Elemi Resin

Elemi Resin & Essential Oil Profile & Uses

Jeanne Rose

Synopsis: Elemi, native to the Philippines, the bark resin is extracted and steam distilled;
the E.O. is clear and pale yellow with a citrus scent,
is therapeutic and used in perfumery as a bridge note or fixative
and in skin care (with Galbanum) to rejuvenate and soothe the complexion.
The resin has a history of medicinal uses.

Jeanne Rose photo of Elemi EO on the resin and in front of a piece of wood

Elemi E.O. and resin

LATIN BINOMIAL/BOTANICAL NAME ~ Elemi (Canarium luzonicum) (Blume) A.Gray and from Family Burseraceae. The tree bark produces a resin generally grouped as a balsam; it is more viscous than an oleoresin, very gooey, soft, malleable, and fragrant. When fresh, it is like crystalized honey and will later harden.

            FAMILY – Burseraceae family is the same family that produces Frankincense and Myrrh. The family Burseraceae comprises about 16-20 genera of shrubs and trees.

NAMING ~ Elemi is known as “Pili” in the Philippines. Elemi is a common name for resinous items used as varnishes, printing inks, and ointments. The word itself in Arabic, a translation of Elemi, is similar to the saying “as above, so below”.

            History: “It was Magellan’s discovery of the Philippines in 1521 that led to Manila elemi – known for its medicinal properties and fragrance – being introduced to Europe and the Middle East. The product’s name dates from this period, from the Arabic El-lemi. Its use in “Chinese incense” for religious ceremonies was already being mentioned in China in the 7th century. Further, it was used as a fumigant to perfume homes. Small bags of Elemi were also worn around the neck in that era. Starting in the 18th century, the West began regularly using Elemi for its therapeutic properties, and it is mentioned in many texts, including as “the inventory of simple drugs that must always be kept on hand in the King’s hospital pharmacies.” 2

COUNTRIES OF ORIGIN of Elemi ~ Native to the Philippines. Manila Elemi is a resin (from the bark) grouped in the balsam category and is more viscous than an oleoresin; it is semisolid and quite fragrant. The Philippine Elemi resin (Canarium luzonicum) is also one of the best-known and the source of the world’s largest supply.

GENERAL DESCRIPTION OF PLANT, HABITAT & GROWTH ~ Elemi trees grow in lowland rainforests and primary forests at low and medium elevations. It is an evergreen tree about 30 meters in height, pollinated by insects, and not self-fertile. The resin comes from both cultivated and wild trees.

A chunk of Elemi resin on the wood

Elemi Resin

PORTION OF PLANT USED IN DISTILLATION, HOW DISTILLED, EXTRACTION METHODS & YIELD ~ The tree bark of Canarium produces large quantities of the resin over a period of months. It is available both in the dry and the wet season, and there is a greater flow of resin during the wet season. A mature tree can produce up to five kilograms of Elemi a year. The gum is then shipped to warehouses using large palm fronds and placed in large wooden crates for export.

            While Frankincense is sweet and musky, Elemi delivers a fresh, peppery-citrus aroma.

         Elemi E.O. and CO2 are extracted from the bark resin using steam distillation or a supercritical carbon dioxide system from a tropical tree native to the Philippines. It is a  member of the Burseraceae plant family and is closely related to a resin that resembles Frankincense and Myrrh.

         Yield ~ 13-25% from the resin. Some sources mention yields as low as 3-6%.

ENDANGERED OR NOT ~ This particular species tree is considered to be threatened and/or vulnerable due to heavy usage, people moving into the areas where they live, and by over-tapping. Some species of Canarium are also considered to be invasive.

            Sustainability ~ These items may not be sustainable in the amounts used. My suggestion is to use only the actual resin as it was once meant to be, as incense, in small, moderate amounts as needed, and not use the essential oil at all.  

This work is sponsored and supported
by Prima Fleur Botanicals.


ELEMI Resin & OilResinEO
Color:Pale yellowPale yellow to colorless
Viscosity:Very viscousNon-viscous
Taste:noneBitter, aromatic
Intensity of Odor: 1-10 •
1 is least intense

ODOR DESCRIPTION ~ This oil has a clear to a yellow hue, is non-viscous, tastes bitter, and is medium intensity with a citrus resin scent. The odor of some Elemi E.O. is somewhat like the flower and leaf of Choisya in the spring when it is full of phellandrene. The odor of the principal oil constituent of alpha-phellandrene (more in the spring of Choisya) and the odor of β-phellandrene has been described as peppery-minty with a slightly citrusy note, and phellandrene is absorbed through the skin. Thus, the hydrosol of this resin is excellent in the bath or as a body spray, and the E.O. is helpful in skin care. It is anti-inflammatory.

            SOLUBILITY in 3 mediums – When you see Elemi discussed, it will often be described as a gum resin, resin, or an oleo-resin. Because each of these words has different meanings, I conducted my own simple experiment in determining the solubility of Elemi, in water (to see if it was a gum), in alcohol (to determine how quickly it might dissolve), and in oil (to see if it could be described as an oleo-resin). It was a revelation.

            The solubility of Elemi is Soluble in 0.5 to 5 vol. of 90% alcohol; and usually soluble in 5-10 vol. of 80% alcohol. It is about 30-50% soluble in oil and, by my own experiment, NOT soluble in water; thus, it is an oleo-resin and not a gum resin.   

