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Sweet basil is a tender annual herb w/dark green, pointed oval leaves that may be fuzzy. It bears whorls of green, white or pink flowers.
The entire basil plant, Ocimum basilicum, emits a fresh, sweet herbaceous scent. Steam-distilling the flowering herb produces an oil that can be colorless, pale yellow or pale green.
Basil oil has a light spicy smell w/a balsamic or camphorlike undertone.

Native to tropical Asia & Africa, this member of the Lamiaceae family is cultivated throughout Europe, in the Mediterranean, on islands in the Pacific & in North & South America. Brazil, Bulgaria, Egypt, France, Hungary, Indonesia, Italy, Morocco, South Africa & the US all produce basil oil.

Beauty Benefits

Because basil oil has the ability to stimulate circulation, it enlivens dull-looking skin, improves skin tone & gives the complexion a rosy glow. It helps to control acne. It also adds a luster to dull hair.

Emotional Effects

Basil oil possesses both sedative & stimulating actions. Its sedative action:
  • wards off anxiety attacks & nervous tension 
  • helps to vanquish insomnia

its stimulating action:

  •  fights mental fatigue
  • strengthens mental functions

Basil oil:

  • increases concentration
  • sharpens the senses
  • clarifies thoughts 
  • clears the head

As a nerve tonic, basil oil can calm nervousness. In Europe, psychologists & physicians use it to treat melancholy & depression. Basil oil can minimize fear & sadness while fortifying weak nerves.


Lush green leaves & tiny, white star-shaped flowers cover the branches of the bergamot tree, which can attain a height of 16 feet.
It bears a pear-shaped yellow fruit that is smaller than an orange & was once called the bergamot pear. The bergamot tree is the result of the crossbreeding of the lemon tree & the bitter orange tree, which created the bergamot hybrids Citrus bergamia & Citrus aurantium, subspecies bergamia.

A member of the Rutaceae family, bergamot originated in tropical Asia. Farmers in most countries have had little or no success in cultivating the tree commercially. Today, bergamot grows in the Ivory Coast in Africa, in the Calabria region of Italy & in Sicily.

A simple pressing or expression of the rinds of the sour green fruit renders a pale emerald green oil. It has a flowery lemon-orange smell w/a slightly sweet balsamic undertone. The best-quality oil is hand-pressed. Peels from 1,000 bergamot fruits yield about 30 ozs. of oil.

Beauty Benefits

Bergamot oil's antiseptic action makes it useful for the treatment of acne & skin infections. Its astringent quality helps regulate excessive oiliness of the skin or scalp. Its deodorizing action can freshen your body, your home or your office.
Bergamot oil also repels insects & soothes insect bites. Along with neroli, orange & rosemary, bergamot was a component of the original eau de cologne. Modern perfumers prize it for the fruity floral bouquet it imparts to their creations.

Emotional Effects

Bergamot oil is refreshing & uplifting. It acts as a stimulant & tonic to balance the emotions.
Research conducted in Italy indicates that bergamot oil relieves:
  • feelings of fear & anxiety
  • diminishes depression & sadness
  • calms anger
  • equalizes emotions & moods by balancing the activity of the hypothalamus

Smelling bergamot oil can stabilize a person in a shaky emotional state. Bergamot oil evokes feelings of happiness & joy & can restore self-confidence. During times of sadness or grieving, bergamot oil helps to heal emotional wounds & can inspire or restore loving feelings.


Three types of cedar trees produce essential oils for aromatherapy purposes. The most common is red cedar, or Juniperus virginiana. Native to North America, this slow-growing tree attains a regal height of up to 100 feet. It grows primarily in the mountainous regions east of the Rocky Mountains.
Distillation of its reddish heartwood & seed-bearing cones renders a yellow to orange oil w/a sweet balsamic scent.

Texas cedarwood, or Juniperus mexicana, is a smaller tree that grows up to 21 feet tall. It is native to the southwestern US, Mexico & Central America. Its viscous dark orange or brown oil has a sweet, smoky, woody aroma & is distilled from the tree's stiff green needles & twisted branches.

The Atlas cedar, Cedrus atlanticus, grows atop the Atlas Mountains of North Africa. This member of the Pinaceae family reaches heights of 100 feet. Steam distillation of wood chips & sawdust from the Atlas cedar yields a thick yellow to honey-colored oil w/a soft & sweet, warm & woody pinelike odor.

About 29 pounds of plant material is used to produce 1 pound of cedarwood oil. To obtain the oil of the red cedar, the tree must be felled; the other 2 cedar trees remain intact during the harvesting of their plant material. Some cedars can live for 1,000 to 2,000 years.

Beauty Benefits

Cedarwood oil contributes to clear skin by healing skin rashes & clearing blemishes. It reduces excessive secretions of sebum, or oil & normalizes both dry & oily skin & hair. Cedarwood oil controls dandruff & seborrhea, improves the condition of the hair & stimulates the scalp & hair follicles.

It can minimize hair loss & some men claim it even promotes hair growth.

Emotional Effects

Cedarwood is a calming oil that eases anxiety, nervous tension & stress-related conditions. It helps stabilize energy imbalances. Cedarwood oil can comfort & strengthen you during difficult times, reinforcing resolve & independence. It can help you see situations more objectively & remain emotionally composed.

Many people claim that cedarwood oil is an aphrodisiac as well.


Three different species of chamomile-German chamomile, Roman chamomile & chamomile mixta-are cultivated for their essential oils. All are members of the Asteraceae family & share similar properties.

The fine feathery leaves of the Roman chamomile plant (Chamamelum nobile or Anthemis nobilis) surround tiny daisylike flowers that are white w/bright yellow centers. This perennial plant attains a height of 9 to 12".

Native to southern & western Europe, Roman chamomile is now cultivated in many different countries, including Belgium, Bulgaria, England, France, Hungary & Italy.

Steam distillation of the flowers renders a yellow essential oil w/a sweet, warm herbaceous odor.

German chamomile (Matricaria chamomilla or Matricaria recutita) is similar in appearance to Roman chamomile, except that it is taller (it grows about 2' tall) & its flowers have smaller heads & fewer petals. German chamomile is an annual.

