MASTIC

MASTIC, Frankincense, Galbanum, and more … I love all the resins; I love to burn them as incense

and use their essential oils in healing blends and via inhalation.

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A bottle of Mastic oil with a dropper showing the color of the essential oil as a  clear yellow, matching the yellow paperweight.

MASTIC – an Ancient Resin produced by a tree

By Jeanne Rose ~ 11-30-22

COMMON NAME/LATIN BINOMIAL ~ Gum Mastic / (Pistacia lentiscus L.) is a tear-like oleoresin obtained from a flowering shrub-like tree. When distilled, it has very little oil. It is called Chios Mastic Gum in Greece.

                 Family ~    Anacardiaceae

COUNTRIES OF ORIGINS ~ Mastic is known from Greece but grows in Mediterranean Europe and Northern Africa, Algeria, Morocco, and the Canary Islands. Only the true Mastic tree, var. chia, has the proper qualities considered desirable. It is true to its terroir, and this variety grows well only in the specific area with this perfect terroir, the southeast corner of the island of Chios, a Greek island in the Aegean Sea.

GENERAL DESCRIPTION OF PLANT HABITAT AND GROWTH ~ The Mastic tree, Pistacia lentiscus, is an evergreen, flowering shrub, growing 1 to 5 m high in dry and rocky areas in Mediterranean Europe. It has a vivid fruity smell of resin; it is a dioecious tree with separate male and female plants. 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 green flowers 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 at first red and then black when ripe, about 4 mm in diameter. This is edible.

            This 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. Small cuts are made in the bark of the main branches, and the trees drip the sap onto the specially covered ground below, and the resin is collected. 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 This small bushy tree produces the natural oleoresin from the trunk, obtained by wounding the trunk and larger branches with a gouge-like instrument.

ENDANGERED OR NOT: The Pistacia lentiscus is considered threatened and endangered.

A selection of mastic oil, and mastic oleoresin, and resin, 1972, 1973 and 2012.

Jeanne Rose collection of Mastic from 1973 to the present.

MASTIC RESIN OF THE PLANT, HOW DISTILLED, EXTRACTION METHODS, AND YIELDS ~ Mastic is a resin, or more correctly, an oleoresin containing a little oil, obtained from an evergreen dioecious shrub, Pistacia lentiscus L. Mastic occurs in yellow or greenish-yellow rounded or pear-shaped tears about 3 mm in diameter. The tears are brittle but become plastic when chewed.  The essential oil is produced by steam distillation from the oleoresin or occasionally directly from the leaves and branches.  160-170 tonnes per annum from the male plants on Chios.

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

ORGANOLEPTIC CHARACTERISTICS OF MASTIC ~ Mastic oil is a pale yellow, clear, slightly viscous, and with a bitter taste; the intensity of scent is 5-6.
           Taste ~  Mastic is the world’s first chewing gum. I have been chewing this gum and tasting the sweet for weeks, and the taste is very eponymous. I suggest that you give it a try as it is a very special savory, most memorable taste. It starts out floral and slightly bitter, and then it is herbal and floral. Delicious!

ODOR DESCRIPTION/ AROMA ASSESSMENT: The Mastic odor is earthy and green and woody, with a slightly fungal odor and back notes of fruity and citrus, herbaceous, and hay. It is excellent to use in a fragrance for a man or for a darker-haired woman.

An odor 'snapshot'  of Mastic, showing its different scent notes.

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GENERAL PROPERTIES of Mastic

PROPERTIES AND USES ~ Gum Mastic is used in medicine and products like medical creams, dental toothpaste, and cures for ulcers; it is used in the paint industry, cosmetics, paint varnish, and in artist 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 old Worlde chewing gum, while Spruce and Pine gums were traditionally chewed in the Newe Worlde, USA, and Canada.

Years ago, I would have meetings in my home with my students and friends that I called “Aromatherapy Salons”. We would discuss various aromatic subjects, aromatherapy, essential oils, drink fragrant herbal teas, have tea cookies and sweetmeats. (A sweetmeat is a delicacy, prepared with sugar, honey, as a cake or pastry.) 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 and it is especially tasty with bitter coffee.

