Essential Oil and Herb Guide
ESSENTIAL OILS & BOTANICAL GUIDE
Please note that this information is not intended for use to diagnose disease or prescribe herbal therapies. For those purposes please consult with your Natural Healthcare Physician. This guide is a collection of generally accepted facts and opinions about these substances. All substances herein may require further study before using for safe applications.
Almond Oil-Almond - amygdalus communis - Sweet Almond Oil and Almond oil are commonly referred to as the same substance produced or pressed from the seed of the sweet almond tree. This is not the same as the Bitter Almond, which is used to produce an essential oil.
Originally from Asia, the almond tree first appeared in Europe, where it is cultivated in the Mediterranean countries. It is also grown in California and it is also grown in the South and the southeast regions of France.
The fruit is a pale green small pulpy fruit, which generally contains a seed, the almond. Almond oil contains 0.3 to 1.2% unsaponifiables, it is also rich in beta-sitosterol, squalene, and alpha-tocopherol. Rich in essential fatty acids, which directly take part in the regulation of skin permeability and in unsaponifiables, the regenerative properties of which are desirable in beauty preparations. Sweet almond oil presents worthwhile restructuring and moisturizing skin properties for the cosmetic industry. Sweet Almond oil is mild and very soothing, it glides easily over the skin and absorbs well for moisturizing. It's suggested for use in massage oils, as such or mixed with other vegetable oils, as a carrier for essential oils, or as a compound of the oily phase of emulsions. It has a slight yellowish color that usually does is not noticeable in your finished preparations. Almond Oil's suggested applications as an ingredient include but are not limited to; softening massage oils, moisturizing and emollient hand creams, body milks, lip balms, body butters, and skin-restructuring night products.
Aloe Vera Oil -The Aloe Vera oil used in soap recipes is actually a 70/30 blend usually. It is blended 30% Aloe with 70% vegetable oil which is usually Soy. The Aloe Vera plant itself is mostly water and has very little oil in it so this combination allows us to incorporate it's valuable polysaccharides (healing herbal constituents) into the saponification process. Aloe Vera
also helps restore natural ph levels to the skin. Aloe Vera Gel can be used in small quantities but it can soften the soap if you use too much. The aloe Vera oil blend is available from the bulk soap making supplies section of the catalog.
Amber Resin -Amber resin is a natural semi-solid product from trees or plants formed by the oxidation of some of the components of the sap of the particular amber trees in India. It has a somewhat sweet almost candy like type aroma. The essence is sold in chunks like fudge by the gram in fine herb shops, incense shops and fragrance boutiques.
Anise-pimpinella anisu this oil is mainly produced in Spain, France, Italy, Morocco, and China. The volatile oils from this botanical gives licorice candy and chewing gum their unique flavors. Anise essential oil is also added to soaps and perfumes for a rich, sweet fragrance. Folk Lore relates this scent to attracting fish and game for sportsmen in the wild.
Uses for Aromatherapy: said to be encouraging, enhances the senses, and a mild mood elevator.
Arrowroot powder-Arrowroot powder is the powdered root of arrowroot. Is a very fine silky smooth powder that blends well with powdered herbs in home made body powders. It is very white in color.
Avocado oil - persea gratissima - The avocado tree can reach 15 to 40 feet high and is native to tropical America and is now very commonly cultivated. Several varieties are marketed, most notably the avocado tree from Mexico or the West Indies. The avocado tree is mostly cultivated in California and Florida in the US. Considered by native people in Guadeloupe as an all around folk remedy. The Southern native Americans and Aztecs from South and Central America commonly used the flesh of avocado pear both for food and for skin protection from parching winds. They also believed rubbing it in their hair would make it grow. It was also believed the flesh was an effective sexual stimulant and was used to make ointments aimed at delaying old age.
Avocado oil is especially beneficial in preparations for very dry skin. Refined Avocado oil has a very slight yellow hue that will not be evident in your finished preparation.
Rich in unsaponifiables, avocado oil has outstanding regenerative properties. Like most vegetables oils, due to its content in essential fatty acids, avocado oil offers a restructuring quality, which keeps the skin moisturized. It is also a good hair growth stimulant. Avocado oil is used in many cosmetics and beauty preparations including products for damaged hair (permed or dyed), baby hair, body and hand products (massage oils and creams, sun care products), face care products (eye creams, nourishing creams for damaged, mature, dry and sensitive skin and for baby’s skin).
Basil Essential Oil Invigorates body and spirit-helps refresh the mind allowing concentration, especially when tired. Basil is a good nerve tonic after a stressful day. It has a sweet licorice-like fragrance. Blends well with Lavender, Bergamot, Clary Sage, and Geranium.Botanical Name: Ocimum basilicum Common Method of Extraction: Steam Distilled, Description: Sweet, herbaceous, licorice-like, slightly camphorous. Possible Aromatherapy and Skincare Use: Bronchitis, colds, coughs, exhaustion, flatulence, flu, gou, muscle aches, rheumatism, sinusitis. [Julia Lawless, The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Essential Oils (Rockport, MA: Element Books, 1995), 58-67.]
Benzoin: FROM A CONSUMER'S DICTIONARY OF COSMETIC INGREDIENTS: Complete Information about > the Harmful and Desirable Ingredients Round in Men's and Women's Cosmetics, by > Ruth Winter, M.S. (ISBN 0-517-88196-9)
Benzoin also known as Gum Benzoin: Used as a preservative in creams and ointments and as a skin protective. It is the balsamic resin from benzoin gown in Thailand, Cambodia, Sumatra and Cochin Cina. Also used to glaze and polish confections. NO KNOWN TOXICITY.
