Minty Magic

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I have often been asked what my favourite essential oil is, and it’s always hard to answer. The reason why is because there are many favourites – for different reasons – some oils I love particularly for their energetic effects and others are more practical in use. An example of a simple essential oil I would never be without is Peppermint – [Mentha x piperita].

A bold and vigorous herb, it will rapidly take over space in a garden. I grow it in pots to keep it contained. It’s a favourite herbal tea, taken in different ways – in the wintertime, hot with lemon juice and honey, or with crushed cardamom seeds for a more exotic flavour; in the summer, infused with an equal amount of melissa [lemon balm] which I also grow in the garden, and then cooled for  a refreshing drink.

As an essential oil, Peppermint offers a pungent mintiness combined with green fresh notes and a strong hint of spice. Just a few drops inhaled on a tissue is instantly head-clearing. I often put a tissue with Peppermint on it in the car while I’m driving. The clean clear smell helps to keep me alert. It’s also an essential oil I take on flights as well, to help clear my head and ease the stuffiness of air in the cabin.

Peppermint works instantly to clear cluttered thoughts, mental overload and too much internal chatter. It is also very helpful in a simple blend [10 drops in 20ml base oil] applied to the forehead to ease headaches.

I always use peppermint when I need to think clearly and just cut through mental debris. It’s a very useful and simple essential oil… one of those I will not leave home without!

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A Fine Orange oil

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For some time, I’ve been looking for an orange essential oil that really tickles my palette. In my early years working with oils, back in the early 1990s,  there certainly was a prevalence of better quality citrus oils than we currently see. Since nowadays most widely available citrus essential oils are the by-products of the juicing industry and are produced on a mass scale, it’s not surprising that the quality has suffered. The thing with citrus oils is, they are mostly made up of a single aromatic ingredient called limonene –  sometimes up to 90% or more of the oil – and that final 10 or so % is actually very important. It is what differentiates sweet orange, slightly green mandarin, zesty lemon, very green lime and zesty bitter grapefruit. These delicate notes are the identifying elements that give a citrus oil its character.

I’m happy to say my search has been rewarded… thanks to www.hermitageoils.com

I absolutely love the Blood Orange essential oil from their list… it really is the best I’ve smelled in a very long time. Mount-watering, citrusy and juicy, it just wants to jump out of the bottle.  It has a warm rich sweetness that lasts well, and it works beautifully in blends.

That gorgeous ‘more-ish’ orange smell is inviting, it lifts the spirits, it chases away the blues on a cold grey winter day and reminds me of summer!

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The Wonders of Myrtle

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I have a myrtle bush in my garden; it’s evergreen, with tiny dark leaves and reddish woody stems. When it puts on full new growth it is a vibrant bush, full of energy, with a beautiful scent around it… and if I pick a few leaves and rub them on my fingers, the aroma is fresh, clean, light… a combination of eucalyptus and citrus notes. In the summer, the bush produces hundreds of tiny creamy-white flowers with centres like tiny golden stars. I can see why Myrtle used to be used in wedding bouquets – when it is in flower, the whole bush looks like a bride.

Myrtle is just one example of a beautiful aromatic bush with many uses; it has been celebrated since antiquity when it was sacred to the goddess Diana. The leaves can be brewed as tea – it is a very refreshing taste and a good internal cleansing infusion. The flowers, in summer, can be picked and sprinkled in warm water to gently wash the face. As the bush grows vigorously and in profusion, cutting back is often necessary – but the stems need not be wasted. Placed on hot coals, they release a glorious sweet smoke like incense. Myrtle and other aromatic shrubs like juniper or herbs like rosemary were the incense ingredients of ancient Greece… with their purifying and uplifting aromas.

The best quality Myrtle essential oil is reddish in colour, from the leaves and young twigs. It is another of my favorites…instantly opening the lungs, it goes deeper than eucalyptus, it has a warmth and fire that travel to the heart, for courage, strength, ‘taking a deep breath.’ The aroma has this unique combination of pungent yet light fresh citrus notes.  For me, it links the heart to heaven, it clears my emotions and my mind and brings peace and harmony.  As an anointing essential oil it is an important choice in blends to celebrate the Divine Feminine, the Goddess in all her forms.

Divine Myrtle, indeed.

Myrtus communis tarentina

Beautiful Base Oils

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While the essential oils in a blend often get a lot of the attention, the bases deserve it too. Essential oils have a beautiful affinity to vegetable carrier or base oils; the two mediums make an exquisite partnership. Since I started working with essential oils a long time ago, the palette of base oils has vastly increased. I’m particularly enjoying exploring dry oils like Chia Seed, with its wonderful rapid absorption, as well as soothing Meadowfoam Seed, or anti-inflammatory Oat Oil. Choosing the right combinations of base oils can be as interesting as selecting the aromas to go in blends. There is something deeply satisfying about these golden oils and the way they smooth and nourish the skin with nutrients and anti-oxidants like Vitamin E.

A favourite combination at the moment is 35mlJojoba, 35ml Chia Seed, 30ml Peach Kernel = 100ml. This makes a gorgeous base – light and quickly absorbed, full of skin-loving essential fatty acids. It works really well as an after shower oil base.

Try adding 15 drops Frankincense and 15 drops Sweet Orange to this combination of oils… shake the bottle, and it’s ready to use. Frankincense soothes and rejuvenates the skin, and Sweet Orange is a bright fresh sweet citrus oil, uplifting and good for the spirits. In the tradition of classical aromatherapy – the scent is as important to the mind as to the body!

Enjoy!

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Elemi gum

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This amazing tree is one of many that secrete resins and gums from inside the structure of the trunk. It has a beautiful circling canopy of elegant leaves. Elemi gum is very thick, whitish-cream in colour, sticky to touch and extremely aromatic. Once on your fingers the scent stays there for a long time.

The essential oil is one of my favourites… delicate, resiny and sharp, lighter than frankincense, more ethereal. When I inhale this aroma it takes me to the etheric realms where my spirit can rest and find peace. I feel very in touch with my own angelic guides and receive inspiration from my teachers beyond the veil.

Also, the resins are ancient materials… loved and used by humankind for thousands of years. There is a theory that our brains ‘recognize’ these ancient smells as part of our genetic memory. Who knows… our distant ancestors roamed the earth for thousands of years before civilization… learning about their environment through direct experience, touching, scenting, feeling different plants, trees and flowers as they went. Strong aromas from these precious trees must always have been attractive and mysterious.

So Elemi is one of my own precious aromatic keys… I love it and use it often.

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