LAVENDER, Lavender, Lavender

An in-depth discussion of Lavender and all its forms and terroir differences and the effects of environment on scent and benefits.

INTRODUCTION ~ So much has been said about Lavender that it is somewhat taxing to try and find new information that can be used by consumers to assist and support one’s health. Lavender is a very common plant but in that commonness, lies the problem. Some folks think all Lavender is the same Lavender and forget to realize that there are many species and many varieties of each species and even many chemotypes (chemical types) of each species and that terroir* also make it a most complicated plant.

* [terroir = This is a French word originally applied to wine but that can easily be applied to the factors that affect an essential oil. The essential oil reflects the expression of the earth, or the particular planting site (its ecology), in the resultant essential oil.  Terroir is a factor of soil, shade, wind, water, rain and terrain.  Terroir is how a particular region’s climate, soils and aspect (terrain) affect the smell and organoleptic quality of an essential oil. One of the mystiques of essential oils is the variation available.]


COMMON NAME/LATIN BINOMIAL ~ Lavender comes in many species and many varieties and many chemotypes from many countries. Lavandula angustifolia is the species of choice, however, Lavandula x intermedia (Lavandin) is the one that is mostly in use for oil extraction and that is grown in vast quantities in both France and Bulgaria as well as other countries. When grown in the correct terroir, it has a chemistry very similar to L. angustifolia.

            Family ~ Lamiaceae or Labiatae. This family of plants contains a variety of trees, shrubs and herbs, that has been long-recognized for their medicinal and culinary quality with many used as flavorings, cosmetics, medicine, and for scent. This family includes Basil, Lavender, Marjoram, Mint, Oregano, Patchouli, Rosemary, Sage, Thyme, and much more.

            Other Common Name/Naming Information ~ Lavandula (common name lavender) is a genus of 47 known species of flowering plants in the mint family, Lamiaceae. Lavender is such a common name that all varieties are called Lavender.
A common name is just that ‘common’ and in no way, does it tell you anything about the plant. It is always best to know the Latin binomial (its proper name) and well as its common (everyday) name. The Latin binomial tells you something about the plant itself — as an example the genus name Lavandula is from the Latin word lavo (to wash) from its ancient use in soaps and the species name angustifolia means “narrow-leaved” as the leaves of this species are narrow. Latifolia means “wide-leaved”. [go to my book 375 Essential Oils and Hydrosols, chapter 2 called “Plant Names Mean Something” to find out more.

L. angustifolia has most of the common names and some of these names are garden Lavender or Lavender vera or common Lavender.

Lavandula stoechas is called stickadore or Arabian Lavender;

Lavandula latifolia is Lavender spica is and called Lavender flowers, male Lavender or Aspic.

Lavandula flores’ is the pharmaceutical name for Lavender or its oil.

Depending upon to whom you have spoken, will depend on what specific plant they are talking about.

See below the Species and Varieties of Lavender for the common names of other species and varieties of the Lavender.


SPECIES AND VARIETIES OF LAVENDER ~ There are 47 known species and endless varieties of each of these species as well as a variety of chemotypes of each. Each species is special and most interesting and if you spend some time learning about them, you will be better educated on how to use them and Lavender in general. Here are some of the best known and most used for herbal medicine or aromatic essential oil.

            Lavandula angustifolia with many varieties that are distilled including favorites like Munstead, Hidcote, Jean Davis, Lady, and Vera to name just a few. So-called ‘English Lavender’ alone has over 40 different named varieties of plants with the broadest range of color choices available from white Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia alba), to pink (Lavandula angustifolia rosea), then to the deepest royal purple (Lavandula angustifolia Hidcote) spanning the full Lavender color spectrum ….
            Lavandula dentata also one of the many so-called French Lavender but this one actually originated in Spain. It is an ornamental plant whose EO can be used in perfumery or as an herbal treatment for a stomach ache.

             Lavandula latifolia also called Lavandula spica, spike lavender, broad lavender or Portuguese Lavender. This is one of the parents of L. x. intermedia as it is rather easy to grow and will hybridize in the wild.

            Lavandula x intermedia also called Dutch Lavender is a sterile hybrid plant, a combination of L. latifolia and L. angustifolia. It was designed to grow quickly and produce lots of essential oil. Depending on its terroir, it can produce an EO that is quite an equal to the true Lavender or it can produce an EO that is very high in camphor. When distilled at low elevation it often contains large quantities of camphor and cineol; when grown and distilled at high elevation or in cool moderate climates, its scent can be favorably compared to a sweet true Lavender.
            In California, this hybrid more often than not produces a good quality oil that is low in camphor but may be high in borneol (which can degrade to camphor) or cineol. Several varieties are common such as Grosso and in the U.S., one called ‘Provence’.

                  Lavandula stoechas, also called French Lavender or Italian Lavender and works well to make herbal wreaths and in dried arrangements. It is considered a noxious weed in parts of Australia and Spain.
Lavandula viridis,
also called green or yellow Lavender. Produces heavily and can be distilled for a fine pine-scented hydrosol and an EO that can be used as an anti-fungal.

COUNTRIES OF ORIGINS ~ Lavender is native to the Old World and is found from Cape Verde and the Canary Islands, Europe across to northern and eastern Africa, the Mediterranean, southwest Asia to southeast India. Common names are given to various species of Lavender no matter where they grow or why they grow there. English Lavender does not necessarily mean Lavender raised in England – it actually does not mean much of anything and that goes for the other country names given to the various species; it is best to learn your plants first by their correct Latin binomial, then variety, then chemotype (chemistry) and then country where it was grown. If you do this then you will actually know something about the plant.
Tasmania is a very large island south of Australia and grows Lavandula angustifolia with a scent that is unique to the place and that can be described as spicy and floral. The main growing area is on the north side of Tasmania and is the Bridestowe Lavender Estate. This Lavender farm located in Nabowla, Tasmania, Australia is believed to be the largest commercial plantation of Lavandula angustifolia in the world.
Kashmir, India produces Lavender, much of it organically grown at an altitude of 5000 feet and more. Kashmir Lavender is a most treasured lavender. Its yield is 1.3% – 1.7% and chemistry is about Linalool 31% and Linalyl acetate is 44%.


HARVEST LOCATION ~ Eden Botanicals has many types of Lavenders and they come from many areas of the world including areas in Spain, Sicily, Bulgaria, France and Italy; some of which have organically grown plants and I have also studied and added the essential oils of Lavender from Tasmania, the United States, Croatia and Nepal and other places.
The terroir (see definition above) of Lavender and Lavandin is very important. It might grow just about anywhere but location is very important to its quality as an herb or for production of the essential oil. In very hot areas it may produce abundant growth but the quality of the oil may be lacking while in high elevation the quantity of growth may be lacking but the quality of the oil be readily apparent.
In the past I have had an essential oil kit that included Lavenders from six different areas to demonstrate to the user how important terroir is to the scent and use of a plant. The kit was called “A Flight of Lavenders”. It was a “training kit developed to introduce you to the different odors of our lovely Lavenders. They are all organically grown Lavandula angustifolia.  Inhale and waft the scent from each of the bottles and write down your impressions of the scent.  There are dozens of Lavender odors, each one separate and different from the last.  Only a Lavender oil with considerable camphor is considered a poor-quality oil.  The Croatian Lavender was the most camphoraceous in scent character.”
The Lavender EO I included were Bulgarian Lavender –The traditional soft, floral scent; Maillette Lavender from France — A floral, fruity odor; Portugal Lavender which was green and floral; California Lavender — Woody with a delicious floral back note, it contains borneol, an immune-stimulant; Croatian Lavender is herbaceous/camphoraceous and used in massage; and Tasmanian Lavender – sweet and spicy. I also included a sample of Lavender Hydrosol from California and Lavender Hydrosol from Tasmania. These demonstrate 6 of the 7 main scent characters used to describe odor: floral, fruity, (not citrus), green/vegetative, woody, herbaceous/camphoraceous and spicy.
Of course, there are more to try.

ENDANGERED OR NOT ~ NO it is not endangered. However, natural products such as “Lavender and other aromatic and medicinal plants along with their extracts have been used throughout history and form part of our common heritage. Their benefits have been proven over thousands of years. Today, under European regulations, these natural products have been placed in the same category as man-made chemical products and as such they are subject to restrictions which in practice make it impossible to continue their use. The only ones to benefit from this situation are the chemical industries who will have free reign to substitute their synthesized chemical products for the natural products. This will be detrimental to consumers’ health and at the cost of the disappearance of rural and agricultural lands. If you feel this is possible there are petitions that are available that will help to contribute to the preservation of natural products, those who cultivate them, and the environment in which they are cultivated.” —


GENERAL DESCRIPTION OF PLANT HABITAT AND GROWTH ~ A highly aromatic small evergreen shrub found in dry sunny soil or grassy slopes amongst rocks, in exposed (usually parched), hot rocky environments, often on calcareous soils (Plants for a Future 2012); it is also found in gardens and urban areas.  “An herbaceous bushy plant reaching a height of four feet. A woody plant with spike-shaped leaves of light grayish green.  They have a downy look, the flowers appearing in various shades of white to mauve to violet-lavender, which are tightly paced around a singular stem” Essential Aromatherapy, p. 142.
Lavandula x intermedia is a cross of two plants, Lavandula angustifolia, a Lavender species with narrow leaves, and Lavandula latifolia, a Lavender species with wide leaves.  The ‘x’ means it is a cross and non-fertile, it does not produce seeds.  There are many varieties of Lavandula x intermedia.

There is extreme variation in this plant and its species due to the influence of terroir. This is why you must try out more than one to experience the variety of scent that exists in the plant. More about the growth and ecology of Lavender is at


PORTION OF PLANT USED IN DISTILLATION, HOW DISTILLED, EXTRACTION METHODS AND YIELDS ~ Only the flower buds contain the essential oil of Lavender, and from this the characteristic scent and flavor of lavender is derived. So, when you harvest, cut only the flower tops and not the stems to get the best representation of the scent. Commercial farms cut the top third of the plant and that includes the stem because it is easier and prunes the plant at the same time; so, it is economical and no need to come back and cut the stems. However, for the home user, take only the flower tops for distillation or for drying.

An acre of true Lavender (L. angustifolia) produces from 300 to 1,800 pounds of dried flowers (12 to 15 pounds of essential oil – about 2 gallons). An acre of one of the Lavandin cultivars (L. x intermedia) yields from 3,500 to 4,500 pounds of dried flowers per acre (53 to 67 pounds of essential oil).

Yield is 1.4 – 1.6% for L. angustifolia and more for L. x intermedia.




  • Color …………………. Most Lavender is colorless to a light yellow. Some with high amounts of camphor are brownish. Absolutes are brown.
  • Clarity ………………. Clear
  • Viscosity ………….  Non-viscous for the steam-distilled and semi-viscous for the absolutes.
  • Intensity of odor. The intensity varies depending on the elevation and chemistry. Lavender can be of very low intensity (strength) like a 1-2 and sometimes exceed 5-6 or more when it is high in camphor.

Odor Description/ Aroma Assessment ~ Lavender and Lavandin represent a plethora of odors from the sweet soft floral scent of the high elevation Lavender to the hot camphor scent from inland desert areas; Lavender has every scent you can imagine. One of my most favorite is the spicy floral scent of Tasmanian Lavandula angustifolia. I am also partial to the very soft, floral odor of Lavender absolute. There are other Lavenders I like and it behooves you to get a sampling of this essential oil from various areas or terroirs and find the one that you prefer. You may wish to try the Lavender Sampler Pack from Eden Botanicals. It is a kit of 10 different Lavenders from various areas. You may like one for skin care, another for inhalation and then an entirely different one for perfume. Pictured below are 14 of my favorite Lavender oils.

Various Lavenders from L. x intermedia to L. angustifolia and from 7 different terroirs.
Eden Botanicals supplied Lavender absolute, Lavandula angustifolia organic from Bulgaria and France, L. angustifolia high elevation, organic from Italy and high-elevation organic from Italy, L. angustifolia Maillette from France and a wild type, L. stoechas ssp. Luisieri from Spain, L. x intermedia Grosso organic from Spain and L. x. intermedia sumian from Sicily, L. angustifolia from Tasmania (Natural Extracts) and L. angustifolia Blend from Prima Fleur.


Left nostril = the scent AND Right nostril = the intensity

Left side nostril smells the scent; right side nostril smells the intensity. So, smell on the left side, then smell on the right and then waft back and forth under the nose to get the entire scent experience.

“It has been demonstrated that sensory perception has an impact on aging in species that are unconnected by millions of years through evolution. This suggests that comparable effects might be seen in human beings as well. For human beings, it might not be the smell…. it might be our perception of danger or food. In this case, a smart program where we control our perceptions might form the foundation of an easy yet powerful program to prevent disease and promote healthy aging.” from AntiAging Forum



How to Start Using Lavender oil: If you have never smelled or used or applied Lavender oil the easiest method to learn about what it does is to rub 1-2 drops of Lavender Essential Oil in your cupped palms, inhale the scent, and then listen and feel what that is like. Does it affect your brain to calm the mind? Does it have any mental effects on you at all?  You can also rub it on the feet, temples, wrists (or anywhere) and get an effect. After you find out the effects, and you like them, then you can add a drop or two of Lavender to your own products and understand these effects on the skin. There are many ways to use Lavender oils, some are: Aromatherapy oil, Bath gels, creams, lotions, shampoos and herbally as the whole dried flower in extracts, infusions, lotions, teas, tinctures.
This is also the way to start using any essential oil — open bottle and inhale lightly. Write down what you feel.


General Properties and Uses: Lavender is analgesic and sedative (calming, sedating) and antiseptic (antibiotic, anti-infective, anti-parasite) and anti-inflammatory.
Lavandin is antitussive, nerve tonic, hypotensive, antidepressant, and respiratory tonic and by application an antibacterial.


Properties of Lavender/Lavandin (by AP=application, IG=ingestion or IN=inhalation):

            AP = Application: Antiseptic, analgesic, Muscle relaxant, anti-inflammatory, cicatrize, cytophylactic, antispasmodic, antiparasitic, anti-infectious, antivenomous, and antibiotic.

            IN = Inhalation: Sedative, tonic, analgesic (pain relief), calmative, antitussive (cough suppress), decongestant, antidepressant, and restorative (makes you feel better).

            IG = Ingestion:  antivenomous, antitoxic, diuretic. We suggest that you do not take the EO internally.


Physical Uses of Lavender & How used (IG or AP): Externally applied for burns, cuts, grazes, inflammatory conditions, arthritis, cramps, ulcers and skin conditions such as dermatitis, eczema, sunburn, rashes, acne, insect bites, infections, and for hair and skin care. Lavender is a common ingredient in soaps, shampoos, and sachets for scenting clothes.

            Application/ Skincare: Lavender is an indispensable plant whose herb, essential oil and hydrosol are used in skin care and cosmetics. It is ubiquitous in high end products as well as in low-end ones. However, there are few of these many offerings that actually use a true uncut totally natural Lavender or Lavandin. These oils are separated by their chemistry — if they are high in linalyl acetate and linalool they are soothing and sedating. The esters (linalyl acetate) are usually very soothing to the skin while the alcohols (linalool) are sedating to the mind.

Externally, a few drops in a hot footbath is used for fatigue, or neuralgia. A hot compress relieves toothache, sprain and rheumatism. Lavender oil can be rubbed on the temples for a nervous headache.

Emotional Uses of Lavender (AP or IN):        Inhaled for headaches, migraine, insomnia, depression, anxiety, nervous tension, panic, hysteria, comfort during childbirth, and for mental pain of dysmenorrhea (AP & IN).

Energetic/Emotional Use ~ Lavender may have earned its name of ‘to wash’ because it is frequently used in baths to help purify the body and spirit. If grown with care and attention, it is one of the purest and most highly evolved scents.

                     Uses: The oil and spirit/tincture are good when taken internally for all sorts of pains in the head and for the brain, as a restorative and tonic against faints, weakness, giddiness, spasms, colic, vertigo —and with oil of Rosemary for loss of memory or for anti-aging. Lavender relieves melancholy and raises the spirits.

                       Stress Formula for the Work Place is a combination of Lavender, Geranium, Bergamot, Spearmint. Use twice as much Lavender as you do the other oils, something like this: 10 drops Lavender and 5 drops each of Bergamot, Geranium and Spearmint.  Succuss the blend and then take a sniff. Adjust the ingredients to your liking. You can use this as an inhalant or in a skin care product for a fragrant ingredient blend that also soothes the skin.


Spiritual Qualities of Plants, especially Lavender ~ Organic refers to the method of growing without the use of synthetic chemical fertilizers, sprays or products using sound healthy agricultural methods. Organically grown is better for you, better for the animals and best for the planet. If you want to incorporate the spiritual qualities of plants they must be organically grown and you should use the ones that are locally sourced and better yet those that you have grown yourself with love and intent. For plants to have a spiritual quality there has to have been the intent to grow the best. If you do have a plant that you have grown with intent and wish to use it in your inner/spiritual work, think how to use it, work on the method of using and then go ahead and use it. In other words, be spiritual to use spiritually. I have a book called Ritual, How to” that outlines ways in which you can use plant in a wholesome, intent way.


DIFFUSE/DIFFUSION ~ You can put Lavender or Lavandin into a diffuser. Just remember that when you diffuse, keep in mind that you should have a purpose in mind for the desired results and diffuse with purpose and intent and for short periods of time — 5 minutes out of 15 as an example. Make sure your diffuser has an on-off cycle so that the air does not become saturated around you. If you want to be calm, Lavender mixes well with Bergamot or Chamomile, if you want a calm stimulation try Lavender with Jasmine. There are hundreds of combinations that one can try with Lavender, just be moderate in your use.


