CUMIN seed has 5,000 years of history in food, folklore, perfumery, and folk medicine. Learn more about it.
CUMIN essential oil, herb, hydrosol Profile
By Jeanne Rose ~ September 2023
COMMON NAME/LATIN BINOMIAL ~ Cumin, Cuminum cyminum,
OTHER COMMON NAME/NAMING INFORMATION ~ The English name Cumin comes from the Latin Cuminum, which was borrowed from the Greek kyminon. Cumin has many names, including Roman caraway and spice caraway, and is often mixed up with the unrelated black cumin.
FAMILY ~ Apiaceae also includes Celery, Carrots, Parsley, Dill, Fennel, and some poisonous plants such as Poison Hemlock.
COUNTRIES OF ORIGINS ~ Cumin has been cultivated since the time of the Minoans who originated in the Bronze Age civilization of Crete that flourished from about 3000 BCE to about 1100 BCE. Cumin originated in the western part of Asia and has been cultivated for these many thousands of years.
It is grown and harvested in many parts of the world, including Asia, Central and South America, Argentina, Egypt, Iran. The largest producer is India, Mexico, Morocco, and Turkey, and the oil is often distilled in France.
ENDANGERED OR NOT ~ Not on the list of endangered or threatened species.
GENERAL DESCRIPTION OF PLANT HABITAT AND GROWTH ~ A slender, pretty, annual herb, Cumin grows up to one foot high and is confused with the Caraway plant. The scent is the primary difference. It needs a long, hot period to grow and mature, and rain will cause a lower production of the seed.
PORTION OF PLANT USED IN DISTILLATION, HOW DISTILLED, EXTRACTION METHODS, and YIELDS ~ The seeds of this plant are harvested and steam distilled in several places, including France, and whose product often has the most clean and pleasant odors of the essential oil.
Yield – 2.5%.
ORGANOLEPTIC CHARACTERISTICS of CUMIN seed oil ~
Color – golden yellow-orange
Clarity – clear
Viscosity – non-viscous
Taste – bot, spicy, umami
Intensity of odor – 7 at first and then reduces to 5-6 and dries down to a 2
Tenacity – 5-8depending upon the other ingredients in the blend,
CUMIN Seed ODOR DESCRIPTION/ AROMA ASSESSMENT ~ Peppery-spicy, vegetative, and fruity-green is the scent that this seed has with its relationship to odors, both human and doggy. I likson’s then I am reminded of my son’s reaction to this odor, and I smile and put it away again (see the Tomato tale, later in the article).
CHEMICAL COMPONENTS of Cumin ~ Mainly 60% Aldehydes, including Cuminaldehyde at 35-65%, and up to 52% monoterpenes, terpinenal, terpinene and others.
GENERAL PROPERTIES of the Cumin Seed and Oil
PROPERTIES AND USES ~ The seed of this plant is mainly a culinary that is also used in traditional medicine and sometimes in perfumery. Both oil and seed are a digestive stimulants; the seed is for seasoning food, and the essential oil is anti-inflammatory and used via inhalation or application.
Properties (by IG=ingestion or IN=inhalation or AP=application)
Application -Hyperthyroid function, orchitis, in massage oil for poor circulation and lymphatic congestion.
Ingestion – Dyspepsia, gas, spasms
Inhalation – Ease constipation and to stimulate the appetite
APPLICATIONs of Cumin seed oil ~ It issteam distilled in France. The Cumin seed and oil have antibacterial, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory properties that can help calm the skin and keep it free of blemishes. Cumin essential oil can help tone the skin and increase blood flow and circulation.
This natural ingredient, when ground, can also be used as a great exfoliator and an anti-bacterial in acne medications.
DIFFUSE/DIFFUSION ~ Personally, I would not use this oil in a diffusion blend, as the side effect might be to stimulate the digestive system. The essential oil is calming by inhalation and anti-spasmodic by application on the abdomen.
_____EMOTIONAL/ENERGETIC/RITUAL USE – Inhaling Cumin oil is calming, and some have told me it can also be stupefying. It is used, a drop or two, as a rub on the abdomen as an antispasmodic and for internal protection.
Cumin seed has been known since at least 2,000 B.C. The seeds were used for protection and are used in rituals; seeds and oil placed in the corners of the home for protection and used for internal protection.
JEANNE ROSE’S TOMATO TALES with CUMIN OIL & HERB
CUMIN ~ the scent of Cumin oil made my baby poop on demand. Recently, I was writing about Cardamom, and I received a message online about a story I would tell in class about the power of using essential oils. The person who wrote to me misremembered the story and thought it was Cardamom mentioned, but it was actually Cumin scent that was the culprit.
“When I was working on the Aromatherapy Book, I was also nursing my baby. As I looked at and studied new oils, I would waft the scent near my baby and see his reaction. He was born in November and had a very pleasant disposition except for the odd but also normal habit of only pooping once every 5-7 days. This was wonderful if we wanted to go out with him because there was newasn’tneed to change a stinky diaper. However, it wasn’t so wonderful towards the end of those 5-7 days if we expected to go out because the thought of changing those enormous overflowing diapers was frightening.”When I was working on the Aromatherapy Book, I was also nursing my baby. As I looked at and studied new oils, I would waft the scent near my baby and see his reaction. He was born in November and had a charming disposition except for the odd but also regular habit of only pooping once every 5-7 days. This was wonderful if we wanted to go out with him because there was never a need to change a stinky diaper. However, it wasn’t so wonderful towards the end of those 5-7 days if we expected to go out because the thought of changing those enormous overflowing diapers was frightening.
“One evening, while breastfeeding my son and also smelling some delicious essential oils, I opened the Cumin oil. It smelled rich and delicious, like a really good curry. I let the baby have a whiff, and he immediately rewarded me with a very full and yeasty diaper. Well, this was very interesting. When next we had to go out of the house, I gave the baby a smell of the Cumin oil, and he again filled his diaper, and this after only 3 days had passed since his last. And this became a standard treatment to encourage him to have a BM prior to any event or any fami”y holiday dinner – And it worked 100% of the time.” – The Aromatherapy Book: Applicadoesn’t Inhalations.
The negative is that he now doesn’t tolerate this odor or foods that contain it, and I also almost always object.
PERFUMERY AND BLENDING WITH CUMIN ~ Cumin has a powerful scent that is very peppery-spicy, and eponymous. It is either a hated or loved smell. If used with a delicate touch in a perfume, it can add to the deep odor of a perfume, lending a woody and spicy-amber scent.
“Blending within formula –When used in perfumery, the essential oil can add a depth of fragrance and a spicy note. “Many reject cumin because they associate its smell with the odor of sweat, feet, or armpits, … this is due to a molecule called 3-hydroxy-3-methylhexanoic acid, which is also released by the human body on the soles of the feet and underarms…This note, when used with mastery and great delicacy, can transform simple perfumes into complex and multifaceted perfumes.1.“Blending within formula –When used in perfumery, the essential oil can add a depth of fragrance and a spicy note. “Many reject cumin because they associate its smell with the odor of sweat, feet, or armpits, … this is due to a molecule called 3-hydroxy-3-methylhexanoic acid, which is also released by the human body on the soles of the feet and underarms…When used with mastery and great delicacy, this note can transform simple perfumes into complex and multifaceted perfumes.1.
HYDROSOL ~ I think this would be a good hydrosol to have available and to use in cooking certain spicy dishes.
PLEASE NOTE: A true hydrosol should be specifically distilled for the hydrosol, not as a co-product or evenplant’sroduct of essential oil distillation. The plant’s cellular water has many components; most are lost under pressurized short steam runs for essential oil or by using dried material. We recommend that the producers specifically distill for a product by using plant material that is fresh.
“HERBAL USES OF “UMIN ~ This is what Wikipedia says of Cumin seed, “Cumin to accentuate the sweetness of root vegetables, like carrots and beets, as well as adding complexity to vegetarian dishIt’sfrom vegetable and bean stews to grilled tofu. It’s a must-have for enhancing the savory flavor of rich meats like beef and lamb,2” and I totally agree. Also,”HERBAL USES OF CUMIN ~ This is what Wikipedia says of Cumin seed, “Cumin to accentuate the sweetness of root vegetables, like carrots and beets, as well as adding complexity to vegetarian dishes, from vegetable and bean stews to grilled tofu. It’s a must-have for enhancing the savory flavor of rich meats like beef and lamb,2” and I totally agree. Also,
The seed is used as an aromatic digestive tonic in seasoning and many types of food. The Cumin seed and oil have antibacterial, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory properties that can helpCumin’she skin and keep it free of blemishes. Cumin’s essential oils can help tone the skin and increase blood flow and circulation. This natural ingredient, when ground, can also be used as a great exfoliator and an anti-bacterial in acne medications. It is an easy-to-use natural ingredient.
If you grow Cumin, place the flowering seeding clusters into a paper bag and cut off close to the stem. The clusters will fall into the bag. Fold the top and attach the bags to a clothesline or wire with a clip of a clothespin. The clusters will dry, and then you can shake the bag to release the seeds. Place the seeds into clean, dry, scent-free glass bottles, label them, and store them in a warm, dry place. Use them up within the year.
The seed is used as an aromatic digestive tonic in seasoning. This natural ingredient, when ground, can also be used as a great exfoliator and an anti-bacterial in acne medications. It is an easy-to-use natural ingredient.
HISTORICAL USES ~ The Cumin seed has a long history of use in many cultures as food and also in traditional medicine. The use of cumin goes back so far that it is even mentioned in the Old Testament and in various Greek writings. The oldest trace of use is dated to at least 5000 years ago and located in the Nile Valley region. It was present in the pharaonic tombs, probably for its unique scent. In the Middle Ages, it was used as currency. And in ancient times, it was used as a pepper in cooking thanks to its very aromatic flavor. Now it is used as a room fragrance.3.
KEY USE ~ The seed for seasoning and the EO as a digestive stimulant
The bath and the herbs and essentials one can use in a bath are for complete stimulation, relaxation, and cleansing. Essential oil and herbal recipes for bathing and making your own home aromatherapy and a healing spa. •
BATHS ~ AROMATIC & HERBAL Baths & • Showers
Fig 1. -Cammy Bath ingredients with essential oils courtesy of PrimaFleur.com
Showers are to clean the body while baths are to heal the mind and body and are used to cleanse the spirit.
Hydro- or water therapy has been used for healing for thousands of years, employing a system of bathing rituals and various therapeutic baths to aid in healing various body systems. It has been prescribed since before the Roman baths. Do you know that you can restore some aspects to your body by bathing, that is, taking a bath with herbs or salts or whatever appeals to you. These elements will actually get into your body via your skin.
Magnesium is an essential mineral, and 35% of the magnesium you ingest is in your body fluids and tissues. Soaking in magnesium-rich waters helps restore balance so your muscles can ease up and relax. Herbal infusions from plants such as Alfalfa, Horsetail, Nettle, and Red clover contain lots of magnesium, and with added Epsom salts and a calming essential oil such as Lavender, you will have a healthful, relaxing bath. Add Rosemary herb, a, hydrosol, and essential oil; it is rejuvenating and anti-aging.
Negative ions are charged with electricity and help promote feelings of physical and psychological well-being. They are especially prominent in the waters of a waterfall or the moving waters of mineral springs. Negative ions in the water are beneficial for physical and mental fatigue, reduce depression in some, and they relax your body and renew your energy by enhancing overall circulation and soothing your daily tensions.
For women and, yes, even men, the bath, especially herbal baths, and mineral baths, promotes skin health and beauty by opening pores, removing dead skin and impurities, and leaving the skin soft, clean, and silky smooth. The bath also relieves the pain from some chronic illnesses, including rheumatism and joint pain.
•Remember that a bath, particularly a soaking bath, is to soothe your mind, relax your body and ease your stress. Yes, of course, it can also clean your skin, but for the full power of a bath, take a quick shower first to get rid of grime, then run a bath and relax in those healing waters. Remember, we are an inner ocean and need water to drink and soak into.
1. Take a quick shower with soap and a brush to clean your skin. If you like, sprinkle a drop or two of essential oil on your skin and rub it around. 2. Open the taps in the tub and add the herbs-salts-goodies-essential oils you have chosen. Don’t forget those aching muscles need magnesium, and some herbs and Epsom salts have high levels. 3. Run the water hot but not boiling. 4. Use an herbal infusion from 4-6 ounces of your bath herbs or 1-cup bath salts per bath and some hydrosol OR pop the herbs into a large rice infuser and put the whole thing into the tub.
5. Get in. If the tub is small and your shoulders ache, lie flat on the bottom to soak your shoulders; if the tub is small and your legs ache, sit upright and think relaxing thoughts; if everything aches, take turns soaking one part and then the other OR get a big Victorian tub. and soak at least 22 minutes. This is the time it takes for those toxic products to get moving and released out of the body and into the tub water and rinsed down the drain.
6. Get out of the tub and wrap in a blanket or towel, do not rub dry. If you have one, wrap it in a big linen towel*. Go to bed to get the full effects of the bath.
*[Linum usitatissimum is Flax and the oldest fiber known to man; linen has a rich history as the traditional fiber of hospitality and beauty. No other fiber so exudes such old-world elegance yet delivers modern practicality. Linen is lint-free, non-allergenic, soft, smooth, and durable; linen is distinguished by a unique natural luster that improves with use.]
7. Now think of your happy place, smell a favorite essential oil and relax in a big chair and look at nature, or sleep and dream the dreams.
Fig. 2 – Rice ball cooker
GENERAL INSTRUCTIONS for Herbal Baths ~ are great for the skin and healthy for the mind and body. To make an excellent herbal bath, first, make an infusion of the herbs.
Add 4-6 oz of your choice of herbs to 2 quarts of water. Bring to a boil, turn off the heat, cover, and let cool while you run your bath.
Pour the liquid directly into the bathtub through a strainer, put the herbs into a bag, and throw that into the bath.
2a. You can also simply put herbs into a large rice boiler (see picture above) and put them into the off-the-boil water. The herbs need time to release their tonic goodness into the water. Then place all in the warm bath.
3. Keep the herbs as healthy mulch for the garden.
You can choose soothing herbs such as Rose petals and Comfrey, astringent herbs such as Witch Hazel, tonifying herbs such as any of the citrus peels with anti-aging Rosemary, and healing herbs such as Comfrey root or Marshmallow root. Essential oils can also be added after the bath as a rubdown; about 2-5 drops are plenty.
HERBS to Use ~ There are so many herbs that can be used in the bath or made into infusion form and sprayed on the body after the shower, and some of these are Calendula, Chamomile, Comfrey, Geranium, Lavender, Peppermint, Roses, Rosemary, Sage, Seaweed and Witch Hazel; for anything else, you can think of. See The Herbal Body Book, Chapter XX, “Herbal Baths, The Wonder Cure”.
•Citrus Solstice Bath – Whole Yuzu fruits (or Oranges) are floated in the hot water of the bath, sometimes enclosed in a cloth bag, releasing their aroma. The fruit may also be cut in half, allowing the citrus juice to mingle with the bathwater. The Yuzu bath, known commonly as yuzuyu but also as yuzuburo, is said to guard against colds, treat the roughness of skin, warm the body, and relax the mind.
•Bundles of Birch twigs were used in Russian banyas to gently strike the body to stimulate whole-body circulation. The banya was a small room that could be used both as a sauna or steam room. The bathhouse keepers used scrubbers of many kinds, including those made of green branches of the Birch tied to a stick. Birch twigs contain acetylsalicylic acid, a precursor to aspirin, and relieve pain while improving circulation as the steam releases the Birch’s volatile oils.
A thirteenth-century manuscript of Sachsenspiegel shows bathers massaging themselves with leaves (Lyons and Petrucelli, p. 364)
Above: Bathers in the sauna scrub and/or beat themselves with bunches of leaves.
•GENERAL DETOX BATH – a quick shower to clean the skin. Then …
___1. Add 2 cups Epsom salt (and herbs, kelp, or Moor mud) to a standard tub full of water. If your tub is bigger, add more.
___2. Ideally, you want the water to be very hot. We are looking to create a nice sweat.
___3. If your bath water is not filtered, add 1 cup of baking soda as this helps neutralize the chemicals, primarily chlorine, as well as increase mineral absorption.
