MASTIC

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

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

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

MASTIC – an Ancient Resin produced by a tree

By Jeanne Rose ~ 11-30-22

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

                 Family ~    Anacardiaceae

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

GENERAL DESCRIPTION OF PLANT HABITAT AND GROWTH ~ The Mastic tree, Pistacia lentiscus, is an evergreen, flowering shrub, growing 1 to 5 m high in dry and rocky areas in Mediterranean Europe. It has a vivid fruity smell of resin; it is a dioecious tree with separate male and female plants. The leaves are alternate, leathery, and compound with five or six pairs of deep-green leaflets but no terminal leaflet. It has very small flowers; the male flowers are vivid red with five stamens, and the female green flowers with a 3-part style. The fruit is a drupe (a fleshy fruit with thin skin and a central stone containing the seed). It is at first red and then black when ripe, about 4 mm in diameter. This is edible.

            This oleoresin is produced primarily in the secretory tissues of the bark of stems and branches.

            “Mastic resin collecting is restricted to the southeastern corner of the island of Chios. Small cuts are made in the bark of the main branches, and the trees drip the sap onto the specially covered ground below, and the resin is collected. The harvesting is done during the summer between July and October. After the Mastic is collected, it is washed manually and is set aside to dry, away from the sun, as it will start melting again.”3 This small bushy tree produces the natural oleoresin from the trunk, obtained by wounding the trunk and larger branches with a gouge-like instrument.

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

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

Jeanne Rose collection of Mastic from 1973 to the present.

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

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

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

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

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

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GENERAL PROPERTIES of Mastic

PROPERTIES AND USES ~ Gum Mastic is used in medicine and products like medical creams, dental toothpaste, and cures for ulcers; it is used in the paint industry, cosmetics, paint varnish, and in artist color oil. In the food industry gum Mastic is used in liqueurs, ice cream, pure Mastic gum, chewing gum, and the most precious of all — Mastic EO. After the oil is removed, a small, very durable, and pliable bit of chewing gum is left that lasts for a long time without disintegrating. This is the old Worlde chewing gum, while Spruce and Pine gums were traditionally chewed in the Newe Worlde, USA, and Canada.

Years ago, I would have meetings in my home with my students and friends that I called “Aromatherapy Salons”. We would discuss various aromatic subjects, aromatherapy, essential oils, drink fragrant herbal teas, have tea cookies and sweetmeats. (A sweetmeat is a delicacy, prepared with sugar, honey, as a cake or pastry.) One of my favorites sweetmeats was to use the Mastic from Greece that came as a smooth sweet white cream; a small spoonful on a cookie with tea was delicious and it is especially tasty with bitter coffee.

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

Mastic cream from Greece

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

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

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

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

Mastic oil highlighted with a yellow paperweight.

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

CULINARY &HERBAL USE OF MASTIC ~ Mastic is a translucent sticky substance similar to tree sap and, when combined with sugar, lemon juice, and water, is served on a spoon immersed in cold water. This is a special treat called a spoon sweet. In Greece, this ‘spoon sweet’ specialty is called a Submarine. I find it delicious!

Researchers at Nottingham University Hospital and Barnet General Hospital have found that Chios Mastic is an effective treatment for ulcers. The findings showed that even in small doses of one gram a day for two weeks, Mastic gum could cure peptic ulcers. Regular consumption of Mastic resin has been proven to absorb cholesterol, thus easing high blood pressure, and reducing the risk of heart attacks.

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

2 jars of Mastic with the resin.

KEY USE ~ The Olde Worlde gum.

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

JEANNE ROSE’S MASTIC TOMATO TALES

Mastic resin pieces are also delicious when chewed like American chewing gum. It has a mild taste that is not lost after hours of chewing, and it can be chewed for hours. The problem is that Mastic takes a few times to learn how to chew it as a small ball of resin needs to be soaked in the mouth first to get to perfect mastication texture. Then you need to roll it around in the mouth once in a while so that it doesn’t stick to your fillings.
            In 2018 at a Resin Distillation Conference in Spokane, WA., I asked several well-known gum-chewers [thankyou, Monica, and Kendall] if they wanted to try Mastic. “Yes, of course,” they said, but in fact, they were unable to learn to chew it or even try past 30 minutes. This is great gum and can be chewed for 4 hours without losing its eponymous taste, and it is good for the teeth.
            And the occasional chewing of a Mastic ball will ease the pain of a tooth caries or cavity, act as a mouth antibacterial, and has in the past been used as a temporary tooth filling.  Remember this when you travel out of the country, carry some Mastic resin with you, both to burn as a magical fragrant incense and also as a first aid remedy.
Really, we are forgetting some our simplest first-aid skills!

•••

This work is sponsored and supported by Prima Fleur Botanicals.

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References

1Langenheim, Jean H. Plant Resins • Chemistry, Evolution, Ecology, Ethnobotany.  Timber Press. 2003
2Mabberley, D. J. Mabberley’s Plant-Book, 3rd edition, 2014 printing, Cambridge University Press.
3Wikipedia – Mastic

Bibliography

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

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

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

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

• • •

SOME CAUTIONS TO REMEMBER for all Plants and their Parts

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

PLAI & Tea Tree

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

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

TEA TREE & PLAI HISTORY & USES

By Jeanne Rose ~ 11-12-22

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Plai is steam-distilled from the freshly dug rhizome and  

…..Yield ~ Plai = 0.5-0.9 % (v/w)

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

…..Yield ~ Tea Tree is 1-2%

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

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

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

4. Sensory qualities

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

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

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

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GENERAL PROPERTIES OF PLAI AND TEA TREE

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

Lake Ainsworth in Australia

5. Lake Ainsworth

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

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

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

PLAI – Zingiber cassumunar

Working with Plai that is blended

It is wonderful and very most splendid

With a hidey-high-ho

There it goes on my toe

And thus have a cut that is mended.

