BLUE CHAMOMILE

BLUE CHAMOMILE OIL and herb uses

 June 2022

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

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

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Three things to learn about blue-colored oils

1. the blue oils are blue in color

2. there is no blue in the plant itself

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

fresh annual Chamomile flowers. Image 2010
fresh Chamomile flowers

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

alchemical symbol for distillation

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

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

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

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

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

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bottle of German Chamomile oil superimposed on the flowers

organoleptics of blue Chamomile oil
organoleptics of blue Chamomile

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

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

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

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

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

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

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GENERAL PROPERTIES OF BLUE Chamomile

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

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

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

PHYSICAL USES & HOW USED (IG OR AP)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SKIN FORMULA FOR ROSACEA

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

Skin Care Creme

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

10 drops Helichrysum angustifolium aka Everlasting or Immortelle

2 drops Blue Chamomile CO2  or West Coast Blue Artemis

.5 oz aloe vera gel

1 small scoop oat beta glucan

up to 1 oz Calendula-infused oil

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

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

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THE NASTY TOMATO TALE OF OXIDIZED BLUE CHAMOMILE

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sponsored and supported by Prima Fleur Botanicals.

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

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

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

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

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ESSAY ON BLUE OILS AND AZULENE

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

REFERENCES:

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

Harman, Ann. Harvest to Hydrosol

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

Rose, Jeanne. 375 Essential Oils and Hydrosols.

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

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

Worwood, Susan & Valerie Ann. Aromatherapy.

NOTES TO TEXT & BIBLIOGRAPHY of all the Blue Oils

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chart of Safety Issues
Safety Issues
'Rising up"

PEPPERMINT herb & essential oil

By Jeanne Rose ~ April 2022

INTRODUCTION to Peppermint ~ Just don’t call it mint, call it what it is. Is it Spearmint, Peppermint, or Menthol-mint (Mentha arvensis). There are 13 species of the Mentha genus, named below.  We are only discussing Peppermint whose chemistry includes menthol.

photo of peppermint herb and essential oil
fragrant Peppermint

COMMON NAME/LATIN BINOMIAL  OF THE MINTS ~. Here they are. The ones with the ‘x’ are manmade crosses, considered sterile and do not produce seed, and must be duplicated by cloning or by replanting the underground stems. Those in bold will reproduce by seed.

FAMILY NAME ~ Lamiaceae (Labiatae) is a family of flowering plants that are commonly known as the mint or deadnettle or sage family.

The Mint Species

 Mentha aquatica L. – Watermint

M. arvensis L. – wild mint or Japanese menthol-mint

            Native Mint (Mentha canadensis?) is grown and used in Michigan

M. x gracilis Sole – ginger mint

M. x muelleriana F. W. Schultz – mint ([arvensis ssp. arvensis × suaveolens]

M. x piperita – peppermint [aquatica x spicata]

M. pulegium L. – pennyroyal

M. requienii Benth. – Corsican mint

M. x rotundifolia (L.) – Egyptian mint

M. x smithiana Graham – Smiths mint or Red Mint

M. spicata L. – spearmint

M. suaveolens Ehrh. – apple mint

M. x verticillata L. – whorled mint [aquatica × arvensis] 

M. x villosa Huds. – mojito mint [spicata × suaveolens] 

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COUNTRIES OF ORIGINS of Peppermint ~ England, France, USA, Italy, Russia, and China.

I once had a lovely sample of Peppermint oil that had -0- menthol in it. It had been bred that way and only contained menthone.

Endangered or Not ~ Since Peppermint is a sterile, cultivated, and hybrid plant it is not endangered.

GENERAL DESCRIPTION OF PLANT HABITAT AND GROWTH ~ Peppermint was first described by Linnaeus in 1753. Peppermint is a hybrid mint, a cross between Watermint and Spearmint. It is indigenous to Europe and the Middle East; the plant is now widely spread and cultivated in many regions of the world. Peppermint grows up to three feet, with small leaves, pinkish mauve flowers arranged in a long, conical shape and underground runners that spread widely. Since the plant does not develop a seed, it must be reproduced by cuttings and replanted every year in new soil.                                                                                                         

Yes, Peppermint is a sterile hybrid (specifically called an F1 hybrid) of two other species of mint, as mentioned above. Since one of the parents is fertile, an occasional seed may possibly be produced and these develop into the F2, and their characteristics can vary across the entire spectrum between the two original parent species. It’s possible that your plant may look like another mint but have a menthol-type scent of Peppermint.  Purchase plants from a trusted source.