Anyway, you can see that if indeed there was serious concern with regards to benzoin, that the government departments would have outlawed it at this point. Anything in the world can be a sensitizer if there is already a predisposition towards such a weakness.
There are people who have very strong feelings towards benzoin and I am not discounting their feelings. However, it is unfair to claim that something will definitely sensitize someone if they unknowingly come into contact with it over the course of their life. That comment is as true for benzoin as it is for bee stings or aloe or peanut butter or anything else in the world.
Borage oil - borago officinalis - Borage is believed to be native to the western Mediterranean areas (Spain, North Africa) where it is abundant. Cultivated and escaped, it spread across Europe and North America. Borage is bristling with slightly prickly long rough hairs. The plant is rich in honey producing juices. Long ago, herbalists sold a spring "purifying herb juice" made with fresh leaves of watercress, dandelion and borage. Borage oil is desired for its content in unsaturated fatty acids, considered to be very important for certain metabolisms. It is especially rich in gamma-lineolenic acids. These essential fatty acids are actually also known as precursors of the molecules of the immune metabolism and of blood coagulation. They are also precursors of some constituents of the cell membrane. It is believed these fatty acids play a vital role in maintaining healthy skin and repairing skin that has been damaged by the ultra-violet rays of the sun. Borage oil is often recommended to treat skin problems; it is used to prevent aging and wrinkles, to fight dehydration and the loss of skin elasticity. Borage oil has regenerative, firming and restructuring properties. It is highly suggested as a worthwhile ingredient in products for dry, damaged or tired skin and in products for dry or permed hair.
Chamomile -Chamomile is a perennial flower that grows abundantly in Germany, Morocco, and Italy. It is available for home gardeners here in the US in the form of seeds for planting or plants starts at garden centers and herb nurseries. It is considered mildly astringent, healing, anti-inflammatory and mildly fragrant. The tea is useful for indigestion and relaxation. The oil infusions are useful for eczema, and minor wounds. The water infusion is useful as eyewash for conjunctivitis and eyestrain. It is very useful externally for helping to deep clean pores.
Aloe Vera - Aloe is an ancient herb. There are references in The Holy Bible of the body of Christ being embalmed with Aloes and Myrrh before placing him in the tomb, as was the custom in those days. Kings have fought wars over the valuable fields of medicine plants (Aloe) and its healing properties kept their soldiers fighting after they were wounded. Aloe is easy to
grow and can be found at most any herb nursery or plant merchant.
Bay - Bay is used in cooking, useful for colds, flu, sprains, and rheumatism, but more importantly here is also used in perfumery. Bay essential oil used for soap making and perfumery is produced from the leaves of the plant Pimenta Racemosa in the West Indies and South America. Bay is antiseptic and is wonderfully fragrant. Since it's discovery along the trade routes of the Caribbean several centuries ago it became a commonly traded spice and is used frequently in traditional french cooking.
While the leaves are used for cooking spices and making the essential oil, the berries are also used to make fragrant waxy oil that is used in candle making for bayberry candles. The Bay and Bayberry plant referred to here is actually Wild Cinnamon or Pimenta Acris or Pimenta Racemosa native to the West Indies. There is a Bay plant native to Eastern America that has fragrant waxy berries that have a similar scent and was used by colonial period candle makers for scenting candles in the Lake Ontario and Lake Erie areas. The American plant is Myrica Cerifera, commonly called Wax myrtle or tallow shrub. The West Indies "Bay" is available for home gardeners at most herb nurseries but it is not winter hardy and will have to be greenhoused or brought indoors for winter in certain zones. Aromatherapists claim the aroma to be warming, and relaxing.
Bay essential oil- aroma generally recognized as the base for famous bay rum fragrance, locally antiseptic, useful in treatment of dandruff, scabies
Cajuput essential oil- related to tea tree oil, stimulant, antiseptic, camphor like aroma, used in candies, soap, perfumery. Medicinally useful for acne, skin diseases, arthritis, gout, aromatherapy use; pain relieving
Bergamot Essential Oil Relaxes and refreshes and is good for confidence building. Uplifts the spirit and emotions with its invigorating citrus fragrance. Botanical Name: Citrus bergamia Common Method of Extraction: Cold Pressed (best) or Steam Distilled. Description: Fresh, orange/lemon/citrusy, slightly floral. Possible Aromatherapy and Skincare Use: Acne, abscesses, anxiety, boils, cold sores, cystitis, depression, halitosis, itching, loss of appetite, oily skin, psoriasis, stress. [Julia Lawless, The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Essential Oils (Rockport, MA: Element Books, 1995), 56-67.]
Calendula Officinalis or Pot Marigold should not be confused with regular marigolds of the tagetes species. The bright yellow to fire red-orange flowers of this herb yields wonderful properties for healing wounds, skin inflammations, eczema, dry cracked skin and calluses.
