Your Essential Oil for the Lunar New Year of the PIG!

Yes it’s a new year! Was 2018 a dog of a year for you?  It seemed to me that it was for a lot of people, and maybe that’s because it was Year of the Dog. The pig year will bring lots of fun things so please read on the find out which oil is  your power oil for 2019. Essential oils and botanical extracts are wonderful  conduits for invoking new energy, are helpers in everyday life and they smell  wonderful!

 

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2019 is the year of the yin (female) earth pig.

Yay. I think? 

This year is connected to the soil and the water and can be a year of relaxation  and carefreeness, but also climate instability.

Money and finances world wide could become less important or weak, as modesty and spirituality become more of a focus. 

As the last animal in the Chinese zodiac the pig likes to over-indulge but also realises the importance of a healthy body too.

Year of the Pig 2019

Keywords: review relationships, keep active, be generous, forgive, enjoy 

Oil: petitgrain


Your Chinese Zodiac in the Year of the Pig

Rat

Keywords: open up, new horizons, end of a era

Oil: bergamot


Ox

Keywords: resilience, sew seeds for the future, social

Oil: Virginian cedarwood


Tiger

Keywords: flexibility, relaxed home life, surprises

Oil: cinnamon


Rabbit

Keywords: up-skill, peacefulness, lighten up

Oil: geranium


Dragon

Keywords: rewards, release, hope

Oil: basil


Snake

Keywords: challenges, rest, acceptance

Oil: Australian sandalwood


Horse

Keywords: rejuvenate, prioritise, be creative

Oil: amber


Goat

Keywords: travel, parties, strength

Oil: neroli


Monkey

Keywords: learning, consolidation, luck

Oil: myrrh


Rooster

Keywords: strategy, destiny, synchronicity

Oil: lime


Dog

Keywords: opportunities, happiness, planning

Oil: black spruce


So what is your oil this year and are you happy with my little key words?

I wish you a wonderful year and look forward to connecting with you about natural scent and essential oils in 2019!

恭喜发财 Gōngxǐ fācái  Happiness and prosperity

Kyphi – An Ancient Spiritual Incense

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Kyphi – An Ancient Spiritual Incense

An image from Egypt depicting a scale & ingredients- pic via frangrantia.com

An image from Egypt depicting a scale & ingredients- pic via frangrantia.com

Kyphi is an incense or perfume made by Egyptian priests to honour the Gods. Here’s an exerpt from my book, Revelation! Reveal Your Destiny with Essential Oils;

“Kyphi has always fascinated me. Even the word makes my heart skip a beat. The word Kyphi is understood as the Greek interpretation of the Egyptian term kp.t. This is a holy incense created by the priests of Egypt – at least a few hundred years before the common era (BCE or BC), but possibly up to 4000 years ago.

Lists of ingredients were found in inscriptions at the Temples of Edfu and Dendera on the West Bank of the Nile in Upper Egypt. Even so, many different variations on the recipe of this sacred perfume are claimed to exist but most agree that the common ingredients were honey, raisins and wine. Some say it was made of 16 ingredients and others claim up to 36.

Honey, raisin, wine, cinnamon and/or cassia, frankincense, myrrh, juniper, cedarwood, cyperus root and sweet flag, mastic, amber, benzoin and labdanum (gums and resins), aspalathos, camel grass, mint and others may have contributed to it’s magical nature.

Plutach the Greek historian, biographer and essayist wrote about the preparation of Kyphi stating:

     “these are compounded, not at random, but while sacred  writingsare being read to the perfumers as they mix the ingredients”.

Mortar and pestle - so alchemical!

Mortar and pestle – so alchemical !

The priest held the intention of the prayers and sacred poems in their entire being as the perfume was mixed. This illustrates the power of intention at work in its finest form. The incense preparation was used as a temple offereingto the Gods so it was necessary to make it in a holy space with a complete energy of divinity. As the incense was burnt in the evening, the message to the Gods was pure.”