PORTION OF PLANT USED IN DISTILLATION, HOW DISTILLED, EXTRACTION METHODS, AND YIELDS ~ The whole plant above ground, just before flowering, is steam-distilled while fresh or partially dried.      Yield: .1-1.0%.

Peppermint essential oil gland
Peppermint essential oil gland

GENERAL PROPERTIES OF PEPPERMINT HERB AND ESSENTIAL OI9L

(USED by IG=ingestion or IN=inhalation or AP=application):

_____Application: Antiseptic, antibiotic, tonic, anti-parasitic, analgesic, respiratory decongestant.

_____Ingestion: Antiseptic, carminative, stomachic, antispasmodic, depurative, tonic, expectorant, digestive.

_____Inhalation: Stimulant, tonic, decongestant.

         

USES OF PEPPERMINT OIL AND HERB

Peppermint is not to be confused with Spearmint and vice versa.

CAUTION  • Use less than more and not with small children or pets.

All the herbs called Mint have been used extensively for medicinal properties for over 3000 years. The herb can be used internally as a tea, herb and EO can be used to make poultices or balms; specifically, Peppermint EO can be inhaled to make use of its high menthol content to reduce airway pain and irritation and suppress coughing.  Mints have many medicinal properties that include stomachic, carminative, stimulant, calmative, diaphoretic, febrifuge, anesthetic, disinfectant, nervine, sudorific and vermifuge. The following afflictions have been treated with a Peppermint herb or essential oil:

“Acne      A pinch of Peppermint herb and Rosemary herb as a compress makes a good astringent in cleansing the infected area.

Bronchitis
     Peppermint herb tea is excellent as an expectorant, as is inhaling the vapors of mint and eucalyptus, the mint for its high menthol content.

Burns      Peppermint oil is used as an ingredient in a balm to rub on burns and sunburns, as its menthol cools the afflicted area.

Colds      Peppermint herb is used to ease coughing and the oil in a blend is used for inhalation.

Dandruff      Peppermint herb mixed with Rosemary herb and vinegar is massaged into the scalp for relief of itching. An added benefit is the coolness of the menthol, which promotes a positive psychosomatic response to the treatment.

Digestive Ailments      An overall aid to most digestive disorders, Peppermint herb and oil is especially beneficial in the treatment of flatulence, diarrhea, colic, retching, and vomiting. Peppermint tea has been proven to stimulate the gastric lining, lessening the amount of time that food spends in the stomach. It is also said to relax the stomach, promoting burping. A poultice of Peppermint or Spearmint leaves over the stomach region also helps to aid in digestive distress. Peppermint herb also helps to alleviate the amount of gas in the digestive system. Most mint tea also helps to promote appetite.

Headaches      Peppermint oil can be rubbed on the temples or in the affected area. The coolness of the menthol, along with the aroma help in both minor and migraine incidents. The Lakota Indian tribe used strong wild-mint tea to treat all forms of headache.

Inflammation      Peppermint oil or a poultice containing mint leaves can be used to reduce inflammation in muscle groups, joints, as well as varicose veins. It is also a great palliative treatment for gout.

Liver Problems      Peppermint tea helps to promote the flow of bile in the digestive system, helping to cleanse the liver and gall bladder. It also may help in the reduction of kidney stones.

Nerve Afflictions     Facial tics and sciatic nerve spasms are treated by rubbing the Peppermint oil directly on the affected area.

Nervous System     All mint teas have a soothing quality and are used to treat nervousness, fatigue, nausea, vertigo, hiccoughs, palpitations, anger, confusion, depression, and mental strain. A combination of Spearmint and Peppermint is especially pleasant.

Rashes     Peppermint oil diluted in neutral alcohol or carrier oil can be rubbed on poison ivy rash, diaper rash, and athlete’s foot.

Toothache     A drop of Peppermint oil can be used directly on the source of pain to help alleviate the pain from both cavities and gum disease.

