Aromatic and Medicinal Herb Gardens

Posted on: January 16th, 2017 by
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Aromatic Herb Gardens

Aromatic Herb Gardens

Herb gardens are familiar to many herbalists. However, herb gardens should also be understood by aromatherapists as many essential oils are derived from herbs. Herb gardens have been traditional for centuries and are enjoying a revival, of sorts, among homesteaders, and modern day plant folk. Here’s a quick look at aromatic and medicinal herb gardens for the aromatherapist.

Historic Use of the Word Herb

Although herbs have been used for many centuries, a plant which was commonly classed as an herb in the past may not be known as an herb today; suprisingly, flowers such as roses, irises, and peonies were previously known as herbs. In addition, carrots and onions were known as pot herbs in sixteenth century England and many aromatic plants were grown for household use.

Today, the term herb is more commonly used to describe plants such as dill, parsley, and coriander. The botanic description for herb, as defined in the Concise Oxford Dictionary 10th Edition (1999: Oxford University Press, UK) is:

  • “any seed-bearing plant which does not have a woody stem and dies down to the ground after flowering”

  • or “any plant with leaves, seeds or flowers used for flavoring, food, medicine or perfume.”

The Medicinal Herb Garden

The modern history of scented gardens shows that it was medieval cloister gardens of the monasteries which began a practice of growing herbs for medicinal, culinary, and aromatic purposes. Gardens were split into the physic (or medicinal herb) garden, and the kitchen herb garden. Well known English physic gardens today, which were amongst the first physic gardens to be established, are the Oxford Physic Garden (1621) and Chelsea Physic Garden (1673).

Physic gardens were designed with a number of raised garden beds, with cross-sections of paths; medicinal herbs included lavender, rosemary, sage, rue and mint. Many physic gardens of the Middle Ages were influenced by astrology until the theory of science became popular in the eighteenth century. Today, medicinal herb garden plants include chamomile, sage, fennel, mint, lemon balm, verbena and lime flowers; physic garden plants are often used to make herbal teas or digestive tisanes, a popular tool for herbalists.

The Aromatic Herb Garden

In the Middle Ages, herbs often had the dual purpose of being used for medicinal purposes and for fragrant aromas, used to disguise the many unpleasant smells of poor sanitization and personal hygiene. Queen Elizabeth I of England (1533 – 1603) used the herb meadowsweet on the palace floors; in the churches and houses of the wealthy, herbs of lavender, hyssop, chamomile, and sage were strewn on floors, releasing a fragrant aroma when walked upon.

Small posies of tussie-mussies were made from aromatic flowers and herbs, initially to combat against disease, but were later given as tokens of love by sweethearts. Aromatic flowers and herbs were often grown specifically for use in the still room, where perfumes, soaps, remedies, flower waters and cosmetics were made from the home-grown plants.

Today, an aromatic herb garden is combined with the medicinal herb garden of the past because many herbs are grown for their aroma and medicinal value (whether that be as an essential oil, hydrosol, tea, or infused oil).

Learn More About Herbal Plants with Sedona Aromatherapie

If you would like to learn more about the study of aromatherapy and the plants used in aromatherapy, consider the Sedona Aromatherapie Linguistics of AromaticsTM program!

References:

  • Lawless, Julia 2001 The Aromatherapy Garden London, UK: Kyle Cathie Ltd

  • Author is a 20 year veteran in the health care and aromatherapy industry, a UK-certified aromatherapist, published author in aromatherapy, an approved education provider for the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy (NAHA), an aromatherapy business owner, a consultant, and Chief Editor for the NAHA Aromatherapy Journal.

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An Aromatic Tussie Mussie Floral Bouquet

Posted on: January 9th, 2017 by
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A Traditional Tussie Mussie was a Posy of Flowers between Lovers

A Traditional Tussie Mussie was a Posy of Flowers between Lovers

Today’s post is a little different to the usual things I write about but I thought that it was an interesting topic to feature! It takes me back to simpler times of my childhood and the wonders of the garden and flowers. Grow these aromatic flowers to make your own tussie mussie; or make one for a friend’s wedding, birthday, or Valentine’s day. Read on to learn more!

