Tag Archives: jasmine

EXTRACTION METHODS FOR ESSENTIAL OILS, what is the difference?

There are different ways of extracting the essential oils, or scents, from plant matter and I will explain the methods in this post. Some oils can be extracted through different methods and give EO’s  different in scent: Rose, for example, is both distilled; Rose Otto, and solvent extracted; Rose absolute, giving very different scents. Jasmine can be both solvent extracted; Jasmine absolute, and extracted through enfleurage; Jasmine enfleurage, but it can’t be steam distilled.

SteamdistillationSTEAMDISTILLATION:  The most commonly used method.  Steam is passed through the plant matter, “popping” the essential oil cells in the plant, carrying the light-weight EO with it into a cooler where the steam returns to water and the essential oil separates from the water. This is then collected in a vessel where water and essential oil will  separate since EO’s don’t mix with water. Depending on the density of the EO, it will either sink to the bottom or stay on top of the water. The EO is then taken out and bottled while the water is either used again or bottled as a hydrolat. The steam will only carry molecules that are light-weight enough, leaving behind waxes and other heavier plant-matter. Other light-weight molecules that are water-soluble will be carried by the steam and stay in the resulting water, hydrolat, which also contains tiny amounts of EO.

SOLVENT EXTRACTION (absolute, concrete, resinoid):This method is used mainly for very fragile materials such as flowers (jasmine, tuberose), or to extract scents for perfumery, as absolutes tend to be more true in scent to the real thing. The plant matter is mixed with a solvent, usually hexane, in which essential oil, waxes and colour is extracted from the plant matter. The solvent is then distilled off, leaving a waxy, semi-solid substance called concréte which consists of essential oil and other plant substances such as natural waxes. The concréte is then mixed with alcohol and filtered from all substances but the aromatic material. After evaporating the alcohol, there is an absolute.

COLD EXPRESSION: This method is used for all citrus oils, where the essential oil is found in the rind of the fruit. There are two different methods: The sponge method: The rind and pith is removed from the fruit and soaked in warm water to become more pliable. It was then inverted to break the cells that hold the essential oil. The EO is collected by sponges which are then squeezed to release the liquid. Water and EO separates. Écuelle à picquer: The citrus is placed in a rotating device with needles that break the EO cells, the oil and water-based material run off through a funnel, the oil is separated from the water and bottled.

CO2 EXTRACTION: Hypercritical carbon dioxide gas extraction. CO2 is the gas we breath out and the gas that plants thrive on. Carbon dioxide becomes hypercritical when a certain amount of pressure is applied, which means that the gas is turned into a liquid. This liquid can be used as a safe solvent for extracting EO’s from plant matter. CO2 is inert and doesn’t interact with the essence that is being extracted, furthermore there is no thermal degradation of the essence, since heat is not being applied. To remove the CO2, all that is needed is to remove the pressure, turning the liquid into gas, which can be used again, leaving only the EO. To obtain EO’s, relatively low atmospheric pressure is needed, extracting only the volatile parts of the plant. When higher atmospheric pressure is used, “heavier” plant materials are extracted as well (waxes, resins), leaving a substance much like the absolutes but without any traces of solvents.

enfleurageENFLEURAGE: A very old, time-consuming method which is hardly ever used today. The only oil I have come across that is extracted this way is a lovely Jasmine. There is not much of it around and it is very costly. Cold enfleurage: Odorless fat that is solid at room-temperature  (usually deodorized tallow or lard) is smeared onto framed glass-plates, called “chassis“, upon which the flower petals are spread in a single layer. The scent is then absorbed by the fat. Once the petals are depleted, they are removed and new petals are spread onto the fat. This is repeated until the fat is saturated with scent, it is then called a pomade. The pomade is mixed with alcohol, drawing the scent into the alcohol. The fat and alcohol is then separated and when the alcohol evaporates it leaves the absolute. Hot enfleurage:Petals are stirred into deodorized fat and heated. Again, depleted petals are strained and new added until the saturation is complete. The rest of the process is the same as in cold enfleurage. The remaining fat is used for soap as it is still scented. If you have read or seen “The Perfumer”, this is the method he used to extract the scent of woman 🙂

DIY moisturizing foundation & shimmer

Okay, got to share this with you guys: For foundation I use mineral powder but it started itching so I stopped using it. Today I decided to make a cream-foundation of the mineral powder, figuring that the irritation may be alleviated when I mix the powder in a cream. My daughter wanted a new shimmer cream for highlights in her make-up.

