Mandarin (Citrus reticulata)
Description: A member of the orange family, mandarin trees are smaller than orange trees with small leaves and fruits.
Common Uses: Mandarin Essential Oil is often used as a digestive aid, for use against hiccups, anxiety, and to assist the liver functions of the elderly. Mandarin Essential Oil is also commonly used in soaps, cosmetics, perfumes and men colognes. It also has many applications in the flavoring industry.
Blends well with: Other citrus oils such as Lime, Orange, Lemon, and Grapefruit, as well as spice oils such as Nutmeg, Cinnamon, Bay and Clove.
Aromatic Scent: Mandarin Essential Oil has an intense, sweet, fresh scent characteristic of citrus fruit.
History: The name is said to come from the fact that it was a traditional gift to the mandarins of China. It is native to southern China and the Far East, and was brought to Europe in 1805 and to the USA forty years later.
Cautions: There is some evidence that Mandarin Essential Oil is photo-toxic. Direct sunlight should be avoided after use. Avoid use during pregnancy.
Marjoram, Sweet (Origanum majorana l.)
Description: Marjoram is derived from the plant – a bushy perennial growing up to 60cm in height with a hairy stem, dark green oval leaves and small whitish flowers found in clusters. The entire plant is extremely aromatic.
Common Uses: Assists the respiratory system, anti-spasmodic, promotes intestinal peristalsis, expectorant, digestive stimulant, migraine headaches, arthritis, muscular aches and stiffness, sprains, bruises (may drain blood from bruises and speed healing), gas, sinusitis, chronic fatigue syndrome and strains. It is anti-infectious, antibacterial, and tones the parasympathetic nervous system. Assists with circulatory disorders, asthma, bronchitis, coughs, colic, colds, PMS, constipation, headache, may dilate blood vessels (reducing the strain on heart) and hypertension. Also, insomnia, nervous tension, lowering blood pressure, cramps, pain, menstrual problems, arterial vasodilator, and sedative. Warming and comforting, Marjoram can be massaged into the abdomen during menstruation, or added to a warm compress. It is also useful for treating tired aching muscles, and is perfect for use in a sports massage. A few drops on a vaporizer will also encourage sleep, and a few drops can be added to a warm/hot bath at the first signs of a cold. It can also be used in masculine, oriental, and herbal-spicy perfumes and colognes.
Strength of Aroma: Medium
Blends well with: Orange, Lavender, Rosewood, Frankincense, Tea Tree, Eucalyptus, Clary Sage, Basil, Thyme, Cypress, Chamomile, and spices like Nutmeg.
Aromatic Scent: Marjoram Sweet has a warm and spicy aroma, with a hint of nutmeg.
History: Marjoram was very popular and a common medicinal plant amongst the ancient Greeks. The name itself originates from a Greek word meaning “Joy of the Mountains”.
Cautions: Marjoram is generally non-toxic, non-irritating and non-sensitizing. Avoid use during pregnancy.
Myrrh (Commiphora myrrha)
Description: GRAS- Myrrh is a reddish resin collected from the short thorny tree of the Commiphora myrrha plant. The trunk exudes a natural oleoresin that hardens into what is classified as reddish brown “tears”. Native collectors make incisions into the trees in order to increase the yield.
Common Uses: Myrrh contains a number of flavonoids which assist in reducing inflammation and boosts the immune system by stimulating the production of white blood cells. It is also reputed to be valued as a tonic. It is beneficial for anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-infectious, hypothyroidism. Helps with diarrhea, dysentery, viral hepatitis, ulcers, bronchitis, asthma, expelling mucus, toning lungs, vaginal thrush, menstrual difficulties, stretch marks, cleansing obstructions in the womb, recovery from illness, relieving the itch and irritation of weeping eczema. Also, fungal infection (athlete”s foot, candida, jock itch and ringworm) chapped and cracked skin, mature complexions, wrinkles, hemorrhoids, gum infections, gingivitis, mouth ulcers, and sore throat. Beneficial for voice loss, toning digestive tract reducing stomach gas and acidity. Aromatherapists use it to enhance and strengthen spirituality, purify spiritual environment, prepare for teachings, balances upper and lower chakras, enhances visualization, brings up deep hidden emotions, awaking awareness, fear, overcoming irritability, calming, emotional coldness, soothing, supporting, connecting.