Many herbalists claim the redder blossoms are more potent. Calendula is considered to be astringent, antiseptic and antifungal. The Calendula flower has long been valued for its medicinal properties and is now also used in the manufacture of several patented homeopathic remedies. The infused oils and extracts of Calendula are useful in creams, lotions, soaps, massage oils, and other personal care products. Calendula salves and ointments have been credited with healing qualities useful for everything from diaper rash to eczema to hemorrhoids. A bath with 20 to 30 drops of Calendula infused oil is said to be soothing relief for nervous tension, anxiety and depression. The Calendula leaves and buds made into a salve was once a common treatment for gouty conditions. Calendula plants do well in direct sun or partial shade and are considered a hardy annual. If you keep the blooms picked off from the beginning of the season they will produce flowers prolifically even until after the first few frosts. They can be started from seed outdoors in most parts of the country from very early to even as late as June or July, or they are available potted for setting out at most garden centers and herb nurseries. We grow as many as we can, picking them daily once they start. Immediately, we set them in the sun for a little while (1/2 hour to an hour, not enough to let them dry out)in a cardboard tray, the thrips, ants, bees, and other critters sense something is terribly wrong and leave the flowers. Then we just toss them into a reclosable container in the freezer, this allows us to thaw them out and make salves and oils from fresh versus dried plant material year around. The flowers are also edible and rich in vitamins and minerals, throw a few in a salad and give them a try! (I recommend removing the stems, leaves, and bud parts, eating only the petals)
Carrot Seed Oil is nutritionally rich and useful in moisturizing and healing skin care preparations for dry, mature, or menopausal skin. Great for eye creams, wrinkle treatments. Botanical Name: Daucus carota, Steam Distilled, Description: Earthy, woody, warm. It does not resemble the smell of carrots and is considered harsh or unpleasant by some yet very healing by others. Possible Aromatherapy and skincare Use: Eczema, gout, mature skin, toxin build-up, water retention. [Julia Lawless, The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Essential Oils (Rockport, MA: Element Books, 1995), 57-60.]
Chamomile- Roman Chamomile Oil enhances feelings of calm, relaxation. Used for centuries to smooth the skin. Botanical Name: Anthemis nobilis, Steam Distilled, Description: Bright, crisp, sweet, fruity, herbaceous. Possible Aromatherapy and Skincare Use: Abscesses, allergies, arthritis, boils, colic, cuts, cystitis, dermatitis, dysmenorrhea, earache, flatulence, hair, headache, inflamed skin, insomnia, nausea, neuralgia, PMS, rheumatism, sores, sprains, strains, stress, wounds.
Clary sage- the essential oil is distilled from the flowering top of the herb. It is imported for commerce to the US from France, Russia, and Spain, Hungary, and Bulgaria as well as being produced domestically in several states including Oregon, Washington, North Carolina and Virginia. Here in the states thousands of acres are grown by Big tobacco companies to produce clarinol, an additive used in cigarette production. The essential oil is also used for depression, nervousness, sore throat, minor aches and pains and as a sedative. The aroma is described as a sweet spicy scent that blends well with other scents giving it a wide variety of uses in the perfume industry. Aromatherapists consider it to be centering, somewhat euphoric and visualizing. It is a perennial that grows fairly low to the ground with large oval fuzzy looking leaves. It is commonly available at garden centers and
herb nurseries for the home gardener. Clary Sage Essential Oil is often used with Stress related complaints, nervousness, depression, and headaches/migraines. Heavy, painful menstruation, absence of menstruation, menopause and PMS may also be less stressful with use of Clary Sage. Also sometimes helpful with hypertension, cramping, asthma, muscular aches, oily skin, acne and inflammations. Clary Sage is calming, relaxing oil, which can assist in a restful night’s sleep. Botanical Name: Salvia sclarea, Steam Distilled, Description: Bright, earthy, herbaceous, with a subtle fruity note.
Comfrey-Comfrey is also commonly referred to as boneknit. This refers to its traditional use in healing fractures. Comfrey is a rich natural source of Allantoin, which is commonly used in many commercial natural health and beauty preparations available worldwide. Allantoin absorbs through the skin and speeds up healing as it encourages cell proliferation in bone, cartilage, and muscle tissues. The roots and leaves are used in infusions, decoctions,
poultices, etc. It is healing, soothing, emollient and mildly astringent in nature. Comfrey preparations have been traditionally used as poultices for gout, hairline fractures, infused oils and creams for arthritic joints, sprains, inflamed bunions, and bleeding hemorrhoids. Other constituents besides Allantoin present in Comfrey that make it such a wonderfully useful herb include steroidal saponins, tannins, B12, proteins, and mucilage. The Comfrey mucilage is also useful for sizing in home made papers. Comfrey is a large, flowering perennial that is considered somewhat invasive, as it tends to take over any area it may be planted. Most commercially available Comfrey in bulk is wild crafted central and eastern
Europe and Russia where it is native. Comfrey has escaped and has become available to wild crafters in some regions of the US. It is a very easy plant to grow and propagates very easily from root cuttings. The root and leaves infused in Olive oil is a wonderful topical remedy for all types of skin afflictions as well as muscle aches. A simple tea wash is
especially helpful for quick healing of skin inflammation and acne. Comfrey is available in bulk from most any herb supplier and is fairly inexpensive.
Cypress Essential oil Cypress essential oil is distilled from the leaves and twigs of the Cypress tree. The oils sold commercially in this country are imported from the Mediterranean countries. It is an astringent, antiseptic, antispasmodic, and sedative, helpful for easing nervous tension and healing wounds. Cypress has a refreshing, spicy aroma with the hint of evergreen needles. Aromatherapist’s consider it to be purifying and balancing.
Eucalyptus -Eucalyptus essential oil is one of the most useful and most used essential oils. It is anti-septic, anti-bacterial, anti-viral and smells good too! It soothes sore throats, makes you breathe easier, and is very useful in vaporizers during cold & flu season. Although most Eucalyptus essential oil is imported from Australia, Tasmania, China, and Brazil,
there are now many farms and even wild escaped stands of this aromatic shrub across the southeastern United States. It has historically been used in inhalants, and lozenges. It is somewhat stimulating and may create a mild tingle as it increases circulation to the skin and hair follicles. Eucalyptus leaves you feeling totally refreshed! Eucalyptus essential oil is distilled from the leaves and twigs of the plant. It has been used for sore throats, coughs, aches, pains, bronchitis, sinusitis, skin infections, candida. The Eucalyptus essential oil is known to be antiseptic and antibiotic. The leaves are available from most herb suppliers and are great for simmering in a cast iron pot on top of the wood-burning stove during those dark dreary winter days. Eucalyptus leaves & Eucalyptus essential oil are aromatic, respiratory stimulant, expectorant, muscle relaxant, useful for bruises, sprains, muscular pains.