Foundation: I use my own base-cream that I make but any good quality natural cream would do: Put some cream in a small bowl and mix in the mineral powder little by little until you have the color richness desired. Put into a container and let sit for a day or two. For scent, add a drop of an essential oil, preferably floral; rose is gorgeous and the jasmine absolutely divine…

Shimmer: I love loose shimmer, both in make-up and on skin. I have some different hues of gold, copper and bronze. Into the same base-cream as for the foundation, we mixed sunny gold with bronze to get the desired hue of shimmer. Quite a bit of powder is needed to create a strong enough shimmer in the cream. We added a bit of D-panthenol for extra moisturisation.

Easy, cheap and fun. Like a kinder-egg 🙂

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

New years Eve is coming up and party-time is upon us. Here are some “I-feel-great” party-blends for that razzle ‘n dazzle:

  • Ylang Ylang (Cananga odorata) + Grapefruit (Citrus paradisii) +  Pine (Pinus sylvestris)
  • Rose (Rosa centifolia) + Geranium (Pelargonium graveolens) + Nutmeg (Myristica fragrans)
  • Jasmine (Jasminum officinale) + Black pepper (Piper nigrum) + Ginger (Zingiber officinale) + Sandalwood (Santalum album)
  • Petit grain (Citrus aurantium) + Mandarine (Citrus reticulata) + Bergamott (Citrus bergamia)
  • Myrrh (Commiphora myrrah) + Patchouli (Pogostemon cablin) + Rose (Rosa centifolia)

For body-scent use about 5-10 drops of a blend in 15-20ml veg. oil or unscented lotion. For perfume: 20-30 drops in 10ml jojoba-oil.

The day after (all that bubbly…) your liver might need some extra support: Start the day with lemon-water; Squeeze 1/2 lemon into a glass of warm (not hot) water and drink first thing. Blend 1 drop of rose otto in 5ml (1 teaspoon) of veg. oil and rub over your liver a few times during the day. The liver is situated on the right side of your body, under the lower ribs. Rub some of the blend into your temples as well 🙂

Beware of using Clary Sage (Salvia sclarea) together with alcohol; it can give some negative side-effects. In the old days clary sage (the herb) was often blended in wine to create a slightly hallucinogenic and euphoric effect…usually followed by a massive headache.

HAPPY NEW YEAR TO YOU ALL AND ENJOY!!!


SENSUAL FRAGRANCES

Fragrances have through time been associated with sensuality, love and passion. Humanity has forever looked for the scents which are aphrodisiac in nature, turning people’s heads, making them breathless with desire. Essential oils are amongst these scents; since ancient times have they been used to induce passion and love. Scents as widely removed as clover and rose are on this list.

When researching aphrodisiac scents I noticed that the idea of aphrodisiacs has changed through the times, depending on society and whims. At one time the strongest aphrodisiacs were thought to be musk and civet – taken from the sex-glands of the muskrat and civet-cat. These are strong pheromones that supposedly stimulate the vomeronasal organ, or VNO. Today it is known that this part of the olfactory system is used to “pick up” pheromones between individuals of the same species.

Over time the idea of aphrodisiacs has gone through most scents we know today, from grasses and spices, through woods and roots to flowers. (Though some flowers were always thought to be aphrodisiacs.) I think it also had something to do with the abundance of human smells in the earlier days. In a letter from Napoleon to Josephine he writes: ” I will be home in 3 months, don’t wash”. This gives an idea of the pheromone power!

I personally believe that sensuality is a combination of many things; pheromones – we enjoy the other person’s smell, food, relaxation, scent and, of course for women, monthly cycle. Body smell is made up of pheromones; as much as we enjoy the scent of our loved ones, as badly do we experience the smell of someone we don’t like. One of the first signs of “falling out of love” is when we no longer enjoy the other person’s smell.

(“Researchers have already shown that ‘man sweat’ can elicit some unusual physiological responses in some women: an increased heart rate, a better mood, and sexual arousal.” Read the article here)

Perfumes are designed to make people attractive to each-other. Male perfumes are usually the scents that mostly attract women and vice verse. Today there is a whole industry creating perfumes with pheromones (synthetic) to enhance the attraction of the other sex.

Here is a list over the most commonly used aphrodisiac essential oils, there are of course many more. Sniff around and go with your feelings. The best-known aphrodisiacs are often warming and bring you into contact with emotion and body. To access the emotional areas of the brain, true essential oils are needed, not synthetic scents.

