NEROLI. ~ A description of Bitter Orange/Neroli flower, characteristics, Jeanne Rose skincare,  formulas, and recipes on how to use this famous, important oil. Who is Neroli? “By the end of the 17th century, Anne Marie Orsini, the princess of Nerola, Italy, introduced the essence of bitter Orange tree flowers as a fashionable fragrance by using it to perfume her gloves and her bath. Since then, the term “neroli” has been used to describe this essence.”

NEROLI. Essential Oil/Hydrosol Profile

By Jeanne Rose ~ November 2023

Bitter Orange tree with leaves and flowers, flowers superimposed and 2 bottles of Neroli shown. Always know the color of the essential oil and the look of the plant.

Pretty Neroli oil

NEROLI. NAME & Scientific Name ~ CITRUS X  AURANTIUM L,  also called C. amara, C. aurantium ssp. Amara, C. iyo. It Is a cross between Citron and of C. reticulata (Mandarin) + C. maxima (Pomelo) as the female parent.  The ‘x’ in the middle of any Latin binomial simply means that the plant is a cross and in this case several types of Citrus were crossed to eventually become “Bitter Orange”.   There are many backcrosses in this group of Bitter Orange/Neroli.

            To see a chart of the five pure origin Citrus genus,
please see the post.

NEROLI NAMING HISTORY ~ Who is Neroli? “By the end of the 17th century, Anne Marie Orsini, the princess of Nerola, Italy, introduced the essence of bitter Orange tree as a fashionable fragrance by using it to perfume her gloves and her bath. Since then, the term “neroli” has been used to describe this essence.”

FAMILY ~ Rutaceae, the Citrus family

Neroli Limerick
There is a citrus flower Neroli
It is grown in the Garden Filoli
It rings all my bells
With such heavenly smells
And sure, makes me feel all holy! … JeanneRose2012

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

         It seems that the bitter or sour orange is a native of China in the southeastern part of Asia. From there it spread out to India and Iran. The Romans did not know it and it was introduced to the Mediterranean area  around 1000 A.D. by the Arabs, and this bitter Orange was the only one known for about 500 years. Did those expert distillers and alchemists, the Moors, distill bitter Orange to get the water or the essential oil?  We don’t know. The lovely Neroli oil was first mentioned by J.B. della Porta in 1563 for the Princess of Neroli.

bitter Orange flowers

NEROLI. BITTER ORANGE. GENERAL DESCRIPTION OF PLANT, HABITAT & GROWTH ~ The bitter Orange tree that produces Neroli essential oil is very close in appearance to the sweet Orange. However, they may look similar but the fruit they produce is different. Bitter Orange produces a bitter flesh and pungent sweet essential oil from the flower (called Neroli) while sweet Orange has a sweet flesh and markedly different essential oil from the rind (called sweet Orange oil). This Orange is used as a rootstock in groves of sweet orange and if the sweet Orange can go wild, the bitter Orange rootstock will often take over and the subsequent fruit will be sour and the flowers sweet like Neroli. The tree has a long-life span,  up to 100 years. They are propagated by seed and/or grafting onto a disease-resistant rootstock; the young trees are planted out in April-May; they must be well taken care of throughout their life; early evening, or nighttime irrigation is most important in the early years to set good roots.

The flowers are harvested from late April to June when the buds just begin to open and in their early years were done according to herbal principals, “harvest in the morning when the dew is dry but before the sun is high”. Now harvesting often goes on until noon particularly on warm sunny days. If the flowers are picked when closed, the odor of the oil is ‘green’, but these yield a strong Neroli water.

JeanneRose harvesting flowers and teaching at the Olsen Organic Farm, 2003

2003, Harvesting, Neroli flowers near Fresno at Olsen Organic Farm for distilling.

PORTION OF PLANT USED IN DISTILLATION, HOW DISTILLED, EXTRACTION METHODS & YIELD ~ Bud blossoms of the true Bitter  (sour) Orange tree, Citrus x aurantium Linnaeus, (subsp. Amara) L., on being distilled yield Neroli bigarade oil. If, on the other hand, the leaves, and petioles (leaf stalk) are distilled, oil and hydrosol of Petitgrain Bigarade is obtained.  Flowers of Bitter orange must not be mixed with the flowers of sweet Orange as the  properties , specific gravity and chemistry are different.

            THE flowers are harvested from March to May or April to June depending on the area and hydro-distilled for the Neroli oil and hydrosol. > The flowers are hydro-distilled not steam-distilled and must float freely in the distillation waters (just like Roses and Ylang-Ylang).<  Annually 2-3 tons is produced, mainly in North Africa such as Morocco and Tunisia. In North Africa, the bulk of the flower harvest is hydro-distilled, and the balance extracted with volatile solvents which yields concrete and absolute of orange flowers as well as a floral wax.

YIELD ~ The small, white, waxy flowers from the citrus tree are hydro-steam distilled.  850 kg of carefully picked Orange flowers yields 1 kg of Neroli oil after distillation.  Or 1 kg of Orange blossoms yields about 1 g. of Neroli oil, and this oil is affected by the atmospheric conditions when it is distilled. Yield:  0.8-1.0%.

Flower stamp.

The Neroli flowers

ESSENTIAL FLOWER WAX OR FLORAL WAX is the vegetable wax from the flowers, the solid material that is left after the plant scent is alcohol-extracted and chilled. This separates the wax (the solid material) from the essential oil. This process and new perfume substance can only be done in the laboratory or in the perfume industry.

            The production of essential wax is a result of solvent extraction that is used on delicate flowers whose scent would be destroyed by steam distillation.  Only the flowers that are undamaged and are freshly picked and selectively chosen are collected and taken to the extraction plant.  The flowers are mixed with the solvent, which results in the floral concrète.  The concrète is then thoroughly mixed with and dissolved in high proof alcohol.  Then this is chilled.  The fragrant tincture and wax separates via the cold and the tincture is filtered off. The alcohol tincture is treated via vacuum distillation or simple evaporation that removes the alcohol leaving the absolute (scent) behind. The wax is collected separately.


2 bottles of PrimaFleur Neroli oil

Neroli Oil, organoleptic (sensory) characteristics in a chart form by JeanneRose

            NEROLI ODOR DESCRIPTION ~ Neroli has a refreshing and distinctive, light to strong floral aroma with powdery and aldehydic notes, very fresh with a warm base note that resembles freshly dried hay. Because of the high price of Neroli it is ever more frequently diluted or adulterated with aromatic isolates, and synthetic odors or with Petitgrain.  It can somewhat resemble Petitgrain in its odor as often Petitgrain is used to adulterate Neroli oil.  (see Odor Snapshots at the end of the article).

            [Scent-producing floral organs (osmophores) have epidermis cells with pronounced conical shapes. The conical shape of the epidermal cells obviously increases the scent-emitting surface of the cells when compared with flat epidermal cells typical for vegetative organs. One frequently stated interpretation is that the structures facilitate emission of scent molecules by increasing the surface area of the epidermal cells.]

 This work is sponsored and supported by Prima Fleur Botanicals.

CHEMICAL COMPONENTS ~ Neroli contains l-linalyl acetate and l-linalool as well as nerolidol and indole. Ocimenes, limonene, linaloöl and linalyl acetate are higher in Neroli than Petitgrain. Indole which possesses a powerful exotic floral note at high dilution and a somewhat fresh breast-fed baby poop odor when not diluted separates and differentiates Neroli from Petitgrain.  This indole odor is sometimes very prevalent in the Neroli hydrosol. Methoxypyrazine contributes to a green character, which also is the interesting green note in Galbanum and Green Peppers. 

            [In the citrus peels, Limonene, a compound of the terpene family, is present in the essential oil of citrus peel. The limonene structure has a chiral center, and thus it is found in nature as a mirror-image, two enantiomers the (R)- and (S)-limonene. (R) is clockwise or right hand Isomer and has the characteristic sweet smell of oranges, while the (S) is counterclockwise or sinistral- left hand isomer and smells like the sour of lemons or bitter Orange. ]

         SOLUBILITY ~ The essential oil is soluble in 1-2 volumes of 80% alcohol and gets hazy to turbid if you add more.



            The properties of Neroli include a quieting calming sedative effect upon inhalation, adding the hydrosol in coffee is calming when that feeling of excess caffeine takes over after a cup or two, and the EO is used externally in skincare products to soften or as a skin-healing scar-reducing or tonic addition.


Application:    On hemorrhoids, in skin care, in perfumery. It is especially useful in skin-care products for acne, anti-aging with Galbanum and Elemi, and applied for under-eye circles.

Ingestion:   Take a scant drop in your tea for Insomnia, or for diarrhea. Put a scant drop in a bottle of champagne as an aphrodisiac.  Neroli water is used for nervous dyspepsia, abdominal spasm, and colic.  Neroli water when mixed with Orange honey and warm water is good for cranky children when drunk.

Inhalation: The oil is inhaled for fatigue, birthing, palpitations, and cardiac spasms.                                 


Application:    Apply in a balm on the wrists or back of neck for nervous depression.

Inhalation:      Inhale the scent for depression, or as a mild sedative that is both joyous and uplifting. It is stabilizing and grounding, soothing, calming and sedating and can alleviate insomnia, PMS, and soothe fever.


Inhalation:    It is used for shock, grief, and depression. It is used in blends to increase concentration, to ease the pain of emotional abuse, to ease shocking  news, with Frankincense at the death of a loved one, for manic depression of fear of personal change and feelings, for loneliness and grief. The essential oil is truly a friend of the fearful and depressed.

DIFFUSE/DIFFUSION ~ The essential oil or the Neroli hydrosol may be diffused in a child’s room for reducing a temper tantrum,  relaxing and assisting in sleep, or a ½ teaspoon of the Neroli hydrosol in water can be given for insomnia.



PrimaFleur organic Neroli Wax

NEROLI FLORAL WAX USES ~ Neroli floral wax can be added to any skincare product such as balms, lotions, creams, sunscreen products.  It will turn a lotion into a cream or a cream into a balm.  The addition of Neroli floral wax adds antioxidant properties,  aids in blocking harmful UV rays, is calming and soothing to  the skin, helps eliminate dead skin cells, helps improve dull hair when used in haircare products, helps reduce the look of fine lines and wrinkles. It contains carotenoids and is rich in Vitamin E. Neroli floral wax softens skin, and tones and soothes sensitive skin and can be used in all your anti-aging formulas. There are 1250 flowers in 1 gram of the floral wax.