A jar of Mastic cream being dropped from the lid into the jar, showing consistency.

Mastic cream from Greece

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

DIFFUSE/DIFFUSION ~ EMOTIONAL/ENERGETIC USE ~ The mystery of aromatherapy is to find that elusive essence that can create various emotional and physical changes. Aleister Crowley considered Mastic a pale yellow color energetically and is clean, and free from prejudice, whether for or against any moral idea.

It is used in any ritual blend to intensify them and quicken their rate of vibration. Mastic is used as an incense for Pisces people.

BLENDING & PERFUMERY ~ Mastic blends best with citrus scents, Lavender-fern combos as a top note, and in floral odors. In perfume, use the tincture as a fixative. I enjoy using Mastic in massage blends. I particularly like to use Mastic EO in my Natural Perfumery class as a tincture and as a fixative where it lends a subtle smoky note.

Mastic oil highlighted with a yellow paperweight.

HYDROSOL ~ I have not as yet had the opportunity to experience Mastic Hydrosol.

CULINARY &HERBAL USE OF MASTIC ~ 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. I find it delicious!

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. Regular consumption of Mastic resin has been proven to absorb cholesterol, thus easing high blood pressure, and reducing the risk of heart attacks.

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            In 1993, I had a very formal 8-course meal for friends, and for the 7th course was a cheese course of Roquefort with Aromatherapy sweetmeats of Bergamot candied peels, Bitter Orange candied peels, and Mastic spoon sweet with Lavender Honey Thins and a delicious wine of Muscat de Beaumes de Venise. It was a very successful meal.

2 jars of Mastic with the resin.

KEY USE ~ The Olde Worlde gum.

INTERESTING INFORMATION ~ The word “masticate” comes from an ancient Greek word from the Greek practice of chewing this interestingly flavorful resin as a gum to freshen the breath and to fight tooth decay.

JEANNE ROSE’S MASTIC TOMATO TALES

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 it 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.
            In 2018 at a Resin Distillation Conference in Spokane, WA., I asked several well-known gum-chewers [thankyou, Monica, and Kendall] 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 caries 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, 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 our simplest first-aid skills!

•••

This work is sponsored and supported by Prima Fleur Botanicals.

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References

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.
3Wikipedia – Mastic

Bibliography

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

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

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

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

• • •

SOME CAUTIONS TO REMEMBER for all Plants and their Parts

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

PLAI & Tea Tree

Photo by Jeanne Rose of Plai and tea Tree oil enhanced by a paperweight.

SYNOPSIS ~ Tea Tree and Plai are two essential oils with many healing qualities.  They are used much in the same way, have the same main component, but yet, smell very different one from the other.

TEA TREE & PLAI HISTORY & USES

By Jeanne Rose ~ 11-12-22

NAME & FAMILY  ~ Tea Tree oil is steam-distilled from the leaves of Melaleuca alternifolia, although other Melaleuca species are also called TeaTtree; this one mentioned is the primary tree used to distill Tea tree oil. Melaleuca is a genus of nearly 300 species of plants commonly known as honey myrtles, paperbarks, or tea trees.

            …..Family The Tea tree is a member of the Myrtaceae family, including plants such as Myrtle, Clove, Eucalyptus, and Bay rum.

            Plai is distilled from rhizomes of the plant Zingiber cassumunar. Cassumunar ginger or Zingiber cassumunar, now thought to be a synonym of Zingiber montanum Link ex A.Dietr. and is a species of plant in the ginger family and is also a relative of galangal. It is called Plai in Thailand.

….. Family – Plai is a member of the Zingiberaceae family, which also includes Ginger, Galangal, Cardamom, and Hedychium.

COUNTRIES OF ORIGINS ~ Plai originates in India and is often steam-distilled in Thailand. It may have originated in Southeast Asia and was introduced into China, Europe, and the Philippines, as well as the Caribbean Islands and the Americas.

…..Tea Tree is an Australian plant and can grow in many places. It prefers moist but well-drained soil. It grows well in the Botanical Gardens in San Francisco.

