WINTERGREEN ~ plant and oil

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

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


Jeanne Rose – December 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ORGANOLEPTICSWintergreen – redWintergreen – no color
TasteStrong & bitterStrong & bitter
OdorEponymous Wintergreen gum odor. green, fruity, herbaceousFruity, green, and Herbaceous

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


GENERAL PROPERTIES of Wintergreen Herb and EO

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

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

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

INHALATION ~ Occasional use is okay.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wintergreen with berries. Plant obtained from Forest Farm
Wintergreen with berries. Plant obtained from Forest Farm

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

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

KEY USE ~ Wintergreen Leaf and oil for Pain-Relief

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



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

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

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


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

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


3 The Complete Language of Flowers. S. Therese Dietz. #401
4 Rose, Jeanne • The Herbal Body Book, page 131
5 Roses, Jeanne • 375 Essential Oils and Hydrosols, p, 157


This work was sponsored and supported by Prima Fleur Botanicals.


Wintergreen oil cautions.
Some Cautions to Remember with Wintergreen

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

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


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

CARNATION (Gillyflower, Clove-pink)

The true pink Carnation (gillyflower or clove-pink) Dianthus caryophyllus was my wedding flower in 1972. It is a flower of fascination, scent, and love. The flower is edible and is used to scent and flavor many foods.

CARNATION, Gillyflower, Clove-pink)

Research by Jeanne Rose 1970 – to the present

A Clove-pink flower with the carnation absolute.
Clove Pink


Absolute of Carnation

Carnation absolute is an amber-colored liquid sometimes a greenish-brown viscous liquid with an herbaceous, bitter-honey-like, and spicy back note and a bitter taste. In natural perfumery is used in floral blends (rose, lily, narcissus, jonquil, Cassie, white ginger, honeysuckle), spice accords, etc. There is any intensity of the odor that is best expressed when a drop of spicy clove oil plus a drop or two of sweet cinnamon oils is added and it is diluted with 95% grape spirits and allowed to age for several weeks.

Pinks photographed in golden gate park in 2016
Pinks in the Park

These were photographed in Golden Gate Park in 2016.

Pinks have a sweet and spicy fragrance and charming, frilled flowers.

These are the Organoleptic (Sensory) and Odor Characteristics of Carnation Absolute
(Description of color, clarity, viscosity, taste & intensity of Odor.

ColorDark rich brown, sometimes green
IntensityWorks well with many florals, fruity, citrus and wood scents
TenacityHas a rich tenacity and presence in a perfume
Organoleptics of Carnation absolute 2021

Odor description ~ The odor of Carnation absolute is absolutely unlike any Carnation, gillyflower, or sops-in-wine that I have ever smelled.  It is dark and dank and needs to be fluffed up with spicy clove and sweet cinnamon to work in a perfume.



By Jeanne Rose from my original 1969 notes and old books

Carnation – abs … Portion of Plant Used in Distillation, How Distilled, Extraction Methods & Yield ~ Dianthus caryophyllus, the common garden carnation flowers are extracted with solvents and the result is a hard, green concrète then washed in alcohol for the absolute. In France and in many books, it is called ‘absolue d’œillet’. The brown viscous liquid was sweet-scented of honey, spice, and herbs, somewhat like the flower. This scent mixed well with other floral notes and fixatives such as Castoreum and Oakmoss. This product was produced in Europe. My original bottles have a more representative scent of Carnation flowers of old, rather than what is grown today.

Name of Oil ~ Carnation absolute (Dianthus caryophyllus)

Carnation probably comes from the Italian dialectal carnagione (flesh color) from the Late Latin word carnationem. Carnations were mentioned in Greek literature 2,000 years ago. Dianthus was coined by Greek botanist Theophrastus and is derived from the Greek words for divine dios and for flower anthos. Some scholars believe that the name carnation comes from coronation or corone (flower garlands), as it was one of the flowers used in Greek ceremonial crowns. Others think the name stems from the Latin carnis (flesh), which refers to the original color of the flower, or incarnation of God made flesh. In Romanian, the word for carnation is garoafa, it is also surnamed “flower of royalty”.1

            These plants that we love so well are called Pinks, Carnations, Sweet William, or Dianthus.  They vary according to the variety wanted, or the breeder decided to grow.

Countries of Origin ~ Natives of Europe, the absolute produced in France, Egypt, and Holland.

This is an old ‘sops in wine’ from the Fenbow garden of Elizabethan times, as described in the book “Old Carnations and Pinks” by C. Oscar Moreton.

old drawing of Nutmeg Clove
Nutmeg Clove

The Nutmeg Clove Carnation from “Old Carnations and Pinks” by C. Oscar Moreton


Carnations are flowers that are widely recognized by most people. They are classified as Dianthus caryophyllus, when translated, means “flower of love” or “flower of the gods”. There are approximately 300 species in the genus. They are native to the Eastern Hemisphere and are found naturally in the Mediterranean region, although modern varieties are grown both in greenhouses and in fields around the world. With such widespread commercial production available, there is not a limited season of availability. Because of their long-lasting qualities and fragrance, carnations are often featured in arrangements at holidays celebrated with flowers, at special occasions such as weddings and parties, and in sympathy arrangements.

Essential carnation oil in its absolute form is both rare and expensive. Many varieties produce a clove-like scent, and the aroma is said to be both uplifting and motivating. It was called ‘Clove-Pink”. Carnations and other flowers such as Stocks were also called Gillyflowers and Girofle. Not only are people attracted by their scent, but carnations also have an extended vase life from 7 to 21 days depending on the cultivar, harvest stage and flower food.