A Note About Myrrh Essential Oil:
Myrrh Oil is steam distilled directly from myrrh resin. Resin
is a sticky golden liquid that oozes from natural cracks or cuts in the trunks
of the trees and hardens into irregularly shaped, deep reddish-brown, thick lumps.
Natural resins provide therapeutic benefit, but sometimes are hard to work with
in aromatherapy. Myrrh essential oil is extremely thick and sticky, similar to
the consistency of honey. You may need to warm the Myrrh essential oil, and
remove the orifice reducer, to get it to pour from the bottle.
Vitruvian Natural Health does NOT dilute or extend their
essential oils; therefore, because of the thick constancy, and in order to get any measurable drops, you will need to add the Myrrh essential oil to a
carrier oil. A dilution 0f 1:4, adding ¼ of the Myrrh essential oil to ¾ carrier
oil is equal to what most company’s already do to extend their Myrrh to make it
user friendly. You should question the purity of Myrrh if it drips right out of the bottle’s orifice reducer when first opened.
Blends well with: Frankincense, Lavender, Palmarosa, Patchouli, Rose, Rosewood, Sandalwood, Tea Tree and Thyme.
Aromatic Scent: Myrrh Essential Oil has a warm, rich, spicy balsamic odor.
History: Known locally as “guggulu”, ancient Ayurvedic text prescribes Indian myrrh for easing coughs and chest complaints and skin infections. Myrrh was also widely used as protection against the plague. It is documented that the Egyptians were the first to use myrrh during worship and at funerals. The Parsees of northern India still use the resins in religious ceremonies: Myrrh symbolizes self-denial; Frankincense represents spirituality, and gold the wealth of humankind.
Cautions: Myrrh Essential Oil can be possibly toxic in high concentrations, and should not be used during pregnancy.
Myrtle (Myrtus communis)
Description: Myrtle Essential Oil comes from a small tree with many tough slender boughs. It has a brownish red bark with small pointed leaves. It produces flowers which turn into black berries; both the flowers and leaves are very fragrant.
Common Uses: Myrtle Essential Oil has common use as an astringent, antiseptic, vulnerary, bactericidal, expectorant and as a decongestant. Aromatherapy applications include usage to combat sore throats and coughs. Benefits respiratory problems, smoker’s cough, bronchitis, flu, colds, tuberculosis, sinus infection, uterine infection, skin antiseptic, deodorizing, and aids all pulmonary disorders. Assists hemorrhoids, varicose veins, immune stimulant, sore throats (Klebs, staph, candida), diarrhea, liver and gall bladder stimulant, hyper-thyrodism (caution with thyroid imbalance) regulates ovaries, wrinkles, psoriasis, scaling skin, inflamed skin, hypothyroidism (increasing activity and improving balance), prostate decongestant, ovaries (hormone-like), hormonal imbalances. Also, acne, asthma, anti-infectious, (because of its relative mildness, this is a very suitable oil to assist with children”s coughs and chest complaints). Beneficial for insomnia (sedative), neuro-balancing, soothes anger, fear, despair, fear of illness, death, lack of composure, distraction, and materialistic yearnings.
Blends well with: Clary Sage, Bergamot, Clove, Eucalyptus, Ginger, Lavender, Peppermint, Rosemary, Spearmint, Thyme, and Tea Tree.
Aromatic Scent: Myrtle has a clear, fresh scent that is slightly camphoraceous – much like Eucalyptus.
History: The ancient Egyptians used Myrtle, a plant native to Africa, to remedy sore throats and coughs. As early as 1867 there is also evidence that the essential oil was commonly being used by medical practitioners.
Cautions: Myrtle can be possibly toxic in high concentrations, and should not be used during pregnancy.
Nutmeg (Myristica fragrans)
Description: Nutmeg Essential Oil is derived from the evergreen tree capable of growing 20 meters in height. It produces a fleshy red fruit. The exterior husk is dried and produces mace essential oil, while the seeds produce the Essential Oil.