ENDANGERED OR INVASIVE ~ Plai is considered to be invasive in the warm, humid countries where it is at home, while Tea Tree is not endangered and in a certain area may also be considered to be invasive.

GENERAL DESCRIPTION OF PLANT HABITAT AND GROWTH ~ As interesting as these two essential oils are, they come from two different families and two different parts of the plant. Tea tree is a leaf part from a rather large tree with papery bark, while Plai is an underground, branched rhizome from a Ginger type plant. You can refer to botanical texts for descriptions of these two plants.

Photo by Jeanne Rose of Tea Tree tree and a botanical illustration of Plai plant with rhizome.

2. Teatree in San Francisco Botanical Garden and Plai in the botanical collection

PORTION OF PLANT USED FOR EXTRACTION, EXTRACTION METHOD, DISTILLATION, HOW DISTILLED ~

Plai is steam-distilled from the freshly dug rhizome and  

…..Yield ~ Plai = 0.5-0.9 % (v/w)

Tea tree is distilled from the leaves of several trees, most often is M. alternifolia and

…..Yield ~ Tea Tree is 1-2%

SOURCE (S) ~ Plai is sourced in Indonesia, and Teatree is from both organic and cultivated trees in Australia.

A bottle of Plai and a bottle of Prima Fleur Tea Tree oil

A chart of the organoleptic or sensory qualities of Plai and Tea Tree oil.

4. Sensory qualities

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CHEMISTRY ~ Both these essential oils and possibly the hydrosol contains terpinene-4-ol. Terpinene-4-ol is an antimicrobial effect; terpinene-4-ol promotes anti-inflammatory cytokine production while inhibiting proinflammatory cytokine expression. Plai also contains sabinene, which contributes to the spiciness of black pepper and is used in the perfume industry for its pleasant odor. Sabinene is also considered to be both anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory.

Tea Tree Oil was found to be composed of approximately 40% terpinene-4-ol, 23% y-terpinene, and 10% a-terpinene plus many other components, and terpinene-4-ol seems to be the most significant regarding the therapeutic values. It should be used freshly distilled and is otherwise is non-allergenic, not an irritant, and only slightly toxic.

Plai was in a 1992 study and discovered zerumbone was contained in the plant’s rhizomes, and it has antifungal properties against pathogenic fungi. It contains about 42% terpinene-4-ol, and that is the very same component that makes Tea Tree so healing. Plai also contains about 27% sabinene. This makes it a very pleasing-smelling essential oil, cool, green, and peppery.1

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GENERAL PROPERTIES OF PLAI AND TEA TREE

            The plant parts of these different plants, rhizome, and leaf, share terpinene-4-ol and share the properties as pain relievers, anti-inflammatories, with Plai having the addition of sabinene as a potent anti-fungal.

Lake Ainsworth in Australia

5. Lake Ainsworth

PROPERTIES AND USES OF TEA TREE AND PLAI ~ Plai and Tea Tree oil have many properties, particularly as an analgesic, anti-neuralgic, and anti-inflammatory. They are useful on sprains and strains, torn muscles, and ligaments.

On inflamed joints, applying Plai, straight on; it has been found to ease the pain for upwards of 18 hours, which is incredible since no other oil has been found to change pain levels so far. On joints that were inflamed due to injury, Plai was best combined with oils such as Black Pepper and Lemon or Neroli, Himalayan Cedar, and Orange. These combinations worked to take the swelling down, calm the pain, and speed up the healing time considerably.

Dilutions were 10% concentration in a vegetable gel or oil or small roller top.
            A Japanese study from 1991 suggest that sabinene, a terpene, an active ingredient of Z. cassumunar rhizomes, has analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties. In addition, an American study found that Plai oil exhibits antimicrobial activity against a wide range of Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria, an anti-fungal that require keratin (skin cells) to grow (dermatophytes), and yeasts.  A study also showed that the essential oil from Z. cassumunar had anti-microbial activity and worked well with medically useful antibiotics. __ Wikipedia

PLAI – Zingiber cassumunar

Working with Plai that is blended

It is wonderful and very most splendid

With a hidey-high-ho

There it goes on my toe

And thus have a cut that is mended.

