and fragrant. When fresh, it is like crystalized honey and will later harden.

            FAMILY – Burseraceae family is the same family that produces Frankincense and Myrrh. The family Burseraceae comprises about 16-20 genera of shrubs and trees.

NAMING ~ Elemi is known as “Pili” in the Philippines. Elemi is a common name for resinous items used as varnishes, printing inks, and ointments. The word itself in Arabic, a translation of Elemi, is similar to the saying “as above, so below”.

            History: “It was Magellan’s discovery of the Philippines in 1521 that led to Manila elemi – known for its medicinal properties and fragrance – being introduced to Europe and the Middle East. The product’s name dates from this period, from the Arabic El-lemi. Its use in “Chinese incense” for religious ceremonies was already being mentioned in China in the 7th century. Further, it was used as a fumigant to perfume homes. Small bags of Elemi were also worn around the neck in that era. Starting in the 18th century, the West began regularly using Elemi for its therapeutic properties, and it is mentioned in many texts, including as “the inventory of simple drugs that must always be kept on hand in the King’s hospital pharmacies.” 2

COUNTRIES OF ORIGIN of Elemi ~ Native to the Philippines. Manila Elemi is a resin (from the bark) grouped in the balsam category and is more viscous than an oleoresin; it is semisolid and quite fragrant. The Philippine Elemi resin (Canarium luzonicum) is also one of the best-known and the source of the world’s largest supply.

GENERAL DESCRIPTION OF PLANT, HABITAT & GROWTH ~ Elemi trees grow in lowland rainforests and primary forests at low and medium elevations. It is an evergreen tree about 30 meters in height, pollinated by insects, and not self-fertile. The resin comes from both cultivated and wild trees.

A chunk of Elemi resin on the wood

Elemi Resin

PORTION OF PLANT USED IN DISTILLATION, HOW DISTILLED, EXTRACTION METHODS & YIELD ~ The tree bark of Canarium produces large quantities of the resin over a period of months. It is available both in the dry and the wet season, and there is a greater flow of resin during the wet season. A mature tree can produce up to five kilograms of Elemi a year. The gum is then shipped to warehouses using large palm fronds and placed in large wooden crates for export.

            While Frankincense is sweet and musky, Elemi delivers a fresh, peppery-citrus aroma.

         Elemi E.O. and CO2 are extracted from the bark resin using steam distillation or a supercritical carbon dioxide system from a tropical tree native to the Philippines. It is a  member of the Burseraceae plant family and is closely related to a resin that resembles Frankincense and Myrrh.

         Yield ~ 13-25% from the resin. Some sources mention yields as low as 3-6%.

ENDANGERED OR NOT ~ This particular species tree is considered to be threatened and/or vulnerable due to heavy usage, people moving into the areas where they live, and by over-tapping. Some species of Canarium are also considered to be invasive.

            Sustainability ~ These items may not be sustainable in the amounts used. My suggestion is to use only the actual resin as it was once meant to be, as incense, in small, moderate amounts as needed, and not use the essential oil at all.  

This work is sponsored and supported
by Prima Fleur Botanicals.


ELEMI Resin & OilResinEO
Color:Pale yellowPale yellow to colorless
Viscosity:Very viscousNon-viscous
Taste:noneBitter, aromatic
Intensity of Odor: 1-10 •
1 is least intense

ODOR DESCRIPTION ~ This oil has a clear to a yellow hue, is non-viscous, tastes bitter, and is medium intensity with a citrus resin scent. The odor of some Elemi E.O. is somewhat like the flower and leaf of Choisya in the spring when it is full of phellandrene. The odor of the principal oil constituent of alpha-phellandrene (more in the spring of Choisya) and the odor of β-phellandrene has been described as peppery-minty with a slightly citrusy note, and phellandrene is absorbed through the skin. Thus, the hydrosol of this resin is excellent in the bath or as a body spray, and the E.O. is helpful in skin care. It is anti-inflammatory.

            SOLUBILITY in 3 mediums – When you see Elemi discussed, it will often be described as a gum resin, resin, or an oleo-resin. Because each of these words has different meanings, I conducted my own simple experiment in determining the solubility of Elemi, in water (to see if it was a gum), in alcohol (to determine how quickly it might dissolve), and in oil (to see if it could be described as an oleo-resin). It was a revelation.

            The solubility of Elemi is Soluble in 0.5 to 5 vol. of 90% alcohol; and usually soluble in 5-10 vol. of 80% alcohol. It is about 30-50% soluble in oil and, by my own experiment, NOT soluble in water; thus, it is an oleo-resin and not a gum resin.   

SOLUBILITY in 3 mediums

photo of Elemi solubility in 3 mediums; neutral grape spirits, sunflower/jojoba oil, and distilled water.

5/27/18 At 9:30 A.M.
Day 1. Using 15 ml. Of 95% Neutral Grape Spirits, a combo of Sunflower/Jojoba Oil or distilled Water.
Day 2. Resin is dissolving in alcohol, slightly dissolved in oil, and not dissolving in water.