Common Uses: Nutmeg Essential Oil can be used as a treatment for the following: arthritis, constipation, fatigue, muscle aches, nausea, neuralgia, poor circulation, rheumatism and slow digestion. It is a valuable addition to many aromatherapy blends, adding warmth, spice and inspiration, when used in very small amounts. Nutmeg Oil can be used in soaps, candle making, dental products and hair lotions.
Blends well with: Lavender, Clary Sage, Geranium, Rosemary, Orange and other Spice Oils.
Aromatic Scent: Nutmeg Essential Oil has a rich, spicy, sweet, woody scent. It is similar to the cooking spice, but richer and more fragrant.
History: Nutmeg was used by the Indians for intestinal disorders, by the Egyptians in embalming and by the Italians during the Plague. In the Middle Ages nutmeg was grated and mixed with lard as an ointment for piles.
Cautions: If used in large amounts, Nutmeg Essential Oil can cause toxic symptoms such as nausea and tachycardia. Avoid use during pregnancy.
Orange (Citrus sinensis)
Description: Sweet Orange is derived from an evergreen tree. It is smaller than the bitter orange tree, and less hardy with fewer or no spines. The fruit itself has a sweet pulp with no bitter membrane.
Common Uses: Properties for Sweet Orange Essential Oil are as follows: antidepressant, antiseptic, antispasmodic, aphrodisiac, carminative, cordial, deodorant, digestive, stimulant (nervous) and tonic (cardiac, circulatory). It has also been applied to combat colds, constipation, dull skin, flatulence, the flu, gums, slow digestion, and stress.
Blends well with: Lavender, Bergamot, Rosewood, Lemon, Clary Sage, Myrrh, Sandalwood, Nutmeg, Cinnamon and Clove.
Aromatic Scent: Sweet Orange Essential Oil has a sweet, citrus smell much like the orange peels it is derived from, only more intense and concentrated.
History: There is some argument, but it is believed that sweet orange was brought to Europe by the Arabs in the First century along with the bitter orange.
Cautions: Orange Essential Oil is considered photo-toxic and exposure to sunlight should be avoided. Do not use if pregnant.
Oregano, Wild (Origanum vulgare)
Description: Oregano is a hardy, bushy perennial herb that grows up to 90cm (35 in) with a straight stem covered in hair. The leaves are dark green and oval in shape. It will also have a profusion of pink flowers clustered in heads at the top of the branches.
Common Uses: Origanum Essential Oil is said to have the following properties: analgesic, anti rheumatic, antiseptic, antispasmodic, antitoxic, antiviral, bactericidal, carminative, choleretic, cytophylactic, diaphoretic, diuretic, emmenagogue, expectorant, febrifuge, fungicidal, parasiticide, rubefacient, stimulant and tonic. Due to high carvacol content, Origanum Essential Oil is considered to be “nature’s cure all” as it is reputed to have one of the best antiseptic and anti-bacterial properties. It can also be used as a fragrance component in soaps, colognes and perfumes, especially men’s fragrances.
Blends well with: Lavender, Rosemary, Bergamot, Chamomile, Cypress, Cedarwood, Tea Tree and Eucalyptus.
Aromatic Scent: Oregano has a powerful, spicy, camphor-like aroma.
History: There is an interesting side note to Origanum: two things survived the nuclear bomb tests of the 1950s – cockroaches and yeasts. Nonetheless, researchers at Georgetown University proved that oil of wild oregano completely destroyed yeasts in petri-dishes.
Cautions: Oregano is both a dermal irritant and a mucous membrane irritant. Avoid use if pregnant.
Palma Rosa (Cymbopogon martinii)
Description: Palmarosa is a wild growing plant with long slender stems and terminal flowering tops. The grassy leaf from which the essential oil is derived is extremely fragrant.