APPLICATION/ SKINCARE WITH PLAI AND TEA TREE OIL

Pain relief with Plai and Tea Tree oil – These oils work well for minor pain relief by applying a 2-5% mixture in a carrier oil 2-3 times per day.  I personally prefer Plai for this as I prefer the scent, and I think the chemical composition with sabinene is more effective.  I usually blend 5% with Marjoram and sometimes high-altitude Lavender.

            There are many formulas using these two oils externally in so many different ways, and just too many to list here.  You can add to your formulations starting at just 5% and work up or down as you wish.

INTERNAL USES such as pessaries, gels, and douche preparations have been made using these EO as part of the product. However, only Tea tree has extensive published results of the antimicrobial activity. Some of the reports are complicated by the lack of a scientific name or description of the oil discussed and where no data is given on the chemical composition.

            “Allergic reactions to Tea Tree Oil occur in predisposed individuals and may be due to the various oxidation products formed by exposure of the oil to light and/or air. Adverse reactions may be minimized by avoiding ingestion, applying only diluted oil topically, and using oil that has been stored correctly.” 4

… “With digestive upsets, Plai, along with Black Pepper, Orange, and Tarragon, has been used to counter irritable bowel syndrome. This blend was used, as a massage blend, across the abdomen after each bowel movement or anytime there was any cramping or pain in the abdominal area.5

BLENDING & PERFUMERY ~ There is a significant difference in the scent of Tea Tree and Plai, mainly because Plai contains fragrant sabinene and Tea tree does not. I prefer using Plai if I have it, therapeutically, in massage blends, and even in certain perfumes.  Tea tree I would only use it as an application in a therapeutic sense.

Blends Best ~ Plai blends best with citrus, spice, and floral scents and, in a small amount in perfumery will lift and brighten any scent made with a mixture of absolutes.

Since I only use Tea Tree in certain therapeutic blends, I really don’t worry too much about the odor profile, only how effective the therapeutics of the blend will be.

Inhalation Blending Formula – 7-16-22 , Anti-inflammatory and inhalation formula. I  used this mixture of oils at 15% in an Olive oil and Maqui berry mixture as a carrier oil at 85% (about 85-90 drops): Clove (2 drops), Eucalyptus, Peppermint, and Plai (5 drops of each).  I wasn’t too concerned  about the exact numbers as this was mainly an inhalation. I always mix the essential oils together first and then succuss them, then add the carrier oil, and always label the container immediately with the contents and the use and always list the date as well.

Jeanne Rose photo of Prima Fleur oil of Plai and Tea Tree, 2022

6. both oils

DIFFUSE/DIFFUSION ~ EMOTIONAL/ENERGETIC USE ~ The mystery of aromatherapy is that you get to know these scents that can create a variety of emotional and physical changes. Plai and Tea Tree, these are two powerful healing oils and can be used with care and attention to detail. However, it is not wise to diffuse them, and certainly not with young children and pets nearby.

HYDROSOL ~ Tea Tree DISTILLATION, SUMMER ~ 2000

            “ … I should mention that the Tea Tree  I distilled was one of two Melaleuca linariifolia that grew in Strybing Arboretum in Golden Gate Park.  It was quietly cut down by city gardeners. When I was informed that this magnificent tree which was in full flower at the time, was lying in heaps on the ground, another person and I gathered all that we could and sent 250 lbs. to an Aromatic Plant Project distiller to be distilled.  In Australia, the Tea tree is harvested several times per year and thus never is allowed to flower.  Our Tea tree was in full flower, and the resulting hydrosol and essential oil were unlike anything I had ever experienced.  Instead of the scent being fungal and herbaceous, the scent was highly floral-sweet and with a hint of herbal and some citrus notes.

Tea Tree Hydrosol is used as a wash for any sort of skin infection, fungal or bacterial. It makes a great wash for any deep wound that needs to be bandaged. I used it on my dog, Sumo, who had a 12-inch long cut that was stapled and needed to be washed, and the bandage changed daily.