Day 3. Dissolved in alcohol; 30-50% dissolved in oil; not dissolved in water. [not a gum]

CHEMICAL COMPONENTS ~ A study on the composition of Elemi essential oil from Manila and from the distillation of Elemi resin yielded 39 compounds, with the most abundant being phellandrene or limonene. Limonene for some tests was at 56%, or phellandrene was higher at 25-28%. These components change depending on the terroir and where and when the tree was harvested and distilled. Constituents are limonene and phellandrene with smaller amounts of elemol, elemicin, dipentene, and terpineol.

This oil is clear and light yellow in color and is non-viscous. Its main constituent is phellandrene (25-28%).

            The soft nature of Elemi resin partly results from the quantity of liquid sesquiterpenes. It sometimes crystallizes from the triterpenes and becomes opaque and white.4 The optical rotation of this E.O. and the fresh resin changes if stored in sunlight, and care should be taken to keep either in a dark container. A box will be sufficient for the resin, and for large amounts of the oil, brown glass is best.

INTERESTING INFORMATION AND HISTORY ABOUT ELEMI ~ When Frankincense became too costly and scarce for mass consumption, Elemi quickly became a logical replacement, offering many of the same therapeutic benefits. In Arabic, a translation of Elemi is similar to the saying “as above, so below.” It was revered as an oil of the Gods and, like Frankincense, was used in meditation and prayer. While Frankincense is fruity and herbal, Elemi delivers a fresh, citrus-spicy aroma.

            Artifacts dating from Egypt’s 26th dynasty (664 B.C. and 525 B.C.) have been found at Saqqara that contained a fat-based ointment containing Elemi, a fragrant resin from tropical trees. “Elemi and another resin Dammar have not previously been linked to ancient Egyptian embalming practices and are highly  unexpected.” “Elemi was present in the (embalming) workshop mixtures used to treat the head, liver, and body bandages.”6.

Several bottles of essential oil of Elemi with the resin and a crystal and a shell.


Elemi resin is antibacterial, antifungal, antiseptic, antispasmodic, and rubefacient; it is used in plasters to ease coughing. If used in medicine, Elemi is a potent antiseptic that protects against bacterial and viral infections, fungus, and septic shock. Its resin is soft, odorous and has the texture of honey. It was formerly exported for the European pharmaceutical trade as Manila or Philippine gum Elemi for use as an ointment for healing wounds and as a plaster. The valuable resin, called ‘Pili,’ aka Manila elemi or ‘breabianca,’ is used as an ingredient in manufacturing plastics, printing inks, and perfumes. It is also used by the Spaniards for ship repairs.

            Raw nuts are purgative.  

In skincare, it has been used to rejuvenate and heal wounds topically, as well as reduce the appearance of wrinkles. It is widely used as a fixative in fragrances, soaps, and cosmetics. Elemi may be used as an excellent base note in perfumery, where its inherent complexity is at once earthy and citrusy. During massage and aromatherapy treatments, it can be inhaled to reduce stress-related conditions and bring a feeling of peace and well-being.

Skilled practitioners have incorporated using Elemi to address bronchial and chest congestion due to its expectorant and stimulant properties. A potent antiseptic, Elemi protects against bacterial and viral infections, fungus, and septic shock.

            Elemi, Canarium luzonicum, CO2 wild resin #201, and steam-distilled #217 are both from the resin. Try a bold new step in your skin-nurturing regime; protect and nourish your body with a luxuriously rich combination in a custom skincare line.

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

Manila elemi (the resin obtained from the tree) and the essential oil distilled from the resin have a long history of medicinal use. They are considered to be antibacterial, antifungal, antirheumatic, antiseptic, antispasmodic, and rubefacient.

Physical Uses & How Used (I.G. or I.G.). BA.P.Application –  The resin can be melted and used in an ointment for wounds. The resin is applied externally in a salve to arthritic and rheumatic joints, boils, abscesses, furuncles, burns, and sores. It is heated and used on the chest as a poultice to stop severe coughing. The essential oil is an ingredient in a commercial preparation that is a natural anti-louse foaming gel, and this gel also contains Echinacea purpurea.


         SKINCARE ~ ELEMI ~ Canarium luzonicum, the wild resin, is extracted by CO2 extraction and steam distilled for the E.O. It was used by the great Marguerite MAURY, a French biochemist and cosmetics chemist. In the 1950s, she was the first to use essential oils from plants in a new method and by using therapeutic massage. Marguerite Maury believed that Elemi with Galbanum would eventually rejuvenate the complexion and body.

                It is used in products and perfumery. Try it in your skin-nurturing ritual; protect and nourish the skin with a 2% combination of these two ingredients in your night cream and daytime protection cream. In skincare, it has been used to rejuvenate and heal wounds topically, as well as reduce the appearance of wrinkles. It is widely used as a fixative in fragrances, soaps, and cosmetics.