APPLICATION/ SKINCARE WITH PLAI AND TEA TREE OIL

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

6. both oils

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

HYDROSOL ~ Tea Tree DISTILLATION, SUMMER ~ 2000

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

7. Tea tree hydrosol from 2007

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

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

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

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

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

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

KEY USE ~ Two oils of Healing

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

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

This work is sponsored and supported by Prima Fleur Botanicals.

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8. SCENT SNAPSHOTS

Scent snapshots of Plai and Tea Tree oil.

TEA TREE TOMATO TALE3

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

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

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

References

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

2.Wikipedia

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

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

5.Rose, Jeanne. personal and distillation notes.

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

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

Bibliography

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

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

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

Herbal Studies Course/ Jeanne Rose, California: 1992.

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SOME CAUTIONS TO REMEMBER for all Plants and their Parts

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

ROMAN CHAMOMILE

Roman Chamomile, Chamaemelum nobile, one of the nine or more blue essential oils from several botanical groups that, when distilled, produce a blue-colored oil. They are all anti-inflammatory and beneficial to skin health. This article discusses only Roman Chamomile.

PHOTO of Roman Chamomile plant and its essential oil
Roman Chamomile – plant & EO

ROMAN CHAMOMILE ~ History, Naming, Uses, Skincare

By Jeanne Rose

NAMING AND BACKGROUND of Roman Chamomile ~ two significant types of Chamomiles are used as herbal home remedies and for their essential oils: Chamaemelum nobile or Anthemis nobilis, also known as Roman or English chamomile, Matricaria chamomilla, also known as German or Hungarian chamomile, they are two of the most widely used medicinal herbs and essential oils worldwide.

_____FAMILY ~ These two close herbal relatives are different plants of the same plant family – Asteraceae [Compositae].

•Both have an aromatic scent and bear small, daisy-like blossoms about one inch in diameter. They have similar but different properties and different chemistry, but many herbalists use them interchangeably in herbal remedies. However, they have some distinct differences, as one is a perennial, while the other is an annual.

’            The one that is often most desired as a fragrant lawn substitute is the perennial double Chamomile, Chamaemelum nobile ‘Flore Pleno’. This is an old selection that has been in use for hundreds of years. It forms a low evergreen mat with ferny leaves and fluffy white flowers in early summer. The flowers can be dried and used for tea or mowed, dried, and used for fragrant potpourri.‘            The one most frequently desired as a fragrant lawn substitute is the perennial double Chamomile, Chamaemelum nobile ‘Flore Pleno.’ This is an old selection that has been in use for hundreds of years. It forms a low evergreen mat with ferny leaves and fluffy white flowers in early summer. The flowers can be dried and used for tea or mowed, dried, and used for fragrant potpourri.

photo of double Roman Chamomile - "flore pleno"
”double Roman Chamomile “flore pleno”

COUNTRIES OF ORIGIN for Roman Chamomile ~ The essential oil is most often obtained from  Italy. At the same time, the herb is grown throughout Europe and in many other areas, including South America and the USA.

ENDANGERED ~ Roman Chamomile is of the least concern. Wikipedia says, “Chamaemelum nobile is listed as least concern, but the plant population in the UK is decreasing significantly by drainage of wet grasslands, decrease in grazing, and the reduction of pasture that was used as arable fields” .15

GENERAL DESCRIPTION OF PLANT HABITAT AND GROWTH ~ Chamaemelum nobile is a perennial, “has daisy-like white flowers and procumbent stems; the leaves are alternate, bipinnate, finely dissected, and downy to glabrous. The solitary, terminal flowerheads, rising 20–30 cm (8–12 in) above the ground, consist of prominent yellow disk flowers and silver-white ray flowers. The flowering time in the Northern Hemisphere is June and July …. Although the plant is often confused with German chamChamomiletricaria chamomilla), its morphology, properties, and chemical composition are markedly different.” 15

PORTION OF PLANT USED IN EXTRACTION AND YIELDS ~ The flowers are steam or hydrodistilled. The color of the essential oil is vital as one of the constituents of the essential oil contains an azulene named chamazulene and a component called bisabolol.  Bisabolol and chamazulene occur only in the morning and evening collections of the plant, and the plant must be distilled at this time.

_____YIELD ~ The yield of essential oil from Roman chamomile is greatly influenced by the method of drying the flowers. In Iran, the oil content of the shade-dried flowers was the most prominent (1.9% w/w) compared to sun-drying (0.4% w/w) and oven-drying at 40 °C (0.9% w/w).16

Elsewhere yield has been reported at 0.8% to 1.0%.

STORAGE ~ Store the essential oil in the freezer.

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ORGANOLEPTICS & CHEMISTRY ~ We call these Chamomile oils ‘blue oils’ because they are blue in color. Yes, essential oils have color. These colors include a pale sky blue such as freshly distilled Roman Chamomile, although it seems to quickly lose that color, and many darker blues as well.

The plant has no azulene, as it is produced during the distillation process. The EO molecule called azulene is a dark blue color. It is composed of two terpenoids; vetivazulene, a derivative of Vetivert, and guaiazulene (also called azulon), mainly from guaiac and chamomile oil. This molecule is also found in some pigments of mushrooms, plants like guaiac wood oil, and marine invertebrates such as jellyfish and corals. Azulenes, although usually shades 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

Please Note ~ that the blue chamazulene itself does not occur in the plant but is formed from a sesquiterpene lactone called matricine during the steam distillation process.