         It is also a useful gargle or mouthwash for a sore throat or daily usage; it can be taken as a drink when you have a cold or flu (1 t/glass of water, 3 x/day) and many other uses.

            Since that hydrosol was never analyzed, we only know that the alcohols probably come over into the hydrosol (esters and acids as well); we can assume that some of the terpinene-4-ol is also in the hydrosol and thus has somewhat the same uses as the essential oil.

            I obtained both excellent quality hydrosol and essential oil that were authenticated by the Aromatic Plant Project and given its Seal of Authenticity for true essential oil and hydrosol.

            It was an excellent summer for distillation.  The days were cool, the still worked efficiently, and the plants were perfect.”5

Jeanne Rose photo of a bottle of Tea Tree hydrosol from 2007

7. Tea tree hydrosol from 2007

HERBAL & CULINARY USES ~ I have used only the freshly picked leaves and flowers of Tea tree in tea to drink, and while not my favorite scent, it tasted okay and was a hot relief to my sinus and throat when I had a cold.  I certainly would enjoy trying the Plai rhizome but have not as yet experienced it.  They are generally not used in a culinary sense.

These herbs are used in their plant (herbal) form as a compress, macerated in oil for massage oil, and in many other ways. The pulverized rhizome of Plai simmered in water is effective in relieving asthmatic symptoms in children by inhalation and by sipping the tea.

“The herbs Plai, Turmeric, and fresh Ginger rhizomes and plant material are contained in a muslin poultice, which is steamed and rubbed into the body after a deep tissue massage. This tradition dates back over 1000 years.In the 14th century, the Thai developed this form of herbal relief combined with massage to help their soldiers recover after battle. Massage with Thai herbs and rhizomes, like Plai, was used to treat inflammation, sprains, infections, contusions, and other injuries. A poultice was used to treat infection and topical wounds while the massage itself increased blood flow and encouraged the essential oils to penetrate affected areas. . Today, Plai is used in the same way in the form of a balm, oil, or cream.7

PET CARE ~ Be careful and use only fresh and diluted Tea tree oil on your pet, as it can oxidize and become toxic.  Pets sniffing or ingesting Teatree oil can cause a low body temperature, weakness, walking drunk, inability to walk, tremors, coma, increased liver enzymes, and even death. In my personal uses of Tea Tree oil on my dogs, I recommend only using the hydrosol on the skin. See the Tomato Tale that follows.

            I do not have any information or personal knowledge on using Plai oil or hydrosol on pets.

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

KEY USE ~ Two oils of Healing

HISTORICAL USES ~ Tea tree has been used as a folk medicine treatment among the indigenous Australians of eastern inland areas who use tea tree leaves by inhaling the oils from the crushed leaves to treat coughs and colds. They also sprinkle leaves on wounds, after which a poultice is applied. In addition, tea tree leaves are soaked to make an infusion to treat sore throats or skin ailments. Characteristic of the myrtle family Myrtaceae, it is used to distill Tea Tree essential oil.2

INTERESTING INFORMATION ~ If ingested, tea tree oil is toxic with serious side effects, including coma, and may cause skin irritation if used topically in high concentrations. As of 2006, no deaths were reported in the medical literature.2

This work is sponsored and supported by Prima Fleur Botanicals.

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8. SCENT SNAPSHOTS

Scent snapshots of Plai and Tea Tree oil.

TEA TREE TOMATO TALE3

Many who have the books of Jeanne Rose, aromatherapist and author of many books concerning herbs and aromatherapy, know the story of her dog, Sumo.  Sumo-dog, a full-grown Akita-Shepherd cross with the face of a puppy, was run over by a car and dragged along the pavement on his right side for some distance.  The injury to his rear right leg was severe, including severed ligaments and tendons, torn off skin and muscles in a 180-degree rotation around the hock joint!