            Make a luxuriously rich combination of these two resins in a combination of Rice Bran oil and Rosehip seed oil to protect and nourish your body and add to your skincare routine. Use this as a luxuriously rich combination in your custom skincare line.

Elemi & Rose Lotion


            By Ingestion – A corn kernel-sized drop of the resin is taken with water and is used in the treatment of fevers and chills.      

            By Inhalation – Skilled practitioners have incorporated the use of Elemi oil by inhalation or in a blend in a diffuser to address bronchial and chest congestion due to its expectorant and stimulant properties.

Emotional/Energetic Uses (AP or IN):

            Inhalation –  The resin burns smoky but with a delightful citrus scent. Inhaled, it stimulates mental and psychic ability, gives spiritual balance, and calms the mind. Elemi resin for the 3rd chakra, the solar plexus, vibrates in yellow, the sound is E, and its scent is citrus-like and helps to balance your fire spirit. The smoke is used by inhalation “to treat the thymus gland.3”    

            Emotional Attributes -cleansing/purifying, strengthening, creativity, meditation, prayer. “On the emotional system, Elemi oil imparts a strengthening, balancing, and centering action, which makes it valuable in meditation. Use it to stimulate mental ability when you suffer from stress, nervous exhaustion, or simply feeling sluggish. Elemi essential oil can be used to help dispel loneliness and create a more positive outlook and encourage hopefulness.”5

• •

USING ELEMI herb, resin, and oil

HERBAL USES ~ One species of Canarium,  Canarium ovatum, the seed is used in the traditional Chinese dessert called ‘mooncakes’,The kernel (seed) is a major ingredient in this famous Chinese festive dessert’. However, kernels from some trees may be bitter, fibrous or have a turpentine odor. Young shoots are used in salads, and the fruit pulp is eaten after it is boiled and seasoned. Boiled Elemi pulp called pili resembles the sweet potato in texture, it is oily (about 12%) and is considered to have food value similar to the Avocado. Pulp oil can be used for cooking. Young shoots from the tree are used in salads, and the fruit pulp is eaten after it is boiled and seasoned.1"
          The tree bark is commonly used for postpartum baths.

Use the essential oils in moderation. Choose to use the herb tea or resin more often.

DIFFUSE/DIFFUSION ~ Elemi is a resin and thus can gum up a diffuser. Suggest trying something else for that lovely citrus scent, like a combination of Lemon-Grapefruit-Orange CP (cold-pressed) in your diffuser. Use Elemi, the resin burned on charcoal, to clear the spirit of your home.

            I always use charcoal to burn resin, which is the way of using holy incense. I do it outside. And see the smoke curl into the air, and smell what is left in the air. It is a sacred thing. Resin is burned because it is fragrant and the “food of the gods” which they inhale. Burning incense is to feed the gods, and it is a meditative process.


BLENDING & PERFUMERY ~ Elemi blends well with Rose and other florals, adding a complex, spicy-citrus note. It contributes a unique freshness to Frankincense, Myrrh, Labdanum, Lavender, Rosemary, and Sage.

         E.O. Perfumery – Elemi E.O. may be used as an excellent base note where its inherent complexity is at once earthy and citrusy. During massage and aromatherapy, it can be inhaled to reduce stress-related conditions and bring a feeling of peace and well-being.

HYDROSOL ~ I have not as yet had the opportunity to try an Elemi leaf, bark, or resin hydrosol.

Key Use: ‘Resin for Skin Rejuvenation’ — M. Maury

Science article: Elemi contains dipentene and elemicine, which are responsible for Elemi being a strong antiseptic, protecting wounds, and being a strong healer. expectorant.

3. Rose, Jeanne. The Aromatherapy Book Applications & Inhalations.
4.Langenheim, Plant Resins
5 .
6. Bower, Bruce. Egyptian Mummy Recipes Revealed. Science News. February 25, 2023, p.6

Guenther, Ernest. The Essential Oils. Krieger Publishing Company, Malabar, Florida. 1972 reprint

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

Rose, Jeanne. 375 Essential Oils and Hydrosols.


Elemi ~ A corny Jeanne Rose Limerick
Elemi, the resin smells citrus
But always sweetly odiferous
Gooey, it’s true
And so sticky too
But one thing it’s not is cruciferous.

• • •
PATCH TEST ~  If applying a new essential oil to your skin, always perform a patch test on the inner arm (afterE.O.ou have diluted the E.O. in a vegetable carrier oil). —Wash an area of your forearm about the size of a quarter and dry carefully. Apply E.O.iluted drop (1 drop E.O. + 1 drop carrier) to the area. Then apply a loose Band-Aid and wait 24 hours. If there is no reaction, then go ahead and use the oil in your formulas. —The Aromatherapy Book, Applications & Inhalations, p. 64
DISCLAIMER:  This work is intended for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for accurate diagnosis and treatment by a qualified health care professional. Dosages are often not given, as that 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©

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 2010


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.