The use of the ingredients of Kyphi was methodical

The use of the ingredients of Kyphi was methodical

I love that it was a very methodical procedure. When I make body oils or perfumes, and I’m using a standard recipe it is very important to me to make sure I add the oils in the same order they have been listed in on the recipe. It doesn’t seem like it would make a difference but it does!

When I first started studying aromatherapy my teacher had us all make the same body oil. Of course we all added the drops of the varying oils at different times, and guess what … yep each oil actually smelled different.

And you can understand why I always talk about intention when you are blending – even if you are just chucking oils into a vapouriser, have good thoughts, it will make a difference.

50 ml bespoke body oil made by me

50 ml bespoke body oil made by me

Happy blending and remember to use your intention when you are creating your formulas. See my article about intention.

copryright SR Banks 2014

Is Amber Oil Real?

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Baltic Amber - from a few different species in the Mediteranean

Baltic Amber – from a few different tree species in the Mediterranean

The other day my client asked me about amber oil. I told her that I’d researched it years ago and that it didn’t seem to be straight forward – and that I’d forgotten everything too, and that I never used it. She had a little sample of resin and it did smell beautiful. So what is her sample, really?

It seems there’s a few stories floating around out there which include –

Ambergris – sperm whale vomit or poo

Liquidambar orientalis – the sap from the tree

Baltic amber or succinite – the hard crystals we know that are used for jewelry

and

Pinus succinefera fossil – fossilised sap

Here’s what I can gather about the truth of Amber oil.

Ambergris

ambergris - I think

ambergris – I think

Ah yes the lovely scent of sperm whale poo and vomit. The ambergris seems to be a secretion in the digestive system of the whale to protect it’s gut from spikey cuttlefish. It is excreted with fecal matter, or regurgitated if the amount is too large to pass.The story goes that this intriguing substance was found around the Atlantic Ocean along the shorelines of many countries including Australia and NZ, Japan, South Africa, The Maldives and other areas in the world. Apparently as it aged, the scent changed to a sweet balsamic, earthy odour and was therefore grabbed and distilled by perfumers to use as a fixative in scents. It can still be found today and is worth a lot of money! If you have a perfume with that listed it would be synthetic. Most modern perfume is synthetic anyway, so don’t panic, there’s no vomit in your fragrance.

Fragrantia.com give a great review of a book called “Floating Gold, A Natural (an Unnnatural) History of Ambergris” by Christopher Kent which goes into great detail about ambergris in all it’s glory.

Liquidambar orientalis

This seems to have more credit in the ‘amber stakes’. The name also has “amber” in it so there’s a bit of a hint (or coincidence). This gorgeous tree is planted all over Sydney and I believe it originates from the Mediterranean region, particularly in Turkey. The trees are referred to generally as “sweet gum” and these forests in Turkey (according to wikipedia) are under threat due to dam building and clearing for agriculture. This oil is also produced in India, and the tree is also native to India.

In English, this oil is known under several names, shortly as Storax to include all sweetgum oils, or as Styrax Levant, Asiatic Storax, Balsam Storax, Liquid Storax, Oriental Sweetgum Oil, or Turkish Sweetgum Oil. …. it is used externally in traditional medicine for abrasions, anxiety, bronchitis, catarrh, coughs, cuts, ringworm, scabies, stress-related conditions and wounds. It is a different product than the benzoin resin produced from tropical trees in the genus Styrax.

Wikipedia

I have never used this oil but now I’m a bit desperate for it. It sounds bloody gorgeous. We had a beautiful liquid amber tree in our backyard when I was growing up. I did a school project on it – if I’d only know it contained a medicinal, scented secret!

As with Frankincense and Myrrh, the tree is tapped and the sap collected. To produce the oil, the resin then undergoes steam distillation.

Baltic Amber

Baltic Amber with a fossilised insect

Baltic Amber with a fossilised insect

Baltic amber refers to fossilised tree resin from a variety of conifers living around the Scandinavian countries and the Baltic region. The Pinus succinefera is one of these trees and this stone is sometimes referred to as succinite (and also because it contains succinic acid). The Baltic region contains most of the world’s supply of amber which could be between 40 to 60 million years old! Oh dear should we really be digging this up?