SOLUBILITY in 3 mediums

photo of Elemi solubility in 3 mediums; neutral grape spirits, sunflower/jojoba oil, and distilled water.

5/27/18 At 9:30 A.M.
Day 1 Using 15 ml. Of 95% Neutral Grape Spirits, A Combo of Sunflower/Jojoba Oil, Or Distilled Water.
Day 2. Dissolving in alcohol; slightly dissolved in oil; not dissolving in water.
Day 3. Dissolved in alcohol; 30-50% dissolved in oil; not dissolved in water. [not a gum]

CHEMICAL COMPONENTS ~ A study on the composition of Elemi essential oil from Manila and from the distillation of Elemi resin yielded 39 compounds, with the most abundant being phellandrene or limonene. Limonene for some tests was at 56%, or phellandrene was higher at 25-28%. These components change depending on the terroir and where and when the tree was harvested and distilled. Constituents are limonene and phellandrene with smaller amounts of elemol, elemicin, dipentene, and terpineol.

This oil is clear and light yellow in color and is non-viscous. Its main constituent is phellandrene (25-28%).

            The soft nature of Elemi resin partly results from the large quantity of liquid sesquiterpenes. It sometimes crystallizes from the triterpenes and becomes opaque and white.4 The optical rotation of this E.O. and the fresh resin changes if stored in sunlight, and care should be taken to keep either in a dark container. A box will be sufficient for the resin, and for large amounts of the oil, brown glass is best.

INTERESTING INFORMATION AND HISTORY ABOUT ELEMI ~ When Frankincense became too costly and scarce for mass consumption, Elemi quickly became a logical replacement, offering many of the same therapeutic benefits. In Arabic, a translation of Elemi is similar to the saying “as above, so below.” It was revered as an oil of the Gods and, like Frankincense, was used in meditation and prayer. While Frankincense is fruity and herbal, Elemi delivers a fresh, citrus-spicy aroma.

            Artifacts dating from Egypt’s 26th dynasty (664 B.C. and 525 B.C.) have been found at Saqqara that contained a fat-based ointment containing Elemi, a fragrant resin from tropical trees. “Elemi and another resin Dammar have not previously been linked to ancient Egyptian embalming practices and are highly  unexpected.” “Elemi was present in the (embalming) workshop mixtures used to treat the head, liver, and body bandages.”6.

Several bottles of essential oil of Elemi with the resin and a crystal and a shell.


Elemi resin is antibacterial, antifungal, antiseptic, antispasmodic, and rubefacient; it is used in plasters to ease coughing. If used in medicine, Elemi is a potent antiseptic that protects against bacterial and viral infections, fungus, and septic shock. Its resin is soft, odorous and has the texture of honey. It was formerly exported for the European pharmaceutical trade as Manila or Philippine gum Elemi for use as an ointment for healing wounds and as a plaster. The valuable resin, called ‘Pili,’ aka Manila elemi or ‘breabianca,’ is used as an ingredient in manufacturing plastics, printing inks, and perfumes. It is also used by the Spaniards for ship repairs.

            Raw nuts are purgative.  

In skincare, it has been used to rejuvenate and heal wounds topically, as well as reduce the appearance of wrinkles. It is widely used as a fixative in fragrances, soaps, and cosmetics. Elemi may be used as an excellent base note in perfumery, where its inherent complexity is at once earthy and citrusy. During massage and aromatherapy treatments, it can be inhaled to reduce stress-related conditions and bring a feeling of peace and well-being.

Skilled practitioners have incorporated using Elemi to address bronchial and chest congestion due to its expectorant and stimulant properties. A potent antiseptic, Elemi protects against bacterial and viral infections, fungus, and septic shock.

            Elemi, Canarium luzonicum, CO2 wild resin #201, and steam-distilled #217 are both from the resin. Try a bold new step in your skin-nurturing regime; protect and nourish your body with a luxuriously rich combination in a custom skincare line.

Elemi Properties (by IG=ingestion or IN=inhalation or AP=application)

Manila elemi (the resin obtained from the tree) and the essential oil distilled from the resin have a long history of medicinal use. They are considered to be antibacterial, antifungal, antirheumatic, antiseptic, antispasmodic, and rubefacient.

Physical Uses & How Used (I.G. or I.G.). BA.P.Application –  The resin can be melted and used in an ointment for wounds. The resin is applied externally in a salve to arthritic and rheumatic joints, boils, abscesses, furuncles, burns, and sores. It is heated and used on the chest as a poultice to stop severe coughing. The essential oil is an ingredient in a commercial preparation that is a natural anti-louse foaming gel, and this gel also contains Echinacea purpurea.


         SKINCARE ~ ELEMI ~ Canarium luzonicum, the wild resin, is extracted by CO2 extraction and steam distilled for the E.O. It was used by the great Marguerite MAURY, a French biochemist and cosmetics chemist. In the 1950s, she was the first to use essential oils from plants in a method and by using therapeutic massage. Marguerite Maury believed that Elemi with Galbanum would eventually rejuvenate the complexion and body.

                It is used in products and perfumery. Try it in your skin-nurturing ritual; protect and nourish the skin with a 2% combination of these two ingredients in your night cream and daytime protection cream. In skincare, it has been used to rejuvenate and heal wounds topically, as well as reduce the appearance of wrinkles. It is widely used as a fixative in fragrances, soaps, and cosmetics.

            Make a luxuriously rich combination of these two resins in a combination of Rice Bran oil and Rosehip seed oil to protect and nourish your body and add to your skincare routine. Use this as a luxuriously rich combination in your custom skincare line.