            My Favorite Use of Lavender Oil ~ I have never been as fond of Lavender oil as I have been of its complementary opposite, Rosemary. They are like the yin and yang of essential oils. Where Rosemary is stimulating, Lavender is calming and when Rosemary wakes up your skin, Lavender soothes it.  I will choose Rosemary over Lavender every time except when it is time to sleep. Then I use sweet Lavender hydrosol as a spray for the pillow case and inhale the scent of a combination of Bergamot and Lavender to sleep. Umm! Peaceful quiet sleep is the best on lovely linen sheets, feather pillows and with the sweet scents of Lavender and Bergamot.

PERFUMERY AND BLENDING ~ Lavender blends with well with most other essential oils especially other Mediterranean oils like Marjoram, Thyme, conifers of all types and in perfumery the citrus scents of Lemon and Bergamot, other florals such as Jasmine, Osmanthus and herbal florals like Rose Geranium. As Eden Botanicals says, “In aromatherapy, Lavender is one of (if not) the most commonly used essential oil due to its general availability, modest price, versatility and universally pleasant scent. Lavender has been an integral part of fine fragrances for centuries – it is a middle to top note, can be used as a perfume modifier, and can also help mask unpleasant aromas of oils you want to use in blends.”
In perfumery is where you want to get the benefits of the Lavender scent, use the lovely Lavender absolute. It is soft and floral and more like the best of the best Lavender scent. It works exceedingly well in floral perfumes and adds a rich deep soft floral note to them.

courtesy of Eden Botanicals



 Perfume of a 1000 Flowers
10 drops Lavender absolute
5 drops each of Bergamot, Jasmine abs, Rose abs, Neroli, Tuberose and Vanilla
5 drops of Rose Geranium and Ylang-Ylang complete
Make a synergy using succussion.
Age the blend 2-4 weeks.
Dilute with an equal amount of 95% neutral grape spirits.
Shake again. Age again.
Label your container.
Use Sparingly.


            HOW TO EXTRACT SCENT from Lavender: There are many methods that one can use to ‘get’ the scent out of a plant and these have been detailed in several books including my own Herbal Body Book.         One method is as follows:  Fill a large jar with flowers of the Lavender (and some Calendula).   Small flowers should be chosen, and they should all be stripped of their stalks and leaves to leave room for as many flowers as possible. Now fill with a light Olive oil, fill it up slowly. As the oil is absorbed into the flowers, you may need to add a bit more so that the flowers are always slightly covered with oil. Leave them to macerate for twenty-four hours in the oil, then pour the entire contents of the whole jar into a double boiler and heat the oil until is almost boiling. Let it cool and then strain. You will need a strainer lined with silk (or panty hose). Let the oil drip through without a lot of squeezing.  If you want the end result to be a one flower oil then you must start and finish with the same flower. This formula yields an infused or macerated oil.

There is an art to the extraction of scent from flowers and this art is much older than distillation. Distillation is generally used for the herbaceous plants but home-methods will yield a good quality infused oil if care is taken.



HYDROSOL ~ There are umpteen uses of Lavender hydrosol. They can depend on the variety or the chemotype that was distilled. Lavender is a true all-around product — use it in baths, in skin care, in skin products, as a facial or body spray, use the sweeter Lavender hydrosols for baby or elder care, carry in your car for a refreshing spray while you drive or to clean the baby’s skin after you change a diaper. There are extensive files at the “Hydrosols – Herbs&Aromatherapy” Facebook page if you want specific uses. And every book that discusses hydrosols also has many uses for Lavender hydrosol. Try my book, 375 Essential Oils & Hydrosols.

          Hydrosol of Lavender can be gargled for hoarseness, added to teas for flavor. The hydrosol is an antiseptic for swabbing pimples, wounds, acne, or sores. The hydrosol is used as a wash for puffy eyes, bruises, bites, and other minor external sores or blemishes to normalize the sebaceous glands and reduce puffiness, and as a hair rinse to reduce oiliness.

Lavender hydrosol is sprayed on the face for skin care, to relieve eyestrain, for cooling and soothing the temper.  It works just as well on seniors or for babies.


Jeanne Rose Lavender Hydrosol Recipe for the Skin:  Lavender Hydrosol ~ Use a true high-altitude Lavender to distil as that will have the chemistry Lavender is known for. Lavender hydrosol is known for its anti-inflammatory properties and can be used on all skin types. Perfect for use as a daily toner and light astringent, especially for acne-prone, troubled skin. It is pure and therapeutic.    Aromatic note: True Lavender hydrosol, unlike other hydrosols, should not have a camphor-type scent. This is because Lavender generally does not have as many aromatic particles that are water soluble, so the scent is earthy, sweet, and herbal.

Dilute hydrosols by at least 50-75% for children 6 and older;

Dilute further for ages under 6 or avoid altogether.

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

 The perfect choice for a culinary experience — L. angustifolia Avice Hill to flavor a dessert
Courtesy of Evening Light Farms

CULINARY USES of Lavender ~ If you are using Lavender flowers and stalks in your cooking, please understand that whatever the chemistry is of that particular plant is what you will be eating. If your Lavender has a strong camphor odor then your food will also have that odor. It is best to use a ‘sweet’ culinary type Lavender that has little to no camphor/borneol odor, that is high in linalool and linalyl acetate instead.  Beware of plants that come from very hot or desert like areas as they will probably be very high in camphor. Smell the flower and stalk first before you use it in your grill.

The most unpleasant taste is a delicious steak or vegetable kebob that was speared onto a high camphor Lavender stalk or even a salad with camphoraceous Lavender flowers. Buy your culinary Lavender from Evening Light Farms — they grow particular types for particular culinary uses.
               You can infuse ‘sweet’ Lavender flowers in white wine for 24 hours, strain the flowers out and then drink the wine. You can make Lavender wine using grapes, yeast. Lavender buds and the fermentation process. See page 209-218 of The Herbal Guide to Food by Jeanne Rose.


HERBAL USES OF LAVENDER ~ A tea brewed from the tops is excellent to drink to relieve a headache caused from excess fatigue or exhaustion or for a slight stimulation to wake you up. Fomentation of Lavender in bags can be used as an analgesic to relieve pain or as a therapeutic mask for the face.

The dried plant is added to baths and facial steaming herbs to stimulate the complexion, cleanse the skin, and act as an aromatic astringent; it can be mixed with any other herb, especially Rosemary, Comfrey and Rose. It is commonly use in potpourris and sachets.

My Herbs & Things, Herbal Body Book and Herbal Guide to Food have many uses for Lavender herb. Read them for the formulas.


CHEMICAL COMPONENTS ~ To smell like Lavender your sample should exhibit high levels of the alcohol linalool and the ester linalyl acetate. Lavender should have linalool and linalyl acetate in it in a proportion of 2:1 or about 40:20. It should contain little to no Camphor.  If your Lavender has high quantities of camphor in it, then you have either the wrong plants or the wrong earth.  The essential oil is the expression of the earth in the plant.  Camphor can be in Spanish Lavenders and spike Lavenders but fine Lavender will have a soft and soothing scent.

Linalool is an alcohol like the alcohol in wine. The essential oil alcohols here are monoterpenols.  They are bactericides, anti-infectious, antiviral, stimulating to the skin to heal, good general tonics and free of hazards.

Linalyl acetate is an ester. Esters are somewhat fruity in scent, are gentle in action, soothing to the skin, anti-inflammatory, effective on skin rashes and other skin problems.  They can both calm and uplift and combined with the tonic virtues of alcohols are very balancing, especially to the nervous system.

Comparison of Main Components ~ There are many GC/MS available for Lavender and its derivatives.
Over the years, I have had many samples analyzed. Some years ago, I had 12 samples of California-grown Lavender analyzed and put together in a chart. This chart is available from me, if you wish to see it, just e-mail me,
Lavender oil gland

HISTORICAL USES ~ Lavender is involved with the history of Photography. The first permanent photograph was an image produced in 1825 by the French inventor Joseph Nicéphore Niépce. His photographs were produced on a polished pewter plate covered with a petroleum derivative called bitumen of Judea. Bitumen hardens with exposure to light. Niépce also experimented with silver chloride, which darkens when exposed to light, but eventually looked to the bitumen, which he used in his first successful attempt at capturing nature photographically. He dissolved the bitumen in Lavender oil, a solvent often used in varnishes, and coated the sheet of pewter with this light capturing mixture. He placed the sheet inside a camera obscura to capture the picture, and eight hours later removed it and washed it with Lavender oil to remove the unexposed bitumen.

Nicéphore Niépce’s earliest surviving photograph of a scene from nature, circa 1826, “View from the Window at Le Gras,” Saint-Loup-de-Varennes (France). The photograph was found to have been taken in 1825.


INTERESTING INFORMATION ~ The history of Lavender is long and varied and should include a bit about René Maurice Gattefossé who determined some interesting uses of the essential oil. He was born in 1881 and used essences (aromatic oils) during WWI as well as in skincare. He wrote a cosmetics manual and a Perfumery magazine in 1908 and he used Lavender oil for healing. In his words, “The external application of small quantities of essences rapidly stops the spread of gangrenous sores. In my personal experience, after a laboratory explosion covered me with burning substances which I extinguished by rolling on a grassy lawn, both my hands were covered with a rapidly developing gas gangrene. Just one rinse with lavender essence stopped “the gasification of the tissue”. This treatment was followed by profuse sweating, and healing began the next day (July 1910).” He wrote a book of his experiences, published in 1937, which I had the honor to translate in 1990 which later was made available to the public. Gattefossé died in 1950.


Prior to 1930, L. x intermedia or Lavandin was not available. Now, most of what people know and experience in France as “Lavender oil” is really Lavandula x intermedia. The discovery of this new variety of Lavandin was told by Pierre Grosso himself to Christiane Meunier in May 1985 and is reported in her book Lavandes & Lavandins (pp. 69-70). Mariuccia, Pierre Grosso’s sister, gives other details in Maritano’s book.

“Pierre began to cultivate Lavandin from his arrival in France, at the beginning of the thirties. Probably at the beginning of the fifties, he found an old abandoned Lavender field at Caseneuve (a township in Provence).  Here, among dead plants, there was just one still living, a beautiful Lavandin plant. He collected it, took some cuttings and in April the following year planted them out. He then began to produce and sell this new Lavender. People bought the Lavandin of the Grosso farm because it grew quickly and proved to be resistant to dèpèrissement, a progressive drying disease of plants, transmitted by insects. At the beginning of the seventies, Pierre Grosso decided to register his new variety at the Syndicat of Sault. From 1972-1975 the Lavandin ‘Grosso’ began to be planted in preference to the variety ‘Abrialii’. Now it represents about three quarters of the cultivated Lavender in Provence and is one of the best-known cultivars all over the world. Pierre’s Lavender farm went on to produce two or three million cuttings a year, prepared by French and Spanish female workers.”


KEY USE ~ Lavender is called ‘the Oil of First Thought’ because it is the first one anyone thinks about to use in just about any situation while Lavandin is called the ‘the Oil of Second Thought’ since you can use it if you don’t have Lavender.


SCIENTIFIC DATA ~ There are many articles regarding Lavender on the scientific websites. When you do your searches look for a website that is NOT selling you something. Look for ‘science’ in the title or look for the Journal of Essential Oil Research. Here is one about Lavender and the Nervous System . And look for specifics like Lavender and Fungus infection.

                                                        What is Lavender 40/42?
            This is a standardized oil with the same aroma every time you buy it. The numbers in Lavender 40/42 indicate the linalyl acetate + linalool content; in this case, they indicate the product contains 40%-42% of linalyl acetate and linalool. Lavender 40/42 is generally a blend of various lavenders in order to get a consistent scent from batch to batch, with processors adding linalyl acetate to cover the smell of camphor or borneol components of a given lavender. Properties: Because this oil is standardized it has a consistent aroma from lot to lot. It is low in therapeutic qualities. Benefits: We do not recommend using lavender 40/42 for therapeutic uses. It is an okay oil for perfume and fragrance applications, because it will have a consistent aroma for each batch that you make. Of Interest: To standardize this oil different lavender oils are blended together. A nature identical linalyl acetate is then added to the blend to create an aroma that is the same every time. Lavender 40/42 is actually a blend of various lavenders and ingredients and is thus a manufactured oil, not truly from an actual plant.


FORMULAS~ Lavender Luxuries


There are many books giving many recipes for making skin-care treatments including my own The Herbal Body Book (See Table 1) as well as Kitchen Cosmetics.  Use these for reference.  Read these books very carefully and practice making your own body-care products. Lavender is a well-known addition to any skin-care or beauty products. Lavandula angustifolia, the ‘true’ Lavender, with its high ester content is best in formulas for acne that is either pustular or dry, reddened or couperose skin, devitalized (skin with no life) skin, inflamed or irritated skin, oily skin, skin that is fully of water (edema) but dry and fatty and for wrinkles.

Lavender that is higher in camphor or borneol, Lavandula latifolia, the ‘Spike’ Lavender or certain chemotypes of Lavender can be used specifically for acne and dry acne. Know your Lavender, especially it is good to know what type of Lavender that you are using when you make a skin-care formula.

Refer to Table 1 of The Aromatherapy Book: Applications & Inhalations and Table 1 of The Herbal Body Book for your choice of essential oils.  Get the book from 41`5-564-6785 or


SIMPLE SCRUB as a cleanser or soap substitute ~ 1 T Oatmeal added to 1 T warm honey + 1 drop Lavender oil. Apply to moistened skin.


FACIAL OIL FOR SKIN ~ Make your blend of therapeutic essential oils using Table 1 of the Herbal Body Book or the chapter on Blending of the Aromatherapy Studies Course.  Add 4-6 drops of your EO. mixture to 1 oz. of herbal infused vegetable oil.  Particularly recommended is Lavender Infused Oil with your added essential Oils. Or use Olive oil for normal skin, Hazelnut oil for oily skin and Sunflower oil for dry skin.  Bottle, label and use.  Make only one ounce of facial oil at a time because as you treat your skin condition, it will change and so will your choice of essential oils.


STEAMING YOUR SKIN AS A CLEANSING ALTERNATIVE ~ Any mixture of herbs and essential oils will work.  But for simplicity sake use Lavender flower, Chamomile flowers, Rosebuds and Comfrey leaf.  Infuse 1 T of each in one cup of water, then heat this water just to boiling.  Remove the pot to a table and place face over pot and let the steam do its work.  Use only 1 drop of your choice of essential oil per steam.  See the Herbal Body Book and The Aromatherapy Book.

GENTLE MASKS for Stimulation ~ These were discussed at length in The Herbal Body Book and many examples are given.  The easiest mask and the most therapeutic besides the ones mentioned in the required readings is to simply take the simplest store-bought mask and make it therapeutic by adding high-quality Lavender oils and a bit of herbal Lavender infusion or hydrosol. Use no more than 1-2 drops essential oil per mask.  You may also use 1 t. clay + 1 t. hydrosol + a touch of Lavender/Chamomile essential oil.


HOT OIL TREATMENTS FOR SKIN AND HAIR ~ add 1 drop Lavender oil + 1 drop of Rosemary oil to 1 teaspoon Jojoba oil and rub into the scalp for a gentle treatment. Wear a hair cap or wrap your head in a hot towel until the towel cools. The wash hair as usual immediately or the next day. You can also make a Rosemary infused oil with Jojoba or Olive oil and to ½ oz. of this add 20 drops or more of Lavender oil. Rosemary and Lavender EO work well together.


SHAMPOO ~ Shampoo can be easily made from herbs, soap and essential oils.  However, if you don’t wish to do this, make herbal shampoo the easy way.  Make an herbal infusion using 1 oz. of mixed Lavender flowers to 2 cups of water.  Strain and add 1/2 cup of this floral infusion to 1 oz. of store-bought shampoo.  Add 3 drops of essential oil of Lavender.  Shampoo hair.  Dry by using a Linen or silk towel and rubbing the hair with the towel.  This will give a gloss to the hair.  With the rest of your Lavender herbal infusion you can steam your skin or add it to your aromatic Lavender bath or use as a hair rinse. The excess can be refrigerated or used in your bath.

BATHING ~ Bathing with Lavender herb and essential oil is an important part of any aromatherapist personal skin treatment.  Without a bath once a week for soaking and contemplating and herbal immersing, one’s personal cleansing ritual is not complete.  A shower is great for the morning hurry but in the evening, a bath is a spiritual and physical necessity.    I generally add Spikenard or Lavender/Chamomile EO. to a bath. Other bath treatments can be made with any number of herbal and essential oil ingredients.  Salt scrub baths made up of 1 oz. Sea Salt + 1 oz. Hazel nut oil + 5 drops Lavender essential oil is used as externally to exfoliate for dead skin cells.  A shower or soak follows the salt scrub (see The Aromatherapy Book: Applications & Inhalations).


A BLUE LAVENDER TOMATO TALE with a Formula Attached.

            When I first started working with Artemisia arborescens, nobody else much knew about it but I knew it produced a gorgeous dark indigo-blue oil. I had a large bag of the cuttings from my garden and my friend at the Alameda Distillery offered to distill it in his smallest still. I warned him about the blue oil that would be released from the plant – but he was undeterred. So, we went through the distillation process, got some beautiful opaque indigo-blue oil and lots of interesting hydrosol. Later when they distilled some grapes for the eau de vie, it came out blue as well. They were shocked but agreed that it was still tasty.

