Tag Archives: anti-inflammatory

Sandalwood (Santalum album)

Sandalwood header

Family: Santalaceae

Synonyms: East Indian sandalwood, Mysore sandalwood, white sandalwood

Aroma: Warm, sweet, woody, and lingering.

Colour: Yellowish

Plant: A small, evergreen, parasitic tree with small purple flowers that grows up to 15 metres high. To survive the roots of the sandalwood tree must attach themselves to the roots of another tree but they don’t kill the host tree supplying them with nutrients. The tree must be over 30 years of age before it is cut down for oil.

Main Growing Areas: Southern India, Western Australia

Major Constituents: cis-alpha- santalol, cis-beta-santalol, epi-beta-santalol, alpha- santalal

Interesting snippets: It was used in ancient India for religious ceremonies.
The wood was used by the ancient Egyptians in medicine, for embalming the dead and ritual burnings to worship the gods.

sandalwood handicraftsThe wood is used for carved objects of high quality and has been referred to as botanical ivory.

Powdered sandalwood is burned as incense in Buddhist and Hindu temples.

In 1998 Indian sandalwood was listed as a vulnerable species on the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List of Threatened Species in India.

Part of Plant used / Extraction: Steam distilled from the inner heartwood of the tree. 11.25 kgs of wood produces approximately 0.45 to 0.7 kgs of oil.

Therapeutic actions: Chronic infections of the pulmonary and genito-urinary tracts. Dry and inflamed skin, eczema, psoriasis, dermatitis, varicose veins, swollen lymph nodes, cold sores and sore, dry throat.

Emotional and Spiritual: Calming helping to reduce tension and confusion, nervous depression, insomnia and fear.

Susanne Fischer-Rizzi writes that sandalwood aids people who want to make human contact and overcome isolation. It helps them accept others with an open heart and diminish their egocentricity. Sandalwood fosters openness warmth and understanding.

Robbie Zeck writes that when seeking an overview, guidance or wise council concerning a particular aspect of your life, take time out for quiet reflection. Imagine standing on the highest mountain where the view is clear and expansive. Sandalwood will support you in shifting you from your present point of view, to a different kind of viewing point.

Gabriel Mojay states that sandalwood is indicated for states of obsessive worry and worldly ‘over-attachment’. Whenever we over-invest in seeing specific outcomes to our efforts – especially out of a neurotic need for security – sandalwood helps to re-establish an acceptance of reality as it is.

Loughran and Bull write that sandalwood quiets the mind, promotes a meditative state to better receive and integrate healing energy. She also encourages states of higher consciousness and a sense of unity.

Sal Battaglia believes that sandalwood has a strong affinity with the water element’s Zhi (Will). Zhi represents willpower, ambition, self-actualization and the will to live. It is the will we draw on to survive ordeals, overcome obstacles and preserve against hardships. It also represents collectivity – our sense of being part of a whole.

Valerie Ann Worwood writes that sandalwood is a fragrance that stretches out to the universe into the hallowed space between heaven and earth, to contact the divine presence. Sandalwood brings our wisdom into a meditative state, quieting us so we can hear and rejoice in the choral singing of the universal soul.

Aromatherapy Insight Card:Sandalwood Aroma Insight cardCONTEMPLATION
Contemplate life: go inside to realize the answers you seek. When working from inside, we have a peace and strength to see exactly how life’s events really are. Allow yourself to be still, away from the busyness of the external world. Sandalwood helps keep your space as your own: strong and free of other people’s negative energies, so that you can operate efficiently and enjoy life.

Fragrant Change Healing Card: I allow my inner awareness to guide me to the answer.

Contemplations for the Soul Card:Are you looking for answers?
Are you forever busy giving yourself no time to think?
Are you feeling emotionally drained wondering what the future will bring?
Do you feel frustrated, anxious and worried about your future security?
Take time out for contemplation today.
If you are seeking the answer to a problem you can simply go for a walk or sit in nature and allow your mind to wander.
Use your imagination to explore possible solutions to your problem. Worry and anxiety will only cloud your mind.
Take some slow deep breaths and allow your intuition to give you the answer.
Anything is possible if you believe in yourself.