Frankincense Essential oil has been popular for centuries in several mideastern cultures. Botanical Name: Boswellia carterii, Common Method of Extraction: Steam Distilled, Description: Fresh, woody, balsamic, slightly spicy and fruity. Possible Aromatherapy and Skincare Use: Anxiety, asthma, bronchitis, extreme coughing, scars, stress, stretch marks. [Julia Lawless, The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Essential Oils (Rockport, MA: Element Books, 1995), 59-67.]
Geranium Essential Oil is balancing for the mind and body. A fresh, floral and sweet smelling oil. It relaxes, restores, and maintains stability of the emotions. Botanical Name: Pelargonium graveolens. Common Method of Extraction: Steam Distilled, Description: Floral, fresh, sweet, with a fruity note. Possible Aromatherapy and Skincare Uses: Acne, cellulites, dull skin, lice, menopause, oily skin. [Julia Lawless, The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Essential Oils (Rockport, MA: Element Books, 1995), 57-65.]
Glycerin - Glycerin occurs naturally in vegetable and animal fats. Glycerin is a by-product that is extracted from commercial soaps through a salting process. Even though the commercial soaps would be better with the glycerin left in it, the manufacturers make more on the glycerin than they do the soap. That is one of the reasons why the commercial store bought soaps are so much less expensive than handmade and natural soaps. Glycerin is emollient as it moistens and protects the skin, soothing inflammations, and a humectant, meaning it draws moisture out of the air to the skin.
Herbs- Harvesting your bounty! The best way to harvest is just simply to cut! For lemon balm and mints, just cut the stems as low as you prefer for the stem lengths. Take a close look through the leaves and pull off any that seem undesirable. If you plan to use the herbs in any food or bath & beauty products, rinse them well first. For lavender, just cut the flowering stem, don't take any leaves from the plant. it is best to cut the lavender either just before the buds open or after they have just opened. As you are cutting grab a bunch of the herb about 1/2 to 1 inch in diameter and put a rubber band around it.
Always attach a small piece of paper identifying the herb. Hang the fresh cut herbs upside down in a cool place. Attach the rubber bands to a clothespin and hang from a clothesline. Most herbs will dry within two weeks, but if you are not convinced at that time give them a little longer. You know they are dry when the leaves are crumbly. Crumble your herbs over a paper bag or large wooden bowl. You can always get finer pieces, as you need them by putting them in an herb or coffee mill. Use your lavender, lemon balm, and mint in just about anything -- tea, salts, soaps, and all your creations. Store your dried herbs in brown paper bags. Write the latin name of the plant on the bags, along with the Common name and the date you harvested. Keep various types of aromatics separate.
Jasmine-The Aroma of jasmine is Emotionally warming. It relaxes, soothes, uplifts and helps self-confidence. Good for stress and general anxiety. Perfect for hot dry skin. Sensual properties and reputedly an aphrodisiac! Only needs to be used in very small quantities. Exquisite perfume! Botanical Name: Jasminum officinalis Common Method of Extraction: Solvent Extracted, Description: Warm, floral, exotic. Possible Aromatherapy and Skincare Use: Depression, dry skin, exhaustion, labor pains, sensitive skin. [Julia Lawless, The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Essential Oils (Rockport, MA: Element Books, 1995), 57-67.]
Jewelweed - Jewelweed is also known as touch-me-not and grows wild across most of North America. Native Americans first discovered it as an antidote for poison ivy and poison oak. It is an annual that can grow to 6 feet or better. It is not recommended for the home gardener because technically it is a weed and when the seed pods burst open they can shoot their seeds for several feet in all directions taking over the area they grow in a few seasons. It is commonly found in two varieties, one has orange flowers, and the other has yellow flowers. It is generally believed the orange flower plant is more potent. It is ready for harvest as soon as it blooms in early July and can be harvested through frost. Many people make a strong tea from the plant strain it and freeze it in ice cube trays for later use. It is very cooling and soothing for several skin inflammations.
Jojoba - simmondsia chinensis Jojoba grows in northern Mexico, in the south of Arizona and California. It is cultivated in South America, in Israel and experimentally in several African areas. Jojoba seed can yield up to 60% liquid. Californian Native Americans used it to fight cancer. Mexican Natives took a drink based on it against chills and to ease deliveries, they also applied it to fortify the hair but its essential virtue was to preserve a soft skin. The American Natives also ate the seeds, which are very rich in proteins (up to 35%). Jojoba is used for its outstanding emollient, regenerative, restructuring and tonifying virtues. It also has good hair stimulant properties. Jojoba moreover presents film forming and hair conditioning properties. It helps untangling the hair it moreover makes smooth and shiny. It is a naturally selected ingredient in products for normal, permed or dyed hair, also for gray, damaged delicate hair. It is also included in nourishing hand preparations, and facial care preparations. Jojoba is especially useful around the eyes and particularly for dry, damaged, tired, dull skin and for babies skin. You will also see it applied in sun oils, lipsticks and lip balms. It also conditions hair and scalp, prevents dryness and improves manageability. It also gives soothing temporary relief for psoriasis and eczema.