NEROLI HYDROSOL (Orange Flower WATER) & BITTER ORANGE PEEL Uses ) ~ Neroli hydrosol/water is one of the most important herbal products used in the Middle Eastern world. True Neroli hydrosol is used in Spain and Tunisia in foods as a flavoring agent particularly in baked goods, confectionary and in drinks and it is  the hydrosol that is taken for insomnia. The bitter Orange peel is also used as a sweetmeat in Greece and Turkey and is a delicious addition to a variety to desserts such as ice-cream.

JeanneRose in the distilling area at Olsen Organic Farm 2003

JeanneRose distilling orange flowers at Olsen Organic Farm – 2003


NEROLI HYDROSOL ~   In March 2003, I had the opportunity to distill 5 pounds of organic Orange flowers for sweet Neroli Hydrosol obtained from a sweet navel Orange, variety Atwood in Lindsay, CA. from the Olsen Organic Farm. As follows.

            The trees were grown in the foothills edging the great central valley of California near the town of Lindsay. The trees are grown organically, at 500 feet with a west exposure in full sun and the area is certified organic. The area is irrigated via the San Joaquin River. The soil is USDA Porterville cobbly clay. There is about 12 inches of rainfall per year. The harvest was on Wednesday 3/25/03 from about 15 trees. Harvest weather was overcast to full sun, about 75°F  with 30% humidity.  It took 6 hours for two persons to fill 13 five-gallon buckets with twigs and flowers. This was transported to San Francisco and arrived on Thursday. Each tree produced about 1 bucket (3.3 lbs./bucket) of easily available twigs with flowers.  This effectively gently pruned the tree of excess flowers and will leave it able to produce more and tastier Oranges.

            At the farm on the following Saturday, we started with 43 pounds of twiglets that had blossoms and buds attached. It took 3-man hours (1 hour each for 3 persons) to pick off the flowers and to accumulate the 5 pounds of just-opened flowers with the balance of the twigs and flowers saved for the larger still.  The fragrance was sweet, intense, floral, and fruity with some green back notes. We assembled the 25-liter copper alembic still and loaded it at 2 pm with 5 lbs. of morning picked flowers and 3 gallons of spring water. The flowers were kept above the bottom of the pot with a (copper) grid and freely floating in the boiling water. Distillation ran very well, and the distillate began to run at about 2:15 p.m. We continued the distillation until 5:45 pm at which time 1.5 gallons of Orange flower hydrosol had been accumulated. The pH changed from 6.1 at 2:25 pm to 5.3 at 2:45 pm and continued at 5.3 until the end. The heads (scent) had an odor of fruit, green and floral, the body (scent) was floral, fruity, and citrus. Distillation was discontinued when the odor began to get green with no floral or citrus notes.

            A 4-inch copper tube was added to the gooseneck. Two hours of distillation produced 1.2 gallons of hydrosol. pH began at 5, the scent being green and citrus and as the distillation continued, pH became more acid to 4.4, the scent becoming more rich, citrus, and spicy. 3 ml of essential oil was produced from the 38 pounds of twigs and flowers. [The balance of the leaves and flowers (38 pounds) that had been picked was sent to the larger stainless-steel unit, 1-hour north  and produced hydrosol about 1 quart per pound.]

            Neroli Hydrosol Use – 2003. This was a wonderful hydrosol, very fragrant and sweet.  It was used in skin care products and simply as a mister.  Several misting products were produced using the hydrosol. Mixed 50/50 with Spearmint hydrosol produced a very refreshing and fragrant fruity, citrus mint hydrosol. Fabulous…oh how I wish I had some now.


            There are many Neroli hydrosol/Orange flower water  products on the market. Many are available in your nearby liquor/bottle store as an addition to beverages. Others are available through your herbal/aromatic stores.

4 types of Neroli flower water

Hydrosol from Morocco and a trio of Neroli/Orange flower water. Photo of Neroli Hydrosol courtesy of Nature’s Gift  (

            In the book, Harvest to Hydrosol, is a GC-MS of a Neroli from Canada, 2013, that shows sorbic acid -a preservative, and a large amount of a-terpineol and an even larger amount of linalool. What I found most interesting however, was the tiny amount of the unpleasant greasy smelling aldehyde nonanal and may be what makes Neroli excellent for perfumery but not in a deodorant.

KEY USE ~ Neroli is inhaled for depression and fatigue and used extensively in fine perfumery and the hydrosol taken for insomnia.


A snakelike progression of essential oils for perfumery showing the many colors of the oils.


Read the Perfumery blog to understand some of the nuances of Perfumery.

Read this ….

Scent Rising Up

BLENDING ~Neroli blends well with just about any oil and especially with other citrus such as Grapefruit and Bergamot; and deeply floral odors such as Champaca, Osmanthus; with woody odors such as all the different Sandalwoods or Tonka bean; seed odors such as Coriander; spicy odors like Cardamom, Nutmeg and Styrax; the resin odors of Frankincense, Galbanum, Balsam of Peru/Tolu.


The famous eau de cologne was made by Italian perfumer J.M. Farina of Cologne, Germany, who created a blend of essential oils inspired by the princess of Nerola. The blend included Bergamot, Lemon, Bitter Bigarade, Neroli and Rosemary. Cologne water of the most superior and incomparable quality is made by first dissolving the essential oils in the alcohols and then distilling it, then adding the Rosemary and Neroli (water) to the distillate.

            1st Method: “Cologne water of the most superior and incomparable quality is made by dissolving the essential oils in the alcohols* and then distilling it, then adding the Rosemary oil and Neroli oil to the distillate. The classic eau de cologne contained Bergamot, Lemon, Bitter Bigarade + grape alcohol, Neroli water and either Rosemary hydrosol or Neroli essential oil.”

*This refers only to neutral grape spirits.

Original eau de cologne formula from a 175 year old book.


            2nd Method: Dissolve the aromatics in 95% neutral grape spirits — distill — add the Neroli and the Rosemary. Effect the dilution required with Orange flower water or Rose water by adding up to 8-10 quarts or if the original formula is divided by 10 use 3-4 cups of the floral water.


TOP – Neroli 5 – 10 drops
HEART – Rose Bourbonia 10 drops
BASE – Sandalwood Hawaiian 10 drops
Diluent – Cane Alcohol 50 drops

BROWN SUGAR FORMULA. The essence of brown sugar; sweet and fortifying, uplifting, and refreshing. Use as an inhalant or in blends — aftershave, astringent tonics, face wash or a sweet massage.

            Smell brown sugar first to establish the scent in your mind and then start blending. Mix together, Lemon, Neroli, Patchouli, Tangerine.  Mix these basic scents together in the combination that will most resemble brown sugar.

(the numbers are in drops, by volume  not weight)
Top Note – 20 of Lavender abs + 20 of Neroli abs
bridge to the heart note –  2 of Bergamot
Heart Note – 10 of Champaca + 5 of Orange  + 20 of Jasmine abs
  bridge to the base note – 1 of Cardamom
Base Note – 6 of Patchouli  + 6 of Spikenard
Fixative note –  (1•1000) Make a dilution first & use 1-drop of the Ambergris dilution
Add 100-200 drops grape spirits to dilute. You want a perfume at 25-50%.

Here is a lovely Perfume with Neroli that I call

Neroli perfume formula

To make these lovely perfumes, mix each note separately and let them age for a week. After a week mix the main notes together and then let that age. Then in the 3rd week, start adding the bridge note — all of it or part of it, however you like. Now let that age again. Then add an equal amount of carrier (200 drops). I prefer neutral grape spirits, but you can use a carrier oil if you wish. It just makes a different smelling perfume. Age again and then finally after a month or 5 weeks you will have a fabulous perfume at 50%. You may wish to dilute to 25%.

perfume bottles, porcelain plate, and a pyramid


HISTORICAL USES  ~ This tree, Citrus x aurantium, the bitter orange tree produces three different essential oils and a precious hydrosol. Bitter Orange oil comes from the peel of the ripe fruit, Petitgrain oil is distilled from the leaves and twigs, and Neroli oil is hydro-distilled from the flowers of the tree and the precious orange-flower water or Neroli hydrosol is the water of the distillation.

            The bitter peel is preserved in sugar and eaten as a sweet with coffee.

Bitter Orange sweet to eat when drinking coffee

Bitter Orange Peel as a sweet

INTERESTING FACTS ~ “Neroli was employed as a scent by the prostitutes of Madrid, so they would be recognized by its aroma.  On the other hand, the blossoms were worn as a bridal headdress and carried as a bouquet, symbolizing purity, and virginity.  Together with Lavender, Bergamot, Lemon, and Rosemary oils, Neroli was a key constituent of the classic toilet water eau-de-Cologne” Aromatherapy for Healing the Spirit, p.100.           

            • Fine perfumes can only be made with freshly distilled 70-95% neutral grape spirits.  All the older perfumes were diluted down with neutral grape spirits. Originally, they were considered medicines and were taken internally by the drop. After the introduction of synthetics, around 1850, perfumes were made with chemicalized ingredients and were no longer edible.  However, even today certain uplifting ‘spirits’ are sold in Europe as a tonic against seasickness, carsickness, and all sorts of nausea.

Neroli so special and sweet
It doesn’t smell like a beet
When I’m nervous or sad
And don’t want to feel bad
I diffuse it and jump to my feet. —JeanneRose

Neroli flower stamp

NEROLI • A Favorite Tomato Tale from 1994

At the age of seven, Gloria Rawlinson (1918–1995), the poet, was afflicted with polio. She had been born in Tonga and raised in New Zealand. She was hospitalized for four years as a result of the polio and was bedridden or confined to a wheelchair for the rest of her life. She became a poet of significant achievement, eventually to be crowned the “the child poet of New Zealand” and later to become a biographer of other significant authors. She wrote the Perfume Vendor in 1935,  a book of poems heavily influenced with the exotic scents of Tonga and New Zealand. I heard of this talented poet towards the end of her life, about 1990 and was given her book as a gift by a friend. The book is fantastical, child-like, original  and a lovely  fragrant read. I included her poem of the same name, The Perfume Vendor” in my own book called The Aromatherapy Book that was published in 1992.  Around this time, maybe 1993, I was invited to a formal event at the New Zealand Embassy here in San Francisco where I met the Consul General. I had wanted to write a thank-you note to Gloria Rawlinson for the hours of enjoyable reading, and I mentioned this to him. We spoke for a moment, and he said he would see if her address was available. Several days after the event, I received Ms. Rawlinson address in the mail and promptly wrote her a letter. I am hoping that she received the letter and knew that there were still fans of hers in the United States. She had suffered ill-health for years and died in 1995.