Once native to Europe & parts of Asia, it now grows in Eastern Europe, Egypt, North America & in areas of the former Soviet Union. German chamomile oil has a characteristic deep blue or bluish green color & for this reason is sometimes referred to as blue chamomile.

It gets its color from its high content of azulene, a chemical component that is produced during the distillation process & that also has a strong anti-inflammatory action. Stronger in smell than Roman chamomile oil, German chamomile oil has a sweet, slightly fruity, slightly spicy scent that is almost intoxicating.

Chamomile mixta, or Moroccan chamomile (Anthemis mixta), is a distant relative of the other two chamomiles & bears no physical resemblance to either. The chamomile mixta plant is characterized by hairy leaves & tubular yellow flowers.

This native of northwestern Africa & southern Spain also grows in Egypt, Israel & Morocco. Its oil smells spicy & fresh, w/a balsamic undertone.

Beauty Benefits

Scientific studies have shown that chamomile reduces dryness, itching, redness & sensitivity in irritated & inflamed skin. Chamomile oil soothes dry or sensitive skin. With regular treatment, it can reduce the redness of fragile or broken capillaries. Chamomile oil conditions the hair & scalp & adds shine, silkiness & luster to hair.

Emotional Effects

Chamomile oil's subtle sedative action is much milder than that of harsh & potentially habit-forming prescription tranquilizers. Because it is calming & relaxing, it can combat depression, insomnia & stress.

It eliminates some of the emotional charge of anxiety, irritability & nervousness. Chamomile oil can dispel anger, stabilize the emotions & help to release emotions linked to the past. Applied over the throat, it can help a person express his or her true feelings.

The bright green feathery leaves of the coriander plant are delicately lobed. After its tiny lacy white or pale pink flowers bloom, they turn into green seeds that eventually become brown or brownish gray. At maturity, the plant reaches a height of two to three feet.

Steam-distilling the crushed ripe seeds produces a colorless or pale yellow oil with a fresh spicy fragrance that is sweet, woody and slightly balsamic. It takes about forty-five pounds of seeds to produce one pound of coriander oil.

Known also as Chinese parsley or cilantro, Coriandrum sativum is a member of the Apiaceae family. Coriander is indigenous to Morocco and the Middle East, and is now grown commercially in India, North Africa, Russia, South America, southern Europe and western Asia. Romania, Russia and the other former Soviet Republics produce the majority of coriander oil. Coriander leaf oil is also available. It smells similar to the seed oil but is stronger, greener and not as sweet.

Beauty Benefits

Coriander oil is a natural deodorant. Coriander oil is also frequently used in perfumery, particularly in men's fragrances. Because it stimulates circulation and fights fluid retention, it is helpful for cellulite.

Emotional Effects

Coriander oil stimulates the central nervous system and relieves lethargy, mental fatigue and nervousness. Some people say it decreases dizziness. It improves the memory and the mental functions. Coriander oil can even inspire creativity. Coriander oil refreshes and energizes, yet it is also relaxing and calming for anxiety, irritability and stress. It is especially revitalizing during recovery from illness. Coriander oil brings comfort in times of emotional shock or fear. Due to its estrogenlike component, it balances female hormones and can stimulate erotic feelings. It also reputedly helps overcome impotence.

As eucalyptus trees mature, their young, round, silvery blue-green leaves turn into long, swordlike, deep green leaves that emit the characteristic camphoraceous odor of eucalyptus. Woody seed pods dangling down from the creamy-colored branches almost completely cover the budding blossoms; hence the tree's name, which comes from the Greek word eukalyptos, meaning "covered" or "wrapped."

Eucalyptus oil has a refreshing, penetrating and stimulating aroma that smells somewhat medicinal. About fifty pounds of eucalyptus leaves yield one pound of clear or pale yellow eucalyptus oil.

Australia is the original homeland of eucalyptus, the tallest deciduous tree on earth. Some species of eucalyptus stretch skyward nearly 500 feet. Over 75 percent of all the trees in Australia are eucalyptus; in all, there are over 500 varieties of eucalyptus worldwide. They thrive in the Mediterranean-like climates of Algeria, California, Egypt, Hawaii, India, Portugal, South Africa and Spain. Eucalyptus trees are also cultivated in India, Latin America, South Africa, southern Europe and Tahiti.

Eucalyptus globulus is the most common species employed in aromatherapy, although over a dozen others-including Eucalyptus australiana, Eucalyptus polybrachtea, Eucalyptus radiata and Eucalyptus smithii-also yield essential oils. The oil of Eucalyptus citriodora has a citruslike aroma; Eucalyptus dives yields an oil with a smell reminiscent of peppermint. All of these trees are members of the Myrtaceae family.

Beauty Benefits

Eucalyptus oil clears acne and skin blemishes by reducing excessive oiliness. It promotes the regeneration of skin tissue and can also soothe the pain of sunburn.

Emotional Effects

Eucalyptus oil's stimulating and refreshing nature helps overcome sluggishness. During times of emotional overload, it can restore balance, improve concentration and increase intellectual capacity. Eucalyptus oil can cool the heat of anger. After a fight or conflict, diffusing eucalyptus oil through the room will cleanse the environment.

Umbrellas of delicate yellow flowers rise above the gray-green feathery fronds stemming from the celerylike stalks of the fennel plant. After blooming, the flowers turn into grayish brown seeds with a licoricelike flavor.

At maturity, fennel stands about four feet tall. Fennel oil, steam-distilled from the crushed seeds, smells similar to anise. It has a sweet and zesty, sharp and spicy, fresh and warm aroma.

Indigenous to the Mediterranean area, fennel flourishes in environments near the sea. Sweet fennel, or Foeniculum vulgare dulce, is a member of the Apiaceae family and is now cultivated in China, France, Germany, India, Iran and Russia.

Beauty Benefits

Fennel oil's muscle-toning effect helps maintain youthful facial muscles. It reputedly wards off wrinkles and minimizes puffiness around the eyes. In addition, it restores moisture to dry and dehydrated skin. Some aromatherapists say that regularly massaging fennel oil into the breasts helps to keep them firm and attractive.

