Monthly Archives: August 2018

Amyris (Amyris balsamifera)

Family: Rutaceae

Synonyms: Also called West Indian Sandalwood and less commonly West Indian Rosewood. Amyris is neither a true sandalwood nor a rosewood as both these oils belong to different botanical families.

Aroma: Musty, balsamic, faintly woody scent.

Colour: Pale yellow

AmyrisPlant: A small bushy tree, 3 to 6 metres in height,  with compound leaves and white flowers that produce edible black-bluish fruit. It grows wild in thickets all over Haiti.

Main Growing Areas: Haiti, Jamaica, South and Central America.

Major Constituents: Caryophyllene, cadinene, cadinol

Interesting snippets: The oil is known to remain in timber for many years. The locals call it ‘candle wood’ because of its high oil content; it burns like a candle and is used as a torch by fishermen and traders.

Part of Plant used / Extraction: Broken up seasoned wood and branches. Fresh wood gives an inferior oil. Steam distillation

Therapeutic actions: Antiseptic, balsamic, decongestant, eases sore, tired muscles, soothes dry, irritated skin.

Emotional and Spiritual: Relaxes, calms, focuses and uplifts the mind, helping to alleviate stress and anxiety. Useful in meditation.

Deborah Eidson writes that amyris anchors the state of openness that promotes new thoughts and allows new ideas to form and encourages the realization that you have the power to create and direct your life and destiny. Amyris saturates the aura with creativity, which in turn attracts abundance. The energy of Amyris is very loving and generates self-acceptance, bringing the energy of grace into your life. This loving grace stimulates the ability to laugh at yourself.

Safety: Non-irritating, non-sensitising, non-toxic

Note: Amyris is often fractionated, some sections are cut with Virginian cedarwood. Amyris is also used to adulterate vetiver oil produced in Haiti.

Sources: Battaglia S, The Complete Guide To Aromatherapy. Third Edition, Vol.1The Perfect Potion, Australia (2018)
Eidson D, Vibrational Aromatherapy. Revealing the essence of nature through aromatherapy’s use of essential oils. Frog Ltd, Berkley, California (2000)
Lawless J, Complete Essential Oils. Element Books (1995)