”Roman chamomile EO is insoluble in glycerin ““Upon exposure to air and light and on prolonged standing, the light blue color of the oil changes first to green, to yellow, and later to yellow-brown.  This oil presents one of the highest ester values of all essential oils, from 272 to 293.5” World of Aromatherapy, p. 203. Esters are used in skincare.

SCENT SNAPSHOT

Odor Profile (snapshot) Roman Chamomile
Odor Profile (snapshot) Roman Chamomile

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GENERAL PROPERTIES of Roman Chamomile

a symbol for a 'smiling' drop of oil indicating its safety to use
No Worries

A symbol from The Aromatherapy Book by Jeanne Rose – EO can be freely used.

’The main property of any ‘’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. Shirley Price considered Roman Chamomile the best of all essential oils to use. The main property of any ‘blue oils’ is as an anti-inflammatory, to control inflammation, usually of the skin, and on some occasions, when taken internally, to control internal inflammation. Shirley Price considered Roman Chamomile the best of all essential oils to use.

PHYSICAL USES & HOW ROMAN CHAMOMILE IS USED (IG OR AP)

            APPLICATION ~   The blue oils with the component of azulene are anti-inflammatory, analgesic and antibacterial and are predominantly considered unusual plants and oil for skincare.

The Benefits of Azulene in Chamomile Essential Oil. The use of chamChamomileincreasing as the knowledge of azulene (chamazulene) grows. Azulene is significant in Matricaria chamomilla (Matricaria recutita), and this herb has surpassed even its cousin Roman Chamomile as the essential oil for skincare. Both are powerfully anti-inflammatory.

            SOME FORMULAS

•Rosacea is a chronic, inflammatory skin condition that affects the face. Rosacea causes facial redness and produces small, red, pus-filled pustules (bumps). Rosacea worsens with time if left untreated. Add Roman Chamomile in about 5% to any blend used for rosacea.

• Clay-Mask for Delicate, Inflamed Skin … http://jeanne-blog.com/clays-and-muds/

Make a paste of white clay and water (or flower water).  Add 1 drop of Chamaemelum nobile – Roman chamChamomilepply to clean face and let dry for up to 15 minutes.  Rinse off carefully and spray with hydrosol of Roman Chamomile, Lavender, or any other you might have.

’• Neuritis and neuralgia and a shingles remedy. – Formula of Essential Oils at 8% includes Helichrysum, Rosemary verbenone, Ravensara, and Roman Chamomile. Add 42% of the total in Calophyllum and Calendula infused oil for the balance of the formula at 50%. If possible, make this formula by weight, not volume. Shingles are very painful, a viral condition from old chicken pox stored in your body. I do not believe essential oils can ‘cure’ it, but they can help ease the pain. There is a long article on my website about this. See http://www.jeannerose.net/articles/shingles.html

• Neuritis and neuralgia and a Shingles remedy. – Formula of Essential Oils at 8% includes Helichrysum, Rosemary verbenone, Ravensara, and Roman Chamomile. Add 42% of the total in Calophyllum and Calendula infused oil for the balance of the formula at 50%. If possible, make this formula by weight, not volume. Shingles are very painful, a viral condition from old chicken pox stored in your body. I do not believe essential oils can ‘cure’ it, but they can help ease the pain. There is a long article on my website about this. See http://www.jeannerose.net/articles/shingles.html

         A Formula for neuritis. Get a 1-oz bottle, add 30 drops of Roman Chamomile, 20 drops of Rosemary verbenone, and 10 drops of Ravensara. Then fill with carrier oil. I prefer to use a cold-pressed Olive oil that has also been pressed with Lavender flowers [see Sciabica Olive Oil].  Shake vigorously and label and use at will.

INHALATION ~    Any blue oils have many uses in blends and are used via inhalation or in the blends used in inhalers. Roman Chamomile is most easily obtainable and can be used in an inhaler, salt inhaler, or mixed with Eucalyptus radiata and rubbed on the chest for inhalation, and used to relieve breathing.

DIFFUSE/DIFFUSION ~ Use these rare blue oils in moderation. If the herb works, use that first before the essential oil. They can be blended with just about any selection of oil to suit your purposes. I have a favorite at my desk of Eucalyptus smithii + Chamaemelum nobile in a small bottle that I use to inhale periodically when I am working at the computer.

EMOTIONAL/RITUAL/ENERGETIC USES ~ Inhalation of Roman Chamomile may help with nervous tics, asthma, insomnia, headache, depression, and nervousness. It is very useful for hysteria, anger, and child tantrums.

” Many sources list a litany of magical and spiritual traditions for the  Roman Chamomile. These sources list its use in spells for peace, love, tranquility, and purification. Teddy Fearnhamm, an aromatherapy teacher, says,““a cascade of Roman Chamomile and you immediately feel loved.” In ritual, it is used to instill stillness, become spiritually aware, give inner peace, and become emotionally stable. These are all attributes we can use.“ Many sources list a litany of magical and spiritual traditions for the  Roman Chamomile. These sources list its use in spells for peace, love, tranquility, and purification. Teddy Fearnhamm, an aromatherapy teacher, says, “a cascade of Roman Chamomile and you immediately feel loved.” In ritual, it is used to instill stillness, become spiritually aware, give inner peace, and become emotionally stable. These are all attributes we can use.