So this leads us to the claims that this stone can produce a resin, then an oil.

Pinus succinefera – fossil

Pinus succinefera - the fossil - also possibly Baltic amber

Pinus succinefera – the fossil – also possibly Baltic amber

This fossil relates to the Baltic Amber above. But can the stone produce this oil? How is it extracted? Dry distillation could be used, whereby a solid is heated to produce gasses and materials which are then condensed and collected. Or is Baltic amber just thicker and older that the thin slivers of Pinus succinefera in the pic above?

There are stories of this stone and resin/oil being used by the Romans and Greeks to use medicinally and in rituals. Did they have dry distillation techniques or were they collecting sap of pine trees and distilling it?

So if you’re buying an “amber oil” you’ll want to know what the botanical name is so you can work out what you’ve got.

 

copryright SR Banks 2014

 

 

 

Perfumery and Aromatherapy – How Do They Relate?

Gorgeous perfume bottles

Gorgeous perfume bottles

Once, a long, long time ago, in a land far, far away these two things were the same. That is, the raw ingredients used for scenting were all natural and were the same things used for healing and well-being. Mother earth provided plants, herbs and flowers to be used by really smart people to create medicines, scents and incense for rituals.

Tapputi-Belatekallim, according to Wikipedia –

“is considered to be the world’s first chemist, a perfume-maker mentioned in a cuneiform tablet from the second millennium BC in Babylonian Mesopotamia.  She used flowers, oil, and calamus along with cyperus, myrrh, and balsam. She added water then distilled and filtered several times. This is also the oldest referenced still.”

This image appears in relation to Taputi - you can see references to a still

This image appears in relation to Taputi – you can see references to a still

Awesome! The oldest reference to pharmacy is credited to a woman. Of course! Recently ancient perfumes have been discovered in Cyprus that have been carbon dated back 4000 years. In these samples scientists found botanicals such as herbs and spices, bergamot, almond and conifer resins. That’s interesting, and for further reading on these resins see my article “Amber – A Complicated Story”.

The old almond - it's still around so it must be good

The old almond – it’s still around so it must be good

So anyway you get the drift. Perfume and medicine originally came from natural sources.

Now jump to 2013 where large pharmaceutical companies run the world. Companies like Monsanto and others create toxic chemicals daily that find their way into our food sources, water and the air we breathe. We have lost touch with the planet and as technology increases faster then the evolution of our souls, we have stuffed up the balance of our little place in the giant cosmos.

Modern perfumery began around the beginning of the 19th century when technology allowed chemists to synthesize aromatic compounds. The rest is history. Click on this link to discover (as an example) the toxicity of Calvin Klein Eternity for Women. This website,  Environmental Workers Group/Skin Deep  is a great database you can use to check out the ingredients of lots of skincare and fragrance items. To be fair essential oils also appear in this database but are mostly listed as safe.

absolutely stunning lavender fields via reddit.com

absolutely stunning lavender fields via reddit.com

Perfumes may also contains parts of essential oils that have been synthesized, like limonene, and many other constituents of oils. But with essential oils, we are using the whole oil, not fractions of it. Granted essential oils are a specific part of the plant that has been distilled rather than the whole plant, but we are on the right track when we are asking nature to support our growth. We in turn must support the planet and live in harmony with the earth.

Essential oils have an energetic resonance. They contain fundamental patterns of nature.

Perfume is created in a lab. It does not contain any part of nature.

64 tetrahedron grid - a building block of the universe

64 tetrahedron grid – a building block of the universe

Essential oils have information embedded within the molecules. We can use this information for healing.

Perfume is fragrance, nothing more.

The choice is yours. Always.

Perhaps you can ask yourself how you can you can support the movement back to nature. Thank you.

copyright suzannerbanks 2013

Amber – A Complicated Story

Baltic Amber - from a few different species in the Mediteranean

Baltic Amber – from a few different tree species in the Mediterranean

The other day my client asked me about amber oil. I told her that I’d researched it years ago and that it didn’t seem to be straight forward – and that I’d forgotten everything too, and that I never used it. She had a little sample of resin and it did smell beautiful. So what is her sample, really?