They called me about how to clean these azulene molecules from the still and I suggested running a load of Lavender. Thus, was Blue Lavender born. When made the same error some years later of running the Blue Artemis first, and then their Lavender they also got a lovely blue-colored Lavender oil. But in this case, they sold the blue-Lavender oil to fascinated customers and then began to make it into a healing salve.

The A. arborescens has an amazing healing EO that is used for serious skin disease. Unlike the Moroccan plant, West coast Artemisia arborescens does not contain thujone but it does contain camphor. This camphor in the Blue Artemis treats skin conditions such as skin tags while azulene is used as an anti-inflammatory for conditions like Rosacea. It is used externally. And when distilled prior to anything else, it leaves some of its healing qualities behinds that become incorporated into the final product. So, Lavender is often used to clean out the still from the blue azulene particles and then also lends itself to the healing qualities of the resultant oil, called Blue Lavender. The Lavender softens the strong herbal scent of the blue Artemis and is calming as well. makes a gorgeous healing salve of this oil.



Courtesy of Evening Light Farms

Lavandula angustifolia with many varieties that are distilled including favorites like Munstead, Hidcote, Jean Davis, Lady, and Vera to name just a few. So-called English Lavender alone has over 40 different named varieties of plants with the broadest range of color choices available from white Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia Arctic Snow), to pink (Lavandula angustifolia rosea), then to the deepest royal purple (Lavandula angustifolia Hidcote) spanning the full Lavender color spectrum.

French Lavender, Lavandula dentata, leaves are grayish green with a beautiful serrated edge which is why the name Lavandula dentata. The plants do very well in dried flower arrangements and can be distilled for a pale green, yellow oil. This oil on analysis has up to 40% cineol. Cineol is what makes Eucalyptus and Rosemary therapeutic. So, think of this oil as a sweet version of Eucalyptus and you will know how to use it. AND
Lavandula stoechas, the flower spikes have been used as tea internally for headaches, irritability, feverish colds and nausea, and the infusion externally used for wounds, rheumatic pain and as an insect repellent. Hydrosol can be used as a wound wash. The essential oil is used commercially in air fresheners and insecticides. The EO contains up to 40% pulegone.

Lavandula viridis oil vs. fungus, Lavender oil from green Lavender can knock out drug-resistant fungi called dermatophytes, lab-dish tests show. Distilled from the Iberian shrub Lavandula viridis L’Hérit, the oil inhibited dermatophytes by attacking their cell membranes. It also proved promising against Candida fungi. Dermatophytes cause athletes’ foot, ringworm and nail infections, while Candida causes yeast infections. Researchers at the University of Coimbra in Portugal report the results in an upcoming issue of the Journal of Medical Microbiology. The active ingredient in the lavender oil appears to be an organic compound called alpha-pinene, they note. More tests are planned. —Nathan Seppa AND
Lavandula x intermedia, a variety of Lavandin, is the very commonly seen and known plant grown in vast quantities in France and in the United States and has many chemotypes. Few of these chemotypes are suitable for EO use or for using the stems or flowers in cooking. In too many cases this plant is very high in camphor. That in itself is not necessarily bad, but in many cases, renders this oil unfit for fine skin care or emotional care.

~ ~ ~

CONTRAINDICATIONS: There do not seem to be any contraindications for the use of Lavender plant nor for the essential oil in perfumery or aromatherapy. There are no known scientific reports of interactions between Lavender and conventional medications. However, because Lavender promotes relaxation, it may make the effects of central nervous (CNS) depressants stronger.  There are some distillers and practitioners who have developed sensitivity to the scent and use of Lavender and are unable to be near it or to smell it without negative consequences.

 Patch Test:  If applying a new essential oil to your skin always perform a patch test to the inner arm (after you have diluted the EO in a vegetable carrier oil). —Wash an area of your forearm about the size of a quarter and dry carefully. Apply a diluted drop (1 drop EO + 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
Do not Ingest essential oils: Although some oils are important flavoring oils in the flavor industry and thus ingested in very small amounts in many foods, especially meats and sausages, it is not a good idea to use them yourself either in capsules or in honey to take internally.
Safety Precautions: Do not apply the essential oil neat, especially to the underarms or delicate parts of the body. Most oils are probably not to be used on babies, children or pregnant women. Many aromatherapist suggest that there are some oils not be used at all. However, as with many plants, essential oil chemistry is subject to change depending on species and terroir.

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©

Coombs, Allen J. Dictionary of Plant Names. Timber Press, Portland, OR. 1995.
Geuter, Maria. Herbs in Nutrition. New York. BioDynamic Agricultural Assn. 1962.
Herbal Studies Course/ Jeanne Rose & Berkeley, California: North Atlantic Books, 1992
Mabberley, D. J. Mabberley’s Plant-Book, 3rd edition, 2014 printing, Cambridge University Press.
Meunier, Christiane. Lavandes & Lavandins. Édisud. Aix-en-Provence. 1992
Nickell’s, J.M. Botanical Ready Reference
Rose, Jeanne.  375 Essential Oils and Hydrosols.  Berkeley, California: Frog, Ltd., 1999
Rose, Jeanne. Lavender, Lavender, Lavender. Sequim, WA. Sequim Lavender Growers Assn. 2003.
Rose, Jeanne. Natural Botanical Perfumery. San Francisco, Ca. 1999
Rose, Jeanne.  The Aromatherapy Book: Applications & Inhalations.  San Francisco, California.
Worwood, Susan. Essential Aromatherapy. New World Library, San Rafael, CA. 1995.
other books referenced are numerous.

Biography: Jeanne Rose has been teaching aromatherapy since 1972. Jeanne has written 25 books on herbs and aromatherapy and has two home-study courses; Aromatherapy and Herbal Studies Course and the Aromatherapy Studies Course, Practitioner.  For contact information on these courses and the books see:


Lavender Limerick
Lavender, Lavender, Lavender
It will soothe your psyche and make you Purr
I don’t like it it’s true
It’s all so new.
But I use it on all my friends with fur—JeanneRose2015


A single lovely Lavender flower stalk.



~ JR ~


Synopsis:  An ambitious discussion of the essential oil of the grass Vetivert from the rootlets, its uses, growth, description, organoleptic qualities and uses of the essential oil.
A Vetivert basket and Vetivert essential oils from three countries. Courtesy Eden Botanicals.



 Jeanne Rose


Common Name/Latin Binomial: Vetiver or Vetivert is Chrysopogon zizanioides. Vetiver is the plant and Vetivert is the essential oil of the plant.

            Other Common Name/Naming Information: On the basis of similar genetic analysis of related genera such as Chrysopogon and Sorghum, a new taxonomy was proposed by Veldkamp, who combined Chrysopogon zizanioides and Vetiveria zizanioides under the unique denomination Chrysopogon zizanioides L. Roberty. the former term, Vetiveria zizanioides, however, is still widely used in the current literature.

Vetiver belongs to the same part of the grass family as maize, sorghum, sugarcane, and lemongrass. Its botanic name, Vetiveria zizanioides (Linn) Nash, has had a checkered history—at least 11 other names in 4 different genera have been employed in the past. The generic name comes from “vetiver,” a Tamil word meaning “root that is dug up.” The specific name zizanioides (often misspelled zizanoides) was given first by the great Swedish taxonomist Carolus Linnaeus in 1771. It means “by the riverside”, and reflects the fact that the plant is commonly found along waterways in India.” —

            Family: From the grass family Poaceae. Poaceae or Gramineae is a large and nearly ubiquitous family of monocotyledonous flowering plants known as grasses. The term Poaceae is derived from the Ancient Greek for fodder


Essential Oil Plants of the Grass Family ~ Gramineae (Poaceae).

Chrysopogon zizanioides is commonly known as Vetiver, a bunch grass whose roots are used.
Cymbopogon citratus West Indian Lemongrass;

Cymbopogon flexuosus is East Indian Lemongrass

Cymbopogon martini var. motia is Palmarosa grass, syn. Andropogon martini or Cymbopogon martinii.

Cymbopogon martinii var. sofia is Gingergrass

Cymbopogon nardus is Citronella grass.


Countries of Origins: Haiti, Java, Brazil, China, Madagascar, Japan and La Réunion and India for the Khus variety.

Eden Botanicals Harvest Location: Haiti and Sri Lanka with both organically-grown and cultivated types grown.


Endangered or Not: The annual world trade in Vetivert oil is estimated to be approximately 250 tons with Brazil, China, Haiti, India, Japan, Java, and Reunion being the main producers. Europe, India, Japan, and the United States are the main consumers.

The plant does not seem to be endangered although there is fear that consumers will mistakenly order the fertile plant over the internet and introduce it to a place where it may overrun.


General description of Plant habitat and growth: There are about 50 species of Chrysopogon of which only one is used in aromatherapy and that species zizanioides has two main types, a fertile one and a sterile one. This is a perennial grass with very fragrant long rhizomatous roots, growing to six feet high.

“It is important to realize that Vetiver comes in two types—this is a crucial point because only one of them is suitable for use around the world. If the wrong one is planted, it may spread and produce problems for farmers.

A wild type from North India known as Khus or Vetiver. This is the original undomesticated species. It flowers regularly, sets fertile seed, and is known as a “colonizer.” Its rooting tends to be shallow, especially in the damp ground it seems to prefer. If loosed on the world, it might become a weed.

A “domesticated” type from South India. This is the Vetiver that has existed under cultivation for centuries and is widely distributed throughout the tropics. It is probably a man-made selection from the wild type. It is nonflowering, does not seed (or at least is non-spreading), and must be replicated by vegetative propagation. It is the only safe type to use for erosion control.” —

It southern cultivar is a densely tufted, perennial grass that is considered sterile outside its natural habitat.  It flowers but sets no seeds. It is a lawn grass in the tropics, however, when eaten the sharp calluses on the lemma can pierce an animals stomach. (The Lemma is a morphological term used in botany and refers to a part of the spikelet of grasses (Poaceae). It is the lowermost of two chaff-like bracts enclosing the grass floret. It often bears a long bristle called an awn, and may be similar in form to the glumes – chaffy bracts at the base of each spikelet.

Vetiver can grow up to (5 ft.) high and form clumps as wide. The stems are tall and the leaves are long, thin, and rather rigid. The flowers are brownish-purple. Unlike most grasses, which form horizontally spreading, mat-like root systems, vetiver’s roots grow downward, 7 ft. to 13 ft. in depth.


Vetiver is the best plant in the world to stop erosion and repair damaged land from erosion. Once permanent Vetiver rows are established the roots should never be dug up. The aromatic roots have been used since ancient times in India. The fragrant, insect-repelling roots yield oil, which is valuable in the perfume industry. Traditionally, these roots were woven into mats, fans and fragrant screens, while the tops of the grass were used for thatch, mulch, handicraft, fodder and animal bedding.

Vetivert roots


Portion of plant used in distillation, how distilled, extraction methods and yields:   The roots of Vetiver are picked, washed, comminuted (chopped), dried, and macerated (soaked) in the distillation water, before being steam distilled.  Yield: 0.5%.

The quality of the oil depends on the age of the roots and the length of distillation ~ from 12-36 hours. Distillation studies on vetiver (Vetiveria zizanioides) in northern India during 1987 to 1991, demonstrated that maximum oil content was associated with freshly harvested roots and that extractable oil decreased with delays in harvest and storage period.


Organoleptic Characteristics:

  • Color …………………. Depending on source, it is honey colored to a caramel brown
  • Clarity ………………… The lighter the color the more it is clear, the darker then semi-opaque
  • Viscosity ……………. Viscous to very viscous and thick like molasses
  • Intensity of odor … 4-6 (often the darker the color the more intense is the odor)

The guide to gauge the Intensity of odor ~ On a scale of 1-10, Lemon is on the low end about 2, while Peppermint is about 7-8. There are Lavenders that run the gamut from 1-9. However, Vetivert is often not very intense and softens with use in a perfume.

  • Taste ……………………. A burning bitter aromatic flavor, a smoky scent that rises up the throat.

5 Vetivert oils ~ courtesy Eden Botanicals and Prima Fleur


Odor Description/ Aroma Assessment: In general, the odor of this EO is very distinctive, yet when compared with one another there are definite differences. The newer samples of Vetivert are lighter in color and the lighter the color the less intense and less complex is the odor. As you can see from the above illustration, color varies from pale yellow to very dark brown. Color is removed from the oil because perfume makers do not like color. Personally, I prefer the deep rich intense scent of the original Vetivert types with the rich dark color for my perfumery classes.

Vetivert when double-distilled has an earthy, green tenacious character with sweet wood quality. During re-distillation, a small fraction of the constituents is removed, thus removing some of the therapeutic quality and other Vetivert oils are recommended when therapy is required.

Vetivert oil is a viscous amber-colored oil with a characteristic rooty, precious-woody odor of great tenacity. It is olfactorily dominated by a complex mixture of oxygenated sesquiterpenes. Has a persistent green-woody note and can be soft, woody-fruity when used with Patchouli, Sandalwood, Jasmine.

Vetivert double-distilled from Haiti is a light-colored EO, clear, medium viscosity and the scent is woody, green and slightly fruity odor, with less definable complexity. Because of its lack of color, it is often preferred in a perfume.

Vetivert organically grown from Haiti is a clear oil with a nice yellow color. It is strongly herbaceous and earth with a woody and even spicy note.

I am very fond of the Vetivert from Java with its deep brown color, semi-opaque, and viscous. The scent is woody, green with a floral and herbal back note. This very complex oil will indeed make your perfumes brown but upon dilution the scent smoothens out. It is wonderful with Rose or jasmine and Patchouly to make deep rich grounding odors that are sometimes

Solubility ……………………… 1-2 volumes of 80% alcohol
Specific Gravity ……………. 0.984 – 1.035 @ 25° C
Optical Rotation …………. Varies from +14° to + 37°
Refractive Index at 20° … 1.515 1.530


Chemical Components: There is great variety in the GC/MS of Vetivert but the one that I have seen is Vetiverol up to 50%, Vetivol up to 10%, terpenes like Vetivene up to 20%, and phenols up to 11%, Furfural, and Sesquiterpenes.

Two main chemotypes of the C. zizanioides species can be found: the ‘typical’ vetiver that is widespread all over the world and especially in Haiti, Java, Brazil, China, Madagascar, Japan and La Réunion. This produces an essential oil containing mainly zizaane, vetivane, eremophilane and eudesmane derivatives. The essential oils prepared industrially for the perfumery world market come exclusively from this variety.

On the other hand, ‘Khus’ oil another chemotype, is distinguished from the typical C. zizanioides by high amounts of cadinane derivatives, such as khusinol and especially khusilal. Khus oil is also devoid of the vetivones, characteristic of the ‘typical’ samples.


General Properties: (by IG=ingestion or IN=inhalation or AP=application):
Application:  Fixative in perfumery, stimulant, humectant, antiseptic, tonic, immuno-stimulant, emmenagogue, antispasmodic, sedative, and antiparasitic.
Ingestion:  It is not taken internally.
Inhalation:  Stimulant, immuno-stimulant, calmative, some think it has emmenagogue properties, sedative, and nervine.


Application:  Vetivert is used as a fixative in perfumery. When used in massage oil it is good for the circulation. It is used in lotions for aching joints, arthritis, or rheumatism.  It is a circulatory tonic and it can alleviate menstrual problems.  Specifically, it is said to promote and regulate menstrual flow and alleviates cramping.


            Application/ Skincare:   It is moisturizing and humectant for dry skin.  So, it is used in skin care on dry, irritated, mature, or aging skin.  Vetivert EO is useful in lotions to assist in skin hydration, if used with Lemon oil to help even out the color of the skin, and when used regularly will help to reveal smoother, better-looking complexion. The EO is useful in anti-aging creams and lotions, especially with Frankincense EO.


a recipe for the skin

Exfoliation is just like peeling the skin off an onion.  Dead cells are removed with scrubs, masks, or acid peels, revealing the younger, smoother layer of skin beneath. Exfoliate with ground coffee, ground almonds, ground walnuts, ground oats or a combination of these with hydrosols to hydrate and essential oils to treat. Essential oils should be gentle such as Owyhee, Roman Chamomile, Sandalwood, Rose, and Vetivert.

I am particularly fond of ¼ cup ground Almonds with enough Roman Chamomile or Rose hydrosol to moisten and a drop of Vetivert. Mix together, apply to clean moist face and gently massage in with circular motions. Let it sit while you shower and then gently rinse off.


Pain Release Formula
Mix together 20 drops Grapefruit – white, + 10 drops Rosewood + 5 drops Vetivert.
Shake vigorously and apply by massage to any painful spots on your body.


Perfumery ~ Vetiver grass roots contain an essential oil and used with other tropical odors is considered a high-class perfume. Copper plate inscriptions have been found that list the perfume (probably as a maceration) as one of the articles used by royalty. Vetivert oil is one of the ingredients in Chanel No. 5. The famous French perfume was introduced in 1921 and is still in production. Vetivert oil is contained in 90% of all western perfumes and its greatest use is in modern perfume creations. Vetivert oil is estimated to be approximately 250 tons per year in world trade.  The herb has been known in India since ancient times.


Diffuse/Diffusion: Vetivert can be diffused if you mix it with other essential oils, specifically those that are less viscous such as the Lavenders or citrus odors. It makes a very warm grounding odor that helps calm a household.


Emotional/Energetic Use: In folklore, Vetivert oil is used to increase financial abundance. In more common ritual, inhaling the oil is said to protect the body from menacing energies, including physical illness. Vetiver is employed in massage and aromatherapy for its grounding influence, to calm the central nervous system of one who feels “uprooted.”