___4. Immerse yourself in the water all the way up to your neck. You want as much of your body underwater as you can. Close your eyes, do some breathing exercises, and soak for at least 20 minutes.
___5. Once you are done soaking, rise out of the tub very slowly and cautiously. You may feel light-headed; this will go away as you shower off quickly in cool water.
___6. It is important not to use harsh soaps or shampoos in the bath, as your pores are open and will just absorb the bad items found in those products.
___7. Once dry, you can apply a natural moisturizer like body butter, shea butter, or coconut oil and some natural deodorant, but again no lotions with perfumes, dyes, or chemicals.
___8. Many recommend that you do not eat before or after taking a detox bath. However, in the Middle Ages, often a meal was served in the tub on floating tables while people socialized in the bath; I think this is best not done.
___9. Instead, hydrate yourself by drinking water or light herbal tea before and after.
__10. Allow time after your bath to rest and rejuvenate.
•BATHS Recipes ~ See individual listings for different baths and therapies.•
Showers are to clean the body, while immersion Baths are to heal the mind and body and are used ritually to cleanse the spirit.
Hydrotherapy is a system of bathing rituals or various therapeutic baths to aid in the healing of various systems of the body. It has been prescribed since before the Roman baths with their distinct and separate rooms of various temperature baths.
However, full body immersion is the key to cleansing the body of illness, and with shallow modern baths where only the lower part of the body is fully immersed, this does not lend itself to a healing experience. In a modern bath, one must lay down flat on your back in the tub with the legs up and out in order to get the proper healing effects. Worried about your hair? Wear a shower cap.
In a bath/hydrotherapy treatment, it is important to use three baths per week of 20-30 minutes each. The temperature of the water is not important. Start with warm baths; add Seaweeds, Moor mud, various types of salts, herbs, and/or hydrosols. Seaweed bath information will be coming.
•Balneotherapy. Balneotherapy is using the therapy of mineralized water in the treatment of disease by bathing, especially in mineral springs. (The use of the minerals in hot springs for therapeutic bathing). Balneotherapy (spa therapy) is the act of bathing in thermal or mineral waters at temperatures of about 34° C (98.6° F). The hydrostatic force of the water is thought to bring about pain relief, which may result from taking stress off the affected joint, relaxation, or other factors. It is most commonly recommended for patients with psoriasis or rheumatoid arthritis. Balneotherapy uses mineral salts or water. Simply open the tap or get into a bath of mineral salts — water energy will draw the minerals in. Bathing lifts the spirits and relaxes the body. You can use a blend of salts, herbs, and/or oils such as Hinoki Wood, Rosemary verbenone, Atlas cedar, or chlorophyll. Minerals from the earth help clean the body and help to heal the agitated mind.
There’s no place like a bath to stretch your soul and listen to your own inner voice. -Seneca
Bathing in Thermal Waters. increases body metabolism, including stimulating the secretions of the intestinal tract and the liver, aiding digestion. It is my feeling that a repeated series of baths, five, using hot springs or mineral or Moor bathing (especially over a 3- to 4-week period) can help normalize the functions of the endocrine glands as well as the functioning of the body’s autonomic nervous system. Trace amounts of minerals such as carbon dioxide, sulfur, calcium, magnesium, and lithium are absorbed by the body and provide healing effects to various body organs and systems. These healing effects can include stimulating the immune system, leading to enhanced immunity; physical and mental relaxation; the production of endorphins; and normalized gland function. Mineral springs contain high amounts of negative ions, which can help promote feelings of physical and psychological well-being.
The direct application of mineralized thermal waters (especially those containing sulfur) can have a therapeutic effect on diseases of the skin, including psoriasis, dermatitis, and fungal infections. Some mineral waters are also used to help the healing of wounds and other skin injuries.
•Relaxing Bath. Use a bath as full immersion therapy. Hot water to the neck provides an ultra-warm environment for the body that helps to boost blood flow and, in turn, promotes a more complete relaxation for the body.
•Forget Your Troubles Bath. I believe that there is no ritual more important to well-being than a warm bath at the end of the day or at least three times per week. Hinoki and Cedar, both the branches (herb) and their essential oil, are relaxing, and Sage herb and Lemon peel and their essential oils are purifying and healing while the chlorophyll in the plants is cleansing. Bathing is thus transformed into a walk with nature. Slip yourself into this floating, watery, citrus-woody scented, mineral-rich bath and forget your troubles.
Indications for Balneotherapy are chronic diseases such as rheumatic diseases; metabolic diseases such as diabetes, obesity, and gout; chronic gastrointestinal or respiratory diseases such as asthma and COPD; circulatory diseases, especially moderate or mild hypertension; chronic skin diseases; psychosomatic and stress-related diseases; hearing disorders such as those affecting balance; chronic gynecological diseases; and other ailments.
•A Bath Formula.Use up to 4 oz of herbs per bath, enclose in cloth or a rice ball, anything that you have will do, and then add 5-10 drops of a blend of essential oils. Equal amounts of the essential oils of Hinoki wood (Chamaecyparis obtusa), Owyhee (Artemisia ludoviciana) or Roman Chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile), Atlas cedar (Cedrus atlantica), Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis CT verbenone), Sage (Salvia officinalis), and Lemon (Citrus limon) can be mixed and 10 or so drops added per bath.
“This ritual-based body treatment (of baths) is founded on the principle that stimulating blood flow through the body helps to release the flow of vital energy in the body. Combined with the benefits of warm water, these minerals are known to ease muscles, soften the skin and renew the body. By blending these exceptional ingredients and pure scents, healing occurs deep in the skin, and the mind is similarly relaxed and inspired. Roots, herbs, and flowers hold life and health for the human body. The Hinoki scent for bathing is inspired by the sensual art of caring for the body as it was developed and created in Japan. Always use one hundred percent botanically based pure essential oil and pure salts derived from clear springs.” —Kneipp Keep your products free of drying agents, dyes, synthetics, preservatives, and synthetic colors.
•Directions for Salt Bath. Empty up to 1 lb. of mixed salts, and you can add 5-10 drops of essential oil mixture, plus Sea-Lettuce (a seaweed) to a very warm bath. Water becomes naturally green because of the chlorophyll of the seaweed and is buoyant with rich minerals from the salts. Step in. Steep yourself for 22 minutes. Step out and into a big warm towel.
•More Bath Formulas. A simple aromatic bath is the infused herbs of any fresh ones that you have available with 5-10 drops of complementary essential oils. i.e., 4 oz. Citrus peels infusion plus citrus and Patchouli oil [1 drop each Grapefruit, Lemon, Orange, and Neroli + 4 drops Patchouli]. When using citrus oils, it is best to add them first to the herbs and mix carefully and then put the combination into a bag which is then put into the tub. Get into the tub before the herbs because citrus oils can burn and irritate the genitals and delicate skin if they get concentrated and if just poured into the tub without being mixed first. (essential oils float on water)
______•Hydrosol-Essential Oil Bath. For example, for hypertension, shower and clean first, then fill the tub and use body temperature water; add 1 cup of Rose Geranium or Rosemary hydrosol; if you wish, you can also add the appropriate essential oils, soak for 20 minutes, wrap in a large towel, drink a cup of your Hypertension Tea Blend, and go to bed. Melissa is the most useful but difficult to obtain, but Lavender or Rose Geranium hydrosols can also be used. Don’t have hydrosols? Call Prima Fleur Botanicals for their list. It is easy to use the herbal infusions of the herbs mentioned above.
Fig. 6-Stress Bath
Fangotherapy .(fango = mud from Italy thermal springs) or Pelotherapy is volcanic ash or mud used with thermal springs in curative treatment at SPAs. In California, there is only one hot springs that uses the true Fangotherapy — Indian Springs in Calistoga, CA, and they also have the best outdoor pool. It can also mean any clay or mud used in therapy.
•Hot Springs. The water from a hot spring gradually increases the temperature of the body, which helps to kill harmful germs and viruses. Bathing in mineral springs increases the static water pressure on the body, which increases blood circulation and oxygenation of the cell, and the minerals in the water get soaked up by the skin. This increases blood flow and also helps to dissolve and eliminate ‘toxins’ from the body. Mineral and Hot Springs bathing increases the flow of oxygen-rich blood throughout the body, improving hydration and nourishment to vital organs and tissues.
If you visit California, try the bubbling naturally carbonated waters in the lovely and charming tubs at Vichy Hot Springs in Ukiah, CA.
A Jeanne Rose BATHING TOMATO TALE
I have been fortunate and bathed in many different hot springs in the western part of the United States including Lithia Springs in Steamboat Springs, CO (lithium); Esalen Hot Springs in Big Sur, CA (sulfur); Ojo Caliente in New Mexico (arsenic); the naturally carbonated hot springs at Vichy Springs, Ukiah, CA (bubbles like champagne surround your body); as well as the thermal baths at the Arlington Resort Hotel in Hot Springs, AR; the mineral baths (sulfur) at the fabulous Green Brier Resort in West Virginia; the waters at Rancho La Puerta in Mexico; Hot Springs (radium) in Banff, Canada; and many wild and willful hot springs that pop out of the ground and in streams in Nevada, southern Idaho, and Oregon. Many of these were followed by the application of herbs in the form of wraps, compresses, rinses, and poultices to increase the water’s curative effects.
Fig.7. Photo of Parker Ranch pond with hot springs by Michael S. Moore… mikesmooreptgs.com
•Hydrotherapy.is the treatment of disorders by the application of water, especially externally by immersion or use of water in any way as a treatment. Water used in therapy, especially as a compress, packs, masks, wraps, hot water, cold water, sprays, immersion, cold water, hot water, etc.
•Hydrosol therapy.is the use of herbal and floral hydrosols with any other hydrotherapy to affect change in the body. A hydrosol is a non-alcoholic water solution obtained from plant distillation. It is the solution in which the distillate obtained is a liquid that contains the micro-drops of essential oils and the infused properties of the plants that were distilled. PrimaFleur.com has hydrosols.
A JEANNE ROSE HYDROSOL TOMATO TALE
•Hydrosol Bath from 2016.“Today in April, I took a hydrosol bath. I used Choisya hydrosol and Rose Geranium hydrosol. These I had personally distilled. The Choisya contains components that are considered absorbable, pain-relieving, and antiaging such as phellandrene, and the Rose Geranium is a beautifying skin tonic. I added about 1 cup of each of the hydrosols. I also added about 2 cups of Rosemary infusion from my large garden Rosemary plant. Rosemary is also anti-aging and rejuvenating. The hydrosol is added to the bath — Rosemary can be absorbed into the skin, and so when the Rosemary infusion is added to the bath, it adds its unique anti-aging qualities, is slightly stimulating, and is very comforting. Use about a 1-cup/bath Rosemary infusion or hydrosol as a fine tonic addition. I added very warm water and sat and soaked for 22 minutes before I washed with a bar of natural soap and then rinsed with clear water.” It was a wonderful and refreshing cleansing bath. You should all try it.
•Pelotherapy. (pelo from the Greek word for clay or mud) is the therapeutic application of mud to the body. It is used in conjunction with other forms of therapy, especially hydrotherapy, balneotherapy, or thalassotherapy.
•Shower, Sprays, or Herbal Hand-Foot Bath Therapy is part of the hand-and-body baths that were once written about by the French doctor Maurice Mességué, a French herbalist who began practicing in earnest in 1947, a time in North America when there were virtually no herbalists but many hot springs available. Mességué primarily used hand and foot baths to administer herbs as compress, poultice, and soaks, and was a champion of carefully harvested and prepared herbal formulas from his locally-grown herbs, and that he also used as medicines. If you do not have a tub, any part of the body can benefit from sprays or washes and soaks with herbal and aromatic waters.
Shower or Spray therapy and baths can be more effective if used with consideration of what you want to accomplish, and they can boost the immune system if you follow with a 3-minute cold shower.
First, take a shower with soap to clean. Then take a few drops of your favorite blend of essential oils and massage into the skin – from head to toe. Now, take a shower for refreshment, run in bursts of hot and cold for circulation, or from soft to ‘hard rain’ to stimulate or use the hand-held spray attachment at various settings, including ‘waterfall’ or ‘rainfall’ settings. Be conscious of the effect you wish. Use a rinse of any herbal infusion and then step out and wrap in a big warm towel and have a cup of tea.
______•Seaweed baths (part of an herbal bath) are the best, remember the seaweeds swell up and become thick and plump with the algin that soothes and heals your skin. Just don’t let the seaweed slip down the drain. Always ‘capture’ the Seaweed that is in the tub in a net bag or sieve before you remove the plug from the tub drain. You can hang the seaweed outside to dry so that you can use it another day.
•Seaweed-Rosemary Herb Bath
Fig. 9. A very good Comfrey, Rosemary, Seaweed Bath
•Thalassotherapy is the use of seawater or seaweeds as a therapeutic treatment. Thalasso comes from the ancient Greek meaning ‘ocean’. Thalassotherapy uses the nutrients in seawater and Seaweed. The different nutrients found in the sea plants help to nourish and cleanse the body. The theory is that seawater has practically the same chemical makeup as human plasma, so the body easily absorbs the water that is rich with nutrients from sea plants or plant matter. I personally adore bathing in warm seawater with fat strands of Seaweed wrapping around my body, nourishing the skin, and keeping me ‘at one with the mother ocean’.
Wash your beard. Okay men this is important. …Swiss researchers tested the facial hair of men and dog fur from various breeds. A new study finds men with beards carry more germs than the fur on dogs. “Study author Professor Andreas Gutzeit told the BBC that the researchers found a significantly higher bacterial load in the men’s beards compared with the dogs’ fur. Some of the men tested positive for microbes that actually posed a threat to human health. Experts say men should shampoo their beards regularly.” — (Prof. Dr. med. Andreas Gutzeit)
Fig. 8. 1995 – My black & white husky – Wolfie. She only had 4 baths in her 15 years.
RECIPES AND FORMULAS are also available in The SKIN/Spa Bookletproduced for Jeanne’s SPA class called Salud Per Aqua or Health Through Water by Jeanne Rose. SPA Booklet (Salve per Aqua) and A Seminar by Jeanne Rose is a collection of Jeanne’s personal SPA information and formulas.
•The Toilet of Flora – An Aromatic Bath
A page from my personal copy, Fig. 10
• OTHER PLANT MATERIALS that are considered herbs in the herbal bath context ~ Oatmeal, bran, Wheat Germ, honey, egg yolk, Papaya, Mango, Avocado peels and pits, Corn meal, silk powder.
•COLLOIDAL OATMEAL BATH
Colloidal Oatmeal Bath – Fig. 11
You need Oatmeal in a finely ground form for the bath. You can buy that in boxes in the store or you can make it. Once you grind the Oat grain or flake you have an emollient and thus soothing product for the skin — it is called colloidal oatmeal. I have always added an infusion of Comfrey root and a hydrosol or sometimes a few drops of soothing essential oils of some sort, such as Lavender or Helichrysum. But it is the colloidal oatmeal that is most important. You can purchase or you can make your own for your bath – a bit messy but well worth the effort.
MAKE YOUR OWN OATMEAL BATH (this is for soaking not with soap and water)
You have the option to buy the commercially prepared product at around $11 for eight single-use packets, or you can make your own at home for around $1.
Here’s how: You’ll need a blender, food processor, or coffee grinder and 1 cup of oatmeal. You can use instant oatmeal (unflavored), quick oats, stone-ground oats or slow-cooking oats- all work equally as well. Blend or process the oats on the highest setting until you have a very fine, consistent powder. To test the colloidal property of the oats, stir 1 tablespoon of oats into a glass of warm water. If the oats readily absorb the water and give it a milky look and a silky feel, you’ve blended long enough.
Giving the bath: Sprinkle the oats into a tub of running water and stir the water with your hand several times to ensure even distribution. Feel along the bottom of the tub for clumps and break up any you find. Take care getting into the tub as the Oats will make the tub even more slippery than usual. Soak in the tub for 20-25 minutes and pat dry with a soft towel rather than rubbing. You can use this bath once or twice a day or more if you need it and it is excellent for children.