Travel Related Afflictions      Inhaled from a handkerchief, Peppermint oil helps to alleviate the problems associated with jet lag, seasickness, and motion sickness.

Viruses
     According to laboratory studies, Peppermint oil has anti-viral properties against herpes simplex, as well as other viruses.”1.

black and white drawing of Peppermint from the book, Kitchen Cosmetics
Peppermint herb from Kitchen Cosmetics

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APPLICATION/ SKINCARE OF PEPPERMINT ~ Cooling, analgesic, for nausea, sore throat, and travel sickness. Cooling, nerve pain, purulent eczema, muscular pain, poor circulation, somewhat anesthetic and disinfectant.                                                                                                                                                      

DIFFUSE/DIFFUSION of Peppermint ~ Be careful using Peppermint oil in your diffuser.  A little bit can last a very long time in the room.  It can also be harmful to pets and small children.  I advise you not to use this particular oil in a diffuser but only in an individually held inhaler.  Peppermint oil can make you feel cool but can also aggravate coughing.

            I once made a number of essential oil blends for a bank in Fremont, CA.  The one they chose had a small amount of Peppermint oil in it.  Using this blend for 15 minutes/hour was loved by the bank customers but caused the bank staff to become irritated with the sweet, cool odor and start coughing.

EMOTIONAL/ENERGETIC USE of Peppermint oil and herb ~ Use the herb or essential oil by inhalation for emotional uses such as, as a stimulant, nerve tonic, for headache, lighten fatigue, for apathy, shock, faintness, and to apply on the abdomen for travel sickness.

BLENDS & PERFUMERY of Peppermint ~ Peppermint has such a strong menthol scent that it is not very much used in perfumery. However, it is often used in blending for muscle aches and pains, headaches, and more. (see above)

Peppermint oil blends best with Cypress, Eucalyptus, Rose Geranium, Lemon, Marjoram, Pine and other conifers, Rosemary, and other herbaceous oils. 

            Blending with formula – Jeanne Rose Formula #30  – Sinus and Headache Inhaler –  In a small phial put equal amounts of Lavender Oil, Marjoram Oil, Peppermint Oil, and Rosemary Oil, say 10 drops of each and 5 drops of Clove Oil. Carry with you when traveling, as seems especially effective against a ‘smog’ headache. ! Inhale it whenever necessary. Or place a few pieces of rock salt in a vial and add the oils.  The salt will quickly adsorb the oils.  Inhale as needed.

INTERESTING PEPPERMINT FACTS ~ “According to Greek mythology the genus Mentha takes its name from the nymph Menthe who was seduced by Pluto and turned into a plant by his jealous wife, who trod Mentha into the ground. Pluto, however, turned her into an herb, knowing Menthe would then be appreciated by people for years to come.” —Kitchen Cosmetics.

 Cultivation of the plant began in the USA in 1855 in Indiana, New York, and Ohio.

color photo of Peppermint plant
Jeanne Rose peppermint plant

HYDROSOL ~ I truly enjoy the hydrosol of Peppermint.  I cannot grow enough to distill for myself, but I have been fortunate to have many bottles given to me over the years to use.  It is perfect in the bath to cool the system; it can be used as a digestive when taken a teaspoon full at a time, or in a glass of water for nausea, and it is excellent as a facial spray during menopause or to help heal an acne outbreak.

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.

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CULINARY USES OF PEPPERMINT ~   Besides using as a flavorant in candies, cakes, and ice cream, Peppermint is used in gum.

Chewing gum ~ Of all the flavors incorporated into chewing gum, mint flavors have been some of the most popular. Most widely used have been Peppermint and Spearmint as well as blends of the two. Typically, Peppermint and Spearmint flavors are added to chewing gum in the form of essential oils. Peppermint oil is derived by distillation of the aerial parts of the perennial herb Mentha x piperita L. Oil of Cornmint, derived from Mentha arvensis L. var piperescens, can also be blended with Peppermint oil.             Oil of Spearmint is derived from the distillation of several species and varieties of the genus Mentha, principal species and varieties are Mentha spicata L. and Mentha verticillata, and Mentha cardiaca. —part of a patent application filed in 1989 and 2020-03-28 Application status is Expired –