A MINOR CHAMOMILE TOMATO TALE

            Years ago, when my boy was about 8 years old, we were all gathered together around the dining room table, friends and family, having a glass of wine and chatting. I live in the city and up two flights of stairs from the street. The boys, my son, and his friend were on their BMX bikes, riding up and down the length of the 15-foot hall and creating a tremendous cacophony. It was very noisy. I quietly got up, put some Roman Chamomile into a diffuser, aimed the nozzle towards the hall, and diffused this essential oil into the atmosphere. It was only minutes before the noise died off, and quiet reigned in the house. Too quiet, actually. I got up and went into the bedroom, and now the boys were having a great time smoothing Vaseline into their hair and trying to get it to stand up in greasy peaks for that fashionable punk look. My son was laughing and enjoying the mess. Getting that Vaseline out of the hair is another story.

Roman Chamomile essential oil showing its pale yellow color
Roman Chamomile essential oil

BLENDING ~ Chamomile oils can be blended with just about any herb or citrus or wood, or resin. It works well with flowers, bark, and spices. Arctander states that Roman Chamomile is used as a trace additive [and] imparts a warm yet fresh note and a natural depth that is difficult to obtain by other means.

             Roman Chamomile has little chamazulene and thus has gentler anti-inflammatory properties. It also has a higher alcohol content than its cousin, German Chamomile is the better choice for skin conditions and other topical applications. It is used for skin diseases, acne, chilblains (painfully inflamed skin patches from the cold), and all skin irritations; applied as a compress for menstrual problems, neuritis (pins and needles in the limbs), neuralgia (sharp nerve pain), surgical intervention and pain relief, and used in perfumery. I have used it in massage blends for relaxation. Rub a bit on the gums for teething pain.

HERBAL USES OF ROMAN CHAMOMILE flowers ~ Roman chamomile flower tea is anti-allergenic, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antispasmodic, a bitter tonic tea, carminative tea, digestive tea, emmenagogue tea (lightly promotes menstrual flow), nervine, and it is calming and stomachic. Roman chamomile oil is used as a tea for its internal and external properties, as an antispasmodic and anti-inflammatory, and to relieve gastrointestinal issues.

 Flowers and essential oil are used in skincare formulas as an anti-inflammatory. The EO is inhaled for asthma, used orally, and is best for all uses.

Please Note ~ that the blue chamazulene itself does not occur in the plant but is formed from a sesquiterpene lactone called matricine during the steam distillation process.

So, don’t expect to make herbal remedies with plants that produce blue oils and have a blue-colored product. These plants should be freshly picked in the morning and carefully distilled from the flowering tops, and the hydrosol is immediately frozen (to preserve the light blue color). The essential oil is collected and stored in the freezer to preserve it from oxidation.

KEY USE ~ Use Roman Chamomile and any of the other Blue Oils to relieve inflammation and inhale to relieve asthma.

HYDROSOL ~   Any hydrosols obtained while distilling plants will be acidic in nature and skin-loving for you. In particular, Roman Chamomile produces quite effective hydrosols. The EO is only blue if the plants are picked in the morning ‘when the dew is dry but the sun not yet high‘, and if mature flowers rather than leaves are picked. The hydrosol waters are anti-inflammatory and can be added to any lotion or cream. If you add them when the blue is still in the waters, the essential oil has not quite settled. These products need to be refrigerated.

            Roman Chamomile ~ I adore Roman Chamomile hydrosol. I use it in the bath, as a facial toner, and to spray my sheets for sleeping. Ann Harman found that in testing Roman Chamomile hydrosol, there was 0.0042% of EO in it. The hydrosol comprised 61 components, mainly sorbic acid, trans-pinocarveol, and lesser amounts of ketones, acids, and other components.

single Roman Chamomile flowers & EO
single Roman Chamomile flowers & EO

INTERESTING/SCIENCE/HISTORICAL USES ~ Historically, the Noble Chamomile called the Roman Chamomile, is often a double flower. It was grown interspersed with lawn plants as a ground cover that provided fragrance when being walked upon. Wet laundry, especially sheets, was laid down to dry on this fragrant cover plant, and while drying, they would pick up the sweet apple scent of the plants. In the past, when I could grow large amounts of this plant, I could place my clean, washed cashmere sweaters out to dry, and they would come back to me with the calming scent of chamomile.

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This work is sponsored and supported by Prima Fleur Botanicals

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A CHART OF ALL THE BLUE OILS AND HOW THEY ARE USED

            The blue color is the sesquiterpene AZULENE. All essential oils containing azulene are anti-inflammatory as a property both by inhalation and by application and occur in EO only, not in the plant (matricine).

            **Oxidation changes the chemical composition of the essential oil.  If any of these oils are greenish-black or brown when they should be light blue to deep blue, it indicates oxidation, age, and the existence of free radicals, and they should not be used for therapy.  Furthermore, if the clear-to-yellow oils appear deep yellow to deep brown, they, too, have oxidized and are too old to use therapeutically. 

A chart of most of the blue oils and correct scientific names, common names, symbol  of use, color, scent, chemical component and how used.
© This table is copyrighted 2005  and may not be used without the express permission of  Jeanne Rose Aromatherapy •

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NOTES TO TEXT & BIBLIOGRAPHY

”1. Parsons, Pamela.“Chamomile”. The Aromatic““Thymes“. (Spring 1994) 2:2.“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. Blakiston’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.)“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“13. The Blue Oils. By Jeanne Rose. Published in “The Aromatic Plant Project” from archives •1994

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

15. Wikipedia. Chamaemelum nobile

16. R. Omidbaigi, F. Sefidkon, F. Kazemi. Influence of drying methods on the essential oil content and composition of Roman chamomile. Flavor and Fragrance Journal. 29 March 2004. https://doi.org/10.1002/ffj.1340

References:

Arctander, Steffen. . Perfume and Flavor Materials Chamomilel 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. www.jeannerose.net/books.html

Worwood, Susan & Valerie Ann. Aromatherapy.

