Rosemary – an established personality

Rosemary is young at heart. She is the friend that you can call at a moment’s notice to go out. Her vibrancy and enthusiasm for life cannot be quenched. She is fiercely determined and thrives on a challenge. Rosemary excels at multi-tasking and loves to succeed.

Rosemary is an energetic essential oil. It has a recognisable, distinctive herbaceous scent that stimulates the brain and focuses concentration. Its powerful action helps to banish fatigue, and its aroma uplifts and strengthens the mind.

Rosemary for remembrance

In past times, the herb was used to stimulate the mind and to aid memory. Sprigs of rosemary became symbolic of remembrance. The scent of the essential oil has the same effect. Burn rosemary as a room fragrance if you are revising for exams or engaging in any form of study. Its scent will sharpen your focus and help you to better remember what you have learned. Rosemary will prevent the mind from wandering and keep sleepiness at bay during study.

Vaporise 3–4 drops in an oil burner for a couple of hours as you work at your desk.

An invigorating tea

Fresh rosemary tea is an invigorating beverage and can be drunk to replace your usual shot of coffee. Brew a couple of stems of fresh rosemary in a cup of boiling water and sip once cooled. It has a refreshing flavour and will invigorate your body and mind. Experiment by adding a couple of fresh-torn mint leaves.

A tonic for hair

Rosemary has long been used as a tonic for dark hair to enhance the colour and shine, whereas chamomile is traditionally used for fair hair. However, rosemary is beneficial for all hair types as it stimulates circulation of the scalp and encourages new growth. Rosemary essential oil is often added to hair care products to strengthen hair and to make it appear healthy and glossy.

To make your own rosemary shampoo and conditioner, blend:

  • 200ml unscented shampoo or conditioner

  • 40 drops rosemary oil
  • 40 drops lavender oil
  • 40 drops thyme linalool oil

A deep-oil conditioning treatment once a week will also help to give you fuller, shinier hair. Blend:

  • 15ml jojoba oil

  • 3 drops rosemary oil
  • 3 drops lavender oil
  • 3 drops thyme linalool oil

Massage the above blend into your scalp and gently comb through to the ends. Wrap your hair in a warm towel and leave for 30 minutes or overnight. Wash out with your rosemary shampoo, and use a tiny amount of conditioner.

These blends are helpful for those whose hair is fine or thinning, and for those whose hair looks dry, brittle and fragile. In most cases, it will eventually help to encourage the growth of new hair and promote healthy looking hair. However, if you think you are suffering from a form of hair loss, medical advice should be sought to diagnose the cause and condition.

A sports aid

Rosemary has a stimulating effect on the circulation and increases the flow of blood to skin tissues and muscle. It can be used as a pre-sports blend to massage on arms and legs and help to warm-up the tissues. However it should not be used as a substitute for proper warm-up exercises. Rosemary is also helpful post-workout to treat tired, stiff and aching muscles, because it has an analgesic effect.

To make a rosemary massage oil blend:

  • 30ml olive oil

  • 9 drops rosemary 
  • 9 drops lavender oil (always a good complement to rosemary)

This blend makes enough for one complete body massage or a few localised massages to arms and legs. The analgesic and stimulating effects of rosemary make it useful for those who suffer from backaches and also for conditions such as rheumatism and arthritis.

This post is dedicated to my friend Jenni – who has a well-established personality and whose strength and determination to see things through is rarely equalled.

Profile of rosemary:

Latin name: Rosmarinus officinalis
Plant family: Lamiaceae (Labiatae)
Plant type: herb
Perfume note: middle
Botany and origins: a perennial evergreen herb with a woody stem and branches, needle-like leaves and white, purple, pink or blue flowers. It is native to the Mediterranean, but cultivated worldwide
Extraction: steam distillation of the fresh flowering tops or whole plant
Chemical properties/active components: high in oxides (30%), including 1,8 cineole; monoterpenes (30%), including pinene, camphene, limonene and cymene; and ketones (25%), including camphor. Oxides are good for respiratory complaints and monoterpenes are antiviral
Blends with: basil, cedarwood, cinnamon, citronella, frankincense, lavender, lavendin, peppermint, petitgrain, pine, thyme, and spice oils
Key actions: analgesic, astringent, antirheumatic, anti-spasmodic, cephalic, digestive, hypertensive, nervine, rubefacient, stimulates circulation, tonic
Common conditions: low blood pressure, circulatory problems of extremities, rheumatism, arthritis, tired and stiff or overworked muscles, fluid retention, gout; stimulates central nervous system and brain, aids concentration, relieves nervous debility, headaches, mental fatigue, nervous exhaustion and stress; catarrhal conditions, respiratory ailments, colds, flu and infections; stimulates hair growth, prevents dandruff, greasy hair, acne, insect repellent
Contraindications: non-toxic, non-irritating, non-sensitising; do not use if you have sensitive skin, high blood pressure or epilepsy, and avoid during pregnancy
Further reading: This profile is based on my own experience and knowledge of using this essential oil. Other aromatherapy texts will list a wider range of properties and uses. The most comprehensive essential oil profiles that I have read are given by Salvatore Battaglia’s The Complete Guide to Aromatherapy, Second Edition, published by Perfect Potion, 2003, Australia. ISBN:  0-6464-2896-9

Image © 123RF


Lights! Camera! Action! It’s jasmine!

