Tag Archive | essential oil

JUNIPER BERRY EO/HYDROSOL

Many benefits and uses come from the female seed cone that produces Juniper “berries”; the properties including delightful information by Jeanne Rose is fascinating and useful.

 

Juniper Berry Essential Oil/ Hydrosol Profile

By Jeanne Rose ~ 12/25/16

Common Name/Latin Binomial and Family: Juniper berry, Juniperus communis is in the evergreen or conifer family, Cupressaceae, it is the berry oil, the essential oil that is steam-distilled from the merged scales of the cone, the berries, that we usually just call Juniper oil.
However, there are other Juniper trees of the genus Juniperus that are also commercially used just not in the same way, such as (Juniperus virginiana often called –cedar or pencil Cedar). Do not confuse these two oils.

Name: Juniperus simply means Juniper and communis means common.

Some Other Commonly used Junipers: J. bermudiana L. timber for pencils; J. californica Carr. berries for gin or hydrosol; J. cedrus Webb & berth. In the Canary Island forest; J. chinensis L. ornamental and berries for gin; J. communis L. the common Juniper berries used to flavor gin and liqueurs and eaten with meat, there is a French form has rather sweet berries that I prefer to use to flavor drinks; J. excelsa M, Bieb. used as medicine; J. occidentalis Hook., the wood is used in fencing and berries to flavor local liquor; J. oxycedrus L., the heartwood that gives the parasiticidal oil of Cade through a destructive distillation; J. sabina L., the twigs are medicinal and insecticidal and berries are toxic; and 

J. virginiana L. incorrectly named ‘cedar’ or red cedar and native to North America the wood of which is used to make pencils, making medicinals and wood for insect-proof chests and small pieces placed among clothing, the oil used to scent soap and it has many cultivars.  This oil/hydrosol was profiled in Jeanne-blog.com http://jeanne-blog.com/cedar-wood-virginia/

1-juniper-berries-oregon-copyfig. 1. JR photo of Juniperus occidentalis from Oregon

Countries of Origins: Juniperus communis, the common juniper, is a species of conifer that has the largest geographical range of any woody plant, with a distribution throughout the cool temperate Northern Hemisphere from the Arctic south in mountains to around 30° N latitude in North America, Europe and Asia. Relict populations can be found in the Atlas Mountains of Africa.

 Eden Botanicals Harvest Location: Juniper berry organic from Bulgaria; Juniper berry CO2, cultivated and kosher grown in India; and Juniper leaf/branch grown in Slovenia.

Endangered or Not: Common Juniper (Juniperus communis, is threatened or endangered in a number of states. Bermuda Cedar, Bermuda Red Cedar, Bermuda Juniper bermudiana, this species is currently listed as Critically Endangered.

 

General description of Plant habitat and growth:  Evergreen shrub or tree growing up to eighteen feet with narrow, stiff, prickly needles and little brown cones called berries that turn black in the second or third year.  The common Juniper, Juniperus communis, is a native to the Northern Hemisphere.   “…A juniper berry is the female seed cone produced by the various species of junipers. It is not a true berry but a cone with unusually fleshy and merged scales, which give it a berry-like appearance. The cones from a handful of species, especially the Juniperus communis, are used as a tasty spice, and also give gin its distinctive flavor.
Juniper berries have been called the only spice derived from the conifers although tar and inner bark from pine trees is sometimes considered a spice as well….” —Wikipedia

Portion of the plant used in distillation, how distilled, extraction methods and yields: The essential oil is either a CO2 extract or a a steam distillation of the berries (merged scales) and has a very rich, deep aroma. The ripe fruit is dried, crushed, or slightly dried, and then steam distilled or it is carbon dioxide extracted or the leaf and branch is hydro-distilled.
Yield:
   0.2-2.0% for the berry oil.

Organoleptic Characteristics:
Color:  the Juniper berry can be a rich Golden Yellow to a colorless oil; the Juniper berry CO2 is a pale yellow to dark yellow, while the Juniper leaf/branch oil is colorless.
Clarity: Clear
Viscosity: Non-viscous, although I have experienced a few berry oils that were somewhat viscous.
Intensity of Odor: leaf is a 3, CO2 is a 3-4 and the SD berry oil will be 4-5.
[Scale is 1-10 with 10 being the most intense]
Taste: herby, bitter, Astringent

Aroma Assessment: The scent of Juniper berry depends upon terroir. If it is from France it often has a citrus and fruity back note whereas when it is from the USA it has an herbaceous and sometimes mild camphoraceous back note.  The three I photographed and smelled most recently; the leaf/branch oil was quite herby and a conifer needle scent, Juniper berry was woody and herbaceous and the CO2 herby and citrus. But each was different from the other. I suggest that you first purchase samples and choose the one you like the best to use.

img_2700fig. 2. Juniper Oil of leaf and berry – courtesy Eden Botanicals

purple-bar

Properties of the Essential Oil

(General Properties and Uses) of juniper berry and leaf oil: Properties are by IG=ingestion or IN=inhalation or AP=application). By application the properties are antiseptic, diuretic, emmenagogue, antiparasitic, tonic, and depurative (purifying) and by Ingestion they are diuretic, depurative, and antiseptic; by Inhalation it is tonic, brain tonic, and respiratory expectorant.
General Uses:  It is an expectorant and antiseptic and can be used externally as a cleanser, and in massage oils and cosmetics.  It has been used as a medication for urinary problems, genital warts, itchy vulva or jock itch in the form of a sitz bath.  Juniper berry essential oil can be taken in very small amounts to act as a diuretic for cystitis and to detoxify the body, but a tea of the berries is more highly recommended, especially mixed with Rosemary herb and Fennel seed. Juniper berries, 1 or 2, can be eaten as an aid to jet lag or for ‘change of location’.

I view aromatherapy as a branch of herbalism,
and learning when use of the herb is preferable to use of the essential oil.
This is an important aspect of aromatherapy training.

 

Specific Physical Uses & How used (IG or AP):

  • Application: It is antiseptic and used externally as a cleanser and for problem skin. It may also be diluted and applied for pain relief for arthritis, rheumatism, sciatica or to relieve itchy vulva, jock itch, acne, eczema, and premenstrual bloating. Juniper berry or leaf is a valuable addition to skin and body care products due to its astringent and antiseptic qualities and is a wonderful addition in an astringent cleanser for the skin it and a wonderful odor and deodorizer in men’s products.
  • Inhalation: to alleviate mental exhaustion, in a blend for asthma, hay fever, and nervous tension.
    •Ingestion:
    Juniper Berry oil may be taken internally, in very small amounts. It helps the body release fluids and is used for obesity, urinary infections, and gout. It is used in tiny amounts as a diuretic for cystitis, to detoxify the body (depurative), and for overindulgence of food. (1 drop/herbal capsule such as Marshmallow root). It is used in the making of Gin and in flavoring meat foods.
  • Emotional Uses or Energetic Uses: Juniper Berry oil is inhaled to aid the memory, and to visualize being guarded from negativity and danger or use in a bath for depleted energy. I quite like this oil as a ‘change of location’ scent — to inhale or to eat a berry when flying and even to alleviate jet lag.
  • Diffuse/Diffusion: Juniper berry oil can be diffused in a blend with other oils that are less intense in scent, such as Rosemary, Lavender, citrus oils. It has a very cleansing effect on the air, is refreshing and helpful for concentration in a work space.
  • Perfumery: I especially prefer the Juniper berry oil from France in perfumery where it works well with citrus scents such as Bergamot and with Lavender and other conifers and when using Juniper berry from the U.S. I use it with base notes such as Galbanum and Oakmoss
  • HYDROSOL Properties and Uses: The USA sample was tested and was largely camphor and terpinene-4-ol with smaller amounts of borneol and other components. This Juniper hydrosol would be wonderful in the bath for aches and pains or as a compress for injuries. European Juniper hydrosol might better be used in facial care and toners and air sprays.
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 of which 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. Also, a hydrosol does not have the same components as does the essential oil, the components are often very different and in very much smaller amounts.
3-juniper-berry-2-yr-old-copyfig. 3. Juniper berries

 

~ FAVORITE RECIPES ~

  • Jeanne’s Favorites Uses of the herb, oil and hydrosol: I use Juniper berries whenever I travel. I just chew a few as sort of an anti-jetlag food, or I chew one to make my breath taste better. For these uses I need to use the sweet Juniper berries that come from France. I also use the Juniper berries (especially the ones from the NW or here in California) as an ingredient in my famous ‘Bruise Juice’. It is remarkable for adding more anti-pain therapeutics to my product. Regarding the essential oil, I add it equally to Sage oil, Basil oil, Cypress oil and Rosemary oil as an application for aching muscles and for temporary external use for pain-relief from sports injuries like painful legs, arms, golf elbow, etc.

