Cinnamon leaf is native to Indonesia, but cultivated in Sri Lanka and India. In Greek, the word kinnamon means “tube” or “pipe.” Cinnamon oil was historically used in temples as incense. The Egyptians used it for foot massage as well as to remedy excessive bile. It was used as a main ingredient in mulled wines and love potions, and as a sedative during birth. Cinnamon oil became an important trade commodity between India, China, and more »
It’s been noted that before ancient Roman soldiers went into battle, they would rely on Roman chamomile oil to give them courage and mental clarity. The plant comes from northwestern Europe and Northern Ireland. It is a perennial herb that grows very close to the ground, with a hairy stem, grayish-green featherlike leaves, and flowers that look like miniature daisies, with yellow centers and white petals. The flowers are steam distilled to release a watery more »
The word chamomile is from the Greek work khamai meaning “on the ground” and melon meaning “apple” for the herb’s apple-like aroma. Matricaria comes from the Latin mater meaning “mother”; the oil can be used for relaxing the muscles of the uterus and easing cramping. Ancient Egyptians dedicated chamomile to their sun god because it has a fever-reducing effect. The flower reminded them of the sun, and the sun is hot. I have learned in more »
Celery can be traced back to the Mediterranean and North Africa. Celery was found in King Tut’s tomb, and a plant that closely resembled celery has been referenced in Mediterranean myth and history. Around 450 B.C.E. the Greeks used celery to make a wine called selinites that was served as an award at their athletic games. Ayurvedic medicine used celery to relieve water retention and indigestion. It was used in Europe for gout and rheumatism. more »
Australian Aborigines burn the heart of the wood to repel mosquitoes and midges. It has also been used in perfumes as a stabilizer. The tree is known as northern cypress pine and is from the northern regions of Australia. The wood is steam distilled to release a beautiful blue color (coming from the chemical component of guaiazulene), chemically high in sesquiterpenols, and a middle-to-base note.
This is a slow-growing plant that typically begins in a planter. It grows into a tall tree with shiny leaves. Here are some fun facts about bay laurel: Winners at the ancient Olympic games were crowned with wreaths of laurel leaves. In ancient Rome, wreaths made of bay leaves were used for commanders to celebrate their wins on the battlefield. This is why it’s sometimes referred to as Roman laurel.
Cypress is native to the Mediterranean region, growing in Libya, Greece, Turkey, Cypress, Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Malta, Italy, and Jordan. The use of the cypress tree has ancient roots. Old Chinese medicines used cypress to control profuse sweating, and it had other positive effects on the body. Tradition has it that a few drops were mixed in steaming hot water and inhaled to capture its essence. The tree upon which Jesus died was made more »
Cumin has been traced back to ancient Assyria and Egypt, where the pharaohs used it for digestion after a heavy feast. In Turkey, a Hittite flask was found with cumin inside. Islamic physicians prescribed cumin seeds for an assortment of respiratory challenges. Queen Nefertiti of Egypt used cumin seed to strengthen her hair and nails. When the seeds are ripe, they are steam distilled to release the golden-brown oil, chemically high in limonene.
Clove is native to Indonesia and the Malacca Islands. The Latin word clavus means “nail-shaped” and refers to the bud. Greeks, Romans, and Chinese used clove to help with toothaches and sweeten the breath. It was also used for its antiseptic properties to prevent contagious diseases such as the plague. Like cinnamon, it became an important commodity in the spice trade, for perfuming and for making mulled wines/liquors, love potions, and insect repellent.
Clary sage is native to southern Europe and cultivated for oil in France and Russia. The name comes from the Latin claris, meaning “clear,” or from Greek skeria, meaning “hardness,” which refers to the hard parts of the petals. During the Middle Ages it was known as Oculus Christi or the “Eye of Christ” and was highly esteemed for its medicinal properties.