Common uses for Oatmeal Baths … •Anal itching (often from pinworms) •Chicken pox •Diaper rash •Dry skin •Eczema •Insect bites •Poison Ivy, Oak, and Sumac •Shingles •Sunburn •Windburn
•ESSENTIAL OILS & HYDROSOLS ~ The Aromatherapy Book, Applications & Inhalationsis the book to read. Chapter 1, Tables 1 and 2, will tell you which oils to use for which condition. Try the same essential oils as the herbs that you have chosen. Add a drop of Chamomile, Lavender, Neroli, Palmarosa, Rosemary, or Ylang-Ylang after the bath and as a rubdown. Use hydrosols of Lavender, Geranium, Melissa, and Rosemary in your bath for skin health and well-being.
A BATH LIMERICK Baths relax and cool the emotions They remind you of the deep blue ocean Showers are nice And remove all the lice But baths clean the soul of commotion…. JeanneRose 2012
Fig. 13. Le Roman de la Momie, illustrated by George Barbier
Would you like to learn how to make your own products and to treat your skin like a royal? Have you ever wondered why some women have such wonderful complexions? The Herbal Body Book and The SPA/Skin Care Booklet have everything you need to know about skin, salt, water, hydrosols, essential oils, herbs for the skin and body and to make your own products. Herbs and essential oils have a profound ability to penetrate the skin and can have a very rejuvenating affect. Read the book and try some of the 400 recipes. There is also the articles section at http://www.jeannerose.net/ and this blog with other posts.
•Soap for all your healing needs. There are so many lovely handmade bars of soap that are now available at your local retailer or can be made. I once wrote a small book on 200 different soaps that I had tried. My favorites always ended up being the simplest and less complicated.
Fig. 13. A bar of simple natural soap
You can make your own plain simple soap in a pot and grow the herbs you need in your yard for your bath, or you can purchase them from your Herb Store or nearby Farmer’s Market. Read The Herbal Body Book by Jeanne Rose for more bath and soap ideas.
•Herbal bath for aching muscles•
The objective and purpose are to prepare a mix used in a bath for aching muscles of the back.
Formula: •Add ½-cup clary sage tops, ½-cup strawberry leaves, ½-cup pennyroyal tops, ¼-cup fine-chopped comfrey root, ¼-cup chamomile and ¼-cup fine-chopped white willow bark. Mix this all up and store in a light-proof container.
•Bring to a boil 1-cup of the mix mentioned with 2 quarts of water. Simmer, without boiling, for 15 min.
•Pour the liquid part of the mix through a sieve or strainer into a hot bath.
•Take the solid part and put it into a washcloth or cloth bag that will be used to wash your back.
•Now stay at least 20-25 min in the bath and enjoy.
Results: A warm-to-hot bath is always very relaxing and good for the muscles. But with that mix, and mainly (in my opinion) with the comfrey root, it adds a huge benefit to the hot bath. When I took it, I quickly felt a relaxing and soothing effect on my back muscles. I really appreciated that moment and will do it again for sure.
DYING FOR A BATH
INTERESTING INFORMATION about the Bath ~ In 65 CE, Nero wrongfully accused the aging Seneca, his childhood tutor, longtime political advisor, and minister, of complicity in the Pisonian plot to murder him. Nero ordered Seneca to commit suicide as punishment for his alleged crime. The death of Lucius Annaeus Seneca (c. 1 BC–AD 65), an ancient Roman stoic philosopher and statesman who cut his wrists and then entered a bathtub to quicken his death after Emperor Nero ordered him to commit suicide. Stoicism was concerned with the acceptance of one’s own mortality, and, indeed, the philosopher shown here appears unaffected by his impending death.
•PrimaFleur.com is known for premium quality products, essential oils and hydrosols, carrier oils, and specialty ingredients.
•Seaweed is available from Mermaid Botanicals, now that the glorious seaweed man, Ryan Drum, has retired.
• The SKIN/SPA booklet produced for Jeanne’s SPA class is subtitled Salud Per Aqua or Health Through Water. SPA Booklet (Salve per Aqua) was written for a seminar by Jeanne Rose and is a collection of Jeanne’s personal SPA information and formulas.
Atlas Cedar, Cedrus atlantica, and Deodar Cedar, C. deodara are profiled.
COMMON NAME/LATIN BINOMIAL OF TRUE CEDAR ~ The Cedar tree is so lovely, and it is often confused with every other tree there is. And other trees that are totally unrelated are called ‘cedar’ by older, ignorant, common usage. There are Pine trees, Cypress trees, Thuja trees, Juniper trees, and Calocedrus trees, all called Cedar, but only the Cedrus genus is the true Cedar tree.
Cedrus libani var. atlantica Manetti (fam. Pinaceae) is a true Cedar, the original one from Morocco. Here we are only discussing the genus Cedrus. There are two main species: Cedrus atlantica, the Atlas Cedar, and C. deodara, the Himalayan cedar. That is it.
THE WORDS HAVE MEANING
•Atlas Cedar (wood) Cedrus libani ssp atlantica. Cedrus is Latin for evergreen conifers + libani, meaning Mt. Lebanon, the name of the mountain, and atlantica meaning a large ocean, while the common name of Atlas Cedar means coming from the Atlas mountains. Botanical names always mean something. A majority of the modern sources treat Cedrus atlantica as a distinct species but some sources consider it a subspecies of the Lebanon Cedar (C. libani subsp. atlantica).
See Chapter Two of my book, “375 Essential Oils and Hydrosols,” for the meaning of the other aromatic-therapy plant names.
Cedar-wood (the dash shows that you know they are not cedars) and is of the Conifer family, Cupressaceae. These are of different genera, in this case, Juniperus and Thuja. The trees have scales and not needles. While true Cedars have needles (Pinaceae) and not scales.
Juniperus virginiana is indigenous to Virginia and is not an old-world tree. It is called red cedar-wood, and the oil of the bark is both organoleptically and chemically different from true Cedar. It contains cedrol and cedrene. It is used as a slight moth-repellent wood for closets and boxes. Juniperus virginiana is called Cedar via the ignorance of people coming from the Olde Worlde to the Newe and thinking it looked like what they knew from the past. It should be spelled cedar-wood to separate it from the true Cedar of Cedrus. It is indigenous to Virginia and is not an Olde-Worlde tree. It is called red cedar-wood, and the oil of the bark organoleptic and chemical composition is different. It contains cedrol and cedrene. It is used as a slight moth-repellent wood for closets and boxes.
Other trees called Cedar that are not – African-Cedar – Juniperus procera, American /red/Pencil-Cedar – Juniperus virginiana Aka Eastern Red-Cedar, Southern Red-Cedar – Juniperus silicola.
>See Chart at end of Article<
FAMILY ~ Atlas Cedar and Himalayan Cedar belong to the Pine family (Pinaceae), Cedrus genus. They have needles and not scales. The essential oils of the bark are almost identical in organoleptic and chemical composition. They contain the alcohol ‘atlantone.’ This is a wonderful oil to use in aromatherapy.
COUNTRIES OF ORIGINS ~ Cedrus deodara (Deodar Cedar, Himalayan Cedar, or Deodar; Urdu: deodār; Hindi, Sanskrit: devadāru;) is a species of true Cedar native to the western Himalayas in eastern Afghanistan, northern Pakistan, north-central India, southwesternmost Tibet, and western Nepal, occurring at 1500–3200 m. altitude. It is a large evergreen coniferous tree reaching 40–50 m tall, exceptionally 60 m, with a trunk up to 3 m. diameter. It has a conic crown with level branches and drooping branchlets.
Our beautiful Cedrus atlantica in Golden Gate Park. So majestic.
Cedar trees – GENERAL DESCRIPTION OF PLANT HABITAT AND GROWTH ~ Fully grown, the Atlas cedar is a coniferous, evergreen tree with wide branches tapering to a height of 50 feet with a trunk diameter of 4.9 to 6.6 ft. The branches are covered with long needles, having barrel-shaped cones standing upright on the branches. Some of the Cedars in Lebanon, however, are said to be one hundred feet high and over 2,000 years old.
There are several examples of the tree in the front center area of the San Francisco Botanical Garden. I have also seen these lovely trees as an entrance allée to the government buildings of Sacramento, all over Golden Gate Park, and near the entrance to the University of Arizona in Tucson.
ENDANGERED OR NOT ~ Cedrus atlantica is grown in many countries; the Lebanese cedar is an endangered species due to over-exploitation and the destruction of its natural habitat, Cedrus libani is vulnerable, and in some areas of its heritage growth, it is endangered.
PORTION OF PLANT USED FOR EXTRACTION, EXTRACTION METHODS; DISTILLATION, HOW DISTILLED, AND YIELDS ~ The wood, chips, and sawdust are steam distilled. Yield: 3-5%.
CHEMICAL COMPONENTS ~ It contains cadinene, atlantone, cedrol, and alpha and beta Cedrene, and Caryophyllene.
ODOR DESCRIPTION/ AROMA ASSESSMENT of Cedar Oil ~ The oil from the wood has a clean deep gold color with a rich, fruity, floral, wood odor that contains up to 80% Sesquiterpenes and Sesquiterpenols.
(see Scent snapshot at the end, comparing Atlas Cedar and Virginia Cedar-wood).
GENERAL PROPERTIES of Cedar oil and plant
We are only discussing Cedrus spp.
The EO has antiseptic properties that are especially useful in the respiratory and urinary tract, for inflammation of the urethra or bladder, and to treat bronchitis. A drop of the EO in half a cup of water is an excellent gargle for a sore throat. Add it with a few drops of Eucalyptus EO in a bowl of steaming water to reduce nasal or lung congestion. It can also be used like a homemade “Vicks-Vapo-Rub.” It can be taken internally as a lymphatic tonic and may help reduce water retention. External application of the EO can be used for the scalp, especially for alopecia, and skin diseases. Add the EO to shampoos or facial washes to reduce oily secretions and combine with Galbanum to support wound healing.
•Physical Uses & How used – Application and in massage; It is used for arteriosclerosis, the retention of fluid in the tissue (edema), cellulite reduction, and in skin care for reducing oily secretions. It is also used for cleansing, as a general tonic, acne, rheumatism, cystitis, and scalp disorder.
Cedarwood is used by application and inhalation for chest infections and asthma.
A formula by Jeanne Rose for the skin and scalp. Mix together 20 drops each of Thyme borneol, Rosemary cineol, and 40 drops of Atlas Cedar essential oils. Add 80 drops of Jojoba oil. Agitate, and succuss. Use 3-4 drops on your hairbrush and brush your hair from scalp to ends every day. This will encourage hair growth and discourage alopecia.
There was a young man from Natchez, Whose head was balding in patches. He used Atlas Cedar for sure, And Rosemary that was pure And now he no longer scratches. •
This formula also smells very nice and can be used for facial care when there is acne or even using it to massage over the limbs.
•Properties by Inhalation – Cedar is a tonic to the respiratory system. When applied in a massage blend it assists as an arterial regenerative, lymphatic tonic, antiseptic, fungicide, tonic, anti-seborrheic, and regenerative.
•Ingestion – If a drop or two are taken in a teaspoon of honey, it aids in urinary tract infections.
•Emotional Uses – Used by Inhalation for anxiety.
DIFFUSE/DIFFUSION ~ EMOTIONAL/ENERGETIC USE ~ The mystery of aromatherapy —Get to know the elusive essence that is able to create such a variety of emotional and physical changes.
Cultural importance in the Indian subcontinent – The deodar tree is the national tree of Pakistan. Among Hindus, it is worshipped as a divine tree, particularly in Kashmir and Punjab villages, as the name deodar suggests. The first half of the word deva means the words divine, deity, Deus, and Zeus, and the second part connotes durum, druid, tree, and true.
Forests full of deodar trees were the popular resting places for sages and religious scholars as per ancient Indian mythology.3
For an excellent Focus Blend to be used in Yoga, a blend of Cedarwood/Spikenard/Patchouli. •
BLENDING & PERFUMERY with Atlas or Deodar Cedar – These Cedrus oils are a wonderful woody, floral, and fruity scent with deep intensity and are excellent in a base note blend for tenacity. They blend Best with citrus, wood, and florals.
HYDROSOL ~ At this time, I have not been able to find and use the true Cedar as a hydrosol.
PLEASE NOTE: A true hydrosol should be specifically distilled for the hydrosol, not as a co-product or even a by-product of essential oil distillation. The plant’s cellular water has many components; most are lost under pressurized short steam runs for essential oil or by using dried material. We recommend that the producers specifically distill for a product by using plant material that is fresh.
HERBAL USE ~ Construction material – Deodar is in great demand as a building material because of its durability, rot-resistant character, and fine, close grain, which is capable of taking a high polish. Its historical use to construct religious temples and as a landscape around temples is well recorded. Its rot-resistant character also makes it an ideal wood for constructing the famous houseboats of Srinagar, Kashmir. In India, during the British colonial period, deodar wood was used extensively for the construction of barracks, public buildings, bridges, canals, and railway cars.1
A FEARLESS JEANNEROSE TOMATO TALE ABOUT THE NAME OF CEDAR —
Fifty years ago, when I first started collecting historical books on plants (herbs and aromatics), I was put off by so many books with the names and history of plants just plain wrong. As a science major at college (1954-1959), I was educated by and the assistant of a botanist who was a stickler in the use of correct Latin binomials and the history of each plant. He said, “You don’t need to pronounce the name correctly, but you do need to spell it correctly”. The Latin names are the same all over the world.
One of the first books I obtained was a first-edition book, dated 1951, that stated the trees that were used to build the temple of Solomon in ancient Jerusalem was the American Cedarwood named Juniperus virginiana. Well, anyone with a lick of sense knows that the Temple of Solomon was built around 1000 B.C.E. (before the common era) in the Middle East and that the tree called Juniperus virginiana is a species of Juniper indigenous to and native to eastern North America and was not named or identified or found until the early 1600s. (Yes, the Native Americans of the area used this tree, but these are not the people of Solomon’s era.) I discarded that book immediately and cannot even remember its name. But I also saw this same misinformation that “Cedrus species is a North American tree…of the family Cupressaceae” in one of our modern books on aromatherapy, published in 1995 by two well-known teachers of aromatherapy.
In 1972, I also started collecting the true ancient rare historical books, including a copy of Gerard’s Herbal from 1632 and a copy of Plinie’s Herbal published in 1601. These, I used to give me a real background and a good grounding in the aromatic plants and herbs that were to eventually make up my life’s work.
I enjoy taxonomy now, although not so much back in 1957. Names are important, and you should know the names of the plants that you use, just like you should know the names of the friends that you love. You wouldn’t call every female you know ‘sis’ – would you? So, don’t go calling all the trees cedar, either.
KEY USE ~ Prepare the dead and Respiratory disorders.
HISTORICAL USES ~ From the Sanskrit for “Timber of the gods”.2
INTERESTING INFORMATION ~ In mummification and to repel vermin. “Repellant to insects. Used by the ancient Egyptians for mummification and by other ancient cultures for sarcophagi and palace and temple material. Sometimes called ‘satinwood.’ The Latin name means ‘Atlas Cedar’, the tree growing in the Atlas Mountains that span Morocco and Algeria. Different species of cedars are found all over the world. Native Americans use cedar as medicine and burn it for purification”4.
Native American lore says that when the great mystery gave a gift to each species, the young trees were given a task to stay awake for 7 days and watch over the forest; the trees fell asleep species by species leaving only the young conifers that were so excited that they could not fall asleep. By the 7th night the only trees left awake were the Fir, Pine, Spruce, Cedar, Holly, and Laurel. The great mystery was very happy, “What wonderful endurance you have,” and gave them the gift of forever remaining green – thus the Evergreens. They were proclaimed the guardians of the forest and given exceptional healing qualities. (from the Herbal Studies Course)
Department of Dermatology, Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, Foresterhill, Scotland. email@example.com
RANDOMIZED TRIAL OF AROMATHERAPY. SUCCESSFUL TREATMENT FOR ALOPECIA AREATA.
OBJECTIVE: To investigate the efficacy of aromatherapy in the treatment of patients with alopecia areata.
DESIGN: A randomized, double-blind, controlled trial of 7 months duration, with follow-up at 3 and 7 months.
SETTING: Dermatology outpatient department.
PARTICIPANTS: Eighty-six patients diagnosed as having alopecia areata.