Elemi & Rose Lotion


            By Ingestion – A corn kernel-sized drop of the resin is taken with water and is used in the treatment of fevers and chills.      

            By Inhalation – Skilled practitioners have incorporated the use of Elemi oil by inhalation or in a blend in a diffuser to address bronchial and chest congestion due to its expectorant and stimulant properties.

EmotiA.P.al/Energetic Uses (AP or IN):

            Inhalation –  The resin burns smoky but with a delightful citrus scent. Inhaled, it stimulates mental and psychic ability, gives spiritual balance, and calms the mind. Elemi resin for the 3rd chakra, the solar plexus, vibrates in yellow, the sound is E, and its scent is citrus-like and helps to balance your fire spirit. The smoke is used by inhalation “to treat the thymus gland.3”    

            Emotional Attributes -cleansing/purifying, strengthening, creativity, meditation, prayer. “On the emotional system, Elemi oil imparts a strengthening, balancing, and centering action, which makes it valuable in meditation. Use it to stimulate mental ability when you suffer from stress, nervous exhaustion, or simply feeling sluggish. Elemi essential oil can be used to help dispel loneliness and create a more positive outlook and encourage hopefulness.”5

• •

USING ELEMI herb, resin, and oil

HERBAL USES ~ One species of Canarium,  Canarium ovatum, the seed is used in the traditional Chinese dessert called ‘mooncakes’,The kernel (seed) is a major ingredient in this famous Chinese festive dessert’. However, kernels from some trees may be bitter, fibrous or have a turpentine odor. Young shoots are used in salads, and the fruit pulp is eaten after it is boiled and seasoned. Boiled Elemi pulp called pili resembles the sweet potato in texture, it is oily (about 12%) and is considered to have food value similar to the Avocado. Pulp oil can be used for cooking. Young shoots from the tree are used in salads, and the fruit pulp is eaten after it is boiled and seasoned.1"
          The tree bark is commonly used for postpartum baths.

Use the essential oils in moderation. Choose to use the herb tea or resin more often.

DIFFUSE/DIFFUSION ~ Elemi is a resin and thus can gum up a diffuser. Suggest trying something else for that lovely citrus scent, like a combination of Lemon-Grapefruit-Orange CP (cold-pressed) in your diffuser. Use Elemi, the resin burned on charcoal, to clear the spirit of your home.

            I always use charcoal to burn resin, which is the way of using holy incense. I do it outside. And see the smoke curl into the air, and smell what is left in the air. It is a sacred thing. Resin is burned because it is fragrant and the “food of the gods” which they inhale. Burning incense is to feed the gods, and it is a meditative process.


BLENDING & PERFUMERY ~ Elemi blends well with Rose and other florals, adding a complex, spicy-citrus note. It contributes a unique freshness to Frankincense, Myrrh, Labdanum, Lavender, Rosemary, and Sage.

         E.O. Perfumery – Elemi E.O. may be used as an excellent base note where its inherent complexity is at once earthy and citrusy. During massage and aromatherapy, it can be inhaled to reduce stress-related conditions and bring a feeling of peace and well-being.

HYDROSOL ~ I have not as yet had the opportunity to try an Elemi leaf, bark, or resin hydrosol.

Key Use: ‘Resin for Skin Rejuvenation’ — M. Maury

Science article: Elemi contains dipentene and elemicine, which are responsible for Elemi being a strong antiseptic, protecting wounds, and being a strong healer. expectorant. https://www.discoverlsp.com/news/chemical-focus.html

1. http://www.worldagroforestry.org/treedb2/speciesprofile.php?Spid=425
2. http://www.albertvieille.com/en/products/55-elemi-essential-oil-philippines.html
3. Rose, Jeanne. The Aromatherapy Book Applications & Inhalations. www.jeannerose.net/books.html
4.Langenheim, Plant Resins
5 .https://www.quinessence.com/blog/elemi-essential-oil
6. Bower, Bruce. Egyptian Mummy Recipes Revealed. Science News. February 25, 2023, p.6

Guenther, Ernest. The Essential Oils. Krieger Publishing Company, Malabar, Florida. 1972 reprint


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

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


Elemi ~ A corny Jeanne Rose Limerick
Elemi, the resin smells citrus
But always sweetly odiferous
Gooey, it’s true
And so sticky too
But one thing it’s not is cruciferous.

• • •
PATCH TEST ~  If applying a new essential oil to your skin, always perform a patch test on the inner arm (afterE.O.ou have diluted the E.O. in a vegetable carrier oil). —Wash an area of your forearm about the size of a quarter and dry carefully. Apply E.O.iluted drop (1 drop E.O. + 1 drop carrier) to the area. Then apply a loose Band-Aid and wait 24 hours. If there is no reaction, then go ahead and use the oil in your formulas. —The Aromatherapy Book, Applications & Inhalations, p. 64
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 matters 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©

Moderation in All Things.

Be moderate in using essential oils, as they are not environmentally sustainable.
Be selective and more moderate in your usage.
Use the herb first as tea or the infusion. —JeanneRose 2010

BAY – an ancient tree

photo of Noble bay and its essential oil from the leaves.
Bay leaf & oil

Bay, an ancient tree with a long history of uses; folklore; and modern use


By Jeanne Rose

COMMON NAME/LATIN BINOMIAL ~ Bay or Mediterranean Bay, Laurus nobilis. Other names include Bay Laurel, Sweet Bay, True Laurel, or Grecian Laurel.