Emotional Effects

Fennel oil has an overall calming effect on the emotions. It reduces stress and nervousness. Fennel oil provides a sense of protection, strength and courage during vulnerable or emotionally low times. It can also increase sexual desire.

The small shrubby frankincense tree bears abundant foliage and white or pale pink blossoms. Gatherers gash and peel back the bark, which exudes a milky white juice. When it comes into contact with air, this sap solidifies into tear-shaped lumps that are amber or burnt orange in color and range from about one-quarter inch to one and one-half inches in size. Steam distillation of the gum resin of Boswellia carteri or Boswellia thurifera renders a clear pale yellow or yellowish green oil. It has a warm and woody, sweet and spicy, rich and resinous aroma, with a light lemony undertone. Some frankincense oil is extracted with alcohol or a chemical solvent such as hexane. Only steam-distilled or alcohol-extracted frankincense resin should be used for aromatherapy purposes.

A member of the Burseraceae family, frankincense is native to areas in the Middle East around the Red Sea, as well as to China, Iran, Lebanon and Oman. It grows wild throughout northeast Africa, primarily in Ethiopia and Somalia. Most of the distillation takes place in Europe. There is some distillation of frankincense oil in India as well.

Beauty Benefits

Although well known to ancient peoples, for centuries frankincense oil's skin-beautifying properties were practically forgotten. Its restorative, regenerating and rejuvenating actions are especially useful for dry, mature and sensitive skins. It smoothes lines and wrinkles, and soothes and softens raw chapped skin. Frankincense oil's astringent properties help balance oily skin. It accelerates the healing of blemishes, inflammations, sores, scars, skin ulcers and wounds. Frankincense was one of the first botanical essences to be used in fragrances. It has a powerful fixative quality and is still used to add "staying power" to perfumes.

Emotional Effects

Frankincense oil can help to fortify a mind burdened with mental anxiety, nervous tension or stress. It reduces anxiety and revitalizes the body and mind when a person is mentally or physically exhausted. It comforts and soothes the emotions and heals emotional wounds. Frankincense oil can help you sever ties with the past that are hampering your personal growth. By slowing respiration, frankincense oil produces a sense of serenity and calms restlessness. It is a stabilizing and centering oil and helps to focus energy.

Of over 700 varieties of geranium, only a few-Pelargonium roseum, Pelargonium graveolens, Pelargonium odorantissimum and Pelargonium radula-produce essential oils. The entire plant, including leaves, stalks and flowers, is steam-distilled to produce a pale greenish yellow oil with a green sweet scent that is sometimes rosy, sometimes minty.

Originally native to southern Africa, these members of the Geraniaceae family now flourish in many countries.

China, Egypt, Morocco, Russia and the island of Réunion, in the southwestern Indian Ocean, specialize in the commercial cultivation of geraniums. Many authorities believe the world's finest geranium oil comes from Réunion.

Beauty Benefits

Geranium oil helps almost any skin type or skin condition. Its stimulating action promotes the regeneration of skin cells and speeds the healing of acne and blemishes. It also soothes dry sensitive skin. Geranium oil imparts a healthy glow to the complexion, making the skin appear radiant and more youthful. It improves the appearance of broken capillaries and varicose veins. Because it stimulates both the lymphatic and circulatory systems, geranium oil helps to combat the kind of sluggish circulation and waste accumulation present with cellulite, and it clears skin that is blemished or dull and dry as a result of the accumulation of toxins. Geranium oil also helps control excessive oiliness of the skin.

Emotional Effects

Inhaling geranium oil eases the anxiety and tension of mentally and physically demanding days. Like most flower oils, geranium oil acts as an antidepressant. Its uplifting effect frees the mind from negative or depressing thoughts. Almost any stress-related condition responds to a few whiffs of geranium oil. As an added bonus, geranium oil can stimulate feelings of sensuality.

Geranium oil encourages self-expression, improves communication and helps overcome the fear of speaking. It promotes harmony between the sexes and balances aggressive and passive tendencies. Some people respond to geranium oil's sedative, somewhat analgesic effect; others say it stimulates them. For most people, it simultaneously calms and energizes.

The glossy grasslike spears of this tropical perennial protrude upward two to four feet from thick, spreading tuberous roots called rhizomes. Erect reedlike spikes with compact white, yellow or yellow-green conical flowers stem directly from the rhizomes, which look like white or beige hands with multiple fingers.

Sharp and spicy, peppery and pungent, warm and wonderful, the aroma of golden yellow or amber ginger oil has slightly woody and lemony undertones. Ginger oil is steam-distilled from the unpeeled dried ground roots of the plant. Native to southern Asia, China, India and Java, Zingiber officinale is a member of the Zingiberaceae family. Ginger is now cultivated in the tropical regions of China, India, Jamaica, Japan, Nigeria and the West Indies. Many experts claim the finest ginger grows in Jamaica. Most ginger oil comes from China, England and India.

Beauty Benefits

Ginger oil is widely used in perfumery to impart a sharp green, spicy note to fragrances, particularly men's colognes. It is rarely used in skin care because of its tendency to irritate sensitive skin, but because it increases circulation, ginger oil is sometimes used to treat varicose veins and cellulite.

Emotional Effects

Ginger oil's warming tendency can heat up a cold, dull or fearful emotional nature. It warms the heart and opens up feelings, helping to improve communication. Ginger oil sharpens the senses, improves memory and aids in recall. It stimulates energy, yet at the same time is helpful in cases of nervous exhaustion. Its aphrodisiac qualities may help in cases of impotence, especially when ginger is combined with coriander and rosemary.

Delicate, white star-shaped jasmine flowers perfume the air with their exotic, erotic and nearly narcotic aroma. Shiny green leaves cover the large evergreen shrub Jasminium officinalis or Jasminium grandiflorum, which can reach twenty to thirty feet in height. Jasmine can also grow along the ground or cascade downward in vines. Native to China, India and Iran, this member of the Oleaceae family is chiefly cultivated in China, India, the Mediterranean countries and northern Africa.

Working at night, gatherers pick these flowers by hand, making the production of jasmine essence very labor-intensive. About 1,000 pounds of flowers-or over 3.5 million blossoms-yield just one pound of precious jasmine essence.