Common Uses: Palmarosa Essential Oil properties include use as an antiseptic, bactericidal, cicatrizant, digestive, febrifuge, hydrating, stimulant (digestive, circulatory), and tonic. Beneficial for skin problems, wrinkles, acne, candida, rashes, scaly and flaky skin, etc, (re-establishes the physiological balance of the skin, immediate calming and refreshing action). Calming and uplifting. It clears the mind to help with decision-making, helps nervous exhaustion, stress related conditions, morning fatigue and irritability. It is used extensively as a fragrance component in cosmetics, perfumes and especially soaps due to its excellent tenacity. Aromatherapists recommend it as an oil to diffuse during flu epidemics. Its action against viral illnesses and bacteria – coupled with the attractive smell – make it a great oil to use to disinfect a room.
Blends well with: Geranium, Bergamot, Sandalwood, and Cedarwood.
Aromatic Scent: Palmarosa has a sweet, floral fragrance with a hint of rose, and a herbal undertone.
History: Palmarosa was known as the Indian geranium oil and used in combination with the more expensive rose oils. Some even call it the “poor mans rose oil” because of its likeness to the smell of rose.
Cautions: Palmarosa can be a dermal irritant because it is derived from the grass of the plant, use with a carrier oil, if skin is sensitive. Avoid use if pregnant.
Patchouli (Pogostemon cablin)
Description: Patchouli is a very fragrant herb with soft oval leaves and square stems. It grows from 2 to 3 feet in height and provides an unusual odor that is nonetheless characteristic of patchouli when the leaves are rubbed.
Common Uses: Patchouli is recognized by aromatherapists as being effective for combating nervous disorders, helping with dandruff, sores, acne, skin irritations and acne. The specific properties include use as an antidepressant, anti-inflammatory, anti-emetic, antimicrobal, antiphlogistic, antiseptic, antitoxic, antiviral, aphrodisiac, astringent, bactericidal, carminative, deodorant, digestive, diuretic, febrifuge, fungicidal, nerving, prophylactic, stimulating and tonic agent. In the perfumery industry, it is interesting to note that Patchouli improves with age, and that the aged product is what is preferred over freshly harvested. In aromatherapy, Patchouli is an excellent fixative that can help extend other, more expensive oils.
Blends well with: Sandalwood, Bergamot, Cedarwood, Rose, Sweet Orange, Myrrh, and Clary Sage.
Aromatic Scent: Patchouli has a warm, earthy aroma with fresh fruit – like tones.
History: Before it became popular in Europe, Indian shawls and Indian ink were identified by the unique patchouli odor.
Cautions: None Known.
Pennyroyal (Micromeria fruticosa)
Description: Penny Royal is a perennial herb that grows up to 50cm (20 in) tall with smooth roundish stalks and aromatic, gray-green oval leaves.
Common Uses: Penny Royal was traditionally used to strengthen the nerves, being valuable in hysteric disorders, nervous exhaustion and externally applied for neuralgia. It has a long traditional use as a carminative, diaphoretic, stimulant and as an emmenagogue.
Blends well with: Penny Royal does not blend well with other oils.
Aromatic Scent: Penny Royal has a scent very similar to peppermint. Users should expect it to be sweet and herbaceous.
History: Penny Royal is a herbal remedy of ancient repute, and was used to purify the blood, for digestive and menstrual problems and feverish colds. It also has a deserved reputation as an insect repellent.
Cautions: Penny Royal can be toxic. It is an abortifacient, and has been known to cause liver and lung damage. Use extremely well diluted. Avoid use during pregnancy.
Pepper, Black (Piper nigrum)
Description: This climbing woody vine uses trees or other supports to grow to about twenty feet high, but is normally kept to about 12 feet for commercial purposes and has a lifespan of about twenty years.
Common Uses: Black Pepper Essential Oil can be used in the treatment for pain relief, rheumatism, chills, flu, colds, increase circulation, exhaustion, muscular aches, physical and emotional coldness, nerve tonic, and fevers. The therapeutic properties include the following: analgesic, antiseptic, anti-spasmodic, anti-toxic, aphrodisiac, digestive, diuretic, febrifuge, laxative, rubefacient, tonic (especially of the spleen).