Family ~ Lauraceae

            The California Bay, Umbellularia californica, in Family Lauraceae, has common names, including California Laurel, Pepperwood bay tree, and Oregon Myrtle.

  • To be clear, this is why you have to learn the scientific name of any plant to truly convey who/what you are talking about.

COUNTRIES OF ORIGINS ~ The Mediterranean Basin is the home of the Bay tree and once contained widespread forests when the climate was more humid. Some remnant forests remain in the area, including southern Spain and Turkey and northern Syria, parts of Morocco, and the Canary Islands. Bay trees of this species grow in many places, including my area (California).

            Today Bay Laurel essential oil comes from several areas, including Albania, Spain, Turkey, and Bosnia.

ENDANGERED OR NOT ~ The Bay Laurel is considered a threatened plant.

GENERAL DESCRIPTION OF PLANT HABITAT AND GROWTH ~ The Laurus nobilis species is dioecious (individual flowers are either male or female), with star-shaped male and female flowers on separate plants. This means that only one sex is to be found on any plant, so both male and female plants must be grown if seed is required). It is pollinated by bees. The plant is not self-fertile.1

            In the past, even when following a text that gave me the information on how to separate plants based on their structure and using a plant ID book, I have been slow to learn the difference between the California Bay and the Mediterranean Bay.  Ann Harman gave me a quick lesson once and suggested I concentrate on the difference in the flowers; as the Noble Bay is dioecious, in that male and female flowers are on separate plants, while the California Bay is monoecious, has perfect flowers in that the males and female parts are in the same flower.

I feel that you can also tell the difference between the Bays by looking at the leaves. Mediterranean Bay leaves are more ovate, with a slight wave to their edges. California Bay has longer, slimmer, more lance-like leaves. And when shopping for true Bay, in the herb or grocery store, you will note on the label that they usually come from Italy, Greece, or somewhere else in the Mediterranean.  The taste and smell are also different – Noble Bay’s scent and taste are more delicate and refined, while California Bay’s scent and taste are stronger, more pungent, and spicier.

photo of leaves of both Noble Bay and California Bay
Photo of both the Noble Bay (top) and the California Bay (below)

Find a good Field Guide Book and learn how to identify plants by their external and internal look.


            Three different trees are called Bay Laurel; in this article, we will concentrate on the Mediterranean Bay Laurel, Laurus nobilis.  The other trees mistaken for this tree and also called Bay Laurel are the Umbellularia californica from California; the Haitian Bay, native to the Caribbean and used in cooking, and a cologne called Bay Rum, whose common name is also Bay rum, Pimenta racemosa. Here is a comparison photo of the leaves and flowers taken by Jeanne Rose.

a photo of 3 different trees' leaves, all called Bay but different genus and species.
Bay trees: Bay Laurel, California Bay, and Bay Rum.

            The Bay leaves are extracted by hydro-distillation and are best done in copper or stainless steel. No considerable variations were observed in the chemical composition of the oils throughout the year. Moreover, and due to the good energy and values obtained, our results showed that the exhausted plant material obtained after distillation could be a putative fibrous feed for ruminants.2

Yield ~ Essential oil yields were 0.9 ± 0.5% (v/w) of dry weight and decreased to 0.3% (v/w) when flowers or fruits were present. 2 In Bulgaria, these are the results of GC/MS.: The oil yield was 0.78%, 0.80%, and 3.25% in the fruits, twigs, and leaves, respectively.3


• SOURCE (S) ~ Prima Fleur Botanicals is an excellent source of true Bay laurel essential oil.

a bottle of bay laurel essential oil; clear and colorless
fragrant Bay leaf oil

• Bay leaf oil

Chart showing organoleptics of two types of bay leaf oil.
Organoleptics of two types of Bay leaf oil

ODOR DESCRIPTION/ AROMA ASSESSMENT ~ Laurel Bay has predominant notes of herbs and florals with subsidiary notes of fruity and spicy, and Bay rum is predominantly spicy with fruity notes and back notes that include herbaceous and camphoraceous.

CHEMICAL COMPONENTS OF BAY LAUREL ~ The most abundant component found in Bay Laurel essential oils is 1,8-cineole, also called eucalyptol. The leaves contain about 1.3% essential oils (ol. lauri folii), consisting of 45% 1, 8-cineole, 12% other terpenes, 8–12% terpinyl acetate, 3–4% sesquiterpenes, 3% methyl eugenol, and other α- and β-pinenes, phellandrene, linalool, geraniol, and terpineol.

            In Bulgaria, these are the results of GC/MS.: The oil yield was 0.78%, 0.80%, and 3.25% in the fruits, twigs, and leaves, respectively.

The main constituents in the fruit EO were 1,8-cineole (33.3%), α-terpinyl acetate (10.3%), α-pinene (11.0%), β-elemene (7.5%), sabinene (6.3%), β-phellandrene (5.2%), bornyl acetate (4.4%), and camphene (4.3%).

            The components in the twig EO were 1,8-cineole (48.5%), α-terpinyl acetate (13.1%), methyl eugenol (6.6%), β-linalool (3.8%), β-pinene (3.4%), sabinene (3.3%) and terpinene-4-ol (3.3%).