KEY USE ~ The oil of digestion

a bottle of Peppermint oil
Peppermint oil

JEANNE ROSE’S PEPPERMINT TOMATO TALES

I don’t remember exactly when this happened, probably around 1985. I was driving north on Highway 1, on the curvy, narrow, treacherous part of the road that is high above the ocean, north of Muir Beach, driving in and out of the light fog, and was feeling rather tired.  So, I reached into my purse to get my First Aid Kit and the bottle of Peppermint oil. Apparently, the cap had loosened and come off the bottle and when I lifted it to my nose to inhale a bit of the odor, it splashed into my eyes.  Now I was blinded and smelling of Peppermint oil as it also had splashed on my clothing. I could sort of see and knew I had to get off the road as it was dangerous to drive in this condition.  Fortunately, the road to Stinson Beach appeared and I turned left and drove down into the parking lot of the café on the left. I pulled up and ran in, red in the face, reeking of Peppermint oil, and said to the first person, “please get me some oil or mayonnaise”.  The poor woman grabbed at a bottle of Olive oil which I then liberally splashed in my eyes, waving my handkerchief around, and wiping my face.  By this time, I was getting better and looked around and could see that the entire café was looking at me. I gave an embarrassed grin, dropped some money into the woman’s hand for the oil, and got back into my car to finish cleaning myself up.

The moral to the story is if you get any essential oil in your eyes, do not try to wash it off with water as volatile oils and water do not mix; remember to use the olive oil (or mayonnaise) to dilute and remove the excess and then water to clean off the residue.

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ORGANOLEPTIC CHARACTERISTICS of Peppermint Oil

            Color – Clear

            Clarity – Clear

            Viscosity – Non-viscous

            Taste – Cool, herbal, umami

            Intensity of Odor – 4

            Tenacity of Odor – 6

Odor Description/ Aroma Assessment – This is a powerful oil with an intense odor that has a good tenacity in a blend.  It has the coolness of menthol and a green and herbaceous sustaining note.  Once you smell a well-distilled product you won’t forget it. Some Peppermint, especially those grown in other countries has a powerful candy cane smell.

PEPPERMINT CHEMISTRY & PROPERTIES

CHEMICAL COMPONENTS OF PEPPERMINT ~  The chemical composition of the essential oil from peppermint (Mentha × piperita L.) was analyzed by GC/FID and GC-MS. The main constituents were menthol (40.7%) and menthone (23.4%). Further components were (±)-menthyl acetate, 1,8-cineole, limonene, beta-pinene, and beta-caryophyllene.

“The main component of peppermint oil is (-)-menthol, about 50% followed by (-)-menthone about 20% and (-)-menthyl acetate about 10%. A characteristic of peppermint oil is the high content of (+)-menthofurane about 3%, and sometimes much higher; and a number of sesquiterpenes, one of them viridifloral.” –http://www.bojensen.net

Abstract/Scientific Data: Inhibition by the essential oils of peppermint and spearmint of the growth of pathogenic bacteria. By Imai H,Osawa K,Yasuda H,Hamashima H,Arai T,Sasatsu M….. The effects of the essential oils of peppermint (Mentha piperita L.), spearmint Mentha spicata L.) and Japanese menthol mint (Mentha arvensis L.), of four major constituents of the essential oil of peppermint, and of three major constituents of the essential oil of spearmint, on the proliferation of Helicobacter pylori, Salmonella enteritidis, Escherichia coli O157:H7, methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and methicillin-sensitive Staphylococcus aureus (MSSA) were examined. The essential oils and the various constituents inhibited the proliferation of each strain in liquid culture in a dose-dependent manner. In addition, they exhibited bactericidal activity in phosphate-buffered saline. The antibacterial activities varied among the bacterial species tested but were almost the same against antibiotic-resistant and antibiotic-sensitive strains of Helicobacter pylori and S. aureus. Thus, the essential oils and their constituents may be useful as potential antibacterial agents for the inhibition of the growth of pathogens.

RESOURCES ~ Most companies carry Peppermint oil and Peppermint herb.  I have found my favorite scent of Peppermint at Prima Fleur Botanicals.  It comes from the NW part of the United States.