INTERVENTION: Eighty-six patients were randomized into 2 groups. The active group massaged essential oils (thyme, rosemary, lavender, and cedarwood) in a mixture of carrier oils (jojoba and grapeseed) into their scalp daily. The control group used only carrier oils for their massage, also daily.
MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Treatment success was evaluated on sequential photographs by 2 dermatologists (I.C.H. and A.D.O.) independently. Similarly, the degree of improvement was measured by 2 methods: a 6-point scale and computerized analysis of traced areas of alopecia.
RESULTS: Nineteen (44%) of 43 patients in the active group showed improvement compared with 6 (15%) of 41 patients in the control group (P = .008). An alopecia scale was applied by blinded observers on sequential photographs and was shown to be reproducible with good interobserver agreement (kappa = 0.84). The degree of improvement on photographic assessment was significant (P = .05). Demographic analysis showed that the 2 groups were well matched for prognostic factors.
CONCLUSIONS: The results show aromatherapy to be a safe and effective treatment for alopecia areata. Treatment with these essential oils was significantly more effective than treatment with the carrier oil alone (P = .008 for the primary outcome measure). We also successfully applied an evidence-based method to an alternative therapy.
MASTIC EO & Tree Resin ~ Mastic EO & tree resin to understand the nature of Mastic, its description,
distillation methods, particular plant properties, uses, and science ~
MASTIC Essential Oil &/or Herb Resin Profile
By Jeanne Rose and other sources ~ 2023
INTRODUCTION ~ Mastic is a resin. I love the resins; I love to burn them for magic and ritual and, above all, use their essential oils in healing blends and via inhalation.
COMMON NAME/LATIN BINOMIAL ~ Gum Mastic / (Pistacia lentiscus L.) is an oleoresin from a flowering shrub and contains very little oil. Other common names include Gum Mastic or Chios Mastic Gum in Greece. The word “masticate” comes from an ancient Greek word from the Greek practice of chewing this interestingly flavorful resin as gum in addition to freshening the breath and fighting tooth decay.
—-Family –Anacardiaceae is most often known as the cashew family; they are flowering plants with over 800 species, some of which produce an irritant called urushiol.
MASTIC EO & the HERB RESIN is known from Greece but grows in Mediterranean Europe and Northern Africa, Algeria, Morocco, and the Canary Islands. Only the true Mastic tree, the variety chia, has the qualities that are desirable. This variety grows well only in this specific area that has the perfect terroir, that is, the southeast corner of the island of Chios, a Greek island in the Aegean Sea.
ENDANGERED OR NOT ~ A tree called Mastic (species unknown) is considered critically endangered in the Cayman Islands. The Pistacia lentiscus is considered threatened and endangered.
GENERAL DESCRIPTION OF PLANT HABITAT AND GROWTH ~ The Mastic tree, Pistacia lentiscus, is a flowering shrub with a strong smell of resin; it is a dioecious tree with separate male and female plants. It is an evergreen from 1 to 5 m high and grows in dry and rocky areas in Mediterranean Europe. 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 flowers are green 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 first red and then black when ripe, about 4 mm. in diameter.
PORTION OF THE PLANT USED IN DISTILLATION, HOW DISTILLED, EXTRACTION METHODS, AND YIELDS ~ Mastic is an oleoresin containing a little oil. The 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. –––––– “The resin is collected by making small cuts made in the bark of the main branches and then allowing the trees to drip the sap onto the specially prepared ground below. 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 The ground is prepared with fine white kaolin clay on spread on the ground and Mastic falls on it and keeps it clean.
______In Greece to get the Mastic from the Mastic tree is very precise work and takes all summer. First, the ground around the tree is cleaned, then the tree is carved with a special needle to a depth of about 3 mm. Now the Mastic flows slowly from the tree. The first Mastic is collected after fifteen days when it has become more solid.
_____YIELD is 0.7-1 and occasionally up to 3% EO.
ORGANOLEPTIC CHARACTERISTICS OF MASTIC oil Color EO is pale yellow Clarity Clear Viscosity Very slightly viscous Taste Bitter (We do not recommend ingestion-only chewing of the resin) Intensity of odor 5
Intensity scale of odor ~ On a scale of 1-10, if Usnea is a 1, Lavender a 2, Tea Tree a 5, and Cinnamon or Massoia is 8; then Mastic is about 5-6 in intensity.
Odor Description/ Aroma Assessment: The Mastic odor is green, with strong smoky, herbaceous, and fruity notes and hints of spice, citrus, conifer, wood, and leather. Excellent to use in a gentleman’s fragrance or for a brunette woman.
CHEMICAL COMPONENTS OF MASTIC ~ The main components were α-pinene (58.86–77.10%), camphene (0.75–1.04%), β-pinene (1.26–2.46%), myrcene (0.23–12.27%), linalool (0.45–3.71%), and β-caryophyllene (0.70–1.47%).
TASTE ~ I have chewed the gum and tasted this sweet with tea for years, yet I am at a loss to describe the taste of Mastic. I suggest that you give it a try as it is a very special savor, and most memorable. It starts out floral and slightly bitter and then smooths its way to a herbal and sweetish taste. Delicious!
GENERAL PROPERTIES of MASTIC
The essential oil is produced by steam distillation from the oleoresin or occasionally directly from the leaves and branches. It is considered antimicrobial, antiseptic, antispasmodic, diuretic, astringent, expectorant and stimulant. Mastic (Pistacia lentiscus) resin and EO have a plethora of qualities and uses. The resin is said to absorb cholesterol when masticated, and is an antibacterial and, acts as an oral antiseptic, tightens the gums, helps digestion, heals wounds; and scientists recently discovered that when it is administrated in small doses over a period of time, it cures stomach ulcers.
The EO is used to heal external skin problems.
Mastic varnish has been in use for thousands of years and is primarily obtained from male trees and used to protect oil and watercolor paintings. The varnish is also used in lithography and cement for precious stones1.
PROPERTIES AND USES ~ Gum Mastic is used in medicine, pharmaceutical products like medical creams and dental toothpaste, and cures for ulcers; it is used in the paint industry, cosmetics, paint varnish, and artists use it both as an adhesive and to 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 Olde Worlde chewing gum, while Spruce and Pine gums were traditionally chewed in the Newe Worlde of the USA and Canada.
It is suggested by Franchomme and Daniel Pénoël that Mastic EO can assist cardiovascular function. It also is useful as an inhalant for assisting bronchitis, coughs, and colds and application of muscular aches and pains. An interesting oil.
APPLICATION/ SKINCARE: GUM MASTIC (Pistacia lentiscus) ~ Mastic is widely used in the preparation of ointments for skin afflictions like burns and eczema, frostbite, cancers, as well as other external skin afflictions, including the manufacture of plasters. Mastic EO is used in products as well, both for this effect and its scent.
Skin Care Recipe ___________________________________ A teaspoon of any unscented cleansing creams with a slight drop of Mastic EO works well in cleansing the skin. Apply a warm wet washcloth to warm the skin, and gently massage it into the skin for 10 seconds, then warm the skin again with the warm wet washcloth and gently wipe. This is great in the morning as a wake-up ritual. This is also considered to be rejuvenating.
Other Uses: Mastic is found in varnishes.
DIFFUSE/DIFFUSION: Since Mastic oil is from a resinous material, it can be diffused by using a FanFuser on the scent disc but not from a glass-enclosed diffuser as the resin and will clog the diffuser. The scent should be used as an accessory odor, not the primary odor.
EMOTIONAL/ENERGETIC USE: Aleister Crowley considered Mastic to be pale yellow, energetically and clean, and free from prejudice, whether for or against any moral idea. It is used in a ritual blend to intensify them and quicken their rate of vibration. Mastic is used as incense for Pisces people.
BLENDSAND PERFUMERY ~ I like to use Mastic EO & Herb resin in my Natural Perfumery class as a tincture and used as a fixative where it lends a subtle smoky note.
Blends Best ~ Citrus scents, Lavender-fern combos as a top note and in floral odors. I enjoy using Mastic in massage blends.
Use the essential oils in moderation. Use the herb tea or resin when it is more appropriate.
HERBAL USE OF MASTIC ~ The Mastic fruit (berries) can be crushed to obtain an oil that is used in liquor, or they can be used whole to flavor preserved meats and sausages. The leaf and stems of the plants are burned to smoke meats. Masticha is often prepared in a liquid form, mixed with honey or sugar, and spooned into cold water as the main flavor for a refreshing drink. “In Greece, it is mixed with sugar and water to form a thick white cream eaten by the spoonful with dark bitter coffee.” — 375 Essential Oils & Hydrosols. Pistacia lentiscus is used occasionally as a chewing resin to improve breath, prevent tooth decay, and heal the gums.
BATHING ~ Francis Bacon’s prescription for a bath is as follows, “First, before bathing, rub and anoint the Body with Oyle, and Salves, that the Bath’s moistening heate and virtue may penetrate into the Body, and not the liquor’s watery part: then sit 2 hours in the Bath; after Bathing wrap the Body in a seare-cloth made of Masticke, Myrrh, Pomander and Saffron, for staying the perspiration or breathing of the pores, until the softening of the Body, having layne thus in seare-cloth 24 hours, bee growne solid and hard. Lastly, with an oynment of Oyle, Salt and Saffron, the seare-cloth being taken off, anoint the Body.” (cited by Classen, Howes & Synnott)
CULINARY USE ~ “One typical spoon sweet is from the island of Chios called the ‘ipovrichio’ or submarine. It can be flavored with Vanilla or is made from mastic resin, for which the Aegean island is famous. This is a sugary fondant to be served on a teaspoon and dipped into a glass of ice-cold water, thus why it is referred to as a submarine. Once you get your spoon submerged, the fondant softens, and you go to work licking the spoon like a fondant lollipop of sorts. During the summer, you will see people at the beach or cafeterias enjoying a submarine. This dessert is loved by children and adults alike. Although the typical flavors are Vanilla and Mastic, if you opt to make the sweet dessert at home, you can also add fresh berry juices to flavor and experience a glimpse of summertime traditions in Greece.”3
• Greece also makes a resinated white or rose wine that’s infused with sap from an Aleppo pine tree (Pinus halepensis). This wine is called Retsina and emerged from an ancient winemaking tradition that can be traced back as far back as the 2nd century BC.4 This wine has a unique flavor said to have originated from the practice of sealing wine vessels, the amphorae, with the resin of this tree.
Since antiquity, the resin of the Mastic tree that grows on the Greek island of Chios is also used to flavor wine and gives it a very special and surprising taste.
JEANNE ROSE TOMATO TALES – 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. It is delicious! In December 1993, I had a very formal 8-course meal for friends, and the 7th course was a cheese course of Roquefort with Aromatherapy sweetmeats of Bergamot candied peels, Bitter Orange candied peels and Mastic sweet on Lavender Honey Thins with a delicious wine of Muscat de Beaumes de Venise. It was a very successful meal.
#2 – Mastic Tomato Tale
CHEWING MASTIC. In 2018 at a Resin Distillation Conference in Spokane, WA., I asked several well-known gum chewers 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 carie 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 to 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 of our simplest first-aid skills!
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, 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.
Mastic is tasteless in a tasty way, and a small tear (piece) can be chewed for hours without seeming to melt away. Since it does not have a strong taste, it doesn’t get tiring to chew like American chewing gum. I put a small tear in my mouth when writing this part of the article, slowly let it soften in my mouth, and then chewed it a bit and still had it in my mouth three hours later. It was pleasant to chew. I also love Chicle but think I like Mastic more.
The taste is floral with a bitter edge. As you hold it in your mouth, saliva begins to flow, which softens the Mastic, chewing becomes easier, and the floral taste softens and becomes quite pleasant.
MASTIC TOMATO TALES #3
AROMATHERAPY SALONS … Years ago, I would have meetings in my home with women that I called “Aromatherapy Salons.” We would discuss various aromatic subjects, aromatherapy, essential oils, and drink fragrant tea, have tea cookies and sweetmeats. (A sweetmeat is a delicacy prepared with sugar, honey, or the like, as preserves, candy, or, formerly, cakes or pastries. Usually, they are any sweet delicacy of the confectionery or candy kind, such as candied fruit, sugar-covered nuts, sugarplums, bonbons, or balls or sticks of candy) 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, but it was especially tasty with bitter coffee.
• • •
HYDROSOL: I do not as yet know a source for the hydrosol or its use. However, I postulate that its hydrosol would make a good antibacterial mouthwash.
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.
Key Use ~ Resin is a masticatory and is also used to burn to cleanse spaces and EO in skin care.
HISTORICAL USES ~ The Mastic resin has been used for chewing since the time of Theophrastus, in relieving halitosis and as a filler for caries, and is also used in varnishes for oil pictures. It is also an ingredient in Ouzo. Ouzo is a high-proof drink whose production begins with distillation in copper stills of 96% alcohol by volume and herbs. Anise is added, sometimes with other flavorings such as Cardamom, Cinnamon, Cloves, Coriander, Fennel, Mastic, and Star Anise.
“In January 1992, National Geographic mentioned that Columbus, sent by Genoese traders to cash in on the money-making crop of Mastic, visited Chios at least once”. — The Aromatherapy Book. •
INTERESTING INFORMATION ~ It is believed that the Sardinian warbler [a bird] is only found near fruiting shrubs of this species [Mastic].2 The tear-shaped drops of Mastic gum are associated with Saint Isadoros, whose martyred body was dragged under a Mastic tree where it wept the resinous tears called Mastic.
Ancient Egyptians employed Mastic during their embalming procedures, while Biblical scholars believe that bakha—derived from the Hebrew term for weeping (and, thus, the tear-shaped pieces of Mastic gum)—was none other than the Mastic tree.
ABSTRACT/SCIENTIFIC DATA ABOUT THE GUM RESIN MASTIC ~
—–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.
—–In recent years, university researchers have provided scientific evidence for the medicinal properties of Mastic resin. A 1985 study by the University of Thessaloniki and by the Meikai University discovered that Mastic could reduce bacterial plaque in the mouth by 41.5%. A 1998 study by the University of Athens found that Mastic oil has antibacterial and antifungal properties. A recent and extensive study showed that Mastic gum reduced H. pylori populations after an insoluble and sticky polymer (poly-β-myrcene) constituent of Mastic gum was removed and taken for a longer period of time. Further analysis showed the acid fraction was the most active antibacterial extract, and the most active pure compound was isomasticadienolic acid.
CONTRAINDICATIONS ~ Side effects of taking Mastic gum may include nausea, diarrhea, and constipation.
REFERENCES Arctander, Steffen. Perfume and Flavor Materials of Natural Origin. Arctander. 1960 Aromatherapy Studies Course/ Jeanne Rose, San Francisco, California, 1992 Dioscorides. The Greek Herbal of Dioscorides. Translated in 1655 by Goodyer and printed in 1933. Guenther, Ernest. The Essential Oils. Krieger Publishing. Florida. 1976 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. Rose, Jeanne. 375 Essential Oils and Hydrosols. Berkeley, California: Frog, Ltd., 1999 Rose, Jeanne. The Aromatherapy Book: Applications & Inhalations. San Francisco, California: 3Wikipedia – Mastic 4. https://winefolly.com/deep-dive/retsina-wine-making-surprising-comeback/
Other References are included within the body of the work.
The Jeanne Rose Aromatherapy Studies Coursecarries these blog posts as well as much more information on the many aspects of essential oils, hydrosols, absolutes, and aromatic ingredients for health and skin care.
My latest analyses of Mastic using the Advanced Vocabulary of Odor – See Natural Perfumery Workbook to use.
Orris Root (Iris pallida, [Iris germanica]) is this Iris’s aged, peeled, and dried rhizome.
This Iris plant bursts into life in the spring in a variety of colors. The flower is fragrant
and has been named after the Rainbow Goddess, Iris.
ORRIS ROOT PROFILE & USES
By Jeanne Rose
COMMON NAME/LATIN BINOMIAL/NAMING INFORMATION ~ Orris Root, Iris germanica, or I. pallida, and from the subgroup ‘florentina’ is the substance commonly called Orris root and is really the rhizome product of a particular Iris. The apothecary’s name is Rhizoma iridis. And other common names include Queen Elizabeth root and “eye of heaven.”