Safety: In general, non-irritating, non-sensitising and non-toxic. Because 0.34% of dermatitis patients reacted to patch testing with 2% sandalwood oil and the fact that there is a risk of photoallergic reactions especially in Japanese people Tisserand and Young recommend a maximum use level of 2%

Sources: Battaglia S, The Complete Guide To Aromatherapy. The Perfect Potion, Australia (1995)
Battaglia S, The Complete Guide To Aromatherapy. Third Edition. Black Pepper Creative Pty Ltd, Australia (2018)
Bowles E.J, The A to Z of Essential Oils. New Burlington Books (2003)
Fischer-Rizzi S, Complete Aromatherapy Handbook. Essential Oils for Radiant Health Sterling Publishing Company (1990)
Hodges C. Contemplations for the Soul (2016)
Hodges C, Fragrant Change Healing Cards (2015)
Jefferies J, Osborn K, Aromatherapy Insight Cards. Living Energy, Aust. (2nd Ed. 2005)
Keim Loughran J, Bull R, Aromatherapy & Subtle energy techniques, Frog Books (2000)
Mojay G, Aromatherapy for Healing the Spirit. Hodder and Stoughton (1996)
Tisserand R and Young R, Essential Oil Safety Second Edition, Churchill Livingstone Elsevier, 2014
Worwood, V.A, The Fragrant Heavens. Doubleday Publishing UK (1999)
Zeck R, The Blossoming Heart. Aroma Tours (2004)

Pine (Pinus sylvestris)

Pine header

To me a lush carpet of pine needles or spongy grass is more welcome than the most luxurious Persian rug.
Helen Keller

Family: Pinaceae

Synonyms: Forest pine, Scotch pine, Scots pine, Norway pine, pine needle

Aroma: Strong, fresh, resinous

Colour: Clear

Plant: Tall evergreen tree with reddish brown deeply fissured bark and a flat crown. The needles are 2.5 to 5cm long and 1-2mm broad, a glaucous blue-green turning darker green to dark yellow green in winter.

Main Growing Areas: Northern Europe, North America

Major Constituents: Borneol, borynl acetate, a- and β-pinene, limonene, delta-3-carene

Interesting snippets: Hippocrates recommended pine for pulmonary problems and throat infections.

The city of Venice in Italy has been sitting on a bed of pine since 810.

Pine trees typically live for 150 years but may live as long as 300 years.

In Japanese myths, ‘The Tree of Life’ is sometimes associated with the pine.

Spirit lovers are said to inhabit pine trees and live to a very old age.

In classical Kyogen theatre the image of a large pine tree always provides the stage backdrop.

pine cone and needlesPart of Plant used /Extraction: Fresh, young needles, pine cones, tips of the bough / steam distillation

Therapeutic actions: Pine eases colds, flu, coughs, laryngitis, bronchitis, catarrh and sinus congestion. Helpful for rheumatic, neuralgic and muscular aches and pains

Emotional and Spiritual: Feeling helpless and unworthy. Mental fatigue, promotes feelings of energy and well-being. Instils feelings of confidence, courage and clarity. Clear a healing or meditation space when feeling depleted on all levels, mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually.

Robbi Zeck writes that pine validates and strengthens your own unique gifts and talents encouraging a simple knowing and belief of your self-worth.

Gabriel Mojay writes that pine is indicated where there is a weakness of ‘boundary’ and of self-identity – where one cannot distinguish others’ responsibilities from one’s own. Pine works to dissipate both a negative self-image and feelings of remorse, replacing undue guilt with forgiveness and self-acceptance.

Valerie Ann Worwood writes that pine teaches that it is love and generosity of spirit that endures – in the hearts of those we have loved and known and in our children.

Aromatherapy Insight Card:

Pine aromatherapy insight cardSELF WORTH
It is time to stop rescuing others and rescue yourself. Be strong but flexible, managing the knocks in life, living your own life and letting others live their own journey. Protect your boundaries; be true to you, treating yourself with honour and respect. Let go of negative experiences and move forward to a place where you feel fantastic about yourself. Remember you cannot rescue others; they need to do it for themselves. Allowing them to grow their way allows you to grow.

Fragrant Change Healing Card: I have the self-confidence to stand tall and allow the world to see the unique person I am.


