Category Archives: Essential Oil Botanicals

Lily of the Valley


Lily of the Valley


Latin Name: convallaria majalis
Alternative Name: may lily, our-lady’s tears
Forms Available: leaf, flower

Lily of the Valley – convallaria majalis – grows in the United Kingdom, a perennial. A herb used in heart medecines to slow the heart rate and chronic lung problem medications. A diuretic, reducing blood pressure. This herb is used in the same way as foxglove is used but a less toxic build up within the body.

Aromatherapy & Health Uses: Used in heart medicine, slows the heart beat. This herb is also a diuretic so lowers the blood pressure. Used as foxglove is used but this is less toxic.


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Essential oils chemistry: 8 common chemical components of essential oils

Essential oils are very complex by nature on account of their presence in plants. Their molecular structure is complex, consisting of all kinds of atoms, including hydrogen, carbon, oxygen and nitrogen atoms. Even sulfur atoms are also present sometimes. Though made of several chemical ingredients,  every essential oil acts together as a whole, treating infections or promoting healing, based on the dominant chemicals in them. This article will explain in detail the chemical components of essential oils.

Essential oils chemistry:
Essential oils are complex structures to study. However, studying them or understanding their chemical structure can help with use of them for treatment or therapeutic purposes. Apart from that, when you know the chemistry of an essential oil, you can know its hazardous as well as therapeutic properties. This will make things easy for you if you have allergies against particular chemicals. Below are a list of the common chemical ingredients present in essential oils:


1. Monoterpenes: Found in most essential oils, Monoterpenes are antiseptic and tonic in nature. They are good air purifiers which have about 10 carbon atoms in them. Though Monoterpenes are present in almost every other essential oil, a large percentage of them are found in Citrus oils. They are colorless, highly volatile and deteriorate quickly. Hence, they should be handled with care and kept at cool temperatures. Limonene found in Lemon oil, pinene found in Pine and camphene found in Camphor are examples of essential oils.

2. Sesquiterpenes: Though not as volatile as Monoterpenes, Sesquiterpenes are effective and have about 15 carbon atoms in them. They have a calming effect, are anti-inflammatory and anti-infectious. Zingiberene in Ginger oil, cedrene in Cedarwood and caryophellene in Clove oil are some of the sesquiterpenes found in essential oils.

3. Phenols: The most antiseptic chemicals found in plants, Phenols stimulate bodily functions in small doses. However, large doses of can be a poison to the nervous system and can cause skin irritations as well as digestive comfort to sensitive people. Thymol found in Thyme oil and eugenol found in Clove are examples of Phenols.

4. Alcohols: A lot of alcohol content is also present in essential oils. Highly antiseptic, antibacterial, anti-fungal and antibiotic, alcohols are good tonic to the nervous system and stimulate immune response in the body. Lavendulol  in Lavender, nerol in Neroli and geraniol found in Geranium oil are examples of alcohols in oils.

5. Ketones: Anticoagulants, Ketones can relax, sedate and heal scar tissues, immune system or respiratory system in the body. However, Ketones can be harmful to the nervous system and can result in miscarriage, convulsions and epilepsy. Examples of Ketones are thyone in Sage, pinocamphone in Hyssop, and carvone in Peppermint.

6. Ethers/Esters: Ethers and esters have similar properties but ethers are the stronger of the both. Antispasmodic, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory, ethers are gentle on skin and help in rebalancing the nervous system effectively. Cinnamyl acetate in Cinnamon and myrtinly acetate in Myrtle.

7. Aldehydes: Anti-inflammatory, Aldehydes have properties that are similar to Ketones and Alcohols. However, excess of Aldehydes can cause major irritation to the skin and the mucous membranes. Furfurol in Lavender, Sandalwood, Cinnamon and Cypress are aldehydes.

8. Coumarins: Anti-convulsant and anti-coagulant, Coumarins have a relaxing and sedative effect. As these chemicals can be photosensitive, essential oils with these constituents should be used with caution and should not be exposed to the sun. Bergaptene in Bergamot, angelicine in Angelica and Citroptene in Citrus oils are examples of Coumarins.

Does your life lackluster? Make summer out of Citrus essential oils

“If life is giving you lemons, make a lemonade out of it”. The saying is true if you are an aromatherapist. Yes, you can make more with lemon and Citrus essential oils than with other oils. A citrusy aroma is one of the most uplifting of aromas. The very waft of an orange or lemon can brighten up a place and cleanse the mind of worries and troubles. Generally, Citrus oils are made from the rind or peel of Citrus fruits. If you squeeze the rind of an orange or lemon, you will see a tiny quantity of aromatic fluid coming out – that is Citrus essential oil.