While jasmine is commonly considered together with the essential oils because of the way in which it is extracted, it is more accurate to refer to it as jasmine enfleurage or jasmine absolute. For simplicity's sake, however, jasmine enfleurage and jasmine absolute are referred to as jasmine essence in this section.

Jasmine essence is a thick mahogany-colored oil that has a rich, warm, floral scent with tealike undertones. This intensely sweet "king of essential oils" smells of mystery and magic. Its long-lasting fragrance has a pheromone-like quality, perhaps due to its chemical similarity to human perspiration, which some scientists speculate may contain pheromones.

Beauty Benefits

The hormone-balancing action of jasmine essence affects the condition of the skin. Jasmine benefits any skin type-whether dry, oily, irritated or sensitive. It inhibits bacteria and regulates oil production, thereby helping acne and oily skin. Jasmine essence also helps to moisturize dry, dehydrated or mature skin. Jasmine has played an important part in all grand perfumes, softening and smoothing out any harsh notes.

Emotional Effects

Jasmine essence benefits almost any nervous condition. It decreases anxiety, depression, nervous exhaustion and stress. It elevates spirits and balances moods. Jasmine essence encourages optimism and self-confidence while diminishing fear. It is both emotionally and physically relaxing.

Jasmine essence warms the emotions and helps counteract apathy and indifference. It spurs creativity, inspires artistic expression and awakens intuition. It arouses an appreciation of the beauty in the world and helps dissolve emotional blocks that hinder personal growth. The sensual and inspirational aroma of jasmine essence creates a sense of euphoria that engenders trust and true love. As a sensual stimulant, jasmine promotes feelings of attractiveness and allure.

Of over fifty species of juniper, only one-Juniperus communis-yields the berries that produce juniper oil. This evergreen member of the Cupressaceae family bears green needles, yellow flowers and round bluish green berries that turn black upon maturity. Juniper may sprawl near the ground as a prickly shrub two to four feet high or stand erect as a bush of six to twelve feet tall. Some wild junipers grow as high as thirty feet.

Fresh, ripe black berries, when steam-distilled, produce a clear or yellowish green oil. The oil has a pinelike aroma with spicy, peppery and earthy undertones. Juniper trees, which are native to Europe, have become naturalized throughout the Northern Hemisphere. They flourish in the forests of Canada, Korea and Sweden, and atop mountains in Hungary and Scotland. Austria, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Slovakia and Spain produce the most juniper oil.

Beauty Benefits

Juniper oil is good for any kind of skin inflammation. Because juniper oil promotes the elimination of cellular wastes and stimulates circulation, varicose veins and cellulite conditions often respond to it. Juniper oil enlivens dull skin and helps to clear acne. It can regulate oiliness, making it useful in treating acne, oily skin, oily hair and seborrhea. Juniper is frequently added to fragrances, cosmetics, aftershaves and men's colognes.

Emotional Effects

Juniper oil helps to fight anxiety, nervous tension and stress. It can clear mental clutter and confusion, revive exhausted emotions and strengthen nerves. Juniper oil helps to neutralize negative emotions, particularly anger or confusion, and imparts a feeling of emotional cleanliness and purity.

Beautiful blue violet or deep purple blossoms resembling tiny purple pine cones grow in whorls around a single lavender stalk. The abundant branches have long, narrow, pale silvery green leaves. This woody evergreen shrub grows three or four feet tall.

Lavender smells clean and fresh, and permeates the air with a delightful aroma that simultaneously stimulates and relaxes. Steam-distilling the flower tops and stalks produces a colorless pale yellow or yellow-green oil. It has a sweet, floral and herbaceous scent with a balsamic woody undertone. An acre of lavender plants will yield about fifteen to twenty pounds of essential oil. Distilling only the blossoms produces a superior oil. Of the over thirty different species of lavender, Lavandula officinalis, Lavandula angustifolia and Lavandula vera are the most popular varieties for producing essential oils. French lavender (Lavandula stoechas) is also used in aromatherapy.

A member of the Lamiaceae family, lavender thrives high atop the dry, rocky, sun-drenched mountain slopes in its native France, Persia (now Iran), the Mediterranean countries and Tasmania. It is now also cultivated commercially in Bulgaria, England, Greece, Italy, Russia, Spain and Turkey. France is the primary producer of lavender oil.

Beauty Benefits

Lavender oil calms and soothes the skin. It balances oil production, helps heal blemishes and stimulates circulation to the skin. Lavender oil reduces the inflammation of acne and soothes the pain of sunburn. It regulates the oil secretions of the scalp and helps repair damaged or overprocessed hair.

Emotional Effects

Throughout Europe, physicians and psychologists recommend lavender oil for emotional difficulties such as depression, fear, insomnia, irritability, melancholy, mood swings, nervousness and stress. They say that it strengthens the nervous system. Lavender oil clears thinking, dissipates fears, minimizes anger and reduces worry. By balancing extremes of emotion, it contributes to emotional equilibrium. It relaxes the mind and promotes physical and mental well-being. Lavender oil can neutralize sensory overload and balance either a racing or sluggish mind. Used at bedtime, it helps overcome insomnia.

The small evergreen lemon tree has serrated oval leaves, stiff thorny branches and fragrant white or pale pink flowers. The round or oval green fruits of Citrus limon or Citrus limonum turn sunshine yellow when ripe. A native of India and Asia, this member of the Rutaceae family grows about eighteen feet tall. Lemon trees grow wild in Mediterranean climates and are cultivated in Guinea, Israel, Italy, and North and South America.

Cold expression of the fresh peels of the fruit renders a pale greenish yellow oil. Its scent is fresh and light, slightly sharp but sweet, with the tart and tangy smell of fresh lemons. About 1,000 lemons will yield one pound of oil.

Beauty Benefits

Lemon oil balances overactive sebaceous glands that lead to oily or blemished skin, helps clear acne and controls oily hair and dandruff. It revitalizes underactive and mature skin and helps with cellulite by improving circulation and encouraging the elimination of wastes. Lemon oil encourages the exfoliation of dead skin and enlivens the complexion. Long-term treatment with lemon oil reduces broken capillaries and varicose veins, softens scar tissue and minimizes warts and corns. Lemon oil can also strengthen brittle nails.