The components in the leaf EO were 1,8-cineole (41.0%), α-terpinyl acetate (14.4%), sabinene (8.8%), methyl eugenol (6.0%), β-linalool (4.9%), and α-terpineol (3.1%)3

         Here in California, we have a tall local tree with fragrant and spicy leaves called Bay Laurel, Umbellularia californica.  The physical difference between the two species is not that obvious.  The essential oil separates the gentle Bay Laurel from the toxic California Bay. This difference in chemistry is an important indicator of the difference between Noble Bay and California Bay with its toxic component called umbellulone.

3-part photo of Bay leaf + essential oils of both Bay and Haitain bay + Haitian Bay leaves.



In general, the Bay tree oil is used in cosmetics for soap and aroma, in perfumery,

And the leaves used in food as a spice.

PROPERTIES AND USES ~ The Bay Laurel has many properties, including abortifacient, anti-rheumatic, antiseptic, culinary appetizer, aromatic, astringent, carminative, diaphoretic, digestive, diuretic, emetic, emmenagogue, narcotic, parasiticide, stimulant, and stomachic. The leaves have been used in the treatment of cancer of the uterus and in the treatment of a variety of respiratory issues such as bronchitis and flu or in drops for earache; in the treatment of hysteria; to stimulate the appetite; relieve the pain of aching joints. Some of these uses date back to Roman times.

            Laurel fruit has been used in carminative medicines and, in the past, used to promote abortion4. How this came about is unknown. The fixed oil from the fruit is used externally to treat sprains, bruises, etc., (as an application) and is sometimes used as ear drops to relieve pain4. The essential oil from the leaves has antibacterial and fungicidal properties.

BAY OIL USED EXTERNALLY IN SKIN CARE ~ Bay oil has a pleasant scent, more herbaceous and floral than Bay Rum oil. It has use in external products as an after-shave, in body scrubs or oils, in soaps, and for use in the shower or bath.  Be wary of what you purchase as Bay Laurel, as I have seen in products by major companies using Bay rum as a substitute.  Know the difference by their scent.

DIFFUSE/DIFFUSION ~ EMOTIONAL/ENERGETIC USE ~ The mystery of aromatherapy —Get to know the subtle scents of these oils and be able to create a variety of emotional and physical changes by inhalation. Bay Laurel by inhalation is soothing to the respiratory system and is useful for colds and virus infections. Many oils can be used for the respiratory system, so choose one that you know and choose one to learn from. This will expand your knowledge of essential oils.


It Blends Best with citrus, herb, and resinous oils.  If you get a Laurel oil with a floral odor, use it in a skin care product.

Blending with formula – Here is an idea for using Bay leaf oil in a perfume. The Noir 29 by Le Labo is an aromatic fragrance for women and men. This scent was launched in 2015. The nose behind this fragrance is Frank Voelkl. The top notes are Fig, Bay Leaf, and Bergamot; the middle notes are Cedar (not identified which cedar), Vetiver and Musk; the base notes are Tobacco and Hay.

Leah Vautrot took this photo of Bay Leaf in Golden Gate Park.
Bay leaf, photo by Leah


BAY LEAF HYDROSOL ~ The Bay in my yard is usually distilled twice a year, and 1.5 gallons of the wondrous hydrosol will be collected each time.  It is drunk as a tonic (1 t. per 1 glass of water) for your entire female needs, especially when they are serious such as with uterine fibroids or breasts that ache and are tender.

This hydrosol stimulates lymph and circulation, tones the intestine, and relieves gas. It can be externally applied and will act as a broad-acting antiseptic. It can be gargled as a mouthwash to relieve the pain of sore throat or tonsillitis and for dental hygiene. Add this hydrosol to all sorts of foods or steaming vegetables for a great taste.

Several kinds of trees are called Bay.  The Mediterranean or Grecian Bay Laurel, Laurus nobilis, is the tree most often associated with the name Bay, which this article references.                     

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

HERBAL USE ~ The leaves can be used in a compress or for any type of bath and is especially useful in a foot bath for aching feet or aching muscles.  And the true use of the leaves is a bouquet garni or in the seasoning of foods and sauces. The hydrosol and the whole herb infusion can be used in veterinary care for farm animals and your dogs.

KEY USE ~ The oil an expectorant or mucolytic.

HISTORICAL USES/INTERESTING INFORMATION ~ The plant was called daphne, after the mythic mountain nymph in ancient Greece. In the myth of Apollo and Daphne, the god Apollo fell in love with Daphne, a priestess of Gaia (Mother Earth), and when he tried to seduce her, she pleaded for help and called to Gaia, who transported her to Crete. In Daphne’s place, Gaia left a laurel tree, from which Apollo fashioned wreaths to console himself.  Other versions of the myth, including that of the Roman poet Ovid, state that Daphne was transformed directly into a laurel tree.4.

            The bays tree has a long history of folk use in treating many ailments, particularly as an aid to digestion and in treating bronchitis and influenza.


This work is sponsored and supported by Prima Fleur Botanicals.



Scent snapshots of Bay Laurel and Haitian Bay.


1. https://pfaf.org/user/plant.aspx?LatinName=Laurus+nobilis

2. Industrial Crops and Products, vol. 30, issue 2, September 2009, Pages 259-264, Essential oil, and by-products of distillation of bay leaves (Laurus nobilis L.) from Argentina

3. https://www.mdpi.com/1420-3049/24/4/804. Chemical Composition and Antimicrobial Activity of Laurus nobilis L. Essential Oils from Bulgaria.