  1. I found this chart in my files.  I do not know where it came from. Let me know if you know the name of the original author.

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•

This work is sponsored and supported by Prima Fleur Botanicals.

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Caution chart
Caution chart

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©

ANGELICA ~ Plant & Oil

Introduction ~ An old-time herb that was much used therapeutically but often now forgotten except for the uses of its musky, herbaceous fragrant root, and oil, used for perfumery.

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Photo of Angelica leaf with an insert of Angelica root oil
Angelica ~ Plant & Root essential oil

ANGELICA ~ Plant & Oil

By Jeanne Rose

 Name of Oil:  Angelica (root) (leaf) (seed)

COMMON NAME/LATIN BINOMIAL/BOTANICAL Angelica archangelica, L. The essential oil is extracted from both the root, seed, leaf. Other species are also used such as A. sinensis which is called Dong Quai, which is indigenous to China,  and the root used for herbal Chinese medicine ‘to enrich the blood, promote blood circulation and modulate the immune system. It is also used to treat chronic constipation of the elderly and debilitated as well as menstrual disorders.’5

         Family  ~ Apiaceae(Umbelliferae)

OTHER NAMES AND BACKGROUND ~ Angelica was supposedly revealed to the 14th Century physician, Matthaeus Silvaticus, by the archangel Raphael (he who heals) as a medicinal plant, hence the common name of the archangel and subsequent specific epithet archangelica given by Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus.1  In the 17th Century the herbalist Nicholas Culpeper wrote ‘…some called this an herb of the Holy Ghost; others more moderate called it Angelica, because of its angelical virtues…’

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

GENERAL DESCRIPTION OF PLANT, HABITAT & GROWTH of Angelica ~ A large, biennial herb with large fernlike leaves and flowers borne on compound umbels, cultivated since ancient times. All parts of the plant, root, stem, leaves, fruit, and seed have been used therapeutically and in foods.

ENDANGERED ~ Due to the erosion of its natural environments and over-harvesting as well as the fragmenting of the natural distribution of A. archangelica, Angelica is now considered an endangered species. 

PORTION OF PLANT USED IN DISTILLATION, HOW DISTILLED, EXTRACTION METHODS & YIELD ~ Angelica root and seed are usually steam distilled and sometimes carbon dioxide extracted.     “The essential oils of angelica roots grown in the Auvergne region of France differ from those studied to date in their a-pinene, β-phellandrene, and d-3-carene contents. Extractions performed with the plant out of or in water gave oils with similar compositions irrespective of how the roots had been dried or for how long. The optimal conditions necessary to obtain maximal yields of essential oil were obtained when the reactor was 40% full of plant material in water with a plant: water ratio of 1:4…”2

            Thick and thin roots were found to contain more than 200% oil compared to rhizomes. Thinner roots were measured to have the highest oil content (1.28%), followed by larger roots (1.03%). Stems were found to have the lowest oil content (0.07%). With the grinding intensity of the roots, it was possible to obtain more oil through distillation.3

            The yield of oil from the CO2  of the root obtained by supercritical CO2 extraction at various pressures ranged from 0.13–0.55%. 

A chart showing the organoleptic qualities of Angelica oil from two plant parts.
sensory aspects of the oils

Odor Description ~ The root oil has a predominating vegetative note, with subsidiary notes of herbaceous, fatty, and back notes of fruity, green, woody, mossy, aldehydes, and musk. Inhaling the scent of this essential oil is a revelation as it has such a sensory connection to the scent of some samples of musk deer (Moschus spp.).

[Musk is a heavy base note scent that is usually compared with woodsy and earthy smells. It was originally the name of the odor coming from a male musk deer, Moschus moschiferus, from which it was harvested. – wiki]

These charts showing the scent of the oil in 28 different words is called a "odor snapshot".
Snapshot of the Odor Profile of Angelica

CHEMICAL COMPONENTS:  Angelica archangelica L. (Apiaceae) is one of the important perennial medicinal and aromatic plants.

The root oil contains Lactones, Terpenes, mainly Phellandrene, Pinene, and others.  The essential oil composition of the rhizomes of Angelica archangelica from three different altitudes changes dependent on altitude. In one study it was found that the major compounds identified by GC–MS was α-pinene (21.3%), δ-3-carene (16.5%), limonene (16.4%), and α-phellandrene (8.7%).