Here is a small part of a poem from the Perfume Vendor ...

OH! My place is taken I see—
The other vendors envy me,
The perfume-merchant, Neroli. …..
I am come home
To my scent bazaar,
With the rhizome
Of Iris florentina,
(You call it orris-root)—
Gum-resins, myrrh, opopanax,
Tolu, and sandal-wood, storax
And fifteen ounces of oil of cedar to boot— ……
“Ben Neroli—Ben Neroli—
Will you please allow me?
To dip
My little finger-tip
In the Jasmine bowl?”

SCIENCE ARTICLE: NEROLI – PAIN REDUCING. J Nat Med. 2015 Jul;69(3):324-31. doi: 10.1007/s11418-015-0896-6. Epub 2015 Mar 12.Analgesic and anti-inflammatory activities of Citrus aurantium L. blossoms essential oil (neroli): involvement of the nitric oxide/cyclic-guanosine monophosphate pathway. Khodabakhsh P1, Shafaroodi H, Asgarpanah J.
The analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties of Citrus aurantium L. blossoms essential oil (neroli) was investigated in mice and rats. The analgesic activity of neroli was assessed … while acute and chronic anti-inflammatory effects were investigated …. … The results suggest that neroli possesses biologically active constituent(s) that have significant activity against acute and especially chronic inflammation and have central and peripheral antinociceptive effects which support the ethnomedicinal claims of the use of the plant in the management of pain and inflammation.
PMID: 25762161 [PubMed – in process].

Guenther, Ernest. The Essential Oils. Krieger Publishing Company, FL. 1974
Harman, Ann. Harvest to Hydrosol, 1st edition, 2015, IAG Botanics
Mabberley, D.J., Mabberley’s Plant Book, 2008 3rd Edition  2014 updates, Cambridge University Press
Mabberley, D.J., Mabberley’s Plant Book, 2008 3rd Edition  2014 updates, Cambridge University Press
Ohloff, Günther. Scent and Fragrances, The Fascination of Odors. Springer-Verlag.
Rawlinson, Gloria. The Perfume Vendor. Hutchinson & Co. 1937.
Rose, Jeanne. 375 Essential Oils and Hydrosols.
Rose, Jeanne. Natural Botanical Perfumery. Available from the author at

2 snapshots of neroli scent
Sweet Orange flowers

Orange flowers Lindsay, CA


MANDARIN & TANGERINE  OIL and the Plant ~ A complete description of this part of the Citrus family with familial ties, country of origin, characteristics, body care, skin care, formulas, and recipes on how to use this oil.

Essential oil of tangerine and Mandarin from PrimaFleurBotanicals.
Photo by JeanneRose

Mandarin and Tangerine, both are Citrus reticulata Blanco var., either Mandarin or Tangerine are the LATIN BINOMIAL/BOTANICAL names while Clementine is considered Citrus x reticulata var. Clementine and is discussed elsewhere >

            If you want to twist your brain cells,  look at the incestuous crosses, backcrossing, mutations, aberrations, speciation events, hybrids, genetic mixings, varieties, groups or outgroups, rootstock changes, and terroir effects of the many Citrus types to understand the various citrus fruits, we have now.
Anywhere from 12 up to 162, different ones are accorded subspecies or varietal names. Mandarin can be called Citrus reticulata var. mandarin, and Tangerine can be called Citrus reticulata var. tangerina.  Mandarin has also been called var. deliciosa, and of course, it has other names as well.
            But as Mabberley says of citrus, “… the morphological distinctions are slight and much of the commercially significant striking degustatory distinction rests on a subtlety, the presence and relative proportions of the two stereoisomers of limonene, one of which is bitter (as in lemon), the other sweet (as in mandarin), resulting in the differing tastes (and smell) of the flesh and juice.”

By Jeanne Rose ~ November 2023

            There is a naming problem in citrus, and it is complicated by the number of edible citrus that are recognized … up to 162.



Examples of hybrid Citrus, showing their derivation from the pure founder species, from an analogous chart in Curk et al., 2016, with addition from Swingle’s original limequat report.  — Author Agricolae

FAMILY ~ Rutaceae

            NAMING ~ All Tangerines are Mandarins, but not all Mandarins are Tangerines generally, this is a difference of terroir. A Tangerine is a cultivar of the Mandarin Citrus reticulata. Despite the common name, it is just a different variety of Mandarin, Mandarin from China, and Tangerine from the Americas.

            “Asian art, especially from China and India, often features the Mandarin crowned with thin, green leaves and clinging delicately from a willowy tree. Mandarins are noted for loose skin, often referred to as “kid glove” because it’s soft and easy to peel, the Mandarin that we know is juicy and somewhat tart with seeds. The height of the winter season finds an abundance of Mandarins in the markets, often sitting next to Tangerines.”1

                  All citrus is native to Asia, the Philippines, and India, and it found its way from the orchards and the art easel across the Eur-Asian continent to Europe and then to the United States.

            INTERESTING FACTS about the Naming  ~ The name comes from the mandarins of Cochin, China, where it originates, and to whom the fruit was offered as a gift”, Essential Aromatherapy, p. 147. Mandarins or Tangerines are given at Christmas in the Christmas stocking as a stand-in for the gold coins that were a tradition. They are also given for good luck and abundance at Chinese New Year, which normally is in late January and February.

                        Tangerines, Clementine, and Satsumas are three varieties of the mandarin orange and the most popular. Because the Mandarin orange can easily be crossed with other citrus, varieties pop up in differing climates (terroir) worldwide. Growing seasons also differ, with some Tangerine harvests coming in through June.

COUNTRIES OF ORIGIN OF ESSENTIAL OIL ~ Good quality Mandarin oil comes from Italy, Clementine oil from Italy and the United States, and Tangerine oil from the USA.

Clementine and Mandarin fruit from two separate farms. Photo by JeanneRose

GENERAL DESCRIPTION OF PLANT, HABITAT, & GROWTH ~ Mandarin and Tangerine are from a fruit-producing evergreen shrub with dark-green glossy leaves and fragrant flowers.

            Mandarin, Citrus reticulata (syn. C. nobilis) (Rutaceae). “The Mandarin tree comes from southern China (a Mandarin was a Chinese government official attired in a yellow dress). Today, the Mandarin fruit is mostly known as the seed-less, loosely peeled variety sometimes called Clementine, created by Pierre Clément in a lucky crossing experiment around 1900 when he was a leader of the agricultural school in Oran in Algeria.” 2

            “Mandarin groves are well-known in Sicily and are scattered throughout the provinces of Messina, Catania, and Palermo. Mandarin oil is made by collecting the fruit peel and cold-pressing.

            The oil called Green Mandarin (not ripe) is harvested from February through May; the oil called yellow Mandarin (not fully ripe) is harvested during October and November, and (fully ripe) red Mandarin oil from fruits harvested from December to January.

            Tangerine, Citrus reticulata, “Dancy Tangerine is direct from an established manufacturer (since 1985) in Florida with access to some of the freshest fruit available.”3 The largest plantings come from Florida.

            The first American tangerine was introduced to the market by the legendary citrus grower Col. Adam Dancy in 1867-1868. This acidic, richly flavored fruit immediately established a new category of citrus product in the United States – less tart than an orange, more complex and brighter than a Pomelo, and not oversweet like the Chinese Sweet Orange then in fashion.4 

            The Tangerine is just a variety of Mandarin orange and is often confused with the Clementine. They are both very close in taste and appearance but not the same fruit. Tangerines are a tropical fruit and are grown in USA climate zones 8 to 11. Standard trees that are planted outdoors will reach a height between 10 and 15 feet. Plant it where it is sunny and warm in good soil. As they grow, the tree branches may bow down, and there may be wart-like growths on the trunk. As with many citrus, they may be grown on a different rootstock. Ripe and ready to pick from February to April — the harvest season depends on terroir and may differ in different areas.

             Clementine, Citrus x reticulata, a popular stocking stuffer during the Christmas holiday, is the smallest member of this group. The honey-sweet, seedless Clementine is the most eater-friendly of the Mandarin orange types and is a subgroup of the Tangerine. Tangerine vs. Clementine qualities include a thin skin on the Clementine that is tighter than a Tangerine but so easy to peel that a child can do it. They are harvested from February to April, depending on the area.

            The differences between Mandarin and Tangerine cannot be explained by the differences in the way the oil is expressed because often identical methods are used… “The soil, climatic and cultural conditions (terroir) prevailing in the various producing sections …have a certain, perhaps a fundamental, influence upon the chemical composition and, therefore, upon the physicochemical properties of the oils.”5

Tangerine and Clementine Differences ~ Tangerines are smaller and sweeter than an Orange yet larger than a Mandarin, and they have a rind that’s darker in color. The Tangerine emigrated to America from Morocco’s port of Tangiers, from which it got its name. Tangerine qualities include a reddish-orange skin that distinguishes it from the lighter-skinned Mandarin. Tangerines are the most popular type of Mandarin, but they are more tart in taste. Like the Mandarin, Tangerines have seeds. The longer growing season puts Tangerines in the market from November through May.

“Lemon and Orange oils and other citrus oils improve after a year or two of cold storage in that some of the dissolved waxes separate from the oil and may be removed easily by filtration. The resulting oils are more soluble and produce clearer extracts. Neither odor nor flavor is impaired if the oils are kept in tin-lined fully filled drums.”5

Mandarin fruit with six oils of Mandarin and Tangerine, plus a bottle of Mandarin hydrosol.  Photo by JeanneRose

All the many Mandarin oils, Tangerine oils and Clementine oils I have collected over the years – all in one place at one time.


            For Mandarin fruit, 100 kg of whole fruit yields 750-850 g. of oil. Green Mandarin essential oil is cold pressed from the peel of unripe green fruits. Yellow Mandarin essential oil is cold pressed from the peel of partially ripened fruits. Red Mandarin essential oil is cold pressed from the peel of fully ripened, mature fruits. The scent of each of these oils is slightly different and will express this slight difference into any blends used.

            Tangerine, when using the rotary juice extractor for juice (cuts and halves and expresses the juice) and then the screw press is used to extract the peel oil, the peel yields an oil of a deep orange color and very nice odor and flavor. The yield is about 2 lb. per U.S.  ton of fruit.

            Clementine is not mentioned in Guenther’s book, and I have been unable to find an exact yield of essential oil to weight in any one of the 10 sources that were checked.