Emotional Uses (AP or IN):   

Inhalation: “The scent is calming and sedating, used for comforting and for people who feel ‘uprooted’ or without stability.  It affects the parathyroid glands” —  375 Essential Oils and Hydrosols, p. 147.  It also alleviates stress, tension, and nervous tension.

Vetivert is also a good grounding oil for those who focus on intellectual activities to the exclusion of the physical, the herb added to the bath for an exceptional stress-relieving soak, and to inhale in the case of shock due to, for example, an accident, loss of employment, bereavement, separation, or divorce.


Ritual Formula – Send All Evil Away
Make a formula 20 drops Rosewood + 10 drops Palmarosa + 3 drops Vetivert.
Mix it together and use by inhalation or add to 70 drops (2 ml +) of a carrier oil.
Apply to wrists with intention and inhale.


Key Use: Oil of Depression and the immune system or Oil of Tranquility.

Depending on the country where used, this plant when distilled is used in perfumery and if dried used as potpourri and bug repellent.


~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


Tomato Tales with Vetivert EO & Jeanne Rose’s experience

            I collected the oil of this plant for 30 years, from various company lists. Didn’t like the odor so kept the oil and let it gracefully age on my shelves. This is one of the major essential oils that can age gracefully for many years. I have stock from 1983 and after. I have stock from a company now long gone that has added synthetics. Why this was the case, I do not know as it is a relatively inexpensive essential oil.

For all these years, I was not that fond of Vetivert essential oil although I really loved the Vetiver fans and fragrant baskets that were made with the roots. I tried to like the scent but was not successful using it in perfumes or blends. It took my friend, Marianne Griffeth, of Prima Fleur Botanicals, to teach me to love it via her ability to make successful and fragrant blends using Vetivert. Her blends were always warm and delicious smelling ~ she talked about it so much that I began to try to use Vetivert oil. I have been getting better and better and am now truly loving the scent. I like to use the less intense oils that I have obtained from Eden Botanicals but also love the deep, dark Vetivert I get from Prima Fleur Botanicals.

Recently, I took 1 tablespoon of plain unscented cleansing cream and added 1-drop of Vetivert oil and massaged on my clean face and then let it sit for a few hours before I washed it off with warm water. This was a very pleasant experience and my face looked dewy soft.


Blends Best with: Cassie, Cedarwood, Cinnamon, Clary Sage, Clove, Chocolate Absolute, Coffee Bean, Frankincense, Galbanum, Geranium, Grapefruit, Jasmine, Lavender, OakmossPatchouli, Rose, Sandalwood, Tobacco Absolute, Violet Leaf, Ylang Ylang and citrus and other rich long-lived scents.


            Blending with formula ~ When making perfumes, always mix your oils together and then shake them via succussion [Succussion – to fling up from below] to make a synergy.  Let them age.  Add more oil if needed.  Age. Then add the carrier. Alcohol is not usually added to a Chypre type scent.

These are made with a top note, heart or body note and base or fixative note plus bridges if needed.


Chypre #3 ~ Vetivert
Top Note – 8 drops Clary Sage flower
Heart Note – 3 drops Cypress berry + 3 drops Grapefruit peel + 2 drops Petitgrain leaf
+ 2 drops Petitgrain leaf
Base Note – 4 drops Vetivert root + 2 drops Oakmoss
Fixative Note – 1 drop Labdanum resin

Mix these essential oils together, let them age for a few weeks. Smell, adjust ingredients if necessary. Dilute with oil, or alcohol and age again before using.


Gayathri India Perfume – 8-15-12
Bergamot peel – 40 (dark green)
Vanilla abs – 20
Balsam of Tolu – 10 (pre-dilute 50•50 with grape spirits)
Vetivert roots – 5

Mix – wait – add Cane or Grape spirits – wait – filter if necessary – wait – Use.


Dark Chocolate Truffle Perfume
Mix in any combination, start with 5 drops of each, smell, analyze
and add more or less of whatever you like.
Cocoa (Chocolate) Abs
Tobacco Abs
Vetivert EO
Vanilla Abs


Basket made of Vetiver roots


HERBAL USES: Varieties of this plant are grown throughout the tropics and used to thatch roofs or as a terracing plant. The roots of this grass acquire a soft almost sandalwood like odor when dried.  If these plants are kept moist and laid about the house, they help to keep bugs and moths out. And these dried roots are one of the best fixatives for dry potpourri as they blend well with Rose scent. Theses roots can be used in bath herbs, powdered for sachet or drunk as a tonic or stimulant tea. — Herbs & Things, Jeanne Rose’s Herbal, p. 112.

            Sometimes the roots are cleaned and used for brushes, for window screens (when wetted, will cool the house as the wind blows through), fans, mats and baskets and the chemical constituents of zizanol and epizizanol are insect repellents.


HYDROSOL: To date I have not had the opportunity to try a Vetiver hydrosol.

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

Historical Uses: Historically used in perfumery while the herb is woven or used in mats to fragrance the air.

 Interesting Information: One type is called Khus-Khus.  The roots are used to make fragrant fans and screens, which give off a refreshing, clean scent when dampened.  “The roots are interwoven with flower matting, window coverings, etc. giving rooms a fragrance and deterring insects.  The oil is used in chypre (green, earthy) and oriental type perfumes, and soaps, toiletries, etc.  Growing the plant protects against soil erosion” essential aromatherapy, p. 170.

Key Use: Depression and the immune system. Oil of Tranquility.

 Contraindications: There do not seem to be any contraindications for the use of Vetiver plant in its use as blinds nor for the essential oil in perfumery or aromatherapy.

Do not Ingest essential oils: Although some oils are important flavoring oils in the flavor industry and thus ingested in very small amounts in many foods, especially meats and sausages, it is not a good idea to use them yourself either in capsules or in honey to take internally.
Safety Precautions: Do not apply the essential oil neat, especially to the underarms or delicate parts of the body. Most oils are probably not to be used on babies, children or pregnant women. Many aromatherapist suggest that there are some oils not be used at all. However, as with many plants, essential oil chemistry is subject to change depending on species and terroir.
Patch Test:  If applying a new essential oil to your skin always perform a patch test to the inner arm (after you have diluted the EO in a vegetable carrier oil). —Wash an area of your forearm about the size of a quarter and dry carefully. Apply a diluted drop (1 drop EO + 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 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©





Herbal Rejuvenating Parchment Skin Bath

Mix together equal parts of Patchouli leaves (upon which you have sprayed a bit of Patchouli oil), Vetivert roots, Linden flowers, and Comfrey leaf. Mix this all together. For a great bath, use at least 4 volume of the mixture. Add to a quart of water, and simmer gently for 10 minutes, then pour the liquid into your bath and the herbal matter into a gauze bag. Tie off the bag and throw into the tub. The Patchouli is rejuvenating for the senses, the Vetiver is a tonic stimulant and beneficial to healthy skin tone, and the Comfrey regenerates aging skin.

This is a great combination for men. —from Jeanne Rose Herbal Body Book, p. 301.



Orange Chypre Potpourri (dried herbs).

Chypre (sheepre) scents were invented in France and used in the 16th and 17th Century and were made up of various herbal powders and resins.  See Red Chypre as an example of that time.  And they are non-alcoholic perfumes that contain a variety of oils and resins.  The true traditional formula was one composed of Oakmoss, Labdanum, Jasmine, Patchouli and Bergamot with animal notes of civet and musk with Vetivert often added. These are often composed on the contrasts between Bergamot and Oakmoss and will often include Patchouli and citrus odors.  These scents are good on brunettes and for most men except those men who are very fair, pale or blonde. Aromatics Elixir, MaGriffe and Paloma Picasso are examples of Chypre scent for women.

Potpourris and Sachets are usually made of three main ingredients: (not EO) the main plant for its scent and color; the essential scent in EO Perfumes, the blender plant scent and the fixative plant scent, which are usually resins and base notes.

Scent your basic herbs and resins with their own essential oil and age before using them in the final construction.

Remember that Potpourri ingredients are generally left in whole form so that the form of the plants is still identifiable (with fixative ingredients in powder form) while Sachet ingredients are all comminuted and/or powdered form.
8 oz. Orange flowers WH (whole)
4 oz. Spearmint WH
3 oz. Coriander seeds, crushed
2 oz. Calamus CS (cut & sifted)
2 oz. Vetiver roots CS
1 oz. Oakmoss CS
1 oz. Benzoin resin, crushed
Add some cotton balls or tips of Q-tips scented with Bergamot and Vetivert oil.

Mix this all together and age in a covered light-proof container. Occasionally, open the top of the container and let the lovely potpourri scent the room.


Guenther, Ernest. The Essential Oils. Published by Krieger.
Herbal Studies Course/ Jeanne Rose & Berkeley, California: North Atlantic Books, 1992
Mabberley, D. J. Mabberley’s Plant-Book, 3rd edition, 2014 printing, Cambridge University Press.
Rose, Jeanne.  375 Essential Oils and Hydrosols.  Berkeley, California: Frog, Ltd., 1999
Rose, Jeanne.  The Aromatherapy Book: Applications & Inhalations.  San Francisco, California:
Rose, Jeanne. Herbs & Things. San Francisco, CA. 2009
Rose, Jeanne. Natural Botanical Perfumery Workbook.  Available at
Rose, Jeanne. The Herbal Body Book. Frog, Ltd. Berkeley, CA. 2000
Shaath, Nadima • Healing Civilizations; The Search for Therapeutic Essential Oils & Nutrients • Cameron+Co . 2017
Wikipedia on growth and morphology

Abstracts/Scientific Data:
Evaluation of vetiver oil and seven insect-active essential oils against the Formosan subterranean termite. PubMed • Zhu, B C; Henderson, etc.
Modification of sleep-waking and electroencephalogram induced by vetiver essential oil inhalation
PubMed Central • Cheaha, Dania etc.
Constituents of south Indian vetiver oils. PubMed • Mallavarapu, Gopal Rao; etc.
Evaluation of DEET and eight essential oils for repellency against nymphs of the lone star tick, Amblyomma americanum (Acari: Ixodidae), Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)
Vetiver being harvested in China






~ JR ~


~ Lemongrass ~ EO PROFILE & Herbal Use

Synopsis: An ambitious discussion of the essential oil of the grass oil Lemongrass with the uses, growth, description, organoleptic qualities and herbal uses of the plant.


Cymbopogon species

By Jeanne Rose ~ June 2017


ESSENTIAL OIL PROFILE ~ Name of Oil: Lemongrass – 2 species

 LATIN BINOMIAL/BOTANICAL FAMILY: Lemon grass West Indian (Cymbopogon citratus) and Cymbopogon flexuosus is East Indian Lemongrass.

FAMILY: Lemongrass GRASS is a genus of the Gramineae (Poaceae) family of grasses. The name Cymbopogon is derived from the Greek words “kymbe” (boat) and “pogon” (beard), referring to the flower spike arrangement.  PRONUNCIATION ~ (sim-bo-pO’ gon)

NAMING ~ Cymbopogon citratus (DC.) Stapf DC or Augustin-Pyramus deCandolle, a Swiss botanist named many plants.



Chrysopogon zizanioides is commonly known as Vetiver, a bunch grass whose roots are used. Synonym is   Vetiveria) zizanioides) Vetivert (Chrysopogon zizanioides)

Cymbopogon nardus is Citronella grass.

Cymbopogon citratus West Indian Lemongrass;

Cymbopogon flexuosus is East Indian Lemongrass

Cymbopogon martini var. motia is Palmarosa grass, syn. Andropogon martini or Cymbopogon martinii.

Cymbopogon martinii var. sofia is Gingergrass

Cymbopogon nardus is Citronella grass.


COUNTRIES OF ORIGIN: Africa: north, Macronesia, west tropical, west-central tropical, east tropical, southern tropical, middle Atlantic Ocean, and western Indian ocean. Asia-temperate: China and eastern Asia. Asia-tropical: India, Indo-China, Malesia, and Papuasia. Australasia: Australia. Pacific: southwestern, south-central, northwestern, and north-central. North America: Mexico. South America: Mesoamericana, Caribbean, northern South America, western South America, Brazil, and southern South America.

Eden Botanicals source is India for the organically-grown and Nepal for the wild-crafted.

GROWTH: Cultigen from Asia can be cultivated in Florida, flowers are rare. The culms (stems) of this dense, clump-forming grass have been used in cooking and herbal medicine for centuries. West Indian Lemongrass, C. citratus is a genus of the Gramineae (Poaceae) family of grasses. Some species (particularly the Cymbopogon citratus), are commonly cultivated as culinary and medicinal herbs because of their scent, resembling that of lemons (Citrus limon) while C. flexuosus, the East Indian species is mostly used for aromatherapy or medicine.



  1. citratus Steam distillation of fresh or partly dried leaves. Yield: 1.8-2.2%.
  2. flexuosus Steam distillation of fresh or partly dried leaves. Yield: 1.03%


Seasonal variation was found to be very effective on the yield of Lemongrass oil and its constituents. Citral percentage was maximum in winter season (November-December) and minimum during the rainy season (July-August). Oil was found to be the highest (1.03%) during pre-monsoon (March-June) and onset of monsoon.

Lemongrass (Cymbopogon flexuosus (Steud.) Wats) is a perennial, multi-cut aromatic grass, which yields an essential oil used in perfumery and pharmaceutical industries and Vitamin A, has a long initial lag phase. To utilize the crop growth resources more efficiently during this phase, studies were made to explore the possibility of intercropping food legumes with Lemongrass. An experiment conducted during 1992–93 revealed that the food legumes like blackgram (Vigna mungo (L) Hepper), cowpea (Vigna unguiculata (L) Walp) or soybean (Glycine max (L) Merr.) could be intercropped in the initial stages of Lemongrass to get extra yields over and above that of Lemongrass, without affecting the yield of Lemongrass.” —


HISTORY AND INTERESTING FACTS: Studies indicate that Cymbopogon citratus possesses various pharmacological activities such as anti-amoebic, antibacterial, antidiarrheal, anti-filarial, antifungal and anti-inflammatory properties. Various other effects like antimalarial, anti-mutagenicity, anti-mycobacterial, antioxidants, hypoglycemic and neurobehaviorial have also been studied. These results are very encouraging and indicate that this herb should be studied more extensively to confirm these results and reveal other potential therapeutic effects.

           C.flexuosus also called Cochin Grass or Malabar Grass (Malayalam: is a perennial grass native to India, Sri Lanka, Burma, and Thailand. … Lemongrass essential oil is produced by steam distillation of the freshly cut leaves, or can be extracted using alcohol.

Lemongrass oil (species not carefully indicated) is used as a pesticide and preservative, is put on the ancient palm-leaf manuscripts found in India as a preservative. It is used at the Oriental Research Institute Mysore, the French Institute of Pondicherry, the Association for the Preservation of the Saint Thomas Christian Heritage in Kerala, and many other manuscript collections in India. The oil also injects natural fluidity into the brittle palm leaves, and the hydrophobic nature of the oil keeps the manuscripts dry so the text is not lost to decay due to humidity. Lemongrass is also used in the synthesis of Vitamin A and as such can be considered a good source of the vitamin in a variety of products including a margarine type substance in India.

[The manufacture of synthetic Vitamin A from lemongrass oil owes its existence to the demand arising from the need of fortifying Vanaspati (synthetic margarine) by adding synthetic Vitamin A.]

CHEMISTRY ~ The quality of lemongrass oil is generally determined by the content of citral, the aldehyde responsible for the lemon odor. Some other constituents of the essential oils are -terpineol, myrcene, citronellol, methyl heptenone, dipentene, geraniol, limonene, nerol, and farnesol. West Indian oil differs from East Indian oil in that it is less soluble in 70 percent alcohol and has a slightly lower citral content.

Lemongrass, Cymbopogon citratus, is 75-85% citral and up to 25% myrcene. Because of the myrcene with its strongly green and vegetative note, this is not my favorite citrus odor or even one of my essential oils that I enjoy although a favorite of many.  Lemongrass used in a soap could be used for skin care, or a foot soap for athlete’s foot, also considered to help minimize perspiration and stinky sweat.

Citral, an aldehyde that is also part of the chemistry of citrus oils, always occurs as a mixture of its stereoisomer geranial and neral. (A stereo or optical isomer are identical mirror-image forms of a component, one occurring in d or dextro =right or clockwise form and the other l or laevo =left in counter-clockwise form. Think of looking at your hand and then in the mirror.)

“When given orally or by inhalation (citral), may possess prominent protective effects against bronchial asthma that is induced by inhalation of broncho-constrictors (1977). Like May Chang oil the essential oil may inhibit anaphylactic shock when inhaled, and has a relaxing effect on the tracheal muscle.”

         Citral has been shown to have an estrogenic effect causing prostatic hyperplasia (in rats), but Tisserand and Balacs referring to Lemongrass (Cymbopogon flexuosus (nees ex Steud.) J. F. Watson) say that a mild hormone-like (estrogenic) action may be assumed from the citral content but that as used in aromatherapy it is not known whether there will be an estrogenic or androgenic effect. …from Essential Oil Safety.

         Citral in Lemongrass can be extracted using alcohol.


PROPERTIES AND USAGE EO: C. citratus have antioxidant properties as well as being a wonderful addition to a skin care line for oily skin and hair. Cymbopogon citratus, Stapf (Lemon grass), the herb, is commonly used in teas, soups and curries. It is also suitable for poultry, fish and seafood.

Lemongrass is used in herbal teas and other nonalcoholic beverages in baked goods, and in confections. Oil from Lemongrass is widely used as a fragrance in perfumes and cosmetics, such as soaps and creams.