Contemplations for the Soul Card:

Pine CFTS CardDo you feel worthless or not worthy of having all you wish for?
Do you put everyone’s wishes and wants before your own?
Why are you denying or hiding your unique gifts and talents?
Do you feel the need to take responsibility for other people’s mistakes?
Stop hiding! Stand tall and accept that your opinions matter and that you are good enough to reach your goals.
Value and have confidence in yourself and others will too.
Ignore everyone or thought that tells you you are not good enough to attain your dreams.
Don’t allow others to overstep your boundaries and stop feeling responsible for the mistakes or choices other people make.

Safety: Non-irritating, non-toxic, skin sensitising when oxidised. May be adulterated with turpentine oil or mixtures of pinene, camphene and bornyl acetate.

Sources: Battaglia S, The Complete Guide To Aromatherapy. The Perfect Potion, Australia (1995)
Davis, P, Aromatherapy An A-Z. The C.W.Daniel Company Ltd. (1996)
Hodges C, Fragrant change Healing Cards (2015)
Hodges C. Contemplations for the Soul (2016)
Jefferies J, Pine Essential Oil Profile. Aromatherapy Today, Vol.42 (2008)
Jefferies J, Osborn. K, Aromatherapy Insight Cards. Living Energy, Aust. (2nd Ed. 2005)
Keim Loughran J, Bull R, Aromatherapy Anointing Oils, Frog Books (2001)
Mojay G, Aromatherapy for Healing the Spirit. Hodder and Stoughton (1996)
Tisserand R and Young R, Essential Oil Safety Second Edition, Churchill Livingstone Elsevier, 2014 Pages 398 – 399
Worwood, V.A, The Fragrant Heavens. Doubleday Publishing UK (1999)
Zeck R, The Blossoming Heart. Aroma Tours (2004)






Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)

Family: Asteraceae

Synonyms: Milfoil, thousand weed, achillea, soldier’s woundwort.

Aroma: Sweet, herbaceous similar to German chamomile.

Colour: Deep blue.

Yarrow 7Plant: Perennial with tiny clusters of white or pink flowers growing to a metre in height. The lower part of the stem is leafless and woody while the upper stem has alternate feathery lace like leaves.

Main Growing Areas: Albania, Hungary, Bulgaria, France.

Major Constituents: Camphor, 1,8 cineole, iso-artemisia, azulenes, achilline, sabinene.

Interesting snippets: Grown specifically for medicinal use as it is considered a weed in most places.
Yarrow tea has long been used for mild digestive upsets and menstrual cramps.
It is said that Achilles tended his soldier’s wounds with yarrow during the war with Troy.
The 50 wooden sticks used for the I-Ching were made from the stems of the yarrow plant.

Part of Plant used / Extraction: Leaves and flowering heads by steam distillation.

Therapeutic actions: Cuts and abrasions, eczema, menstrual pain.

Emotional and Spiritual: Gabriel Mojay writes that yarrow oil is most appropriate for those in whom feelings of anger or rage are linked subconsciously with emotional wounding and vulnerability.

Susanne Fischer-Rizzi considers yarrow the perfect oil for times of major life changes such as mid-life crisis and menopause because it helps reconcile opposing forces when we are feeling torn.

Robbi Zeck asks you to learn how to maintain your balance in every situation without abandoning your integrity. Ask for clarity of vision so that your inner perspectives will match your external actions. Yarrow with its balancing action refines the senses, enhancing the power of your insights as well as your outer vision.

Fragrant Change Healing Card: I am nurtured and protected as I release the anger, pain and bitterness from the past.

Yarrow FCHC

Contemplations for the Soul:

Have you been deeply hurt and are still feeling angry and bitter about it?
You may find yourself lashing out at every perceived insult, hurt and offence in order not to feel any pain and protect yourself.
You may become defensive seeing insults where none are intended.
You may pretend that these insults or hurts have no effect on you while sinking deeper into anger at yourself for not addressing them, leading to a depression or sadness that seems never ending.
Take time now to nurture yourself as you release all the bitterness, pain and anger.
Feel the pain, forgive yourself and the person or people who caused it; let it all go knowing you will come through this stronger and able to love and feel joy again.