4. https://www.greeka.com/greece-myths/apollo-daphne/


Copeland, Dawn. Essential Oil Profiles. Completed for the Aromatherapy Studies Course. 2005

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

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

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

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

SOME CAUTIONS TO REMEMBER for all Plants and their Parts

precautions chart

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

WINTERGREEN ~ plant and oil

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

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


Jeanne Rose – December 2021

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


GENERAL PROPERTIES of Wintergreen Herb and EO

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

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

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

INHALATION ~ Occasional use is okay.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

KEY USE ~ Wintergreen Leaf and oil for Pain-Relief

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



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

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

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


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

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

SOURCE OF WINTERBGREEN ~ plants@forestfarm.com

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


This work was sponsored and supported by Prima Fleur Botanicals.


Wintergreen oil cautions.
Some Cautions to Remember with Wintergreen

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

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


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

Smell ~ Scent

Smelling is an Art not a Science – A Compilation of Sources

                                                            Jeanne Rose


Sandra Shuff of PositivelyAromatic.com smelling oils 1.

            There is a fine art to the technique of smelling or perceiving odors.  One cannot just stick an open bottle under your nose and inhale deeply.  Should you do this with certain oils such as California Bay Laurel you would be sure to get a violent headache and may even pass out.  So, what is this technique?

            In Aromatherapy as in all such specialized fields you must learn basic techniques that are essential to know In order to perceive the odor, produce and reproduce quality blends and synergies.  The person blending oils should learn the correct approach from the beginning so that no bad habits will have to be undone.

Let us learn some of the basics.


            One of the most fascinating books that I have read on the sense of smell and smelling is Molecules by P.W. Atkins and published by Freeman in 1987 and available again in a new hardcover edition. Here are some of the tidbits I found most enjoyable.

            “Scents fit into the scent receptors the same way that a key fits into a lock.  And the flavor of food is a combined response to two of the chemical senses; taste and odor.  The sense of odor is more sensitive even in human beings that the sense of taste.  The sense of odor is the major contributor to the perception of flavor.

            A molecule has an odor is dependent on if it can excite and stimulate the olfactory nerve endings inside the nose.  In humans, these nerve endings occupy an area of yellow-brown colored epithelium that is about 5 sq. cm. (square centimeters or 1-inch X 1-inch).  It is in wafting a scent utilizing eddy currents that this area is able to perceive odor”.  When one sniffs and sniffs, it is the eddy currents, not direct blasts, that carry the molecules to this area.

P.W. Atkins: MOLECULES; Freeman; 1987. 2.

is the rule of the aromatherapy enthusiast.

            This means that you wave the scent under your nose inhaling short blasts of scented air (some call it huffs) rather than sticking a bottle under the nostril and inhaling deeply to get those eddy currents.

            Hidden “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”.

            The color of the  smell  area is important as well. At the upper end of the nostril there are olfactory areas that are yellow and moist, very moist, and they are also full of fatty particles. What we inherit from our parents and grandparents may be the shape of the face or hair color, but it also determines the color and strength of our olfactory areas. The deeper the yellow color the better is our sense of smell and how deeply sensitive it will be.  I am so happy that my familial line has good sense of smell in it. However, my mother couldn’t smell that well because she was a habitual smoker  — oh the bad habits I got away with in high school because mom couldn’t smell what I was doing.

            Animals have much better sense of smell than humans and their olfactory areas are a  rich deep yellow. Ours (humans) are light yellow. The fox is reddish brown, the cat’s an intense mustard brown.  These animals have a more pronounced ability to detect odors.


            The left nostril (left brain-logical) is for  smelling location, homing or the actual scent while the right nostril (right brain-creative) is important in detecting and evaluating the intensity of odor, and this hints at a broad olfactory asymmetry. Study and learn. There is left brain and right brain smell-ability. Left brain smells the scent and location (maybe via the use of EMG waves) while the right brain smells the intensity of the odor. The closer you get – the more intense the odor.

Smell left for the scent and then Smell right for intensity.
Study and Learn.


            Set up your workshop in a well-ventilated space.  This should be a separate area or room that is not contaminated with dust, artificial or chemical smells. No skin care or hair care products either even if  you have made them yourself with herbs and pure essential oils.

            You should have your basic tools available: quality reference books, bottles, measuring devices, scent strips, small and large containers, desk, Scent Organ (which houses samples of aromatic essential oils).  Here is a small part of mine showing about 500 different odors.

The Perfumery of Smelling In the Room of Delight 3.

Books ~ Books are important tools in learning. They are reference works that you can go back too repeatedly and refer to passages that you need to review.  Not everything is on the internet and the best reference books for natural perfumery and smelling are nowhere near the internet. I have two small collections of books left; the old ones and the newer ones. The old ones refer to what was available originally and the newer ones are trying to use what is available now for smelling and products.  They are not the same. In the last 15 years I have given my collections  of books on herbs and aromatics to the Lloyd Library in Cincinnati, Ohio.  There lies the most extensive collection of books about herbs and related subjects probably in the United States and there also reside the garden books, a variety of herbals and even some plant prints, over 1700, that I have personally donated. It is a worthy place to do your herbal and smelling research. 

Useful Reference Books 4.