Citral, extracted from the oil, is used in flavoring soft drinks in scenting soaps and detergents, as a fragrance in perfumes and cosmetics, and as a mask for disagreeable odors in several industrial products. Citral is also used in the synthesis of ionone used in perfumes and cosmetics.  Lemongrass EO used in a soap could be used for skin care, or a foot soap for athlete’s foot, also considered to help minimize perspiration and stinky sweat.

As a medicinal plant, Lemongrass has been considered a carminative and insect repellent. The volatile oils may also have some pesticide and mutagenic activities.

Oil of West Indian lemongrass, C. citratus, acts as a central nervous system depressant. West Indian Lemongrass is reported to have antimicrobial activity. Oil of West Indian lemongrass acts as a central nervous system depressant.

Oil of East Indian lemongrass, C. flexuosus, has antifungal activity. It is believed to help with stress-related disorders, and has been shown to have antifungal and antimicrobial properties. Cymbopogon flexuosus completely inhibits all MRSA colony growth. Oil of East Indian Lemongrass has antifungal activity.

Power Up Your Tea Tree: Add 10% citral-type essential oil such as Lemongrass, Litsea cubeba or Backhousia citrata to 90% Tea Tree.  It doubles the power of the Tea Tree, lessens the irritating value of the citral EO and thus you can use less percentage, and a lower dosage, in a formula.


DIFFUSE/DIFFUSION: Lemongrass is very strong in citral and should always be mixed with other essential oil that has alcohol in it before you diffuse. Use oils such as Lavender, Tea Tree, Rose Geranium, Palmarosa or Rosemary. This will give you the cleansing air benefit of the Lemongrass and the attributes of the other essential oils such as calming for Lavender, cleansing the air of Tea Tree, balance of the Rose Geranium, the antifungal quality of the Palmarosa and the stimulation of the Rosemary. I urge you not to use Lemongrass in a diffuser in a child’s room.

Pleasant Room Diffuser Formula for Clean Air

Mix equal quantities of these essential oils. And use them in a spray bottle or diffuser.
Lavender, Lemon oil, Lemongrass, and Thyme CT. linalool essential oils
These are all good for purification and clean air.


BLENDING: Both types of Lemongrass blend well with many different oils. Remember if you want a stronger citrus scent, use C. citratus and if you want a more medicinal scent use C. flexuosus. Blends well with Atlas Cedar, Basil, Coriander Rose Geranium Jasmine, Lavender, Neroli, Palmarosa, Rosemary and Tea Tree.





HYDROSOL: Lemongrass hydrosol is useful in many types of skin care products from simple facial spray as a toner to being added to lotions or creams or body washes as a cleansing refreshing astringent. It is healing to the skin and works especially well in combination with other hydrosols from Lavender to Rosemary. Lemongrass has a very refreshing smell that adds to the products. It is especially pleasant as an after-shave spray.


Energetics-Emotional Use: Personally, I prefer the citratus type of Lemongrass as it has the most citrus forward scent. I find it to be rather sedating to my nerves and thus inhale the diluted scent when I have a stressful doctor’s appointment or nerve-wracking commute. Worwood mentions that it is an oil to help ‘one to focus’ – I assume on whatever the task is at hand.


Internal Usage in humans: Cooking with the herb: “Although the two species of Lemongrass can almost be used interchangeably, C. citratus is more relevant for cooking. In India, it is cultivated as a medical herb and for perfumes, but not used as a spice; in the rest of tropical Asia (Sri Lanka and even more Southeast Asia), it is an important culinary herb and spice.” The fresh taste of lemon grass is typical for Southeast Asia and Sri Lanka. The spice is most popular in Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia and on the Indonesian islands. In Thailand, finely ground fresh lemon grass is added to curry pastes. Its fine fragrance goes well with poultry, fish and sea food. Vietnamese cookery, being much less spiced, makes use of lemon grass in several ways. “C. citratus or Lemongrass is an herb much used in tea blends”. — from Jeanne Rose “The Herbal Guide to Food”, p. 81.

Lemon is much used in cooking but because of the citral content of Lemongrass, it is often substituted for Lemon. In this respect, Citral is equivalent to about fifteen times its volume of oil of lemon.

7.C. citratus from the market

HERBAL USES OF LEMONGRASS: This plant is basically a tropical grass. It is used herbally in bath herbs, facial herbs, and hair rinse herbs. It is used to normalize overactive oil glands and thus is useful for both dry and oily skin for dandruff and other related skin problems. Lemongrass herb in shampoos and hair rinses is very healing to the overactive sebaceous glands. It is aromatic, astringent and cleansing. There are plenty of recipes and formulas in my Herbal Body Book that can be used for dandruff, seborrhea, greasy skin. Herbs are wonderful to be mixed with the essential oil and the hydrosol.

SCALY SCALP RINSE ~ If your symptoms are dry scalp, over-oily hair, inflamed hair roots or overactive oil glands, it is possible that your synthetic diet and stressful life may be the cause. The cure can be as simple as a Lemongrass herbal rinse or even any of the herbal rinses for dandruff that are mentioned in The Herbal Body Book by Jeanne Rose. See pages 289-291.

OILY HAIR SHAMPOO ~ Get equal quantities of chopped Lemongrass, Lemon peel, Willow bark and Witch Hazel bark or leaves. Mix them together and store in a glass light-proof container (add a dark label to the glass to keep it light-proof). When needed take ½ oz. of the mixed herbs and bring to a boil with 1-quart of water. Turn heat off and infuse until cool enough to use. Split into 2 parts. Add half of this infusion to up to 1-oz. of your regular shampoo. Keep the balance for the hair rinse.
To Use: Now wet hair thoroughly and apply ½ of the Lemongrass shampoo and lather. Massage into the scalp. Rinse and do it again with the 2nd half of the shampoo. Rinse thoroughly and use the last of the Lemongrass infusion as a rinse for the hair. You may or may not need to use conditioner. If you need conditioner, you can use the last of the infusion with a tablespoon or your conditioner to get the right ‘feel’ to your hair.


4 drops – Lemongrass oil, either species
2 drops – Juniper CO2
1 drop – Vetivert
13 drops Olive oil or other carrier
Mix the essential oils and add to the Olive oil or other carrier of your choice such as an unscented creamy lotion. This would be dabbed on the problems areas, especially as a nighttime remedy.

Measured by weight – one formula was as follows.
Olive = 40.485
Vetivert – 27.71
Juniper CO2 – 27.67
Lemongrass 27.62
Beaker 27.54

 WHITEN AND LIGHTEN SKIN ~ A Formula by Jeanne Rose
Will help lighten the dark nether regions and elbows, knees, toes, knuckles.
You can also use up to 4% contents of hydroquinone, a substance used to lighten dark skin, Lemon juice
Herb Tea liquid – make it strong = 1-cup
Use equal quantities of the chopped fresh or dried herb. Up to 2 T. of each fresh or 1 T. dried.
………White lily root juice or chopped root – bleaches
………Lemongrass herb – vitamin A
………Chamomile herb – soothes
………Willow Bark or Wintergreen herb (natural aspirin-bleaches and exfoliates)
Make a strong infusion with the above herbs. Measure out 1 cup.
………Add Witch hazel extract – ¼ cup or 25% of total. You now have 1 ¼ cups.
………Add ¼ cup Flax seed oil (DHA) = 1 ½ cups
To 1.5 cups of liquid (water and oil), add ¼ cup Lemon juice (you may want to choose between this and hydroquinone).
……..Add 5 drops Lemongrass essential oil and 5 drops Rosemary oil
You can now add the hydroquinone or whatever you can find that bleaches best.

Application: apply to the area at least twice a day with a cotton ball. The herb tea liquid will last about 3-days in the refrigerator and then has to be remade. Apply 10-days on and leave off 10 days.

Natural Life: Eat the correct foods that contain DHA. Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is an omega-3 fatty acid. Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is an omega-3 fatty acid. It is found in cold water fatty fish and fish oil supplements, along with eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). Vegetarian sources of DHA come from seaweed. DHA is essential for the proper functioning of our brains as adults, and for the development of our nervous system and visual abilities during the first 6 months of life. In addition, omega-3 fatty acids are part of a healthy diet that helps lower risk of heart disease. Our bodies naturally produce small amounts of DHA, but we must get the amounts we need from our diet or supplements. Most people in the Western world do not get enough omega-3 fatty acids in their diet.


Toxicity: Lemongrass can be very irritating, it is best to use in moderation and always diluted. Personally, I would not use this oil on babies, children or the elderly. Do not diffuse without diluting with other high-alcohol essential oils such as Lavender.

            The internet states that “It is POSSIBLY SAFE applied to the skin short-term for medicinal purposes. However, there have been some toxic side effects, such as lung problems after inhaling lemongrass and a fatal poisoning after a child swallowed a lemongrass oil-based insect repellent.”


SAFETY PRECAUTIONS: When used externally in moderation and with other essential oils and a carrier it is non-toxic and non-irritating. Do not diffuse or use for children.

Precautions: General Precautions for Essential Oils.

As with all essential oils, do not use undiluted, do not use directly in eyes or on mucus membranes. Do not take internally unless advised by a qualified and expert practitioner. Keep away from children.


Patch Test:  If applying a new essential oil to your skin always perform a patch test to the inner arm (after you have diluted the EO in a vegetable carrier oil).

                  Wash an area of your forearm about the size of a quarter and dry carefully. Apply a diluted drop (1 drop EO + 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


Science Abstracts:



            Many years ago, when I first became interested in phytotherapy, this herb was extremely difficult to get, and sold for over $15.00 per pound. Now, of course, the price has been drastically reduced and the plant is easily available in the herb store as well as on the grocery store shelves.  It is used in fish cookery, herbal vinegars and salad dressings, and wherever a robust Lemon flavor is desired.  Lemongrass oil is extracted for its high Vitamin A contents; most vegetarian capsules of vitamin A are composed of this oil less the irritating principle.

Many times, I have opened a bottle of the essential oil only to be bitten on the nose by its high level of citral contained in the oil. This is good for herpes sores on the nose and lips but it does ‘bite hard’ while it heals.

Lemongrass has never been a favorite although now with the lowered intensity of the oil, I am more favorable to using it. Over the years, I have noticed that the essential oil is less intense both in color and in scent. I prefer the scent of West Indian Lemongrass, Cymbopogon citratus, to the C. flexuosus and will use it whenever I can get it.



Guenther, Ernest. The Essential Oils. Published by Krieger.
Journal of Essential Oil Research,
Mabberley, D. J. Mabberley’s Plant-Book. 3rd edition 2008, reprinted with corrections 2014.
Rose, Jeanne. 375 Essential Oils and Hydrosols.
Rose, Jeanne. The Aromatherapy Book, Applications & Inhalations.
Rose, Jeanne. The Herbal Body Book. Frog, Ltd. Berkeley, CA. 1990
Rose, Jeanne. The Herbal Guide to Food. North Atlantic Books, Berkeley, CA. p. 81
Sonali Sinha, Manivannan Jothiramajayam, Manosij Ghosh, Anita Mukherjee Food and Chemical Toxicology Volume 68, June 2014, Pages 71–77, Evaluation of toxicity of essential oils Palmarosa, citronella, —————-lemongrass and vetiver in human lymphocytes
DISCLAIMER:  This work is intended for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for accurate diagnosis and treatment by a qualified health care professional. Dosages are often not given, as that is a matter between you and your health care provider. The author is neither a chemist nor a medical doctor.  The content herein is the product of research and some personal and practical experience. Institute of Aromatic & Herbal Studies – Jeanne Rose©
This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.




Please refer to my blog for the profiles of these grasses.

Chrysopogon zizanioides is commonly known as Vetiver, a bunch grass whose roots are used.
Vetiveria) zizanioides) Vetivert (Chrysopogon zizanioides)

Cymbopogon citratus West Indian Lemongrass;

Cymbopogon flexuosus is East Indian Lemongrass

Cymbopogon martini var. motia is Palmarosa grass, syn. Andropogon martini or Cymbopogon martinii.

Cymbopogon martinii var. sofia is Gingergrass

Cymbopogon nardus is Citronella grass.




A spray with Lemongrass hydrosol
Will make you feel good and feel tall
It will act on your skin
And will heal your sore chin
And heal anything short of a fall…JeanneRose2014



~ JR ~

Roses ~ Used As Scent

Synopsis: See part I for the Rose species grown for scent by distillation or by solvent extraction ~ here we discuss how and why you use Rose oil and Rose hydrosol.

These lovely examples of absolutes shown have been supplied mainly by Eden Botanicals

 ROSES ~ How to Use Essential Oil /Hydrosol – Part 2 of 2

By Jeanne Rose ~ May 2017

 I am NOT writing about Roses that smell good or good smelling varietals; I am only talking about the antique Roses, heirloom Roses, species Roses, the real Roses that were used historically and are used now for distillation or solvent-extraction for scent and perfumery. These are 2 totally different matters.

If you will check any of my books you will find much information on the Roses that are grown for scent. Herbs & Things, p. 101; Herbal Body Book, p. 118-119; The Aromatherapy Book, p. 128-129; and 375 Essential Oils and Hydrosols, p. 132-134; and so, there is no sense in repeating that information here. We are discussing only heirloom or species Roses that are used for scent.


Common Name/Latin Binomial: Rosa alba (Rosa damascena alba) – White Rose • Bourbon Rose, R. x bourboniana (Edouard Rose) • Rosa x centifolia – Cabbage Provence rose or Rose de Mai (confused with the Kazanlik) • and Rosa damascena (Rosa damascena forma trigintipetala or Kazanlik Rose.

 Other Common Name/Naming Information:
Family: Rosaceae, are prickly shrubs, climbing or trailing and usually with deciduous pinnate leaves. A source of important essential oils that are used in scent-making, the herb leaves and petals used locally for both scent and medicine, especially useful as a cultivated ornamental. This family is associated with the Virgin Mary as well as the Rosicrucian’s…” though early Christians considered it decadent.

 Countries of Origins: When France had an extensive area for perfumery flowers, R. × centifolia was a Rose especial to the French city of Grasse, known as the perfume capital of the world. It is widely cultivated for its singular fragrance—clear and sweet, with light notes of honey. The flowers are commercially harvested to produce Rose oil, which is commonly used in perfumery.

Eden Botanicals Harvest Location:   Bulgaria, Egypt, Morocco, and Turkey are all prime locations for Rose growing and distilling. Eden has twelve different types of Rose oil to purchase.

Endangered or Not: There are some endangered and extinct rose cultivars including some of the Roses that we are discussing in this paper, but the species itself is not endangered. We, as people, just need to be growing the true perfume Roses rather than the cultivated Roses grown just for color or shape.


General description of Plant habitat and growth: The Rose has been developed and altered over thousands of years, there are thousands of cultivars and describing the original species is complex with the ancestry of these Roses inexact and disputed. Many horticultural schemes have been proposed. Wikipedia gives a rather simple description of the habitat and growth as …” A rose is a woody perennial flowering plant of the genus Rosa, Rosa, in the family Rosaceae, or the flower it bears. There are over a hundred species and thousands of cultivars. They form a group of plants that can be erect shrubs, climbing or trailing with stems that are often armed with sharp prickles. Flowers vary in size and shape and are usually large and showy, in colors ranging from white through yellows and reds” …, although the true scented Roses are generally white or pink except for Rosa gallica, the Apothecary Rose which is red.

Do not be confused by the pictures of Roses that any company uses when they discuss Rose oil; they are mostly showing you pictures of recent varietals rather than the ancient and true Roses that are grown and used for their scent.


Portion of plant used in distillation, how distilled, extraction methods and yields:

If you wish the correct Roses for use, please read

ROSE HARVEST ~ The ideal essential oil for delicate and mature skins, any organic Rose Essential Oil is captured through steam distillation each spring in Bulgaria, Turkey, Egypt, and Morocco. “The methods used today are not entirely different than those employed many centuries ago ~ although, with the price of a kilo of oil in the thousands of dollars, one can be certain the science has advanced. Roses are hand-harvested in the early morning; the roses are distilled in copper stills by a water and steam process. Approximately 1,200 liters of water cover 150 to 300 kilos of roses, which float freely in the water. Direct steam injected into the water keeps them from forming a compact mass. The water is slowly brought to a boil and allowed to simmer for about 1½ hours. First, the “direct oil,” or Surovo Maslo in Bulgarian, is drawn off. Then the “first waters” of this and subsequent distillations are bunched and redistilled. This cohobation, as it is called, takes about 2½ hours. The top of the water is distilled off. It is a condensate called the “second water” and contains what is called the “water oil.” This oil is drawn off and the two oils, direct and water, are combined. The ratio, on average, is 25% direct oil to 75% water oil. It takes an average of 4,000 kilos of flowers to make 1 kilo of oil.” — Prima Fleur Botanicals

                  Flowers can also be treated by maceration with warmed fat (not oil) and will give the Pomades and Extraits de Rose.

The rose is an ancient flower that, among all flowers, has been the most treasured throughout history. With its many layers of silky petals, sensual colors, euphoric scent and deeply romantic history, Rose lifts the heart, inspires the mind, and restores the spirit.

Yield varies: 0.12% +. Some 3000 parts of flowers yield only one part of essential oil.

Biolandes Bulgarian Rose Oil Distillation

Distillation Tips: In June of 2015, we (Jeanne Rose and class) distilled 2.5 lbs. Roses (Rosa centifolia) that had been freshly picked on April 25, 2015, and then quick frozen. On June 13, 2015, the Jeanne Rose Distillation class then picked ½ lb. of Rose Geranium flowers, some Lemon verbena flowers, and leaves. These were all put together in the copper still with 3 gallons of water with the Roses freely floating and a distillation commenced. We kept the temperature of the flame on the low side to have a low and slow hydro-steam distillation. After 3 hours, we had 3 quarts of lovely Rose scented hydrosol.