 

  • Jeanne Rose Skin Care Formula

For aging skin, dry skin, sensitive skin or acneic skin,
Use a few drops of the following daily as an application before going outside.
Mix all together carefully before using.

6 drops sweet high altitude Lavender
4 drops true Clary Sage from the flowers
1 drop Galbanum
5 drops sweet Juniper berry
32 drops of your favorite carrier or lotion.

.

Jeanne Rose’s Tomato Tales with Juniper Berry: I have used Juniper berry oil, the berry (herb), and hydrosol for as long as I have used anything and have never had an unpleasant or wildly or even a mildly memoristic experience with them that I can remember.  It is one of the easiest herbs and oils to use. In food the berry is delicious particularly with meats and fowl, the oil works great in massage blends to relieve muscle pain and the hydrosol is just a wonderful addition to the bath for skin cleansing.

 

Key Use:  The oil of Edema. [for obesity, urinary infections, skin problems, arthritis, and gout and massage for aching muscles]

Chemical Components: Constituents: Juniper berry essential oil contains 8% resins; 0.4% Juniperene; Pinene and Terpinenes. Monoterpenes (which make up most of the essential oil) alpha- and beta-pinene, sabinene, limonene, terpinene-4-ol, alpha-terpineol, borneol, geraniol, myrcene, camphene, camphor, alpha-eudesmol and many others.

Sesquiterpenes such as beta-caryophyllene, delta-cadinene, Diterpenes, Neolignan glycosides, lignan (podophyllotoxin is present and is toxic to the nerves, gut and liver), tannins, flavonoids, resin in the essential oil include cedrene, alpha-pinene pectin, sabinene, cedrol, myrcene, terpinene-4-ol, limonene, beta-phellandrene, alpha-terpinene, gamma-terpinene, beta-pinene, alpha-eudesmol which may inhibit calcium channels and appears to be neuroprotective in a stroke model.

Antifungal compounds are found in the juniper parts such as oidiolactone C. Isocrupressic acid in Juniperus communis has been identified as an active abortifacient compound, Alpha- and beta-cedrene from Juniperus occidentalis have antimicrobial activity.

Historical Uses and Interesting Information: Common juniper was used by Native Americans of the Great Basin as a blood tonic. Native Americans from the Pacific Northwest used tonics made from the branches to treat colds, flu, arthritis, muscle aches, and kidney problems. Cones were used by the southern Kwakiutl of British Columbia for treating stomach ailments and wood or bark was used to treat respiratory problems. The Interior Salish used cones to make medicines for a variety of ailments. Eurasians made tonics from common juniper for kidney and stomach ailments, and for muscular uses and rheumatism.
Common juniper contains a volatile oil, terpinene-4-ol, which is known to increase kidney action. Common juniper extract, which can be fatal in even fairly small amounts, was used to make gin and as a meat preservative. Common juniper is highly valued as an ornamental plant and is widely cultivated and provides good ground cover even on stony or sandy sites. This species was first cultivated in 1560.

Contraindications: Do not confuse Juniper berry oil with Cade oil from Juniperus oxycedrus or the toxic oil from Juniperus sabina. Juniper berry oil and herb (Juniperus communis) is contraindicated in those patients with reduced renal function.

 

References:
Harman, Ann. Harvest to Hydrosol. botANNicals. 2015
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: http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/plants/shrub/juncom/all.html
http://www.sigmaaldrich.com/life-science/nutrition-research/learning-center/plant-profiler/juniperus-communis.html
fig-4-juniper-berry-jeannerosefig. 4. Jeanne Rose photo of J. communis in Golden Gate Park
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 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©
fig-5-juniper-illustrationfig. 5. Botanical illustration of Juniper communis

 

 

~ JR ~

Frankincense ~ Fabulous Ancient Remedy

            There is so much information available on this plant, that this short blog post will only highlight what I find to be some of the interesting aspects of Frankincense. When searching for information ignore sites that want to sell you any sort of product. Instead check under words like ‘Frankincense taxonomy’ or ‘science of Frankincense’ or ‘smithsonian.gov or ncbi.nlm.nih.gov or the theplantlist.com, or ‘frankincense gc/ms or the same main leads using its Latin name Boswellia.
frankincense-x5fig. 1 Essential oils courtesy of Eden Botanicals

Frankincense ~ Fabulous Ancient Remedy

By Jeanne Rose

Common Name/ Latin Name/ Country of Origin:

            Name. George Christopher Molesworth Birdwood who lived from 1832-1917 named the Olibanum or Frankincense plant, Boswellia carterii, aka B. carteri. The Latin binomial of one of the species of Frankincense was named after James Boswell [companion and biographer of Samuel Johnson] and the word ‘carterii’ after Professor H.J. Carter who described the Egyptian mummies and made the first scientific collection of specimens from Arabian frankincense in 1846. … “Dr. H. J. Carter was surgeon in an East Indian company survey ship, the H.M.S. Palinurus which was surveying the south Arabian coast”.  He studied a branch of Frankincense tree thought to be a species similar to the Indian variety of Frankincense, B. serrata.  Later work showed that Dr. Carter had actually been looking at B. sacra. The tree originally found by Carter was named after him by Birdwood and called B. carterii now called B. sacra.  Even later studies showed that in all probability the tree found by Carter and named by Birdwood was of Somali origin. There are at least 17 species of Boswellia and they are very difficult to distinguish. The family name is Burseraceae and includes the genus of Myrrh, Olibanum and Elemi. The name Olibanum is derived from the Arabic word al luban or the milk, which refers to the milky exudate of the trees that is the resin.
Country. These trees grow in Oman, Yemen and the Horn of Africa, including Somalia and Ethiopia.

 

Portion of the plant used in distillation, how it’s distilled, extracted and yields:
Botany.
Frankincense (Boswellia carterii) comes from a small tree native to North Africa (Somalia) and some Arab countries. When the bark of the tree is damaged it exudes a white emulsion, the oleo-gum-resin that is white and milky. When this emulsion comes into contact with air it slowly hardens and congeals into tears and drops that are whitish – amber or burnt orange in color about ½ to 1 ½  inches in diameter. It is this emulsion or resin that is picked from the ground or off of the bark and that is steam distilled to produce the pure essential oil of Frankincense, also known as Olibanum. The resin comes from the schizogenous gum-oleo-resin reservoirs within the plant. It is now also CO2 extracted.
Yield from steam-distillation is 3-6%

 

History:  There are very few essential herbs (plants used for medicine or body care or aroma) available that have a longer and more distinguished history than Cinnamon, Frankincense, Galbanum, Labdanum, Myrrh, and Storax.  These have all been known and used since ancient times and all are mentioned more than once in the Bible as well as other historical texts. For about 400 + years we have had their essential oils as well. We have already discussed Myrrh in the November blog. This resin that was known around the world for thousands of years simply as ‘incense’, and has been in use by mankind since antiquity is Frankincense.

This resin that was known around the world for thousands of years simply as ‘incense’, and has been in use by mankind since antiquity is Frankincense. The word Olibanum comes from the Arabic al-luban and means ‘the milk’ — the true incense.  The word Frankincense comes from the old French word fraunk-encens and means the true or real incense.

fig-2-frankincense-tears-al-luban-copyfig. 2. al luban ~ the milk

         The historical use of Frankincense is in spiritual and religious rituals. It is one of the oldest herbs/resins used for this purpose. Rising smoke from burning resins was a means of communicating from the ancient peoples to the gods, and Frankincense was burned on hot coals for this purpose as well as for its healing properties and fragrance. Frankincense was considered a very sacred gift. It was also used in embalming.

