GINGER

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

photo of ginger root with ginger EO superimposed on it.

GINGER EO & PLANT USES

By Jeanne Rose ~ 7-02-22

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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ORGANOLEPTIC CHARACTERISTICS OF GINGER ROOT OIL FROM MADAGASCAR (2022)

            Color – light yellow

            Clarity – clear

            Viscosity – non-viscous

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

            Intensity of Odor – 5

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

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

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

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GENERAL PROPERTIES OF Ginger oil and plant

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

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

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

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

bottle of Prima Fleur Ginger essential oil
Ginger EO

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

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

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

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

A Ginger Perfume

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

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

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

ginger root photo
Ginger root

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

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

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

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

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

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

What is an Herb? [to an herbalist]

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

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

            (Our use as well as the old Herbalists).

What is an Herb [to a botanist]?

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

What is an Herb [to a cook]?

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

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

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

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

Use 1-2 tablespoons per drink.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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This work is sponsored and supported by Prima Fleur Botanicals.

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WHAT TO KNOW

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

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

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

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REFERENCES:

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

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

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

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

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

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

BLUE CHAMOMILE

BLUE CHAMOMILE OIL and herb uses

 June 2022

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

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

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Three things to learn about blue-colored oils

1. the blue oils are blue in color

2. there is no blue in the plant itself

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

fresh annual Chamomile flowers. Image 2010
fresh Chamomile flowers

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

alchemical symbol for distillation

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

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

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

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

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

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bottle of German Chamomile oil superimposed on the flowers

organoleptics of blue Chamomile oil
organoleptics of blue Chamomile

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

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

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

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

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

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

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GENERAL PROPERTIES OF BLUE Chamomile

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

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

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

PHYSICAL USES & HOW USED (IG OR AP)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SKIN FORMULA FOR ROSACEA

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

Skin Care Creme

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

10 drops Helichrysum angustifolium aka Everlasting or Immortelle

2 drops Blue Chamomile CO2  or West Coast Blue Artemis

.5 oz aloe vera gel

1 small scoop oat beta glucan

up to 1 oz Calendula-infused oil

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

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

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THE NASTY TOMATO TALE OF OXIDIZED BLUE CHAMOMILE

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sponsored and supported by Prima Fleur Botanicals.

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

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

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

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

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ESSAY ON BLUE OILS AND AZULENE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

REFERENCES:

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

Harman, Ann. Harvest to Hydrosol

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

Rose, Jeanne. 375 Essential Oils and Hydrosols.

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

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

Worwood, Susan & Valerie Ann. Aromatherapy.

NOTES TO TEXT & BIBLIOGRAPHY of all the Blue Oils

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chart of Safety Issues
Safety Issues
'Rising up"

WINTERGREEN ~ plant and oil

The bright red berries and green leaves have a distinctly pleasing wintergreen flavor.
Learn all about Wintergreen, description, extraction, and uses.

Close-up of Wintergreen leaves with new flower buds
Close-up of Wintergreen with new flower buds

WINTERGREEN Plant & Oil

Jeanne Rose – December 2021

Introduction For many, roaming the woods and eating Wintergreen berries is a memory from childhood. The bright red berries and leaves have a distinctly pleasing wintergreen flavor. This is a fine shade-loving ground cover that is native to the woodlands from Manitoba to the eastern United States. It has very attractive, glossy, evergreen rounded leaves (purple-tinted in winter) and delicate, waxy, white flowers which become the large edible fruit. This 6-inch creeper makes a perfect groundcover for woodland, edible, and rock gardens. The fruit is an important food source for pheasant, squirrels, and deer. It is one that is used medicinally as a poultice for aching joints.

Common and Scientific Name ~ The common names of Wintergreen, Checkerberry,  and Teaberry are for the plant known as Gaultheria procumbens. This plant is an aromatic plant of the heath family called Ericaceae.

Countries of Origin of the Plant and oil ~ I have seen essential oil of Wintergreen (G. procumbens or G. fragrantissima) from Nepal and China. G. procumbens is in the forest of Canada and the north of the United States. I have seen the analysis of these as well.