Emotional Effects

Lemon oil is cooling, refreshing and uplifting. It encourages clarity, concentration and recall. It can calm or prevent emotional outbursts. It fights depression, eases fear, strengthens resolve and assists in communication and decision-making.

Marjoram is a bushy tender perennial that grows up to one foot in height. Its many branches have square stems and tiny, oval gray green leaves that may be fuzzy. Knotlike buds borne on spikes open to form clusters of white or pink flowers. When in full bloom, marjoram branches are steam-distilled to produce an oil with a warm, woody, spicy, slightly peppery, camphorlike and nutty aroma that is calming and comforting.

Thymus mastichina is commonly called Spanish marjoram or Spanish wood marjoram. As the name implies, it grows primarily in Spain. Its oil is pale orange to amber in color and has a distinctive eucalyptus-like aroma. Sweet marjoram (Origanum majorana or Majorana hortensis) is native to the Mediterranean, North Africa and southwest Asia. It produces a bright yellow oil that often darkens with age.

Marjoram, a member of the Lamiaceae family, is grown in gardens around the world and is a favorite in English country gardens. Most of the marjoram oil used for aromatherapy is produced in Bulgaria, Egypt, France, Germany, Hungary, Morocco and Tunisia.

Beauty Benefits

Marjoram facilitates the drainage of blood from bruised areas, helping to minimize bruising and speed healing time. It also helps release tension from facial muscles.

Emotional Effects

Marjoram oil relaxes the body and mind, and helps relieve insomnia. It calms emotions and minimizes emotional upsets, making it useful for anxiety, emotional exhaustion, nervous tension and stress. Marjoram oil provides comfort during times of grief, loneliness and sadness. It strengthens willpower. Marjoram oil gives greater control over sexual desire; regular use can permanently numb erotic sensations and impair sex drive and sexual function.

Myrrh has a sweet, smoky, slightly musky, slightly spicy aroma with a warm, rich timeless quality. To some people, the incenselike odor smells medicinal; others consider it spiritual. Its taste may explain the origin of its name, which comes from an Arabic word meaning "bitter."

Myrrh oil comes from a thorny, sparse and scraggly shrub or tree, known as either Commiphora myrrha or Balsamodendron myrrha. There are several different varieties, growing to heights of about nine to fifteen feet in dry climates. The trees' sturdy branches are knotted with aromatic leaves and small white flowers.

Also called true myrrh or herrabol myrrh, this member of the Burseraceae family is native to Arabia, northern Africa, southwestern Asia and the region around the Red Sea, especially Ethiopia, Somalia and Yemen. Historians believe that myrrh grew in the Tigris and Euphrates valleys, now thought to be the site of the biblical Garden of Eden. Today, most myrrh is obtained from the Middle East, particularly Iran. It is collected by making incisions into the gray bark of the trunks of myrrh trees. This encourages the exudation of its gum resin, a pale yellowish white fluid that hardens into reddish brown tears.

Steam-distilling the resin renders a pale yellow or amber oil. Myrrh oil may also be extracted from the tears of resin by means of alcohol or a chemical solvent such as hexane. Only steam-distilled or alcohol-extracted myrrh should be used in aromatherapy.

Beauty Benefits

Myrrh oil maintains healthy skin and reputedly prevents premature aging of the skin. Many people claim it wards off wrinkles. Myrrh oil soothes and softens rough, cracked or chapped skin. It stimulates the regeneration of skin cells, reduces inflammation, fights infection and helps to heal wounds. It improves circulation, imparting a healthy glow to the complexion and helping skin look smoother and more youthful. Myrrh oil also helps heal blemishes, skin ulcers and wounds.

Emotional Effects

Myrrh oil fortifies the nerves and emotions. It replaces feelings of apathy, weakness and lack of initiative with motivation, power and strength. Myrrh oil provides the clarity, focus and strength to pull through troubled times. Its cooling and calming effect subdues angry or inflamed emotional states.

Pale yellow neroli oil emits a sweet, full-bodied citrus aroma with a slightly spicy, slightly bitter undertone. Neroli oil is produced from the delicate white blossoms of the bitter orange or Seville orange tree. This evergreen tree bears glossy, dark green oval leaves, and in May and October, an abundance of small white flowers appear. One ton of hand-picked blossoms from Citrus aurantium, Citrus bigaradia or Citrus vulgaris yields only one quart of neroli oil, or orange blossom oil. This makes neroli oil comparatively expensive. Unfortunately, distillers and suppliers often adulterate neroli due to its high cost.

The bitter orange tree, which grows to heights of twenty to thirty feet, belongs to the Rutaceae family. Once native to central Asia and China, these trees now grow in subtropical regions of California, Mexico and South America, as well as in areas surrounding the Indian Ocean and the Mediterranean. Farmers in Egypt, Italy, Morocco, Sicily, southern France, Spain, Tunisia and the Comoro Islands, located off the southeast coast of Africa, cultivate commercial crops of bitter orange trees. Many experts claim the best neroli oil comes from Tunisia.

Beauty Benefits

Neroli oil increases circulation and stimulates new cell growth. It can prevent scarring and stretch marks. It is useful in treating skin conditions linked to emotions or stress, as it calms the emotions as well as the skin. Any type of skin can benefit from neroli oil, although it is particularly good for dry, irritated or sensitive skin. It regulates oiliness and minimizes enlarged pores. Neroli oil helps to clear acne and blemished skin, especially if the skin lacks moisture. With regular treatment, it can reduce the appearance of fragile or broken capillaries and varicose veins.

Emotional Effects

Neroli oil soothes emotional upsets and eases anger, depression, grief, hysteria, mood swings, nervousness and shock. Health care practitioners and aromatherapists in Europe use it to bring quick relief for anxiety attacks and to treat chronic anxiety. Neroli oil subdues stress and tension. Its hypnotic effect helps to induce sleep. It encourages confidence, courage, joy, peace and sensuality. Neroli oil can provide the strength and support to get through difficult or trying times.