>>Many of the commercially produced varieties have flowers up to 3 inches in diameter and have very little odor. Colors especially red colors are on the same chemical pathway as scent. So, the more color or complexity of color often the less scent. Most flowers are double forms with ruffled petals. Remember that the same chemical pathways carry scent and color; if you breed for color and size, you will have less scent.<<<

CHEMICAL COMPONENTS OF THE OIL- ISOEUGENOL ACETATE. Carnations (Dianthus caryophyllus L.) are popular ornamentals and are mainly used as cut flowers. Their scents are composed of benzenoids, terpenoids, fatty acid derivatives, and other minor components (Clery et al., 1999; Hudak and Thompson, 1997; Schade et al., 2001; Zuker et al., 2002). Classical fragrant carnations possess a spicy and clove-like odor caused mainly by benzenoids (Clery et al., 1999).2

400-year-old illustration –


In Odorographia, p. 260 The perfume of cloves blended with a trace of that of methyl-salicylate (wintergreen oil) or a compound organic ether, is conspicuous in several species of Dianthus or ” Pink “: Plants belonging to the extensive order Caryophyllaceae. Most of the species are natives of Europe, temperate Asia, and North Africa. Dianthus Caryophyllus or ” Clove Pink ” is the original of the garden Carnation.

            According to a Christian legend, “Carnations first appeared on Earth as Jesus carried the Cross. The Virgin Mary shed tears at Jesus’ plight, and Carnations sprang up from where her tears fell” pink Carnation becoming the symbol of a mother’s undying love1. The history of the flower is fascinating. It was called ‘sops in wine”

HISTORY ~ Gillyflower. any of several scented flowering plants, especially the carnation, or clove pink (Dianthus caryophyllus), stock (Matthiola incana), and wallflower (Cheiranthus cheiri). However, the gillyflower of Chaucer, Spenser, and Shakespeare was the carnation. Other plants that are types of gillyflower are dame’s gillyflower, also known as dame’s violet (Hesperis matronalis); mock gillyflower, also known as soapwort or bouncing bet (Saponaria officinalis); feathered gillyflower, also known as the grass or garden pink (Dianthus plumarius); and sea gillyflower, also known as the thrift or sea pink (Armeria maritima).

To this day, carnations remain a favorite flower choice for many different occasions. They are immediately recognizable flowers, and they possess a charm and allure that continues to captivate people around the globe. In fact, in many parts of the world, the popularity of carnations surpasses that of any other flower including roses. The powerful sentiments these flowers can express are a perfect complement to their classic beauty and long-lasting freshness. By retaining its status as a floral mainstay for such a long time, the carnation has proven itself to be a lasting flower in more ways than one. –

Clove Pink

THERAPEUTIC VALUE OF CARNATION ~ Hilda Leyel mentions that the Carnation has cordial properties and enlivens the heart through the senses.  Gerard uses a conserve of the flowers with sugar to comfort the heart. Ms. Leyel continues that the pinks and carnations of all kinds have a cleansing effect on the blood, correct disorders of the head and the heart, and rejoice all the senses by their spicy scent and flavor.  A water distillate from pinks was said to be a cure for epilepsy and another says: ‘if a conserve be composed of them this is the life and the delight of humanity’ [this sounds like Gerard is being consulted again].

• • •


The pink is an ornamental plant known. As aromatic species, it follows that its composition must find a very fragrant essence, and indeed it can be found, even in small amounts, different for different varieties of carnations that exist. In the herbaceous plant parts it is also possible to find active saponins and some minor. As for its medicinal uses, there is little to say. There is a plant that is characterized by intense possess medicinal properties because its main job rather falls within the field of perfumery. If it is included here because once the water (hydrosol) was used as eye drops – carnation eyewash – for tired or damaged eyes. This application is a clear example of the theory of the sign: in fact, once the flower the carnation compared it with the eyes, because in the center of it appear certain that resemble paint the apple of the eyes of Hence it was proposed to extract the spirit of carnation, to soothe tired eyes or damaged, and began to prepare distilled water garden carnations. “. …


Emotional/Ritual Uses ~ Clove Pink ~ Dianthus caryophylatta ~ The favorite flower of Henry IV of France and still very much cultivated. This flower was introduced into France by French missionaries and soon assumed a double form in France in 1719. It has a lovely clove-like spicy and floral odor. Pinks and carnations of all kinds can be eaten and have a cleansing effect on the blood, head, and heart. Distill the flowers for a ‘cure’ for epilepsy; the hydrosols and waters can be drunk for nervous disorders. The absolute is a delight when used in small amounts in perfumer. – from Leyel

Interesting Facts ~ So popular were the clove gillyflowers in the 17th and 18th-century that they were used in soup, sauce, syrup, and cordials. The flowers were candied and preserved, made into kinds of vinegar, decorated salads, and always used as sops in wine and floated in the drinks of engaged couples. The actual Carnation known as ‘sops in wine’ or the clove gillyflower was a particular variety sometimes dried and powdered, but more often made into syrups and conserves. – from Leyel

From Victoria in Perfume Notes, 2005 – “Dianthus is derived from Greek, meaning di, Zeus and anthos, flower, “the flower of Zeus,” indicating its importance in the religious context of Ancient Greece. In Italy, Bologna in particular, the plant has been associated with Saint Peter and celebrated widely, with a special day at the end of June dedicated to carnation. In the Middle Ages, it was one of the most popular flowers for fragrance gardens. No monastery herb garden would be complete without carnation, the medicinal uses of which were referenced as early as the Han Dynasty texts (23-206 A.D.). In European herbal medicine tradition, carnation flowers have been prescribed for the nervous and coronary disorders. However, its probably most interesting usage has been recorded in the late 1600s, when the Countess of Dorset, England, made her own love potion, including carnation, lavender, bay leaf and marjoram. It is rather ironic that the flower of the most licentious of all Greek gods is supposed to have powers to cure wayward lovers. Interesting to note is that carnation signified devotion and loyalty in a variety of traditions, from European to Asian.”