Safety Precautions.
SAFETY PRECAUTIONS

Moderation in All Things.

Be moderate in using essential oils, as they are not sustainable for the environment.

Be selective and more moderate in your usage.

Use the herb first as tea or the infusion. —JeanneRose 2014

scroll symbol signifies end of article

OREGANO

photo  of Oregano oil and plant
Oregano oil and plant

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

OREGANO/MARJORAM – the names of confusion

By Jeanne Rose ~ 10-2022

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

OTHER COMMON NAME/NAMING INFORMATIONOregano ~

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

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

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

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

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

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

photo of Greek Oregano flowers
Greek Oregano flowers

MARJORAM is in several genera, including Origanum and Thymus

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

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

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

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

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

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

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THYME called Thymus.

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

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

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

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

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

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

_____ 16. Thyme CT thymol, Thymus vulgaris CT thymol                            

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

OTHER GENERA

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

            YIELD of Steam Distillate ~ is 1.2%

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

ORGANOLEPTIC CHARACTERISTICS

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

CHEMISTRY OF SAMPLES OF OREGANUM VULGARE Hirtum6

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

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

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GENERAL PROPERTIES ~ OREGANO

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

CHEMISTRY OF OREGANO/MARJORAM ~ Chart

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

see 375 Essential Oils & Hydrosols by Jeanne Rose.

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

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

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


Preserve Formula

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

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

A TOMATO TALE OF CHAMPAGNE AND OREGANO

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

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

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

two hydrosols of Oregano

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

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

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

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

KEY USE ~ The oil of Disinfection.

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REFERENCES

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

BIBLIOGRAPHY

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

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

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

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

This work is sponsored and supported by Prima Fleur Botanicals.

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PRECAUTIONS

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

YLANG-YLANG

The Perfumery,  botany, cultivation, history, and  distillation of the flowers for essential oil,

With odor snapshots and the uses of the oil.

framed picture of Ylang flowers

YLANG-YLANG ~ Powerful Perfumery Flower

By Jeanne Rose ~ 09-20-22

<<>> 

YLANG-YLANG BOTANICAL & LATIN BINOMIAL ~   Cananga odorata    Hook. F. & Thomson. “The species and its genus have a long and rather confusing nomenclatural history that has yet to be resolved completely.”3 Turner and Veldkamp

Ylang has other common names, such as  Macassar-oil plant or perfume tree. Ylang-Ylang is said to mean ‘flower of flowers’ in the Philippines. Another book I read said that it means ‘wild’. Wikipedia says it means ‘wilderness.’ However, I was not able to confirm either. The Tagalog name is ilang-ilang.

 It is interesting to know that an antimacassar was a doily (decorative crocheted mat) designed for the back of a chair to protect it from the grease and dirt of a head that had been smoothed and scented with Macassar oil, that is, coconut or other solid oil plus Ylang as a scent.

            Naming ~ There are two forms of the plant, called Cananga odorata forma macrophylla which produces the oil called Cananga, and the more well-known Cananga odorata forma genuina which is the oil we will be discussing. They are considered different trees with different plant descriptions, forma macrophylla from Java and other islands, while forma genuina is best from Madagascar.

            I have been fortunate to have seen and smelled both types, although at the time (1990), I was not aware of a difference.

         [Cananga odorata • Variety: forma macrophylla steenis • Common Name: Ylang ylang]

Family ~ Annonaceae

COUNTRIES OF ORIGIN ~ Native to India, Indonesia, and the Macassar Islands, and the Philippines, and it grows well in the Comoros Islands of Madagascar, Réunion, as well as Haiti, and Zanzibar. The Fairchild Tropical Gardens in Coral Gables, Florida have trees, as do the Palm Beach Garden Club (I believe that was the name of the place where I spoke about 20 years ago). Palm Beach Garden Club had the Cananga trees.

ENDANGERED OR NOT ~ Ylang-ylang is not currently considered endangered. However, it is a high-risk invasive species and is listed as invasive to many parts of the Pacific.

These are photos of the leaves and flowers of Ylang, sent to me by the Fairchild Tropical Gardens in 1992. Shows a greener color than the one in the titlle.
leaves and flowers of Ylang

GENERAL DESCRIPTION OF PLANT, HABITAT & GROWTH ~ Ylang is a tall tropical tree growing over 60 feet high with large, up to six inches wide, drooping yellow flowers.  The flowers first appear green and are without fragrance and covered in white hairs, then, roughly twenty days later, change to white, then to yellow and become very fragrant. Even the dried flowers will scent a room for up six weeks.

PORTION OF PLANT USED IN DISTILLATION, HOW DISTILLED, EXTRACTION METHODS ~ The flowers are harvested fresh and hydro- or steam-distilled. In 375 Essential Oils & Hydrosols, explicit instruction is given on how to distill Ylang-Ylang flowers. See p. 159.4

1) all parts of the still must be immaculate.

2) the flowers should be fully mature, not damaged, and harvested early in the morning.

3) flowers must be taken immediately to the distillery and distilled immediately.

4) the stills are direct fired, and the water should be almost boiling when the flowers are added.