In ancient times Frankincense was bought and sold everywhere. Arabia was the largest exporter and its trees produced the best quality Frankincense. In Babylon, every year 57,200 pounds of Frankincense was burned. In Assyria at the annual feast of the god Baal, nearly 60 tons of Frankincense was used. When Herod was buried, 5,000 slaves preceded the funeral procession carrying urns of the burning resin. At his wife’s funeral in 65 AD, Nero burned all the Frankincense produced by Arabia in one year. [He needed to expiate his sins as what is not generally known is that he had beat his pregnant wife to death].

The story most people are familiar with is that of the three holy kings who presented what they considered the most precious gifts to the Son of God at Bethlehem: gold, Frankincense, and Myrrh.

The smoke of Frankincense fills churches and sacred spaces to this day as well as the ritual areas of many people. From this burning incense a fragrance issues that “that floats on an invisible thread to heaven to attract the attention of the Gods”.  For it is on fragrance that the gods feed and it is fragrance that they desire.
         Dr. Michael Stoddord discovered that Frankincense contains a substance similar to sexual hormones, which awaken sexual desire. Reports for the Academy of Science in Leipzig, Germany claim that when Frankincense is burned the chemical tetrahydrocannabinol is produced. This substance is thought to expand the subconscious. Inhalation of Frankincense slows and deepens the breath and is calming and relaxing.

 

Aroma Assessment/Organoleptics: The Frankincense oil that I have from 1972 is deep golden in color, clear, very viscous with a deep intensity of scent and a fragrance that is rich, spicy, balsamic, agreeable, with a citrus or lemon back note. It has a bitter aromatic taste. The Frankincense from 2003 is much paler gold in color, clear, not viscous, with a lighter smoother but not as richly pleasing an odor. Currently, I have five samples of Frankincense and they are colorless to very pale yellow, clear, non-viscous, not intense with a bitter taste. This vast difference from golden yellow – colorless and viscous – non-viscous and intensely fragrant to not intense has happened in the last 10 years. Why? I cannot answer.

The right nostril processes navigational related odors. And people favor the right nostril when detecting and evaluating the intensity of odors, hinting at a broader olfactory asymmetry. So if you are lost and wish to get home or wish to know the intensity of a scent, sniff the air with the right side. Left nostril smells the scent and right side nostril smells the intensity.

Smell left for scent, smell right for intensity and then waft to get the entire scent experience.

Best methods of application:
Application: The use of the essential oil of Frankincense has expanded beyond spiritual use. It is a valuable addition to skin and body care products due to its astringent and antiseptic properties. It is useful in lotions, salves, soaps and oils and indicated for acne, skin problems, and boils. Frankincense essential oil benefits the skin by keeping it healthy and preventing wrinkling and aging.
Ingestion: Frankincense resin can be partially dissolved in water and this water is drunk for the boswellic acid that is helpful in clearing disease.
Inhalation: Used by inhalation in a diffuser, Frankincense is beneficial in treating bronchitis, excessive mucus, colds, and coughs. It is indicated for excessive mucous, as an inhalant treatment for asthma, inhaled and massaged to stimulate the immune system and for nervous depression.
Perfumery: Frankincense is a useful addition to aromatherapy blends and potpourri, where it serves to fix the scent and acts as a base note. It is of particular value in perfume blends of the Oriental style, because it rounds out and gives alluring tones that are particularly difficult to identify as to the source.
Properties: In addition, Franchomme and Pénoël suggest that the properties are anti-catarrh, expectorant, cicatrizing, immuno-stimulating and anti-depressant.

frankincense treefig. 3. Trygve Harris in front of an Omani Frankincense tree. 2011

Hydrosol: I have had the pleasure to experience the hydrosol of Frankincense that was distilled by Jack Chaitman. It was very refreshing with an herbal citrus scent. This was mixed with Rosemary hydrosol 50•50 and used as a facial spray. With Rosemary hydrosol, the combination is soothing to the skin and anti-aging. If you choose to use the resin instead, soaked in water, then the fluid diluted, filtered — this can be used as a facial or body spray as well.

 Endangered or not: Frankincense is considered to be threatened and/or endangered due to heavy usage, people moving into the Frankincense areas and by over-tapping. Dutch and Ethiopian researchers studying populations of the trees in northern Ethiopia found that as many as 7% of the trees are dying each year and that it could be gone within 50 years.

 Safety Precautions: There are no known contra-indications. However, I recommend that you dilute before using and a patch test should be performed before use for those with sensitive skin. There is more risk of harm if using oxidized oil. See p. 64 The Aromatherapy Book, Applications & Inhalations for the test.

 Storage: Store the EO in glass in a cool dark place, but not in the fridge or freezer. The resinous oil may harden after a time but can be diluted with a bit of alcohol, and it will slowly soften and liquefy after a few days. Frankincense is considered slowly soluble in 3.5 to 6 vol. of 90% alcohol, sometimes with slight turbidity.

 

Chemistry: Chemistry of the Essential Oil. The chemical components of Frankincense include 1-a-pinene, dipentene, Phellandrene, cadinene, camphene, olibanol, and various resins. Olibanol is considered to be in reality a mixture of verbenone, verbenol, and some other terpene alcohols, including most likely d-borneol. According to Blumann and Schulz “olibanol” is C26H44O.
Physicochemical Properties from Guenther.
Specific Gravity at 15°………….0.872 to 0.892
Optical Rotation.………………….The oils distilled prior to 1903 were levorotatory, up to —17°; since then they are dextrorotatory, up to +35°. The cause of this change is not clear.
Refractive Index at 20°………1.471 to 1.482
Solubility.…………………………Soluble in 3.5 to 6 vol. of 90% alcohol, sometimes with slight turbidity.

 Only four resins have been laboratory tested to have Boswellic acid in them; Boswellia papyrifera, B. sacra/carterii, and B. serrata.

Planta Med. 2006 Oct;72(12):1100-16. Boswellic acids in chronic inflammatory diseases. Ammon HP1. Author information
Abstract ~ Oleogum resins from BOSWELLIA species are used in traditional medicine in India and African countries for the treatment of a variety of diseases. Animal experiments showed anti-inflammatory activity of the extract. The mechanism of this action is due to some boswellic acids. It is different from that of NSAID and is related to components of the immune system. The most evident action is the inhibition of 5-lipoxygenase. However, other factors such as cytokines (interleukins and TNF-alpha) and the complement system are also candidates. Moreover, leukocyte elastase and oxygen radicals are targets. Clinical studies, so far with pilot character, suggest efficacy in some autoimmune diseases including rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis and bronchial asthma. Side effects are not severe when compared to modern drugs used for the treatment of these diseases.

Collective information: Frankincense was widely used for medicinal purposes to treat skin disease, nervous system imbalances and digestive disruption, and was listed as a medicinal and aromatic plant in the ancient Egyptian record, Ebers Papyrus. Like Myrrh, the oil was used in ancient times for embalming, as well as beautifying rituals, including using the charred resin for kohl eyeliner. But Frankincense is perhaps best known for its calming and sedative effects on the mind and central nervous system, making it ideal for meditation. The smoke of the burning incense is also used to cleanse the body of critters and smells — you can see this as a painting on the cover of my book, The World of Aromatherapy or in Massachusetts at the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute in Williamstown as Fumée d’AmberGris, 1880 by John Singer Sargent.
               Menninger describes Frankincense tree as looking like a ‘decomposing corpse’ with its stiff branches, scanty leaves and trunk color of a peculiar blotchy color. He goes on to say that the flowers are few, red and with an odor that is not always pleasant.

 

 Christmas Season Essential Oils and Herbs


christmas-ribbonFRANKINCENSE:
(Boswellia spp.)  Fam. Burseraceae. The true incense. A much favored incense for churches and other places of spiritual ritual.  The essential oil calms and awakens higher consciousness.  It is useful in coping with grief, soothes the mind and emotions.  It is useful for respiratory conditions, is warming, in body care products for aging skin.  A very spiritual, ancient odor.

GALBANUM: (Ferula galbaniflua) Fam. Apiaceae. This deep aroma that resonates of green and vegetative, represents the element of air.  It is grounding, uplifting, and balancing.  Applied externally in skin care it rejuvenates aging skin; it is used as a fixative in perfumery and aromatherapy.