ENDANGERED ~ Wintergreen is native to Ontario Canada. It was first discovered and used by Native Americans; the leaves and berries produce the oil of wintergreen (methyl salicylate). And it is not endangered.

GENERAL DESCRIPTION OF WINTERGREEN HABITAT and GROWTH ~ Gaultheria procumbens has many short erect branches with short-stalked, thick, shining tooth-edged leaves in the upper part.  Flowers hang singly from the leaf axils and have a pale pink, waxy-looking, urn-shaped corolla.  The bright red berrylike fruits, sometimes called deer-berries, consist of the much-enlarged fleshy calyx, which surrounds the small many-seeded capsule.  The plant is a native of shady wood on sandy soil, particularly in the mountainous areas of the northern United States and southern Canada.”2

Close-up of glossy wintergreen leaves. Photo taken in December.
Close-up of Wintergreen leaves in December

                  This fragrant, evergreen ground cover makes a lovely addition to my urban garden. It is evergreen, a ground cover, and seems to be tolerant of most soil, sandy, dry, slightly alkaline, and drought tolerant.  It seems to prefer well-drained soil.  I plant it in the sun (about 6 hours/day), in the shade, and wherever I need it. I often add oyster shells around the base to add a bit of alkalinity and to highlight the green leaves.  The bright red berries last a long time, sometimes months. I still have a few berries on my plants from December 2020.

            Wintergreen leaf tea is harvested in Nepal and steam distilled. When bruised or cut, the foliage emits a strong wintergreen scent.  Small pinkish-white flowers appear in summer followed by scarlet red berries that are quite persistent.

LEAVES OF WINTERGREEN ARE USED IN EXTRACTION ~ “… the composition of wintergreen essential oil is very simple; its distillation is a bit more complex. First, the methyl salicylate is not free in the plant but bound to some sugar. This non-volatile glucidic complex named gaultherin must be hydrolyzed prior to distillation so that the methyl salicylate can be distilled. The leaves must be macerated in hot water prior to the distillation so that the plant enzymes can free the methyl salicylate. This macerate water is used in the hydrodistillation.                            Wintergreen essential oil is one of the rare oils that are denser than water and it doesn’t decant easily. The distillation of eastern teaberry requires a still with a special design (a separator for heavy oils and for better yields, the possibility to distill with cohobation).1

For more technical details on the distillation test, 2.7 kg of the plant (stems and leaves) have been harvested and macerated in water the night before distillation. [see the article for more information).1

            Wintergreen leaf tea is harvested in Nepal and the oil is made by steam processing of warmed, water-soaked wintergreen leaves. and then steam-distilled.

When bruised or cut, the foliage emits a strong wintergreen scent.  Small pinkish-white flowers appear in summer followed by scarlet red berries that are quite persistent.

ORGANOLEPTICS of Wintergreen ~ The scent of the essential oil is bright and fresh and should be used in dilution – never neat.

Two bottles of essential oil of Wintergreen, one red oil, and one colorless oil
Two bottles of essential oil of Wintergreen, one red oil, and one colorless oil

ORGANOLEPTICSWintergreen – redWintergreen – no color
Colorreddishcolorless
Clarityclearclear
ViscosityNon-viscousNon-viscous
Intensity86
TasteStrong & bitterStrong & bitter
OdorEponymous Wintergreen gum odor. green, fruity, herbaceousFruity, green, and Herbaceous

CHEMISTRY AND COMPONENTS ~ WINTERGREEN oil has a relatively simple composition. Methyl salicylate is the main compound found in this EO at a concentration higher than 98%. The remaining part of the oil generally contains low amounts of ethyl salicylate, linalool, α-pinene, and limonene. Regarding adulteration, it’s obvious that pure synthetic methyl salicylate can be sold as genuine wintergreen oil. This can be detected by the absence of minority molecules mentioned above or by the presence of synthetic by-products created during the manufacturing process of synthetic methyl salicylate.