Citrus essential oils: Citrus essential oils are used in a variety of things, from air fresheners to room cleaners to perfumes to skin toners. Reason – They carry light, summery aromas that uplift the spirit and brighten any gloomy area or room. They are perfect for winter and fall and they complement most of the Winter Blues oils. Also, Citrus oils are a must while preparing natural blends for men and women as they can make even earthy, bittersweet aromas appear lighter, fresher and more energetic. This article will elaborately discuss on the different kinds of Citrus oils and their profiles/properties/uses.


Different Citrus essential oils: There are several kinds of Citrus oils, but we will see only the most popular of them here.

Sweet Orange Essential oil: This is also called Orange essential oil or Orange oil. It is readily available and very inexpensive. It blends with all oils, especially spicy, floral and mint types. Since it is an energizing oil, it is liked by all – men, women and children – and is favored as an important ingredient in diffusers kept at family living rooms. Orange oil is also used in commercial cleaners to clean grease and other dirt. As it has a high-spirited aroma, it is applied to diverse situations and appeals to many people.

Bitter Orange Essential oil: This oil comes with a bitter orange aroma and is not like the above one. It is a combination of the sweetness of Orange and the bittersweet flavor of Grapefruit oil. Though bittersweet, it is favored by many on account of the very same tendency. This oil too has a variety of uses.

Lemon essential oil:
Lemon is all about life and color. Just like its color, it is sunny and summery in aroma and is liked by almost everyone. It can clear any foul-smelling room instantly, thanks to its strong, energizing aroma. Limonene is the naturally occurring chemical constituent in Lemon oil and it is this constituent which gives Lemon its strong aroma. Lemongrass and Lemon Myrtle oilstoo have limonene content in them.

Lime essential oil: Lime is no different from Lemon, but it is the most fruity and aromatic of Citrus oils (except Neroli). Its aromatic influence goes a long way and is fresh, bright and all things sunny. A few drops of Lime oil to any diffuser blend or natural fragrance, will uplift things and make everything look sprightly. It is said to be very effective in clearing the mind of unwanted, disturbing thoughts. A spiritual cleansing and soothing of your aura is also said to be a property of Lime essential oil.

Neroli essential oil: Costliest, but the best of Citrus oils. Neroli oil is distilled from orange tree Citrus aurantium. It is intense in its floral, sweet and citrusy aroma. Thanks to its exotic properties, it is highly concentrated and so a little goes a long way.

Bergamot essential oil: An expensive cold-pressed oil made from Citrus bergamia. Though the aroma has an apparent orange flavor, there is an underlying floral tone to the oil. It is a phototoxic oil and hence, should be applied with care as it can react when exposed to sunlight.

Lime

Lime

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Latin Name: citrus limata
Alternative Name: citrus acris, limettæ fructus
Forms Available: essential oil, fruit

Lime – citrus limata – A small evergreen tree, up to 15 feet, with stiff, sharp soines, smooth ovate leaves, and small white flowers. The bitter fruit is a pale green color, about half the size of a lemon. The essential oil is extracted from the fruit peel.

Aromatherapy & Health Uses: Antirheumatic, antiscorbutic, antiseptic, antiviral, aperitif, bactericidal, febrifuge, restorative, tonic. Use for Acne, anemia, brittle nails, boils, chilblains, corns, cuts. Key Qualities: Refreshing, Uplifting; Active.

Other Uses: The peel is useful in purification and protection spells. The peel is used in love mixtures and incenses.


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Linden


Linden


Latin Name: tilia spp.
Alternative Name: lime tree, linden flowers, linn flowers, common lime, flores tiliæ, tilleul
Forms Available: absolute, leaf, flower, whole, twig, bark

Linden – tilia spp. – Linden have small highly fragrant flowers, and can be hard to identify, since they hybridize freely. The flowers are brewed to make a tea, the classic digestive end to a continental meal, and a treatment for insomnia, nervous tension, and overwrought children. The world’s most valued honey is made from Linden blossoms and is used in liqueurs and medicines. The inner bark treats kidney stones, gout and coronary disease.

Aromatherapy & Health Uses: Relieves stress and tension. Eases headaches, menstural pains, colic. Reduces high blood pressure.