5) proceed smoothly, quickly, and uniformly with supervised eyes on distillation.

6) condensation must be efficient, and the fractions sharply cut off.

7) complete notes should be taken on all parts of the growing, harvesting, and distillation, including information on the distillation weather, water, equipment, wind, and temperature during the distillation.

         “The flowers of the tree are steam-distilled.  “The first part of the distillation produced within the first 45 minutes produces the finest oil, the fraction known as “Extra” and the receiver is then removed, and another receiver put in its place. The “Extra” is used mainly in perfumery.  The same flowers continue to be distilled for several more hours, and in 2 ½  hours, another receiver, when removed is called the 1st fraction, as the distillation continues for several more hours and the receiver is removed again and this is called the 2nd fraction, distillation will continue for up to 10-14 hours, and finally the end result is called the 3rd fraction. This last fraction is often used for removing varnishes. Sometimes the total distillation time for a ‘complete’  will take 6-8 hours. And often the entire process can take up to fourteen hours.         

            Ylang-Ylang oil can also be produced by solvent extraction, forming a concrète and absolute.4

            Yield ~ 1.5-2%. A mature tree gives 9 kilograms of fresh flowers yielding 30 grams of oil annually.

3 fractions + complete – Ylang Xtra, Ylang #1, Ylang #3, Ylang complete

            Study and work is being conducted on capturing Ylang-Ylang scent by headspace technology. This is a process used to capture the odor compounds present in the air that surround an object. Once the scent is captured and analyzed, perfumers can try to recreate it using what they have available.

photo showing how headspace technology works by enclosing a flower
Scent capture by headspace technology
Organoleptics of 8 different Ylang oils
8 different Ylang oils analyzed by their sensory qualities

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ODOR DESCRIPTION ~ There is more descriptive odor information in the Blending portion of this blog post and odor snapshots at the end. I am particularly fond of the  Absolute of Ylang-Ylang and the Extra I have from 1995 and 2005.  These two types of Ylang-ylang are so rich and floral, fruity with powder and honey back notes.

        The absolute and the extra have deep rich colors and have a very satisfying and rich fatty, floral, a fruity odor that has great tenacity in a scent. The complete and the fine organic are also enjoyable with very special uses in blending and perfumery. In a blend, these top fractions have unusual power in the top note, and the fragrance fades out very slowly and elegantly in a long-lasting, floral-spicy, and very sweet way that is truly reminiscent of the fragrance of the flower.

         NOSE DIVE, a book by Harold McGee, describes the scent of Ylang as as “has balsamic and wintergreen qualities from several benzenoid-ring volatiles, and a leathery variation on cresol.”  This is a wonderful book for all scents, from the cosmos to the planet to cooked and fermented foods.

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         I have been able to enjoy many of the different variations of scents of Ylang: my first experience was a cheap reproduction that made me nauseous and years later, the flowers from the Cananga tree in West Palm Beach to the picked fresh off the tree flowers from the Fairchild Tropical Garden to the many fractions of the oil that were distilled in Madagascar, to the present day as shown below.  My favorite of the modern lot is the organically grown essential oil from Madagascar, #234 as sold by Prima Fleur Botanicals.

Showing bottles of Ylang, different types: Ylang Comp. Indonesia • Ylang Comp. Madagascar • Ylang Comp. Organic Madagascar • Ylang #3 Organic Madagascar • Ylang #1 1995 Madagascar
Ylang Comp. Indonesia • Ylang Comp. Madagascar • Ylang Comp. Organic Madagascar • Ylang #3 Organic Madagascar • Ylang #1 1995 Madagascar

SOLUBILITY ~ Years ago, I had a phone call from a student that the Ylang she was using was milky and not clear when she added alcohol as a diluent. She thought she had been sold adulterated Ylang. I went to my Guenther books and read all about  Ylang and found that it is not soluble in certain amounts of alcohol. As an experiment in July of 2002, I decided to do various dilutions for my own knowledge and experimentation.

         As follows: Ylang-Ylang is not soluble in 2 volumes of 95% alcohol. That means if you add 1-volume of Ylang-Ylang to 2-volumes of alcohol, it will be milky and not clear. You have to add enough alcohol as a diluent so it is not milky.

            In September 2002, I mixed 20 drops of each of the four types of Ylang -Ylang with 10 or fewer drops of each with the two percentages of the alcohol and found that the color stayed golden color and that the mixtures were clear. However, 18 hours later, at 10 am on 9/7/02 – I looked at the mixtures and found that the Ylang-Ylang had settled out of the 85% EtOH and was still turbid in 95% grain EtOH.

            Then I reread Guenther, If your Ylang -Ylang gets milky and opalesces in alcohol, it only means that you added too little or too much alcohol – it is supposed to get milky (up to 10 volumes), and if it doesn’t get milky then you have an adulterated Ylang -Ylang. In other words, the more alcohol you add, the milkier and cloudier it gets until up to 10 volumes of 90% EtOH, and it will begin to clear — See pages 267-316 in volume 5 of Guenther’s The Essential Oils.

This was a great experiment.

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Ylang Limerick

Ylang is so soothing and nice –

it makes up in scent with its price –

Add to perfume –

romance will loom –

And you may end up married with rice. —JeanneRose2017

YLANG-YLANG GENERAL PROPERTIES

         If you apply Ylang-Ylang externally, it is antiseptic, with the “second” and “third” fractions being antispasmodic, anti-inflammatory, and antiparasitic. If you use the oil by inhalation, it is somewhat aphrodisiac, calming, and acts as a nervine and a sedative, antidepressant, calmative, cardiotonic, and euphoric. 