         The seed oil contains more terpenes, such as Phellandrene, and others, and is otherwise similar to the root oil. “Seeds (fruits) of Angelica archangelica L. were collected in three habitats of Lithuania. The oils were analyzed by GC and GC/MS. β-Phellandrene (33.6–63.4%) was the dominant constituent in all seed essential oils. α-Pinene (4.2–12.8%) was the second major compound.”

            The leaf oil contained “γ-terpinene (59.2% and 44.3% in the Japanese leaf and flower oils; 68.3% and 62.3% in the North Korean oils), and (Z)-ligustilide (11.9% and 33.6%, 6.4% and 13.6%, respectively”.4

HISTORICAL USES: To stimulate appetite and relieve stomach pains.

INTERESTING FACTS:  The root and seed oils of Angelica are used as a flavoring and contained in liqueurs especially used in Benedictine, and Chartreuse to give that rich characteristic taste, and also used in liquors such as gin as a flavorant. The long green stems are candied and used as sweetmeat.   The oil is called “The Root of the Holy Ghost”.

A. archangelica has long been associated to the magic of protection and healing when tried as a remedy against the Black Plague epidemics (Alonso, 1998). Tea made from roots of A. archangelica has been used as a folk remedy for stomach cancer (Duke, 1987). This plant used as a carminative, a gastric stimulant, rheumatic, and skin disorders (Louis, 2002), treat respiratory problems as well as a tonic to improve disease recovery (Hutchens, 1992).

A picture containing text, plant, vegetable

Description automatically generated4

Angelica leaf and root oil
Angelica leaf and oil

PROPERTIES & USES OF ANGELICA OIL & PLANT

Angelica is a plant. The root, seed, and fruit are used to make medicine. Angelica root tea is used as a blood tonic, to regulate menstruation, pain reliever, and to relax the bowel for better movements. The essential oil is used to relax the nervous system.

Properties (by IG=ingestion or IN=inhalation or AP=application):      
By Application: Stomachic
By Ingestion: Carminative, and stomachic.
By Inhalation: Nervous system sedative, insect attractant, and digestive stimulant.

Angelica roots
Angelica roots

PHYSICAL USES of Angelica & HOW USED (IG OR AP):   

         Application:    Angelica oil has great use as a blender oil in perfumery, used in the bath for fragrance and to stimulate the circulation to ‘remove toxins’, for stomachache, and in lotions for skincare.

           Some people apply Angelica oil directly to the skin for nerve pain (neuralgia), rub on a knee or elbow for joint pain (rheumatism), and apply for skin disorders.6

         Ingestion:   Take for spasms in the gut, stomach ulcers, and anorexia. Root infusion given 3 x/day to create distaste for alcohol.

         Inhalation:   The oil is inhaled for anorexia, asthma, and for detoxifying alcoholics.

EMOTIONAL USES (AP OR IN)

         Inhalation:   Anxiety and nervous fatigue.  

CULINARY USES ~ Besides the described therapeutic uses, all parts of A. archangelica have been extensively employed as food flavorings, spices, and condiments. Some species are grown as flavoring agents or for their medicinal properties. Fresh stalks and leaves can be eaten raw in fruit salads or used as a garnish. A. lucida or Seacoast Angelica has been eaten as a wild version of celery. In parts of Japan, the shoots and leaves of A. keiskei called ashitaba are eaten as tempura, particularly in the spring.
                  The essential oil from the root is also an ingredient in liquors and in high-grade perfumery, notably to impart a musky note as well as a fixative (Stanchev et al., 1993).

ANGELICA LIQUEUR for Digestion ~ Chop, very small, 1 oz. of the fresh Angelica stems (before the plant flowers), and steep them in 2-3 cups of brandy or cognac for 5-10 days.  Strain through a fine strainer like a muslin or better yet a fine silk cloth.  Make a supersaturated sugar-water mixture by boiling water gently and adding sugar to it until the sugar will no longer dissolve. Cool this sugar water and add about 1 cup or more of it to the Angelica flavored brandy liqueur.  Add a drop of Bitter Almond essence if you like.  Put away in a fine crystal jar and use 1 teaspoon at a time for digestive upset.