Veterinarians recommended amputation.  Jeanne refused to allow this and treated the dog’s wounds with Tea Tree and Lavender oils and hydrosols.  Today there is only an almost unnoticeable scar the length of his leg and a slight limp in Sumo’s happy gait.  At the same time, Jeanne used diluted Ylang-Ylang oil in a diffuser to treat her other dog, Wolfie-dog, which was emotionally traumatized by the terrible incident.

            Tea Tree oil can be one of the most useful of essential oils for pet care.  The only drawback is that cats and dogs usually hate the smell and run, crawl, or hide under the bed when the bottle is opened and give the most heartbreaking sorrowful looks when being treated with it.  BUT IT WORKS!  “Tea Tree oil is 4-5 times stronger than household antiseptic and must be diluted to 10% or less. And the oil must be fresh.  Its bacterial action is increased where blood or pus is present.  Externally used in deep wounds or cuts it will remove necrotic tissue and leave a healthy surface”.__ Jeanne Rose’s The Aromatherapy Book: Applications & Inhalations

References

1.https://www.mdpi.com/1420-3049/22/10/1645. A Review of the Biomedical Applications of Zerumbone and the Techniques for Its Extraction from Ginger Rhizomes.

2.Wikipedia

3. Rose, Jeanne.  The Aromatherapy Book: Applications & Inhalations.  San Francisco, California, p.109-110

4. Hammer, Carson, etc. A review of the toxicity of Melaleuca alternifolia (tea tree) oil •Food and Chemical Toxicology, vol. 44, Issue 5, May 2006, pp. 616-625

5.Rose, Jeanne. personal and distillation notes.

6. Clin Microbiol Rev. 2006 Jan: 19(I):50-62. doi:10.1128/CMR.19.1.50-62.2006

7. https://applairelief.com/what-is-plai/

Bibliography

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

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

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

Herbal Studies Course/ Jeanne Rose, California: 1992.

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SOME CAUTIONS TO REMEMBER for all Plants and their Parts

Cautions to remember about using essential oils.
Jeanne Rose perfume photo

OREGANO

photo  of Oregano oil and plant
Oregano oil and plant

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

OREGANO/MARJORAM – the names of confusion

By Jeanne Rose ~ 10-2022

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

OTHER COMMON NAME/NAMING INFORMATIONOregano ~

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

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

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

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

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

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

photo of Greek Oregano flowers
Greek Oregano flowers

MARJORAM is in several genera, including Origanum and Thymus

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

_____ 5. Sweet Marjoram, Origanum majorana [the oil has very little color, clear, non-viscous, 5, herbaceous, even fruity]  …  See https://jeannerose-blog.com/marjoram/

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

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

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

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

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THYME called Thymus.

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

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

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

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

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

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

_____ 16. Thyme CT thymol, Thymus vulgaris CT thymol                            

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

OTHER GENERA

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

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

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

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

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

••

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

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

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

•§•

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

            YIELD of Steam Distillate ~ is 1.2%

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

ORGANOLEPTIC CHARACTERISTICS

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

CHEMISTRY OF SAMPLES OF OREGANUM VULGARE Hirtum6

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

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

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GENERAL PROPERTIES ~ OREGANO

PROPERTIES AND USES ARE LISTED IN THE CHART BELOW for OREGANO  types

CHEMISTRY OF OREGANO/MARJORAM ~ Chart

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

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

All rights reserved 2007. No part of this article may be used without the prior permission of Jeanne Rose© http://www.jeannerose.net

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

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

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

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

see 375 Essential Oils & Hydrosols by Jeanne Rose.

***

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

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

For the full article, please refer to http://www.jeannerose.net/articles/Preserve_Lotion_Water.html


Preserve Formula

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

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

A TOMATO TALE OF CHAMPAGNE AND OREGANO

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

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

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

two hydrosols of Oregano

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

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

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

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

KEY USE ~ The oil of Disinfection.