GIFTS OF THE MAGI: A mixture of Frankincense, the true incense (Olibanum, from the Arabic word, ‘the milk’) and Myrrh with the golden color of the true Cedar. [See above and below]

MYRRH: (Commiphora molmol) Fam. Burseraceae. Inhale to calm fears about the future.  Smells hot but cools the air and the emotions. Antiseptic to the lungs, good for problems of the throat or for arthritis. Possible wound treatment. A luxury infused oil for 5000 years when it was used in cosmetics and perfumery. Revitalizes the skin, especially for aged and wrinkled skin.  Inhaled to regulate the body secretions, as an astringent and antiseptic to the lungs, to stimulate 6th and 7th chakra. Vibrates in blue to indigo.
Mix these EO’s together in any combination and you will have a rich, deeply scented combination of oils to use in meditation, celebration or any use that pleases you. If you are using the herbs, that is, the resins, mix them as well in any combination and burn over charcoal to have a lovely incense for ritual use. Don’t worry! Be content with your life.

Recipes 

~ More Ideas ~

  • Perfume/Cologne ~ Oriental Perfume @ 25% or l6 % if including the water.
    5 drops of each of Frankincense, Patchouli and Ylang-Ylang plus
    4 drops each of Rose abs, Sandalwood of your choice and
    2 drops Coriander seed.
    Mix together by succussion and let age for 2 weeks. Then add 75 drops of 95% alcohol and age again. Add 50 drops distilled water. Shake before using.

 

  • Spiritual Uses: Meditation and calming is what Frankincense is known for. The resin is burned and inhaled in the Catholic Church and other rituals, the essential oil is applied to the pulse points prior to meditation or prayer and I use it in this fashion when I walk the labyrinth.
    Menninger states that the incense burned in the Catholic Church is a mixture of 66% Frankincense, 27% Styrax benzoin, 7% Liquidamber orientalis and this distinctive scent burns visible but without excessive clouding.

 

  • Inhalation for colds, relaxing, healing ~ Diffuser Blend
    Varying amounts of Juniper berry, Frankincense resin, and Bergamot peel. Because the resin will get sticky and dry out you must always clean your diffuser with alcohol after each use.

 

  • Skincare ~ Anti-Aging Skin Formula
    30 drops each of Frankincense resin, Lavender flower from high altitude, & Rosemary verbenone. Blend and add to 2 oz. any carrier oil + 2 oz. Calophyllum and ½ tsp. Vitamin E oil. Apply daily to the skin or scalp and massage in gently.

 

  • Haircare ~ Condition scalp (with substitution it may cure alopecia
    30% Rosemary verbenone
    25% Atlas Cedar (Cedrus atlantica)
    20% Rose Absolute (any kind)
    20% ancient Frankincense (your favorite)
    To the blend add 5% (or more) of 95% grape spirits
    Smells resinous and sharp. The Rose absolute scent may be completely lost. But it does condition the scalp and get rid of any lingering yeast. Mix the oils together, add to the grape spirits. When needed, shake the bottle and add a dab to the scalp, massage into scalp. This will also help cure alopecia if you substitute Thyme linaloöl for the Rose absolute.

 

  • Body ~ Detoxifying Bath Blend
    30 drops Juniper berry or Cypress needle/twig oil
    20 drops Frankincense resin
    20 drops Bergamot peel oil
    Blended and added to 4 oz. carrier oil and ½ tsp. Vitamin E oil. Rub no more than 1 oz.  all over your body after bath or shower.

 

fig-4-frankincense-biospherefig. 4. Frankincense in the Biosphere
  • Amazing Jeanne Rose Tomato Tales: In 2003 I was asked to teach a class at the Biosphere in Tucson, AZ. On our initial tour through this rather amazing place, I saw the Frankincense tree that had been a gift from a Saudi prince. It wasn’t as leafy as it is now, but none-the-less it was growing in the desert atmosphere. What an amazing tree. I had been collecting resin, essential oil and information on this Biblical plant since 1970. And here it was for me to see. The class was a wonderful success and the tour a wealth of information.

 

  • Jeanne Rose tips and tricks: People want to drink Frankincense for the boswellic acid that is considered a cancer ‘cure’. It is really easy to make. Remember that the essential oil does not have the boswellic acid, it is in the resin. Simply take a small handful of the resin, place in a beaker, add 300 ml of water, let it soak for 2 days, transfer the milky solution to a new container, refrigerate. Drink 1-2 ounce per day. Repeat. Dry out the residue that is in the beaker and burn as incense.
  • Only four resins have been laboratory tested to have Boswellic acid in them; Boswellia papyrifera, B. sacra/carterii, and B. serrata.
fig-5-frankincense-resin-waterfig. 5. Frankincense water to drink

 

 

Bibliography:
Franchomme & Pénoël. l’aromatherapie exactement. Jollois, 1990.
Guenther, Ernest. The Essential Oils. vol. IV, pages 352-356. Krieger Publ. Malabar, FL 1972
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/?term=frankincense
Karydas, Rita C. Based on a paper, Frankincense. 2001
Langenheim, Jean H. Plant Resins. Timber Press, Portland. 2003. This is the best book on the subject
Menninger, Edwin. Fantastic Trees. Timber Press, Oregon. 1967, 1995.
Plants of Dhofar. Publ. Adviser for Conservation of the Environment. Sultanate of Oman. 1988.
Rose, Jeanne. 375 Essential Oils & Hydrosols. Frog Ltd. Berkeley, CA. 1999
—————. The Aromatherapy Book.  North Atlantic Books. 1992.
Sellar, Wanda & M. Watt. Frankincense & Myrrh. C.W. Daniel. 1996.
Wildwood, Christine. Creative AromatherapyThorsons. 1993

 

fig-6-2011-pathetic-frankincense-treefig. 6. Poor pathetic example of the Frankincense tree that I tried to grow in a pot. 2011.

 

 

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.

 

 

fig-7-gatheringfig. 7. Gathering of Frankincense
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©

 

 

 

 

~ JR ~

Myrrh EO & CO2

myrrh-named

Myrrh EO and CO2 ~ Essential Information

 

Oleo-gum-resin is a term that describes Myrrh. An Oleo-gum-resin is a solid plant exudation (as asafetida or myrrh) consisting of a mixture of volatile oil, gum, and resin. It describes oleo (meaning oily or fatty in nature or look), gum (partly soluble in water), resin (partly or wholly soluble in alcohol).  Therefore, an oleo-gum-resin has a nature that is partly soluble in water and partially soluble in alcohol and looks oily and is partly soluble in oil.  That is, it consists mainly of oil, gum and resin. Examples are:  Myrrh, Frankincense, and Opopanax.

Common Name/ Latin Name/ Country of Origin:  Myrrh gum is commonly harvested from the species Commiphora myrrha, from the family Burseraceae, which is native to Yemen, Somalia, Eritrea, and eastern Ethiopia. Another commonly used name, Commiphora molmol, is now considered a synonym of Commiphora myrrha. Several other species yield bdellium and Indian myrrh.

I personally examined and will discuss Myrrh from my old collection from 1972 and three modern ones that I enjoyed from Eden Botanicals:  Myrrh CO2, (C myrrha select extract wild-grown from Somalia); Myrrh, Somalia (C. myrrha wild-grown, SD*); and organic Myrrh, Somalia (C. myrrha wild-grown and certified organic, SD*) and the herbal uses of Myrrh products. There are several species of Myrrh.
*SD = steam-distilled.

 Portion of the plant used in distillation, how it’s distilled, extracted and yields: Myrrh from Somalia and Ethiopia is obtained from “tears” of resin exuding from incisions made in the bark of a small tree of the Burseraceae family that is native to Yemen, Somalia and eastern parts of Ethiopia.  The CO2 is extracted by supercritical fluid extraction with natural carbon dioxide. It takes 11 to 16 kilos of raw material to yield 1 kilo of product.
When soil, elevation, temperature, and rainfall conditions are conducive, testing the viscosity and stickiness of freshly exposed sap predicts the resulting resin’s quality.
In perfumery, Myrrh is a rich deep base note adding woody, balsamic scent properties. It is also a fixative, and extends the scent qualities of any other oils with which it is combined.