             Yield is 0.7%-0.8%. The essential oil of these citruses is either cold-pressed or sometimes steam-distilled from the peel (flavedo).

Mandarin is named in relationship to its ripeness when harvested.

THE Sensory
Color:Light yellowYellow to greenishGreen-yellowGolden orangePale yellow
Taste of EO:Sour, bitter backsourBitterSweet, sour back noteBitter, sour
Intensity of Odor from 1 – 10543-44-54
Tenacity in blend From 1-10444-54-54

ODOR DESCRIPTION ~ The scent of two of these five oils is shown in the ‘snapshot’ odor charts at the end of this post.  They are all citrus, fruity, and then with various back notes that separate them by odor. “You will know them by their odor.”7

           MANDARIN ~ The scent is certainly connected to the chemistry. Mandarin (Citrus reticulata Blanco) and the cold-pressed oils of Tangerine and Clementine contain considerable amounts of methyl N-methyl anthranilate.  According to some, if you mix this component with thymol in the correct proportions, you can duplicate a scent that is reminiscent of Mandarin. Add the terpenes of y-terpinene and –b-pinene, and you can get an even more natural scent. A-sinensal is abundant in Mandarin oil up to 0.2%.

           When Clementine from Spain was analyzed by GC/MS, several new odorants were found but ‘No single odorant emerged as being characteristic of clementine oil aroma.8

This work is sponsored and supported by Prima Fleur Botanicals.

SOLUBILITY ~ Mandarin is soluble in 7-10 volumes of 90% alcohol with some turbidity, and Tangerine is incompletely soluble in 95% alcohol. With some age, the waxes will separate out and can be filtered off, and the oil is more soluble.


CHEMICAL COMPONENTS ~ The morphological distinctions of citrus are slight …. and much of the (taste test) distinction rests on a subtlety, the presence, and relative proportions of the two stereoisomers of limonene, one of which is bitter (as in lemon), the other sweet (as in mandarin), resulting in the differing tastes (and scent) of the flesh and juice.

            “Mandarin oil is made by cold-pressing the peels of true Mandarin and has an elegant, deep, sweet, orange-like character; it is used in liqueurs and perfumery. The major odor impact compounds are the sesquiterpene aldehyde alpha-sinensal, also characterizing orange oil, and the aromatic ester methyl N-methyl anthranilate, giving the oil a neroli-like character (and a blue fluorescence).”

            “ Clementine peel oil, on the other hand, is dominated by unsaturated aliphatic aldehydes…., with an odor reminiscent of Coriander leaf and having a high tenacity on the skin, together with sinensal and linalool.”2

HISTORICAL USES ~ Mandarin/Tangerine trees’ fruit was historically used for digestive purposes.

Mandarin at the Farmers Market. Photo by JeanneRose

Photo by Jeanne Rose


GENERAL PROPERTIES of Mandarin/Tangerine Oil and Herb/Fruit

            Properties are by IG=ingestion, IN=inhalation or AP=application. By Ingestion, these citrus fruits (not the EO) are digestive, tonic, and stomachic; by inhalation, the EO is sedative, soporific, relaxant, calmative, tonic, and antispasmodic; and by application, the EO is astringent and slightly antiseptic.      


            Application ~ If you use the essential oil in your skincare products, Mandarin and Tangerine will give these products slightly astringency and be slightly antiseptic.  In a moisturizer, they will help tone and tighten skin, contributing to healthier and younger-looking skin.

            Ingestion ~ The essential oils of Clementine, Tangerine, and Mandarin are used in food products, so yes, they are used internally. But these are extremely small amounts of the EO in any product; we suggest that unless they are significantly, very highly diluted in food or in an oil, that you eat the fruits and use the oils in external blends or by inhalation.

            EMOTIONAL/ENERGETIC/MEDITATIVE USES (AP OR IN) ~ Tangerine or yellow or red Mandarin EO will soothe grief, anger, and shock and, when combined with Marjoram in a diffuser or, upon inhalation, will aid sleep.  Since Mandarin is usually more expensive than Tangerine, I suggest you use Tangerine and I suspect that Clementine will work as well as any of these.

            DIFFUSE/DIFFUSION ~ These warm, sparkling-bright citrus oils have great value in blends to cleanse the room air and refresh the senses. They are often very calming, soothing, and relaxing.

showing a number of paperweights, and perfume bottles, photo by Jeanne Rose

JeanneRose photo of perfume bottles and paperweights

BLENDING & PERFUMERY ~ Mandarin, Tangerine, and Clementine will blend well with all other citrus and can feminize the deep Chypre blends, warm-up woody blends, and work to brighten any floral blend. These three can be used with resins and Mediterranean herbs such as Marjoram, Lavender, and Rosemary,  and they are an important part of most top notes in fine perfumery.     For a crisp scent, use green Mandarin or green Lemon; for warmer heart notes, use the riper citrus such as yellow or red Mandarin and Tangerine.

Think shiny suits, cigarette smoke, martinis,
big flashy cars and brunettes
TOP NOTE – 68-78
58 d Elemi
10 d. Green Mandarin
10 d green Lemon
10 d Cocoa abs
18 d Black Pepper
28 d Jasmine sambac abs
22 Rose abs
4 d Tobacco
2 d Juniper (Juniperus communis)
12 d Cinnamon
16 d Zdravetz
48 d Sandalwood
(I prefer New Caledonia Sandalwood here)

HYDROSOL ~ I have been having a fine time using Mandarin hydrosol in my bath to soothe the skin and on my face as a toner. I have also used a teaspoon full in my tea in the afternoon and tried a bit in coffee to take the edge off the tannins. The citrus hydrosols are readily available in season or by special order from various companies.

HERBAL USE OF THESE FRUITS AND PEELS ~ When you use citrus, there are many ways that all parts can be used. You can squeeze and drink the juice, then dry the peel for potpourri; you can eat the fruit and collect the peels to hydro-distill for a lovely hydrosol, or you can slice and dry the fruit and use it for decorations on your Christmas tree or in your winter potpourri. The dried slices of any citrus look very festive on a Christmas tree, and then when Christmas is over, the slices can be used to scent your potpourri; if there is enough scent left, they can be tinctured for perfume. I don’t think I would eat them at this point as they would have been in the air for over two weeks and will smell rather ‘tired.’

dried Mandarin slices

Dried Mandarin slices – I hang these on the Christmas tree for scent and color.

            Food Usage ~ TESTED AGAINST MICROORGANISMS ~ The essential oils from peels of Mandarin and Clementine were examined and tested. “Among the tested microorganisms, the oils were very active against Candida albicans, Escherichia coli, Lysteria innocua, Methicillin-Resistant S. aureus, and Staphylococcus aureus with an inhibition zone varied from 9.16 to 27.63 mm. … All citrus oils studied exhibited antioxidant activity as DPPH free radical scavenger and reducing power in dose-dependent manner. Mandarin oil showed the strongest activity compared to Clementine and the Wilking cultivar essential oils.

The oils may be recommended as safe plant-based antimicrobials as well as antioxidants for enhancement of shelf life of food commodities.”6

KEY USE ~ The fruit as a food and the essential oil as a sleeping aid.


Tangerine & Green Mandarin

Read The Aromatherapy Book, Chapter 3, pages 63-66 and 375 Essential Oils and Hydrosols,
Chapter 3, pages 27-31. These two books will assist you in learning how to describe odors. Available at

 The limbic system is the seat of memory and learning. Smell from the left nostril and then to the right nostril. The right nostril (right brain-creative) is important in detecting and evaluating the intensity of odor, and this hints at a broad olfactory asymmetry, and the left nostril (left brain or logical) is for smelling location or place.

First Smell and 2nd Smell. “Lurking in the olfactory epithelium, among the mucus-exuding cells, are cells that are part of the system that innervates the face (trigeminal nerve).  It is suspected that pungent and putrid molecules penetrate them, interact with their proteins, and stimulate them to fire.  Thus, there are two types of olfaction: first smell, the ordinary type for specific odors, and second smell for nonspecific pungency and putridity.”

There is also left brain and right brain smell-ability. The left brain smells location (maybe via logical use of EMG waves), while the right brain smells intensity. The closer you get – the more intense the odor.

References to articles

5 Guenther: THE ESSENTIAL OILS, volume III, Citrus oils: Krieger. 1949.
6 Chemical profile, antimicrobial and antioxidant activities of Citrus reticulata and Citrus clementina (L.) essential oils, International Food Research Journal 24(4) · August 2017
7 Jeanne Rose lectures and “Natural Perfumery” workbook
6 Chemical profile, antimicrobial and antioxidant activities of Citrus reticulata and Citrus clementina (L.) essential oils, International Food Research Journal 24(4) · August 2017
7 Jeanne Rose lectures and “Natural Perfumery” workbook
8 Characterization of the major odorants found in the peel oil of Clementine. Flavour and Fragrance Journal. 04 July 2003.

Copeland, Dawn. Essential Oil Profiles. Aromatherapy Studies Course. 2000.
Harman, Ann. Harvest to Hydrosol
Mabberley, D.J., Mabberley’s Plant Book, 2008 Third Edition with 2014 updates, Cambridge University Press
Ohloff, Günther:  Scent and Fragrances: Springer-Verlag. 1990. Translated by Pickenhagen and Lawrence
Rose, Jeanne. 375 Essential Oils and Hydrosols
Rose, Jeanne. Natural Botanical Perfumery Workbook. 2000
Rose, Jeanne. The Aromatherapy Book, Applications & Inhalations

Safety Precautions information

WHAT IS THE ‘X’ FOR IN THE NAME ~ Hybrids have an ‘x’ between the genus name and the species name. “Hybrids either get their parents’ names with an ‘x’ in between parent names (mother listed first), or a brand-new species epithet preceded by an ‘x.’  The name for the orange can be listed as Citrus maxima x Citrus reticulata or Citrus x aurantium.  You often see the name Citrus sinensis or Citrus x sinensis for oranges, but those are synonym names that should not be used anymore.”


By Jeanne Rose

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

The Cammy Bath showing herbs and essential oils.

Fig 1. -Cammy Bath ingredients with essential oils courtesy of

 ~ §~

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.



Treat Chronic Pain,  Ease Fatigue,  Promote Relaxation

•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.

A large mesh rice ball filled with herbs for the bath

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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)

a page of a book showing bathers in the sauna scrubbing themselves with bunches of birch leaves

Above: Bathers in the sauna scrub and/or beat themselves with bunches of leaves.