Opposite to vegetable oils in content, jojoba oil hardly contains any triglycerides. Its chemical structure is composed of esters combining a fatty acid with a long carbon chain and a double bond and a fatty alcohol also with a double bond. Due to this specific composition, jojoba oil resists oxidation, even under harsh conditions, an almost never, never goes bad. The liquid pressed from the seeds is unusual in that it is not oil but a pure liquid ester! The difference between oil and an ester is small and yet large in terms of properties. Plant oils generally have several alcohol groups on the molecule and some have forked molecules and will eventually oxidize, becoming rancid. Jojoba has only one alcohol group and has a straight chain Molecule, thus it is not subject to oxidizing and in fact is an anti-oxidant and will never become rancid. However, the liquid ester does have the ability to self polymerize in the presence of sunlight, so it is best to keep it in blue or amber glass bottles, in the dark, or in closed metal cans. Jojoba is a natural mimic of the oil secreted by human skin so it is useful to protect and lubricate skin and hair. It is soothing, eliminates many skin problems and protects against premature aging and wrinkling of the skin caused by exposure to ultra violet radiation and sunlight
Aromatherapy- Jojoba is a wonderful carrier of essential oils because it does not go rancid and easily penetrates the skin. The extra benefits of the moisturizing power of Jojoba enhance the overall effectiveness of any aromatherapy blends used directly with the skin. Jojoba also contains anti-oxidants from the seeds including alpha, delta, and gamma tocopherols. Jojoba is highly concentrated. When using it directly on your body, start by putting a small drop on the back of you hand and rub it in. This way you can determine how much you’ll need to use. The jojoba is gentle enough for newborn skin. It restores elasticity to any dry skin area while conditioning and softening the skin.
Lavender- English, French, Chinese, Oregonian, they're most all very delightful essential oils. Lavender plants are commonly available at most garden centers and herb nursery. They produce spikes of purplish blue flowers with a wonderful floral scent. The essential oil is made out of the flowering tops of the plant. Other herbal uses of Lavender essential oil besides soaping includes treating burns, wounds, eczema, dermatitis, headaches, insomnia, infections, ulcers, acne, asthma, and arthritis to name a few. It is also used in the pharmaceutical, cosmetic, and perfume industries. Lavender essential oil is known to be antiviral, antibiotic, antiseptic. Lavender essential oil is also known to be an effective treatment for some types of warts. I actually received a letter from a lady claiming a lavender soap we had made cleared up all the warts on her son’s hand in 3 weeks time. Several drops of lavender in a couple of ounces aloe vera gel do wonderful things for sunburn. Aromatherapists consider Lavender to be balancing, soothing, and normalizing.
Lemon Essential Oil- Lemon Essential Oil has a clean, refreshing and uplifting scent. Used in a diffuser lemon may purify stale air and work as a disinfectant. Possibly good for some infections, antiseptic and smells quite clean and fresh. Botanical Name: Citrus limon Method of Extraction: Cold Pressed/Expressed, Description: Aroma is similar to fresh lemon rinds except more dense and aroma rich. Possible Aromatherapy and Skincare Use: Athlete's foot, chilblains, colds, corns, dull skin, flu, oily skin, spots, varicose veins, warts. [Julia Lawless, The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Essential Oils (Rockport, MA: Element Books, 1995), 56-66.
Lemongrass- Lemongrass Essential oil has a pleasant grassy-lemony scent, has been used historically for stress-related conditions, fevers, headaches, and varicose veins. Steam distilled from the fresh and partially dried leaves (grass) finely chopped. Color: yellow, amber, or reddish brown liquid. Lemongrass is a happy citrusy aroma. Botanical Name: Cymbopogon citratus Common Method of Extraction: Steam Distilled, Description: Fresh, lemony, earthy. Possible Aromatherapy and Skincare Use: Acne, athlete's foot, excessive perspiration, flatulence, muscle aches, oily skin, scabies, stress. [Julia Lawless, The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Essential Oils (Rockport, MA: Element Books, 1995), 56-67.] antibacterial, anti-fungal properties, soothing cooling herb that increases perspiration and relaxes muscles
Lemon verbena leaves –astringent aromatic herb, mildly sedative, anti-bacterial, used as a flavoring in salads and stuffings
Lime, Lime essential oil, Lime juice – mildly acidic, anti-oxidant, mildly astringent. Lime Essential Oil has similar characteristics as lemon including fighting infections, colds, and dyspepsia. Some also claim an effect on hypertension. Very refreshing Aroma. Botanical Name: Citrus aurantifolia, Cold Pressed/Expressed, Description: Fresh, citrusy, sweet. Possible Aromatherapy and Skincare Use: Acne, asthma, chilblains, colds, dull skin, flu, varicose veins. [Julia Lawless, The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Essential Oils (Rockport, MA: Element Books, 1995), 56-66.]
Nettles - Nettles and Stinging Nettles have long been used for making a nutritive tonic for the hair. A simple tea, with 4 oz. nettles and 2 quarts water, steeped, strained, bottled and refrigerated (will last 3 to 5 days under refrigeration) worked into the scalp every other night is said to keep hair from falling out and restores body to limp hair. Nettles are a common field weed with over 300 species worldwide. It ranges from the minor stinging sensation of the North American and European varieties to extremely painful and causing debilitating injury with some of the Asian and African tropical varieties. Nettles have a long history regarding herbal remedies and have been used for many ailments including asthma, goiter and venomous bites. The decoction yields a bright green dye that is used on woolens in central Russia. The decoction is also astringent and a stimulating tonic. It is also useful for planting around beehives to discourage frogs. Nettles can be wild crafted in most areas and is available in bulk from most any herb supplier.
Oatmeal - Oatmeal refers to the ground or rolled (roller pressed) seeds of the oat grass plant. For most natural body care and soap recipes the organic rolled oats commonly available at health food stores and co-ops is preferred. The rolled oats can be chopped in a food processor or blender to the desired consistency. Oatmeal is commonly used in cleansing grains and exfoliating soaps. Ground Oats have high silica content and are considered very helpful for many skin conditions such as eczema, cold sores, and shingles when applied externally.