Nerve Tonic made of Clove July flowers in Mountain wine

3 oz. Clove July flowers
Infuse into a quart of Mountain wine for 10 days
Shake every day.
On the 10th day filter through clean white blotting paper.
Drink a wineglassful 3 X/day as a nerve tonic. (a wineglassful is 2 oz)
From a Hilda Leyel book

Dianthus barbata – JeanneRose backyard


BLENDING & Perfumery ~ Blends well with  Ambrette seed EO, CO2 and abs; Basil EO and abs; Bergamot EO; Buddha wood EO and CO2;  Cassie abs; Champa flower EO and CO2; Clary sage EO and abs; Coconut CO2;  Fir balsam abs; Rose Geranium EO and abs; Genet (Spanish Broom) abs; Hay abs; Jasmine abs; Jonquil abs; Lavender EO, CO2 and abs; Lime EO; Lemon EO; Mandarin and Tangerine EO; Massoia EO and CO2; Neroli EO; Osmanthus abs; Rose abs, CO2 and abs; Sandalwood EO, CO2, and abs; Tonka abs; Vanilla abs and CO2; Ylang EO and abs; Violet leaf abs; and Tuberose abs.

Symbolic Meaning ~ Carnation is love, affection, fascination, and health. I used the Carnation flower on my wedding announcements in 1972.

            Carnation Meaning. The carnation means fascination, distinction, and love. According to a Christian legend, carnations grew from the Virgin Mary’s tears as she watched Jesus carry the cross. This is how they became associated with motherly love.

The meanings of carnations include fascination, distinction, and love. Like many other flowers, different messages can also be expressed with the flower’s different color varieties. Light red carnations, for example, are often used to convey admiration, whereas the dark red version expresses deeper sentiments of love and affection. White carnations are associated with purity and luck, and pink carnations are often given as a sign of gratitude. In the early part of the 20th century, carnations became the official flower of Mother’s Day in addition to finding particular significance in many other cultures worldwide. –


KEY USE ~ The absolute for scent and the flower petals in food and drinks.


•FORMULAS for Perfumes•

Formula for Mock Carnation Scent

Mock Carnation ..


Another formula Using Carnation Absolute

…….Alphabetical order …………….IN DROPS ……………………………. IN NOTES



  1. Scientific Papers Series Management, Economic Engineering in Agriculture and Rural Development Vol. 18, Issue 2, 2018 PRINT ISSN 2284-7995, E-ISSN 2285-3952 107 RESEARCH ON THE EUROPEAN FLOWER MARKET AND MAIN SYMBOLIC VALUES OF THE MOST TRADED SPECIES
  2. J. Japan. Soc. Hort. Sci. 82 (2): 145–153. 2013. Available online at JSHS © 2013 Analysis of Scents Emitted from Flowers of Interspecific Hybrids between Carnation and Fragrant Wild Dianthus Species by Kyutaro Kishimoto, et al


Leyel, Hilda. Cinquefoil

Leyel, Hilda. Elixirs of Life

Leyel, Hilda. Herbal Delights

Moreton, C. Oscar. Old Carnations and Pinks. Published by George Rainbird with Collins, 1955.

Rose, Jeanne. The Herbal Body Book, p. 63

Rose, Jeanne. Herbs & Things, p. 247

Rose, Jeanne. Natural Perfumery Supplement. P. 132

Clove Pink – Dianthus – in Golden Gate Park Arboretum

WAFT for Scent and Health


Making perfumes from natural ingredients that grow in nature is for people who enjoy fine scent, good food and delicious drink. Discussed are formulas with essences that smell like  nature and  food.

Natural Botanical Perfumery From Nature

By Jeanne Rose

photo of 3 books used in perfumery plus the Vocabulary of Odor scents, the Bases, notes, and scent blotters.
1. photo courtesy of luff botanicals


            When I first thought about writing about essential oils, scents, and perfumery as well  as the edible and umami stimulating food scents, I wanted to describe my perfumes as gourmet, but I was not clear about the true meaning of the word’s gourmand and gourmet. Since I do own the 22-volume set of The Oxford English Dictionary, it felt correct to first give a definition of what I would discuss.

            According to the Oxford, A Gourmetis someone who is a “connoisseur in the delicacies of the table” and in our scent-world one who is a “connoisseur of scent” while a Gourmand is a “glutton, greedy, fond of eating and eats to excess” and for scent collectors “one who is greedy and uses to excess the natural scents of the plant world”.           Sometimes one sees the words gourmet and gourmand used interchangeably, though more properly gourmand carries a connotation of gluttony and gourmet is knowledgeable enjoyment. These are gourmet scents.


            To make perfumes you have to be able to describe them correctly. A good vocabulary is helpful, but I stay away from poetic descriptions and try to use clean and simple odorous words. See smell/scent article

Text describing the purpose of the Vocabulary of Odor.
2.Purpose of a Vocabulary of Odor

7 bottles showing the Basic 7 Vocabulary of Odor and their colors as it relates to the Chakra and Spectrum
3. The Basic 7 Vocabulary of Odor© by JeanneRose

the box and the 28 odors that comprise the Advanced 28 Vocabulary of Odor
4. the Advanced Vocabulary of Odor© by JeanneRose • photo by Luff Botanicals


What is Natural (Botanical) Perfumery? It is the use of scent from plant materials for personal fragrance. It really is as simple as that. It is an aromatic art and a fine craft that uses the pure, essences of plants extracted from plants, the use of botanical extracts, essential oils, absolutes or tinctures (and for some, natural animal essences) to scent the body. Natural Botanical Perfumery relies solely on plants as their scent source and the scent sources are whole and not isolates. Natural Perfumery refers to making perfume without using synthetic aroma materials.

Ways to Obtain Natural Botanical Perfumery Ingredients.