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GENERAL PROPERTIES of Wintergreen Herb and EO

Wintergreen is an herb. It has a good taste and is used in teas for headaches and other types of pain, fever, gas, pain of arthritis, and other conditions. In foods, wintergreen fruit is consumed raw or cooked in jellies, syrups, and wine and is very tasty.            
          The leaves and oil are used to make medicine. In manufacturing, Wintergreen is used as a flavoring agent in food, candies, teas, root beer, and in pharmaceutical products. The E.O. is used for painful conditions including headache, arthritis, and menstrual cramps. It is also used for digestion problems including stomachache and gas (flatulence) and lung conditions including asthma.

APPLICATION AND SKINCARE ~ Wintergreen leaf tea is used as a compress for painful conditions including headache, arthritis, and menstrual cramps. The tea is also taken for digestion problems including stomachache and gas (flatulence), and lung conditions including asthma. Compresses of the herb leaf or blends that can include the essential oil are used for pain and swelling (inflammation).

            The scent of the essential oil is bright and fresh and should be used in dilution – never neat. The E.O. is used for painful conditions including headache, arthritis, and menstrual cramps.

INHALATION ~ Occasional use is okay.

DIFFUSION ~ Do Not diffuse this oil as it can be very irritating.

Thirty years ago, a friend was being cared for at home. In his last days, he had explosive diarrhea.  His family was only able to combat the odor by periodically diffusing Wintergreen into his area of the home. But this is not recommended for most situations as some are allergic to the scent.

BLENDING FOR PURPOSE ~ Be careful if you use Wintergreen in a blend for its scent.  It can be very irritating to some people.  Do not use this in a pain blend with a heating pad as the heat can drive the oil into the skin and cause a serious burn.

            Wintergreen added to Lavender can result in a blend that has the smell of a warm sea.  Try it at 1•100 and if that doesn’t do it, then add another drop of Wintergreen.

            Very small amounts added to various blends always add a sweet, happy, note to the oils it is mixed with.

EMOTIONAL & SYMBOLIC USE ~ Wintergreen has much symbolism attached to it.  These plants are considered calming and cooling and represent healing and protection. Some believe that when given as a gift they break any hex that surrounds the person getting the gift and that they attract love, luck, and money.  This is a great gift to be given to others as a potted plant for a shady, sunny spot on the porch or to be woven into a wreath. A sprig placed under a child’s pillow offers protection and a life of good fortune3

Two plants, one in the bud and one with the flowers fully developed.  Such a lovely plant.
Two plants, one in the bud and one with the flowers fully developed. Such a lovely plant.

CULINARY OR INGESTION ~ Wintergreen berries (Gaultheria procumbens) are a favorite January breath mint and trailside snack. One of the few fruits that is sweetest and freshest on a cold winter or early spring day, frozen wintergreen berries have “ the texture of sorbet “ and a classic wintergreen flavor. The red berries of this native species persistently cling to the plant and, like wild fox grapes, truly come into their own after the first frost. Prolonged, hard frost only invigorates the wintergreen flavor, reducing lingering bitterness and bringing out the cool, creamy texture of the red berry’s flesh. The fruit is at its finest freshly picked and eaten raw, but its flavor can be strong and only one or two berries is plenty to cleanse the palette. This is not a fruit that should be eaten by the handful; think of it as a garnish or palate cleanser.6

Wintergreen with berries. Plant obtained from Forest Farm http://www.forestfarm.com/
Wintergreen with berries. Plant obtained from Forest Farm http://www.forestfarm.com/

HERBAL USES OF WINTERGREEN AND BIRCH BARK ~ Compresses of the herb leaf or blends that include the essential oil are used for pain and swelling (inflammation). The leaves are used in baths, compresses, tonics, and many other ways.  “It will help external skin problems as a decoction application, but if you are sensitive to salicylates, it can also cause skin problems.4” Use in moderation.

HYDROSOL ~ I have never had the opportunity to use this hydrosol in any capacity.  I have had Birchbark hydrosol (same chemical component) and used small amounts as a foot bath for my aching feet.