Patchouli essential oil - Since the east first traded with the west the essential oil from the patchouli plant has been regarded with high esteem both for medicinal herbalists and ancient to modern day perfumeries. Benefits from Patchouli Essential oil include its use for skin inflammations, fungal infections, eczema, dandruff, and as an. Botanical Name: Pogostemon cablin. Common Method of Extraction: Steam Distilled, Description: Rich, earthy, woody aroma with a nearly hidden fruity note. Possible Aromatherapy and Skincare Use: Acne, athlete's foot, chapped skin, dermatitis, eczema, fatigue, frigidity, hair care, mature skin, oily skin, stress. [Julia Lawless, The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Essential Oils (Rockport, MA:
Peppermint - Peppermint Essential Oil has a very refreshing and stimulating aroma, great for cooling down on a hot day. Botanical Name: Mentha piperita. Common Method of Extraction: Steam Distilled, Description: Minty, reminiscent of peppermint candies, but more concentrated. More fragrant than spearmint. Possible Aroamtherapy and Skincare Use: Asthma, colic, exhaustion, fever, flatulence, headache, nausea, scabies, sinusitis, and vertigo. [Julia Lawless, The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Essential Oils (Rockport, MA: Element Books, 1995), 59-67. Peppermint is very stimulating to the skin and gives a tingling sensation. Peppermint essential oil is one essential oil that is produced in large quantities here in the US. Large peppermint farms in Michigan, Oregon, and Washington state grow massive quantities of peppermint and then have portable stills set up to start the first distillation on location in the fields as soon as it is cut. The crude first distillation of the whole plant is then taken to more efficient stills for further refining. Most commonly when you buy Peppermint essential oil you will be buying the 2nd or 3rd distillation. Peppermint essential oil is antiseptic by nature. Other uses of peppermint essential oil include nausea, indigestion, flatulence, headaches, arthritis and liver problems. It is a common food flavoring used in confections,
candies, beverages, ice creams, and are also used in pharmaceuticals. While most used in this country is produced domestically some is imported from Europe, and China. Peppermint is a very prolific garden or bedding plant, it's also considered invasive so checking with your friends and relatives you'll probably find someone who has too much and would be glad to give some away. If you're not so lucky however it is readily available at most garden centers and herb nurseries. Peppermint- aromatic, bitter, mildly antiseptic useful for itchy skin conditions, soothing to the skin and mild burns.
Plantain and Chickweed
Plantain is common to most yards and meadows in either the narrow or broad leafed variety. Native to Europe (primarily UK) the plantain was referred to in previous centuries as the Englishman's foot, it seemed that wherever the English traveled and colonized the plantain came along with them, it arrived in North America in the 1600's and now has invaded across the continent. It is astringent by nature and has been used for wound healing, and as a poultice for skin sores and tumors. The chickweed has similar properties for wound healing and treatment of skin diseases and
skin inflammations including chafing and diaper rash. Chickweed is typically a nuisance in the North American garden. There has been none or very little research done to verify or dispel the historical and traditional uses of these two plants for external body care. What I can tell you is that all the herbalists I've talked to over the years speak very fondly of the healing qualities of these two plants that most consider a nuisance.
Raspberry leaves-mildly astringent and tonic, healing and soothing to the skin, useful for minor wounds, burns, inflammations
Red clover blossoms-sweet cooling herb treats many types of skin complaints
Rose Geranium Essential oil
Distilled from the Rose scented Geranium this essential oil has a powerful leafy aroma with rose and minty undertones. It is used in skin care products for it's cleansing astringecy, antiseptic properties and its aroma. The essential oil is distilled from the leaves and stalks as well as the flowers. Most commercially available Rose Geranium essential oil in this country is imported from China, Reunion, Madagascar, Egypt, France, Morocco, Algiers, and Russia. It is also used in the perfumery, and cosmetics industries.
Rose, Rose water and petals -The actions of rose on the body include antidepressant, antispasmodic, aphrodisiac, sedative, astringent, antibacterial, antiviral, antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, and others. It was listed as an official medicine up until the 1930's. Used in creams and lotions, Rosewater and rose essential oil is considered very beneficial for dry skin conditions and skin prone to acne and pimples. Aromatherapists consider it a nervine and find it very useful for depression and anxiety. Rosewater is a by-product of steam distillation and is quite frequently fortified for fragrance with rose geranium essential oil. Rosewater is considered mildly astringent and is frequently used in homemade cosmetics, creams, and lotions. A few drops of rose
essential oil in massage oil is used to relieve stress and exhaustion. Rose essential oils and rosewater are primarily prepared
from these rose species; rugosa, gallica, damascena, centifolia, laevigata, and canina. Garden hybrids will not necessarily produce
the qualities and properties stated for the above traditional species. Rose essential oil is one of the oldest and best known,
used extensively in perfumes to lend depth and beauty to aromas. Aromatherapists also consider it to be romantic, and uplifting.
As wonderful as it is it should be avoided while pregnant.