  • Jasmine (Jasminum officinale / J.grandiflora): Helps when there is tension or fear.
  • Rose (Rosa centifolia, R. damascena): Heady scent that helps open up the heart.
  • Ylang-Ylang (Cananga odorata var. genuina): Euphoric, releases tension and anger.
  • Sandalwood (Santalum album): Deeply relaxing and balsamic.
  • Cinnamon (cinnamomum zeylanicum): Warming and opening.
  • Cardamom (Elettaria cardamomum): Exciting, releases tension
  • Ginger (Zingiber officinale): Hot, fiery, stimulating.
  • Clary Sage (Salvia sclarea): Very close to female hormone, deeply seductive.
  • Clove (Syzygium aromatica): Liberating, seductive. (might work best in a blend, since many associate it with the dentist!)
  • Black Pepper (Piper nigrum): Warming, fiery, movement.
  • Vanilla (Vanilla planifolia): Sensual, relaxing.
  • Patchouli (Pogostemon cablin): Playful, straightforward, fun. Used as a perfume by the hippie-generation.
  • Oud (Aquileria malaccensis): Use it straight up as a perfume, deeply sensual and sexy. Enhances floral notes.

Use them in the bath, as air-spray, massage-oil, perfume and/or room-scent. Spray them on your linen and on your hair. Use your imagination and have fun. Just remember dosages and possible sensitization. For best effect, use them sparsely – too much scent dulls the mind and can give head-aches instead. Be careful with floral oils if there is asthma or allergy.

VALENTINE

My grandfathers name was Valentine. My father in law died on Valentines day, I found it sort of beautiful; he was so ill – and old – that his passing actually became an act of love. My mother in law said it was because he hated the whole thing, and she was probably right, but I stick to my romantic notions because they are prettier…

Love is in the air and so is despair. Around Valentines day my heart goes out to all lonely, abandoned and heartbroken people. It is like the whole world is enhancing the loveless-ness, much like Christmas. Therefor I am, today, creating blends to heal broken hearts and cover the wound of loneliness as well as blends to enhance love, affection, and lust.

The oils that are most associated with love are:

  • Rose (rosa centifolia, r.damascena) Opens the heart for love
  • Jasmine (jasminum officinalis) The enigmatic scent of sensuality
  • Sandalwood (santalum album) Stillness and unity, balsamic.
  • Bergamot (citrus bergamia) Relaxes, releases and refreshes, joy to the heart
  • Patchouli (pogostemon cablin) earthing and arousing. Playfulness
  • Ginger (zingiber officinalis) warming and invigorating
  • Ylang-ylang (cananga odorata var. genuina) Joy and sensuality, liberation
  • Black pepper (piper nigrum) Fire and power. Energy

There are plenty of oils that fit in there as well, but these are the most popular and best known. Use your imagination and have some fun.

The oils that will help a broken heart and/or loneliness:

  • Marjoram (origanum majorana) Warmth and safety in loneliness
  • Cypres (cupressus sempervirens) Opens and guides for new directions, change.
  • Frankincense (boswellia carterii) Spirituality, protection, warmth. Breath of life.
  • Lavender (lavandula augustifolia) restoring, calming, eases the mind,
  • Cedarwood (cedrus atlantica) stabilizes and opens the mind to a larger picture
  • Rosewood (aniba rosaeodora) protective warmth like that of a mother
  • Hyssop (hyssopus officinalis) opens the chest and breath, liberation
  • Myrrh (commiphora molmol/c. myrrah) tranquillity, solitude, peace
  • Benzoin (styrax benzoin) soothing and stabilizing. Enveloping sanctuary.
  • Clary sage (salvia sclarea) Relaxing, expansion, warmth

Use oil-blends in the bath before meeting with your lover – or your self. 10-15 drops of essential oil in 15-20ml of unperfumed soap or cream. Add the oil-blend right before you get in, and swish it around with your hand.

  • Sensual: Ylang-ylang 4 dr + Ginger 3 dr + Sandalwood 5 dr + Patchouli 3 dr.
  • Uplifting: Bergamott 4 dr + Black pepper 4 dr + Ylang-ylang 3 dr
  • Invigorating: Ginger 3 dr + Black pepper 3 dr + Patchouli 2 dr + Bergamott 4 dr
  • Love: Rose 2 dr + Sandalwood 4 dr + Patchouli 3 dr
  • Passion: Sandalwood 4 dr + Jasmine 2 dr + Ginger 3 dr

Use the same blends of essential oils in 5-10 ml veg. oil blend, preferably Jojoba-oil, for a sensual perfume to wear during the evening. You can also use these blends to scent your room; either put them in an aroma-burner / fan (3-7 dr depending on the size and ventilation of the room) or blend them in distilled water; 5-10 dr/ 100 ml. Shake well before use and don’t spray directly on surfaces.