FAMILY ~ A perennial and hardy flowering plant of the family Iridaceae and grows from a rhizome, the modified main stem of a plant growing horizontally underground.
COUNTRIES OF ORIGINS ~ It is also called Iris florentina germanica, which means ‘of Germany.’ Florentina means ‘of Florence’ (Italy). This incredible ancient plant is native to the Mediterranean and used in Greece, Rome, and Macedonia in unguents and perfumes.
HISTORICAL & INTERESTING INFORMATION ~ The plant was known, dried, and ground to powder, used for its violet scent, “to scent bedclothes in the 1480s and for flavoring certain gins. It has been used medicinally as a fixative in perfume, a fixative scent in potpourris, and for powdering wigs and hair in the 18th century. The flowers are possibly the origin of the ‘fleur-de-lis’ of France.”1. To the French, the flower is often used in ceremony, symbolically or natural; the three petals symbolize faith, wisdom, and valor.
It was possibly used to decorate the Sphinx and was known to Thutmose III of the era 1501-1447 BC. In the seventh century AD, the Slavic people used Iris germanica and other herbs in cosmetics.
A Jeanne Rose Orris Root Tomato Tale
It was a lovely spring day in 1980, and I was traveling in Boulder, CO. I had come to visit friends, talk about bath herbs to other friends, and eat great food. They picked me up at the Denver, CO. airport, and we drove to Boulder, where I would stay for a few days. We were driving along and passed by a farm with row after row of Iris in flower in many colors and hues. I had already grown the Iris florentina at my home in San Francisco and was currently aging the root in my desk drawer. But this was a magnificent surprise to see such a lovely field and to be inundated with the astonishing sweet scent of the blooming Iris. I was surprised at the intensity of the odor that wafted into the car off the field; the scent was sublime, with a lush floral odor mixed with the spring breeze and the mountains nearby. Iris flowers are a wonder of nature that is appreciated for their exquisite beauty and fragrance. I believe the farm is still there in the middle of Boulder, called Longs Gardens, and is a great choice for a visit in May. (https://longsgardens.com/about/)
Madame Pompadour is attended to by a lady, powdering her enormous coiffure with Orris root, and on her dressing table are bottles of perfume. From a copy in my personal library, The Romance of Perfume, illustrated by George Barbier and written by LeGalliene.
ENDANGERED OR NOT~ Some species of Iris are endangered. The leaves and roots can cause skin irritations and allergies in some people.
GENERAL DESCRIPTION OF PLANT HABITAT AND GROWTH ~ The color of this species of Iris flower that gives Orris root is white, and in its second year can grow as tall as a person. “The flower petals reach the height of their beauty by the second year, but the roots must age for 2 to 3 years before they reach full maturity when they contain the highest concentration of the desired irone compounds…. It is necessary for the ground where it grows to be carefully weeded and maintained throughout the period. It has been said that whole families assume this task, and when the plant has arrived at maturity, they tend to the long, labor-intensive pulling, cutting, peeling, and drying process.” – David Mark of Renaissance Aromas.
Orris root smells just like powder
And it cannot get any louder
I love the scent Orris
With Rose is a chorus
Certainly not like clam chowder.
Planted in 1972, harvested in 1975, and aged in a desk drawer until 1978
PORTION OF PLANT USED IN DISTILLATION, EXTRACTION METHODS, AND YIELD ~ Plant rhizomes, mainly from Morocco, are harvested, peeled, dried, and powdered, and are processed by supercritical carbon dioxide extraction yielding 1- kilo of extract from around 34 kilos of raw material. It is also solvent extracted for an absolute as well as CO2 extracted.
HOME DISTILLING ~ You peel these rhizomes first, that is, if you want peeled white Orris. After you have pulled the roots, washed, and peeled them, I will chop them coarsely, then let them dry in a warm place, in the shade, on trays. I used to frame up 2’ X 2’ fiberglass screening and lay the drying Orris root there for a week or so, and then put them into muslin bags and let them mature in a dry place for three years. They have to be protected from rodents and bugs. I have also taken perfectly shaped rhizomes and aged them in my desk drawer so that no creatures could find them and gnaw at them. After they have dried and the odor has has been obtained, you powder and use or distill.
If you decide to distill, I recommend soaking/macerating the chopped roots in the distillation waters for 24 hours before beginning the distillation in the same waters, hydro-distillation. It also should be a warm day when you start the soaking and the distillation. When I distill, I have a copper screen in the bottom of the pot that is supported on a short stand. I put the chopped roots on the screen along with the maceration waters. Go low and slow. [go low on heat and slow with the distillation] Don’t be in a hurry when you are distilling, and watch the pot constantly so that it does not overheat.
Benoit Roger says, “Steam can’t be used alone; it is usually hydrodistilled with continuous stirring. The rhizomes must be powdered and soaked overnight in hot water and then distilled for at least one day with cohobation. You must keep the condenser above 50-55 degrees C to allow the orris butter to come out of the condenser or raise the temperature to 60 degrees C periodically. I can’t tell you THE exact ratio of orris/water you need as it depends on the still, heating, agitation, or not, but it should be quite high (1/10 – 1/12, and some say more…) to not burn the plant material. Good luck”.
ORGANOLEPTIC CHARACTERISTICS of ORRIS SELECT ~
Color – pale ivory
Clarity – semi-clear
Viscosity – slightly viscous
Taste – powder-like taste, very somewhat bitter
Intensity of odor – 2
Tenacity – If used in enough quantity will add some tenacity to the odor – 5
Odor Description/ Aroma Assessment ~ The Iris pallida of Italy and China has floral, powder, and green notes; from Serbia and Morocco, it is floral, powder, fatty, and sweet woody; the Iris germanica often has a fruity note. This distinctive soft powdery, violet-like odor is simply luxurious, and with it comes an aura of romance and child-like happiness. Orris root blends well with florals of Champa, Neroli, Rose, and Rose Geranium and green notes of Violet leaf and Galbanum.
This is a fixative note: when added to a perfume, it holds, strengthens, and fixes the odor.
SCENT SNAPSHOT OF ORRIS ROOT – 2010
5.Scent Snapshot is part of the Aromatherapy Studies Course,
SOURCES ~ You can obtain the CO2 extract from www.PrimaFleur.com. Get it when you can as this lovely product so useful in perfumery is sometimes very difficult to obtain.
Use the oil in moderation in your work; sometimes, it is more appropriate to use the herb/plant for its therapeutic properties in a compress, tincture, or powder.
I originally purchased my Iris plants (I. florentina) in 1972 and probably obtained them from Old House Gardens; see I. florentina, I. pallida at (https://oldhousegardens.com/display/?cat=iris). You may need to order now for fall planting and remember to order now to get some two years in the future. The true heirloom plants for old-time fragrance are getting harder and harder to find.
Although Orris may have been used medicinally at one time, its chief uses now are in perfumery, soap making, and to flavor liquors, from gin to vermouth. The carbon dioxide extracts, CO2, are closer in composition to the scent as it occurs in the botanical plant than those obtained by other techniques.
PROPERTIES AND USES ~ Orris root powder was used as a face or wig powder and mixed with talcum as a body powder. It is now primarily used as a concrete or CO2 extract in fine perfumery.
……….Diffuse/Diffusion ~ I love this scent, the flower, the aged root, and the Orris Select. But I admit to never using it in a diffuser as it is one of the more expensive oils, and I think putting it into a diffuser is wasteful.
……….Emotional/Energetic Use ~ Inhaling the scent of this plant or its oil, by itself or in a floral blend, is a soothing, relaxing way to calm your mind. It blends well with most florals and woods. The root powdered also has been frequently mentioned ritually as an ingredient in spells, particularly in love magic, protection, and in divination rituals.
CHEMICAL COMPONENTS of Orris root ~ oil of Orris (0.1–0.2%), a yellow-white mass containing myristic acid. The oil of orris is sometimes sold as orris butter. Other components include fat, resin, starch, mucilage, bitter extractive, and a glucoside called iridin or irisin. The root needs to be harvested and aged/cured before processing. “During this curing period, oxidative degradation of iridals to irons occurs (Brenna et al., 2003; Schütz et al., 2011). It is these irones (α‑irone, β‑irone, and γ‑irone) that are at the heart of the distinctive violet-like smell that has made it, along with its natural fixative properties, so popular in perfumery and also to the distiller (Krick et al., 1983)”.4
Concrete of Iris pallida – Alberta-grown and CO2 extracted
PERFUMERY & BLENDS ~ The CO2 is from Serbia and Morocco and blends well with florals of Neroli, Rose, and Prima Fleur’s Malawi Geranium as well as green notes of Violet leaf and Galbanum. The distinctive violet-like odor is the definition of luxury and feels like a romantic indulgence. While the Iris pallida of Italy and China has distinct floral and green notes, the Iris germanica boasts fruitier, richer notes useful in more industries.
MAKING A TINCTURE OF ORRIS – Here is a technique I use, and it might be useful to someone:
Place freshly ground powder of aged Orris root, Iris pallida, into a quart-size glass jar with a good-fitting lid. Use about a cup full of Orris. Cover by a scant inch with pure 95% grape spirits, I use http://www.organicalcohol.com. As the Orris takes up the alcohol, add more to keep the level at that scant inch. You can use less; just adjust the proportions. Shake vigorously by succussion, every day, as you would for a regular tincture. Store in a quiet, dark, dry place. It takes about 3-6 months for it to be ready. When ready, filter the liquid through a fine grade laboratory type filter paper or an ultra-fine silk cloth and then press the remainder through a tincture press into a new clean 1-pint bottle. Label the bottle. If possible, use the proper laboratory equipment. Let the liquid settle. There may be a fine powder that has settled to the bottom. I will then use this tincture as part of the diluent in a perfume or essential oil blend, and the powder can be kept for a new production of the tincture.
Some people will dry out the alcohol by pouring the liquid into a shallow glass dish, leaving it open in a safe place away from family and pets. There should be good ventilation. Check it regularly. The alcohol will evaporate, leaving a layer of a butter-like resinous substance that smells very good. Wait until all the alcohol is gone. This will depend on the amount and the surface area of the dish you have used. Use an immaculately clean stainless-steel spatula to scrape the buttery layer off the dish and place it in a separate container. Label and date it. This particular process can be tiring, and, in my opinion, I will always choose the actual tincture.
TINCTURING PROCESS ~ Septimus Piesse says (page 134, The Art of Perfumery) that the classic perfume tincture for Orris root is 7 lbs. of aged crushed Orris root in 1 gallon of spirits to ‘stand together (be macerated) for one month before the extract is fit to take off.’ “It requires considerable time to drain away, and, to prevent loss, the remainder of the Orris should be placed in the tincture press.”
There is much information in this book as well as in Steffen Arctander’s book, regarding this substance.
BLENDING WITH FORMULA ~ I have used Orris root Total from a wild source of Iris pallida. This wonderful perfume item was grown in Alberta, and CO2 extracted for the aged root’s sweet, soft, floral scent. Delicious.
Rose oil with Orris root is a classic scent combination, making a fantastic perfume. Rose Oil is a general tonic and powerful nervous system tonic when inhaled – historically known to be relaxing; the SD oil is used in skin care as a tonic astringent and gentle tonic to the skin. The two items together are quite lovely.
• § •
These two formulas are from my New Age Creations company,
with more in The Herbal Body Book.
• • •
HERBAL USES OF ORRIS ROOT ~ The dried root of the Iris florentina, Orris root, was used as a teething item for children. I used it for my second child. It has a pleasant violet smell and a pleasant taste. Then it was deemed allergenic, and one could no longer obtain the carved roots for teething.
When I first started my company in 1966, New Age Creations, it was all about my design in clothing for rock ‘n roll stars; in 1969, I switched to herbal products and made a tooth powder of equal proportions of chalk or baking soda and Orris root. This was considered an excellent dentifrice as long ago as 1854.
In the ‘30s, Orris root was given as a treatment for asthma, and on the other hand, people who have allergies are often sensitive to Orris root.
There are some wonderful herbal formulas for Orris root powder in the Jeanne RoseHerbal Body Book; see p. 314 for a sweet body powder.3
#45 Milk Bath (1973) – from New Age Creations
1 lb. dry milk instant nonfat dry) ¼ lb. Oatmeal (meal or powder) ¼ lb. Oatmeal (meal or powder) 1 oz by vol Orris root – powder 1 oz by vol. Orange Peel – powder 1 oz by vol. Almond Meal – powder ½ oz by vol. Comfrey root – powder Weigh and divide into 8 oz bottles (4 oz by weight)
This slightly brown/tan product is due to the Comfrey root and Almond meal. This milk/oat/Orris bath is healing, soothing, relaxing, and a tonic to the skin. I have a variety of recipes for this wonderful bath, and this is only one of them. Use about ½ cup per bath (or more).
HYDROSOL ~ This is another one of those plants that should not be collected to distill. It takes a long time to start, two years to grow, and another three years to cure/age to develop the scent, so why waste your work throwing it into a pot with lots of water to distill?
HOWEVER, there is a recipe from 1779 for a distilled water, called Angelic Water, of a most agreeable scent, from the Toilet of Flora …
Angelic Water, Put into a large alembic the following ingredients, Benjamin of four ounces; Storax of two ounces; Yellow Sanders an ounce: Cloves two drachms; two or three bits of Florentine Orrice, half the Peel of a Lemon, two Nutmegs, half an ounce of Cinnamon, two quarts of Rose-water, a pint of Orange Flower-Water, and a pint of magisterial Balm-water. Put the whole into an alembic well-luted; distill in a water bath; and what you draw off will prove an exquisite Angelic Water.– “The Toilet of Flora” printed in London in 1779.
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.
Key Use ~ Orris root Concrète and oil are best used in fine perfumery.
Use the essential oils in moderation. Use the herb tea, juice, or resin when it is more appropriate. Often, the herbal use is preferred over the distillate, oil, or hydrosol.
Jeanne Rose Collection of Orris Concrète and dried rhizome
CONTRAINDICATIONS ~ Web MD states that Orris root may not be used freshly dug and eaten “as it is possibly unsafe to use the fresh plant juice or root. It can cause severe irritation of the mouth, as well as stomach pain, vomiting, and bloody stools.2.”
Vetivert ~ An ambitious discussion of the grass Vetiver from the rootlets, of the essential oil Vetivert, and its uses, growth, description, organoleptic qualities, and uses.
A Vetiver basket and Vetivert essential oil
VETIVER • The ROOTS OF A FRAGRANT PLANT
COMMON NAME/LATIN BINOMIAL ~ Vetiver or Vetivert is Chrysopogon zizanioides.Vetiver is the plant, and Vetivert is the plant’s essential oil.
VETIVER(T) NAME/NAMING INFORMATION ~ Chrysopogon zizanioides (Vetiveria zizanioides) is now under the unique denomination Chrysopogon zizanioides L. Roberty based on a similar analysis of related genera. However, the former term, Vetiveria zizanioides, is still widely used in the current literature.
“Vetiver belongs to the same part of the grass family as maize, sorghum, sugarcane, and lemongrass. Its old botanic name, Vetiveria zizanioides (Linn) Nash, has had a checkered history—at least 11 other names in 4 different genera have been employed in the past. The generic name comes from “vetiver,” a Tamil word meaning “root that is dug up.” The name zizanioides (often misspelled zizanoides) was first given by the great Swedish taxonomist Carolus Linnaeus in 1771. It means “by the riverside” and reflects that the plant is commonly found along waterways in India.” — https://www.nap.edu/read/2077/chapter/7
Family ~ From the grass family Poaceae. The term Poaceae is derived from the Ancient Greek word for fodder.
Essential Oil Plants of the Grass Family ~ Poaceae (Gramineae)
Chrysopogon zizanioides is commonly known as Vetiver, a bunch grass whose roots are used.
VETIVER COUNTRIES OF ORIGINS ~ Haiti, Java, Brazil, China, Madagascar, Japan, La Réunion, and India for the Khus variety.
IS VETIVER ENDANGERED? ~ The plant does not seem to be endangered. However, there is fear that consumers will mistakenly order the fertile plant over the internet and introduce it to a place where it may overrun the indigenous plants.
The annual world trade in Vetivert oil is estimated to be approximately 250 tons, with Brazil, China, Haiti, India, Japan, Java, and Reunion being the primary producers. The main consumers are Europe, India, Japan, and the United States.