KEY USE ~ Wintergreen Leaf and oil for Pain-Relief

A bottle of Prima Fleur essential oil of Wintergreen.
A bottle of Prima Fleur Wintergreen essential oil

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WINTERGREEN TOMATO TALE

Here is a story from 1988 regarding Wintergreen. These two oils  Birch and Wintergreen smell alike, contain methyl salicylate and may cause allergic reactions in sensitive persons, so it would be wise to check this before applying.

            Do not apply essential oils in a steam bath. Once while taking a steam bath, I made the mistake of applying a single drop of Wintergreen oil to the outside of my swimsuit.  The steam caused the oil to vaporize and met my skin, nose, and eyes.  Now even though I am not normally sensitive to this substance, the heat of the steam bath and the steam itself caused the oil to diffuse and vaporize, expanding incredibly, the skin above the suit line broke out into a bright red rash that burned and itched painfully.  I had to leave the steam room immediately and run cold water on my irritated skin for 10 minutes until the pain dulled and then went away.  I also applied vitamin E oil to heal the rash.

 So do be very careful when using essential oils; remember that they are highly concentrated substances that require only an infinitesimal amount to be effective.

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INTERESTING/SCIENCE/HISTORICAL ~ “…serious toxicity can result from exposure to small amounts of methyl salicylate. Methyl salicylate is widely available as a component in many over-the-counter brands of creams, ointments, lotions, liniments, and medicated oils intended for topical application to relieve musculoskeletal aches and pains. Among the most potent forms of methyl salicylate is oil of wintergreen (98% methyl salicylate). Other products with varying concentrations of methyl salicylate are ubiquitous throughout many parts of the world, including a number of products marketed as Asian herbal remedies.” ‑‑­­­­–– https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0736467906006366

POLLUTANT ~ Wintergreen oil is considered a pollutant to marine life and a hazard to wildlife.5

SOURCE OF WINTERBGREEN ~ plants@forestfarm.com

REFERENCES ~
1https://phytochemia.com/en/2018/07/03/about-canadian-wintergreen/
2 https://www.britannica.com/plant/wintergreen-plant
3 The Complete Language of Flowers. S. Therese Dietz. #401
4 Rose, Jeanne • The Herbal Body Book, page 131
5 Roses, Jeanne • 375 Essential Oils and Hydrosols, p, 157
6 https://www.themushroomforager.com/blog/2017/1/17/wintergreen-the-hardy-wild-breath-mint

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This work was sponsored and supported by Prima Fleur Botanicals.

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Wintergreen oil cautions.
Some Cautions to Remember with Wintergreen

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

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

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Wintergreen plant in a pot.
Wintergreen plant in a pot.

RAVINTSARA

Ravintsara

A Study in Identity Confusion and Confliction

By Jeanne Rose – Summer 2021

4 bottles of Ravintsara oil, in the author's possession.  Photo by JeanneRose
several bottles of ravintsara oil – photo by JeanneRose

Introduction ~ Ravintsara #163, Cinnamomum camphora, is organically grown and not to be confused with Ravensara. Ravensara (Ravensara aromatica) and Ravintsara (Cinnamomum camphora) are two essential oils distilled from 2 very different trees, often misnamed from two separate botanical family, as well as two different countries. The leaves and wood of the tree are used for different essential oils and often also have different names. It is imperative that all who use essential oils, and any company that sells them, begin to label these oils using both common and scientific name, as well as part of the plant used, and country of origin.

NAMING AND DESCRIPTION ARE CONFUSING.

Naming & Background ~ Cinnamomum camphora, the tree, has different oils with different names depending upon whether you are talking about leaves or wood and whether you are discussing the tree from Madagascar or elsewhere.  The leaves of the tree from Madagascar, CT cineole, are called Ravintsara and they are used in products as an application for fatigue, and postpartum infections. The essential oil from the leaves/stem, and bark has different therapeutic benefits. Often, it seems, when using the term C. camphora, camphor laurel, we are talking about the tree that grows in China and whose seeds have been studied as an anti-bacterial and whose wood is distilled and releases a solid, white, waxy substance called ‘camphor’.