There are several different types of natural Botanical Perfumery ingredients and these can be obtained by several different methods:

_____ABSOLUTES are prepared perfume materials obtained by solvent-extraction from plants, usually delicate flowers that would be harmed by distillation. They are alcohol-soluble and often oil-soluble. They are liquid but sometimes solid or semi-solid. Absolutes are obtained by the alcohol-extraction of concrètes and other types of extracts. During the preparation of absolutes, most terpenes, waxes, and most odorless matter is eliminated but often collected elsewhere as another product.

_____Concretes, CO2, and TOTALS are obtained by either solvent-extraction from plant material, or by CO2 extraction, they are solid or semi-solid and are good for solid perfumes. They often represent the full scent of the plant material. They yield tinctures (alcohol & essential scent) and the essential plant wax.  Often, their uses can also be included in herbalism.

 _____EtOH is ethyl alcohol; it can be made from the general term ‘grain’ (wheat, rye, millet, rice or corn) sugar cane, or grape. It is called neutral* grain or grape spirits and is used as a diluent for complex natural perfumes. For proper dilution, the perfumer should use 95% neutral spirits. Lower percentages often do not dissolve the perfume ingredients. And neutral spirits are defined as un-flavored, un-scented alcohol of 95% (percent), or 190° (proof), obtained chiefly from grain or grape.
*neutral means that it has not been adulterated, is high percentage and thus can cause alcohol poisoning as it has no odor and no taste. It is dangerous to drink and to over-consume.

  _____What does proof mean? 50% is the same as  100° and it means that it is the proof required by the British Royal Navy, that is, the benchmark strength, at which a spirit could be spilt on gunpowder and it would still ignite. In perfumery, you will want to use 95% neutral spirits, particularly neutral grape spirits, as it is the way to achieve the eponymous scents  of the original scents. These scents are is fruity and distinctive in a nicely aged perfume.

         There has been some discussion about alcohol for use in tinctures and in perfumery. It is good to remember that 95% alcohol is a preservative, while 70-80% alcohol extracts the plant properties. In biology, specimens are put up into increasingly stronger alcohol until they are in 95% alcohol. Alcohol is hydrophilic.  It attracts water. In addition, there is a difference in how 95% neutral grain spirits or 95% neutral grape spirits or 95% copper-distilled neutral grape spirits is used. Grain spirits are made from grain; wheat, rye, barley, etc. and is useful in tincturing for plant medicine. Grape spirits are made from grape and so has a fruity overtone that is useful in perfumery. Copper-distilled neutral grape spirits are the base of eau de vie and brandy and have a sweet, fruity overtone, and is great in perfumery.
_________A family-owned company that double distills organically grown plants in stainless steel is They sell neutral grape and neutral grain spirits. Also, proof ° is different from percent %. Proof is another way of discussing the strength of the alcohol.  Alcohol is hydrophilic and can only be made up to 96% or 192°. The proof is always twice the alcohol number. It is a great word to look up in the dictionary. Look at all your wine bottles and liquor bottles – you will see both proof and % listed.

   _____ Essential Oils are steam distilled and are EtOH (alcohol) and oil-soluble.

_____ Floral Waxes, Beeswax will need to be heated to be used. Floral waxes are obtained from natural plants, solvent extracted to form the concrète, which is then separated into the absolutes and plant/floral waxes. Beeswax is collected and made by bees.


ACCORD ~ A perfume accord is a balanced blend or synergy of notes which will lose their individual identity to create something new, a new odor, it is a harmonious combination of 3-4 ingredients. It can be composed of 2-3 of your Bases. An accord is not to be confused with a Family of Odors nor with a harmonious completed note. Also, keep a collection of premade accords so that your perfume will be ready to use sooner rather than later.

BASES ~ Instead of building a perfume from the ‘ground up’, many perfumers make and use a premade base or fragrance bases for their perfumes and colognes. Also called simply a base scent (not aa base note). Each base is essentially a simple or modular scent that is blended from two of your essential oils or aromatics and formulated with a simple concept in mind such as fatty floral (butter + Jasmine) or spice (Juniperus virginiana + Clove). A base is not the same as a base note and you should use only 2 or no more than 3 scents to make it.  
           A base is the basic building block of a perfume. Make it, name it, label it and store in your scent library for further use. If you maintain a collection of bases, then you will always be prepared to make a new accord or scent.
            A collection of bases is kept because the combination can be reused, or to pre-age ingredients that are difficult or overpowering and when premade can be more easily used as the foundation of a new scent; you can combine multiple known bases to make a new accord.
            Try making a Rondeletia base using only Lavender and Sandalwood. Make several using different types of Lavender and different species of Sandalwood to see the differences.

            See Natural Perfumery Workbook for more detailed information.
            Bases is not a base noteInstead of building a perfume from “ground up”, many modern perfumes and colognes are made using fragrance bases or simply bases. Once again, each base is essentially a modular perfume that is blended from essential oils and aromatic chemicals and formulated with a simple concept such as “fresh cut grass” or “juicy sour apple”. Many modern perfume makers begin with their simple fragrance concepts and expand to produce a new concept scent and are good examples of what perfume fragrance bases are like.

bottles showing 2 samples of bases using only two essential oils, Lavender and Patchouli in different proportions.
5.A sample of two bases using only Patchouli and Lavender in various proportions. More Lavender on the left and more Patchouli on the right.

Make the effort to develop bases as they are useful in that they are reusable. They are reusable only if you keep good notes and label everything that you make as you make it. On top of its reusability, the benefit in using bases for construction of perfumes are quite numerous:

  1. Ingredients with “difficult” or “overpowering” scents that are tailored into a blended base may be more easily incorporated into a work of perfume
  2. A base may be better scent approximations of a certain thing than the extract of the thing itself. For example, a base made to embody the scent for “freshly picked Jasmine after the rain” might be a better approximation for the scent concept of jasmine after rain than just plain Jasmine oil. Afterall there are at least 20 different odors of Jasmine and your desire to imitate your Jasmine flower scent will be different from the scent of the Jasmine that I grow or is grown elsewhere.  Flowers whose scents cannot be truly extracted, such as gardenia or hyacinth, are composed as bases from the data derived from headspace technology and your own collections and tinctures.
  3. As a perfumer using Bases, you can quickly rough out a concept by combining multiple bases, then present it to your client for feedback. Listen, alter accords, complete perfume, smooth the “edges” of the perfume, add fixative, complete.