The Origins of the Tussie Mussie

Originally, tussie mussies were small, aromatic posies used to eliminate unpleasant odors. The aromatic scents of a tussie mussie were both pleasant and a means of repelling infectious diseases. In Medieval England, scented herbs and flowers, such as lavender (Lavandula angustifolia), sage (Salvia officinalis) and rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis), were used in tussie mussies to prevent the spread of disease.

The Meaning of the Name Tussie Mussie

The name tussie mussie may have a number of derivations; in the fifteenth century, tussie mussies were recorded as a “tumose of flowrys or other herbys.” Other records indicate that the name may originally have been spelled tuzzy muzzy; tuzzy is an olde English word meaning a knot of flowers, and muzzy may have referred to the damp moss which was wrapped around the flower stems to keep them moist.

The Elizabethan Tussie Mussie

During the English Elizabethan era, tussie mussies were frequently exchanged between lovers. Many Elizabethan tussie mussies included thyme (Thymus vulgaris), marjoram (Origanum marjorana), lavender (Lavandula angustifolia), rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis), chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile) and the mints (Mentha spp.). Tussie mussies soon became a secret code between lovers, as different flowers began to carry different meanings.

The Victorian Tussie Mussie

The Victorians made it extremely fashionable to exchange tussie mussies. The Victorians considered a young lady to be cultured if she understood the study of flowers; the study of flowers included creating flower arrangements, drawing and painting flowers, pressing flowers and growing flowers. The language of love was conveyed through flowers and every educated young lady and gentlemen knew the meaning of each flower presented in a tussie mussie. Tussie mussies were exchanged between Victorian sweethearts expressing secret love messages.

The Meaning of the Flowers in a Tussie Mussie

The language of flowers was taken very seriously by the Victorians, although historians find it difficult to attach one particular meaning to a flower; flower meanings seem to vary widely between different book publications. However, it is believed that the Victorian tussie mussie flower language derived from Le Langage des Fleurs by Charlotte de la Tour (Louise Cortambert), published in Paris, France in 1818 and later translated into English.

Some flower meanings include the following:

  • Lavender – luck, forgiveness

  • Marjoram – blushes

  • Rosemary – remembrance

  • Lilac – love’s first emotion

  • Orange blossom (neroli) – chastity

  • Carnation – pure love

  • Rose (white) – innocent love

  • Rose ( red) – passion

  • Rose ( pink) – romantic love

  • Star-of-Bethlehem – reconciliation

  • Witch hazel – a spell

  • Sweet pea – delicate pleasures

  • Tansy – I declare war

  • Ivy – wedded love

  • Holly – domestic happiness.

The Edwardian Tussie Mussie

Traditionally, tussie mussies were backed by paper or lace doilies. Edwardian ladies carried tussie mussies in silver-filigree posy holders; these posy holders had a ring attached which enabled ladies to hold the tussie mussie when dancing. The gift of flowers was more popular than jewelery in some instances.

Making a Tussie Mussie

Fresh tussie mussies are easy to make by binding together the flower and herb stems with raffia. The chosen center flower is encircled with different layers of leaves and flowers and finished in bound raffia.

Certain aromatic scents can influence how the receiver of the tussie mussie will react too, so it is useful to know the botany of the flowers used – and have a little understanding of aromatherapy!

Tussie mussies were a popular gift between historic lovers. Today, tussie mussies can be given for any special or romantic occasion including weddings, birthdays and Valentine’s day. What will your tussie mussie say about you?

Learn More About Aromatherapy and Aromatic Plants with Sedona Aromatherapie

If you would like to learn more about the study of aromatherapy and the plants used in aromatherapy, consider the Sedona Aromatherapie Linguistics of AromaticsTM program!