Angelica leaf
Angelica leaf


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HERBAL USES ~ Angelica (part not mentioned) is used for heartburn, intestinal gas (flatulence), loss of appetite (anorexia), arthritis, circulation problems, “runny nose” (respiratory catarrh), nervousness, plague, and trouble sleeping (insomnia).6  The root in a tea with other herbs has been used to treat anorexia and asthma.
            Some women use Angelica tea to start their menstrual periods. In combination with other herbs, Angelica herb tea is used for treating premature ejaculation. (can’t find source) “Angelica is also used to increase urine production, improve sex drive, stimulate the production and secretion of phlegm, and kill germs.”6 The boiled roots of Angelica were applied internally and externally to wounds by the Aleut people in Alaska to speed healing.

•§•

OTHER USES ~ Two sesquiterpene hydrocarbons, β-copaene, and β-ylangene, were isolated from bioactive fractions of angelica seed oil and were shown by field bioassays to be attractive to the male Mediterranean fruit fly. I also read somewhere that the Sami people of Lapland use the plant to make a traditional reed-type musical instrument called the fadno. A. dawsonii was used by several first nations in North America for ritual purposes. Some species have been smoked by First Nation peoples.


KEY USE:  Digestive stimulant.  

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ANGELICA TOMATO TALE

with Rock n’ Roll notes

Years ago, when I lived in Big Sur, in early November or December, I would make Christmas fruit cake for the holidays. But first I had to find and collect all the dried fruits and ingredients.  I quickly found out that I would have to grow some of the plants and candy them myself. The candied fruits were easily obtained.    And yes, I love fruitcake but not the unpleasant lead-heavy kind from the supermarket … but the fruit-filled cake that quality cakemakers bake (such as those in the English Royal family). I learned a lot from growing the biennial Angelica and making crystallized strips of young Angelica stems and midribs. They are green in color and are usually sold as decorative and flavorful cake decoration materials and may also be enjoyed on their own as a sort of candy. The addition of your own home-grown plants that you have candied yourselves makes a big difference in the taste of a fruitcake. Now (2022) the recipes, as well as the specialized ingredients, are very easy to find online.

            In late 1967 or 1968, I invited the rock and roll band, “Country Joe and the Fish”  to my home at the Sun Gallery which was located a few miles south of Gorda on Highway 1.  The members who came set up their equipment on a large sheet of plywood on a gently sloping hillside outside the Gallery. It was misting and raining. The music was loud and fun, and they played for a long time, and then we all, exhausted from the long drive as well as the dancing and the laughing, went to sleep in various parts of the Gallery or in the cars. In the morning, the rain had subsided, and the sun was out, and they all helped me chop the fruits and prepare the ingredients for the cakes.  It was a very special time. I don’t remember what we did after the cakes went into the oven, but I know some of us remember that glorious cool bright day very vividly.

candied Angelica stems

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This work is sponsored and supported by Prima Fleur Botanicals.

Science article: ·  Essential oil from Angelica seed, %: 0.5–1.3

·  Components: α-Pinene, β-pinene, camphene, myrcene, ocimene, humulene, α-phellandrene, β-phellandrene, limonene, cineol, γ-terpinene, n-cymol, β-caryophyllene, borneol, carvacrol, and others

·  Oil, %: 18.9–28.4 — ink.springer.com/referenceworkentry/10.1007%2F978-0-85729-323-7_17

References:

  1. Kew  Royal Botanic Gardens • Angelica
  1. Jean-Claude Chalchat & Raymond-Philippe Garry (1997) Essential Oil of Angelica Roots (Angelica archangelica L.): Optimization of Distillation, Location in Plant and Chemical Composition, Journal of Essential Oil Research, 9:3, 311-319, DOI: 10.1080/10412905.1997.10554250
  2. W. Letchamo, A. Gosselin & J. Hölzl (1995) Growth and Essential Oil Content of Angelica archangelica as Influenced by Light Intensity and Growing Media, Journal of Essential Oil Research, 7:5, 497-504, DOI: 10.1080/10412905.1995.9698573
  3. Nguyêñ Xuân Dũng, Luu Dàm Cu, Lâ Dình Mõi & Piet A. Leclercq (1996) Composition of the Leaf and Flower Oils from Angelica sinensis (Oliv.) Diels Cultivated in Vietnam, Journal of Essential Oil Research, 8:5, 503-506, DOI: 10.1080/10412905.1996.9700676
  4. Pharmacological effects of Radix Angelica Sinensis (Danggui) on cerebral infarction • Yi-Chian Wu1 and Ching-Liang HsiehChin Med. 2011; 6: 32.
  5. https://www.rxlist.com/angelica/supplements.htm

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.

