Tag Archives: coughs and colds

Myrtle (Myrtus communis)


Family: Myrtaceae

Synonyms: Corsican pepper.

Aroma: Clear, fresh, camphoraceous, sweet, herbaceous.

Colour: Pale yellow to green.

Blue_myrtle_berriesPlant: A large bush or small tree with many tough but slender branches, a brownish red bark and small sharp pointed leaves. It has white flowers followed by small bluish black berries.

Main Growing Areas: North Africa, Mediterranean.

Major Constituents: Myrtenyl acetate, 1,8 cineole, alpha-pinene, alpha-terpineol.

Interesting snippets: The ancient Egyptians macerated myrtle leaves in wine to counteract fever and infection.
In Ancient Greece myrtle incense was burnt on Aphrodite’s (the goddess of love and beauty) altar.

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

Therapeutic actions: Coughs, colds, bronchitis, asthma, sinusitis, muscular aches and pains, arthritis, inflamed skin, bruises, psoriasis and eczema. Helpful for stress and insomnia.

Emotional and Spiritual: Uplifting, refreshing. Eases anxiety and tension and soothes feelings of anger, greed, envy and fear.

Provides protection during major life transitions and promotes harmony, love and respect.

Susanne Fischer-Rizzi writes that myrtle maybe helpful for people who have had experiences that have made them temporarily unable to see their own beauty and for those with addictions and self-destructive behaviour.

Robbi Zeck writes during dark times, when you are in pain, struggling or feeling disheartened, gentle myrtle with its air of beauty and purity brings comfort and an elemental return to the source. When you are experiencing feelings of separation, use myrtle as a reminder that we are all born connected. Walk in your own beauty and be at one with all things. May there always be beauty around you, above you, below you and within you. Know that you are the gift who shines beauty and light out to others.

Valerie Ann Worwood writes that its spirit is energetic truth, and forgiveness, giving support to the unsupported and teaching that divine love embraces all living beings

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

Sources: Battaglia S, The Complete Guide To Aromatherapy. The Perfect Potion, Australia (1995)
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)
Keim Loughran J, Bull R, Aromatherapy & Subtle energy techniques, Frog Books (2000)
Worwood, V.A, The Fragrant Heavens. Doubleday Publishing UK (1999)
Zeck R, The Blossoming Heart. Aroma Tours (2004)

Header image photo of myrtle by Forest & Kim Starr.

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)