Smooth and shiny oblong leaves, fragrant white flowers and sweet tasting nutritious fruit adorn the bounteous orange tree. The bitter orange tree, Citrus aurantium, yields orange oil from its fruit, neroli oil from its flowers and petitgrain oil from its foliage. The sweet orange tree, Citrus sinensis, yields orange oil from its fruit and occasionally an oil called neroli Portugal from its blossoms.

Cold-expressing either whole oranges or orange peels, by hand or machine, yields a yellow or orange oil with a zesty, refreshing, slightly green-smelling and very citrusy aroma. Some orange oil is steam-distilled from fresh orange peels. Approximately fifty oranges render one ounce of orange oil.

Native to China and India, the orange tree belongs to the Rutaceae family. Oranges grow abundantly in the Americas, Israel and Mediterranean countries. Brazil, Cyprus, Israel, Mexico and the United States are the primary producers of orange oil.

Beauty Benefits

Orange oil restores balance to dry or oily skin. It maintains healthy youthful skin by promoting the production of collagen. It reduces puffiness and discourages dry wrinkled skin. Orange oil stimulates circulation to the skin surface and softens rough skin. It also clears blemishes and improves acne-prone skin. It tends to increase perspiration, thus assisting the release of toxins from dull or blemished skin. Orange stimulates the circulation of lymphatic fluids and helps relieve tissue swelling and fluid retention. It improves cellulite, which is sometimes called orange-peel skin.

Emotional Effects

Orange oil balances the emotions, either relaxing or stimulating as needed. It revitalizes and energizes when boredom and lethargy set in. Orange oil has a warm, happy and light influence that prevents extreme seriousness. It calms the nerves and can combat anxiety and insomnia. Orange oil brightens gloomy feelings, dissipates depressing thoughts and subdues tension and stress, particularly in wintertime or if the stress is related to premenstrual syndrome or menopause. It eases fear of the unknown and encourages a more adventuresome attitude. It brings a more positive outlook, replacing sadness with warmth and happiness. Orange oil awakens creativity, inspires harmony and promotes self-awareness.

Patchouli oil is pungent and powerful, mossy and musty, earthy and exotic, sweet and spicy. It is steam-distilled from the dried and fermented, fuzzy young leaves of Pogostemon patchouli or Pogostemon cablin, a three-foot-tall perennial bush with white flowers that have a purplish or mauve hue. Age enriches the heavy herbal odor of its viscous amber, orange or dark brown oil.

A member of the Lamiaceae family, patchouli is native to tropical Asia and is cultivated in India, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Singapore. Patchouli oil is produced in Burma, India, Malaysia and a number of South American countries.

Beauty Benefits

Patchouli oil regenerates skin cells and is reputed to ward off wrinkles. It also tightens and tones sagging skin. Patchouli oil speeds the healing of sores and wounds, and helps to fade scars. It cools and calms inflamed skin and sunburn; it soothes and smoothes rough, dry and cracked skin. At the same time, it regulates the oiliness of skin and hair and helps control acne and scalp disorders such as dandruff and seborrhea. It also repels insects. By reducing fluid retention and tightening saggy skin, patchouli oil helps combat cellulite. It acts as a deodorant and helps control perspiration.

Emotional Effects

Patchouli oil diminishes depression and eases anxiety. It helps recovery from nervous exhaustion, stress and stress-related conditions. It reduces mental fatigue and banishes lethargy. In low doses, it acts as a sedative, while in larger quantities it is stimulating. It can sharpen intelligence, improve concentration and provide insight. It cools and calms during physically or emotionally hot situations. It is a stabilizing and balancing oil with aphrodisiac attributes that can heighten libido.

Compact serrated leaves on short square stems contrast with the long spearlike spikes bearing the tiny purple, pink or white flowers of the peppermint plant. Originally native to Asia and Europe, this member of the Lamiaceae family is now grown commercially in humid regions of Australia, Brazil, China, England, France, Japan, Morocco, Spain and the United States, which is the primary producer of peppermint oil.

Steam-distilling 1,000 pounds of mature Mentha piperita plants in full bloom will produce about one pound of peppermint oil. This clear or pale yellow oil emits a strong, sharp menthol aroma that is pungent and powerful, even overwhelming.

Beauty Benefits

Peppermint oil fights bacterial infection and reduces the oiliness present with acne and blemishes. It stimulates circulation and helps enliven dull dry skin. Peppermint oil leaves skin feeling soft and silky. It also regulates and normalizes oily skin and hair. It constricts capillaries and minimizes the redness of broken capillaries and varicose veins.

Emotional Effects

Peppermint oil cools emotions and dissipates anger, hysteria and nervousness. It energizes and relieves mental fatigue. It diminishes depression. Peppermint oil increases alertness and improves concentration. It awakens the central nervous system, stimulates the brain and clarifies thought processes.

Majestic, aromatic Scotch pine trees tower above the forest, reaching heights of 65 to 115 feet. Deep fissures mark the reddish brown bark of the large evergreen Pinus sylvestri, also known as the Norway pine. Yellow orange flowers and pointed amber, green or brown cones cluster around gray green or blue-green needles.

Native to Europe and Asia, this member of the Pinaceae family is now found in northern Europe, northeastern Russia, Scandinavia and the eastern United States. The tree's needles, twigs and cones are steam-distilled to produce pine oil. This colorless or light yellow oil emits an earthy, resinous and medicinal odor that is strong, fresh and balsamic. Trees grown in more northerly climates produce superior oils.

Beauty Benefits

Pine oil encourages the elimination of toxins from the skin, making it useful for clearing dull dry skin as well as acne. It improves oily scalp conditions, dandruff and seborrhea. As an insect repellent, it protects against bug bites. It also reduces excessive perspiration.

Emotional Effects

Pine oil is refreshing and revitalizes a body and mind suffering from general malaise or mental fatigue. It restores strength after physical weakness or during convalescence.

Of the estimated 5,000 or more species of roses that grace our environment, the damask rose (Rosa damascena) and the cabbage rose (Rosa centifolia) are the most fragrant, and they are the two primary roses that produce essential oils for aromatherapy. At one time, the red rose (Rosa gallica) supposedly yielded rose oil as well, but it is so rare as to be essentially unavailable today.