References:

  • Lawless, Julia 2001 The Aromatherapy Garden London, UK: Kyle Cathie Ltd

  • Author is a 20 year veteran in the health care and aromatherapy industry, a UK-certified aromatherapist, published author in aromatherapy, an approved education provider for the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy (NAHA), an aromatherapy business owner, a consultant, and Chief Editor for the NAHA Aromatherapy Journal.

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Three Aromatherapy Intention Blends for New Year Goals

Posted on: January 2nd, 2017 by
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Inhale Aromatherapy Intention Blends to Help You Achieve Your New Year Goals!

Inhale Aromatherapy Intention Blends to Help You Achieve Your New Year Goals!

Part Two of Two Articles

Last week, I wrote about setting intentions and achieving goals with aromatherapy. The creation of an aromatherapy intention blend can help a lot in this process and, this week, I am giving you a few examples of aromatherapy intention blends, based on the example goals and intentions discussed in last week’s post. The type of blend maybe dictated by your goal, so I am giving an example of a roll-on aromatherapy blend, an aromatherapy spray, and an essential oil diffision blend. You can adapt each method to fit your own purpose.

Aromatherapy Intention Blend with a Roll-on Product

Roll-on applicators are quick and simple to both make and use. You can use my make-your-own aroma roll-on kit, or create your own from a simple roll-on applicator. A roll-on aromatherapy intention blend allows you to “wear” your blend throughout the day, and invoke your intentions, or put some specific time aside, apply the blend, and focus on your intentions.

Create Aromatherapy Intention Blend

Depending upon the actual intention for your creative goal (see last week’s post for definitions), I suggest some variation of the following blend:

  • 0.5 oz jojoba (Simmondsia chinensis)

  • 2 drops basil ct. linalool (Ocimum basilicum ct. linalool) essential oil

  • 1 drop clary sage (Salvia sclarea) essential oil

  • 2 drops lime (Citrus aurantfolia) essential oil

  • 1 drop sweet marjoram (Origanum marjorana) essential oil

Cautions: Avoid use in pregnancy, avoid use with babies and children, and avoid use prior to going out in sunlight. Check with a certified aromatherapist before using essential oils.

Get Healthy Aromatherapy Intention Blend

A popular new year goal is to lose weight. If your intention to achieve this goal is to exercise more, try diffusing the following aromatherapy intention blend before your exercise regime to motivate and inspire you:

  • To create 1 ml of an undiluted essential oil blend to add to an aromatherapy diffuser (consult the manufactuer’s guidelines on use), combine the following essential oils in a glass bottle:

    • 5 drops grapefruit (Citrus x paradisi) essential oil

    • 5 drops cypress (Cupressus sempervirens) essential oil

    • 5 drops rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) essential oil

    • 5 drops cardamon (Elettaria cardamomum) essential oil

    • 6 drops bergamot (Citrus bergamia) essential oil

    • 4 drops frankincense (Boswellia sacra) essential oil

Cautions: Avoid use in pregnancy and avoid use with babies and children. Do not apply directly to the skin. Check with a certified aromatherapist before using essential oils.

It’s All About Me Aromatherapy Intention Blend

It’s all about me – but in a healthy way! This aromatherapy intention blend is about setting time aside just for “me” each day, and relaxing. Find a “safe” place, and spray this blend around yourself before meditating, reading a book, drinking a cup of herbal tea, or just quiet contemplation:

  • 2 oz distilled water (or rose (Rosa x damascena) hydrosol)

  • 10 drops frankincense (Boswellia sacra) essential oil

  • 7 drops sandalwood (Santalum spicatum) essential oil

  • 4 drops rose (Rosa x damascena) essential oil

  • 3 drops geranium (Pelargonium graveolens) essential oil

Cautions: Avoid use with babies and children. Do not spray directly into eyes or ears.

Learn More About Aromatherapy with Sedona Aromatherapie

If you would like to learn more about the study of aromatherapy, and understand more about how to use these essential oils, consider the Sedona Aromatherapie Linguistics of AromaticsTM program!

