Monthly Archives: July 2016

Ravensara (Ravensara aromatica)


Ravensara is a good oil to have on hand during the winter months. She is one of the first oils I reach for when I’m coming down with a cold.

Family: Lauraceae

Synonyms: Madagascar spice, Madagascar nutmeg, clove nut.

Aroma: Fresh, sharp, clear, eucalyptus-like.

Colour: Colourless

RavensaraPlant: Tree 18 to 20 metres high with reddish grey bark and dark evergreen leaves.

Main Growing Areas: Madagascar, Reunion, Mauritius, Australia.

Major Constituents: Pinene, terpineol, linalool, eugenol, estragole.

Interesting snippets: The local people have used the bark, leaves and fruit since ancient times.
The name ravensara means the tree with good leaves in Malagasy.

Part of Plant used / Extraction: Leaves and twigs by very long, slow steam distillation.

Therapeutic actions: Antiviral and immunostimulant, excellent for colds and flu, sinusitis, bronchitis, whooping cough, cold sores, shingles, joint pains, muscular tension and  physical fatigue.

Emotional and Spiritual: Setting boundaries, mental fatigue.
Philippe Mailhebiau writes ravensara is for people who no longer enjoy life and doubt everything especially themselves, those who no longer know where they are through lack of aims or ideals and who, their morale affected, suffer various pains as a result.

Robbie Zeck writes Ravensara encourages the setting of personal boundaries. A boundary delineates what is included within as well as what is excluded. Learning to define your boundaries determines your identity and maintaining healthy boundaries is absolutely integral to your self-empowerment. Your emotional and physical wellbeing will be compromised if your boundaries are unstructured. Learn to say no: And remember, ‘no’ is a complete sentence.

Gabriel Mojay writes ravensara is ideal for restlessness and insomnia caused by nervous debility and illness. Like tea tree oil, it is also important in cases where anxiety and depression threaten to weaken the immune system.

Safety: Possible skin irritation, non-toxic.

Note: Ravensara (Ravensara aromatica) is often confused with Ravintsara (Cinnamomum camphora). They have a different chemical makeup with ravintsara having a large percentage of 1.8 cineole and ravensara very little. Ravintsara is considered gentler to use with children.

Sources: Davis P, Aromatherapy, An A-Z. The C.W.Daniel Company Ltd. (1996)
Mailhebiau P, Portraits in Oils. The C.W.Daniel Company Ltd. (1995)
Mojay G, Aromatherapy Class notes (1999)
Zeck R, The Blossoming Heart. Aroma Tours (2004)

Ease Winter Blues with Essential Oils

Ease Winter Blues with Essential Oils

“One kind word can warm three winter months.” – Japanese Proverb

In winter there are stretches where the rainy days seem endless, the cold more penetrating and you long for some sun and warmth. This is the time to diffuse your mood lifting essential oils and massage those cold hands and feet to bring back warmth and improve your circulation.

Mood lifting essential oils
WinterThe citrus oils are fabulous for lifting your mood and bringing some sunshine into your life on even the darkest days. Put 5 or 6 drops in your diffuser for an instant lift. The aroma will not last long so combine with a warming oil such as cinnamon or ginger to make the aroma last longer but remember even if you can no longer smell the oil it is still in the atmosphere affecting your mood.

Citrus oils to try in your diffuser are:
Bergamot (Citrus bergamia) brings cheerfulness and helps release anger
Grapefruit (Citrus paradisi) helps remove heavy, negative feelings and encourages optimism
Lemon (Citrus limonum) uplifts you emotionally, mentally and spiritually
Lime (Citrus aurantifolia) helps to ease stress and calm you
Mandarin or Tangerine (Citrus reticulata) brings a sense of childlike happiness
Sweet Orange (Citrus sinensis) helps you lighten up and find your sense of humour

Warming oils
Black pepper (Piper nigrum) eases arthritis by warming aches and pains.
Cinnamon (Cinnamomum zeylanicum) relieves arthritic aches and pains and helps alleviates coughs and colds.
Ginger (Zingiber officinale) warms and soothes arthritic aches and pains.
Nutmeg (Myristica fragans) soothes arthritis and promotes relaxation.

Tropical Island
Lemon 2 drops, lime 2 drops, mandarin 2 drops, cinnamon 1 drop in vaporiser

Sunny day
Sweet orange 2 drops, grapefruit 2 drops, black pepper 2 drops in vaporiser

Bergamot 2 drops, lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) 2 drops, nutmeg 1 drop in vaporiser

Warming massage blend
Black pepper 2 drops, ginger 2 drops, lavender 1 drop in 10 mls cold pressed vegetable oil. Massage into cold hands and feet or double amount for a warming full body massage.

Ginger Infusion/Tea
Ginger teaYou may also like to try drinking warm ginger tea
Cut very thin slivers from the ginger root, and simmer them for 10 minutes using about 6 thin slivers from a root of average thickness, to each cupful of water. Add a little honey to make a drink to quell travel and morning sickness, stomach cramps and for colds and flu. (Recipe from Patricia Davis)

Spruce (Picea mariana)

Spruce Picea mariana

Family: Pinaceae

Synonyms: Bog Spruce, Swamp Spruce, Shortleaf Black Spruce, Abies nigra, Abies mariana, Picea nigra.