When you distill, collect at the correct time, know what you are collecting and distilling

  1. Know Your Soil.
    2. Location, Location, Location.
    3. Water source and type.
    4. Choose the correct plant that will match the terroir.
    5. Harvest at the correct time of the year and the correct time of the day.
    6. Harvest the correct part of the plant.
    7. Choose a method of distillation and type of equipment that works for your plant.
    8. Choose whether you are distilling for essential oil or hydrosol.
    9. Distil with the art and craft of careful knowledge and many years’ experience.

Rose Distillation ~ My personal story. Over the years, I have grown a variety of different ‘old Roses’ – purely for the enjoyment of the scent and visual joy of the colors and textures of the Roses. Lately, I have been harvesting and distilling my Roses for the exquisite Rosewater (Rose hydrosol) that is produced. The up side of harvesting and distilling my own Roses is that I have the rosewater for my use for the following year. The down side is that to obtain enough Roses for the distillation, every single Rose bud, and Rose petal from every bush must be picked at the correct time of year and early on the morning of the distillation to have enough roses for the distillation to proceed.  It takes three people one hour to pick every rose that is available in my small city yard. This is approximately 2 lbs. of Rose buds and petals. Of course, that means, that there are no more Roses for at least 3 days.

“The distillation proceeded normally. All the Roses were picked – 2-3 lbs.; they were placed in the copper still on a raised grate, and up to 3 gallons of spring-water was added slowly, enough so that the Roses floated freely. The heat was turned on and gradually raised until the distillate began to come over. The condensate was collected until 1-1.5 gallons was collected (or a vegetative note is detected). We allowed the Rosewater to cool naturally, before bottling it into sterile containers. We hope for another good year.” —JeanneRose Distillation

Many of these lovely examples shown have been supplied by Eden Botanicals and 3 by Prima Fleur
You can see the crystals in the steam-distilled oils on the right side.
From left to right: 1) a synthetic from 1973 * THE ABSOLUTES ~2) Rose de Mai extract, 3) Rose de Mai concrete, 4) Rosa bourboniana-1995, 5) Damask Rose-1995, 6) Rose Abs – Turkey., 7) Rose Abs – Morocco, 8) Rose trilogy (Abs. from Bulgaria/Morocco/Turkey), 9) Rose de Mai (R. centifolia) Abs. Egypt, 10) Damask Rose Abs. Bulgaria •  THE STEAM-DISTILLED OTTO OR EO ~  11) Rose from 1930 – France, 12) Rose centifolia from Russia, 13) Damask Rose organic – Bulgaria, 14)Damask Rose – Bulgaria, 15) Rosa damascena EO 1995 – Bulgaria, 16) Damask Rose – Turkey, 17) Rose species unknown enfleurage in jojoba, 18) Rose-unknown species from Turkey.


This is a very difficult chart to have designed and written, but it is very complete as to what you should expect when you purchase the different Rose oils. The absolutes are red or dark, while the steam-distillates are colorless and should be crystallized at room temperature (look at them first thing in the morning before you touch them). It also includes my 1930 Rose oil and a synthetic Rose from 1973. Scent is very important – please do not be deceived and think you will be able to purchase truly rose-scented lotions or soap or products ~ those prices would be out of one’s budget. A 4-oz. soap would cost about $50 if it were made of true Rose.

Crystal = crystallized
Org. = organically grown

ODOR DESCRIPTION/ AROMA ASSESSMENT: Using the “Basic 7 – Vocabulary of Odor” © that I developed many years ago, I looked at the organoleptic qualities of 20 different named types of Rose oil, from a 40-year old synthetic to a 90-year old French oil and absolutes and essential oils from 1995-2016; 20 different types total. I have more, but this is a representative sample of the scent of Rose. Rose oil or absolute are all varying degrees of Floral, Woody and Fruity notes, sometimes the Floral predominates and sometimes the Woody predominates, and the absolutes often have a Spicy back note. One of these oils also had a green or mint-like odor to it.

If your Rose oil smells soapy it is probably a synthetic.

They are the same but have very distinct differences. My go-to scent for comparison is the 1930 Rose Oil which smells like the species Roses that I have grown and known. I looked at and analyzed the Rose from five different companies including Eden Botanicals (retail), Prima Fleur Botanicals (skin care and wholesale), a lovely Rose from a Turkish company with no name on the bottle, Veriditas Botanicals, and an enfleurage from Scents of Knowing. These oils represented five different countries; Bulgaria, Egypt, France, Morocco, and Turkey. Remember that the absolutes are best in perfumes, applications, and products while the Otto’s, the steam-distilled Roses are probably best used with discretion in blends for inhalations or therapeutic uses.

The gold standard of the Scent of Rose is best exemplified in the Rose from France, distilled sometime around 1930. There is a wonderful story with this Rose that I have given at the end of this article. The scent is sweetly floral, with a soft woody subsidiary note and a fruity back note. It smells just like the species Rose, Rosa centifolia, I have examined over the years. A true to the flower scent. During my classes here in San Francisco, I always let my students examine this scent and compare it to current odors for their personal comparison. I have also found out something that may be odd or just unique to me but the best time to perceive the true odor of something is in the morning when you and the air is fresh rather than the afternoon when your senses are dull or tired. Everything smells a wee bit off in the afternoon. Keep track of what things smell like and when you smell them and you too may find that this is important in your aromatherapy work.

There are very logical ways to describe odor, including the use of my charts and kits, called The Basic 7-Vocabulary of Odor© and The Advanced Circular Vocabulary of Odor© and these are available on my website. There are poetic ways to describe odor that are literate and beautiful but will not help you really understand that odor and there are business-like ways to describe odor used just to sell them. If you want to learn which of these lovely Rose odors you like the best, you should get several samples of different ones and choose for yourself. In quality Rose oils, there is no one oil that is better or worse, just those that you do not appreciate yet.

The Rose trilogy offered by Eden Botanicals is a lovely example of three Rose absolutes combined to make a scent that is truly evocative of a bouquet of Roses. Try it and use it.



The properties are slightly different for the different types. Solvent-extracts are used in perfumery and most product lines while the steam-distillate is used by inhalation or internally by ingestion for “problems of the heart”. Rose properties are that it is slightly astringent, tonic, analgesic, hypnotic, antibacterial, antimicrobial, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antidepressant, antitussive, and a mild laxative as an herbal tea.

            Properties and Uses (by IG = ingestion or IN = inhalation or AP = application): Used by Application the Herb is astringent and the EO is tonic, stimulant, emollient and cytophylactic (protects the cells against destruction which will aid in preserving the health of the skin).  By Inhalation the EO is astringent, antidepressant, and a soothing tonic stimulant, and relaxant. Rose is often used for chronic bronchitis and asthma, as a respiratory relaxant.

            Physical Uses & How used (IG or AP): Physically by Application in cosmetics, skin care, and body-care products, and home pharmaceuticals.  Some use Rose Abs with Sandalwood as an underarm deodorant. I feel that this is a waste of the Rose and it can be better used in facial care products or EO by Ingestion for menstrual problems, frigidity, the reproductive system, and impotence. Only a drop in a complementary herbal capsule (Hawthorn for the heart, Vitex agnus castus for the female reproductive system) is needed and used only 3 times per day for no more than 5 days. Rose oil can allay frigidity, impotence, and sexual weakness. 

Diffuse/Diffusion: Any combination of essential oils that you formulate with Rose Abs. can be diffused. Often the scent in the air from these mixtures is very relaxing and soothing. Personally, I prefer Rose absolute plus Spikenard EO and then double the amount of a high-altitude Lavender EO ~ this makes a quite lovely combination of scent with low viscosity to put into your diffuser. Use it only for 15 minutes on and 45 minutes off for a scent quality in the air that will enable relaxation and a quiet mind.


Emotional/Energetic Use by Application or Inhalation: Rose absolute can be used by Application, a drop massaged on the temples to relieve a headache. If Inhaled it can relieve a headache and nervous tension, alleviate depression and anxiety, soothe emotions, such as shock or grief, and help one to overcome the fear of the unknown.  If applied on the wrist and inhaled during meditation Rose oil is used for harmony and balance. It gently heals emotional wounds.



There are many blends and applications you can use with Rose, just check your nearest ‘energetic’ aromatherapy book, or the formula books written by Scott Cunningham. A simple blend is one using a variety of base notes, as follows:

                                        Earth Mother ~ An oil blend used in ritual for psychic protection.
Use a combination of Patchouli, Rose, Spikenard, and Vetiver in any amounts. The odor is used for physical stamina and for sexual potency, (herb Patchouli is used in woolen clothes to deter moths). Rose we have discussed and it mixes well with these other essential oils. The Spikenard is the Mother of Scent and a great woman’s odor because of its reference in the bible. Mix these as a base note in all your female perfumes. Sandalwood can be substituted for Vetiver as a base note in men’s odors and is used for psychic protection.

                                                                                   Love Oils with Rose Otto
Rose Otto is another name for the essential oil or attar of Rose and is used for the body, usually taken by ingestion or by inhalation or in perfumery, while the Rose absolute is strictly in products for external care or by inhalation for the mind.  Rose Otto is for the body and Rose absolute for the mind.  I don’t really consider Rose to be an aphrodisiac although older men (over 50) seem to think it (the true Rose) is a fabulous odor on a woman and will often go ‘gaga’ over it. Try a blend of Rose absolute, Lavender absolute and Sandalwood or Neroli EO.

Triple Rose oil Potion
Take 5 drops of Rose absolute and mix with 5 drops of Rose essential oil and add 20 drops of Rosehip seed oil. Succuss thoroughly. Drink a cup of Rose petal Tea. Now draw a heart on the floor around you in Rose petals, and anoint yourself with the Rose Potion. Anoint a pink candle and light it. Anoint your clothes. Think about all those items that you wish or that you want or that are important to you. Close your eyes and bring in the Rose scent. Sit or stand in the center of your heart and expand your vision. Love? It will come to you.

Wish for only good and with no harm to come to others.


 Key Use: Perfumery & skin care. Oil of the Heart©.

 Historical Uses: A long vast history as perfumes, unguents, pomades, magic, and as medicine.

 Interesting Information: “Mystery of the Rose” was a powerful concept in Medieval times; the term ‘sub rosa’, that is, in private, comes from the tradition of putting a Rose above a council table where secrecy was expected, this possibly from the legend that Cupid gave Harpocrates, the god of silence, secrets, and confidentiality, a Rose to keep him from revealing Venus’s indiscretions. Herodotus, born 484 BC discussed double Roses.

The Emperor Nero built the Domus Aurea which is Latin for “Golden House”). It was a large landscaped portico villa that was built in the heart of ancient Rome, after the great fire of 64 A.D. had cleared away the aristocratic dwellings on the slopes of the Palatine Hill. It was built of brick and concrete and with murals and stuccoed ceilings that were covered with semi-precious stones and ivory veneer. Celer and Severus also created an ingenious mechanism, cranked by slaves, that made the ceiling underneath the dome revolve like the heavens, while perfume was sprayed and Rose petals were dropped on the assembled diners. According to some accounts, perhaps embellished by Nero’s political enemies, on one occasion such quantities of rose petals were dropped that one unlucky guest was asphyxiated.

 Contraindications: None known, although recently someone told me they were allergic to Rose but did not clarify if it was the plant or the scent. I believe that she had only smelled synthetic Rose and probably did not know the difference.

 Safety Precautions: None known.  Non-toxic.  Non-irritant.

                                                                                   HYDROSOL OF ROSE
Rose hydrosol is a timeless tonic. It is a very mild astringent and can be used as a light toner for extremely sensitive and mature skin. It is prized as a restorative for mature skin, but can be used on all skin types. Hydrosol uses of the Rose are innumerable. Everything that you can think of can be done with the Rose hydrosol.  It can be drunk, used in foods, cosmetics, and medicines. The best comes from the Rosa gallica. But this species is not much grown or distilled now.
And finally, the Medicinal Rose, Rosa gallica officinalis – Apothecary Rose, French Rose or Rose of Provins (distilled for Rosewater) was once was the principal Rose used for Rosewater in cosmetics and medicine, although now many distillers collect any of the ‘water’ of a Rose distillation. Some of this water has been cohobated to extract every molecule of the Rose oil and some has not. So, it is good to know your distiller, and to carefully read the bottle and ask questions. The most pungent and medicinally active hydrosol would be the one that has not been cohobated.
Production of Rose Otto is via water-steam distillation; Rose blossoms are added to water in the still for a water-steam distillation (Roses are soft and somewhat mucilaginous and stick together with just steam distillation). The water is brought to a boil, producing steam which percolates through the Rose mass. The steam produced is captured, condensed and collected where the water and the oil produced are separated.

“Cohobation is done to reclaim all the essential oil that is produced and not for extracting or reclaiming some chemical constituent that was not in the Hydrosol first time around. Following the first distillation of plant material, cohobation is done for extracting more essential oil from the oil-bearing waters as Rose oil is highly hydrophilic.” These types of ‘waters’/hydrosols come primarily from Rose Otto and Melissa distillations.


                              Uses for Rose Hydrosol/Rosewater:
            Cooling Mist: Keep in a bottle with a spray top. Have an extra bottle in your purse. Store any extra in the refrigerator Mist on face to cool skin and freshen up.
            Facial Toner: To 1 oz. of Rose hydrosol add a drop of Lavender or Rose essential oil and apply to your face with a cotton ball after you shower or wash your face to keep skin smooth and toned.
Clay Facial for Skin: Add 1 teaspoon of white clay to 1 tablespoon of Rose hydrosol and add 1 scant drop of Rose oil. Let it integrate, and apply the clay masque to your cleansed skin, let it dry, gently rub the clay off with fingertips, rinse thoroughly and follow with a Rosewater spray. This would be useful for any teenager, mother, man or young person as it is healing, tonic and adds suppleness to the skin.
            Sunburn Relief: Mix equal parts rosewater and Rose vinegar in a spray bottle and spray onto sunburned skin for relief.


Religious Uses of Rosewater: In Iran, rosewater is an abundant product of R. damascena which contains 10-50% rose oil. The most usage of Rose water is in religious ceremonies. It is used in mosques especially at mourning ceremonies, to calm and relax people. The highest quality rose water is produced in Kashan. Kaaba (God House) in, is washed yearly by unique and special rose water of Kashan. Rose water is also of high value in the food industry and some special foods are prepared using this product


Culinary Uses of Rose Hydrosol: Rose water or Rose oil is used in many cuisines, including the delicious treat called Turkish Delight.  There is also Ms. Rohde’s book, Rose Recipes with many ways to prepare Rose petals and hips. Rose petals are also delicious when mixed with Lemonade for a flavored pink drink for a hot summer day. This Rose Lemonade can also be made with Rose hydrosol. It is an excellent and tasty aperient for a child.
                        Rose Lemonade: Make 1 quart of Lemonade with organic Lemons, water and sugar to your taste. Add 2-4 tablespoons Rose hydrosol or 1 cup of an infusion of Rosa centifolia made with the petals and good water. Sweeten to taste. Fill beautiful crystal glasses with ice or ice made with champagne and pour over the Rose Lemonade.  This would be a good drink as an aperient for a child (not the one with the champagne) or for the woman in PMS or in menopause.

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


                                                                               HERBAL USES OF THE ROSE:

Two kinds of dried flowers are produced in commerce. A) Dried bud which is mostly for export. B) Dried petals for different purposes; its major use is for eating, as it can solve problems with digestive system. Some Iranians eat the petals with yogurt. Another reason for drying petals is to store them when the distilleries cannot accept the whole produced flower anymore.

Use Rose petals whole or infused or macerated in herbal baths, herbal lotions, creams, unguents and just any way you can think of to prepare them. See my books for ideas. Rose hips also have great value and make a delicious syrup.


Hips, both dried and fresh hips of R. damascena are used in Iran both processed or not processed. Rosehips of R. eglanteria or any species Rose that produces big hips can be used as a tea, or syrup or processed for Rosehip seed oil. They contain a goodly quantity of vitamin C.

            Rosehip Syrup: This vitamin C herbal tonic is easy. Rose hips are the ripened fruit of the rose and contain the seeds for the growth.  You just must have the Rosehips and remember that they are ripe and ready for picking in the fall, when they are very red and beginning to soften. Take 2-4 cups of ripe Rosehips (probably picked toward the end of September). Twist off the dried flower ends.  Put them into a quart pot and add just enough water to cover them (2-3 cups).  Cover the pot and simmer gently until the hips are mushy (1-2 hours).  Mash them with a potato masher, simmer 10 minutes more to integrate.  Push this mush through a small Potato ricer or a chinois.  Put the strained liquid from the mash back into the pot and add an equal quantity of sugar (about 2 cups- 1 lb.). [IF you seeded and halved your Rosehips first you can make jam out of the mushy mash].  Simmer liquid and sugar gently until the sugar has dissolved which should take about 5-10 minutes. Let cool enough to use. Pour this into a wide-mouth bottle and add equal quantity, about 2 cups, of 90% Eau de Vie/Lemon Vodka/or like substance.  Eau de Vie works best because it tastes good with Rosehips, although you can use an ethyl alcohol like Everclear or neutral grain or grape spirits. Mix it well together. Label and date the product. Store this in the refrigerator.  This can be used throughout the year as a cough syrup, sore throat cure or the base for an herbal cordial. Take 1 teaspoon by mouth every hour or so to soothe the throat or a cough.

