Macadamia Oil – the scent of CAKE!

Macadamia integrifolia

Macadamia integrifolia

I’ve just been on holidays in the Northern Rivers district of NSW, which claims hundreds of kilometres of beautiful beaches, rainforests, waterfalls, divine weather, great food, tea plantations, a huge tea tree plantation used to produce fantastic Australian Tea Tree oil  and lots of Macadamia farms. MMMMMMMMM….. macadamias. The Macadamia trees are native to Australian rainforests and were “discovered” by white botanists in the mid 1800’s. They come from the Proteacae family, the genus name “macadamia” being coined by a German botanist after his colleague John Macadam. According to Wikipedia this tree may also go by the common names “macadamia, macadamia nut, Queensland nut, bush nut, maroochi nut, queen of nuts and bauple nut; Indigenous Australian names include gyndl, jindilli, and boombera”. I’ve just read an article also claiming local Aborigines from this area call the tree “kindal kindal”.

They are a gorgeous little round nut with wonderful health properties which include:

* 83% (typical value) of monounsaturated fats – the healthier fats that may help in lowering blood cholesterol. It also has the most balanced ratio of Omega 3 to Omega 6 fatty acids of any oil.

*  significant levels of protein and all the essential amino acids

* many antioxidants including Vitamin E as tocopherols and tocotrienol, epicatechin (which is the principal antioxidant in tea), the amino acids methionine and cysteine and the mineral selenium.

* Macadamias also contain phytosterols (plant sterols) believed to lower total serum cholesterol and the undesirable low density cholesterol. I’ve just read an article where the author claims “Research from Australia’s Newcastle University has shown that a balanced diet supplemented daily with macadamias can help lower blood cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease.”

Right so they are good for you ok?

But what about using macadamia oil for health and beauty externally? The reason this is on my mind is not only the fact that I I’ve seen loads of little macadamia farms, but also that I’ve been visiting my “aunty” from childhood, Wendy. Wendy is at home in palliative care being looked after by her son and daughter, their families and the district nurses and doctors. To my absolute surprise, one of the doctors actually prescribed grapefruit essential oil in macadamia oil to smooth on her legs to help prevent oedema. I was so happy when I heard this and even though I would probably use cypress and juniper oils over grapefruit (and even fennel oil), I was very happy.

So why did the doctor choose macadamia oil rather than almond oil, or sunflower oil? It’s probably because he is lives in an environment where it is a native. Great work doc!

I must say I don’t use a lot of macadamia oil for body oil blends because it is very viscous (thick) and has a distinct scent. Whenever you mix an essential oil into it, it smells like cake. Now I know that can’t be bad, but it never quite works for me. I would be inclined to use it as a hair tonic, rather than a body oil but I encourage you to have a go. I have also used the oil in cream products where it forms part of a formula but it’s not overwhelming.

Most cold pressed carrier oils have anti-oxidants and other nutrients so they are quite comparable therapeutically. I tend to use the carrier oils that have a more neutral scent and that are a little thinner in consistency. So if you have some why not try making a blend with it, and if you don’t like it you can use the oil in cooking.

sneakily borrowed from informedfarmers.com

sneakily borrowed from informedfarmers.com

Long live the macadamia!

Green and Herbaceous – Tomato Leaf and Violet Leaf Oils

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Solanum lycopersicum

Tomato leaf essential oil actually exists! I don’t keep it in my library of oils because I’m not really sure that about its therapeutic properties. I was chatting with someone recently and we got talking about ‘fresh scents” and her ultimate smell for representing freshness and green essence was tomato leaf. She couldn’t believe it when I told her there was as essential oil.

In fact I think there is only an absolute of tomato leaf. Absolutes are still included under the essential oil banner but they different because of the extraction process. Often absolutes are from precious or delicate flowers and other medium. Solvents are used in the extraction process and unfortunately because of little or no industry standards, the solvent used can be hazardous or toxic and traces of the chemicals used can be present in the final product. Sometime natural chemicals are used and the process requires a type of change to occur to produce a mass of oily and water soluble parts of the flower or plant. This is called a concrete and it is then mixed with ethanol to extract the fragrant compounds. Filtration helps clean the absolute to create a scent that is very concentrated and close to the plant in its natural form.

So anyway, tomato leaf. Believe it or not, it smells exactly like tomato leaf. It smells green, peppery, and herbaceous. I wouldn’t use this oil in a treatment with a client but I may consider using it with an intention to amplify a scent in a perfume.

Viola odorata

Viola odorata

Violet leaf has a similar story. It’s an absolute. It has an herbaceous, green scent. There isn’t much information the breakdown of the chemical constituents so it is hard to determine what therapeutic properties this oil will have. Once again I wouldn’t be very excited to use this with a client in a body massage but I’m thinking that both these oils could work well on a spiritual and energetic level. The violet flower is an intense purple colour, with a sweet intoxicating yet subtle scent. This colour draws you in when you see it and it relates to the crown chakra, to opening and connecting with universal intelligence. Perhaps the role of the leaf for the pretty little violet flower is to give it support and protection. Could this oil be good for nourishing spiritual growth and giving someone the courage to expose their psychic powers to the world?

oh so pretty

oh so pretty

What do you think?

And what could you use tomato leaf for?

I love the idea of these leaves supporting the fruit and flower and giving us unusual scents to play with. Aromatherapy is an art and I encourage you to explore the infinite possibilities of our scented world.