FAMILY OR PERFUME FAMILIES ~ There are 7-8 main groups of perfumery-making called perfume families. Within each of these families are 7 separate accords that you can make. I will only list the perfume families as the entire chart is listed in “Natural Perfumery Workbook”. Just as in the Vocabulary of Odors©, each family of odors corresponds to a perfume family (not a particular plant): Floral, Fruity, Citrus, Fern/Green, Woody, Herbal, and Spicy/Oriental. The other family that I like to work with is called Leather or Chypre.
            As an example, in the large Floral Family that includes the separate odors of floral, powder, honey, oily, musk scents; this family contains perfumes whose main accords are the flowers such as Jasmine, Gardenia, Tuberose, Osmanthus and the various accords can be called 1. Floral-floral (Ylang-Ylang); 2. Floral-fruity (); 3. Floral-Citrus (Neroli)  ; 4. (Floral- Green (Violet leaf), 5. Floral-Woody (Atlas Cedar); 6. Floral-Herbal (Lavender) and 7. Floral-Spicy (Vanilla-Cinnamon) combinations.

NOTE or NOTES ~  This is a word that is borrowed from the language of music to indicate an olfactory impression of a single smell, or to indicate three distinct periods in the evaporation of a perfume – top note, middle or heart note, bottom note. I have gone further and identified the parts of the perfume in musical thought as well with the help of jazz bassist Ron McClure.

Making a perfume note and the symbols that I use.

28 bottles of different colors that show many different perfume notes
6.-7. Many Perfume Notes in colors like a rainbow
A chart that compares perfume words to musical words.
7. Perfume Chart compared to Music

       Top Note – ▲ These are the ‘Trills or Variations’ of the perfume and make up to 5-20% of the total perfume. They are often the most volatile of the scent, one that is perceived for only about 30 minutes after application. In music, variation is a way of organizing a piece of music by taking a tune (a theme or melody) and then repeating it in several different ways. It is often called Theme and Variations. The same is true in perfumery.

       Heart Note –  The ‘Melody’ of the perfume. The melody is the single phrase or motif of the perfume, the tune, voice, or line, and is a succession of musical tones, which can be identified as a single entity and make up 20-30% of the perfume.  And in perfumery the same is true, a single family or accord that is basic. What it is, is the scent that you want it to be on your skin for the longest time; it is the principle part and determines the character of the perfume. The Heart note is the recognizable tune; I call it, the ‘Melody’ of the perfume.   

      Base Note – ■ I call the Base note, the ‘Beat’ of the perfume. In music, a beat is the basic time-unit of a piece of music; for example, each tick sounded by a metronome would correspond to a beat. The base note makes up anywhere from 5-20% of a perfume. A base note is a class of odorants that evaporate very slowly and are typically not perceived until the perfume dry(s)-down. Base notes are fixative and ‘hold’ the scent in place. These notes are often not very volatile and are also often incorporated into the Base Accord. It is the beat or ‘drumbeat’ of the Perfume.

More parts of the perfume

     Bridge Note –  ∩ A bridge connects one scent to another, florals to seeds or leaf scents to roots.  Experience them in your Vocabulary of Odors to get a deep understanding. Bridge Notes or Accessory notes e scents tie everything together, they are the theme, ‘the Timing’ of the scent or what supports the scent. They take you from one note to another like flower to leaf or leaf to root or “across the water from the city to the country”).  They are usually only about 10% or less of the total weight of the perfume complex.        

            You can also use other Accessory notes. These are intensely-scented aromatics that are used to add freshness, lift, or a fashionable essence to a blend, or to highlight a main note. They are typically used in very small amounts so that they don’t overpower the other aromatics in a blend. (Birch tar, which is a heavy smoky scent or Kewda, Pandanus odoratissimus, which was described once as smelling like a combination of Horse Radish and Gardenia, are examples.)
     Fixative Note –  ※ is an old term for any natural substance that will hold and ‘fix’ and that ‘Gives long life’ to a perfume and that helps a fragrance last longer on the skin.  Alcohol-based scents are fleeting, so you want to add something to help ‘anchor’ or ‘fix’ the scent.  Lowering the evaporation rate of the alcohol with a ‘tenacious’ scent usually does this and gives long life to a scent. Fixatives are ambergris, civet, Labdanum, Africa Stone and more. The fixatives can be part of the alcohol diluent or part of the base Accord or base-note. Fixatives notes are deep and complex. In the past fixative notes were the animal part of the finished perfume but are now often mineralized animal products such as Africa Stone or tinctures of odd deep and sometimes unpleasant odors that when used in small amounts fix the scent. See page 97 in 375 Essential Oils and Hydrosols or Natural Botanical Perfumery for the vegetable perfume fixatives.

This is a tincture of a glove and the glove that was used in combat. Tincture can be used as a fixative.
8. This is a tincture of a glove and the glove that was used in combat. Tincture can be used as a fixative.


TINCTURES OR PERFUME TINCTURES. Perfume tinctures are different than medicinal tinctures, as only the scent is desired. Flowers without the calyx (green parts) are put in a jar and a spirit of 80-95% pure ethanol is added. The jar is left to stand for 15-minutes and up to 1-day OR as long as the flower is producing scent and is shaken occasionally. The spirit is then poured onto another jar filled with flowers and on and on. This is continued until the alcohol has taken on the scent (and usually) and color of the flowers. It will take a season of the flowers to produce the true perfume tincture. This is then refrigerated until the alcohol is perfectly clear. Then the clear scented alcohol is removed by decanting or by pouring or using a pipette. The flowers that are left in the jar can be used in the bath or placed in a muslin bag, pressed, and any liquid left can be used in a cream as both a scent and a preservative.