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REFERENCES

  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oregano
  2. Aromatherapy Course – Home & Family
  3. Wikipedia
  4. Origanum compactum Benth: A Review on Phytochemistry and Pharmacological Properties • Abdelhakim Bouyahya1,etc.• Biochemistry-Immunology Laboratory, Department of Biology, Faculty of Sciences, Mohammed V University, Rabat, Morocco
  5. Wikipedia,  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oregano
  6. 5. Med. Aromat. Plants, Vol 5, Issue 4, 1000252
  7.  Chemical Polymorphism of Origanum compactum Grown in All Natural Habitats in Morocco, Kaoutar Aboukhalid, etc.• https://doi.org/10.1002/cbdv.201500511

BIBLIOGRAPHY

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

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

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

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

This work is sponsored and supported by Prima Fleur Botanicals.

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PRECAUTIONS

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

Cinnamon Bark & Leaf

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

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

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

CINNAMON BARK & LEAF, Hydrosol, Uses

Jeanne Rose – August 2022

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

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

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

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

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

photo of Mabberley's Plant Book.

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

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

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

 •

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

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

Organoleptic or Sensory qualities of the Bark and leaf.

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

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

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

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

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

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GENERAL PROPERTIES of Cinnamon

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

•••

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

Here is a perfume formula.

Cinnamon Chypre Perfume formula

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

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

                                                                                              •

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

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

KEY USE ~ The oil of Scent and Taste.

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

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

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This work is sponsored and supported by Prima Fleur Botanicals.

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

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CINNAMON LIMERICK

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

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References

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

2. Wikipedia mention

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

Bibliography

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

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

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

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

SOME CAUTIONS TO REMEMBER for all Plants and their Parts

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

BRUISE JUICE

BRUISE JUICE ~ How To Make It …

By Jeanne Rose

§

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

The Secrets of this Famous HEALING OIL Decoded

HISTORY OF BRUISE JUICE

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

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

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

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

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

Olive fruit for oil and Moringa seeds

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

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

§


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

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

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

…(day 1-2)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

the 8-oz. bottles are filled

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

…(day 5-8)

Biodynamic BJ-2022
Biodynamic BJ-2022

§

That is it!

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

§

GENERAL CHART OF PERCENTAGES OF PLANTS

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

Plants have power,

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

Use what you know.”

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

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

Chart of what herbs to use and at what percentage.

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

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

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

§

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

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

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

PLUS
Essential Oils of Plai, Lavender & Rosemary

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

•••

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

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

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

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

§

101 Uses for Healing Bruise Juice – externally applied

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

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

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

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

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

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

________________________________________________

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

© Authors Copyright Jeanne Rose, info@jeannerose.net
 

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

Refer to them for more information.

www.jeannerose-blog.com

www.jeanne-blog.com

rosebud
Rosebud

BAY – an ancient tree

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

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

BAY LEAF & OIL

By Jeanne Rose

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

Family ~ Lauraceae

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

                                                                               •

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

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

• Bay leaf oil

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

§

GENERAL PROPERTIES of Bay Laurel

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

And the leaves used in food as a spice.

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

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

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

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

BLENDING & PERFUMERY

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

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

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

§

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

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

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

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

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

KEY USE ~ The oil an expectorant or mucolytic.

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

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

§

This work is sponsored and supported by Prima Fleur Botanicals.

§

SCENT SNAPSHOTS

Scent snapshots of Bay Laurel and Haitian Bay.

References

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

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

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

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

Bibliography

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

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

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

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

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

SOME CAUTIONS TO REMEMBER for all Plants and their Parts

precautions chart

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

JASMIN

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

The Jasmin in my back yard.
Jeanne’s Jasmin

JASMINE Absolute and Uses

By Jeanne Rose

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

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

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

Family ~ Oleaceae

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

alchemical symbol of wax or sap

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

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

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

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

••

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

SCENT DESCRIPTIONS of Jasmine ~

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

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

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

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

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

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

§

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

photo of Jasminum officinale on the fence.
Jasminum officinale

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GENERAL PROPERTIES of Jasmine

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

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

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

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

Physical Uses & How used (IG or AP) ~

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

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

Emotional Uses (AP or IN) ~

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

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

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

Tropical Skin Blend by Alexandra Avery

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

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

A small glass perfume bottle

recipe from a 350-year-old book

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

Perfume by W. A. Poucher – 1923

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

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

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

[a personalized perfume made for Christine Suppes]

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

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

FLORAL WAXES

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

Jasmine wax photos and descriptions.
Jasmine wax

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

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

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

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

A spray of Jasmin flowers over an old wooden fence.