Blends well with: Bergamot, Clary Sage, Clove, Coriander, Fennel, Frankincense, Geranium, Ginger, Grapefruit, Lavender, Juniper, Lemon, Lime, Mandarin, Sandalwood and Ylang-ylang.
Aromatic Scent: Black Pepper Essential Oil has a strong, sharp, spicy smelling oil. It is faintly reminiscent of clove oil.
History: The word pepper is derived from the Latin word piper, which in turn is taken from the Sanskrit word pippali. It has been used since the times of the Ancient Romans and Greeks and even the Turks levied a tax on pepper, while the French, Portuguese and Dutch often went to war in the middle ages to fight for this lucrative trade from the Far East.
Cautions: Black Pepper Essential Oil may cause irritation to sensitive skins and using too much could over-stimulate the kidneys and should be avoided in pregnancy due to its possible skin sensitizing effect.
Peppermint (Mentha piperita)
Description: GRAS- The Peppermint plant is a summer-growing perennial with upright square stems reaching three feet in height at maturity.
Common Uses: Peppermint benefits the respiratory system, opens the sensory system, for stimulation, strengthening, shock, fever, headache, migraine, antiseptic, throat infection, colds and flu. Beneficial for asthma, bronchitis, itchy skin, anti-spasmodic, inflammation, swelling, sinuses, anti-bacterial, jet lag, chronic fatigue syndrome, colic, cramp, fatigue, nervous stress, vertigo, toothache, acne, ringworm, heartburn, diarrhea, indigestion, motion sickness, nausea, halitosis, varicose veins, arthritis, menstrual regularity, hot flashes, liver problems, dispels pride, inferiority. Peppermint leaves contain menthol, which is a proven aid to digestion. The familiar aroma of Mentha piperita is known for both its warming and cooling properties. Friendly to the sinuses, peppermint is also useful to the muscular system, especially for women during monthly cycles or menopause. Properties include being refreshing, a mental stimulant and energizing. It relieves bad breath and is a good nerve tonic that helps with mental fatigue and nervous stress.
Blends well with: Peppermint mixes well with most oils. Eucalyptus, Lavender, Marjoram and Citrus Oils.
Aromatic Scent: Peppermint Essential Oil has strong minty notes with herbaceous warm undertones.
History: Peppermint oil is one of the world’s oldest medicinal herbs with documented use in ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome.
Cautions: Peppermint Essential Oil should be used well diluted since high concentration can cause a burning sensation and sensitization. Avoid use during pregnancy.
Pine Needles, Scotch (Pinus sylvestris)
Description: This evergreen tree can grow up to 40 meters (130 feet) and has a flat crown. The bark is a reddish-brown that is deeply fissured with needle-like gray-green leaves that grow in pairs, orange-yellow flowers, and pointed brown cones.
Common Uses: Pine is viewed as an analgesic, antibacterial, antibiotic, anti fungal, antiseptic, and as an antiviral. Aromatherapists credit its use for arthritis, asthma, bladder infections, bronchitis, catarrh, cholagogue, as a circulatory agent, for colds, convalescence, coughs, cuts, cystitis, as a decongestant and deodorant. It has also been applied to eczema, those with laryngitis, lice, muscular aches, neuralgia, psoriasis, rheumatism, ringworm, scrapes, and sinusitis. Its versatility is well documented. Scotch pine oil is one of the most useful and safest therapeutically.
Blends well with: Citronella, Clary Sage, Coriander, Cypress, Eucalyptus, Frankincense, Juniper, Lavender, Myrrh, Rosemary, Spikenard and Tea Tree, Rosemary, and Sage.
Aromatic Scent: Pine Scotch Essential Oil has a crisp, fresh, sweet, forest like aroma. It is more resinous and warm smelling than the regular pine oil, with a lower content of turpentine.
History: It was used by the native Americans to prevent scurvy and the needles were used to stuff mattresses and to repel lice and fleas. The ancient Egyptians used the pine kernels in their cooking.
Cautions: Although Pine Scotch Oil is considered safe since it is non-toxic and non-irritant, it should still be used with care on the skin since it can cause irritation in high dosage and may sensitize the skin as well.