Rose, Jeanne. Herbs & Things, Jeanne Rose’s Herbal. San Francisco, CA. 1972

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Safety Precautions

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botanical illustration of Angelica
botanical illustration of Angelica

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

a kitchen tile
my kitchen tile

WINTERGREEN ~ plant and oil

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

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

WINTERGREEN Plant & Oil

Jeanne Rose – December 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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GENERAL PROPERTIES of Wintergreen Herb and EO

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

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

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

INHALATION ~ Occasional use is okay.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

KEY USE ~ Wintergreen Leaf and oil for Pain-Relief

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

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WINTERGREEN TOMATO TALE

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

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

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

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

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

SOURCE OF WINTERBGREEN ~ plants@forestfarm.com

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

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This work was sponsored and supported by Prima Fleur Botanicals.

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Wintergreen oil cautions.
Some Cautions to Remember with Wintergreen

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

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

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

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

DIANTHUS CARYOPHYLLUS, CARNATION OR 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
Clarityopaque
Viscosityviscous
Tastebitter
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.

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CARNATION ABSOLUTE PROFILE

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

GENERAL DESCRIPTION ~ THE BOTANY OF CARNATION

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 –

HISTORICAL USES OF THE OIL AND THE HERB

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. – Proflowers.com

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].

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CARNATION … PHYSICAL USES AND HOW USED APPLICATIONS

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. “. …http://www.mtplantas.com/eng/plants/E35153.htm

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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.”

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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

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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. – Proflowers.com

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

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•FORMULAS for Perfumes•

Formula for Mock Carnation Scent

Mock Carnation ..

WEST OF MIDWAY

Another formula Using Carnation Absolute

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

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Reference

  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 http://www.jstage.jst.go.jp/browse/jjshs1 JSHS © 2013 Analysis of Scents Emitted from Flowers of Interspecific Hybrids between Carnation and Fragrant Wild Dianthus Species by Kyutaro Kishimoto, et al

Biography:

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

NATURAL PERFUMERY

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

Introduction

            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.


DESCRIBING THE ODOR OF THINGS

            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
https://jeannerose-blog.com/smell-scent

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

BASIC PERFUMERY INFORMATION

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.
See http://jeanne-blog.com/co2-extracts-perfumery-skin-care/

 _____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 www.organicalcohol.com. 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.

BASIC DEFINITIONS

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.

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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.

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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.

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Scent rising up from a perfume bottle
9. Rising up

Four perfume bottles and a kohl container-JeanneRose photo.

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MAKE A PERFUME

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.

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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.

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JEANNE ROSE TOMATO TALES

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


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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

References:
The Oxford English Dictionary
EdenBotanicals.com and jeanne-blog.com
Rose, Jeanne. 375 Essential Oils and Hydrosols. Frog, Ltd. 1999
Rose, Jeanne. Natural Botanical Perfumery. 2015 edition from http://www.JeanneRose.net/books.html

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

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

jeanne-blog.com/gourmet-perfumery/ and

jeanne-blog.com/gourmet-scents-gourmet-perfumery.

FUCHSIA – A Garden Plant

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.

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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 (http://www.jeannerose.net/books.html)

            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. —https://doi.org/10.1002/ptr.2650080308

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 http://jeanne-blog.com/ylang-ylang-flowers-oil/

            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

Fuchsia CONTRAINDICATIONS ~ None Known

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

PERSONAL STORIES THAT I CALL TOMATO TALES

“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.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fuchsia
Rose, Jeanne. Herbs & Things. Still available in ring-bound form from www.jeannerose.net/books.html. 1972.

https://happydiyhome.com/preserving-apples/

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.

Profile Links: www.jeannerose.net