            Smelling ~ Roudnitska says, “An olfactory test should be undertaken in odorless, tempered (quiet) air of natural humidity and in quiet surroundings.  Perfect concentration definitely requires solitude and quiet.  The substance to be tested is also hard to smell in excessively cold or dry air, or in a draft.”  In some places, such as the South where it is quite warm and most offices have air conditioning, try to set up your Smelling Place out of the direct draft of the air conditioner and set the thermostat on the lowest setting (warm rather than cold), turn down or turn off the fan.  Air conditioning takes the scent out of the room. You might also wish to exercise your Sense of Smell in the cool of the evening or the very early hours of the morning.  Air conditioning is not preferred but might be necessary in very hot climates.  There should be a direct supply of natural air, set up by an open window on a day with  a little breeze.

            Long-Term Adaptation to Odor ~ This phenomenon is apparent when the person blending (Blender) can proceed with a new blend, totally phasing out any background odor.  Marianne the owner at PrimaFleurBotanicals.com can make new blends and work with new materials throughout the day even though her office at Prima Fleur is in the middle of the room where all the essential oils are kept and where continuous bottling and sampling is going on.  So, once you become experienced, do not be overly worried regarding the background odor in your area.

            Samples ~ It is best to work with dilute samples.  This will help eliminate odor overload and fatigue.  Dilute everything for a blend or perfume 50•50 with neutral grape spirits and then let it age at least 10-days before you analyze the odor and use for a new scent. You can dilute with unscented perfumer’s alcohol and give yourself the time to allow the alcohol to totally evaporate its top note and integrate into the perfume samples. If this is not possible, inhaling freshly poured or new alcohol will temporarily deaden your sense of smell.  Confine your smelling to brief encounters of a very few inhalations.  And as Calkin and Jellinek say, “This should be conducted with the intense concentration of a karate fighter.”  Avoid the casual, thoughtless ‘smell everything all at once’ at the same time syndrome.

            Never sniff directly at a bottle.  Never sniff directly at crystalline materials.  Never sniff directly at powdered materials. Bring a new scent slowly to your nose to get that first smell and always waft the scent under the nose so that both nostrils can study the scent individually and then integrate them at the back of the nose.

            Scent Blotters  ~ Use scent blotters.  These are made of odor free and of heavy-duty paper, sometimes with a fold down the vertical middle of the blotter.  They are 4-6 inches long, often wider at the upper end, and narrower at the lower end.  Blotters can also be tapered, so they can be dipped into narrow mouthed bottles.  Only the narrower or lined end goes into the blend or the bottle.  Always write the name of the material on the back of the blotter and the date, and sometimes even the time of the scent experience. Scent blotters are available from most product houses that sell essential oils. Dip, shake the blotter, pause, bring to nose, waft and waft again, write down your reactions.

Scent Blotter 5.

            OH, TO SMELL ~ You need a scent kit for training. I produce three kits called the “Vocabulary of Odor©” for teaching scent with real words. Refresh your memory by going to your kit or box of named odors, always using the Basic 7© first and before you use the Advanced Vocabulary of Odor©  (Advanced 28). The Vertical 13 Vocabulary© is only used when you are trying to note the difference between like-named oils such as  Cedarwood (Cedrus spp.) and Cedar-wood (Juniperus virginiana or Pinus cembra). Use the Basic 7©  and quickly experience each of the odors in the correct order before practicing or smelling a new blend or single oil. http://www.jeannerose.net/products.html

Basic 7 Vocabulary of Odor

The purpose of the Basic 7 Scents and the Advanced Vocabulary of Odor is to have a common language – A vocabulary that we can use to describe the aroma for anything that you smell. Language is important in recognizing smells. An important part of perfumery training is to develop in common an odor language based on olfactory standards. The possession of such an odor language increases the powers of discrimination. If you name it, you own it.

            If you do not dilute in alcohol, dip your scent blotter lightly into the bottle of essential oil about 1 cm deep, shake the scent blotter to remove any excess oil, waft it back and forth under your nose.       Never sniff directly from the bottle (headspace, fatty notes, rancid bottle caps). Always waft, don’t draft the scent.  Wafting allows the keys (of scent) to be fitted into the correct lock (sensory cell) while drafting the scent (inhaling deeply in one sniff) fills all the locks (sensory cells) instantly with an overabundance of keys (odors and their components) which will totally but temporarily deaden your ability to perceive odor.

            When we inhale through the nose and perceive odor, the nose very quickly adapts when the odor is unchanging.  “Active smelling is therefore a ‘race against time’, an attempt to collect the maximum amount of information and of impressions possible in the brief span of time before perception fades” 2

            To  smell well, you must concentrate, keep the surroundings quiet and peaceful.  Waft the blotter under your nose, close your eyes, waft and breathe, focus on the sensation of odor.  Ask yourself questions, using your Odor Vocabulary; what color is the oil?, is it clear?, what is the viscosity?, what is the intensity?, what is the tenacity in a blend?, what is the taste?; let the layers of odor help you in the sensory experience by also defining odor by color, sound or taste and write this down.3 Always write it down on a chart or in a notebook. Read this article and get yourself the Vocabulary of Odor. http://www.jeannerose.net/articles/basic_7.html

            Keep written notes to which you have added the date and the time. It is a big mistake to think that you can remember tomorrow what you have inhaled today without those notes. Write it down. Review. Express yourself.  Describe the odor that you are smelling and note any mind pictures or events that are remembered.  Write these down.

            When practicing your art of smelling, take breaks.  Go outside, breathe deeply, get that blood circulating.  Clear your nose or rinse with saline solution.  Smell the air and you do not need to smell coffee or your armpits — fresh air is best.  These time periods will allow the nasal mucosa to recover.