GENERAL DESCRIPTION OF PLANT HABITAT AND GROWTH ~ There are about 50 species of Chrysopogon, of which only one is used in aromatherapy and that species zizanioides has two main types, a fertile one and a sterile one. This is a perennial grass with very fragrant, long rhizomatous roots, growing to six feet high.
“It is essential to realize that Vetiver comes in two types—this is a crucial point because only one is suitable for Use worldwide. If the wrong one is planted, it may spread and produce problems for farmers.
A wild type from North India known as Khus or Vetiver. This is the original undomesticated species. It flowers regularly, sets fertile seeds, and is known as a “colonizer.” Its rooting tends to be shallow, especially in the damp ground it prefers. If loosed on the world, it might become a weed.
A “domesticated” type from South India. This is the Vetiver that has existed under cultivation for centuries and is widely distributed throughout the tropics. It is probably a man-made selection from the wild type. It is nonflowering, does not seed (or at least is non-spreading), and must be replicated by vegetative propagation. It is the only safe type to use for erosion control.” — https://www.nap.edu/read/2077/chapter/7
Vetiver can grow up to (5 ft.) high and form clumps as wide. The stems are tall, and the leaves are long, thin, and relatively rigid. The flowers are brownish-purple. Unlike most grasses, which form horizontally spreading, mat-like root systems, vetiver’s roots grow downward, 7 ft. to 13 ft. in depth.
Its southern cultivar is a densely tufted, perennial grass that is considered sterile outside its natural habitat. It flowers but sets no seeds. It is a lawn grass in the tropics; however, when eaten, the sharp calluses on the lemma, referring to a part of the spikelet of grasses (Poaceae), can pierce an animal’s stomach.
Vetiver is the best plant in the world to stop erosion and repair damaged land from erosion. Once permanent Vetiver rows are established, the roots should never be dug up. The aromatic roots have been used since ancient times in India. The fragrant, insect-repelling roots yield oil, which is valuable in the perfume industry. Traditionally, these roots were woven into mats, fans, and fragrant screens, while the tops of the grass were used for thatch, mulch, handicraft, fodder, and animal bedding.
PORTION OF PLANT USED IN DISTILLATION, HOW DISTILLED, EXTRACTION METHODS, AND YIELDS for Vetiver ~ In Haiti, January and February is the high season for picking and distilling the Vetiver roots. The roots of Vetiver are picked, washed, comminuted (chopped), dried, and macerated (soaked) in the distillation water before being steam distilled.
The quality of the oil depends on the age of the roots and the length of distillation which is from 12-36 hours. Maximum oil content is associated with freshly harvested roots, and the extractable oil decreased with delays in harvest and storage period.
Yield ~ 0.5%.
ORGANOLEPTIC CHARACTERISTICS of Vetivert
Color …………………. Depending on the source, it is honey-colored to a caramel brown.
Clarity ………………… The lighter the color, the more it is clear, and the darker and semi-opaque.
Viscosity ……………. Viscous to very viscous and thick like molasses.
Intensity of odor ….4-6 (often the darker the color, the more intense the odor)
The guide to gauge the Intensity of odor ~ On a scale of 1-10, the stronger or more intense the odor, the higher the number. Lemon is low, and Peppermint is about 7-8. Vetivert is often not very intense and softens with Use in a perfume.
• Tenacity ……………. This essential oil is very tenacious in any type of blend or perfume. •Taste ……………………. A burning, bitter, aromatic flavor, a smoky scent that rises the throat.
Various Vetivert Oil
ODOR DESCRIPTION/ AROMA ASSESSMENT ~ In general, the odor of this EO is very distinctive, yet when compared one with another, there are definite differences. The newer samples of Vetivert are lighter in color, and the lighter the color, the less intense and less complex the odor.
As you can see from the above illustration, the color varies from pale yellow to very dark brown. Color is removed from the oil because perfume makers do not like color in their perfume. I prefer the deeply rich, intense scent of the original Vetivert types with the rich dark color for my perfumery classes and personal perfumes.
Vetivert, when double-distilled, has an earthy, green tenacious character with sweet wood quality. During re-distillation, a small fraction of the constituents is removed, thus removing some of the therapeutic quality, and other Vetivert oils are recommended when therapy is required.
It has a persistent green-woody note and can be soft, woody-fruity when used with Patchouli, Sandalwood, and Jasmine.
CHEMICAL COMPONENTS ~ There is great variety in the GC/MS of Vetivert. Still, I have seen Vetiverol up to 50%, Vetivol up to 10%, terpenes like Vetivene up to 20%, and phenols up to 11%, Furfural, and Sesquiterpenes.
GENERAL PROPERTIES of Vetivert Essential Oil
When applied in a blend or lotion, Vetivert is a fixative in a perfume, a stimulant by application, an antiseptic, tonic, and soothing sedative. It is not taken internally; when inhaled, it is a quieting nerve tonic.
Application – Vetivert is used as a fixative in perfumery. When used in massage oil, it is suitable for circulation. It is used as an ingredient in lotions for aching joints, arthritis, or rheumatism. It is a circulatory tonic, and it can alleviate some menstrual problems. Specifically, it is said to promote alleviating cramping.
Application/ Skincare – It is moisturizing and a humectant for dry skin. So, it is used in skin care on dry, irritated, mature, or aging skin. Vetivert EO is useful in lotions to assist in skin hydration; if used with Lemon oil, it will help to even out the color of the skin and, when used regularly, will help to reveal a smoother, better-looking complexion. The EO is useful in anti-aging creams and lotions, especially with Frankincense and Rosemary EO.
Prima Fleur recently wrote in 2022 that “Vetivert (Chrysopogon zizanioides) ~In skincare, vetiver is a moisturizing humectant for dry irritated (winter) skin and is found in cosmetics, soaps, and natural perfumes as a fixative. ~ And the essential oil derived from the root is the true treasure of this grass. The oil is used – in massage and aromatherapy, the oil is most often used to help reconnect to earth energy and calm the central nervous system of one who feels “uprooted”
Exfoliation, a recipe for the skin – Exfoliation is like peeling the skin off an onion. Dead cells are removed with scrubs, masks, or acid peels, revealing the younger, smoother layer of skin beneath. My favorite exfoliants are ground almonds, ground walnuts, ground oats, or a combination of these with hydrosols to hydrate and essential oils to treat. Essential oils such as Roman Chamomile, Sandalwood, Rose, and Vetivert should be gentle.
I am particularly fond of ¼ cup ground Almonds with enough Roman Chamomile or Rose hydrosol to moisten and a drop of Vetivert. Mix together, apply to a clean moist face, and gently massage in with circular motions. Let it sit while you shower, and then gently rinse it off.
Pain Release Formula – Mix together 20 drops Grapefruit – white, + 10 drops Rosewood + 5 drops Vetivert. Shake vigorously and apply by massage to any painful spots on your body.
PERFUMERY ~ Vetiver grass roots contain essential oil and, used with other tropical odors, is considered a high-class perfume. Copper plate inscriptions have been found that list the perfume (probably as a maceration) as one of the substances used by royalty. Vetivert oil is one of the ingredients in Chanel No. 5. The famous French perfume was introduced in 1921 and is still in production. Vetivert oil is contained in 90% of all western perfumes, and its greatest Use is in modern perfume creations.
Depending on the country where used, this plant, when distilled, is used in perfumery and, if dried, used as potpourri and bug repellent.
Vetivert oil is estimated to be approximately 250 tons per year in world trade.
Vetivert Blends Best with citrus, florals, and woods. Try it with Atlas Cedar, Oakmoss, or Sandalwood; spicey odors such as Frankincense, Cinnamon, and Clove; herbal scents such as Clary Sage, Geranium; citrus odors like Grapefruit and Lemon; food odors like Chocolate or Coffee; resins like Galbanum and Elemi; florals such as Jasmine, Lavender, Rose, Ylang-ylang; and other rich, long-lived scents.
Blending Tips – Used primarily as a base note to give tenacity and a richly distinctive masculinity.
Blending with formula ~ When making perfumes, always mix your oils together and then shake them via succussion (succussion – to fling up from below) to create a synergy. Let them age. Add more oil if needed. Age again. Then add the carrier. Alcohol is not usually added to a Chypre-type scent.
Mix these essential oils together, and let them age for a few weeks. Smell and adjust ingredients if necessary. Dilute with more essential oil or alcohol and age again before using.
Diffuse/Diffusion – Vetivert can be diffused if you mix it with other essential oils, specifically those that are less viscous such as Lavenders or citrus odors. It makes a very warm, grounding odor that helps calm a household.
Emotional/Energetic Use – In folklore, Vetivert oil is used to increase financial abundance. In a more common ritual, inhaling the oil is said to protect the body from negative energies, including physical illness. Vetivert is employed in massage and aromatherapy for its grounding influence to calm the central nervous system.
Emotional Uses include Inhalation: “The scent is calming and sedating, used for comforting and for people who feel ‘uprooted’ or without stability. It affects the parathyroid glands” — 375 Essential Oils and Hydrosols, p. 147. It also alleviates stress, tension, and nervous tension.
Vetivert is also a good grounding oil for those who focus on mental activities to the exclusion of the physical; the herb decoction is added to the bath for an exceptional stress-relieving soak, and the bath waters are inhaled.
Energetic Use includes some mention the use of Vetivert oil in blends for shock due to, for example, an accident, loss of employment, bereavement, separation, or divorce.
Ritual Formula – Send All Evil Away
Make a formula of 20 drops Rosewood + 10 drops Palmarosa + 3 drops Vetivert.
Mix it together and use by inhalation or add to 70 drops (2 ml +) of a carrier oil.
Apply to wrists with intention and inhale.
Critical Use: Oil of Depression and the immune system or Oil of Tranquility.
Vetivert EO Tomato Tales & Jeanne Rose’s experience
I collected the oil of this plant for 30 years from various company lists. I didn’t like the odor, so I kept the oil and let it age on my shelves. This is one of the major essential oils that can age gracefully for many years. I have stock from 1983 and after. I have stock from a company now long gone that had added synthetics. Why this was the case, I do not know, as it is a relatively inexpensive essential oil.
For all these years, I was not that fond of Vetivert essential oil, although I loved the fans and fragrant baskets made with the roots. I tried to like the scent but was not successful using it in perfumes or blends. It took my friend, Marianne Griffeth, of Prima Fleur Botanicals, to teach me to love it via her ability to make successful and fragrant blends using Vetivert. Her combinations were always warm and delicious smelling ~ she talked about it so much that I began to try to use Vetivert oil. I have been getting better and better and am now genuinely loving the scent. I love the deep, dark Vetivert I get from Prima Fleur Botanicals, although I also use the less intense oils I have obtained from others.
Recently, in 2020, I took 1 tablespoon of plain, unscented cleansing cream and added 1 drop of Vetivert oil and massaged my clean face, and then let it sit for a few hours before I washed it off with warm water. This was a pleasant experience, and my face looked dewy and soft.
Vetiver roots made into a basket.
HERBAL USES: Varieties of this plant are grown throughout the tropics and used to thatch roofs or as a terracing plant. The roots of this grass acquire a soft, almost sandalwood-like odor when dried. If these plants are kept moist and laid about the house, they help to keep bugs and moths out. And these dried roots are one of the best fixatives for dry potpourri as they blend well with the Rose scent. These roots can be used in bath herbs, powdered for sachet, or drunk as a tonic or stimulant tea. — Herbs & Things, Jeanne Rose’s Herbal, p. 112.
Sometimes the roots are cleaned and used for brushes, window screens (when wetted, they will cool the house as the wind blows through), fans, mats, and baskets, and the chemical constituents of zizanol and epizizanol are insect repellents.
Potpourris and Sachets are usually made of three main ingredients: (not EO) the main plant for its scent and color, the essential scent, the blender plant scent, and the fixative plant scent, which are usually resins and base notes. Remember that Potpourri ingredients are generally left in whole form so that the form of the plants is still identifiable (with fixative ingredients in powder form), while Sachet ingredients are all comminuted and/or powdered form.
Scent your basic herbs and resins with their own essential oil and age them before using them in the final construction.
HYDROSOL ~ To date, I have not had the opportunity to try a Vetiver hydrosol.
PLEASE NOTE: A true hydrosol should be specifically distilled for the hydrosol, not as a co-product or a by-product of essential oil distillation. The plant’s cellular water has many components; most are lost under pressurized short steam runs for essential oil or by using dried material. We recommend that the producers specifically distill for a product by using plant material that is fresh.
HISTORICAL USES ~ Historically used in perfumery while the herb is woven or used in mats to fragrance the air.
Interesting Information: One type is called Khus-Khus. The roots are used to make fragrant fans and screens, which give off a refreshing, clean scent when dampened. “The roots are interwoven with flower matting, window coverings, etc., giving rooms a fragrance and deterring insects. The oil is used in chypre (green, earthy) and oriental-type perfumes, soaps, toiletries, etc. Growing the plant protects against soil erosion” essential aromatherapy, p. 170.
Key Use: Depression and the immune system. Oil of Tranquility.
Labdanum and Cistus are not the same, but they come from the same plant, and both have an important use in perfumery – both with a luscious fragrant, rich scent. This profile provides a detailed description of growth, description, chemistry, odor, and uses.
CISTUS/Labdanum Resin & E.O./Hydrosol Profile
By Jeanne Rose ~ January 2023
CISTUS LADANIFER – TThe Plant That Produces Cistus Oil And Labdanum Resin
CISTUS ~ This plain plant, with its wondrous resin and fragrant oil, has been one of my favorites since I first learned of it back in 1969. I knew of Cistus as a plant growing in the San Francisco Arboretum. However, here in San Francisco, it has very little odor as it doesn’t get hot enough. One day, some time ago, in June, when it was clear, sunny, and very hot, I rubbed the leaves, which were sticky and fragrant. That is when I began to study it in my antiquarian herbals, including Dioscorides, which I had acquired in 1970. How can anyone ignore a plant once harvested from the wool of goats?
COMMON NAME/LATIN BINOMIAL OF CISTUS and LABDANUMare two products of the Cistus ladanifer (syn. ladaniferous)plant, also called Rockrose. Cistus is the essential oil distilled from the leaves and twigs and the resin called Labdanum that is scraped from the leaves. Cistus species used for Cistus E.O. and Labdanum resin include Cistus creticus and the subspecies incanus).
Family ~ Cistaceae is a family of perennial shrubs and flowering plants found on dry and rocky soil with about 20 species.
Other Common Name/Naming Information: Cistus is from the Greek and simply means Rock rose because they frequent rocky places, and this is a common name that is given to several other species of plants as well. The typical Greek word is simply ladan. Cistus ladanifer is also called the gum Rockrose, and the resin is called Labdanum.
NAMING MISINFORMATION ~ Some people misspell and misuse the word laudanum for Labdanum. Laudanum (a ‘u’ not a ‘b’) is a tincture of opium containing approximately 10% powdered opium by weight (the equivalent of 1% morphine). It is reddish-brown and extremely bitter.Labdanum (with a ‘b’ not a ‘u’) is the resin from the plant Cistus.
COUNTRIES OF ORIGINS ~ Portugal, Morocco, Spain, and the Canary Islands.
Harvest Location ~ Spain, and my Cistus hydrosol is from Portugal.
ENDANGERED OR NOT ~ It is on the list of threatened plants. These plants are considered to be threatened and/or endangered due to heavy usage, people moving into the areas where they live, and over-tapping.
SUSTAINABILITY ~ These items may not be sustainable in the amounts used.
GENERAL DESCRIPTION OF PLANT HABITAT AND GROWTH: Cistus ladanifer is an evergreen shrub and grows quickly to a height of about 5 feet and 3+ feet wide. They are heat-loving (thermophilous plants) and require open sunny places. Its flowers are in June, and though they have both male and female parts, they are incompatible. Some books suggest that it is self-fertile. The plant is bee-pollinated. The flowers are white or pink with a simple structure. Cistus species are used as food plants by the larvae of some butterfly species. The petals are papery and crumpled, most commonly pure white, with numerous bright yellow stamens in the center, and there is also a form that has a dark purple or crimson blotch at the base of each petal. The leaves are elongated and covered with glandular trichomes that secrete a viscous gummy balsam that exudes when it is hot. Because of the content of pinene in the resin, the plant is quite flammable, possibly can self-ignite, and is responsible for some severe fires. Spain is a leading producer of Cistus and Labdanum.