Rose Petal Laxative Tea. Rose petals are a gentle laxative (aperient) and particularly useful for children and the elderly. Make a mild Rose petal tea, sweeten with honey or mix it with Lemonade and enough honey to make it palatable. Drink several cups and soon it will work gently but efficiently. It is very useful on hot summer days in May and June. Use only the best medicinal Roses such as Rosa centifolia and Rosa gallica. …



 Sweet Bags to Lay with Linens for Sweet Odor

Take 8 oz. of damask sweet, scented Rose petals, 8 oz. of fresh crushed Coriander seeds, 8 oz. of crushed or powdered sweet Orrisroot, 8 oz. of dried and crushed Calamus rhizomes, 1 oz. of c/s^ Mace, 1 oz. of c/s^ Cinnamon bark, ½ oz. of crushed Cloves, 4 drams of Musk powder (try substituting Ambrette, the seeds of Hibiscus abelmoschus), 2 drachms* of white loaf sugar, 3 oz. of whole sweet Lavender flowers, and some Rhodium wood. Beat all together (mix altogether) and bag in small silk bags. —Mrs. Glasse. —from the Art of Cookery, 1784.

^ c/s = cut and sifted
*Drachm is a unit of weight that equals about 1/8 oz. by volume



Rose Skin Care & Acne Cream
Any mixture of vegetable oils or creams or lotions can be mixed 50% with Calophyllum oil. Then the essential oils are added at 2-10%.  Essential oils particularly useful are German Chamomile, Lavender, Rose Geranium and Rose and others.


Rose Skin Healing Lotion
Ingredients: In this formula, our ingredients will be as follows:
4 oz. by volume Rose or Rose Geranium hydrosol (or distilled water if you have no hydrosol)
¼ oz. by weight or more beeswax or Rose floral wax
½ oz. by weight or more of a combination of butters (Use Avocado, Coconut, Shea or other)
½ oz. by volume vegetable oil (Use Olive, Hempseed, Calophyllum or Sunflower oil)
8-10 drops Rose Absolute
6-8 drops Helichrysum EO

1. In a small 8 oz. Pyrex container, combine the oils and waxes. Stir the oils/waxes together to make sure they are evenly combined and heat gently until incorporated.
2. In a separate container, warm up the hydrosol or water. You want the temperatures of these two items to be similar so that they can be incorporated.
3. Begin stirring the oil/wax mixture with an immersion blender and add the hydrosol mixture slowly as you stir. You will see the mixture begin to thicken. Continue mixing until Rose Skin Care Lotion is fully formed.
4. Add the essential oils and continue to stir until thickened a bit. Pour into clean jars and allow to cool completely before capping.
5. Open only one jar at a time and to prolong shelf life, refrigerate the extra jars. Do use this lotion with a small wooden spatula or spoon rather than the fingers. This is to prevent the addition of fungal or bacterial agents to your lovely lotion.


Simple Rose Oil for Fine Skin Care ~ Normal Skin
40 drops Lemon/Clementine EO
20 drops Rose absolute
10 drops Spikenard EO – 10 drops
½ oz. Olive oil or other to fill a 1 oz. bottle
Succuss the essential oils, add the carrier oil and succuss again. Use by massaging a bit on your face in the morning after you have cleansed your face.  You can also apply a bit of Rosewater afterwards and massage this in.

Cammy Bath Herbs was #3 New Age Creations Formula. – Diaphoretic bath, helpful in losing skin impurities and possibly weight loss and contains Lavender to reduce puffiness, citrus buds for young looking skin, Rose buds for hydration, Chamomile flowers for youth and rejuvenation, Linden leaves for nerves, Calendula flowers as a diaphoretic and for skin inflammations. Take this bath for health and as a slight diaphoretic. Formula from Jeanne Rose Herbal Body Book. All books and courses available at
2 oz. Calendula flowers
2 oz. Chamomile flowers
2 oz. Lavender flowers
2 oz. Linden leaves and flowers
3 oz. Orange bud
3 oz. Rose bud
2 oz. Rosemary leaves
some Bay leaf
Mix these herbs all together and store in airtight container. When you wish a bath, take a large handful of the mixed herbs and bring to a boil in a quart of water. Simmer gently for 10 minutes. Run your bath. Pour the herbal water into the tub, collecting the herbs in a porous container (pantyhose leg or muslin bag). Relax in the bath water for at least 20 minutes, wash and dry. This bath can be taken as often as you wish. This mixture makes 8 full baths.



             My class, about 15 people, all met in Napa, CA. at the grower’s home to harvest and distil Rosa centifolia. We went on a holiday weekend and many of us wanted to stay overnight to enjoy the beauty of the Napa Valley and eat at the wonderful Napa restaurants. We arrived by driving down a country road, alongside a beautiful field of blooming pink Cabbage Roses. Our distillation was in a kitchen in a small, lovely, old-fashioned farmhouse in the Valley. Everything in the house was decorated with Roses from the rugs and curtains to the towels and wall hangings.  Our hostess had prepared a delicious fresh Rose petal lemonade from her Roses and home-grown lemons and sweet fresh well water. She served this at the dining room table during a break in the distillation.

The air was heavy with the scent of Roses petals in a bowl and the odor of the distillation. On the dining room table was the rose-colored Lemonade from Rose petals in a rose pitcher with rose decorated plates, roses on the rugs, roses on the towels, rose paperweights, Rose everywhere and on everything. During a break in the class, while the men and I attended to the distillation, most of the women retired to the dining room and the Rose Lemonade. I had mentioned to my class that Rose tea was both somewhat hypnotic and even a bit trance-inducing and that too much would have a laxative effect. I don’t think that they much listened.

However, that tea was so delicious and the Roses odor in the air so entrancing that by the time I could take a break and have a glass of the Rose Petal lemonade, the women at the table had already started on their 2nd glass and were already overcome with the scent of the Roses. Their eyes were glazed over and they had silly expressions on their faces. I had to smile at their faces, they looked like what I imagined Alice might look in her travels to Wonderland.

I had the tea, then gathered up my ladies to complete the distillation. One of them told me that she was a bit nauseous and had to use the bathroom, I don’t think I saw her again. Others were quite sleepy. They were all looking rather ‘high’ and really relaxed. We finished the class, the only students that were now competent were a few men who helped me empty and clean the still outside in the fresh air, while the women were all looking rather Rose ‘stoned’ and were drinking more of the Rose-Lemonade. Powerful stuff that Rose Petal Lemonade.

Eight of us went to dinner while the others drove home. The reports I got later were quite amazing. One woman was driving and had a serious need to use the bathroom but the road ahead was flat with fields and wineries on both sides. She was desperate, saw a winery and had to rush into one of the winery’s outhouses. Two of the woman having dinner with me continually got up and went to the restroom, coming back looking rather dazed. One student had a rather unpleasant accident in her clothes as she was on the bridge on her way home. The woman who stayed in the same hotel as me told me the next day that she spent the night in the bathroom and felt ‘rather cleaned out’.

In the future, I suggest that if your teacher mentions to you that a substance is a laxative or aperient, that you listen and maybe not have that 2nd or 3rd glass of laxative tea ~ oops! I mean Rose petal tea or Rose-Lemonade. This was a lesson well-learned about the power of herbs.

Rose petal Lemonade ~ picture source is unknown


Rose 1930: The story of an old scent.
By Jeanne Rose with Judy Komatsu

In the early part of 1996, while preparations were underway to produce the first World of Aromatherapy Conference as the President of If your Rose oil smells soapy it is probably a synthetic.

NAHA, a fascinating letter arrived at my office describing a Rose oil that has been in the possession of one family since the early 1930s.  This prized possession was taken into bomb shelters with the family’s canary when the sirens went off in their town.  No other item was ever taken into the shelters and in the words of the family this is the story of this precious oil. This oil was sold to me and I still have it in my collection.

Dear Jeanne Rose,

            I would like to share a story with you that you may find interesting.  I grew up in a small German village.   During the war, in the early 30s when the air raid sirens went off, my parents would gather the children, the family canary and a wooden box with a handle on top and off we would go to the public shelter.  The shelter was only a block away, it was all made of stone and was several hundred years old.  I’m not sure, but I think it used to be a wine cellar.  It is still standing today.  While we waited out the raid my father would tell us stories, of his travels, of the world.  He had spent time in France in the early 3’s, before the war.

            It was during this time that he purchased one of his most prized possessions, several pints of Rose essential oil.  This was what was packed away in the heavy wooden box we took with us to the shelter.  It was the only valuable we took with us, and it came on every visit. As an adult, I have had thoughts of what I would take from my house if a disaster arose.  It would be mementos, pictures, letters and the like.  I’m sure there was a reason my father bought the oil, but he never told, and I never thought to ask.  As a child, I never questioned why the obvious valuables were left behind, and the box would accompany us.  He claimed it was an investment, but he never sold it and it is still in the family.  I think it may have reminded him of happier times, of his youth perhaps.  He would always tell us of the tons of rose petals that went into the making of the oil.  I would sit with my sisters and pretend to be sleeping on pillows of rose petals rather than in the dark, damp shelter.

            He passed away in the 50s.  At this time, the oil was divided among the children, it was his legacy.  I have continued the legacy and have given my own daughters some of the oil.  What I have left is in an unusual, old brown bottle with a glass stopper.

            I do use aromatherapy, so I know that it is rare to have such an old oil, especially one kept in less than ideal conditions.  Let me tell you this one is still quite potent; a quarter of a drop will last all week.  Its strength is important to me; the oil has traveled from France to Germany to New York, where I now live.  It has lasted at least 70 years and will out-last me.  With it, I have given my daughters some sense of their family history.  I am sharing this story with you now, because I feel it is an important one.  Maybe you know of some others, or maybe you know some history that may help me understand where the oil came from back in France and why it was so significant to my father.  If you do please let me know. 

                        Thank you.  Helga R.   6/24/96



Chemical Components: Phenyl-Ethanol, Citronellol, Geraniol, Nerol, nonadecane, Stearopten, and Farnesol in various proportions as well as 300 other compounds. Rose is one of the many scents that cannot be duplicated by humans in the laboratory. If you ever smell a Rose that is ‘soapy’ that is a clue that it is a synthetic.

            Physicochemical Properties: It does not make sense to give the physiochemical properties of Rose because the different varieties grown, the different terroirs yielding different numbers, and the ancient and historical complexity of the Rose and the way it is distilled and/or the differing equipment. If you will consult the Guenther book (see Bibliography), you will find many examples of these properties.

One of the interesting numbers given is that 400-450 kg. of Rosa damascena from Bulgaria, yield 1 kg. of Rose concrete which, in turn, gives 520 g. of alcohol-soluble absolute. That the Bulgarian rose absolutes have a pronounced dextrorotation while the distilled Rose oils are levorotatory.

Scientific Data: There is a long and wonderful article about the Rose online ~ Iran J Basic Med Sci. 2011 Jul-Aug; 14(4): 295–307. PMCID: PMC3586833

Pharmacological Effects of Rosa Damascena

Rosa damascena mill L., known as Gole Mohammadi in is one of the most important species of Rosaceae family flowers. R. damascena is an ornamental plant and beside perfuming effect, several pharmacological properties including anti-HIV, antibacterial, antioxidant, antitussive, hypnotic, antidiabetic, and relaxant effect on tracheal chains have been reported for this plant. This article is a comprehensive review on pharmacological effects of R. damascena.

There is a strong bond between Iranians and this plant. Its popularity is not only because of the medicinal effects but also is due to holy beliefs about it. People call this plant Flower of Prophet Mohammed (Gole mohammadi), because they believe its nice aroma reminds them of prophet Mohammad.

At the present time, this plant is cultivated in Iran (especially in Kashan) for preparing rose water and essential oil. Because of the low oil content in R. damascena and the lack of natural and synthetic substitutes, essential rose oil of this plant is one of the most expensive ones in the world markets

Guenther, Ernest. The Essential Oils. Vol. 5, pages 3-48. 1st edition, Krieger Publishing Company. 1952,
Mabberley, D. J. Mabberley’s Plant-Book, 3rd edition, 2014 printing, Cambridge University Press.
New Age Creations Formulas by Jeanne Rose. 1969-1982
Rohde, Eleanour Sinclair. Rose Recipes. Originally published 1939 and now a reprint by Dover.
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. San Francisco, CA. 1988.
 Patch Test:  If applying a new essential oil to your skin always perform a patch test to the inner arm (after you have diluted the EO in a vegetable carrier oil). —Wash an area of your forearm about the size of a quarter and dry carefully. Apply a diluted drop (1 drop EO + 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
Do not Ingest essential oils: Although some oils are important flavoring oils in the flavor industry and thus ingested in very small amounts in many foods, especially meats and sausages, it is not a good idea to use them yourself either in capsules or honey to take internally.
Safety Precautions: Do not apply the essential oil neat, especially to the underarms or delicate parts of the body. Most oils are probably not to be used on babies, children or pregnant women. Many aromatherapists suggest that there are some oils not be used at all. However, as with many plants, essential oil chemistry is subject to change depending on species and terroir.
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©

If you have read this far and like what you have read, please help support this work by the purchase of books and courses by Jeanne Rose. The web address is    … thank you.


Picking Rosa centifolia in California – 2010




~ JR ~

whew! 7876


Roses ~ Grown for Scent

Synopsis: People often do not know which Rose species are used for scent by distillation or by solvent extraction ~ here is a short discussion of the Roses used.

Roses ~ Grown for Scent – Part I of 2

Compiled by Jeanne Rose ~ April 2017

I am often asked about Roses. Why doesn’t that Rose that I grow have any odor? Or why isn’t the correct odor or the odor I smell when I purchase the absolute or the distilled oil in the Rose flower? What Rose can I grow to make scent or to distill? Where can I get Roses for scent?   And I am NOT writing about Roses that smell good or good smelling varietals; I am only talking about the antique Roses, heirloom Roses, species Roses, the real Roses that were used historically and are still used now for distillation or solvent-extraction for scent and perfumery. These are 2 totally different matters. Roses have a season of odor determined by the weather ~ the fragrant ones only bloom once a year and in order to capture that scent, they have to be picked at the correct time.

If you will check any of my books you will find much information on the Roses that are grown for scent. Herbs & Things p. 101; Herbal Body Book p. 118-119; The Aromatherapy Book, p. 128-129; and 375 Essential Oils and Hydrosols, p. 132-134; a long article in my Herbal Studies Course; and so, there is no sense in repeating that information here. We are discussing only heirloom or species Roses that are used for scent.

In order to get a quality essential oil and hydrosol, you must first start with the correct plant, the correct cultivar type of plant and then plant it in the best location in the correct soil, then distil it, analyze the essential oil and if the numbers (GC/MS) are correct for that particular plant, then you can plant this as a crop and be pretty much assured that the essential oil and hydrosol will be a quality product. Each species of plant will have different needs and requirements.
You will also need a three-year plan before you try to market your product.

  1. Know Your Soil.
    2. Location, Location, Location.
    3. Water source and type.
    4. Choose the correct plant that will match the terroir.
    5. Harvest at the correct time.
    6. Harvest the correct part.
    7. Choose a method of distillation and type of equipment that works for your plant.
    8. Choose whether you are distilling for essential oil or hydrosol.
    9. Distil with the art and craft of careful knowledge and many years’ experience.

Here are the species and at the end the likely sources for them.
* #1 Rosa alba (Rosa damascena alba) – White Rose
* #2 Bourbon Rose, R. x bourboniana (Edouard Rose)
* #3 Rosa centifolia – Cabbage Provence rose or Rose de Mai (
confused with #5)
#4 Rosa chinensis viridis or viridiflora Green Rose
(only mentioned because it is interesting)
* #5 Rosa damascena (Rosa damascena forma trigintipetala or Kazanlik Rose
* #6 Rosa gallica officinalis – Apothecary Rose, French Rose or  Rose of Provins (distilled for Rosewater)
#7 Rosa moschata – The English Musk Rose (not often distilled)
#8 Rosa polyantha Mlle. Cecile Bruner (peppery smelling hydrosol)I
#9 Rosa rubiginosa or R. eglanteria
(hip used for Rosehip seed oil

*Those starred are the only Roses that are used commercially for their scent and the ones you should try to obtain.



#1 Rosa alba (Rosa damascena alba) – White Rose, ‘Alba Semi-Plena’ Rose, PICTURE SOURCE Les Roses, Volume I (1817), by Redouté
ORIGINAL BOTANICAL NAME Rosa alba flore pleno, ORIGINAL FRENCH NAME Rosier blanc ordinaire,
CURRENT BOTANICAL NAME R. alba var. semi-plena, COMMON NAME Alba Semi-Plena,
OTHER NAMES Double White Rose, White Rose of York, CLASS Alba Rose,
ORIGIN Unknown; ancient cultivator, possibly introduced to Britain by the Romans.
FLOWERING Once-flowering; summer,
SCENT Strong, sweet fragrance,
GROWTH Tall shrub, 8-12 feet (2.4-3.6 meters),
AVAILABILITY Still in cultivation
DISTILLATION: Available only rarely, sometimes available in the hydrosol. The scent is strong and sweet and a lovely addition to the perfumery.