  • Author is a 20 year veteran in the health care and aromatherapy industry, a UK-certified aromatherapist, published author in aromatherapy, an approved education provider for the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy (NAHA), an aromatherapy business owner, a consultant, and Chief Editor for the NAHA Aromatherapy Journal.

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Setting Intentions and Achieving Goals with Aromatherapy

Posted on: December 26th, 2016 by
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Where will your aromatherapy intention blend take you?

Where will your aromatherapy intention blend take you?

Part One of Two Articles

A new year is traditionally the time that we set goals, resolve to make (and keep) certain resolutions, and clear out past habits and dated practices. For many, these goals and resolutions fade before the Christmas lights lose their sparkle – your motivation to succeed is flawed by a lack of intention on how to achieve the goal, or your goal is unrealistic (sometimes goals need to be broken down into smaller pieces). If you would like to try and change your life this new year, and achieve your intentions and goals, try creating an intention aromatherapy blend!

Setting Clear Intentions and Goals with Aromatherapy

Many people are unclear, or less-than-specific, about their intentions and goals for life. Before creating an aromatherapy blend to help you with achieving your intentions and goals, with positive results, think very clearly and carefully about what your intentions and goals might be for the year ahead. Do you want to lose weight? Do you want to move jobs? Do you want to start your own business? Do you want to be more creative in your life? Do you want to embrace your feminine power and strength to create the life that you imagined but were prevented from following in the past?

First, make a list of your intentions and goals. Define your goal/s, and then set your intention/s (how you will achieve the goal/s). For example: Let’s take the example of being more creative in your life:

  • GOAL: I want to be more creative in my life – a broad goal in itself.

  • INTENTION (depending on your ability and interests): I will take painting classes; or I will design a small garden; or I will experiment with taking more creative photographs; or I will redesign my living room. This is the “plan-of-action.”

Once you’ve set your goal/s and defined your intention/s, consider suitable essential oils for your blend. Sometimes intentions naturally manifest themselves and you find yourself following a path that you hadn’t thought about before. If it feels “right” to you, and you want some help to conitue on that path, an intention aromatherapy blend may help as well.

How to Choose Essential Oils for Your Intention Aromatherapy Blend

Personally, I believe that choosing essential oils for an intention aromatherapy blend requires personal preference, intuition, and a good knowledge and understanding of essential oils. Here are some examples:

GOAL INTENTION ESSENTIAL OILS

To lose weight

To exercise more

Motivating/Uplifting: Citrus oils (especially grapefruit), peppermint, rosemary, basil

To be more creative

To design a small herb garden

Study/Herbal: Rosemary, clary sage, basil, lavender, fennel

To find more time to relax

Set aside 20 minutes a day for “me” time

Meditative/Relaxing: Frankincense, sandalwood, vetiver, Peru balsam

This table is designed to be a starting point to show you how essential oils can be used in this way. You will need a good knowledge of essential oils to compose a successful blend for yourself. Explaining how I arrived at each example given in the table requires more time and space than this blog post allows for. However, if you are looking for a “quick fix,” read on…

How to Use an Intention Aromatherapy Blend

I recommend creating your intention aromatherapy blend as a spray, roll-on oil blend, or as an aromatherapy diffuser blend. I will include one of each of these types of intention aromatherapy blends (with formulation and quantities) in next week’s postbut, in the meantime, I want you to think about which essential oils you would include in your own intention aromatherapy blend!

Once you’ve created your aromatherapy blend you can use it in the following ways:

  • Repeat your intention to yourself as you use your blend. Focus on positively manifesting your goal.

  • Imprint the aroma in your nose, and soul, so that you associate it with manifesting your goal and subtly reminding yourself of your intention.

  • Use your intention aromatherapy blend as you follow your intention towards achieving your goal, or each time you feel yourself faltering on your journey.

If you have any doubts about how such a blend can really help you achieve your intentions consider this: Scent is very powerful and our brain associates certain aromas with certain objects or certain parts of our lives; for example, a smell of fresh lavender may remind you of your grandmother. Memories from childhood remain deep within our brain and it is a particular aroma that often triggers a memory from the past. Remember your aromatherapy intention blend aroma, and manifest your dreams!