(Sachsenspiegel, 15th c., Universitatbibliothek, Heidelberg)Fig. 3



•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.

picture of lemons, hinoki leaf, and sage for a bath

Fig. 5.

            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.

Essential oils, roses, for a stress relieving bath

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.


            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.

             See The Herbal Body Book for many formulas and enroll in our Aromatherapy Course-Home & Family.

a pond with a hot springs  in the desert

Fig.7. Photo of Parker Ranch pond with hot springs by Michael S. Moore…

            • 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 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. has hydrosols.



            •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

Rosemary, Seaweed, and Comfrey leaf for a 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)

My dog Wolfie sitting on the steps.

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 Booklet produced 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 "The Toilet of Flora", an antiquarian book of cosmetic recipes

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.



Oatmeal, a blender, and ground oats for a 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
•Insect bites
•Poison Ivy, Oak, and Sumac


•ESSENTIAL OILS & HYDROSOLS ~ The Aromatherapy Book, Applications & Inhalations is 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.

This work is supported by Prima Fleur Botanicals.

11 bottles of essential oils from Prima Fleur Botanicals

Fig. 12. So many beautiful essential oils to choose from


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

An illustration from Le Roman de la Momie, illustrated by George Barbier of women in a public bath

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 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.

a bar of soap

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.

            •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.



A mineral spring, rice ball with herbs and Seneca in a bath for dying.

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.


Sources: 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.


Bibliography: . Product materials.

Rose, Jeanne. The Herbal Body Book. Still available from

Rose, Jeanne. The SKIN/Spa Booklet. Available from Jeanne Rose’s website.
The New Shorter Oxford English Dictionary

The Toilet of Flora. J. Murray, London. 1779 was reprinted in 1939 from Mrs. Rosetta E. Clarkson’s original edition.


CEDARwood, A  Profile of True Cedar
By Jeanne Rose

Image of a Cedar tree with a bottle of its essential oil in front.

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.


            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.

branch of atlas Cedar tree

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%.                                                     


This work is sponsored and supported by Prima Fleur Botanicals.

bottle of Prima Fleur Cedarwood oil,Cedrus atlantica


            Color:                          Deep golden yellow

            Clarity:                        Clear

            Viscosity:                    Non-viscous

            Taste:                          Tastes bitter, camphoraceous, smooth, slightly astringent

                                                           (reminds me of a deep fragrant cave).

            Intensity of Odor:       4

            Tenacity of Odor:        6

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.

formula for a true Cedar perfume, called Green Harmony, from Jeanne Rose Aromatherapy.

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

2 side by side photos of true Cedarwood, Cedrus atlantica with a false cedar-wood, Juniperus virginiana


            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.

chart of the many trees called 'cedarwood'

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.

The Cedar of Solomon, with the Egyptian heiroglyphics and a branch of the tree.

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)


ABSTRACT/SCIENTIFIC DATA ~ Arch Dermatol. 1998 Nov;134(11):1349-52. by Hay IC, Jamieson M, Ormerod AD.

Department of Dermatology, Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, Foresterhill, Scotland.


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.



Scent snapshots of true cedarwood and Virginia cedar-wood showing the difference in the scent.

1.Wikipedia – Cedrus deodara
4. essential aromatherapy, p.122


Herbal Studies Course/ Jeanne Rose & Berkeley, California: North Atlantic Books, 1992
Mabberley, D. J. Mabberley’s Plant-Book, 3rd edition, 2014 printing, Cambridge University Press.
Mojay, Gabriel.  Aromatherapy for Healing the Spirit.  Rochester, VT:  Healing Arts Press,1999.
Ohloff, Gunther. Scent and Fragrances
Rose, Jeanne.  375 Essential Oils and Hydrosols.  Berkeley, California: Frog, Ltd., 1999
Rose, Jeanne.  The Aromatherapy Book: Applications & Inhalations.  San Francisco, California:
Rose, Jeanne.  The Aromatherapy Book: Applications & Inhalations.  San Francisco, California:
Rose, Jeanne. Certification II Booklet “Botany, Chemistry and More”
Rose, Jeanne. Herbal Studies Course. 1990


Safety Precautions


PALMAROSA grass-eo


An ambitious discussion of the essential oil of the grass oil from Palmarosa,  
Its herbal uses, growth, description, organoleptic qualities, and essential oil uses oil.

photo of Palmarosa oil in a field of Palmrosa grass


By Jeanne Rose ~ June 2023

ESSENTIAL OIL PROFILE ~ Palmarosa. PALMAROSA GRASS is a genus of the Gramineae (Poaceae) family of grasses. The genus Cymbopogon contains many species of grass that yield aromatic essential oils that use in scent, ‘herbal’ insecticides, medicine, and for flavoring foods. The species martini has also been separated into the areas in which it lives, its terroir, with the variety motia or mota, commonly called >Palmarosa or Geranium Grass< and harvested in the highlands of India or Nepal and the variety sofia or sofiya, commonly called >Gingergrass< harvested in the lowlands of India.

LATIN BINOMIAL/BOTANICAL FAMILY ~ Cymbopogon martini var. motia syn. Andropogon martini ~ also Cymbopogon martinii of the Family Gramineae (Poaceae).

Naming: Cymbopogon martini was named by W. Roxburgh after the shape and look of the plant, while the species was named after General Martin, who collected the seeds in the highlands of India as he described…a long grass…so strong an aromatic and pungent taste, that animal’s taste of it.” — from “375 Essential Oils & Hydrosols”.

Essential Oil Plants of the Grass Family ~ Gramineae (Poaceae).
Chrysopogon zizanioides is commonly known as Vetiver, a bunch grass whose roots are used.
Cymbopogon nardus is Citronella grass.
Cymbopogon citratus West Indian Lemongrass;
Cymbopogon flexuosus is East Indian Lemongrass
Cymbopogon martini var. motia is Palmarosa grass, syn. Andropogon martini or Cymbopogon martinii.
Cymbopogon martinii var. sofia is Gingergrass
Cymbopogon nardus is Citronella grass.

COUNTRIES OF ORIGIN ~ Palmarosa is native to India, now grown elsewhere. “Palmarosa is wildly grown in wetlands in provinces of India, including Nepal. The Palmarosa oil is extracted from the stem of the grass by distillation of dried leaves. Once the stems and leaves have been distilled for two to three hours, to separate the oil from the Palmarosa, the leftover distilled grass is turned into organic matter and becomes manure or is composted.” —Wikipedia.

photo of Palmarosa grass in a field

Palmarosa grass in the field

GENERAL DESCRIPTION OF PLANT, HABITAT & GROWTH ~ Palmarosa is a wild-growing or farmed plant native to India but now grown elsewhere. It is a green and straw-colored grass with long stems ending in tufts and whose grassy leaves are very fragrant and produce small, yellow flowers.

GROWTH ~ Nepal and Palmarosa, Sri Lanka – They are organically grown.

PORTION OF PLANT USED IN DISTILLATION, HOW DISTILLED, EXTRACTION METHODS & YIELD ~ The essential oil is distilled from the leaves, stems, and flower heads, and the finest oils with the most effective components come from highland grown plants, var. motia. The plants yield up to 1.7% EO, with the main components being citronellal, citral, and geraniol up to 85% of the total. Steam distillation is of fresh or dried grass before flowering. 

        Yield:  1.0-1.5% and up to 1.7% EO per weight

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



Color:                          Colorless to pale gold to yellow
Clarity:                         Clear
Viscosity:                    Non-viscous, watery
Taste:                          Mild, smooth, bitter, slightly analgesic, hot,
Odor Intensity:           4-5
Odor Tenacity:             5
Solubility:                   Insoluble in water, soluble in alcohol, and fixed oils

ODOR DESCRIPTION ~ is woody, herbaceous, citrus, and very occasionally fruity/floral. First, I want to say that Palmarosa highlands or Gingergrass lowlands do not smell like Rose or Rose Geranium or Ginger — not at all! I have sampled many types, and they are usually a green and citrus scent, not Rose at all.

            The Prima Fleur Palmarosa from Nepal had a soft intensity of 4 and had a Green Predominant note, Herbal Subsidiary note, and Citrus, herbaceous, wood Back note with fruity, and spice missing.
Very pleasant odor.

photo of Palmarosa oil supplied by Prima Fleur Botanicals

This work is sponsored and supported
by Prima Fleur Botanicals

CHEMICAL COMPONENTS ~ the main components are citronellal, citral and geraniol, Geranyl Acetate, Linaloöl, Alpha-Humulene, and Beta-Caryophyllene.

            “Essential oils distilled from the whole herb, leaf lamina, leaf sheath, and inflorescence of Palmarosa plants cultivated in south India were analyzed by GC and GC/MS. Inflorescence (2.00%) and leaf lamina (1.40%) (flowers and leaf) produced significantly higher oil yield than whole herb (0.75%) and leaf sheath (0.33%). The Palmarosa stem did not produce oil. Seventeen constituents accounting for 95.6–97.1% of the oils were identified. (E)-β-Ocimene (1.2–4.3%), linalool (0.8–2.0%), geraniol (70.1–85.3%), geranyl acetate (4.3–14.8%) and (E, Z)-farnesol (1.6–3.4%) were the major components. Whole herb oil was richer in linalool, β-caryophyllene and (E, Z)-farnesol. Leaf lamina and leaf sheath oils were richer in geraniol. Inflorescence oil was richer in (E)-β-Ocimene and geranyl acetate. To the best of the authors’ knowledge, this is the first report on the oil profiles of leaf lamina and leaf sheath of Palmarosa.” —JEOR

~ ~ ~

HISTORY AND INTERESTING FACTS: Palmarosa has been used to adulterate Rose oil because the high geraniol content makes it smell ‘rose-like’ to some persons. In the past, it was called ‘Turkish geranium oil.’ “It is shaken with gum Arabic solution and left in the sun—a process which makes it lighter in color, thus more like distilled Rose oil” Essential Aromatherapy, p. 156. According to Arctander, “Palmarosa oil is the best natural source of geraniol of all essential oils.”



Fine perfumes, candles, and herbal pillows with the pleasing smell of rose are often, in fact, scented with Palmarosa. It is also used to flavor tobacco. “Palmarosa oil has been shown to be an effective insect repellent when applied to stored grain and beans, an anthelmintic against nematodes, and an antifungal and mosquito repellent.”—Greenfield Agro Forestry

            Application: When applied in creams, lotion, and products, Palmarosa can be cellular regenerative, particularly in herbal products with the herb Comfrey leaf; it is antiseptic; and with Rosemary verbenone, Frankincense, and Spikenard, it is antifungal; in products, it helps to increase the antibacterial, analgesic, anti-infectious effects.