Other Uses: Bark used for protection, leaves and flowers or immortality. Good Fortune, Sleep and Love. Hang branches over the door for protection or grow in the garden.


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Litsea Cubeba

Litsea Cubeba

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Latin Name: litsea cubeba
Alternative Name: may chang, litsea citrata, tropical verbena
Forms Available: essential oil

Litsea Cubeba – litsea cubeba – belongs to the same family as the rosewood or cinnamon tree. Sweet, spicy and citrus fragrance with vegetative notes. It is antidepressant, antiseptic, astringent, insecticide, calming and sedative. Very uplifting and stimulating. It is a known tonic to the heart and respiratory system. May be helpful in cases of bronchitis and asthma. Used as an insect repellent. Blends well with lavender, neroli, and verbena.

Aromatherapy & Health Uses: It is antidepressant, antiseptic, astringent, insecticide, calming and sedative. Very uplifting and stimulating. It is a known tonic to the heart and respiratory system. May be helpful in cases of bronchitis and asthma. Used as an insect repellent.


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Lobelia


Lobelia


Latin Name: lobelia inflata
Alternative Name: indian tobacco, asthma weed, gagroot, pukeweed
Forms Available: root, flower, seed

Lobelia – lobelia inflata – annual or biennial. One to two foot high. Native American Indians used this herb for smoking, hence another name for it, indian tobacco. It was smoked to relieve lung problems such as asthma, pleurisy, whooping cough and bronchitis. It has expectorant properties, loosening phlegm. Chemical properties similar to nicotine so is a herb used to help escape addiction to nicotine. A poultice of lobelia can be used to relieve sprains, bites, stings, muscle spasm, rheumatism, boils. etc. Large doses of this herb can be emetic and induce vomiting.

Aromatherapy & Health Uses: Relieves lung problems such as asthma, pleurisy, bronchitis. Nicotine substitute for people attempting to quit smoking. Emetic in larger doses. Can be used in a poultice for various external skin problems.


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Loosestrife


Loosestrife


Latin Name: lythrum salicaria
Alternative Name: blooming sally, lythrum, partyke, purple willow herb, rainbow weed, sage willow, salicaire
Forms Available: leaf, flower, stem

Loosetrife – lythrum salicaria – Purple Loosestrife has a creeping rootstock, angled stems with lance-shaped leaves, and spikes of purple-red flowers. The leaves are eaten as an emergency vegetable and fermented into a mild alcohol. The flowering plant is an intestinal disinfectant, treating diarrhea and food poisoning. It acts as a typhus antibiotic, a sore throat gargle, and is given for fever and liver problems.

Aromatherapy & Health Uses: The flowering plant is an intestinal disinfectant, treating diarrhea and food poisoning. It acts as a typhus antibiotic, a sore throat gargle, and is given for fever and liver problems.

Other Uses: Placed in the corners of each room, this herb restores harmony and brings peace. Give as a gift to bring about an accord.


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Lotus


Lotus


Latin Name: nelumbo nucifera, nymphaea lotus
Alternative Name: sacred lotus
Forms Available: leaf, node of the root, bud, seed

Lotus – nelumbo nucifera, nymphaea lotus – This aquatic herb’s waxy leaves rise high above the water its long-stalked fragrant flowers open at dawn and close at sunset. Lotus stalks, leaves, petals, seeds and rhizome are all eaten. The flowers are a religious offering in many cultures and are planted for devotional reasons.
The leaf of nelumbo nucifera is used for fever, sweating, irritability, dysentery, diarrhea, and scanty urine. It is a styptic -stops bleeding- and has been used to antidote alcohol and mushroom poisoning. It affects the liver, heart, and spleen energies. The nodes of the root are used to stop bleeding and to break down blood clots. All types of internal bleeding are affected. The plumule -bud- affects the heart, kidney, and spleen. It is used to calm mental agitation and worry, relieve insomnia, and lower fevers. The seed affects the kidney, heart, and spleen. It is used for agitation, insomnia, palpitations, dry mouth, dark urine, and chronic diarrhea. It strengthens the heart and kidneys.

Aromatherapy & Health Uses: The leaf of Nelumbo nucifera is used for fever, sweating, irritability, dysentery, diarrhea, and scanty urine. The nodes of the root are used to stop bleeding and to break down blood clots.

Other Uses: Lotus is an all-purpose spiritual elixer. Burned as incense, it encourages the dead to seek their highest possible reincarnation. It reminds the living of their inner sanctity and divinity. Anyone who breathes the scent will receive its protection.


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