It seems there’s a few stories floating around out there which include –

Ambergris – sperm whale vomit or poo

Liquidambar orientalis – the sap from the tree

Baltic amber or succinite – the hard crystals we know that are used for jewelly

and

Pinus succinefera fossil – fossilised sap

Here’s what I can gather about the truth of Amber oil.

Ambergris

ambergris - I think

ambergris – I think

Ah yes the lovely scent of sperm whale poo and vomit. The ambergris seems to be a secretion in the digestive system of the whale to protect it’s gut from spikey cuttlefish. It is excreted with fecal matter, or regurgitated if the amount is too large to pass.The story goes that this intriguing substance was found around the Atlantic Ocean along the shorelines of many countries including Australia and NZ, Japan, South Africa, The Maldives and other areas in the world. Apparently as it aged, the scent changed to a sweet balsamic, earthy odour and was therefore grabbed and distilled by perfumers to use as a fixative in scents. It can still be found today and is worth a lot of money! If you have a perfume with that listed it would be synthetic. All perfume is synthetic anyway, so don’t panic, there’s no vomit in your fragrance.

Liquidambar orientalis

This seems to have more credit in the ‘amber stakes’. The name also has “amber” in it so there’s a bit of a hint (or coincidence). This gorgeous tree is planted all over Sydney and I believe it originates from the Mediterranean region, particularly in Turkey. The trees are referred to generally as “sweet gum” and these forests in Turkey (according to wikipedia) are under threat due to dam building and clearing for agriculture. This oil is also produced in India, and the tree is also native to India.

In English, this oil is known under several names, shortly as Storax to include all sweetgum oils, or as Styrax Levant, Asiatic Storax, Balsam Storax, Liquid Storax, Oriental Sweetgum Oil, or Turkish Sweetgum Oil. …. it is used externally in traditional medicine for abrasions, anxiety, bronchitis, catarrh, coughs, cuts, ringworm, scabies, stress-related conditions and wounds. It is a different product than the benzoin resin produced from tropical trees in the genus Styrax.

Wikipedia

I have never used this oil but now I’m a bit desperate for it. It sounds bloody gorgeous. We had a beautiful liquid amber tree in our backyard when I was growing up. I did a school project on it – if I’d only know it contained a medicinal, scented secret!

As with Frankincense and Myrrh, the tree is tapped and the sap collected. To produce the oil, the resin then undergoes steam distillation.

Baltic Amber

Baltic Amber with a fossilised insect

Baltic Amber with a fossilised insect

Baltic amber refers to fossilised tree resin from a variety of conifers living around the Scandinavian countires and the Baltic region. The Pinus succinefera is one of these trees and this stone is sometimes referred to as succinite (and also because it contains succinic acid).The Baltic region contains most of the world’s supply of amber which could be between 40 to 60 million years old! Oh dear should we really be digging this up?

So this leads us to the claims that this stone can produce a resin, then an oil.

Pinus succinefera – fossil

Pinus succinefera - the fossil - also possibly Baltic amber

Pinus succinefera – the fossil – also possibly Baltic amber

This fossil relates to the Baltic Amber above. But can the stone produce this oil? How is it extracted? Dry distillation could be used, whereby a solid is heated to produce gasses and materials which are then condensed and collected. This is a fossilized resin so I’m wondering if the claims that the oil is Pinus succinefera – fossil, are false.

There are stories of this stone and resin/oil being used by the Romans and Greeks to use medicinally and in rituals. Did they have dry distillation techniques or were they collecting sap and distilling it?

It’s all very interesting and if anyone has anything to add or can clarify any of these claims I’d be grateful. Just leave a comment.

My money is on Liquidamber orientalis but none of my trusted suppliers sell this. Hmmmmm.

 

copyright suzannerbanks 2013