Names and part and country as follows:

Cinnamomum camphora, CT cineole, leaves, Madagascar is Ravintsara oil

Cinnamomum camphora, CT linalool, leaves, China is Ho leaf oil.

Cinnamomum camphora, CT linalool, wood, China is Ho Wood oil

Cinnamomum camphora, CT linalool, wood and leaves, China is Shiu oil

Cinnamomum camphora, CT camphor, wood, China is called white camphor, yellow camphor, and other names.

Ravensara aromatica, CT methyl eugenol, leaves, Madagascar is Ravensara or Hazomanitra oil.

Ravensara aromatica, CT methyl chavicol, bark, Madagascar, is Anise wood oil aka Ravensara anisata.

Sometimes the leaves are picked with stems and when distilled, have that anise-scent of R. aromatica type anisata, bark, Madagascar is called Anise wood oil, and called Ravensara anisata. –– this from Material review 2005 [https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Hector-

Also, some scientific sources call this tree and another, Ravenala madagascariensis which is family Strelitziaceae, a palm-type tree. There is much confusion and Ravensara aromatica (the old name) is still confusing in the literature.  Ravenala madagascariensis Sonn. (Family STRELITZIACEAE), a palm tree whose leaves are used for asthma and the stem used for hypertension.

I remember these essential oils by scent and even that has changed over the years.

Family ~ Family Lauraceae – Cinnamomum camphora – Ravintsara. The essential oil of leaves, Cineole type, from the Madagascar tree is commercially known as ravintsara. The leaves are steam-distilled and depending upon terroir there are different chemical families represented.  The main ones are linalool and cineole. This tree with a common name of Camphor laurel has different names depending upon the six different chemical variants called chemotypes. These are camphor, linalool, 1,8-cineole, nerolidol, safrole, and borneol.

Countries of Origin ~ Ravintsara is a product of Madagascar.

Endangered – Probably, it depends upon to whom you are speaking and what plant and plant part they are discussing.  Even in the scientific literature, often the plant part being discussed is missing as evidenced from many articles in the literature as well as any book discussing essential oils.

  If you are using the leaves only of the R. aromatica, the tree itself is not endangered; however, if you are using the bark of this same tree [but called R. anisata], this tree is endangered.

General Description of Plant habitat and Growth and Confusion ~ I am unable to provide a proper description of the tree, only that at this writing this essential oil still causes confusion. Obtained from the leaves of a tree (Cinnamomum camphora (L.) J. Presl), which was introduced from Taiwan as an ornamental tree and now grown widely in Madagascar and with increased demand from the international market. This essential oil has often been misreported and traded as ravensara, or Ravensara aromatica. The true ravensara (R. aromatica) essential oil is extracted from the leaves of an endemic species locally known as “havozo,’ or “hazomanitra, which means “aromatic tree” in the Malagasy language.”1

“Another source of confusion with Ravensara species is that R. aromatica and R. anisata (a synonym for R. aromatica) were considered different species producing different essential oils, whereas the plants were one and the same. Both essential oils come from the same plant, but the oil of R. anisata usually refers to the bark oil of R. aromatica (rich in methyl chavicol), while the essential oil of the true R. aromatica is extracted from the leaves. The species that was first described by Sonnerat was further renamed as R. anisata by Danguy.”2

PORTION OF PLANT USED IN EXTRACTION AND YIELDS ~ Ravintsara Essential Oil is steam distilled from leaves of Cinnamomum camphora CT cineole in Madagascar during the months of September through December.  The bark yields another product. Always carefully analyze the odor of the essential oil as there are certainly different grades and scents.  Wood, leaf, bark produce different essential oil by SD. See above.

Yield ~ I was unable to find the specific yield of essential oil of leaf of Cinnamomum camphora from Madagascar.

The chemical composition of R. aromatica bark is in all cases characterized by a high amount of methyl chavicol (83–98%), whatever the chemotype.