Jasmine was the girl at school ‘most likely to become a movie star’. She is confident, outgoing, sophisticated and glamorous. She has an inner luminosity that brings inspiration and courage to those that fall within her sphere.

Jasmine is a delicate and beautiful plant, reminiscent of warm and dusky summer evenings. It is an evergreen vine, or shrub, with small shiny green leaves and white star-shaped flowers, which release their most potent aroma at night.

Traditionally jasmine has been used as an aphrodisiac in perfume oils and as a tonic for women during menstruation and childbirth. It has many other uses such as relaxing tense muscles and spasms, and relieving catarrh and coughs (although there are cheaper oils that can do this just as effectively, eg lavender and myrtle oils respectively). Jasmine is also thought to be an antidepressant.

I have always found the fragrance of jasmine to be enchanting and spellbinding. Jasmine casts a spell that allows you to believe in yourself, it creates confidence and dispels lethargy and doubt. Jasmine is the friend who pushes you out of your comfort zone and encourages you to reach for your dreams.

Air of inspiration

In spring and summer months I like to burn jasmine oil in the early morning, just as the sun is waking up. The rich scent weaves its magic into the smells of dawn and dew, creating an inspiring air. It awakens the mind and a spark of creativity, dispelling lethargy or self doubt.

For inspiration pour four to five drops of jasmine oil into your oil burner. Light the candle and prepare to be spellbound!

Enchanting hair oil

Jasmine has been used for centuries in India to fragrance hair. To create an enchanting hair conditioning oil you’ll need:

  • medium-sized dark glass jar
  • 100ml coconut oil
  • 60 drops jasmine oil

Melt the coconut oil by putting it in a bowl and standing the bowl in boiling water. When the oil has melted to liquid form pour in your jasmine oil and stir. Quickly pour your blend into the dark glass jar before the coconut oil sets again.

To use, get a teaspoon amount of your jasmine-fragranced coconut oil and massage into your scalp, combing through the lengths of your hair. Cover with a warm towel and leave for 30 minutes. Then shampoo and rinse out. The coconut oil nourishes hair and jasmine leaves it subtly fragranced.

In summer, I also like to buy unscented shampoos and conditioners and create my own scent by adding jasmine oil. Use the same dilutions for jasmine coconut oil – 100ml unscented shampoo or conditioner to 60 drops jasmine oil. Always store your blend in dark glass, because essential oils can corrode plastic containers.

Romantic bathing oil

Jasmine is warming, comforting and soothing. Its fragrance calms nervous tension and anxiety, soothes feelings of restlessness and provides feelings of encouragement and self belief. Its aroma is also perfect for setting a romantic mood.

For a luxurious bath, run your bath water then pour in a blend of 20ml olive oil and 20 drops jasmine oil. This is a 5% dilution that may be used in baths. Enjoy.

This post is dedicated to Lisa, because, like jasmine, she’s a star!

Profile of jasmine:

Latin name: Jasminum officinale
Plant family: Oleaceae
Plant type: floral
Perfume note: middle
Botany and origins: originally native to China, west Asia and north India; also cultivated in the Mediterranean and France
Extraction: solvent extraction to produce jasmine absolute or steam distillation to produce jasmine essential oil
Chemical properties/active components: 54% esters including benzyl acetate and benzyl benzoate; its main volatile constituent is benzyl acetate
Blends with: rose, sandalwood, clary sage and all citrus oils
Key actions: aphrodisiac, anti-inflammatory, antidepressant, antiseptic, antispasmodic, analgesic, expectorant, stimulant, soothing
Common conditions: skin care for dry, irritated and sensitive skins, and for oily skins; depression, lethargy, nervous anxiety, restlessness and tension
Contraindications: non-toxic, non-sensitising and non-irritant. Avoid during pregnancy
Further reading: This profile is based on my own experience and knowledge of using this essential oil. Other aromatherapy texts will list a wider range of properties and uses. The most comprehensive essential oil profiles that I have read are given by Salvatore Battaglia’s The Complete Guide to Aromatherapy, Second Edition, published by Perfect Potion, 2003, Australia. ISBN:  0-6464-2896-9

Image © 123RF