Scent rising up from a perfume bottle
9. Rising up

Four perfume bottles and a kohl container-JeanneRose photo.



A Perfume is three notes, the top, the heart, and the base, with a bridge or two and a fixative to complete it. The notes may be made with your pre-made bases or accords and to which you will just add something to change it from what it was to what it is now.


BASIC PERFUME — Making a Perfume substance for topical application is to make something that smells good on you, that has no obvious medicinal value, but may have emotional or sexual value, and will usually be composed of the connections between the notes of  » Top — Heart — Base «  plus the addition of Bridge notes to connect.
            Make it at 17%-25% or so, that is, up to 25% of the total is natural perfume ingredients and to which you add the neutral spirits. Cologne is 15% or so natural ingredients with 85% neutral spirits. Please remember that we always start with 95% neutral spirits (ethyl alcohol). I am personally  a fan of neutral grape spirits and not a fan of using carrier oils or Jojoba liquid wax or Coconut oil to dilute a perfume. They are prone to oxidizing and thus limit the life of the perfume.

The Delicious Accord
3 C’s of Craft Gourmet Perfumery ~ Cardamom, Coffee and Cocoa

Cocoa and Coffee absolutes are thick and viscous and need to be pre-diluted 50•50 with your perfume alcohol (95% neutral grape spirits) to get it liquid enough to measure. So, when you use them remember that they are pre-diluted, and you can accommodate your formula ahead of time.  They are also slow to dissolve into the alcohol. If the math confuses you, pre-dilute everything 50•50 with your spirits ahead of time and then you can add drops and the drops will be the same volume (not necessarily the same weight). If you are making large quantities always measure by weight on a quality digital scale. And Cardamom is always a pleasant addition to any perfume where a bit of spice is nice.



Natural Perfumery Formula

A fine perfume made for Christine Suppes
a fine perfume

“Breakfast in Marseille Perfume”

            I fancy having breakfast at a cafe in Marseille, near the Mediterranean Sea and it is early in the morning and unusually quiet. Let us call it “Breakfast in Marseille Perfume”. I will have some citrus or juice and then Madeleines and a spicy hot Chocolate.
            I made a Sea fennel Accord of Samphire (Crithmum maritimum), Lime, Clary Sage, Petitgrain, algae (Seaweed), and Basil in a combination that made me think of the sea.

            I made a base (not a base note) of Chocolate and Vanilla, called it CocoVan. (See page 12 of Part 3 of The Natural Perfumery Workbook for details.) Then added it to the base note accord. Of the Chocolate + Vanilla bases that I had, I chose bottle 4, with 4 parts of Vanilla and 6 parts of Chocolate. This particular bottle I called Coco #4 and used it as part of my Breakfast Accord by adding to it an equal amount of Butter CO2 and Coffee CO2. Now I had the foundation of my Accord note with this Bases Note that I could age for a week or so while I decided on my Top and Heart note. I added a bit of Tobacco abs. to the Breakfast Accord to call it now “1950 Breakfast Base Note”.

            I made the three notes separately and left them to age for a few weeks.

            The scent would be the floral citrus fragrance of a woman’s perfume and possibly someone smoking nearby and the gurgling sea-smell of the Mediterranean Sea to the Base note of chocolate, butter, vanilla, coffee. I then added this base note to the top and heart note, added the bridge notes and kept careful records of what I added and made my perfume. I wanted to try to evoke the scent of Marseille at 10 a.m. while having a bit of juice and then a simple breakfast of a Madeleine while drinking a spicy cup of hot chocolate.  Of course, it helps to have been to Marseille so that you know what it smells like.

A base is a building block of a perfume. Base or Bases is not a base note Instead of building a perfume from “ground up”, use your premade fragrance base or simply called a base, named and stored for future use. You could have dozens of these ready. Each base is essentially a 2-part modular perfume that is blended from essential oils and extracts and formulated with a simple concept such as “cut grass” or “cookie” or “spiced Coffee”.

            I had decided on a Citrus citrus top note and a Floral Jasmine Heart note; the Top note was a common combination of Bergamot and white Grapefruit with attending scents of Yuzu and Lemon; the Heart note was Champa, Jasmine, Ylang-Ylang Extra, smoky Osmanthus and high-elevation Lavender; an added bridge of the Sea Fennel Accord on one end for the sea smell and Birch tar and Cardamom on the other end  for a bit of spice; the Base Note was made with the base and accord as listed plus Tobacco; and then a fixative of ambergris completed my “Breakfast in Marseille Perfume”. Oh, my! I am ready to roll now.

            Three weeks later after aging these pre-made bases, accords, and notes separately and adding them together and aging  they were now ready to be diluted with 95% neutral grape spirits. I made the final perfume by diluting 1-part natural perfume ingredients with 3-parts of the grape spirits or 25% to 75%. And let it age again.

Can You Smell This? – photo by Jonathan Myles-Lea

Here is the end formula of “Breakfast in Marseille Perfume”

The end perfume formula of "Breakfast in Marseille"
The Perfume formula

            This was my general perfume, but you can use whatever amounts that you wish here in the final combining of notes. There are a thousand combinations and every combination  that you make will have a different odor.