Citrus-oils and rosemary can be used in any blend as an enhancer or pick-me-up. Many of the oils used for love are also used for loneliness. Have fun with the oils and don’t be afraid to experiment. Remember to always start with a lower amount of drops, this way you can smell if the scent is balanced and you have a chance to change your blend as you go along.

  • Loneliness: Marjoram 3 dr + Myrrh 3 dr + Orange 5 dr + Lavender 4 dr
  • Sadness: Lavender 4 dr + Frankincense 3 dr + Hyssop 4 dr + Clary sage 2 dr
  • Despair: Benzoin 3 dr + Rosewood 4 dr + Cedarwood 4 dr + Myrhh 3 dr
  • Changes: Cypres 4 dr + Rosewood 4 dr + Clary sage 3 dr
  • Love: Rose 2 dr + Marjoram 3 dr + Rosewood 4 dr + Myrrh 3 dr

Note: The oils of Rose and Jasmine are very expensive but the scent is strong so they go a long way. In true perfumery musky and deep earth-notes are used in perfumes, such as spike-nard, valerian and oud. They enhance the more flowery smells and act as fixatives. A blend should become one distinguished perfume, not a collection of scents. If you want your perfume-oil to deepen in scent, you should blend it beforehand and let it “mature”. You will notice the scent changing and deepening over time.

ESSENTIAL OIL QUALITY – part 2 – pricing

RoseThe price of an essential oil depends on many things: How large the yield is, how easily (or not) harvested a plant is and how much essential oil it yields. Another thing to keep in mind is how the essential oil is stored in a plant: The plant contains “capsules” where the essential oil is stored, when the “capsule” is broken the oil is released into the atmosphere. Essential oils are volatile, that means they fly. This is what happens when you rub, for example, a mint-leaf between your fingers; you break the “capsules”, thereby releasing the essential oil which you can smell on your fingers. When harvesting plants for essential oil you need to be very careful not to crush the plant, since the essential oil is then gone.

Some examples:

Jasmine, jasminum officinale is always harvested at night as the amount of essential oils present are then at its peak. The flowers need to be hand-picked – there is no other way. Since the essential oils are volatile, the oil will readily leave the flowers if they are crushed.  An absolute of jasmine is always expensive, about €25 for 5ml.

Lemon-balm, melissa officinalis has its highest peak of essential oils during 2-4 hours/day and only for a couple of weeks. The scent of the plant is almost overwhelming, yet the essential oil yield is rather low and difficult to access. One grower in France that I met have a small destillator that he brings into the field where he distills the plant-matter as it is harvested. The oil is, of course, magnificent….and expensive;  about €100 for 5ml.

Rose, rosa centifolia/rosa damascena is another flower that needs to be handpicked. Only the petals contain essential oils. It takes around 2 000kg to get 1kg of essential oil. How much does  a rose-petal weigh? The price will reflect this; about €120 for 5ml.

The purer an essential oil is, the more expensive it will be.


What to look for:

  • Price: All essential oils have different prices. If all the essential oils have the same price, or they are very cheap, the oils are rubbish; don’t buy them.
  • Storage: Essential oils should be kept in a cool dark place, preferably in brown bottles – though sometimes you see blue or green as well. If, in the shop, the essential oils are sitting on a warm shelf in full light they will not be so essential anymore. Ask for an oil that has been stored properly, if you can’t get it – don’t buy!
  • Label: The label shall state the common name and the latin name of the plant from which the essential oil comes. Preferably also country of origin.
  • Age: A newly distilled essential oil has a harsh green smell to it that is a far cry from the perfumes we expect. By oxidation the aroma gets rounder and softer. The older the essential oil is, the more the aroma “softens”. To people this is often pleasing – scent-wise. But it also means that the essential oil has lost much of its energy and properties. Oxidation changes the molecular composition of an essential oil. Some oils, such as citrus oils, have a shorter life-span and they tend to become skin-irritants with age. Most oils get a bit more viscous and/or cloudy with age. Don’t buy these.

There are discussions concerning the issue of dating the oils; best before or when bottled. But it doesn’t much matter, since the “life-span” of an essential oil depends on storage, which makes such markings pointless; badly stored essential oils will age faster. Usually the bottles are marked with batch number, this way you can always find out when the oil was distilled. For quality only your nose can guide you.

Always be prepared to pay a higher price for a good quality oil. You will need smaller amounts of the oil to get better results. Remember that an essential oil is a messenger from nature and that it will interact with us on a molecular, cellular level. For this we want only the best. It is better to have only a few great essential oils than a drawerful of rubbish.  “You get what you pay for”