Learn More About Aromatherapy with Sedona Aromatherapie

If you would like to learn more about the study of aromatherapy, consider the Sedona Aromatherapie Linguistics of AromaticsTM program!

  • Author is a 20 year veteran in the health care and aromatherapy industry, a UK-certified aromatherapist, published author in aromatherapy, an approved education provider for the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy (NAHA), an aromatherapy business owner, a consultant, and Chief Editor for the NAHA Aromatherapy Journal.

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Holiday Season Aromas: Ponderosa Pine

Posted on: December 19th, 2016 by
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Ponderosa Pine is Used as an Essential Oil and Hydrosol: Photo is in Public Domain

Ponderosa Pine is Used as an Essential Oil and Hydrosol: Photo is in Public Domain

Ponderosa pine is the final Holiday season aroma in my trilogy of seasonal scents; past weeks have included Douglas fir and pinyon pine. Ponderosa pine is another native of the western United States and I encountered this beautiful essential oil for the first time on my visit with Clare Licher of Phibee Aromatics a couple of weeks ago. Here is a quick look at ponderosa pine.

Ponderosa Pine: The Tree

In the western United States, ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa) is prevalent in mountainous regions between hardiness zones 3 – 7.1 It belongs to the Pinaceae botanical family. Ponderosa pine is an evergreen, coniferous tree which can grow to great heights. It is a monoecious tree and cones and pollination will develop at various times, depending upon location and elevation.2

Once mature, the bark of the ponderosa pine is fire-resistant. It produces several subspecies and varieties, depending upon the range of its habitat. Ponderosa pine is the official state tree of Montana and the official city tree of Spokane, Washington.

A short drive out of Sedona towards Flagstaff brings you into forests of ponderosa pine. Native Americans used the pine cones of ponderosa pine for food, the needles for tea, and the bark gum for medicine.2

Ponderosa Pine: The Essential Oil

Ponderosa pine essential oil is steam distilled from the familiar pine needles of this botanical family. It is a top note essential oil with a woody, spicy, pine-like aroma, although deeper and not as sharp as some pine species.

It contains several chemical components but the inclusion of monoterpenes makes it a good essential oil to use for respiratory problems. It is also anti-inflammatory, sedative, anti-infectious, analgesic, an immunostimulant, and tonifying. 3

Ponderosa Pine: The Hydrosol

As with pinyon pine hydrosol, Pinaceae family hydrosols are often good for “clearing” a space and dispelling negativity. They can also be used to clear the air/body of congestion. Personally, I prefer pinyon pine hydrosol to ponderosa pine hydrosol, although I do love ponderosa pine essential oil!

Use ponderosa pine hydrosol for the same uses as for the essential oil.

Aromatic Blends with Ponderosa Pine

Pinaceae botanical family members blend well with other pinaceae essential oils, citrus essential oils such as sweet orange (Citrus sinensis) and mandarin (Citrus reticulata), and lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) and rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) essential oils.

As this particular essential oil has a deeper pine note than other pine essential oils, I feel that it blends well with smoky or earthy essential oils as well.

Use the hydrosol on its own, or with some of the suggested plant family members above, depending upon your purpose.

Learn More About Aromatherapy with Sedona Aromatherapie

If you would like to learn more about essential oils and hydrosols, consider the Sedona Aromatherapie Linguistics of AromaticsTM program!

References

  1. Arbor Day Foundation website, Ponderosa Pine, accessed December 19, 2016

  2. USDA North Eastern Area website: Ponderosa Pine, accessed December 19, 2016

  3. PhiBee Aromatics website, Essential Oils: Pines, accessed December 19, 2016

  • Author is a 20 year veteran in the health care and aromatherapy industry, a UK-certified aromatherapist, published author in aromatherapy, an approved education provider for the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy (NAHA), an aromatherapy business owner, a consultant, and Chief Editor for the NAHA Aromatherapy Journal.