Two Perfume bottles – JeanneRose photo


Askinson said,
“It is not the number of oils that determines the fineness of a perfume,
but the manner in which certain odors are combined.” … 1865

The Oxford English Dictionary and
Rose, Jeanne. 375 Essential Oils and Hydrosols. Frog, Ltd. 1999
Rose, Jeanne. Natural Botanical Perfumery. 2015 edition from

Bibliography for Advanced Perfumery:
Anonis, Danute Pajaujis: Flower Oils and Floral Compounds in Perfumery, Perfumer and Flavorist. 1993.
Arctander, Steffen. Perfume and Flavor Materials of Natural Origin
Barillé, Elisabeth and Catherine Laroze.  The Book of Perfumery.  Flammarion Press. 1995
Calkin, Robert R. and J. Stephan Jellinek. Perfumery Practice and Principles, Wiley Interscience, 1994.
Edwards, Michael. Perfume Legends, 1996.
Gaborit, Jean-Yves. Perfumes The Essences and Their Bottles. Rizzoli, New York. 1985.
Guenther, Ernest: The Essential Oils, volumes I-VI, Krieger. 1949.
Mabberley, D. J. The Plant Book
McMahon, Christopher. AROMAtherapy 2037, Fall 97. “Tuberose Treasure”
———. AROMAtherapy 2037, Summer 97. “Extraction of Floral Concretes”
Ohloff, Günther:  Scent and Fragrances, Springer-Verlag 1990. Translated by Pickenhagen and Lawrence
Pavia, Fabienne. The World of Perfume. 1995
Piesse, G. W. Septimus. The Art of Perfumery.  1867
Rose, Jeanne: 375 Essential Oils and Hydrosols; Frog, Ltd. 1999.
——— . AROMAtherapy 2037. Winter 1997/98
———. The Aromatherapy Book, Applications & Inhalations 1996.
———. The World of Aromatherapy, 1996.
———Herbs & Things, Last Gasp. 2002
Thompson, C. J. S. The Mystery and Lure of Perfume.  Lippincott. 1927.
Williams, David G.: The Chemistry of Essential Oils, Micelle Press. 1996.


Safety Precautions

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

It is with pleasure that I acknowledge Eden Botanicals as asking me to think about writing about the particular scents that have an edible connotation and also sending me their selection. I had already in my library of scents, old and older samples that I could also look at and smell. I wrote these posts in 2018 and they included Almond, Butter, Coffee, Cacao, Cognac, Ginger, Tobacco and Vanilla as ingredients in high-end perfumery. See the posts at and

FUCHSIA – A Garden Plant

By Jeanne Rose – July 2020

A wooden garden fence with a fuchsia growing in front and 2-dozen Fuchsia flowers
The Garden fence

INTRODUCTION ~ I always knew Fuchsia as Zauschneria californica. And then one-day I was reading about it in a botany book and all of a sudden, the genus name had changed to Fuchsia.  The first was fun to say but the latter, on the other hand, was easier to remember. I particularly enjoy the beauty of this Fuchsia. I don’t know the species only that it is a hybrid growing in my yard since 1975. It went through the great fungus blight in the 70s and now looks beautiful. I do have to continually watch it and remove any spotty, fungus’y leaves.


one fuchsia blossom in pink and purple with a drop of rain on it.
2.Fuchsia in San Francisco – photo by JeanneRose

Fuchsia HISTORY ~ Fuchsia were named after a botanist and the color was named after the plant. The botanist, Charles Plumier, a French Catholic priest, named this plant after the 16th century German botanist, Leonhart Fuchs. This first fuchsia was brought to the attention of the west by Plumier who came across the plant that is now classified as Fuchsia triphylla while on a plant-hunting expedition in the Dominican Republic in 1695. He named it in honor of the 16th-century German doctor and herbalist, Leonhart Fuchs. Plumier’s samples were lost in a shipwreck, but he published drawings of them in 1703.

            Europeans were first introduced to Fuchsias after the Spanish conquest of the Incas, but because the plants had no apparent value as a food or medicine, little attention was paid to them. The first Fuchsias finally arrived in London from Brazil in 1788 and were a huge hit. Intense breeding all over Europe meant that by 1848 there were more than 520 cultivars – a number that has ballooned to a staggering 8,000 today.

            The color fuchsia was first introduced as the color of a new dye patented in 1859 by a French chemist. The dye was renamed magenta later in the same year, to celebrate a victory of the French army in 1859. The first recorded use of fuchsia as a color name in English was in 1892.

Fuchsia BOTANY AND TAXONOMY ~ There are apparently over 8000 species and varieties of Fuchsia. They have two naturally occurring homes; in Latin America and in New Zealand. They are part of the Family Onagraceae. These are a group of flowering plants called ‘willowherb or evening primrose’. There are lots of interesting plants in this family with uses that range from lovely garden plants to ones used for medicine.

            Fuchsia are perennials and very striking as they have two-toned flowers.

            The Hummingbird Fuchsia, Fuchsia magellanica, has several synonyms, and it too is a deciduous shrub about 12 feet tall that flowers from mid-summer to mid-autumn. It develops a large juicy berry that is edible but not palatable.

Several blossoms of Fuchsia magellanica
3.Fuchsia magellanica – photo by JeanneRose

Fuchsia MEDICINE ~ Fuchsia leaves and flowers have been used as a tea and this tea as a diuretic and a fever reducer. “The Chumash Indians used the leaves as a detergent for washing, dried as a dusting powder for cuts and wounds and sores on horses. Leaves and flowers were drunk as a decoction for the lungs or urinary tract. The Cahuilla Indians of California used wild Fuchsia as a poultice and wash for fistulas and deep pus-running ulcers. The flowers make a fine decoction for contusion type injuries.”—  From Herbs & Things by Jeanne Rose (

            Fuchsia produces an edible berry (fruit produced from the ovary of a single flower) that is tasty and that can be eaten as is or made into jam, jelly, and other edibles.  F. splendens is said to be bad-tasting and its flavor is reminiscent of citrus and black pepper, and it can be made into jam and then it is tasty.