YLANG-YLANG PHYSICAL USES & HOW USED ~

Application:  Add a few drops in skin care products and use them to soothe the skin, and ease light pain; it is used externally in the bath or on the body or used in perfumery. Fraction  #1 has often been recommended to be added to a blend to treat scabies and mange, although I had never had the opportunity to try this, and years later when I did, it was ineffective.

Inhalation of Ylang-Ylang:  RELAX! Ylang-Ylang, inhale to soothe anger, relieve pain, for insomnia, a euphoric that serves as an aphrodisiac, and to treat impotence. 

            Add it to Lemon oil and Lavender oil to relax your blood pressure, as studies have shown that this is a very effective formula. This mixture was found to be effective in lowering systolic blood pressure and sympathetic nerve system activity. The blend was 2•2•1 (Lemon/Lavender/Ylang complete); you can read about it here. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21157172

It is so good in perfumery and is used in soothing skin care, and by inhalation, in dilution, it eases depression and soothes anger.

Ingestion: Ylang-Ylang has been taken in the past for PMS, to regulate circulation, as a uterine tonic, aphrodisiac, and cardiotonic. However, I am not sure that the appropriate way to use these flowers is by taking the oil, as it can cause extreme tiredness.  The oil has devolved over the years. From my own personal exploration and knowledge and my uses of over 45 years, the best way to use Ylang oil is simply by inhalation for relaxation and emotional soothing and in perfumery.

Read Tomato tale #2 at the end of this article for a story about taking this oil.      

               

EMOTIONAL/ENERGETIC USES (AP OR IN) ~

Inhalation: Aphrodisiac, nervousness, anti-depressant, euphoric, relieves tension, stress, irritability, and anger, cardiotonic, sedative, PMS, physical exhaustion.

           Inhalation of Ylang #1 oil as an aphrodisiac and for insomnia, to soothe aggression and very useful in a man’s product for stress.

           Valerie Worwood suggests that Ylang-Ylang (fraction used unknown) be used to counteract anxiety, tension, stress, and shyness, among other things, and it can assist self-confidence and warmth. She says the “Ylang-Ylang personality is intensely feminine. — The Fragrant Mind, p. 398.

DIFFUSE/DIFFUSION ~ All fractions of Ylang oil can be used with other oils and used in the diffusor. It seems especially lovely to mix with Lemon and true Lavender oil to soothe the atmosphere of a room.

Contra-Indications & Personal Note: In my experience, most fractions of Ylang-Ylang are not cardiotonic but an accelerator of heart rhythm. Please be extra careful with this lovely perfumery oil.

Do not use on children or the elderly.

BLENDING and PERFUMERY ~  The top note, the first impression of the scent as it is applied to the skin, is rather fleeting and ephemeral but richly sweet and powerful. The middle and bottom notes are most lasting, fading out slowly over the course of a day.” 5

            All fractions of Ylang-Ylang blend well with an enormous variety of oils and resins and scents from all parts of plants, such as the seeds (Cardamom), roots (Vetivert), stems (Lavender), flowers (Jasmin), barks (Cedrus), and herbs such as Spearmint. It would do you well to know what fraction you have and try some blends before deciding on your favorite.

Ylang, most fractions and the complete, are so good in that its unusual top note, “a fragrance that fades out very slowly and most elegantly in a long-lasting, floral-spicy and very sweet note, truly reminiscent of the fragrance of the flower” and used in perfumery and in soothing skincare and also by inhalation (in dilution) as it eases depression cools anger.

            I have physical issues with my heart, so I cannot use the fractions of Ylang-Ylang called I, II, or III individually. They actually make me nauseous. So, I choose the absolute or extra in my perfumery of choice.

HYDROSOL ~ I am very fond of Ylang hydrosol and have it from several sources. Ylang-ylang hydrosol is quite lovely as a spray on the face and body. With a wee bit (1%) of Spearmint, it will bring joy and peacefulness. Spray this combination on pillows and bed linens for sweet sleep. By itself, it is a calming floral aroma; added to a toner, it will help combination skin or oily skin. . I would use it every day if it were available. It makes a sweet soothing spray after a warm bath and excellent facial skin toner. It can also be sprayed on the hair for a light aroma. Use it after you have shampooed and rinsed as a spray mist, and then comb it through.  

            I have used Ylang hydrosol myself many times and have always loved this particular hydrosol.

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

    

HERBAL USE ~ These flowers can be worn in the hair, and the scent will relax the body.  The flowers can also be dried and used in citrus potpourris.  They will last for months, and then the entire potpourri can be added to water on the boil, infused, and used in the bath as a relaxant.

KEY USE ~ The Oil of Perfumery

SUSTAINABILITY ~ Ylang-ylang seems to be sustainable at this point, and several large commercial companies are working with planters and growers to maintain the healthy population of these tree flowers. They work to champion responsible sourcing and support the farming community.  I hope that this is true going forward.

This work is sponsored and supported by Prima Fleur Botanicals.