 

Organoleptics and Aroma Assessment.
Color – pale yellow to deeper yellow for the CO2
Clarity – Clear
Viscosity – non-viscous
Intensity – 3 for Myrrh organic of Somalia and 4 for Myrrh CO2.
Taste – bitter, astringent

 Aroma: The three bottles of modern Myrrh I examined were all quite similar in odor. The CO2 had a deeper yellow color than the steam-distillates but were all clear, non-viscous, of low intensity in scent and bitter to taste.          This was most surprising to me as my experience from 1970 to just a few years ago is that Myrrh essential oil was always dark golden, clear, viscous, and intense. Regarding the resin itself I was able to compare a piece from 1993 to what I have recently purchased and they certainly look and smell the same so I cannot explain the change of color and odor of the essential oil.

myrrh-colors-1972-1990

Best method of application or what do you use Myrrh for? Myrrh herb has been used to treat many conditions and is said to strengthen the immune system, fight viruses and bacterial infections, and act as an anti-inflammatory and anti-fungal. The essential oil has been used in extract or diluted with alcohol to use as a mouth wash or added to spiritual blends. However, in my experience, using a bit of the resin dissolved in alcohol then water added is a more environmentally conscious way to use this possibly threatened product.

Herbal Use or Incense: The resin lumps are used in incense and medicine. The wood is chewed as a water source. The incense is easy to use, simply place a piece on charcoal and burn or it can be blended with other resins to make a fragrant combination or a meditative blend.
The oleo-resin of C. mukul from the trunk (Guggul) is important in local medicine for arthritis, to reduce blood cholesterol, for obesity and acne.

 Hydrosol: The only Myrrh hydrosol I have tried is the Myrrh water from Enfleurage in New York. They mention that it is personally distilled by Trygve, in their Omani Distillery in Somalia and select only the quality that is up to the owner’s standards. She says, “We do not separate our Myrrh oil from the water, and so we offer an ultra-high content Myrrh hydrosol. This makes it especially suited for therapeutic use, as it sprays on easily and can also be incorporated into formulations during the water-phase.”  Myrrh is known for its antimicrobial properties and efficacy for all types of skin problems.

Endangered or not: It is very difficult to determine if the common Myrrh tree is endangered. But Arghya Gardens in Florida says it is and are helping to propagate and distribute these historically significant trees including C. mollis, C myrrha, and C. neglecta.  And because of its use in traditional medicine, C. wightii has been overharvested in much of its habitat, thus has been listed on the IUCN Red List of threatened species. Several efforts are in place to address this situation.  A grassroots conservation movement, led by IUCN associate Vineet Soni, has been started to educate guggul or guggal growers and harvesters in safe, sustainable harvesting methods.

 Safety Precautions: Dilute before using. A patch test should be performed before use for those with sensitive skin.

 Storage: Store your resin or EO of Myrrh in a light-proof container. Do not store in the fridge or freezer.
Not as sensitive as some EO and will last many years pretty much whatever you do. However, since it is a resin, long storage sometimes thickens the EO and you will need to add alcohol to thin it. It is slowly soluble in alcohol meaning it may take a few days.

~ ~ ~

Collective and Interesting information: The Legend of Myrrha. Myrrha falls in love with her father and tricks him into sexual intercourse. After discovering her identity, Cinyras draws his sword and pursues Myrrha. She flees across Arabia and, after nine months, turns to the gods for help. They take pity on her and transform her into a Myrrh-tree. While in plant form, Myrrha gives birth to Adonis. According to legend, the aromatic exudation of the Myrrh-tree are Myrrha’s tears.
In the Old Testament, in the story of Joseph and his relatives, relates that Joseph had been cast into a well, when there appeared “a company of Ishmaelites from Gilead, bearing spices Balm, and Myrrh, going to carry it down to Egypt.”

            What I found really interesting is that “The Plant Book” suggests that Myrrh is mosquito pollinated at night.

 Recipes for Using Myrrh:

  • Perfume: Myrrh acts as a fixative or base note in perfumery and if you like the odor that is the best way to use it. As a base note it should be no more than 10-15% of the total blend and as a fixative no more than 5%. There are many perfumes that contain Myrrh as a balsamic note. Personally, I have used it as an application for an enhanced spiritual feeling as I walk the labyrinth.
  •           For Spiritual Exaltation: Make a formula of equal parts of Myrrh, Frankincense, Patchouli and Vetivert. Succuss these together and let the blend age for a week before using. Apply a bit of the oil on your wrists or forehead and base of throat before meditation.

 Skincare: There are many places that have formulas for using Myrrh for skin care, since it is not my favorite odor, I don’t use it in this way and use it only as resin incense or resin tincture for the mouth.

 Body and your teeth: There is a great old recipe for Myrrh Tooth Tincture (see Atkinson, p 322) from 1919 as follows:
Cloves • ¼ oz. by weight
Mace • pinch
Myrrh • ¼ oz. by weight
Rhatany root* • ¼ oz. by weight
Alcohol • 6 oz.
Mix the herbs together, add the alcohol, let it sit for a while, up to a week or more, strain off the liquid tincture and use small amounts to rinse the mouth, mixed with water for a daily rinse.

            * (Krameria lappacea – Rhatany – The biological action of Rhatany is caused by the astringent rhataniatannic acid, which is similar to tannic acid. When finely powdered, the dried roots furnished a frequent constituent of tooth powders. Infusions have been used as a gargle, a lozenge, especially when mixed with cocaine, as a local hemostatic and remedy for diarrhea.)

             There are recipes for using Myrrh in my books, such as p. 181 of Herbs & Things for a flavored mouthwash.

  • Jeanne Rose tips and tricks: Myrrh is about 50% soluble in water. So take a small amount of Myrrh gum, add water, let it dissolve for 24 hours or more and then use the water as mouthwash and dry the residue and burn as incense. This is a more environmentally friendly way to use this resin.

myrrh-water

 

Jeanne Rose Tomato Tale of Myrrh: Twenty years ago, I had a very competent secretary that loved Myrrh and would use Myrrh EO or burn Myrrh in the room when she was using my computer. I realized at that time that Myrrh was not my favorite odor and she knew that as well. So whenever I walked into the computer room and it smelled of Myrrh I would promptly leave. Years later, I found a whole file of her personal love letters on my computer and I realized that she would use Myrrh to drive me out so that she could write her personal things. It makes me laugh now.

 Bibliography:
Arctander, Steffen. Perfume and Flavor Materials of Natural OriginA
Askinson, George. Perfumes and Cosmetics. Hodder & Stoughton, London, 1919
Guenther, Ernest. The Essential Oils.
Mabberley, D.J. Mabberley’s Plant-Book, Third Edition 2015
Menninger, Edwin. Fantastic Trees
Rose, Jeanne. Herbs & Things
Rose, Jeanne. The Aromatherapy Book
The New Shorter Oxford Dictionary.
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 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©

 

~ JR ~

Firs – Profile and Hydrosol

Synopsis: Fir profile and specifics on use, history, and aroma of several Fir trees and includes chemistry and hydrosol.

 Fir – Abies alba and Abies balsamea

Abies grandis

 Essential Oil & Hydrosol Profile

By Jeanne Rose

abies-oilsAbies balsamea and Abies alba

Essential oils to examine are courtesy of Eden Botanicals.

 Common Name/ Latin Name/ Country of Origin: Fir, balsam Abs, Fir, balsam SD and Fir, Silver SD are the common names for the needle oil of two of the most commonly used Firs. Their Latin binomial and country of origin is this:

            Abies balsamea or Balsam fir is a North American fir, native to most of eastern and central Canada and the northeastern United States. Balsamea means it produces balsam from the bark.

Fir, Silver SD or Abies alba, the European silver fir or silver fir is a fir native to the mountains of Europe, from the Pyrenees north to Normandy and east to the Alps and the Carpathians as well as south to Italy Bulgaria and northern Greece.

 Endangered or not: Of least concern

Safety Precautions: Use moderately in your blends and perfumes. Remember that the conifer needle oils contain alpha- and beta-pinene and have been known to cause sensitivity and skin irritation in some.

Storage: Keep in a cool dry place and replace every year or so.

Organoleptic/Aroma Assessment:

fir-organoleptic

Aroma Assessment:
           There is something richly evocative of the forest in the scent of the Balsam Fir needle absolute. Woody, conifer, green, somewhat vegetative, earthy and deeply scented of the forest – a wonderful oil to use in a perfume.