Hypotensive and diuretic effect of Equisetum bogotense and Fuchsia magellanica by Rodriguez, Pacheco, et all. May 1994.             For Fuchsia , the active principles are related to tannins. A single oral dose of 500 mg/kg body weight Equisetum extract produced a significant increase (< 0.05) in the urine output in rats, while in Fuchsia a reduction in diuresis was observed. —

Fuchsia SKINCARE ~ Jeanne Rose Cuticle oil

Fuchsia flower-infused Sunflower Oil *– 1 oz. (emollient and healing)
Rosemary essential oil – 10 drops
Lemon essential oil – 10 drops
Myrrh essential oil – 10 drops
Plai or Tea Tree essential oil – 10 drops
Ylang Ylang #1 essential oil – 10 drops.
For more info see

            Mix the essential oils together, then add to the chosen carrier oil and succuss thoroughly until integrated. Use this every evening on your cuticles, both fingers and toes, to keep them soft and pliable.  When you have a manicure, they will easily be pushed back to reveal lovely fingernails.
10% is 90 drops of 1 oz., so the above formula is 5.5% EO at 50 drops.
1 oz = 8 drams & 30 ml x 30 drops = 900 drops

*Fuchsia Flower Infusion in Oil ~ Take any oil, I always prefer using either Olive oil or Sunflower oil. Get a small pot and fill with flowers and leaves, just cover the flowers with the oil. Let it steep. Using a bain-marie or direct flame, heat the oil until it slightly bubbles. Turn off heat. Do this several times. Do not let the oil boil or it will ruin the flowers. Let it rest. When cool, strain out the flowers & leaves by covering a container with a piece of silk or muslin (2nd best), pour the oil into the container capturing the flowers in the fabric.  Squeeze the fabric to extract all the oil. Label the container. If you used Fuchsia, this is called Fuchsia flower-infused __(name)_ oil and write the date.

A vigorous flowering fuchsia. flowers are pale pink and magenta
4.I think this is called “Pink Lady”

CULINARY USE ~ Fuchsia berry jam is really quite tasty. Make it like any other jam or jelly.

Fuchsia Jelly recipe
7 ounces of sugar
1.5 lbs. Fuchsia berries
1 fl. oz. Pectin
Juice of half a lemon
            Heat the water and dissolve the sugar in it, when cool add the berries and the lemon juice. Bring to boil while stirring constantly and strain the liquid (fuchsias have a lot of seeds) and add the pectin to the strained liquid. Continue to boil until it thickens. Pour into heated glass jam jars and seal with a round of greaseproof paper and a tight-fitting lid. — Colchester & District Fuchsia Society

5.Fuchsia berries

Fuchsia OTHER USES – HERB ~  A black dye is obtained from the wood. It is “very resistant of maritime exposure and tolerant of trimming and it makes for a good informal hedge in mild climates in areas near the sea. The variety “Riccartonii” is often used for this purpose. The cultivar “Prostrata” can form a carpet of growth and be used as a ground cover.” — Wikipedia



San Francisco Botanical Garden display of Fuchsia magellanica.
6.Fuchsia magellanica in the S.F. Botanical Garden 2018


“A Fuchsia Tomato Tale” ~             I fell in love with the Fuchsia flowers when I lived in Big Sur in 1963 – 1969.  They seemed to grow wild wherever I lived.  The flowers were so vivid especially contrasted with the huge Redwood trees which surrounded my different homes there. Only when I moved further south to the Sun Gallery south of Gorda and lost the trees, then the Fuchsia grew only on the shady side of my house. Driving south along the coast near the town of Big Sur was a gallery/nursery that sold Fuchsias.  I am sad to say that I never stopped there as I was always in a hurry to get home.  That lovely place is gone now, and I wish that I had become more familiar with the plants then. When I moved totally to San Francisco in the spring of 1969 to the home I live in now, the first thing I planted in 1970 was a tree-like Fuchsia.  It is still growing and entwines itself around the Liquidamber tree. Fuchsias are beautiful and I use their leaves and flowers in a product that I make called Bruise Juice.

            I have also had two accidents where the Fuchsia came in handy. I hit my hand with a heavy board in Spring 1972 and grabbed the first plant I could see which was Fuchsia in flower, made a thick infusion, and put by hand in the warm flowery water.  The flowers have no odor, but the infusion smelled green and vegetative and rather healing.  My hand stopped throbbing almost immediately and was healed within a few days.  Also, I caught a finger between a pincer like meeting of two boards, received a contusion, immediately thought of the Fuchsia and again made an infusion.  This was so soothing and once again worked to heal and soothe.

Rose, Jeanne. Herbs & Things. Still available in ring-bound form from 1972.

A garden wall showing a red and magenta double Fuchsia growing along it.
Fuchsia growing at Hearst Castle

About Me.

Jeanne Rose ~ Founded the first natural skin-care company, called New Age Creations, an outgrowth of her work as a custom designer of fashion from all-natural fabrics (since 1967). The company was based on the formulas she invented and then used in The Herbal Body Book and several follow-up works. An author of over 25 books and workbooks, she is the founding educator of both the Herbal Studies Course and the Aromatherapy Studies Course. She was the first to teach the art of the use of essential oils, wrote one of the earliest herbals and  aromatherapy books, Herbs & Things and The Aromatherapy Book; coined the word ‘hydrosol’ for the aromatic waters of distillation, and wrote the booklet, Distillation-How to and Art of Distillation for aroma practitioners. For over 50 years, Jeanne has practiced her personal ecology and philosophy of organically grown and locally sourced plants, foods, and fabrics.

She brings 50 years of experience and personal research into her practice of herbs and aromatherapy.  Jeanne Rose founded The Aromatic Plant Project (APP) —which encourages the production and use of American-grown essential oils and hydrosols. Jeanne Rose teaches all aspects of the aromatic arts, aromatherapy, and herbalism; as well as the Art of Distillation.

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