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A bottle of  Prima fleur Ravintasara oil showing the color or lack of and the clarity.
Ravintsara showing color/clarity

ORGANOLEPTICS ~ The organoleptic, physical, and chemical profiles of the essential oils of ravintsara (C. camphora) and ravensara (R. aromatica) oils showed that both essential oils can also easily be differentiated using chemical fingerprinting. It has been proposed that new standards for their botanical and essential oil authentication and species identification be written.

Ravintsara – Cinnamomum camphora CT cineole, leaves, Madagascar

Color – colorless
Clarity – clear
Viscosity non-viscous
Scent Intensity – 6
Taste – bitter and aromatic

Tenacity – very good
Description of scent – The leaf oil is herbaceous, woody, spicy, and green and more suitable to therapeutics than perfumery.
Aroma Description – Ravintsara has an odor much like Eucalyptus due to the same chemical component of Cineol. It is pleasant and refreshing, fruity, herbaceous, and spicy. Waft the scent enough times to remember it by its odor.

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GENERAL PROPERTIES of Ravintsara CT cineole

Properties of Ravintsara ~ This essential oil is considered anticatarrhal, decongestant, and expectorant. It is helpful and useful for rhinitis, pharyngitis, bronchitis, and sinusitis (by inhalation).

BLENDING RAVINTSARA FOR PURPOSE ~ This robust and pleasant oil is best used in blends for the respiratory system and in massage blends, to refresh and uplift the body.  It blends well with herbaceous oils such as Rosemary and Marjoram, the citrus oils such as Lemon and Bergamot, and spicy oils. Included in this list are some resins and some grasses such as Frankincense and Palmarosa. Try very tiny amounts in perfumery to make the perfume sparkle.

>Formula for rhinitis ~ For perennial allergic rhinitis (PAR), the essential oils of Ravintsara, Geranium, (Pelargonium graveolens), Eucalyptus and Niaouli, used together, release their decongestant, tonic, and anti-infectious properties, and can be used in a base of saline solution and rosemary hydrosol, and provide great benefits in case of a blocked nose, (loss of sense of smell), and irritation of the ear, nose, throat (ENT) tract.3

Formula:

1 oz Rosemary hydrosol
+  1 oz double strength saline solution*
+ 3 drops Ravintsara (Cinnamomum camphora, CT cineole, leaves, Madagascar is Ravintsara oil
+ 1 drop each of (Frankincense or Rose Geranium), Niaouli, and Eucalyptus.
Place all in a 2 oz nasal spray bottle, shake vigorously to use.

            *[Double strength saline solution is made by bringing to a boil 1 cup of water covered for 15 minutes. Cool to room temperature. Add 1 t. salt and a pinch of baking soda. Stir until dissolved. Store in the refrigerator no more than 2-days.]

>Another formula for rhinitis is the inhalation of a combination of EO that include Sandalwood, Ravensara aromatica, and Frankincense.2

>Sore throat Formula ~ For the beginning of a sore throat, I have used Ravintsara, a drop on a sugar cube, to slowly dissolve in my mouth.  I have found this to be very helpful.

HERBAL ~ A tea of the leaves of Cinnamomum camphora in Madagascar is used for fatigue and post-partum infection.

Chemistry and Components ~ We have discussed this in the beginning.  It is important for the consumer to look at the GCMS; if you want Ravintsara it must be from Madagascar and have high levels of cineol, 50-70%.  The scent will help guide you.  I have seen a product called this name (from a well-known essential oil company) that had a high percentage of linalool and that is NOT Ravintsara but Ho Leaf oil.

Key Uses ~ Ravintsara is the oil of the Respiratory system. Just like the citrine in the opening photo, ravintsara is a powerful cleanser.

Ravintsara oil - different sized bottles
Ravintsara oil

References

  1. Searching for the Real Ravensara (Ravensara aromatica Sonn.) Essential Oil. Perfumer & Flavorist, vol. 30, Jan-Feb 2005
  2. “Effect of inhalation of aromatherapy oil on patients with perennial allergic rhinitis: a randomized controlled trial,” Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, vol. 2016, Article ID 7896081, 7 pages, 2016.
  3.    Effect of the Use of Intranasal Spray of Essential Oils in Patients with Perennial Allergic Rhinitis: A Prospective Study https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/32961531/

This examination of the latest information about the essential oil Ravintsara

was sponsored and supported by Prima Fleur Botanicals.