Safety: Non-irritating, possibly sensitising, non-toxic. Possibly best not to use in the first trimester of pregnancy.

Sources: Bowles E.J, The A to Z of Essential Oils. New Burlington Books (2003)
Kerr, J, Yarrow Essential Oil Profile. Aromatherapy Today, Vol.19 (2001)
Fischer-Rizzi, S, Complete Aromatherapy Handbook. Essential Oils for Radiant Health Sterling Publishing Company (1990)
Hodges C. Contemplations for the Soul (2016)
Hodges C, Fragrant Change Healing Cards (2015)
Mojay G, Aromatherapy for Healing the Spirit. Hodder and Stoughton (1996)
Zeck R, The Blossoming Heart. Aroma Tours (2004)

German Chamomile (Matricaria recutita)

German chamomile

German chamomile is best known for easing the pain and inflammation of red, itchy skin but she also has lesser known spiritual and emotional benefits too.

Family: Asteraceae, Compositae

Synonyms: Blue chamomile, Hungarian chamomile

Aroma: The steam distilled oil has a sweeter, fruitier aroma than the CO2 exacted oil which smells more like newly mown grass.

Colour: Blue if steam distilled, yellowish green if CO2 extracted

German chamomilePlant: An annual herb that grows up to 60cm tall with a hairless, erect branching system. The flower has a dark yellow to orange dome shape centre with the flower head being 1.5cm broad with 15 to 18 white strap shape petals that drop downward.

Main Growing Areas: Native to Europe and Western Asia, Hungry, France

Major Constituents: Farnesene, chamazulene, alpha-bisabolol oxide A&B, beta-caryophyllene

Interesting snippets:
German chamomile is the oldest known medical herb.
In Germany it is known as good for everything, the Greeks called it ground apple and in Spain it is known as little apple.
Chamomile stands for patience in adversity in the language of flowers.

Part of Plant used /Extraction: Partly dried flower heads are used in steam distillation while fully dried flower tops are used in CO2 extraction. Steam distillation produces 0.1-0.5% essential oil while CO2 extraction produces 4-5%.

Therapeutic actions: Anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antifungal, wound healing, eczema, ulcers, sprains, PMS and menstrual pain, mouth ulcers, muscular pain, eases the itchiness of insect bites.

Emotional and Spiritual:
Valerie Ann Worwood writes when confusion seems to have become prevalent in a person’s spiritual life, and the laws of the Creator seem to have no meaning to the life we live on earth, then the fragrance can often help us to understand.

According to Robbi Zeck it helps loosen the grip of old habits, ideas and beliefs that are no longer useful in living the life you want to live. She asks you to imagine your life speaking to you and consider what it would say.

Joni Keim Loughran and Ruah Bull write that it helps you to identify what is true, and also a way to speak it with grace, accuracy and power. To achieve this, it helps you to be centred, grounded and to think clearly.

Aromatherapy Insight Card:

Chamomile German insight card

Chamomile assists you to let go of emotional worries and break patterns that are limiting your potential. Learn that you will be in more control if you let go and trust the process of the happenings around you. Allow life’s adventures to be just that, adventures. Chamomile will assist you to stop being critical of yourself and others just because events or people are not living up to your expectations. Remember your expectations are just that and move on.

Safety: Non-irritating, non-sensitizing

Sources: Atterby D, German Chamomile Essential Oil Profile. Aromatherapy Today, Vol.45 (2009)
Battaglia S, The Complete Guide To Aromatherapy. The Perfect Potion, Australia (1995)
Bowles E.J, The A-Z of Essential Oils. New Burlington Books (2003)
Jefferies J, Osborn. K, Aromatherapy Insight Cards. Living Energy, Aust. (2nd Ed. 2005)
Keim Loughran J, Bull R, Aromatherapy Anointing Oils, Frog Books (2001)
Worwood V.A, The Fragrant Heavens. Doubleday Publishing UK (1999)
Zeck R, The Blossoming Heart. Aroma Tours (2004)

Australian Sandalwood (Santalum spicatum)


Although I have Indian and African sandalwood I prefer to use Australian sandalwood.

Family: Santalaceae.

Synonyms: West Australian sandalwood.