            The Balsam Fir steam-distilled oil is very similar to other conifer needle oils and hard to differentiate if you do not have 5-6 to compare. It is, of course, green, conifer, slightly vegetative and herbaceous with that sweet airy note we smell as we walk in the conifer forest. So these Fir and Pine oils can pretty much be used interchangeably.             

The essential oil of white Fir Abies alba, is clear and colorless, fragrant with the notes of the forest, green and heady. After smelling other conifer needle oils this one has a sweet and heady scent. A resinous essential oil can  also be extracted. This conifer-scented oil has soothing qualities and is used in perfumes, bath products, and aerosol inhalants.         

Choose the one that you like best to use. I have a special kit of 20 Conifer oils for sampling – the cost is $140 and needs to be pre-ordered. But for trying out different Conifer scents it is the best.

Best method of application and Properties or what do you use each for. With the alpha- and beta- pinene in these oils, you really can’t go wrong. Just choose the one whose scent is most pleasing to you.

The essential oil of Silver Fir needle oil, is clear and colorless, fragrant with the notes of the forest, green and sweet. This conifer-scented oil has soothing qualities and is used in perfumery, bath products, and aerosol inhalants especially for the health of the respiratory system. The cone and leaf oil are steam-distilled in the Tyrol area of Austria from carefully harvested and maintained forests. Young twigs and leaves have a delightful odor. This EO is used in all kinds of ‘pine’ compositions such as room sprays, deodorants, and baths. In Aromatherapy it is used for inhalation for respiratory ailments, colds, etc.; and used externally, in preparations for rheumatism, aching muscles and other muscular-skeletal ailments. The cone oil has a suave balsamic odor and serves as an adjunct in all kinds of ‘pine’ needle scents.

                   A is for amiable (soft feel) or Abies and Fir is for friendly (needles don’t ‘stick’ or hurt you)           

Balsam Fir produces Turpentine oil and Turpentine oils are produced both from Abies balsamea called Canada Balsam Fir andPseudotsuga taxifolia. This product is a true turpentine because it consists of both resin and volatile oil. The component is principally l-a-Pinene.   Abies balsamea is Balsam Fir contains up to 90% Monoterpenes. Like the other needle oils, it is antiseptic and antispasmodic and is inhaled for the respiratory system or applied externally in blends to ease the muscular system. Balsam fir essential oil has a characteristic woody aroma. This oil usually contains between 6-9% of bornyl acetate and over 1% santene. The most common problems encountered with coniferous tree oil are contamination with other species during distillation and also misidentification of the distilled species. So, in a genuine balsam fir oil, it’s always important to have β-bisabolene, piperitone, and longifolene which are signature compounds for this species. Obviously, we also find commons monoterpenes in A. balsamea oil like β-pinene (the major component), α-pinene, camphene, myrcene, Δ3-carene.

balsam-fir-chemistryCourtesy of Laboratoire PhytoChemia

And the Absolute of Balsam Fir is just the best for perfumery or blends for calmness and relaxation. This delicious warm and woody forest-y scent comes thick and dark and will need to be dissolved in high-proof (80-95%) alcohol so that you can measure and use it. I fell in love with this product when it was first received a year or so ago. Love it for my ‘Muscle Relaxation’ blend that also soothes the mind. [see end for formula]

Hydrosol Uses: The conifers, especially the needle oils, when steam- or hydro-distilled yield a quantity of hydrosol. These hydrosols are very useful in a steam bath for the respiratory system, in a bath just for soaking and as part of the water in the Neti pot for cleansing the sinus. The hydrosol is used in baths, steam inhalations, compresses to soothe the skin, ease muscle tension and just to make you feel good as you inhale the forest. It is not hard to use and doesn’t need a lot of instruction. Just get the hydrosol — taste it or drink small amounts occasionally (1 oz./8 oz. water) for a cold or flu, pour into the bath (no quantities needed although I like a 50•50 mix with Rosemary hydrosol) for anti-aging and relaxation, and then use it.

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. 

Portion of the plant used in distillation, how it’s distilled, extracted and yields: Balsam Fir and Silver fir needles are used in steam- and hydro-distillation. Silver fir yield is .25-.35% EO while Balsam fir is 0.65% essential oil, ranging to 1.4% or higher.

Chemistry: Abies balsamea or balsam fir is a North American fir. Turpentine oil is produced from Pseudotsuga taxifolia as well as from Abies balsamea aka Canada Balsam Fir. This product is also a true turpentine because it consists of both resin and volatile oil. The chemical component is principally l-a-Pinene. Abies balsamea is Balsam Fir. It contains up to 90% Monoterpenes. It is antiseptic and antispasmodic and is inhaled for the respiratory system.

       Silver Fir oil contains alpha and beta pinene and is antiseptic if used externally or when inhaled for all respiratory needs. Burn the oil on charcoal for refreshing the air.

needle-picture-fir                                                                     

The Difference between Firs and Spruces by Jeanne Rose
FIRS = Think about Abies the genus and then A is for amiable (soft feel) or Abies and common name Fir is for friendly [Abies has needles that are soft to touch and aren’t sticky and the needles when pulled off leave a Flat scar].
SPRUCE = Picea and the P is for prickly and S is for Spruce is for spiky feel. [Picea for prickly needles, Peg-like scar after needle is plucked and Spruce for spiky feel]

abies-balsamea-absFir absolute (Abies balsamea)

Historical Uses and Interesting Facts:             Abies alba is “the whitewood or silver fir, and the tallest European tree growing to 350 years old. It is much grown for construction work and telegraph poles and was favored by the Greeks and Romans for building fast warships, especially for oars of triremes (as it loses its lower branches early), but since 1900 is has been attacked by aphids and is now being replaced by the (deliciously scented) Grand fir, Abies grandis. It is a source of Alsatian or Strasburg turpentine called Vosges, essential oil is used in bath preparations and medicine especially respiratory uses when inhaled and is the principal Christmas tree of the Continent.”—Mabberley.

  • balsamea is named by Linnaeus and is the balsam fir of North America. The pulp contains juvabione which is a homologue of insect juvenile hormone. (juvabione because of the ability to mimic juvenile activity in order to stifle insect reproduction and growth). This tree is used in North America for paper products and is also a source of Canada balsam which is used in microscope preparations and as a local medication and for Canada pitch.

Collective information:

  • Perfume ~ There are few ingredients in a perfume that perform so well to make a scent both soft and attracting as well as masculine as the sweet, green, conifer (deep forest) scent of the Balsam Fir Absolute. All you need to do if you want this comforting scent of the forest is to add to your basic blend. I would suggest it in the blend up to 25%, although my favorites have always been about 15%. There is something deeply relaxing and compelling about this wonderful odor.
  • Skincare
  • Haircare – I rarely use the Fir oils and balsams in my hair care although I have on occasion added a drop to shampoo along with Rosemary CT. verbenone to assist in hair health.
  • Body Care – The Fir oils are excellent to be used in all manner of skin care in amounts up to 15% of the total blend to condition the skin, add a forest scent, refresh the body in a lotion.
  • Jeanne Rose Tips for Uses:
    This is a beautiful potpourri that if made with fresh picked cuttings of conifers and bay and some nutmeg will make a wonderfully fresh-scented room deodorizer. After a few days, make an infusion of the contents and throw into the bathtub for a soothing skin bath.

fir-potpourriunknown photographer

  • Amazing Tomato Tales the Jeanne Rose stories ~

Fir Absolute Limerick
I am liking the Fir absolute
The scent is so full, resolute.
Sweet in the wood
Don’t need a hood
It is like a very sweet tasty fruit…
JeanneRose2013

Jeanne Rose tips and tricks: Always pre-dilute your absolutes to a 50•50 with a 95% neutral grape spirits before using. I only use Alchemical Solutions for my alcohol. It is organically grown from grape, cane, corn and wheat. https://organicalcohol.com/ 

Aromatherapy Blend for Relaxation
First you will need to dilute your Balsam Fir Absolute to about 50%
Then take equal quantities essential oils of Piñon Pine, Black Spruce and Atlas Cedar,
About 30 drops total and add 15 drops of the diluted Balsam Fir Absolute.
Add or reduce these oils as you wish.
Shake it up by succussion. Let it rest and use with a carrier oil for
Muscle relaxation or for inhalation for the mind.

abies-balsamea-cones-and-resin

Source: I am very fond of the needle oils including the Firs that come from Eden Botanicals

* * *

Abies grandis ~ Grand Fir, an American native tree.