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

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

Safety Precautions ~ None known.


This work is sponsored and supported by Prima Fleur Botanicals.

SCENT SNAPSHOTS

A scent snapshop of Jasminum grandiflorum absolute.
Jasminum grandiflorum

References

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

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

§

Cautions
photo of perfume bottle, entitled "Rising Up"

CARDAMOM

CARDAMOM  Profile of the Herb and Essential oil

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

A Compilation From Jeanne Rose files

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

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

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

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

Family ~ Zingiberaceae

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

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

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

GENERAL DESCRIPTION OF PLANT HABITAT AND GROWTH of Cardamom

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

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

cardamom leaves
Cardamom leaves

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

YIELD is 1-5 %.

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

ORGANOLEPTIC CHARACTERISTICS of Cardamom

• Color – dark yellow

• Clarity – clear

• Viscosity – not viscous

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

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

Cardamom CO2 total bottle, shows color
Cardamom CO2 total

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

§

GENERAL PROPERTIES of CARDAMOM

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Simple Food-Scented Perfume

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

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

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

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

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

§

Two Cardamom plants growing in San Francisco

Jeanne Rose Cardamom plants

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

This work is sponsored and supported by Prima Fleur Botanicals.

§

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

REFERENCES

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

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

CO2 EXTRACT

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

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

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

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

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

Odor Snapshot of Cardamom

Helichrysum

HELICHRYSUM, the Essential Oil

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

By Jeanne Rose ~ 5-12-22

unknown origin of photo

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

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

Family ~ Asteraceae

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

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

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

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

gathering Helichrysum

Gathering

*

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

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

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

Helichrysum – Organoleptic Characteristics of the Essential oil

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

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

§

GENERAL PROPERTIES & Uses of Helichrysum

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

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

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

STOP SMOKING
No-Smoking/Heal Damage done by Drugs

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

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

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

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

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

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

§

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

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

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

Short List of Helichrysum Uses from Rivendell Aromatics

Helichrysum/Immortelle: Helichrysum italicum

Arthritis Pain – anti-inflammatory

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

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

Infections – bacterial & fungal

Mouthwash – heal gingivitis & sores

Respiratory –  Inhale mist for asthma, bronchitis, cough

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

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

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

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

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

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

Key Use: Oil for delicate skin care.

§

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

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

GCMS of Helichrysum by Arthur Tucker

§

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

called Everlasting and Immortal among other names

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This work is sponsored and supported by Prima Fleur Botanicals.

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

SAFETY PRECAUTIONS

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

Do not Ingest essential oils, please.

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

§

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

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

botanical drawing of Helichrysum

LEMON BALM & LEMON VERBENA

LEMON BALM & LEMON VERBENA

By Jeanne Rose ~ 4-20-22

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

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

                                                                          COMMON NAME/LATIN BINOMIAL/FAMILY

Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis) and Family Lamiaceae

Lemon Verbena (Aloysia triphylla) and Family Verbenaceae

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

AND

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

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

                                                                  COUNTRIES OF ORIGINS & Harvest Locations

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

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

HISTORICAL USES and INTERESTING INFORMATION ~

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Lemon Balm

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

ODOR DESCRIPTION/ AROMA ASSESSMENT

ORGANOLEPTIC CHARACTERISTICS ~

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

ODOR ASSESSMENT

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

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

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

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GENERAL PROPERTIES of Lemon Balm and Lemon Verbena

PROPERTIES AND USES of the oils ~

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

HERBAL USES OF LEMON VERBENA & MELISSA

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

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

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

Lemon verbena tea for soothing the gastrointestinal tract.

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CHEMICAL COMPONENTS & PHYSIOCHEMICAL PROPERTIES ~

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

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

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

This work is sponsored and supported by Prima Fleur Botanicals.

SAFETY PRECAUTIONS:

lists of safety precautions
Safety Precautions

References:

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

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

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

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

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

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