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Holiday Season Aromas: Pinyon Pine

Posted on: December 12th, 2016 by
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The Pinyon Pine Tree: Photo Copyright Sharon Fallsetto, All Rights Reserved

The Pinyon Pine Tree: Photo Copyright Sharon Falsetto, All Rights Reserved

The pinyon pine is probably not one of the most familiar pine trees of the Pinaceae botanical family – unless you live in the southwestern United States. This native tree is harvested for its essential oil and hydrosol, in addition to a natural resin. Although it dots my local landscape, its oil and hydrosol were a bit of a mystery to me until I decided to investigate further – both online and with local distiller Clare Licher of Phibee Aromatics. Here’s a little bit of information about this little known seasonal holiday aroma!

Pinyon Pine: The Tree

Pinyon pine (Pinus edulis) is a member of the Pinaceae family, a relative of Douglas fir and ponderosa pine. It’s sometimes known by the alternative spellings, pinon pine or pinion pine. Pinyon pine grows to a height of between twenty and thirty feet.1 You can usually find it growing at altitudes of 5,200 – 7,900 feet. The needles are long and green and grow in pairs. Like many pine trees, the pinyon pine produces cones. Once the seeds have opened, the pinyon jay (Gymnorhinus cyanocephalus) helps to disperse the seeds, which stores many seeds for later use, and often they develop into trees.

Pinyon pine is indigenous to the states of northern Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, eastern and central Utah, parts of Texas, and southern Wyoming.

Pinyon Pine: The Essential Oil

Pinyon pine actually produces two essential oils – one from the needles and one from the cones. It also produces resin; the resin is wild harvested from the tree and it is used in herbal medicine.2

The essential oil distilled from the needles of the tree is steam or hydro distilled. It is mainly composed of monoterpenes, making it an excellent essential oil for respiratory issues. It has a resinous soft, buttery aroma with hints of tropical notes (such as pineapple).3 Like many Pinaceae family members, it is a top to middle note essential oil.

The essential oil distilled from the cones is a rarer commodity. However, the oil, when available, is green and woody, and can be used for similar purposes as the needle oil.

Use pinyon pine essential oil for coughs, colds, skin healing, and even stress blends (and to strengthen the immune system during such times).

Pinyon Pine: the Hydrosol

As with many hydrosols, the hydrosol is often the “softer” version of the essential oil, also not necessarily the exact same aroma. Pinaceae family hydrosols are often good for “clearing” a space and dispelling negativity. They can also be used to clear the air/body of congestion.

Aromatic Blends with Pinyon Pine

Blend pinyon pine essential oil with citrus oils such as grapefruit (Citrus x paradisi) and lemon (Citrus x limon), Lamiaceae plant family members such as rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis), lavender (Lavandula angustifolia), and sage (Salvia officinalis) – and to “ground” the blend, use an essential oil such as cedarwood (Cedrus atlantica). Members of the Myrtaceae plant family – myrtle, eucalyptus, and niaouli – also blend well with pinyon pine.

Use the hydrosol on its own, or with some of the suggested plant family members above, depending upon your purpose.

Learn More About Aromatherapy with Sedona Aromatherapie

If you would like to learn more about essential oils and hydrosols, consider the Sedona Aromatherapie Linguistics of AromaticsTM program!

References:

  1. Colorado State University website, Water-thrifty Pinyon Pine, accessed December 12, 2016

  2. The School for Aromatic Studies website, Pinon Pine: Pinus edulis essential oil, accessed December 12, 2016

  3. Phibee Aromatics website, Essential Oils: Pines, accessed December 12, 2016; also personal meeting with Clare Licher of Phibee Aromatics.

  • Author is a 20 year veteran in the health care and aromatherapy industry, a UK-certified aromatherapist, published author in aromatherapy, an approved education provider for the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy (NAHA), an aromatherapy business owner, a consultant, and Chief Editor for the NAHA Aromatherapy Journal.

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