Native to the Orient, Persia (now Iran) and Syria, these members of the Rosaceae family are now cultivated in the temperate regions of Bulgaria, China, France, India, Italy, Morocco, Russia, Tunisia and Turkey. These bushy deciduous shrubs grow three to six feet tall or taller. Their sweet-scented blossoms range in color from white to pink to red.

Steam-distilling over 60,000 freshly picked roses will yield only one ounce of rose oil. Pale yellow or deeper yellow rose oil, or rose otto, has a rich, sweet and spicy floral fragrance. Rose absolute, a reddish orange oil with a heavier, sweeter scent, is extracted with solvents. Because residues of solvent may remain in rose absolute, rose oil is more desirable for aromatherapy purposes.

Beauty Benefits

Rose oil benefits all skin types, especially mature, sensitive, dry or damaged skin. It helps restore the moisture balance and smoothes wrinkles. It constricts tiny blood vessels, thus helping to diminish the redness of broken capillaries.

Emotional Effects

Rose oil soothes the emotions. It lifts depression, eases anxiety, elevates spirits and reduces stress and tension. It stabilizes mood swings, particularly if they are related to postnatal depression. It calms the nerves and helps to overcome insomnia. Rose oil can ease grief and subdue sadness. It helps to eliminate feelings of disappointment, jealousy and resentment, and can help dissolve emotional blocks standing in the way of happiness. Rose oil symbolizes purity and innocence, yet it is a sensual and stimulating aphrodisiac. It promotes feelings of love and may help in overcoming impotence or frigidity.

Cascades of rosemary emit a pungent pinelike aroma with a woody camphoraceous note. This aromatic shrub, Rosmarinus officinalis, has scaly bark and dense, leathery needlelike leaves. Tiny pale blue blossoms abound from December through spring. Rosemary can grow to heights of five to six feet.

Steam distillation of 100 pounds of rosemary in bloom will yield one pound of strong, clean and potent rosemary oil. Rosemary oil from varieties grown in Spain and North Africa smell similar to eucalyptus oil, while the scent of oil from plants grown in France is reminiscent of frankincense. Rosemary has several chemotypes, or plants that differ in the chemical composition of the essential oil they produce but not in physical appearance. Moroccan rosemary, Spanish rosemary, rosemary Provence and rosemary verbenone are four common chemotypes of rosemary used in aromatherapy.

A member of the Lamiaceae family, rosemary is native to the Mediterranean regions of Europe. The Dalmatian Islands, France, Spain and Tunisia produce the majority of rosemary oil.

Beauty Benefits

Rosemary oil stimulates cell renewal. It improves dry or mature skin, eases lines and wrinkles, and heals burns and wounds. It can also clear acne, blemishes or dull dry skin by fighting bacteria and regulating oil secretions. It improves circulation and can reduce the appearance of broken capillaries and varicose veins. Rosemary oil nourishes the scalp and keeps hair looking healthy and shiny. Many users claim that it promotes hair growth. It normalizes excessive oil secretions and improves most scalp problems, particularly dandruff and seborrhea. Rosemary oil is also helpful in treating cellulite.

Emotional Effects

Rosemary oil helps to overcome mental fatigue and sluggishness by stimulating and strengthening the entire nervous system. It enhances mental clarity while aiding alertness and concentration. Rosemary oil can help you cope with stressful conditions and see things from a clearer perspective. It relaxes nerves and restores nerve health, especially after long-term nervous or physical ailments.

Rosemary oil balances intense emotions and controls mood swings. It lifts spirits and counters depression. It assists in managing stress and overcoming stress-related disorders and nervous exhaustion. Rosemary oil can open the heart and bring the wisdom and discrimination necessary to establish healthy boundaries in relationships. Rosemary oil arouses ambition and drive, inspires the desire to achieve and strengthens willpower. It also reputedly helps in overcoming impotence.

Rosewood oil's subtle smell is soft, sweet and spicy, with fresh floral notes. It is reminiscent of rose, citrus and wood. This colorless or pale yellow oil is distilled from the heartwood of the evergreen rosewood tree, Aniba roseaodora. Reaching heights of 125 feet, this member of the Lauraceae family has reddish bark and yellow flowers. It is native to the tropical areas around the Amazon River.

Rosewood trees grow and are harvested in the rain forests of South America. During the yearly flood season, huge rosewood tree trunks float downstream headed for the distilleries. Peru and Brazil supply most of the world's rosewood oil. So that the harvesting of rosewood trees does not lead to their extinction or to deforestation of ecologically sensitive areas, Brazilian legislation now requires that one new tree be planted for each one cut down.

Beauty Benefits

Until relatively recently, rosewood oil was used primarily in perfumery. When used in skin care, it stimulates new cell growth, regenerates tissue and minimizes lines and wrinkles. Rosewood oil can balance either dry or oily skin. It soothes sensitive and inflamed skin; it also clears blemishes and improves acne. With regular application, it help
s to diminish scars.

Emotional Effects

Rosewood oil calms and relaxes the nerves and helps relieve anxiety and stress. It strengthens the nervous system, steadies nerves and balances the emotions. Rosewood oil arouses alertness, especially under stressful circumstances. It encourages self-acceptance and the appreciation of others. As a subtle aphrodisiac, it stirs positive sensual feelings, especially in people whose past sexual experiences were traumatic.

An abundant array of small blossoms, ranging in color from red to yellow to pinkish purple, sprout forth from the leathery leaves and the yellowish limbs of the sandalwood tree. This slow-growing evergreen, Santalum album, grows to a height of twenty-four to thirty feet over the course of thirty to sixty-four years. These heavy, somewhat parasitic members of the Santalaceae family obtain much of their nourishment by sending out suckers that tap into roots of other nearby trees.

Pale or golden yellow sandalwood oil emits a sweet, woody, velvety fragrance that is warm, rich and exotic. Steam-distilling twenty-five pounds of crushed heartwood yields about one to one and one-half pounds of thick viscous oil.

Sandalwood is native to tropical Asia; India is the main producer of sandalwood oil. The finest sandalwood comes from the area of Mysore, in southern India. The Indian government now permits the harvesting of only mature trees that are approaching the end of their long lives. Once the trees are felled, ants eat away the outer bark and leave the heartwood exposed. It is the heartwood that contains the essential oil.