PORTION OF PLANT USED IN DISTILLATION, HOW DISTILLED, EXTRACTION METHODS, AND YIELDS:
Cistus ladanifer is the essential oil distilled from the leaves and twigs of the same plant that produces Labdanum from the resin. Cistus #267, organically grown and wild from Cistus ladanifer, is steam distilled from the leaf in Spain.
Yield: Results are discussed from 0.1% to 0.3%.
” Labdanum resin is obtained by collecting and boiling the twigs in the spring and early summer, skimming off the resin as it comes to the surface.”“Labdanum Absolute is obtained by solvent extraction of the resin – and is very different in scent, color, and viscosity from steam-distilledCistus essential oil from the leaves.”“Labdanum resin is obtained by collecting and boiling the twigs in the spring and early summer, skimming off the resin as it comes to the surface. “Labdanum Absolute is obtained by solvent extraction of the resin – and is very different in scent, color and viscosity from steam distilled Cistus essential oil from the leaves.”
CISTUS SPP. ORGANOLEPTIC CHARACTERISTICS
Odor Description/ Aroma Assessment: Cistus E.O. has a distinctively warm, fruity-floral scent, a rich herbaceous scent, with notes of a leather-hay odor that is intense but less tenacious than Labdanum and is used with Lavender in spicy men’s products.
Labdanum has a rich, tenacious, but not intense odor of sweetness, smoky-woody, leather, powder, and earthy-moss, with back notes of honey, warm animals, and floral with fruity overtones.
I love these two odors and find them extraordinarily useful in many perfume applications. The Labdanum recalls the odor of ambergris and is used as a vegetable substitute for ambergris in a perfume base note or as a fixative. The aroma is tenacious in a blend but not intense; it lends a subtle richness to any perfume you use it in. (See page 97 of 375 Essential Oils and Hydrosols for other vegetable substitutes for the animal fixatives).
CHEMISTRY OF CISTUS (Rockrose) ~ The essential oil of Rockrose was characterized by a high content of 1,8-cineole (19.27%) and viridiflorol (16.38%), while the predominant compounds in Montpellier cistus essential oil were 1,8-cineole (9.17%), bornyl acetate (9.14%) and α-pinene (5.84%).5
Cistus essential oil distilled from the leaves and twigs is considered a wound healer, and as with most essential oils, it has antiviral and antibacterial properties. Inhale the oil to boost the immune system and reduce colds and infections resulting from the flu. Cistus is considered antiviral, antibacterial, and anti-arthritic.
Labdanumis the sticky brown resin obtained from the shrubs of Cistus ladanifer (western Mediterranean) and Cistus creticus (eastern Mediterranean), species of Rockrose.
CISTUS APPLICATION/SKINCARE USES ~ Cistus EO and tea of the leaves have great application in skin care, particularly oily skin, acne skin, and irritated skin. Use the EO in your lotions, other creams, and clay masks using white clay. It is used for mature skin, wrinkles, and the EO as an inhalant for coughs and bronchitis.
Cistus Anti-Wrinkle Lotion,
a recipe by Jeanne Rose
I like to purchase an 8-oz bottle of pre-made unscented lotion with organically grown ingredients and then add my own unique additions. If the lotion is thick, I will thin it with some Rosemary or Cistus hydrosol until it is the texture I like. Then I add 5 drops of Cistus E.O. to an ounce of my thinned lotion. I add the drops, and with a long narrow thin wooden spoon, I stir in the E.O., stirring around and around, up and down, figure 8 round and round. This is a singsong that I do until the E.O. and hydrosol is thoroughly incorporated into the lotion. I only make an ounce at a time as it is easy to do and keeps the balance of the lotion fresh to make something else with. I apply this Cistus Lotion alternately with the Elemi/Galbanum Lotion every evening before bed.
EMOTIONAL/ENERGETIC USES ~ I have never found Cistus essential oil to have much emotional effect, and it has rarely been mentioned in my past classes. However, Labdanum is used by inhalation and is considered to have a powerful ability to bring up past lives and past or buried memories. It is conducive to ritual work.
Diffuse/Diffusion ~ You can add Cistus E.O. to a blend for a diffuser for the fresh sharp scent. It will give a room. However, do not diffuse Labdanum, as it is a sticky resin, and even the steam-distilled product can gum up your diffusor. I suggestyou learn to use this substance in other ways and use the Labdanum and the Cistus essential oil in your perfumes.
“HYDROSOL USES ~ Cistus hydrosol is available and just an excellent product to use. It is bright and fresh and cleansing to the skin. I get mine from “Naturalness” in Portugal, which is available through them. This excellent product is harvested using the stems and the leaves and steam-distillation.
Use it as a spray after putting on make-up to set it, or on your clothes that have been crushed in a suitcase to freshen them, or on the pillows before sleep. I am particularly fond of Cistus hydrosol.
The distiller recommends Cistus hydrosol as a powerful but gentle astringent. It is used as a daily toner for highly oily, acne-prone, or irritated skin. Only use a 20% solution with other hydrosols or distilled water for dry skin.
PLEASE NOTE: A true hydrosol should be specifically distilled for the hydrosol, not as a co-product or a by-product of essential oil distillation. The plant’s cellular water has many components most are lost under short pressurized steam runs for essential oil or by using dried material. We recommend that the producers precisely distill a product by using fresh plant material.
HERBAL USES ~ “The use of the Cistus incanus has a long history and can be traced back to the 4th century B.C. In the Middle East, northern Africa, and the European Mediterranean region, the Cistus incanus was enjoyed as a wellness tea for breakfast and right throughout the day as a drink for relaxing after a strenuous day. When guests arrived, offering a freshly boiled pot of Cistus tea was common. “The knowledge of the benefits of this tea were passed on late into the Middle Ages.” 3
Properties and Uses of the Herb ~ Cistus leaf tea is helpful for children’s illnesses such as whooping cough and for adults for general all-over body inflammation.
Cistus tea is used as a treatment for Lyme Disease. The study’s conclusion showed that to date, clinical work with wild-harvested pure Sardinian Cistus tea and whole-leaf Stevia is the least invasive yet most effective treatment for Lyme disease and many other chronic chronic chronic illnesses caused by persistent and hidden infections.
Labdanum resin/resinoid/absolute/E.O. is a favorite of mine, and when I teach Perfumery classes, I encourage the students to use my absolute which dates back to 1969. We make an old perfume called Chypre in class. See formulas in my Natural Perfumery booklet.
‘ Years ago, about 1970, I made a mixture of Labdanum resin that I had read in a 400-year-old herbal that also used Benzoin and Storax with Civet, spike Lavender, and spices. It was to be inhaled to’‘comforte the brain.’ It looked exciting and certainly doable, and whose brain does not need a certain amount of comforting. I found it was like playing with mud and very messy. I wrote about this in my first book, Herbs & Things, and if you want to try it, there are two recipes on pages 153-154.’ Years ago, about 1970, I made a mixture of Labdanum resin that I had read in a 400-year-old herbal that also used Benzoin and Storax with Civet, spike Lavender, and spices. It was to be inhaled to ‘comforte the brain.’ It looked exciting and certainly doable, and whose brain does not need a certain amount of comforting. I found it was like playing with mud and very messy. I wrote about this in my first book, Herbs & Things, and if you want to try it, there are two recipes on pages 153-154.
‘ These raw resins can stick almost permanently to everything. If you make it ““keep one mortar and pestle aside just for this type of recipe or any recipe that calls for the heating or’‘beating’ of a resin. It was nearly impossible to roll the combination into a ball, especially with the stinky civet, so I finally dipped my hands into the powdered Benzoin and Storax (sort of like dipping your hands into flour to roll out bread or cookie dough) and rolled the resin around. This gooey mess stuck tenaciously to my hands, and it took two days to wash it all off, but at least now I had a ball of resin. I then pierced the ball with a bodkin (big blunt needle with a big eye) and hung it from a string.’ These raw resins can stick almost permanently to everything. If you make it … “keep one mortar and pestle aside just for this type of recipe or any recipe that calls for the heating or ‘beating’ of a resin. It was nearly impossible to roll the combination into a ball, especially with the stinky civet, so I finally dipped my hands into the powdered Benzoin and Storax (sort of like dipping your hands into flour to roll out bread or cookie dough) and rolled the resin around. This gooey mess stuck tenaciously to my hands, and it took two days to wash it all off, but at least now I had a ball of resin. I then pierced the ball with a bodkin (big blunt needle with a big eye) and hung it from a string.
It immediately oozed away from the string, plopped to the ground, and proceeded to ooze amoebically about the floor, peeling up paint as it went. It was then that I finally realized the exact nature of this pomander. It was and is ever flowing and takes on the shape of whatever object it is on or in. I captured the now pancake-shaped resin, rolled more Storax into it, and put it on the ledge above a window. Within a day, it had migrated off the shelf and down the wall. It smelled deliciously but it left a trail of black resin (rather like the slime trail of a snail). Again, I captured it, and this time rolled it up and stuck it in the freezer to freeze. After thinking about it for some time, I let it out of the freezer and put it immediately into a small black leather bag. We call it the Mental-Health Bag. The more you massage the bag, the more it smells, the better you feel, and the more powerful and tranquilizing its effect on the brain.” 1 — Herbs & Things.
And I still have this fragrant Bag of Mental Healthcreeping around after 53 years.
HISTORY ~ The Cistus plant has been known since ancient times and is described by Dioscorides, Herodotus, and Pliny. Dioscorides says, “Now, that which we call Ladanum, is made of this plant. For the Hee goats, & shee goates, feeding on the leaues hereof, doe manifestly beare away the fatnesse of them on their beards and on their thighs, because it is of a viscous nature, which taken off thence they straine, & hauing fashioned them into little balls, lay them vp in store.” 4
‘ In ancient times, labdanum gum was collected in Crete in two ways:”“Pliny says that the gum was harvested by combing the coats of goats that grazed in the cistus-covered hillsides, and later it was collected by thrashing the branches of the cistus plants with a leather strap and then scraping that strap with a knife. Cistus’’ glutinous properties made these forms of harvesting possible. Today, most cistus production takes place in Spain, where the leafy branches are collected using a sickle before being processed” ”2 But this may be where its history of being ‘‘leather scented’ comes from.’ In ancient times, labdanum gum was collected in Crete in two ways: “Pliny says that the gum was harvested by combing the coats of goats that grazed in the cistus-covered hillsides, and later it was collected by thrashing the branches of the cistus plants with a leather strap and then scraping that strap with a knife. Cistus’ glutinous properties made these forms of harvesting possible. Today, most cistus production takes place in Spain, where the leafy branches are collected using a sickle before being processed.”2 But this may be where its history of being ‘leather scented’ comes from.
““In ancient Egypt, the false goat-hair beards of the pharaohs were impregnated with Labdanum to surround these men with an impressive aura of distinction. The Cypriotes mixed Labdanum with Styrax and Calamus oil, creating an early masterpiece of perfumery. When they conquered the island, the Crusaders became so enthusiastic about the fragrance that they brought the recipe to the rest of Europe. Known as the’‘Chypre’-theme, it is still employed in modern perfumery.”““In ancient Egypt, the false goat-hair beards of the pharaohs were impregnated with Labdanum to surround these men with an impressive aura of distinction. The Cypriotes mixed Labdanum with Styrax and Calamus oil, creating an early masterpiece of perfumery. When they conquered the island, the Crusaders became so enthusiastic about the fragrance that they brought the recipe to the rest of Europe. Known as the ‘Chypre’-theme, it is still employed in modern perfumery.”
Cistus creticus has a subspecies, C. incanus, and is thought to be the ‘myrrh’ of Genesis. Both resins are obtained by boiling twigs and skimming the resin from the water’s surface. —Mabberly.
Jeanne Rose collection of Cistus & Labdanum from 1972 to the present
CISTUS AND LABDANUM are used in Natural Perfumery. Cistus E.O. is considerably easier to use than the resinous Labdanum. Try substituting it for Elemi, Rosemary, Myrrh, or any other sharp-scented essential oil harvested in the Mediterranean area, such as Lavender or Myrtle.
BLENDING ~ Various types of essential oil are produced by the steam-distillation of the leaves and twigs. They are usually called Cistus E.O. Cistus blends best with Labdanum abs, citrus oils such as Bergamot, floral oils, rich deep Oakmoss, and base earthy oils such as Vetivert.
Labdanum, the concrete is alcohol extracted to obtain the absolute, a semi-solid soft and sticky green-colored substance. It must be diluted in (grape spirits) alcohol to be used. The scent is balsam, herbal and spicy resin, warm and rich. Works well with citrus, Lavender bases, green and conifer scents. Labdanum 50•50 is Labdanum diluted 50% with neutral spirits.
Galbanum & Labdanum/Cistus Base Accord
Dilute Galbanum and Labdanum individually 50•50 with neutral grape spirits.
2. Let the above age and meld for a week.
3. Take 12 drops of Galbanum (50•50) and 12 drops of (50•50) Labdanum, add 12 drops of Cistus and mix them together. Age it for 1 week. Smell and experience.
4. After it ages, you can add an equal amount of grape spirits to make a 25% pure scent base. Give it a name that you will remember.
A CHYPRE PERFUME
A Simple Chypre Perfume is made as follows: Mix together 5 drops of Bergamot + 5 drops White Grapefruit + 5 drops of Clary Sage with sclareol + 5 drops of Cistus, mix this together using succession, and as a bridge, add 1 drop of Oakmoss dissolved in several drops of alcohol; for your heart note add 5 drops of Patchouli + 2 drops of Rose + 1 drop of Neroli, mix this using succussion; and then add the base note of 3 drops of Labdanum (pre-diluted in high-proof alcohol + 3 drops Atlas Cedarwood.
The total equals 30-35 drops. Succuss. Age this for at least 2 weeks (maybe more), then add 90 drops of 95% neutral grape spirits (alcohol) and age again for 3 weeks before you decide to do or not do anything else.
Equals 4 ml of finished scent at 25% perfume ingredients by volume. This is one of my favorite perfumes and odors – but remember, start with the best quality ingredients to get the best scent in a perfume.
INTERESTING INFORMATION: The Ladanesterion or ladanesterion is a tool made of leather leads used to comb out the Labdanum from the Cistus plant. It was described by Pedanios Dioscorides in the 1st century A.C. It was also described by the French botanist Joseph Pitton de Tournefort in his travel to Crete in 1700. The tool today has been replaced with plastic.
There is a difference between Spearmint and Peppermint, defined by their chemistry, botany, folklore, odor description, and properties. The uses of Spearmint are described.
It is called Spearmint, and it is not Peppermint or Menthol-mint. There are 13 species of the Mentha genus. The ones with the ‘X’ are made by humans by crossing one plant species with another; they are considered sterile and usually do not produce seed. They are duplicated by cloning or by replanting the underground stems. In this post, we will discuss Spearmint.
Mentha aquatica L. – water mint
Mentha arvensis L. – wild mint, field-mint, or Japanese menthol mint
Mentha x piperita – Peppermint [aquatica x spicata]
Mentha spicata L. – spearmint (the mint of the ancients)
Mentha suaveolens Ehrh. – apple mint
Spearmint Common Name/Latin Binomial ~ Spearmint, Mentha spicata. Sometimes known as garden mint, common mint, lamb mint, and mackerel mint, … including Mentha crispa, Mentha crispata, and Mentha viridis.
Botanical Family ~ Lamiaceae
Naming Information ~ The genus name comes from Minthe or Menthe, a water nymph in Greek mythology. And from a legend of the beginning of the Earth, “…When Man came, he saw the plants and remembered some of his past in the wonderful Kingdom, he smelled the wonderful scents, and saw pictures in his Mind. So, whenever man was asked the name of the fragrant plants, he called them mint.” —Kitchen Cosmetics, p. 78
COUNTRIES OF ORIGIN ~ Native to the Mediterranean.