#2 Bourbon Rose, R. x borboniana, PICTURE SOURCE Les Roses, Volume III (1824) by Redouté
Rosa canina Burboniana, ORIGINAL FRENCH NAME Rosier de L’Ile de Bourbon
OTHER NAMES Rose Jacques. ‘Rosier de l’Île Bourbon’ is from hips received from the Île Bourbon (= Réunion). The hips were almost certainly originating from ‘Rose Edouard’ which was cultivated there and in Mauritius. The rose cultivated in India as R. borboniana is actually ‘Rose Edouard’.
CLASS Bourbon
ORIGIN Raised, 1821 in the gardens of Neuilly, France, by Monsieur Jacques from seed imported from the Íle de Bourbon (now called Reunion)
FLOWERING Blooms in flushes throughout the season
SCENT Sweetly fragrant
GROWTH Vigorous bushy shrub to a height of several feet (1 meter)
AVAILABILITY Still in cultivation, At upper left is illustration of the Bourbon Rose, R. x borboniana, painted by Pierre-Joseph Redouté, portrait 169 out of 170, Volume III of Les Roses.
EVALUATION: The essential oil content of the varieties of R. damascena varied from 0.037% to 0.051% and that of R. bourboniana was 0.017%. Super jwala recorded the highest oil content (0.051%). A total of 32 components were identified in the different varieties of rose oil. These components constituted 78.1–93.5% of the total rose oil species. The main components of rose oil were citronellol + nerol (16.3–30.1%), geraniol (15.8–29.3%), linalool (0.7–1.9%), rose oxide (0.9–2.6%), phenyl ethyl alcohol (0.1–0.4%), eugenol (0.3–2.2%), nonadecane (7.3–14.7%). The content of citronellol + nerol (30.1%) and geraniol (29.3%) was the highest in Himroz compared with other varieties.


#3 Rosa centifolia – Cabbage Provence Rose or Rose de Mai, Cabbage Rose, R. centifolia, PICTURE SOURCE Les Roses, Volume I (1817). The dark green shrub is vigorous and not as open as in some varieties of Damask.
ORIGINAL BOTANICAL NAME Rosa centifolia, ORIGINAL FRENCH NAME Rosier à cent feuilles
OTHER NAMES Provence Rose, Holland Rose, Hundred-Petalled Rose, Rose des Peintres
CLASS Centifolia
ORIGIN 16-19th century; Dutch breeders
FLOWERING Once-flowering; summer
SCENT Strong, sweet fragrance
GROWTH Tall shrub, 6-7 feet (1.8-2.1 meters) high
AVAILABILITY Still in cultivation,  At upper left is a picture of the original Cabbage Rose, R. centifolia, painted by Pierre-Joseph Redouté, portrait 002 out of 170, Volume I of Les Roses.

This rose is still alive and well today and can be obtained from specialist rose nurseries. It is a sturdy shrub with a tall, spreading, sometimes sprawling habit covered in large, soft, green leaves and in the summer, pink, very double, cupped flowers.
Redouté and his botanist friend, Thory, describe it as being a shrub some 6-7 feet high ‘studded with a multitude of straight, unequal thorns’. Its flower they describe as ‘rounded in shape and composed of numerous rose-tinted petals, becoming more deeply tinted as they approach the flower’s center’. And the leaves as being arranged in groups of ‘five leaflets, rarely seven’, dark green in color and ‘deeply and almost doubly dentate [serrated]’. They suggest that it is essential to prune the shrub well in February [in their French climate] to keep it ‘very small’ so that it ‘beautifully flowers in the greatest abundance’ that will be achieved later in the growing season. This is a very sweetly perfumed rose, its attar used by the perfume industry.



#4 Rosa chinensis viridis or viridiflora. The Green Rose.  A species rose from China; the date of discovery is unknown but prior to 1896. It is a green rose and is not distilled but is certainly interesting to have around. I love this Rose and have grown it wherever I can, it is strange and funny looking and wonderful.  It cannot be distilled for essential oil, but if you have enough it can be distilled for a peppery rose hydrosol. This is a good face and body spray.
NAME: Rosa chinensis f. viridiflora (Lavallée) C. K. Schneid. (1905)
COLOR: White, near white or white blend or green
CLASS: China / Bengal, Hybrid China.
ORIGIN: Discovered by John Smith (United States, circa 1827). Introduced in France by Guillot/Roseraies Pierre Guillot in 1855 as ‘Rosa viridiflora’. Nigel Pratt of Tasman Bay Roses says this rose has small, many-petalled flowers of an unusual shape, in shades of dull green and reddish brown. Sangerhausen lists Viridiflora as a Hybrid China and the date as 1856.
FLOWERING: Green.   Average diameter 2″.  Borne mostly solitary, cluster-flowered, in large clusters, rosette bloom form.  Blooms in flushes throughout the season.
SCENT: None / no fragrance or greenish scent.
GROWTH: Medium, upright.  The height of 23″ to 4′ (60 to 120 cm).  Width of 2′ to 3′ (60 to 90 cm). USDA zone 7b through 10b.  Can be used for cut flower, exhibition or garden.  Shade tolerant.  Diploid – has 14 chromosomes.


#5 Rosa damascena (Rosa damascena forma trigintipetala or Kazanlik Rose, the original Rose for attar of Rose. • Kazanlik (Bulgarian Rose). Grown extensively in Bulgaria and Turkey; this Rose can be confused with the R. centifolia as they look very much alike but originated from different areas and it may also be the centifolia Rose but just from another area. It is distilled and solvent extracted for Rose scent. The valley is famous for its rose-growing industry which have been cultivated there for centuries, and which produces 85% of the world’s rose oil. The center of the rose oil industry is Kazanlik, while other towns of importance include Karlovo, Sopot, Kalofer and Pavel banya. Each year, festivals are held celebrating roses and rose oil. The picking season lasts from May to June.
Also called ROSA CENTIFOLIA TRIGINTIPETALA is the Kazanlik, known Prior to 1850 and Perhaps the most sought after of Damask roses, ‘Kazanlik’ or ‘Trigintipetala’ is grown in quantity in Bulgaria, a country which still exports a great deal of the world’s rose attar. The flowers are deep pink, with thirty petals arranged in a somewhat shaggy halo around golden stamens.
NAME: R. gallica var. damascena f. trigintipetala Synonym, Trendaphil;
AVERAGE RATING: EXCELLENT-.  Deep pink Damask., COLOR: Pink, white undertones, ages to lighter.
ORIGIN: Registration name: Kazanlik. Bred by Unknown origin (before 1612). Damasks are related to Gallicas. Summer damasks are crosses between R. gallica and R. phoenicea and autumn damasks between R. gallica and R. moschata. Recent research in Japan indicates that both summer and autumn damask roses originated with (R. moschata X R. gallica) X R. fedtschenkoana. Gene, Vol. 259, Issues 1-2, 23 December 2000, Pages 53-59. Introduced in Germany by Dr. Georg Dieck in 1889 as ‘Rosa damascena var. trigintipetala’ Damask.
FLOWERING: 30 petals.  Average diameter 2″.  Medium, double (17-25 petals), in small clusters bloom form.  Occasional repeat later in the season.  Small, glandular sepals, leafy sepals, buds.  Armed with thorns/prickles, bushy, well-branched.  Light green foliage.  7 leaflets.
Strong, eponymous centifolia fragrance.
GROWTH:  Height of 5′ to 8′ (150 to 245 cm).  Width of 4′ to 6′ (120 to 185 cm). USDA zone 4b through 9b.  Vigorous.  Prune lightly directly after flowering is finished.  This rose blooms on old wood so be careful how you prune.  Bulgaria (Kazanlik region), Turkey (Sparta region).
INFORMATION:  – see references, ‘Kazanlik’ seems to be the same Damask-type which is also cultivated in Isparta/Turkey and Isfahan/Iran. Perhaps the most mysterious of the old rose groups; attempts have been made to track down the probable parentage of the Damasks (see above), but the suggestions seem implausible. The name refers to Damascus in the Middle East, where it was once believed these roses originated. We do know that they have been used for centuries in the production of attar or oil of roses; their fragrance is strong, and today it is the scent most often associated with roses. For potpourri, few roses are more valued than the Damasks aka Damask Rose.


#6 Rosa gallica officinalis – Apothecary Rose, French Rose or Rose of Provins
PICTURE SOURCE Les Roses, Volume I (1817)
ORIGINAL BOTANICAL NAME Rosa Gallica officinalis, ORIGINAL FRENCH NAME Rosier de Provins ordinaire
CURRENT BOTANICAL NAME R. gallica var. officinalis, COMMON NAME Apothecary’s Rose
OTHER NAMES Common Provins Rose, Red Rose of Lancaster, Old Red Damask, Medicine Rose.
CLASS Gallica
ORIGIN Sport from R. gallica, ancient origins
FLOWERING Once-flowering; spring/summer
SCENT Strong fragrance
GROWTH Shrub 3 feet (0.9 meters)
AVAILABILITY Still in cultivation
MORE INFO: Large, semi-double 3-4″ blooms (petals 12-18) of light red, opening to show a golden center, produced profusely on a nicely formed once blooming plant with grey-green foliage. Fragrant and shade tolerant. One of the antiquities of the Rose world. Used for medicinal purposes in Medieval times.
PERSONAL INFORMATION: This is one of my most favorite Roses. It produces lots of flowers even in poor growing conditions, it distils well for a lovely hydrosol and the petals have many uses in medicine; tea as a mild laxative, petals in jam, hips later in jam or syrups, petals infused in oil for creams and lotions and many other uses. This ancient rose is recorded as being in cultivation in the 800’s. (It was used as a medicine and perfume in the court of Charlemagne in the ninth century A.D.). Its petals were noted to retain their fragrance even when dried and powdered and for this reason, it remains the rose of choice for potpourris. It was also cultivated for its medicinal values. It is also commonly known as the “Apothecary’s Rose” and, more rarely, referred to as the “Old Red Damask” and “Rose of Provins”. They are heavy bloomers and most are very fragrant. Their compact size makes them suited for small gardens. Although Gallicas perform best in zones 4 to 8 where they go dormant naturally, they may also flower very well in zone 9 to 10 if you induce dormancy. Don’t fertilize them after the 1st of August. Remove all leaves left on the plant in December and for this effort, you will be rewarded with an abundance of beautiful blooms that your friends will enjoy each spring.


#7 Rosa moschata – The English Musk Rose is ancient and will grow 10-15 feet. It blooms once per year and the scent is heavenly pungent and fresh. The blooms can be picked for baths and to distill for hydrosol.
ORIGIN: Rosa moschata (musk rose) is a species of rose long in cultivation. Its wild origins are uncertain but are suspected to lie in the western Himalayas.
FORM…R. moschata is a shrub (to 3 m.) with single white 5 cm flowers in a loose cyme or corymb, blooming on new growth from late spring until late autumn in warm climates, or from late summer onwards in cool-summer climates. The flowers have a characteristic “musky” scent, emanating from the stamens, which is also found in some of its descendants. The prickles/thorns on the stems are straight or slightly curved and have a broad base. The light- or greyish-green leaves have 5 to 7 ovate leaflets with small teeth; the veins are sometimes pubescent and the rachis possesses prickles. The stipules are narrow with spreading, free tips. Small, ovate fruits called hips are borne, turning orange-red in autumn. The variety ‘Plena’ bears semi-double flowers, and a form with study name “Temple Musk”, found in the United States, bears more fully double flowers.
CONFUSION: This species has historically been confused with Rosa brunonii, a closely related, tall-climbing species from the Himalayas that bears flowers in late spring and which possesses a similar, musky scent. They can be distinguished in gardens by their season of flowering and by their differing growth habits.
CULTIVATION: It has been contended that no truly wild examples of the musk rose have been found, though it is recorded in cultivation as least as far back as the 16th century. It is important in cultivation as a parent to several groups of cultivated roses, notably the damask rose and the Noisette group, and is valued for its scent and for its unusually long season of bloom among rose species.
PERSONAL USE: I was able to grow this lovely Rose when I first moved to my house in San Francisco, before the neighbors planted a Redwood one one side and on the other side Eucalypts.  My Musk Rose entranced the neighborhood with its scent in the spring but the growing shade of the neighbor trees and the new foundation on my house which stopped good drainage of the soil slowly diminished my Rose until she was no more.


#8 Rosa polyantha Mlle. ‘Mlle. Cécile Brünner’
GROWTH: It has delicate, small, soft pink, sweetheart buds and blooms.    30 petals on a 2.5-inch flower and a sweet spicy fragrance. Almost thornless, shade tolerant and a cold climate rose bush.  Disease-free light green foliage. Height   2′-4′ with a mild peppery fragrance.
GARDEN: The sweetheart rose is a real sweetheart in the garden. While designated for the bush form, this nickname can easily be applied as well to its ‘Mlle. Cecile Brunner, climbing’ form. Pick the flowers for baths and to distil for a peppery hydrosol.
PRUNING: THIS well-known rose is an aggressive climber, but heavy pruning is considered a necessity. However, I have found that in San Francisco, if you prune too much you won’t get many flowers the next year as they bloom, on old wood. If you’d like these demure blooms on a more manageable shrub, Mademoiselle Cécile Brunner, bush form, the climber’s parent, reaches 4-5 ft.


#9 Rosa rubiginosa or R. eglanteria
Rosa rubiginosa (Sweet briar or Eglantine Rose; syn. R. eglanteria) is a species of rose native to Europe and western Asia. The name ‘eglantine’ derives from Latin aculeatus (thorny), by way of old French aiglant. ‘Sweet’ refers to the apple fragrance of the foliage, while ‘briar’ (also sometimes ‘brier’) is an old Anglo-Saxon word for any thorny shrub.
GROWTH:  It is a dense deciduous shrub 2–3 m high and across, with the stems bearing numerous hooked prickles/thorns. The foliage has a strong apple-like fragrance. The leaves are pinnate, 5–9 cm long, with 5-9 rounded to oval leaflets with a serrated margin, and numerous glandular hairs. The flowers are 1.8–3 cm diameter, the five petals being pink with a white base, and the numerous stamens yellow; the flowers are produced in clusters of 2-7 together, from late spring to mid-summer. The fruit is a globose to oblong red hip 1–2 cm diameter.
CULTIVATION AND USES: In addition to its pink flowers, it is valued for the scent of the leaves, and the hips that form after the flowers and persist well into the winter. Graham Thomas recommends that it should be planted on the south or west side of the garden so that the fragrance of wild apples will be brought into the garden on warm, moist winds.
In Tunisia, natural flower water is produced from its flowers. In Chile and Argentina, where it is known as “Rosa Mosqueta”, it can be found in the wild around the Andes range and is also cultivated to produce hips for marmalades and cosmetic products.


Roses discussed above.
#1 Rosa alba (Rosa damascena alba) – White Rose
#2 Bourbon Rose, R. x borboniana
#3 Rosa centifolia – Cabbage Provence rose or Rose de Mai

#4 Rosa chinensis viridis or viridiflora
#5 Rosa damascena (Rosa damascena forma trigintipetala or Kazanlik Rose)
#6 Rosa gallica officinalis – Apothecary Rose, French Rose or Rose of Provins
#7 Rosa moschata – The English Musk Rose
#8 Rosa polyantha Mlle. Cecile Bruner
#9 Rosa rubiginosa or R. eglanteria


Lea S. says, “When visitors to my garden ask me why certain roses can’t bloom year around I tell them they save all of their scent in concentration for the one bloom and that is one reason they smell so good.”

Sources: I am giving you these sources from the USA and must admit that I have had a difficult time to contact any of them. I have e-mailed with no response, called with no callback. So, I wish you the best of luck and hope if you do get any of the old heritage Roses from any of these companies, you will let me know. Also, there are very good sources in Canada, Australia and New Zealand, so investigate those areas as well.  ~

Please let me know of any success story.

B&B Nursery & Propagators, 2578 County Road I, Willows, CA 95988, ph./fax 530-934-2676, (951) 926-1134;

Cydney Wade, Rose Petals Nursery, 16918 SW 15th Ave., Newberry, Florida 32669, US, License# 48009500,
Phone number: 352-215-6399,

Flowering Shrub Farm in 40 Voorheesville Ave, Voorheesville, NY, … I heard good things about this company but have not been able to contact. Phone: 518-526-9978 try this number. (be careful as the names are confusing), only order the original antique rose not a namesake. 24062 Riverside Drive Northeast, St. Paul, OR 97137, (800) 820-0465  This is one of the best sources for some of the authentic heirloom Roses for the distillation of scent. Antique Rose Emporium, PH. 800-441-0002, 979-836-9051 Customer Service, 979-836-0928.  9300 Lueckemeyer Rd., Brenham, TX 77833

Rogue Valley Roses, PO Box 116, Phoenix OR 97535,, Phone (541) 535-1307. Seems to carry several kinds of ‘Kazanlik’ roses and the Autumn Damask and others. [or is the address 2368 Terri Dr., Medford, OR 97504?], Phone: (541) 535-1307

Roses of Yesterday and Today, 802 Browns Valley Road, Watsonville, CA 95076, (831) 728-1901,

 Vintage Gardens, 4130 Gravenstein Hwy. North 
Sebastopol, CA 95472 (the gardens and Roses are still here but apparently being overgrown with blackberry and abandoned but aided by the Friends of Vintage Roses). (707) 829-2035,

HYDROSOL: PLEASE NOTE: A true hydrosol should be specifically distilled for the hydrosol, not as a co-product or even a by-product of essential oil distillation. The plant’s cellular water has many components most are lost under pressurized short steam runs for essential oil, or by using dried material. We recommend that the producers specifically distill for a product by using plant material that is fresh.
Patch Test:  If applying a new essential oil to your skin always perform a patch test to the inner arm (after you have diluted the EO in a vegetable carrier oil). —Wash an area of your forearm about the size of a quarter and dry carefully. Apply a diluted drop (1 drop EO + 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

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
Wikipedia has many resources for this information. See taxonomy, botany, and the individual Roses.

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©
Hand carved container for Rose Oil




~ JR ~