Rosemary Essential Oil is used in shampoos, massage oils, baths, Aromatherapy and Skincare. Rosemary has been used to relieve headaches, aches, and muscular pain. Because of its analgesic properties it helps alleviate fatigue in the muscles. Rosemary will increase our circulation, which facilitates easier breathing. Because of its antiseptic properties it is good for dandruff and washing build up out the pores in the scalp. Its stimulating qualities penetrate the hair follicles; you can feel your scalp tingle. This stimulating response, in return can help prevent premature balding. Botanical Name: Rosmarinus officinalis, Steam Distilled, Description: Fresh, herbaceous, sweet, and slightly medicinal. A wild crafted shrub along the northern coast of Spain, the rosemary herb is rich with folk lore and tradition. Nowadays Rosemary is a very popular herb in the US and is readily available in several different cultivars at most garden centers and herb nurseries. It is a perennial with some varieties winter hardy. Most herb suppliers will have bulk rosemary leaves by the pound and they are fairly inexpensive. For centuries many Europeans have believed that Rosemary stimulates hair growth. One theory is that the essential oil deep cleans congested hair follicles helping to eliminate alopecia. Taking 4 oz. of Rosemary leaves and steeping them in 2 quarts boiling water for about 15 minutes make a simple hair rinse. After shampooing simply rinse your hair with the rosemary tea (of course cool to room temperature first). Rosemary
Essential oil is known to have aromatherapeutic uses for headaches, fatigue, aches and pains in muscles, dandruff,
Analgesic, decongestant, heart tonic and liver stimulant, and is also used in pharmaceuticals and veterinary
medicine. We have a friend that keeps a bar of our rosemary soap under her pillow at night as she claims it helps her
breathe better while she sleeps.
Sage - Sage Essential Oil is a great first aid item for cleaning and mending minor cuts and scrapes. Sage Oil (Salvia officinalis) is a popular essential oil that can be added to baths as a fragrance and skincare. It is reputed to be a potent purifier and detoxifier when used externally in aromatherapy. Nutritional constituents: Vitamins: A, C and B complex Minerals: Calcium and potassium and small amounts of sulphur, silicon, phosphorus and sodium. Actions: Antiseptic, astringent, antispasmodic, carminative, anti-hidrotic, bitter. Garden green sage and purple sage are the most common. The purple has a higher content of the medicinal properties. Sage, beyond tasting great in the holiday stuffing, is astringent, antiseptic, and antibiotic. Sage has been used since ancient times in would healing dressings because of these properties. The essential oil is made from the leaves and the flowers, and is mostly produced in the Mediterranean region where it is wild crafted and in China where labor costs are low. The essential oil is useful for bacterial infections, bronchitis, arthritis, and rheumatism. A tea from the leaves and flowers is useful as a mouthwash and gargle, for ulcers and mouth sores and gum problems. Sage is a delightful garden plant. It's a somewhat hardy perennial and comes back a little bigger each year. The Green Garden Sage is commonly available at most garden centers but you'll probably need to seek out the herb nurseries to find the purple or tri-colored varieties. All three types have bluish purple flowers.
Self-heal (or heal-all) leaves- tonic herb; useful for treatment of all types of skin complaints, wounds, burns, inflammations, hemorrhoids, bruises, sores
Spruce essential oil – aromatic, astringent, antiseptic, a sweet pine like, woodsy aroma that is used in scenting holiday household aroma sprays and candles. Used in fragrance combinations for soaps, after shaves, colognes, massage oils, and bath salts. Uses for aromatherapy include calming and encouraging communication.
Sweet orange essential oil- The fresh orange aroma is Refreshing and Invigorating. Aromatherapy properties are energizing and invigorating and may be helpful in fighting fatigue. Useful as a room freshener, orange contains antiseptic qualities. Botanical Name: Citrus sinensis Cold Pressed/Expressed, Description: Citrusy, sweet, reminding of orange peels, only more concentrated. natural source alpha-hydroxy acids, used for its gentle exfoliating action and it’s soothing healing qualities in skin preparations and for relieving tension and depression in aromatherapy
Tangerine Essential oil -Tangerine as most citrus oils are is expeller pressed from the skin or peel of the fruit. Most Tangerine essential oil is produced in the US in Florida and California but some is imported from Brazil and Spain. The essential oil is antiseptic and astringent. Tangerine is also used for depression, anxiety and nervous conditions in aromatherapy. Tangerine essential oil- gentle exfoliating action and soothing tonic for the skin, used in aromatherapy for depression and nervous tension.
Tea Tree Oil - Large corporations have evolved around it and whole volumes are written to cover the many uses of this extremely valuable herb. Tea tree essential oil is produced in Australia, Tasmania, and New Zealand. It is antifungal, antiseptic, antibiotic, and anti viral. The essential oil is distilled from the leaves and twigs. It is clear, pale yellow or light green, and very medicinal smelling. It has been used for Cold sores, warts, fungal, viral, and bacterial infections,
acne, burns, candida, athletes foot. The list of uses goes on and on. The aboriginal natives of Australia first discovered its healing ability and clinical studies have shown it to be over 1oo times more powerful than leading antiseptics. Tea tree essential oil is especially wonderful with skin problems and compliments the Peppermint very well. Although some Tea tree plants have invaded the wilds of the south Florida peninsula especially near the everglades, it is not generally available for the home gardener
Tea tree essential oil- Botanical Name: Melaleuca alternifolia, Steam Distilled. Aromatic Description: Medicinal, fresh, woody, earthy, herbaceous. Possible Aromatherapy and Skincare Use: Acne, athlete's foot, candida, chicken pox, cold sores, colds, corns, cuts, flu, itching, migraine, oily skin, ringworm, sinusitis, sores, spots, urethritis, warts, whooping cough. [Julia Lawless, The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Essential Oils (Rockport, MA: Element Books, 1995), 56-67.]Tea tree essential oil is produced in Australia, Tasmania, and New Zealand. It is anti fungal, antiseptic, antibiotic, and anti viral. The essential oil is distilled from the leaves and twigs. It is clear, colorless, and very medicinal smelling. It has been used for Cold sores, warts, fungal, viral, and bacterial infections, acne, burns, candida, and athlete’s foot. Tea tree essential oil is especially wonderful with skin problems.
Tea tree essential oil is produced through extraction by steam distillation from leaves and twigs. This produces an oil of pale yellow to faint green or water-white mobile liquid with a warm fresh, spicy-camphor like aroma.