            There is another Fir I would like to mention that has a lovely citrus odor and is wonderful at Christmas time and that is the Grand Fir or Christmas Fir. [fall 2001 issue of the Aromatic News]
                 This large, grand tree is Abies grandis,  the Grand Fir that lives in the coniferous forests of the Northwest as well as being used as a landscape tree in many places of the world.  Here in San Francisco, Grand Fir is used throughout the city for its shapely beauty and scent.  In Strybing Arboretum, in the Redwood Forest (which 100 years ago was a lake on the edge of the Sunset District), the Grand Fir has a prominent place.  When walking in the Redwood Forest, take along a 5 foot long hooked cane so that you can pull down a branch of this handsome tree and smell the needles. There is a conifer and citrus note to the needles that is particularly appealing.
History: Kwakwakawaku shamans wove its branches into headdresses and costumes and used the branches for scrubbing individuals in purification rites.  The Hesquiat tribes used its branches as incense and decorative clothing for wolf dancers.  Grand Fir bark was sometimes mixed with Stinging Nettles and boiled and the resulting decoction used for bathing and as a general tonic.  The Lushoot tribe boiled needles to make a medicinal tea for colds (it contains vitamin C).  The Hesquait mixed the pitch of young trees with animal oil and rubbed it on the scalp as a deodorant and to prevent baldness.
Abies alba which is the tallest European tree and lives to 350 years is much grown for construction work and telegraph poles and was favoured by the Greeks and Romans for building fast warships, especially for oars of triremes.  But since 1900 this tree has been much attacked by aphids and has been replaced by A. grandis (D. Don) Lindley (white or giant fir) from Northwest America.  This tree reaches 100 meters and was introduced into Great Britain in 1834 and grew to a height of more than 62 meters by 1989.
Current Uses: Grand Fir has that delicious holiday Christmas tree odor.  It is green and vegetative in its back note, slightly citrus in its subsidiary note and strongly coniferous in the top note.  The smell is rich and sweet and joyous.  Grand fir is used during the holiday season to scent the air and keep it fresh and airy or to aerate the sickroom. Use a mixture of 10% Grand fir to 90% water or a conifer hydrosol to spray the room and scent the air or use 50•50 Grand Fir to Rosemary or mint hydrosol water solution for refreshing the sick room.  When using at holiday time and this includes any time during the season between All-Hallows and Valentines Day, spray the tree, spray your rooms, spray the wreaths, spray the bathrooms, spritz the decorations or the furniture, to keep everything fresh and smelling good.


Perfumery and Cosmetics: Grand fir can be added as a fresh note to many different types of perfume blends. When one is traveling and comes across those nasty smelling amenities that smell of Bitter Almonds it is only Grand Fir essential oil that can be added to the shampoo or hand lotion samples that will negate the bitter almond smell and add its own delicious sweet conifer note. Grand Fir essential oil mixed with other essential oils can act either as scent or therapy to all kinds of custom skin care products. Grand Fir can also be used as an inhalant with other conifers for all types of respiratory problems and conditions.

 

* * *

 

Bibliography:
Coombs, Allen J. Dictionary of Plant Names. Timber Press, Portland, OR. 1995
Harman, Ann. Harvest to Hydrosol.  botANNicals. 2015
http://uptreeid.com/KeyLeafOnly/Collection1.htm
http://www.herbs2000.com/herbs/herbs_balsam_fir.htm
Mabberley, D. J. Mabberley’s Plant-Book. Third Edition of Cambridge University Press. 2014
Miller, Richard & Ann. The Potential of Herbs as a Cash Crop. Acres USA. Kansas City. 1985.
Mojay, Gabriel. Aromatherapy for Healing the Spirit. Rochester, Vermont: Healing Arts Press,
Rose, Jeanne. 375 Essential Oils and Hydrosols. Berkeley, California: Frog, Ltd., 1999
Rose, Jeanne. Herbal Studies Course, Jeanne Rose – Institute of Aromatic & Herbal Studies, 1992.
Rose, Jeanne. The Aromatherapy Book: Applications & Inhalations. San Francisco, California

 

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. 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©

 

~ JR ~

Black Spruce – Profile/Hydrosol

Synopsis: Specifics on history, uses, and aroma assessment of Black Spruce including chemistry and hydrosol.

Black Spruce – Picea mariana
Essential Oil & Hydrosol Profile

By Jeanne Rose

black-spruce-tip

Name of Oil and Country of Origin:  Black Spruce, Picea mariana, of the family Pinaceae, native to Canada, especially Quebec. The name Picea is from the root word pix meaning pitch or something that produces pitch and mariana means ‘of Maryland’.

Endangered: This is a common tree species and not endangered.

Safety Precautions:      None known.

Storage: Best to store all the conifers out of the light or in light proof containers. I prefer clear glass so that I can see what the essential oils look like but then I put them in wooden boxes in a cool dry place for storage.

Organoleptic and Aroma Assessment:
Color – Colorless
Clarity – Clear
Viscosity – non-viscous
Intensity – 3-5 (depends on what you are comparing it too)
Taste – bitter, astringent

 Aroma Assessment: The scent of Black Spruce has a clean bright deliciously conifer scent, green and delicately spicy. Black Spruce is calming in that it seems you are walking through a green forest of trees but it elevates the mind and stimulates as well.

 

Method of Application:

Essential Oil Properties include uses by both AP=application, IG=ingestion and IN=inhalation): Bactericide, anti-fungal, vulnerary, disinfectant, expectorant, calmative.

By Application:   Use this great oil in antifungal creams and lotions for external skin care and use as a vulnerary* as well. When applied is can be antifungal for Candida, useful on the solar plexus for spasms or excess hiccups, and as an application around the groin for prostatitis. Also used in household cleaner.
*Vulnerary is a plant or drug used in the healing of wounds.

By Inhalation: This EO has hormone-like action, possibly stimulating to the thymus and adrenal gland, seems to have cortisone-like properties that affect the HPA axis in a positive way. It is a mild stimulant, useful expectorant especially in sequential inhalation and thought to be an adrenal stimulant, grounding in a meditation, calmative, and uplifting. Useful for bronchitis and asthma.

For Emotional Uses (AP or IN): Inhalation:  Useful for sudden fatigue and exhaustion, grounding, anxiety, stress, and deep healing for the dark side of the male, or active, principle.

By Ingestion: It can be taken with other oils as a treatment for asthma, allergies, chronic bronchitis. However, this should be under the care and guidance of a qualified aromatherapy expert.

Hydrosol Use:   This is a fragrant hydrosol, one of my favorites, that can be used in bath, compress, and particularly in steams or nasal lavage for the health of the respiratory system and for the skin. It is soothing and cleansing.

General description of plant, habitat & growth:  “A northern evergreen tree ranging from Alaska and sweeping down across Canada to the Maritime Provinces and northeastern states. The trunk grows straight and is without branches for much of its length” from Canadian Forest Tree Essence.  Leaves are steam distilled. Yield is about 1.5- 3%.

spruce-tip

The Difference between Firs and Spruces by Jeanne Rose

            FIRS = Think about Abies the genus and then A is for amiable (soft feel) or Abies and common name Fir is for friendly [Abies has needles that are soft to touch and aren’t sticky and needles when pulled leave a Flat scar].

SPRUCE = Picea and the P is for prickly and S is for Spruce is for spiky. [Picea for prickly needles, Peg-like scar after needle is plucked and Spruce for spiky feel]

 

 

Chemistry Components: 55% Monoterpenes, including Camphene, -Pinene and -3-Carene, -Bornyl acetate, and Sesquiterpenes.

black-spruce-chemistry-phytochemiawith thanks to PhytoChemia for this photo

Historical Uses:       Respiratory aide and for parasites

Interesting Facts:  Valuable for asthmatics who take corticosteroids. “It is known that Black Spruce roots were used for sewing birch bark canoes. Its resin was used as chewing gum and a poultice for sores, and the inner bark to treat a variety of other ailments” —Canadian Forest Tree Essences, p. 73.