SPEARMINT GENERAL DESCRIPTION OF PLANT ~ Spearmint is a very hardy, perennial herb with bright green, fragrant leaves that sets seeds. As it grows, it can quickly exhaust the soil of nutrients and should be replanted regularly via underground or over-ground stems or roots. Many Mints behave in this manner.
This species can readily hybridize with other Mentha species to form hybrids. This mint LOOKS different than either Peppermint or Lemon Balm. The green is softer in Spearmint than the bluish Peppermint, and it looks somewhat like Lemon Balm (Melissa officinalis) but is not as hairy on the leaves. The smell is eponymously Spearmint, with none of the menthol odor that characterizes Peppermint and little of the lemon scent of Lemon Balm. There are several cultivars.
PORTION OF SPEARMINT PLANT USED IN DISTILLATION, HOW DISTILLED, EXTRACTION METHODS & YIELD ~ Spearmint’s over-ground tops and flowers are harvested just prior to its bloom; after blooming, the oil content in the plant decreases. The plants are cut and allowed to dry on the ground for 2 or more days until ‘clover dry,’ that is, still flexible and NOT brittle. They are taken to the various distilleries, packed into the still, moistened by the steam, sealed in, and then steam distilled.
In Egypt, “There are two chemotypes of Spearmint dependent upon where they are grown. One had both good carvone and limonene and a better yield (grown in Siwa Oasis), while the other analyzed from Cairo had less quantity oil but a higher percentage of carvone.”8
Yield ~ The over-ground plant is steam distilled. “3,000 lbs. charge requires up to 30-50 minutes and produces over 20 pounds of oil” 375 Essential Oils and Hydrosols, p. 142. One acre of Spearmint may yield 35-40 lbs. of oil.5
Spearmint & flower – photo by Jeanne Rose … Fig. 3
CO2 Extraction – …… Essential oil compositions and attainable yields were nearly the same as those by steam distillation when single pass mode of CO2 … was used for oil recovery…. The flavor and fragrance of the carbon dioxide mint extracts were closest in quality to actual mint plant leaves, compared to mint oils produced by conventional steam distillation.1
SPEARMINT OIL ORGANOLEPTIC CHARACTERISTICS ~
Color: Pale, celery-like green; some have a pinkish quality, and some oils are golden yellow
Viscosity: Non-viscous, like water
Taste: Yummy, refreshing, delightful, and delicately spearminty.
Intensity of Odor: A fresh 5
Tenacity in blend: 6
Spearmint oil courtesy of Prima Fleur Fig. 4
ODOR DESCRIPTION ~ Spearmint and Caraway have the same chemical component of scent, carvone, but a different mirror-image isomer. Spearmint has a fresh, green, and minty odor, while Caraway has a fresh, herbal, and green but spicy odor.
An easy experiment is to mix equal parts of each of these essential oils and then pass the bottle around to students and have them guess what they are smelling. Because they both contain the same molecule, carvone, but a different isomer of it, you will have guesses equally on both sides of the scent, and some people will be totally unable to figure it out. After smelling both, you will be able to isolate and identify the scent of each plant, but when mixed together, it becomes more difficult. This is a wonderful exercise for an aromatherapy class.
CHEMICAL COMPONENTS ~ You will find numerous people and websites stating that Spearmint has menthol. Spearmint does not contain menthol unless it is a specifically bred or a hybrid variety that has been bred specifically for this. Since Spearmint is used to modify the scent and flavor of Peppermint, this may be where the mix-up in the plant began with people. I have only seen one paper out of 25 that listed menthol as a component via GC/MS in Spearmint (Mentha spicata), which was at 1.88% of the total. This paper was confusing and co-listed Peppermint and Spearmint together.
Spearmint does contain up to 56% l-Carvone, Terpenes, Limonene, Phellandrenes, and, sometimes, Linaloöl and Cineol.
Carvone chemistry in Caraway and Spearmint … Fig. 5
As described above in Spearmint, the main components are carvone for the scent and limonene, myrcene, and others. It is possible to distinguish by taste and odor between the dextro- and laevo-rotatory forms of carvone; dextro-carvone in Caraway seed oil and laevo-rotatory carvone in Spearmint herb oil.
HISTORICAL USES ~ The herb tea has been widely used as a tonic drink almost everywhere it has been introduced.
The following refers to Spearmint or wild Mint, not Peppermint. In the first century A.D., the naturalist Pliny wrote, “The smell of mint (Spearmint) stirs up the mind and appetite to a greedy desire of food.”3 (Plinie’s Natural History First Century AD. Translated by Philemon Holland.). He recommended binding the head in a crown of mint, which delights the soul and is good for the mind. Pliny, along with Hippocrates and Aristotle, judged it ‘contrary to procreation,’while the Greeks were of the opposite opinion: forbade their soldiers to eat (Spear)mint because it incites a man to love, diminishing his courage. It was found that the Greeks, not Pliny, have been shown to be correct.
INTERESTING FACTS ~ Spearmint tea is poured after every meal in Egypt. One of the more exciting properties mentioned for Spearmint tea is that that could help treat mild hirsutism (hairiness) in women.10 Drink up to 5 cups/day.10 Maybe this is one of the reasons it is so enjoyed as a tea.
The oil extracted from Native Spearmint is used in Michigan and is considered highly concentrated. One pound will flavor 135,000 sticks of gum. Chewing gum companies regularly blend Spearmint and Peppermint oils to maintain a consistent and specific flavor. An advantage to growing mint is farmers may store the oil for several years if market prices fall.9
GENERAL PROPERTIES OF SPEARMINT
SPEARMINT is an anti-inflammatory, calming, mucolytic, antioxidant, and tonic for the digestive system. When inhaled, it has a wonderful ability to create a feeling of joy and happiness and therefore makes an excellent addition to stress relief blends. It is also packed with antioxidants and is good for digestion has been said to have anti-fungal properties, as well as the properties indicated for all sorts of respiratory problems and chronic bronchitis.4
SPEARMINT PHYSICAL USES & HOW USED (IG OR AP)
APPLICATION — The essential oil is used in many body-care products for soothing the skin, treating acne, and relieving skin irritations. This is a beautiful herb to use in any bath herb, and the essential oil can be added to the skin lotion or skincare product. It is so refreshing and healing. The herb and the essential oil are excellent additions to products, blends, and foods. Please read Jeanne Rose Herbal Body Book for great information and formulas.
•The herb tea is taken for digestive disturbances and is lightly fever-reducing.
•Chewing gum ~ Of all the flavors incorporated into chewing gum, Spearmint and combination mint flavors have been some of the most popular. Most widely used have been Peppermint and Spearmint, as well as blends of the two in the form of their essential oils. Oil of Spearmint is derived from the distillation of several varieties of this genus. The 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 – Lifetime
Spearmint – 1 cup 2x/day women with hirsutism had less free testosterone in the blood. Drink up to 5 cups/day to help this problem. Some say it also increases breast size.
INHALATION — Spearmint can be added to any blend for respiratory ailments and chronic bronchitis. It has a relaxing and happy odor. When diffused — Spearmint oil can be added to almost any blend where you want the scent of refreshment and joy. Try it. It will make you feel joyous.
EMOTIONAL USES (AP OR IN)— Spearmint is applied to the temples for headaches; it can be inhaled as a memoristic antidepressant, alleviates mental strain and fatigue, and acting as a tonic for the entire system.
•Calming Spearmint E.O. is used by inhalation, and blends can include Bergamot, most citrus fruit oils, Cumin, Eucalyptus citriodora, Lavender, Marjoram, Spearmint (calming and joyous), and their comparable hydrosols used as spray mists.
•Emotional/Energetic Use – Uplifting. Reduces nervous stress and tension. Ylang Ylang Extra with a touch of Spearmint is a delicious scent to inhale for headaches or to soothe your depression. Dilute with a carrier oil or alcohol and put it into a small bottle to carry around and inhale whenever.
Scott Cunningham, in his book, Magical Aromatherapy, suggests that Spearmint is an element of Air and whose magical influences are Healing, protection, and promoting sleep when inhaled; it helps one with visualization to speed healing; wrap the fresh sprigs in a bag and inhale the bag as you fall asleep, visualizing that it is wrapping you in protective energy.
Jeanne Rose bizarre growth on Spearmint – Fig. 6
GENERAL HERBAL USES OF SPEARMINT – Mentha spicata
Medicinal uses ~ Herb Spearmint has been used extensively for its medicinal properties for over 3000 years. It can be used internally as a tea, to make poultices or balms, or inhaled to make use of joyful quality. Spearmint’s medicinal properties include stomachic, stimulant, calmative, disinfectant, and nervine. The following afflictions are treated with Spearmint herb and/or essential oil:
•Colds–The Flathead and Kutenai Indian tribes drank native wild mint or Spearmint teas to treat both the coughs and fevers associated with colds.
•Digestive Ailments – An overall aid to most digestive disorders, it is especially beneficial in treating flatulence, diarrhea, colic, retching, and vomiting. A poultice of Spearmint leaves over the stomach region also helps to aid in digestive distress. Spearmint tea also helps to promote appetite.
•Female afflictions- Spearmint can be used to treat menstrual cramps. In Near Eastern societies, it helps to increase sexual desire, suppressed menstruation, … and helps to relieve the breast of curdled or congested milk via compress. Spearmint tea reduces hirsutism in women.10
•Heart Ailments – The Blackfeet Indians and other tribes chewed wild Spearmint leaves to treat chest pains and strengthen heart muscles.
•Nervous System- All Spearmint teas have a soothing quality and are used to treat nervousness, fatigue, nausea, vertigo, hiccoughs, palpitations, anger, confusion, depression, and mental strain.
•Rashes – Spearmint oil can be rubbed on poison ivy rash, diaper rash, and athlete’s foot.
•Toothache – A drop of Spearmint essential oil can be used directly on the source of pain to help alleviate the pain from both cavities and gum disease.
1975. JEANNE ROSE’S TOMATO TALES – Spearmint
In the early days of keeping records of all the essential oils I used, I also kept an emotion chart that I used with my students to get their favorite scents for specific emotions. This was in 1972, and I called the chart “Scent & Psyche: Experience Aroma.” I had a paper file of dozens of these charts from all my previous classes and had included the information in a book that I had written called “Aromatherapy – Inhalations for the Mind.” You have never heard of that book, and that is not a surprise as I took the written prototype with me when I went to New York in 1975 to speak before the “Fragrance Foundation” and lost it along with my suitcase at the airport and all my lecture notes as well on the way to the Plaza Hotel where I would be staying. It was a devastating loss to me not only because I lost my lecture notes but also because it was the only draft of the book that I was delivering to the publisher. This book was once written, was not rewritten but eventually evolved into “The Aromatherapy Book – Applications & Inhalations.”
One thing I learned from the collection of these charts is that my American students always said that Spearmint made them happy, that it smelled like their childhood, and that it smelled like chewing gum, but my Asian students thought it smelled like cleaning fluids. Scents have power and cultural differences depending upon where you grew up and where you experienced them.
Europeans also do not have the same ‘feelings’ about Spearmint as Americans do, even though Spearmint is indigenous to Europe and Asia and then became naturalized in North America, where it became a favorite.
BLENDING AND PERFUMERY ~ Spearmint has a bright and joyous scent and can perk up any heavy perfume on the floral bouquet. It mixes well with Ylang-Ylang. You just need a bit. Start with 10 drops of Ylang Extra and 1 drop of Spearmint. Smell it. Then add either more of the floral or green herbal scent, depending on what pleases you. Remember that Spearmint contains carvone and not menthol and has an herbaceous and green note.
Spearmint blends with the herbs such as Basil, Lavender, Marjoram, and Rosemary; it combines with spices such as Black or green Pepper, Ginger; with florals such as Jasmine and Ylang-Ylang and with many citrus scents like Grapefruit and Lemon. These all can be used as mixtures for room diffusing.
SPEARMINT HYDROSOL is known to have calming, cleansing, and carminative effects on the digestive system when taken as a drink and is used externally as a spray for skin irritations, soothing to the senses, and cooling on the skin. This hydrosol is an excellent skin toner, and when kept in the refrigerator, it makes a wonderful relieving mist during a ‘hot flash.’
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.
Fig.7 Spearmint Hydrosol, courtesy of Positively Aromatic
HERBAL USE OF SPEARMINT
•HERBAL TEA of SPEARMINT. As previously stated, science has shown that 2-5 cups per day of Spearmint tea will relieve hairiness and PCOS in women. It is also delicious to drink and is very refreshing.
•HERBAL BATHS, SHAMPOOS, AND HAIR CONDITIONERS. Customizing your hair, skin, and body care products with herbs is so easy. And Spearmint is ideal for this. I am in love with a mixture of Spearmint and Rosemary herbs in my shampoo and hair conditioner. I just get my favorite shampoo or conditioner and customize it by adding ¼ cup of a strong infusion of these herbs to 1 oz of the product and then proceed to wash or condition as usual. The Herbal Body Book is 400 pages of skincare formulas and recipes using both the herbs and essential oils. It is available from jeannerose.net.
•CULINARY USE OF SPEARMINT ~ Spearmint has been used extensively in the preparation of foods throughout the world. Though seldom cooked, mint can be in teas, jellies, candies, and gums. In the Middle East, mint leaves are added to salads, which makes them more flavorful, as well as add high concentrations of vitamins A, C, and carotene. Spearmint sauce is the basic accompaniment to roast lamb and veal and is said to help in the digestion of these meats. [see The Herbal Guide to Food for more uses.]
Mentha spicata could also be considered an antioxidant source. In fact, Spearmint and Spearmint extracts are often used as preservative agents to delay the oxidative degradation that occurs in food during processing or over time with storage.6
•Cocktails with Spearmint Include The famous ‘Mint julep”from Kentucky that you drink in May at the start of the Kentucky Derby – except maybe, in 2020, when we are all ‘sheltering in place’ because of the COVID-19 Virus. The Kentucky Derby has been run continuously since 1875 and has been only postponed once.
Fig. 8 – the Julep
•Herb and flower-butters are a delicious and easy way to add flavor to foods. Herb-butters are simply freshly picked herbs that are finely chopped and blended into sweet (unsalted) butter, mixing it thoroughly, and then refrigerated in a glass container so that the flavor and scent permeate the butter. Also, label it so you will remember one from the other. These butters are delicious on vegetables or spread on toast or crackers. They are necessary when having a tea party. They have not been widely used since Victorian times and may have simply dropped out of fashion… In most cases, fresh herbs are preferable to dried herbs and flowers. Mashed dried seeds, such as Anise seed, are also used. And margarine will not do; you must use good, sweet butter. Finely chop the fresh herbs or flowers and then mash them into the butter; cream your herbs or flowers into the softened butter with a fork or the back of a wooden spoon. Two tablespoons of herb part for every quarter-pound stick of butter. Add just a touch of Lemon juice or white wine vinegar to bring up the herb’s flavor, and refrigerate overnight to allow full flavor to develop. Spearmint butter is good with meats such as lamb and on cookies and pastries. —The Herbal Guide to Food.
•Spearmint jelly is really delicious. I used to make it whenever we had lamb for dinner. I have a very simple recipe in my Herbal Guide to Food, p. 216. It only says mint, but I can assure you I was discussing Spearmint. When I wrote this book, I was not as particular as I am now about the name of which mint I was discussing.
KEY USE of SPEARMINT ~ Dentifrice products and as an antidepressant.
RESOURCES ~ Many herb stores, nurseries, home product-makers, and skincare companies make and use Spearmint. When you look at the label, make sure the mint they mention is Spearmint, Mentha spicata, for that sweet and joyous herb we all enjoy.
Fig. 9 – Spearmint illustration – 1850
REFERENCES used to both Peppermint and Spearmint ~
Herbal Studies Course/ Jeanne Rose & Berkeley, California: 1992.
Spearmint, Caraway, and Thyme
Makes me feel good and feel fine
Two of them are chiral
They go into a mirror spiral
And it is always good as a rhyme. – JeanneRose2011
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 a tea or the infusion. —JeanneRose 2014
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
SYNOPSIS ~ Tea Tree and Plai are two essential oils with manyhealing 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.
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.
4. Sensory qualities
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
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.
5. Lake Ainsworth
PROPERTIES AND USES OF TEA TREE AND PLAI ~ Plai and Tea Tree oil have many properties, particularlyas 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.
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
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
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.