It is very healing in skin care products for complaints such as abscess, acne, athlete's foot, blisters, burns, cold sores, dandruff, herpes, oily skin, rashes, spots, warts, wounds. Tea tree has anti-viral, anti-bacterial, and anti-septic qualities which also make it useful to help preserve some skin care preparations.
Thyme essential oil- strongly astringent, antiseptic, and anti-bacterial used in small quantities for deodorants and other beauty preparations, intense spicy herbal aroma, used for scent combinations in soaps, colognes and after shaves. Uses for aromatherapy include emotional and physical cleansing and purifying. Avoid use when pregnant
Vitamin E -Vitamin E is commonly available in two forms, one that is primarily in a strength for adding as an anti-oxidant or preservative in soaps, lotions, creams , etc. and the other is rated at 1,ooo I.U. per gram The vitamin E at 1,000 I.U. per gram is used for foods and cosmetics where a therapeutic amount of Vitamin E is desired. Use only the d-alpha tocopheryl. Vitamin E as other forms are synthetic and do not work as well. The vitamin E helps heal
cuts, scrapes, and has an anti-aging effect on the skin. Natural sources of Vitamin E include cold pressed vegetable oils of safflower, sunflower, and others. Vitamin E is available in health food stores in liquid and capsule form.
White Oak Bark is a valued Astringent. It is very good when used as a decoction to treat vaginal infection, piles, or hemorrhoids. When taken as a tea it is reputed to help with bleeding of the stomach, lungs, and rectum. It is an old remedy used to stop the spitting up of blood. The part of this herb used is the bark. The properties of this herb include:
Astringent, antiseptic, & diuretic. The body parts affected are: The skin; gastro-intestinal tract and the kidneys. Preparation is normally in the form of decoctions, tinctures, fluidextracts, or capsules. Some of the indicated used for White Oak Bark include: Bladder weakness; Diarrhea, Hemorrhages; Hemorrhoids; Herpes; Leukorrhea; Nose bleeds; & Varicose Veins internally as either a decoction, tincture, fluid extract, or powder. Externally, Cankers (gargle); Diarrhea (used as an enema); Fever Blisters, Gums (gargle); Hemorrhage (retention enema); Herpes (salve);Ringworm (salve);Sores (salve); & Varicose Veins
(Fomentation, Poultice, Salve). White Oak Bark is said to increase the flow of urine and help remove gallstone & kidney stones as well. Externally, the tea is good for bathing scabs, sores, poison oak, & bites. For varicose veins dip a rag torn into a long strip into tea and wrap around the weakened vessels and broken capillaries. You can also make a fomentation and apply overnight to swollen glands, tumors, mumps, goiters & lymph swellings. White Oak Bark is also an antiseptic and is a good skin wash for wounds.
Witch Hazel- Witch Hazel is a shrub that grows wild through the mid part of the US. We have an abundance of it here
in the Appalachian Mountains. We make simple extracts from the bark and leaves from bushes on the mountainside behind
our house. Witch Hazel extract is used as a base for a lot of herbal concoctions. It has long been a household remedy for
burns, cuts, scratches, itches, stings, bites. The herb is said to be astringent, hemostatic, styptic, sedative, tonic,
and useful for external inflammations. The extract has been used for dandruff by pouring directly on the scalp and
rubbing in. It has also been used as a poultice for varicose veins. The shrub itself looks like a little tree but will grow to
30 feet in height. The home gardener can get witch hazel plants by searching out native plant nurseries.
Wintergreen -Wintergreen is a hardy perennial broadleaf evergreen that grows low to the ground in densely wooded
forests. Although native to North America there are other closely related species that are native to other parts of the world.
Essential oils commercially available are produced domestically and imported from China. The wintergreen plant's major constituent
is methyl salicylate, molecularly similar to the pain-relieving ingredient in aspirin. However aspirin is chemically produced rather
than extracted from natural botanical sources. Although you can achieve the pain relieving effects internally by drinking a tea
from the leaves, the essential oil can only be used externally and then only in extremely diluted quantities. Wintergreen oil should
be avoided during pregnancy. 10 ml for children and 30 ml for adults could prove to be a lethal dose if ingested internally.
When observing proper safety and dosage precautions the oil of wintergreen can be very useful for aches and pains of arthritis
and sore muscles. Oil of Wintergreen was once available in pharmacies and general stores for just such purposes and had long been the
active ingredient in many commercial pain relief topical formulations. It is also used in flavoring candies and pharmaceutical products.
Ylang-Ylang Essential oil- The aroma from Ylang-Ylang Essential Oil is described as an intense richly floral jasmine-like aroma. It is considered somewhat an aphrodisiac in some circles. It is used extensively in exotic and floral perfumes. The action of the Ylang-Ylang essential oil on the skin is a toning effect that helps stimulate your skin to produce and or regulate it's own natural oils. Botanical Name: Cananga odorata, Steam Distilled, Aromatic, Fresh, floral, sweet, slightly fruity, fragrant yet delicate. Possible Aromatherapy and Skincare Use: Anxiety, depression, frigidity, hypertension, palpitations, stress. [Julia Lawless, The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Essential Oils (Rockport, MA: Element Books, 1995), 61-67.]Ylang-Ylang is a broad leaf evergreen tropical shrub that can grow upwards of 30 feet. The Ylang-Ylang essential oil is imported to the US from the Comorro islands, Reunion, Madagascar, and Indonesia. The scent is described as an intense richly floral jasmine-like aroma. It is distilled from the flowers of the tree and is considered an aphrodisiac by some. It is used extensively in exotic and floral perfumes. Ylang-Ylang essential oil on the skin has a toning effect that helps stimulate your skin to produce and or regulate it's own natural oils.
Uses for Aromatherapy: stirring, euphoric, sensual, and exciting.