             Marguerite Maury (1961) and others, including current skincare product makers, know that this oil is regenerative, especially when used with Elemi and Galbanum. Palmarosa, (Cymbopogon martini var. motia), is a grass that releases a versatile essential oil, somewhat anti-infective. It soothes and regenerates the skin. It works exceptionally well for dry, lifeless, irritated, sensitive, or wrinkled skin.

(see formulas at the end of this article)

            Inhalation: In aromatherapy, the EO is used by inhalation as a tonic to the heart, antiviral, relaxing, and soothing to the nervous system. Doulas and birth coaches have used Palmarosa as a relaxant in birthing.

            Uses: You can use Palmarosa in all sorts of skincare products. It works well to reduce acne, scar tissue, relieve dry skin, and reduce the look of wrinkles in old skin. It aids in the regulation of oil production of the skin. With other oils (mentioned above), it relieves athlete’s foot fungus.

             “Palmarosa oil is also known as an antifungal that fights against Aspergillus niger, commonly known as black mold, Chaetomium globosum, also known as moldy soil, and Penicillium funiculosum, which is a plant pathogen.” —Wikipedia.

DIFFUSE/DIFFUSION ~ Because it is somewhat antiseptic and antifungal, Palmarosa EO works very well in a diffuser to clear a sickroom. Diffuse no more than 5 minutes out of 30 and less if the scent is still strong after 15 minutes or if the ill person is a child (under 14) or an elderly or very sick person.

An old photo of Palmarosa oil being distilled in India.

ENERGETICS-EMOTIONS USES ~ it is used as a nervous relaxant for stress-related problems. It is also used for physical exhaustion.

            Used in ritual/energetic work to attract love—The Aromatherapy Book

One customer stated the following, “This Palmarosa, a relative of Lemongrass, creates a feeling of security. It is used to reduce stress and tension and promotes feelings of well-being. This oil reduces nervous tension. Excellent oil for home diffusion.”

A grower I knew said this grass is strong and has a gentle presence. Therefore, it really

strengthens a soul, and fortifies the body.

INTERNAL USAGE IN HUMANS ~    Not tested in humans, it is suggested that the EO not be taken internally. However, in 2014 after some testing, Palmarosa herb/oil was considered safe for human consumption in low concentrations and in very small amounts; used occasionally, it can assist in removing pathogenic intestinal flora.

______I would suggest adding a small amount of the hydrosol to water to drink and not drinking the EO. If you have the opportunity, drink the tea. There are occasional recommendations that it can be used both as an inhalant and internally in anorexia.

BLENDING and Perfumery ~ Samples of this Palmarosa oil can have a rich intensity or a very low intensity, although the tenacity in a blend is quite pronounced. It works well with herbal scents like Geranium, Lavender, and Rosemary, resinous oils such as Frankincense, citrus oils like Bergamot and Grapefruit, and rooty oils such as Spikenard and Vetivert.

photo of one bunch of Palmarosa grass in flower in Nepal.

A plant from Nepal

HYDROSOL ~ This grass is beautiful and aromatic. Adding Palmarosa hydrosol to food and for healing skin is a gentle way to add a rosy note to dessert or cosmetics. It can be a very potent healer. It does “open doors” for people who are new to hydrosols. Palmarosa blends well with other hydrosols, and it’s excellent for a deodorant or body perfume. We have read it is suitable for the gut biome and has antiseptic qualities.
            There is a sweet freshening effect of Palmarosa hydrosol; it is slightly astringent and used as a facial toner, hair tonic, and mood lifter. This hydrosol can refresh your mood, your linen bedclothes, or the inside of your car. Ms. C. Durney personally takes a pint and pours it on her forehead to soak all the hair follicles, as this may thicken hair and tighten the pores and provide a delicate deodorizing effect to the entire system. I would use it with Rosemary infusion or hydrosol for the hair.

KEY USAGE ~ “Oil of Antifungal” as stated in the Jeanne Rose “Aromatherapy Course-Home & Family” course.

Toxicity: If added directly to water, the EO is moderately toxic-to-toxic to fish, fungi, and mollusks. In other words, do not pour it down the drain – dispose safely.

SAFETY PRECAUTIONS: When used externally in moderation, it is non-toxic and non-irritating.  Moderation in use is recommended. Do not diffuse oVetiveror children.

Safety Precautions


Science Abstracts ~ Abstract from Food and Chemical Toxicology Volume 68, June 2014, Pages 71–77. . —, Evaluation of toxicity of essential oils Palmarosa, Vetiverlla, lemongrass and vetiver in human lymphocytes “The present investigation was undertaken to study the cytotoxic and genotoxic potential of the essential oils (Palmarosa, citronella, lemongrass, and vetiver) and monoterpenoids (citral and geraniol) in human lymphocytes. Trypan blue dye exclusion and MTT test was used to evaluate cytotoxicity. The genotoxicity studies were carried out by comet and DNA diffusion assays. Apoptosis was confirmed by Annexin/PI double staining. In addition, the generation of reactive oxygen species was evaluated by DCFH-DA staining using flow cytometry. The results demonstrated that the four essential oils and citral induced cytotoxicity and genotoxicity at higher concentrations. The essential oils were found to induce oxidative stress, evidenced by the generation of reactive oxygen species. Except for geraniol, induction of apoptosis was confirmed at higher concentrations of the test substances. Based on the results, the four essential oils are considered safe for human consumption at low concentrations.”

Palmarosa grass being placed in the still in Nepal.

Palmarosa grass – Filling the still in Nepal

Bibliography ~

Guenther, Ernest. The Essential Oils. Krieger.

Journal of Essential Oil Research, Vol. 21, Issue 6, 2009. Essential oil Profiles of Different Parts of Palmarosa (Cymbopogon martini (Roxb.) Wats. var. motia Burk.)

Mabberley, D. J. Mabberley’s Plant-Book. 3rd edition 2008, reprinted with corrections 2014.

Rose, Jeanne. 375 Essential Oils and Hydrosols.

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

Sonali Sinha, Manivannan Jothiramajayam, Manosij Ghosh, Anita Mukherjee Food and Chemical Toxicology Volume 68, June 2014, Pages 71–77, Evaluation of toxicity of essential oils Palmarosa, citronella, —————-lemongrass and vetiver in human lymphocytes

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

This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.



Palmarosa grass, cut into lengths
Rosemary herb cut and sifted
Basil leaves, cut and sifted

Directions: Mix the herbs together, using any amounts you wish. Store the greater part of the product in an airtight container. When needed, shampoo hair, rinse, and follow with this hair rinse using ½ oz. Herbs simmered for a few minutes in 2 cups of water. Strain. When cool enough, rinse through the hair repeatedly, catching the run-off and reusing.

Dosage: How much and, when, how often
How much to take or do: ½ oz. by wt. of herbs per 2 cups by vol. water
How much to take or do: ½ oz. by wt. of herbs per 2 cups by vol. water
When to take or do: Use after each shampoo
How often to take or do: At least once per week
How long to take: Use at least for a month. Then try another formula and return to this one every other month for 6 months.


EO HAIR GROWTH OIL ~ this is anti-fungal, pro-growth, anti-aging, and healthy for the scalp and hair.
Palmarosa oil 25% or Gingergrass 25%
Rosemary oil 25% (verbenone type)
Jojoba oil 50%

Directions: Mix thoroughly. Shake; use only 1-2 drops per application. Apply to brush and brush hair or apply by fingertips to the scalp and massage into the scalp at least twice/day.
Label: Put into 1-ounce bottle and label fully with the name of the product, ingredients, how to use, and your contact information.


Antifungal Treatment –  Frankincense, Palmarosa (Cymbopogon martini var. motia), Rosemary verbenone, and Spikenard essential oils are used in equal amounts and at 10% of the total product. For instance, use 4 drops of each essential oil and add to 100 drops of a carrier, whether lotion or oil (40/20 Calophyllum/Sea Buckthorn + 40 Calendula Infused oil or Bruise Juice. Apply several times per day and before bed. Both Frankincense and the Rosemary chemotype verbenone contain verbenone, an unusual ketone that is antifungal, and Palmarosa is considered antifungal as well.

CUTICLE NAIL TREATMENT –  Equal quantities of each of several of these carrier oils, especially Jojoba, Calendula, Gotu Kola, Calophyllum, and Sea Buckthorn, to equal 1 ounce of carrier oil.

Add to this
5 drops Blue Cypress
5 drops Helichrysum
10 drops Neroli
15 drops Palmarosa
10 drops Pelargonium Rose
This is a therapeutic 10% mixture of essential oils to carrier oil.

Dip your fingernails into the mixture, soak for a few minutes, then carefully rub the excess into the nail bed.  Repeat daily for a week.  Then weekly.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

photo of four different bottles of Cymbopogon; 3 of Palmarosa and 1 of Gingergrass

Cymbopogon martini var. motia (highland) and var. sofia (lowland)


Palmarosa oil limerick
I love rosy, grassy Palmarosa
It goes in Bruise Juice for the toes-a
As an antiviral
It isn’t chiral
But it pleases me from toes to nose-a…JeanneRose

Palmarosa grass up close

~ JR ~


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
                       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.

Sources ~ This work is sponsored and supported by Prima Fleur Botanicals.

• •

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!




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.

Fan Diffuser 

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.

BLENDS AND 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.



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.­


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.



—–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.

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

Other References are included within the body of the work.

The Jeanne Rose Aromatherapy Studies Course carries 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 OdorSee Natural Perfumery Workbook to use.


ORRIS ROOT – a profile

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.

photo by JeanneRose showing a small 1-liter copper still, and two types of Orris root in front of a lincrusta wall.


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. (

 From a copy in my personal library, The Romance of Perfume,  illustrated by George Barbier and written by LeGalliene.

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.

Several plants of Iris germanical, that provide the Orris root.

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.

Jeanne Rose home-grown Orris root from 2-year-old plants, and aged in a desk drawer for 3 years.

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”.


  • 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.


5.Scent Snapshot is part of the Aromatherapy Studies Course,


SOURCES ~  You can obtain the CO2 extract from 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 ( 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.

This work was sponsored and
supported by Prima Fleur Botanicals.

A small bottle of Prima Fleur Orris, Select from Iris pallida.



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 shown in a jar and diluted in a bottle.

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 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.

A perfume formula

            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.

Two formulas, one for sachet and one for potpourri using Orris root.