Aroma: Fresh, woody, pine-like.

Colour: Colourless to pale yellow.

spruce conesPlant: Small upright evergreen coniferous tree between 5 and 15 metres tall. The dark purple cones which ripen to a red-brown are the smallest of all the spruces. They are produced in dense clusters in the upper crown and open at maturity.

Main Growing Areas: Eastern Canada and North Eastern USA.

Major Constituents: Camphene, tricyclene, borneol, borynl acetate.

Interesting snippets: Spruce was used by the Lakota Indians to enhance their communication with the Great Spirit. Native Americans made spruce beer to prevent scurvy. Various native North American Indian tribes made a string from the long roots of this tree and used it to stitch the bark of their canoes and to sew their baskets.

Part of Plant used / Extraction: Needles and twigs / Steam distillation

Therapeutic actions: Respiratory conditions including bronchitis and coughs. Helpful in cases of inflamed, stiff, painful joints and tired, achy muscles.

Emotional and Spiritual: Mental exhaustion and stress. Calming and helps poor self-confidence, low morale, melancholy and a negative outlook.  She can help to overcome a sense of defeat or failure.

Robbi Zeck writes that spruce encourages a broadening and opening to a sense of spaciousness within, a way of seeing your journey through life in a brand new way. Spruce adds a depth of insight previously unknown and has the capacity to shift you from feelings of defeat to feeling refreshed and motivated.

Safety: Possible skin irritant.

Sources: Grace U-M, Aromatherapy for Practitioners. The C.W.Daniel Company Ltd. (1996)
Zeck R, The Blossoming Heart. Aroma Tours (2004),

Wedding Day Ideas Using Essential Oils

Wedding header


Star loversTanabata is celebrated on July 7th in Japan and is the day my niece was married 4 years ago. It’s the one day of the year when the princess weaver (Orihime) and the cow herder prince (Hikoboshi) represented by the stars Vega and Altair can meet. For the rest of the year they are separated by the Milky Way. Japanese celebrate the Star Festival when these two lovers can meet with street festivals, writing wishes, sometimes in the form of poetry, on small colourful pieces of paper and hanging them on bamboo. These wishes are then set afloat on a river or burned after the festival.

Because of the romantic associations of this day I thought it would be a good time to write about essential oils that could be used to help celebrate a wedding.

Essential oils help to minimize your stress so you can focus on the things that really matter and enjoy your special day.

Bergamot for emotional spring cleaningBergamot (Citrus bergamia) brings joy and helps calm anxiety. This can be helpful for the groom as well as the bride if he is feeling a little nervous, anxious or stressed on the day.

Cypress (Cupressus sempervirens) helps with change or moving on.

Frankincense (Boswellia carterii) helps you breathe more deeply and relax.

Geranium (Pelargonium graveolens) is the oil of balance and can help you stay on an even keel on your wedding day.

Jasmine sambacJasmine sambac (Jasmine sambac) is a beautiful aromatic oil that inspires passion. You could also try jasmine (Jasminum officinalis) but whichever you choose use a tiny amount as she has a powerful aroma.

Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) can be used by the bride to help relax her and get a good night’s sleep the night before her wedding. Lavender is also useful to help calm the stress and anxiety that can happen on the day.

Neroli flowerNeroli (Citrus aurantium var.amara) is used to relieve tension and anxiety. Orange blossoms were traditionally used in bridal bouquets to help the bride stay calm.

Orange sweet (Citrus sinensis) is another oil that helps you relax and keep calm on the day.

Patchouli (Pogostemon cablin) helps you stay self-assured, confident and grounded on the day.

Rosa damascenaRose (Rosa damascena) is a very feminine oil that helps you remain calm and loving.

Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) is the oil of remembrance.

Sandalwood (Santalum album) is another very grounding and calming oil.

Ideas for using the oils on your wedding day
1. Mix 2 or 3 drops of geranium or jasmine or jasmine sambac or neroli or rose or sandalwood in 5mls of cold pressed vegetable oil and use as a perfume.

2. Make or have made for you your own signature oil blend or perfume for the day. Using scent can instantly take you back to your wedding day many years later because essential oils enter the limbic system of the brain where your memories and the emotions linked to them are stored. You could also wear it each anniversary.

Mist bottle3. Personal Spray Mist – Add up to 25 drops of your chosen oils mixed with an dispersant to a 50ml mist bottle filled with spring or distilled water and shake before use. Use as facial mist or to perfume your personal space.

4. A spritzer bottle can be placed on each table for guests to spray at their leisure. You can also make small bottles to give as favours to all your wedding guests, so they too can relive your special day.

5. Wedding favours – Make a blend for the guests to take home and use. Add oils to 15 or 25mls of cold pressed vegetable oil and place in a voile bag. A lovely aromatic gift they can use in a massage or bath.

If you would like to have your own personalised wedding favours made email me at  or ring me on 0404 988 565 to discuss.