Tag - aromatherapy oils

Galbanum

Resembling a giant fennel plant, galbanum was used in the ancient world as incense. Native to the Middle East and West Asia, it is cultivated today in Iran, Turkey, Lebanon and Afghanistan. It was used in pharmaceuticals, but now it is mostly known...

Geranium

Seventeenth-century Europeans took a fancy to this tender African perennial, also known as “rose geranium,” and propagated it in their greenhouses. The resulting hybridization increased the species to more than 600, which includes many...

Zingiber officinale

Ginger

Native to the tropics, ginger’s thin, broad leaves are attached to a surprisingly succulent, spicy rhizome. The herb originated near the Indian Ocean, but it is now grown throughout the tropics. Family: Zingiberaceae Extraction: Distilled from...

Helichrysum

This flower, sometimes called “everlast” or “immortelle,” is native to the Mediterranean and North Africa and is cultivated in Spain, Italy and Yugoslavia. A related species, H. orientale, is also grown for oil, while H...

Hyssop

Once considered sacred, this herb was often used in purification practices. Hyssop comes from the Mediterranean. Most of the oil produced goes into expensive perfumes. Family: Lamiaceae (Labiatae) Extraction: Distilled from flowering tops. The odor...

Anise

Originally from Asia Minor and Egypt, anise now grows throughout the Mediterranean. Turner’s 1551 Herbal recommends it “maketh the breth sweter.” The oil’s delightful taste still flavors pharmaceuticals, confections...

Cinnamon

In India and Europe, cinnamon was a popular aphrodisiac and antiseptic. Often fought over, it was the reason for the Portuguese seizing Ceylon in 1505, the Dutch later taking the country from them, and the British grabbing it next. Today, cinnamon...

Basil

Basil comes from India, but has been cultivated in the Mediterranean for thousands of years and is now also grown in North Africa. The genus name Ocimum is probably from the Greek word “to smell.” Once made into cleansing water for the...

Clary Sage

Clary sage was mixed with ambergris, cinnamon, brandy and sugar into a popular European cordial for digestive problems and to improve the complexion. It still flavors muscatel wine and tobacco; the largest U.S. grower is the tobacco company R. J...

Bay

Also called “laurel,” bay leaves were once placed on the heads of headache sufferers and Greek scholars. Today, we still confer a baccalaureate degree, which means “noble berry tree” in French. Crush a leaf and the smell is...

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