Beauty Benefits

Sandalwood oil moisturizes dry, dehydrated and mature skin. It smoothes and softens lines and wrinkles. It can balance either oily or dry skin and benefits any skin type or condition. Sandalwood oil helps to clear acne and blemishes by regulating oil production and fighting bacteria. It calms barber's rash, relieves itching and irritation after shaving and inhibits the growth of bacteria that can cause infection of ingrown hairs. Sandalwood oil is mild enough for even sensitive skin.

Emotional Effects

Sandalwood oil soothes emotions that are exhausted from a hectic lifestyle. It relaxes the body and mind, and relieves stress, elevates spirits and lifts depression. Sandalwood oil also subdues aggression and irritability. It helps to relieve confusion, fear and nervousness. Sandalwood oil promotes compassion, openness and understanding. It can help an introverted person to become more sociable and outgoing. Sandalwood stimulates the senses and clears thought processes. During times of emotional turmoil, sandalwood oil strengthens resolve and is stabilizing. As an aphrodisiac, sandalwood oil helps overcome frigidity and impotence.

The swampy flood-prone marshlands in the subtropical coastal areas of northeastern New South Wales and southeastern Queensland, Australia, provide the perfect climate and growing conditions for tea trees, also called paper bark trees. Feathery bright green leaves cover the branches of these small trees, which at maturity rarely reach over twenty feet in height. Clusters of yellow flowers sometimes embellish these trees.

Of the 300 varieties of tea trees, one variety, Melaleuca alternifolia, produces the tea tree oil that is most commonly used for aromatherapy. Australian scientists are currently researching the therapeutic properties of essential oils from other tea trees. All tea trees are members of the Myrtaceae family.

Distilling the needlelike tea tree leaves yields a colorless or pale yellow oil with a characteristic camphorlike odor. The aroma is spicy, strong and pungent. It smells similar to its aromatic relative, eucalyptus.

Beauty Benefits

Tea tree oil works well on a wide range of skin problems, including blemishes, rashes and warts. Clinical studies in Australia have shown that tea tree oil rivals benzoyl peroxide for effectiveness in fighting acne, but without causing dryness, itching, stinging, burning, redness of the skin or other side effects. Men can prevent skin irritation from shaving and the infection of ingrown hairs by applying tea tree oil after shaving. Tea tree oil also provides an effective treatment for fungal infection of the fingernails, an increasing problem that may be linked to the growing use of artificial fingernails.

Emotional Effects

Tea tree oil can restore energy depleted by everyday stress. It is calming and centering during times of emotional shock.

Thyme grows as a small, woody evergreen shrub with many branches that are covered with fragrant foliage. Common thyme, Thymus vulgaris, has tiny, gray green oval leaves and pink, lilac or white flowers. Thymus citriodoria, or lemon thyme, has lemon-scented leaves and lavender-colored flowers. These perennial members of the Lamiaceae family grow to about one foot tall. Native to Spain and other Mediterranean countries, thyme is now cultivated in Algeria, central Europe, China, Israel, Russia, Turkey, Tunisia and the United States.

The fresh or partially dried leaves and flowering tops of the plant are steam-distilled to produce thyme oil. The first distillation yields red thyme oil, which is red, brown or orange in color and has an intense warm and spicy smell. Further distilling renders white thyme oil, a clear or pale yellow oil with a sweet, fresh and mild green aroma. White thyme oil contains fewer irritants than red thyme oil. There are several different chemotypes of the thyme plant (plants with similar appearances whose essential oils have different chemical compositions) that produce oils with different therapeutic properties. Some of these, such as thyme linalol and thyme citral, are less irritating than common thyme. Spain is the primary producer of thyme oil, but Algeria, France, Germany, Greece, Israel, Morocco and the United States also produce some.

Beauty Benefits

Thyme oil increases circulation to the skin and helps regulate oily skin. It also encourages the elimination of wastes that contribute to cellulite.

Emotional Effects

Thyme oil can strengthen your nerves when you are experiencing emotional fatigue. It eases nervousness, stress and some stress-related complaints. It enhances memory and increases concentration. Thyme oil is stimulating, although when used in a bath it helps overcome insomnia. It can balance you, either keeping you alert or helping you to sleep.

Tall and tufted vetiver grass has long, narrow aromatic leaves and straight stems. This perennial member of the Poaceae family is related to citronella and lemongrass, and grows up to six feet tall. Washed and dried vetiver roots are steam-distilled to produce an amber or dark brown oil with a viscous texture. It smells smoky and woody, earthy and musty, like a damp forest after a heavy rain. It also has sweet and spicy undertones. About 200 pounds of vetiver roots yield about one pound of oil. The older the root, the better the oil; the oil itself also improves with age.

Vetiver (Vetiveria zizanoides, Vetiveria odorata or Andropogon muricatus) is native to India, Indonesia and Sri Lanka. It grows wild in the tropical climates of Haiti, India, Java and Tahiti. Vetiver is cultivated commercially today in China, the Comoro Islands, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, the Philippines, the island of Réunion in the southwestern Indian Ocean, and countries in South America, western Africa and the West Indies. Most of the vetiver oil used in aromatherapy comes from Java, Haiti and Réunion. Many people consider vetiver oil from Réunion to be the best.

Beauty Benefits

Vetiver oil balances the activity of the sebaceous glands, or oil glands, and helps to normalize oily skin and clear acne. It replenishes moisture in dry and dehydrated skin and has a rejuvenating effect on mature skin. It helps heal cuts and wounds, and soothes irritated and inflamd skin. When used regularly during pregnancy, vetiver oil reportedly prevents stretch marks. It also has natural deodorizing properties.

Emotional Effects

Vetiver oil strengthens the central nervous system. It is emotionally calming and is helpful in overcoming depression, insomnia and nervousness. Vetiver oil reduces anxiety, stress and tension. It settles nerves and can revive a person who is suffering from emotional exhaustion. Vetiver oil restores balance and harmony, brings thoughts and actions into focus and helps to stabilize energy. It normalizes either extreme sensitivity or insensitivity. Some people use vetiver oil as an aphrodisiac.

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