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Cautions to Remember chart
Cautions

Ravintsara exploration written by Jeanne Rose 2021

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

Ravensara aromatica Sonnerat is a tree endemic to Madagascar. The essential oil extracted from the leaves is used in aromatherapy. Previous chemical studies have generated some confusion about the chemical composition of this essential oil. To eliminate this uncertainty, we undertook a systematic evaluation of the chemical composition of essential oils from leaves of this species. The study focused on 28 individual samples formally identified as R. aromatica. The essential oils were obtained by hydrodistillation and analyzed by GC and GC–MS. It was possible to distinguish four groups of trees through principal components analysis and agglomerative hierarchical clustering analysis of the seven chief molecules identified in their essential oils. Two groups were characterized by a prevalence of compounds with an aromatic structure: methyl chavicol (representing more than 90% of the essential oil) in the first group and methyl eugenol (74–82%) in the second group. The predominant compounds of the other two groups proved to be of the monoterpene type: α-terpinene (25–28%) and limonene (15–22%) in the third group, while sabinene (25–34%), linalool (7–21%) and terpinen-4-ol (6–12%) were the primary constituents of the essential oils in the fourth group. The importance of these results for the commercial production of the essential oils from this species is discussed. Copyright © 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. Intraspecific chemical variability and highlighting of chemotypes of leaf essential oils from Ravensara aromatica Sonnerat, a tree endemic to Madagascar. By Hanitriniaina Sahondra AndrianoelisoaChantal MenutPhilippe Collas de ChatelperronJérôme SaraccoPanja RamanoelinaPascal Danthu

The Healing Oil

HEALING OIL — The Secrets of Famous Bruise Juice Decoded
By Jeanne Rose

photo of various bottles that contain either Brise Juice or Calendula infused joil
Bruise Juice & Calendula Oil by Jeanne Rose

History of Bruise Juice – During 1969 I was trying to figure out how to cure my paralyzed shoulder. One source for historical herbal information was the library at the U.C. Medical School. There I found a most fascinating book, “Receipts in Physick and Chirurgery,” by Sir Kenelm Digby, Knight, 1668. There was a recipe for a potent ointment that would heal at a far distance. Well, that was certainly fascinating as it meant if you had an injury in New York I could rub the same place on me while in San Francisco and heal your injury 3000 miles away. So I set about collecting the ingredients and spent the next six months working on the formula. Since the receipt itself was so old, the names of many of the herbs were a mystery: such as what in heck was smallage? It turns out the name smallage is simply an old name for Celery seed. So that was not a problem. Also, the ointment was made with ‘herbs in season’. that is, freshly picked botanicals. This meant that I had to start in spring and end at the next spring. I solved this problem by purchasing some dried herbs from Nature’s Herb Company in San Francisco and also using some fresh herbs. The process and original formula is in my book, Herbs & Things that was written in 1969 and published in 1972.

This book is still available as a spiral bound book and is still a wonderful source of information. Buy it by the month of September and receive a discount by saving shipping charges. The entire amount to send would be only $28.00 . www.jeannerose.net
Available book at website

I teach my students how to make both bruise Juice and a truly wonderful Calendula infused oil in my Herbal/Aromatic SPA class given in April of every year. Check out our classes and sign up, you too can learn to take care of yourself and your family with simple herbs and essential oils.

I always use at least 40 – 60 herbs, roots, barks and spices in the Bruise Juice to combat any sort of physical problem. Great for athletes; football, baseball, lacrosse, basketball, rugby and used on all sports injuries Bruise Juice, pick and start work on a waxing moon. Let it drain and bottle on a waning moon.