Aroma: Similar to Indian sandalwood but softer.

Colour: Pale yellow.

Australian sandalwoodPlant: Small evergreen tree/shrub growing up to 8 metres in the wild and 4-5 metres on plantations. It is a root parasite and requires a host tree for its first years. At 3 years it requires 2 or 3 hosts as it grows.  It appears the host trees are not harmed and in fact benefit from this arrangement.

Main Growing Areas: South Western Australia, southern South Australia.

Major Constituents: alpha santalol, beta santalol, farnesol, bergamatol, alpha-bisabolol.

Interesting snippets: Although the tree will produce essential oil at 5-10 years it will not be suitable for harvesting a high quality oil until it is 25 years old.

The west Australian aborigines used boiled sandalwood bark as a cough medicine. They also used the inside of the nuts as a rubbing medicine for colds and stiffness.

Before the release of penicillin in 1946 oral ingestible Australian sandalwood capsules were used to treat urinary tract infections and gonorrhoea.

Part of Plant used / Extraction: Heartwood and rootball by organic solvent extraction followed by co-distillation. This process yields about 3% essential oil. There is also a CO2 extraction available.

Therapeutic actions: Dry coughs, nasal and chest congestion. Dry dehydrated skin, red inflamed skin, psoriasis, eczema and MRSA.

Emotional and Spiritual: Stress, aphrodisiac. Quietens mental chatter, helping to still the mind, allowing it to move into a deep meditative state.

Audre Gutierrez writes that Australian sandalwood is for all of those who have been made to feel ‘less than’ or ‘not good enough’ because of who they are. She is about being your true, authentic, best self and letting that speak more loudly than any disparagement, any slight ever could. She is for the unseen wounds of the heart and spirit, healing them so that you can be strongly and fully in the power of who you truly are.

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

Sources: Gutierrez A, https://www.shiningsunaromatherapy.com/australian-sandalwood-santalum-spicatum-the-cinderella-or-ugly-duckling-of-aromatherapy/
Kerr J, Australian Sandalwood Essential Oil Profile. Aromatherapy Today, Vol.17 (2001)
Webb M, Bush Sense – Australian Essential Oils and Aromatic Compounds. Griffin Press. (2000)

Palo Santo (Bursera graveolens)

Palo santo header

Palo Santo belongs to the same family as elemi, frankincense and myrrh.

Family: Burseraceae

Synonyms: Holy wood, incense tree because of the resemblance of the twigs of the tree to incense sticks.

Aroma: Refreshing woody scent with hint of frankincense

Colour: Clear to pale yellow

palo santoPlant: Grows in dry, tropical forests reaching a height of 4 to10 metres. It is densely branched with a smooth, non-peeling bark that is purple tinged but appears to be pale or silvery gray due to a covering of lichens.


Main Growing Areas: Indigenous to the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico, Central America (Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras) and the Pacific coast of South America (Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Columbia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, Venezuela and the Galapagos islands).

Major Constituents: Limonene, terpineol, alpha-pinene, menthofuran, carvone, germacrene, carveol, juneol and pulegone.

Interesting snippets: The tree or limb must die a natural death and remain in the forest for 4 to 10 years to decay in order to produce a good quality essential oil. Cutting down the tree and leaving it to decay for the same amount of time will yield an oil of a poor quality.

The wood has been used in South America to make barrels for ageing wine.
The burning wood is used to repel various insect species and to protect cattle from vampire bats.

The Incas and shamans in Central and South America used and continue to use it, as part of their sacred healing rituals to heal, remove or cast spells, and gaze into the future.
In Peru, shamans light palo santo sticks and use the smoke to fumigate the aura of ritual participants in order to clear evil spirits, patterns of misfortune, and negative thinking.

palo-santoPart of Plant used /Extraction: Steam distillation of the heartwood of aged, fallen trees.

Therapeutic actions: Anti-inflammatory, analgesic, antibacterial, antifungal, antispasmodic, antiviral, diuretic, reduces fever, sedative, headaches, wound healing, joint and muscle aches and pains, sprains and respiratory symptoms, coughing, bronchitis, asthma, colds.

Emotional and Spiritual: Grounding, calming, anxiety, depression, emotional stress or trauma, panic attacks, clears negative energy.