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Photo of pipette in a bottle showing the color of the essential oil (light yellow)
showing a color of the oil

ODOR SNAPSHOTS

Two odor snapshot charts showing the sensory analysis of Extra and a Complete Ylang oil.
Odor Snapshot of Extra and Ylang Comp. Organic Madagascar #234

YLANG-YLANG TOMATO TALES -1

Ylang Dog use

The aromatherapy dogs of Jeanne Rose, Wolfie and Sumo.
This is the famous Wolfie & Sumo Dogs in 1995

            “Many who have the books of Jeanne Rose, aromatherapist and author of many books concerning herbs and aromatherapy, know the story of  Sumo and Wolfie.  Sumo-dog was a full-grown Akita-Shepherd cross with the face of a puppy. Sumo was run over by a car and dragged along the pavement on his right side for some distance.  The injury to his rear right leg was severe, including severed ligaments and tendons, torn off skin, and muscles in a 180-degree rotation around the hock joint! Veterinarians recommended amputation.  Jeanne refused to allow this and treated the dog’s wounds with Tea Tree and Lavender oils as well asTea Tree water washes, and hydrosol.  Months later, there was only an almost unnoticeable scar on the length of his leg and a slight limp in Sumo’s happy gait.

             At the same time, Jeanne used Ylang-Ylang oil-#1 in a diffuser to treat her other dog, Wolfie-dog, the beautiful blue-eyed Siberian Husky. Wolfie was emotionally traumatized by the terrible incident”5 as she was also thrown by the car and then returned home refused to leave her bed while Sumo was in the hospital. She also would not go outside unless attended. Jeanne would add Ylang-Ylang #1  essential oil to the diffuser and noticed that Wolfie would get up and lie down nearer to the diffuser at times during the day and then return to her bed. When Sumo came home, she was much more at ease”. ………… (these words have been slightly altered from my book, The Aromatherapy Book”  to bring them up to date.

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

YLANG-YLANG TOMATO TALES -2

Gio Costanzo, Ylang, and Champagne – Gio is a really lovely friend who happens to have just become single again.  Geo is just learning about essential oils and became very intrigued when another friend of ours mentioned that they could act as ‘aphrodisiacs.’  “HOW?” was the first question asked?  “Well, you can use them to make things smell really fragrant like you can put a drop or two of Eucalyptus in your sauna to make the place smell better; you could put a drop of Ylang-Ylang in your champagne and drink it with your girlfriend; you can add essential oils to the last rinse of your laundry to make your bedding smell really sweet,” was our collective response.

Several months later, I found myself on a plane with him, flying to Texas for a football game, and asked about the aphrodisiac and if he had used it and here is his story.

He had grabbed hold of the Ylang-Ylang in the champagne answer but hadn’t listened to the part about “a drop” and had added something like 1-drop to each glass poured from his expensive bottle of champagne. He told me that he and his girlfriend had spent the evening together and had several glasses each of the bubbles but didn’t much like the taste and so went to bed, where they promptly fell asleep. “I didn’t like it, and It didn’t work very well as an aphrodisiac, but it did work to put us to sleep.”

            He also told me that I had forgotten the most important part of his story that the Ylang-ylang did not make them smell good. “I thought we were going to smell good but after drinking the champagne, we smelled so bad we couldn’t stand each other in the same bed. That was the worst part of it, and you can mention that.  Jeanne what we did was put a drop in every glass of champagne until we had used up all the Ylang. We hopped into bed, started getting hot sweats, and then the pungent smell overcame us. It was a horrid smell, and we could not wash it away. We slept in different rooms that night because of the smell. There went that romantic night! Also bad for me on the plane the next day. That’s the way my first experience with Ylang went.”

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References:

1Guenther, Ernest. The Essential Oils. Volume 5, pages 267-316.

2 http://www.jeannerose.net/articles/wedding_aromatic.html

3 A history of Cananga (Annonaceae). IM Turner, J.F. Veldkamp -Gard.Bull.Singapore, 2009- nparks.gov.sg

4 Rose, Jeanne. 375 Essential Oils & Hydrosols

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

Alpharnd@aol.com. Nadim Shaath. http://www.alpharnd.com

Harman, Ann. Harvest to Hydrosol

McGee, Harold . Nose Dive, A Field Guide to the World’s Smells.  Penguin Press, New York. 2020

Mabberley, D.J. Mabberley’s Plant Book. 2008 3rd Edition with 2014 updates. Cambridge University Press

Rose, Jeanne. 375 Essential Oils & Hydrosols. http://www.jeannerose.net/books.html

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

Turner, I.M. and J.F. Veldkamp .A History of Cananga (Annonaceae). Gardens’ Bulletin Singapore 61 (1): 189-204. 2009

Bibliography

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

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

SOME CAUTIONS TO REMEMBER for all Plants and their Parts

Precautions in a box

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©

showing seveal Ylang flowers
Ylang photo of flowers from Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden  by Jeanne Rose 1992

BRUISE JUICE

BRUISE JUICE ~ How To Make It …

By Jeanne Rose

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

The Secrets of this Famous HEALING OIL Decoded

HISTORY OF BRUISE JUICE

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

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

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

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

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

Olive fruit for oil and Moringa seeds

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

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

§


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

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

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

…(day 1-2)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

the 8-oz. bottles are filled

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

…(day 5-8)

Biodynamic BJ-2022
Biodynamic BJ-2022

§

That is it!

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

§

GENERAL CHART OF PERCENTAGES OF PLANTS

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

Plants have power,

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

Use what you know.”

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

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

Chart of what herbs to use and at what percentage.

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

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

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

§

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

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

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

PLUS
Essential Oils of Plai, Lavender & Rosemary

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

•••

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

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

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

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

§

101 Uses for Healing Bruise Juice – externally applied

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

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

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

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

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

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

________________________________________________

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

© Authors Copyright Jeanne Rose, info@jeannerose.net
 

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

Refer to them for more information.

www.jeannerose-blog.com

www.jeanne-blog.com

rosebud
Rosebud

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

§

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.

••

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.

§

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

§

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.

§

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 %)

§

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.

§

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.

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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.