Chart showing a number of herbs that can be used in making Bruise Juice.
Neutral-Eliminator-Building Herbs for Healing

Essential Oils per gallon • Each quart of Bruise Juice contains over 2.5% essential oil and should contain all or some of these oils. Tea Tree essential oil by itself is not effective.
Plai/Teatree – first aid in all its forms, mild, anti-bacterial, and first aid treatment
Litsea cubeba – anti-viral (in a combination — Tea Tree 1 part • Litsea •9 parts)
Palmarosa – anti-fungal and anti-yeast
Rosemary verbenone – anti-fungal (verbenone) and stimulating

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           Some of the herbs that I have used are as follows – of course since this is a Seasonal product, the herbs used depend on the season that we are making the Bruise Juice. Spring Bruise Juice is often green, leaves and early flowers; Summer Bruise Juice is flowers and lots of herb parts; Fall Bruise Juice is leaves and roots; Winter Bruise Juice is often conifers, seeds and barks. We always use between 40-60 herbs, leaves, barks, roots, stems, and flowers in my Bruise Juice to honor its 400-year-old past.

Angelica archangelica – leaf & stem
Artemisia absinthium – Absinthe leaf
Artemisia arborescens – leaf & stem
Artemisia latiloba – leaf & stem
Artemisia vulgare – leaf & stem
Artichoke leaf – Cynara scolymus
Bougainvillea flowers & leaf
California Poppy flowers
California Fuchsia
Comfrey – flower, leaf & stem
Fennel Seed
Fern (Lady Fern) Athyrium filix-femina
Feverfew Tanacetum parthenium
Forget-Me-Not Myosotis sylvatica
Foxglove flowers
Giant Sequoia – Sequoiadendron giganteum
Iboza riparia – leaf & stem (anti-microbial)
Lemon Balm – leaf & stem
Marjoram & Yellow Marjoram – Origanum majorana
Marshmallow leaf & stem – Althea officinalis
Matilija Poppy Romneya coulteri – Fried egg flower
Mint leaf & steam of Bergamot mint, Wild mint

  Healing Symbol

Nasturtium Tropaeolum majus – flower, leaf & stem
Nicotiana alata Tobacco flower –
    flower, leaf & stem
Pelargonium graveolens – flower & stem
Pelargonium odoratissimum
(Apple & nutmeg) Peppermint leaf & stem
Potato Solanum tuberosum – leaf
Rose eglanteria leaf
Rosemary – leaf & stem
Salvia clevelandii
Pineapple Sage – leaf & stem
Sequoiadendron giganteum – leaf & bark
Spanish mint – leaf & stem
Spearmint – leaf & stem
Strawberry, wild
Violet leaf & stem & flowers
Wisteria flower – W. sinensis
Witch Hazel bark, stems, buds
Woodruff leaf
Yarrow flower & stem (Achillea millefolium)

photos of plants, 9 of the many herbs that are used in bruise juice.

Bruise Juice is a well-known product developed by Jeanne Rose in 1969. It was written about & described in Herbs & Things, Jeanne Rose’s Herbal – see pages 204-206. Each season of the year, the Bruise Juice is made with the freshest herbs of the season – so Spring Bruise Juice will smell and react a bit different than Summer made or Fall made Bruise Juice. Apply with fingers, cotton ball, t-tip as massage, application or rub. Rub it on gently or firmly, as often as necessary, at least several times per day.

Summer 2008 — made with herbs including
Comfrey leaf – emollient & healing
Yarrow flowers – astringent & healing
Lemon Balm tops – aromatic & antiviral
Mint & Bergamot mint – aromatic
Witch Hazel leaves – astringent
Marshmallow flowers and leaves – healing

BLM, the warrior,  with his combat vehicle.
Bruise Juice Warrior, Bryan Moore
Chart listing 101 Uses for the Healing Oil, also called "Bruise Juice".

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

“I received the bottle of Bruise Juice. Thank you!! I have been using it by application religiously each morning & evening. It is a wonderful formulation. I love the scent! If you have that scent in a more concentrated formula as a fragrance application I would like to know. Warm regards … J” In the early days, people used this on salad as dressing, but this is the first time that anyone wanted to use it as a scent!

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

 

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

bottle of the healing oil called Bruise Juice
Healing Comfrey in the Bruise Juice


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Symbol for Healing

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