Safety: Possible skin sensitization if oil is old or oxidized.

Sources: Berkowsky B, Berkowsky’s Synthesis Materia Medica/Spiritualis of Essential Oils
Tisserand R and Young R, Essential Oil Safety Second Edition, Churchill Livingstone Elsevier, 2014

5 Essential Oils For Summer

5 essential oils for summer

Essential oils are very useful for the minor ailments of summer especially if you spend a lot of time outdoors. Below are 5 oils to help you deal with these minor inconveniences.

Make sure you buy pure essential oils and not fragrant oils. Also note the botanical name of the oil so that you use the same oil in the recipes below. There are many different lavenders, chamomiles and geraniums, etc. Each bottle of oil will contain the botanical name below the name of the oil.

GERMAN CHAMOMILE (Matricaria recutita)
German Chamomile flowersGerman chamomile is a good oil to have on hand for summer. Use to treat inflamed, irritated skin including dermatitis, boils, acne, nappy rash, eczema, psoriasis and dry itchy skin. She can also be used to relieve the pain associated with burns, sprains, cramps and insect bites.
Emotionally German chamomile helps calm the body and mind and can be used to help stress related symptoms including insomnia and headaches.

Insect bite relief
Mix together German chamomile 3% 6 drops and lavender 2 drops and apply directly to the insect bites to ease the itch. German chamomile hydrosol applied directly to the area can also ease the itching.

EUCALYPTUS (Eucalyptus radiata)
Eucalyptus treesEucalyptus is useful for bringing down fevers and treating the symptoms of summer colds. She can also be used for easing muscular aches, pains and strains, wound healing and insect bites.

Summer Cooling Mist
Add lavender 10 drops, peppermint 3 drops and eucalyptus 2 drops to 15 drops of oil-to-water dispersant. Add this to 50 mls still, spring or distilled water or lavender hydrosol in a spray bottle. Shake well before each use if you don’t have or use oil-to-water dispersant. Keep in the fridge when not in use to keep cool.

LAVENDER (Lavendula angustifolia)
Lavender FlowersLavender can be used in a wide variety of situations including minor burns, sunburn, rashes, bruises, wounds and insect bites. She’s helpful for easing sore muscles and headaches. Apply to minor burns as soon as possible to ease the pain and prevent blisters. Emotionally lavender is nurturing and helps with anger, worry, fear and insomnia.

After sun spray
Keep this in a spray bottle in the fridge and use it to ease the pain of sunburn. Mix lavender 20 drops to 20 drops of oil-to-water dispersant. Add to 50ml still, spring or distilled water. Shake well before spraying onto the skin. You could also use lavender hydrosol.
After sun bath
Add lavender 5 drops, German chamomile 3% in jojoba 6 drops to 11 drops of oil-to-water dispersant. Add the mixture to a bath filled with lukewarm water. If you don’t have any oil-to-water dispersant be sure to swish the water vigorously or add oils to some full fat milk and add that to the water.

PEPPERMINT (Mentha piperita)
Peppermint leavesA drop of peppermint essential oil rubbed into the soles of your feet can help bring your temperature down if you are suffering from the heat. Peppermint is also useful for headaches due to digestive issues and sinus congestion as well as relieving the nausea associated with travel sickness. Use peppermint to help keep you alert when you feel mentally fatigued due to the heat or driving long distances.

Nausea/travel sickness relief
Add peppermint 2 drops to 5mls of cold pressed vegetable oil and gently massage over the stomach area. It is best to do this 30 minutes before you travel.
You could also fill an empty small glass container (essential oil bottle, pill bottle) with a couple of cottonballs to which 3 or 4 drops of peppermint essential oil have been added. Open the bottle and take a few sniffs whenever you feel nauseous. Make sure to keep the lid on when not in use. You could also use a personal inhaler if you have one.

ROSEMARY (Rosmarinus officinalis)
RosemaryRosemary is good to have on hand to ease those aches and pains from too much sport or gardening. It is also useful for headaches and tiredness caused by the heat.

Muscular Aches and Pains
Add rosemary 4 drops, lavender 2 drops and eucalyptus 4 drops to 15 mls of cold pressed vegetable oil and gently massage.