Snot is often what shows up after a hard sneeze. It’s your constant companion if you have allergies and the common cold. It’s wet, sticky and — to most people — best left up the nose. But snot, or mucus, also contains many different kinds of proteins. Those proteins may play an important role in something else that happens in the nose: smelling. In a recent study, researchers from Japan’s University of Tokyo showed that proteins in mucus change the makeup of odors before those scents even make it to smell receptors. Smell receptors are also proteins. They stick out from the cells that send signals about a smell to the brain, which identifies the odor. That means that sticky, wet, gross mucus might have a more glamorous role: It may be important for smelling smells.4

Jeanne Rose Perfumery room showing about 85 of the 5000 odors just waiting to be explored. 6.

MEMORIZE YOUR HOUSE.  Then, always pretend you are visiting…. Smell the air, inhale the odor of your life, smell the sheets, smell the books, smell the kitchen] …Never expect your spoons to be in a certain drawer, wonder at the existence of the bathtub with its lion feet. Surprise yourself with the odor of your life. Touch the wood, smell the iron and the glass, and whisper your thanks.  Never breathe a sigh of relief.  This is just the beginning.  This is your house. ___after Clair Siegel•

Box of 1000 Odors – contains resins from 1968 – 7.


Citronella (Cymbopogon nardus) added to warm baths improvs sleep and was sedative for both healthy people and those with nervous of sleep disorders
Citrus odors – smell like citrus and other people will think you are 5 years younger than you are
Floral odors – help you to relax in the dentist chair
Jasmine – smell like jasmine and you will smell oily
Lavender – smell like Lavender and men over 50 will be attracted
Men – the smell of young men has a noticeably “depressive effect”,
Older People – smell of older people generally improved mood
Old Woman – the smell of older woman armpit with no perfume is trusted over any other and is uplifting.
Patchouli – smell like Patchouli and people will associate you with hippie or being dirty
Peppermint – relaxes the gut
Rose – smell like Rose and people will think you smell old
Scent of Kindness – fragrances of coffee and baking cookies makes shoppers more than twice as likely to help a stranger
Vanilla – smell like Vanilla and men under 50 will be attracted


A Page from the Badianus MMS – The Aztec Herbal of 1552 – 8.

‘Ladies Auxiliary Distillery’
By Jeanne Rose
“Distilling Responsibly” Introductory paragraph.

Talk given at the event in Spokane, WA in July 2018. “My job today, in 30 minutes is to talk about you and your connection with the earth, from earth to plant to still to hand. To tell you that the future is yours to change or to keep. That we need to be more active in what we choose to use, how we use it and why we use it. We are in a war with the people who deny science, who do not believe that careful study of the environment of plants and of animals warrants anything but derision. Please don’t play at your life. Enjoy it for sure but be conscious of everything that you do.”

Essential oils are not  sustainable in the amounts that we use them. They are not a cure for anything, ingesting is not wise, they should be appreciated in small amounts, application in tiny amounts, and inhalation to enjoy, not necessarily to slather all over yourself in all your products.

           There is an irresponsible exploitation of our world that has been severely disturbing our ecosystem. Your responsibility is to educate your clients and yourself as to the sustainability of sourcing properly, collecting responsibly and not exploiting, distilling thoughtfully, and thinking of plant use, water use, and how to conserve all parts of the products of distillation; and using what you make, making only what you need, recycling any leftovers. It is up to you to think of the future and of your children’s future and teach your students to think of the entire forest not just the tree.  

            Terroir, take notes, keep notes, read books – good books. There is a responsibility in sustainability and of sourcing properly. I have said often

“Grow what you know,
Know what you grow

And Distill only what you know.”

—Jeanne Rose ~ A Jeanne Rose quote from 2010



            It was 1996, I was discussing with friends the ways that smell can affect us (see paragraph above, “SMELL – WHAT IT DOES FOR YOU”). We were sitting at the beautiful bar that once existed in the Financial District and just south of Broadway St., San Francisco, CA. called The Cypress Club with its breast-inspired lighting fixtures, 40’s Hollywood decor, favorite copper clad walls and plush seating. I said that depending on what I put on myself I could attract either younger men or men over 50. At the time, I was already 60 years old and thus not in the flush of my exotic looking youth. Thus, the challenge was on. In any case, the bar was crowded, I was sitting, my friends standing and a 25-year old sat down  on my right side with a group on my left.  I put a dab of Vanilla behind my right ear and Lavender on the left. Vanilla smells like food and young men are inevitably attracted to it. Lavender is rather old-fashioned and reminds men of their mother. And sure enough, the young man started chatting me up. My friends had stepped back and were observing. When his friends arrived and he left, my friends sat so that I was now on the left of them and with that dab of Lavender behind my left ear.  There were many ages of men clustered around the bar and a man my age promptly sat next to me and yes, he started to chat me up right away.  It was a fun and educational evening and specific scents were once again proven to be powerful attractants.


1Atkins, P.W. MOLECULES; Freeman; 1987.
2Calkin, Robert R. and J. Stephan Jellinek; PERFUMERY; John Wiley & Sons, 1994. This is a great resource and a main reference for this work.
4 https://www.sciencenewsforstudents.org/article/making-snotty-scents

Rose, Jeanne; 375 ESSENTIAL OILS AND HYDROSOLS; Frog Ltd. 1999          
Rose, Jeanne; Natural Perfumery Workbook; Jeanne Rose Aromatherapy. 2018