• • •

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 Rose Herbal 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.


A photo of Jeanne Rose collection of concrete, butter, dried roots and CO2 extract.

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.


1.Mabberley, D. J. Mabberley’s Plant-Book, 3rd edition, 2014 printing, Cambridge University Press.
3.Rose, Jeanne. Herbal Body Book, published by P. 314.

Anonis, Danute Pajaujis: Flower Oils and Floral Compounds in Perfumery, Perfumer and Flavorist. 1993.
Arctander, Steffen. Perfume and Flavor Materials of Natural Origin
Coombes, Allen J. Dictionary of Plant Names. Timber Press, Oregon, 1985
Piesse, Septimus. The Art of Perfumery. 1867
Rose, Jeanne.  375 Essential Oils and Hydrosols.  Berkeley, California: Frog, Ltd., 1999
Rose, Jeanne.  The Aromatherapy Book: Applications & Inhalations.  San Francisco, California:
Rose, Jeanne. Herbal Studies Course. Jeanne Rose, California: 1992


Safety Precautions to Remember.
Iris plant



A Compilation of Sources

A bottle of Massoia oil


COMMON NAME/NAMING INFORMATION ~ Cryptocarya massoia, Other Names include  Massoy, Massoïa

Family ~ Lauraceae

COUNTRIES OF ORIGINS ~ The genus Cryptocarya of the family Lauraceae is comprised of more than 350 species distributed throughout the tropics, subtropics, and temperate regions of the world. “Several species from this genus have been used extensively as traditional medicines in a number of ethnobotanical practices. The Massoia tree, C. massoy, is a species endemic to the island of New Guinea between 400 m and 1000 m altitude”.3

ENDANGERED OR NOT ~ Some species of Cryptocarya are in danger of extinction due to loss of habitat. Massoia oil and massoia lactone, a creamy scent from the bark,   has been largely superseded by a synthetic alternative because the extraction process is expensive and the process of removing the bark kills the tree.1

GENERAL DESCRIPTION OF Massoia tree HABITAT AND GROWTH ~ The Massoia tree, C. massoy, is a species that grows best in rainforests and is endemic to the island of New Guinea between 400 m and 1000 m altitude”.3 It grows also in Sumatra. The aromatic bark from the tree has been an article of commerce for centuries.

Massoia bark freshly chopped

See #6 Reference.

EXTRACTION ~ the BARK IS USED FOR BY CO2 EXTRACTION OR DISTILLATION. ~ Massoia oil comes from the bark that has been dried for several days and then ground to a powder.

         Massoia bark has a sweet, coconut-like aroma and is steam distilled or CO2 extracted to yield Massoia bark oil. The bark is obtained by cutting the tree at the base, making circular incisions at one-meter intervals, lifting the bark off, and allowing it to dry. Each tree yields on average 65 kg of air-dried bark.

         Robertet’ Massoia wood grows in Papua as well as Sumatra where seeds are imported. “The bark is dried for several days before being reduced to powder in order to be distilled. We were told that delightful chocolate, butter, and caramel notes are spread all over the factory each time a distillation is realized. As a result, essential oils, (occur) with pleasing milky coconut signature.”2

YIELD ~ A recent investigation by Rali et al. showed that exhaustive hydro-distillation of the bark; heartwood and fruits of the Massoia tree afford pale, yellow-colored oils in 0.7, 1.2, and 1.0 % yields,

CAUTIONS ~ It is a slight stimulant but also can be an irritant to the skin. Use in moderation.

SOURCE (S) ~ My favorite place to purchase quality essential oils and absolutes is Prima Fleur Botanicals in Petaluma.  They have an excellent quality selection of skincare, haircare, body care, and aromatic therapy from true plant-based ingredients.

ORGANOLEPTIC CHARACTERISTICS of MASSOIA CO2 ~ Organoleptic properties are aspects of these essential oils and absolutes as experienced by the senses including sight, taste, smell, touch, and texture. And I include both the intensity and tenacity of the odor. These properties include a way to discriminate and describe these substances. Another way to define the term organoleptic is what a person experiences via the senses. “Sensory Evaluation is a scientific discipline used to evoke, measure, analyze, and interpret those responses to products that are perceived by the senses of sight, smell, touch, taste, and hearing. The terms Organoleptic and Sensory were, historically, interchangeable.”5

  • Color  – medium-yellow
  • Clarity – clear
  • Viscosity – non-viscous
  • Intensity of odor – 5-7
  • Tenacity of odor – 5-6

ODOR DESCRIPTION/ AROMA ASSESSMENT – MASSOIA CO2 ~ Smells Like Coconut, some say creamy Chocolate, but I say Coconut. Massoia Bark essential oil is considered an oil for perfumery. It has a deep, rich, warm, buttery, intense aroma with coconut tones. This oil is high in lactones which gives Massoia its distinctive aromatic notes. In perfumery use it as a base or fixative.

CHEMISTRY ~ Detailed chemical evaluation of these distillates using GC/MS revealed the major components in the bark and heartwood oils to be the C-10 Massoia lactone, or 5,6-dihydro-6-pentyl-2H-pyran-2-one, (65-68 %), and the C-12 Massoia lactone, or 5,6-dihydro-6-heptyl-2H-pyran-2-one, (17-28 %), while the major fruit oil constituent was benzyl benzoate (68%).3



PROPERTIES AND USES ~ The aromatic bark from the tree has been an article of commerce for centuries.

It has been used by Javanese and Balinese women to prepare a warming ointment, called bobory, and for some fair-skinned people, it causes a  reddening of the skin from using this. Today the concentrated oil from Massoia bark is considered a skin irritant.

Caution ~ It is a slight stimulant but also can be an irritant. Use in moderation.

ENERGETICS AND BY INHALATION ~ If you use Massoia bark in a relaxing inhalation blend, inhale but without letting the blend touch your nose.  This oil can be a skin irritant. The Massoia scent itself is stress-relieving, relaxing, and calming. Try a blend with Bergamot, Hay, and Roman Chamomile, and use Coconut oil as a carrier.

Diffuse/Diffusion ~ Not the best essence to use in a blend in a diffusor.

Massoia CO2 oil showing color and clarity over a coconut, reminding you of its scent.

Smells like Coconut

BLENDING & PERFUMERY ~ Adds a coconut touch of scent to any perfume. Blend it with florals and woods such as Rose, Sandalwood, and Atlas Cedar.  Combine with any fruity odors you might have such as Boronia, and possibly Davana, Owyhee, Raspberry seed extract, Osmanthus, Hay, and Roman chamomile.

            It has a Coconut scent and works with Coconut oil and Coconut CO2 Extract, and has great tenacity in perfumery, and if diluted properly this is a good choice for scenting skin and for body care products.

[The coconut tree (Cocos nucifera) is a member of the family Arecaceae (palm family) and the only species of the genus Cocos. The term coconut can refer to the whole coconut palm or the seed, or the fruit, which, botanically, is a drupe, not a nut.]

This work is sponsored and supported by Prima Fleur Botanicals.

HYDROSOL ~ I have never seen the hydrosol of Massoia Bark. If I had it, I would be very careful in my usage.

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 ~ I personally have never had the Massoia bark in my hands or seen the tree with my own eyes, and thus am not comfortable recommending any particular herbal uses.

KEY USE ~ The oil is used in perfumery.

Massoia oil smells like Coconut.
It doesn’t smell like Walnut.
It sort of bites.
But not like mites.
You can add to Perfume if in a deep rut.

HISTORICAL USES ~ Known in the late 18th and early 19th centuries as Massoy bark, Massoia essential oil was once widely used as a natural ‘coconut’ flavoring. [This aromatic bark from the tree has been an article of commerce for centuries.]  Natural massoia lactone has been largely superseded by a synthetic alternative because the extraction process is expensive and the process of removing the bark kills the tree.”4

INTERESTING INFORMATION ~ Massoia bark oil is used in the flavor industry as an additive in butter and milk flavors (international FEMA code 3744) under kosher guidelines. The Massoia lactones are rare essential oil components and have only been found in a few other plants.

   harvests massoia barks from their own regrown Massoia trees that have been planted on the remote higher ground in Papua New Guinea. This is with the help of local farmers without endangering the area from deforestation.

            The current global supply of Massoia bark oil comes from Indonesia, primarily from Irian Jaya which is the western half of New Guinea. Its main use is in the flavor industry. Its main lactone has also been identified in some flowers such as Tuberose.



Scent snapshot of Massoia from 2009


Cautions and precautions using Massoia



  2. Robertet_group FB page
  5. Organoleptic Testing or Sensory Testing. Bob Baron, 4-1-21


Rose, Jeanne • Natural Botanical Perfumery. Published by
Ultra National Indonesia Products.

Perfumery bottle called Rising Up


CHAMPA – a profile

Champaca oil, CO2 extracted on a bed of yellow cashmere and black silk scarf.

By Jeanne Rose ~ 2023

CHAMPACA, Magnolia champaca, also seen as M. aurantiaca and Michelia alba, has many common names including all forms of Champa, Shamba, and more.

Family ~ Michelia is one of the most popular flowering trees and the genus is now called Magnolia. It belongs to one of the ancient families of the plant kingdom having existed for 95 million years. This family Magnoliaceae of flowering plants with many species most of which have bisexual flowers.

COUNTRIES OF ORIGINS ~ Champaca tree is native to South Asia, Indochina, and southern China. The CO2-extracted oil comes from India.

ENDANGERED OR NOT ~ The species, Magnolia champaca, is famous for its lush aromatic flower and is included in IUCN red list species as threatened in its geographical distribution range.2 Champaca flowers are often used during festivals as necklaces or hair bands.

GENERAL DESCRIPTION OF PLANT HABITAT AND GROWTH MICHELIA CHAMPACA is a large evergreen tree used as a timber tree.  It is a hardwood with a long straight trunk with a close tapering crown. It is a medium-growing tree, attaining a height of 33 m or more, and can attain a size of 2-4 m around its middle. The bark is light gray and smooth, and the leaves are generally long and wide, shining above, hairless on the other side; the old leaves are yellow. In general, it grows in moist, deep, well-drained, good-quality soil. It grows in deep valleys, and some grow best in foothills In its natural habitat, M. champaca grows in areas where temperatures are up to 47.5°C and annual rainfall is 100 inches or more. It thrives in a damp climate.

An open flower on the champaca tree.