Patch Test and Safety Considerations: Dilute before using. A patch test should be performed before use for those with sensitive skin. 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

Key Use:       Respiratory ailments and as a vulnerary (a remedy used for treating wounds)

 

My Personal Recipes

  • Perfume: Spruce scent usually acts as a middle or heart note and blends well with other conifers and the tree mosses. The true tree moss is a lichen that grows on the trunks and branches of both spruces and firs in the forests in central and southern Europe. Climacium dendroides is a tree moss that grows in America but is not processed for its scent.
  • Body Care: I use Black Spruce in a particular way that I call Sequential Inhalation.

Sequential Inhalation (A Treatment)
By Jeanne Rose – 1986

There are six essential oils that I particularly like for colds and flus and include Black Spruce (stimulate the adrenal), Eucalyptus radiata (expectorant and mucolytic or liquefies the mucus in the lungs), Douglas Fir (antiseptic and disinfectant, Rosmarinus pyramidalis (sinus cleanser and relief), Ravensara aromatica (antiseptic, antiviral), and Fir Pine is Abies spp. (cleanser and respiratory tonic).

When there is any sort of respiratory congestion, it is good to inhale the essential oils in hot water.  Your mother probably taught you to do this. You will need a pot, water, essential oils and a towel. Bring two cups of water to a boil in a small pot. Bring the pot to the table. Cover your head with a towel over the pot making a tent. Now add one drop of essential oil at a time to the pot. Inhale one at a time until the scent is gone and then add the second oil. Continue until you have used all six oils. Use the oils in the sequence as given above. This will take about six minutes. Do not add more than one drop of essential oil at a time. Inhale the scent until the scent is gone (about one minute). [If you add more than one drop at a time you will probably gag and cough which is not a healthy act and not what you want.

Inhale through the mouth, exhale through the nose; then inhale through the nose and exhale through the mouth. Alternate throughout the procedure. This gives the essential oils a chance to cleanse both the sinus area and the throat and lungs. —using this method since 1990

 

  • Haircare: Rosemary herb and EO and Spruce EO make a wonderful treatment for the hair. Make an infusion of Rosemary herb and strain it. To a cup of the strained herb add 1-2 drops each of Black Spruce and Rosemary. This liquid can be added to your shampoo or it can be the hair rinse or in the conditioner. I believe this is what has kept my hair dark all of these years as I have used this since 1970.

 

  • Skin Care: In 2012 while in the rehab hospital after a hip transplant I acquired nasty little skin parasites from the bedding – probably the mattress. In the beginning I thought nothing of the itch but since it continued into 2013, I began to treat it. At that time, I did not know what was making me itch. But one of the best treatments I devised included Black Spruce oil. For any sort of itch this would be useful.

Skin Itch from Broken Skin Infection
Calendula Infused Oil or 70% alcohol – 2 oz.
Black Spruce – 5 drops
Chamomile, Roman – 5 drops
Lavender oil -10 drops
Tea Tree or Plai – 5 drops
This is a total of 25 drops per two ounces or about 2.5% EO/oz.
Apply the mixture to the itch and not to the entire body.
Use several times per day and not more than 5 days.
Alternate formulas with another.

 

  • An Amazing Jeanne Rose Tomato Tale stories: I love a good gin and tonic and notice that many of the local conifers are being used or infused to add an interesting spirited taste to these drinks. Also, in the northern parts of the United States Spruce tips as well as Fir tips are used in the making of various gins. Gin is an incredibly popular spirit choice no matter where in the world you are and are being experimented with both in terms of distillation methods and ingredients for many times. There are now hundreds of gins made in the world.
  • Jeanne Rose tips and tricks: Sequential inhalation of certain essential oils is one of my most important discoveries using these very powerful substances. They often seem to work better in sequence and in small amounts (no more than one drop at a time) than using several oils all at once and in larger quantities. I first wrote about “Sequential Inhalation” in 1980 and published it in “Aromatherapy Treatments” book about 10 years ago (available on my website).

black-spruce

Black Spruce – Picea mariana Essential Oil – with appreciation to Eden Botanicals

 

Source: I am very fond of the needle oils including Black Spruce that come from Eden Botanicals.

Bibliography:
Coombs, Allen J. Dictionary of Plant Names. Timber Press, Portland, OR. 1995
http://uptreeid.com/KeyLeafOnly/Collection1.htm
Lawless, Julia. The Encyclopedia of Essential Oils.
Miller, Richard & Ann. The Potential of Herbs as a Cash Crop. Acres USA. Kansas City. 1985.
Mojay, Gabriel. Aromatherapy for Healing the Spirit. Rochester, Vermont: Healing Arts Press,
Prakash, V. Leafy Spices. CRC Press. NY. 1990
Rizzi, Susanne. Complete Aromatherapy. Sterling. NY. 1989.
Rose, Jeanne. 375 Essential Oils and Hydrosols. Berkeley, California: Frog, Ltd., 1999
Rose, Jeanne . Herbal Studies Course, Jeanne Rose – Institute of Aromatic & Herbal Studies, 1992.
Rose, Jeanne. The Aromatherapy Book: Applications & Inhalations. San Francisco, California
Worwood, Susan & Valerie Ann. Essential Aromatherapy, Novato, CA. New World Library, 2003.
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. 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©

 

 

 

 

JR

 

 

A Tale of Citronella

Synopsis: A cautionary tale about using essential oils.

Tomato tales – a tale with Citronella

By Jeanne Rose

citronella-eo-distillation

            I have a long history using essential oils, sometimes excessively but more and more often quite frugally. They are such concentrated bundles of plant power that only a wee bit, a drop maybe two, is needed to complete your healing protocol.   So it was 10 pm and I was in bed trying to have a nice sleep.

There are always essential oils around my bedside and on the tables. Sometimes I use them, and sometimes I don’t. But this one night I had gone to bed with my mind racing over the events of the day as well as the events that would take my attention the next day.

I love a comfy bed and I was laying on my back in my bed thinking busy thought. My bed was made up with freshly ironed linen sheets that had the most elegant initials on the top edge and it was tucked up near my chin. The monogram was a very large ornate one made of French laid white work style with the initials “H R Hand swirls of flowers in French knots around the monogram and all sewn on with good heavy weight thread on the finely made linen cloth. The sheets were heavy and yet crisp and delicately soothing on the skin — a lovely addition to the bed and on the body; the scent in the sheets was clean with a soft mustiness and floral note intertwined with a rich Sandalwood scent lightly enveloping the entire bed area. The pillowcases were heavily laced and were cool and white with a fine delicate fragrance that can only come with time on the bed and equal time hanging in the sun and resting. These are the best to sleep on. There is a hand, a rough gentleness to linen sheets and cases. They are warm when it is cold but cool when it is warm. They don’t glide on the skin but rest there giving you comfort and sleepy feelings.

But I could not sleep. So in the darkness, I reached out to the bottles and found the Citronella bottle by its size, opened the bottle and proceeded to sprinkle a few drops on the top sheet. So you know that Citronella is both an insect repellent but also promotes relaxation and reduces stress. But reaching out in the dark was a Big mistake! There was no orifice reducer to the bottle and so about ¼ ounce of EO spilled out and all over me and the top of the bed.

First I thought that I could hide from the scent by folding the sheet a different way to keep the heavy scent from my nostrils. No! Then I thought by folding the sheet way down that would work. No, that did not work. The Citronella odor was heavy and so strong and loud enough to wake the next door neighbor.

But I was tired and did not want to get up but began to be sick to my stomach from the odor. I was forced out of bed, and changed out of my bed clothes into new ones but that did not help either. By now I was so overwhelmed with Citronella odor that I could not breathe. I lay down again but began to retch. Then it hit, the scent, so strong on me and my body, in my bedroom, that I ran to the toilet and threw up.

Ultimately, I had to not only change my bed clothes and wash the upper part of my body but change my sheets as well – so an hour or so after I decided a drop of Citronella would help me to sleep, I finally got into a somewhat scent-free bed and with guts a’rumbling, finally fell asleep.

What is the moral of this tale? Turn on the light when you wish to use the power of essential oils? Don’t use essential oils without an orifice reducer? Be moderate in your use of essential oils? Whatever the moral, I have developed a rather abiding dislike of the scent of Citronella and from now on I will stick to having a cup of herbal tea before bed – probably Lemon Verbena.

          Moderation is the word when using essential oils.

And understand that sensitivity to a scent can happen at any time. —JeanneRose 2000

JR