CHAMPACA flowers are usually not distilled, but CO2 extracted ~ It is picked fresh, and then semi-dried and sent to the extraction plant. Extraction of the fresh flowers of Michelia champaca L. with liquid CO2 provides a floral extract with a yield of 1.0 ± 0.04 wt.%. 4

Yield ~ solvent-free supercritical CO2 extraction of flowers  had a higher yield than the essential oil, and in one study the yield of the concrete was 1.5 ± 0.05% vs. essential oil in 0.03% yield.3

CHAMPACA FLOWERS ARE USED ~ for the extraction of the scent by carbon dioxide extraction for an absolute.



  • Color – dark brown with a yellowish cast
  • Clarity – Opaque
  • Viscosity – semi-viscous
  • Intensity of odor – 4
  • Tenacity of odor – 5
  • Taste – bitter

ODOR DESCRIPTION/ AROMA ASSESSMENT ~ The scent is deeply floral and wood with many sub-notes that include hay, leather, and powder.


A scent snapshot of Champaca.

Magnolia champaca, is rare and has a strong perfume, and is used – for example in hair it is worn singly or as a small corsage but rarely as a whole garland, and for bridal beds, it is most often with Jasmine and Roses and in bowls of water to be placed around rooms for colorful decoration and for the perfumed flowers.”


I have Champa that I use as perfume.

It comes from flowers abloom.

In the bedroom, it seems

When my heart is abeam

Champa blooms and then there’s perfume, I assume.



This work is sponsored and supported by Prima Fleur Botanicals


The extract from the flowers is used in the preparation of perfume. Medicinally, the tree has wide applications; the bark is used to prepare a tonic and as a fever reducer, the leaves to feed silkworms and make tea, the wood cut into boards for tea boxes and furniture, the oil extracted from flowers is used for perfumery, whole plant extracts used to treat coughs and arthritis, and for relieving eye troubles and gout.

Properties and Uses ~ The plant is scientifically stated to exhibit antipyretic, anti-inflammatory,, antioxidant, antimicrobial, cytotoxic, antidiabetic, and analgesicactivities.6

SKINCARE WITH CHAMPA OIL ~  Champa is a somewhat drying oil, useful for normal to oily skin. Mixed with carrier oil and other skin-loving scents and oils, it absorbs quickly into the skin leaving it smooth, hydrated, and silky.

DIFFUSE/DIFFUSION ~ Champa works very well when used in a blend with citrus oils, or with Lavender oil. It will soften the bright scent of the citrus and floral notes, and when diffused is very pleasant in a room, particularly the living room or bedrooms.

EMOTIONAL/ENERGETIC USE ~  “Champa is considered a sacred incense that purifies personal space, clearing out stagnant or negative energy and filling your space with positive vibrations. It is known for its calming powers reducing stress and anxiety. Cleanse, purify, and protect your energy with a blend that includes Champa.

Champa Limerick

Champa is the oil of the day.
It is sweet and reminds you of hay.
When the morning is over
I feel like I’m in Clover
Rolling in Champa until May

CHEMICAL COMPONENTS ~ “M. champaca is famous for the sweet odor of its blossoms. The flower possesses a scent that can be described as a fresh, floral and strong sweet jasmine-like scent. Most of the aromatic compounds encountered have rather strong odors, and especially the esters are regarded as possessing floral notes. Methyl benzoate (heavy-sweet, deep-floral), indole (floral character highly reminiscent of jasmine and orange blossom), and 1,8-cineole (fresh, camphoraceous) are contributing significantly to the fragrance of M. champaca flowers.” 5.

PERFUMERY with Champa ~ The tree flowers were traditionally used to make fragrant hair and massage oils. The vernacular name “Joy perfume tree” comes from this. Many perfumers are using Champaca Absolute as single-note fragrances or in blends for perfumery.

Blends Best with florals, woods, Lavender, and citrus type of odors.



Fun Day Champaca Perfume from 2013

Top Note is composed of
25 drops Grapefruit (pink or white)
15 drops Bergamot

Bridge: 1 drop Cardamom
2 drops Litsea cubeba


Heart Note is composed of
10 drops Neroli
10 drops Ylang-ylang
15 drops Petitgrain
5  drops Champaca.

Bridge Note: Amber or Amber complex


Base Note is composed of
20 drops Champaca
20 drops Vanilla Abs

Make and succuss each note individually and allow it to age for at least a week. Then add your neutral spirits. I prefer neutral grape spirits from 240 drops of neutral grape spirits. Succuss again and age for at least two weeks to let the scents incorporate.  You will now have 33% active perfume ingredients.

CHAMPACA SOLID WAX is left after the absolute is removed making an excellent base for a solid perfume. This floral wax has all the properties for good skin care and it smells delightful. Floral waxes are created as a result of solvent extraction that is used on delicate flowers whose scent would be destroyed by steam distillation. Floral waxes are available to add scent and texture to skincare products as well as the incredible moisturizing capability for the skin. Champaca helps to moisturize, soothe and soften, it is a free radical scavenger, is skin-protective, and is recommended for products to restore the skin to a smoother surface.

Formula for solid perfume using champaca


HYDROSOL ~ I have never had a real bottle of Champaca hydrosol to use.  And thus, do not have any experience with it. There are some who pick the flowers, soak them in water for a few hours to extract some scent, and then hydro/steam-distilled with that extraction water, with low heat and slowly, for the 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 USES OF  CHAMPA ~ The flowers are used in South Asia for several purposes. In India, they are primarily used for worship at temples, and in the home, and are generally worn in the hair by girls and women for beauty and as a natural perfume. You can float the flowers in bowls of water to scent the room, weave them together in garlands, or as a fragrant decoration for bridal beds.

HISTORICAL/RELIGIOUS USES ~ Michelia champaca is also known as Champa, Yellow Champa, Golden Campa, or Fragrant Champa. It is highly revered by the followers of Hinduism and Buddhism who use Michelia flowers during religious ceremonies. Tibetans believe that the Buddha will find enlightenment under the white flower canopy of the champaca tree.

INTERESTING INFORMATION ~ The extract from the flowers of Michelia (Magnolia) alba is used in the preparation for the famous ‘Joy’ perfume.

            The civet of Sri Lanka, Paradoxurus montanus is said to have a very pleasant odor that is somewhat similar to Champaca flowers. This is unlike other civets that have a urinous odor.

ABSTRACT/SCIENTIFIC DATA from 2008 ~ Results ~ M. champaca was studied and the ethanolic extract exhibited significant antihyperglycemic activity but did not produce hypoglycemia in fasted normal rats. Apart from this extract, the crude aqueous and petroleum ether extracts were found active only at the end of the first hour. Treatment of diabetic rats with ethanolic extract of this plant restored the elevated biochemical parameters significantly … and the activity was found dose-dependent.
Conclusion: This study supports the traditional claim that the ethanolic extract of this plant could be added to traditional preparations for the ailment of various diabetes-associated complications.1

KEY USE ~ This is a fine scent that is useful in perfumery and in your yoga or meditative practice.

§ §

Resources ~

This work is sponsored and supported by Prima Fleur Botanicals

A single bottle of Champaca scent from India - courtesy of Prima Fleur Botanicals


  1. Jarald E, Joshi S B, Jain D C. Antidiabetic activity of flower buds of Michelia champaca Linn. Indian J Pharmacol [serial online] 2008 [cited 2023 Feb 2];40:256-60
  3. Composition of the concrete, absolute, headspace and essential oil of the flowers of Michelia champaca Linn.
  4. Liquid CO2 extraction of flowers and fractionation of floral concrete of Michelia champaca Linn by Prasant K. Rout, Satyanarayan Naik, Y. Ramachandra Rao.

5.Volatiles from Michelia champaca Flower: Comparative analysis by Simultaneous Distillation-Extraction and Solid Phase Microextraction.  Disnelys Báeza , Diego Moralesa and Jorge A. Pinob.

6. Pharmacological basis for the medicinal use of Michelia champaca in gut, airways, and cardiovascular disorders by Fatima Saqib, et all : Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Medicine,  2018, Volume 11, issue 4, pages 292-296.


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

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

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

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

Source: Aromatherapy Course – Home & Family


Safety Precautions Table
photo of half-opened flower



Essential oil OF Spearmint, courtesy of Prima Fleur Botanicals. Fig. 1

SPEARMINT PROFILE this is not Peppermint

By Jeanne Rose

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.

Two photos showing the difference between Spearmint and Lemon Balm.

Fig. 2

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 close-up with a budding flower top.

Spearmint & flower – photo by Jeanne RoseFig. 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


            Color:                          Pale, celery-like green; some have a pinkish quality, and some oils are golden yellow

            Clarity:                         Clear

            Viscosity:                    Non-viscous, like water

            Taste:                          Yummy, refreshing, delightful, and delicately spearminty.

            Intensity of Odor:       A fresh 5

            Tenacity in blend:        6

Jeanne Rose enjoying the odor of Spearmint.

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.

A chart showing the difference in the carvone chemistry of caraway and spearmint.

Carvone chemistry in Caraway and SpearmintFig. 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



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                                        


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.

INGESTION — Digestive ailments. Nausea. Vomiting. Gums. Candies. Dental products.

            •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 diffusedSpearmint 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.

Spearmint plant with a bizarre growth pattern in the stem.

Jeanne Rose bizarre growth on Spearmint – Fig. 6


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.



            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.

Hydrosol of Spearmint from Positively Aromatic

Fig.7 Spearmint Hydrosol, courtesy of Positively Aromatic


            •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

            •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.

Mint julep cup.

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.  

This work is sponsored and supported by Prima Fleur Botanicals.


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.

photograph of an old print of Spearmint

Fig. 9 – Spearmint illustration – 1850


REFERENCES used to both Peppermint and Spearmint ~

1 • Supercritical carbon dioxide extraction of peppermint and spearmint

2 Staff of L. H. Bailey Hortorium • Hortus Third • Macmillan Publishing. 1976

3 Plinie’s Natural History First Century AD. Translated by Philemon Holland.

4 The Mint Family – Uses of Mints ~ Mints are not Just for After Dinner By Linda L. Hein; additions by Jeanne Rose

Guenther, Ernest. The Essential Oils. Vol III, p. 679. Krieger Publishing. 1974





10 (there are many articles about hirsutism and Spearmint tea)

Landing, James E. American Essence, A History of Mint in the United States. Kalamazoo Public Museum. 1969

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

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

Rose, Jeanne. Herbal Guide to Food. 1989.

Rose, Jeanne. Kitchen Cosmetics. 1978. Available from

Rose, Jeanne. The Herbal Body Book. 2000. Available from

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



A small Spearmint illustration

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