A Bee and Some Lavender


Hello natural beauties how are you? I’ve got a short and succinct post today. Remember to smell the lavender and give thanks to the bees.


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Lavender is an ancient healing herb, with many deep and unwavering powers. In my book Revelation! Reveal Your Destiny with Essential Oils, I refer to lavender as an oil of solidarity and that’s what we need right now. It’s a herb and oil that can keep you grounded and feeling strong.

All hail lavender and the pretty little bees that love it too!

A bee in the lavender
Caught on camera somewhere in Sydney

All lavender pics by me – I just cant help myself I love it sooo much.

Thanks lavender, I love you.

The Wonders of Wintergreen

Thanks for tuning in again natural beauties. This week a client and friend brought me a gift from the USA – Wintergreen Life Savers. She had promised she would bring some back to me so I could have a taste – and had been inspired to do this after I used wintergreen in an oil blend for one of her treatments. She said that this lolly was a blast from the past and a loved candy from her childhood.



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As you can see from the comment in my pic above – wintergreen as a flavouring for a candy is very unusual for me (and I would think many Aussies too). To me it’s like eating a sports rub like Deep Heat or Dencorub. It is commonly used as a flavouring in America, but I’m not sure if it’s embraced the same way in other parts of the world. After the initial blast and sensation of the essential oil of wintergreen in my mouth, the fragrance subsided into a general sweetness. Phew.

Some of my classic aromatherapy text books warn against using this oil at all, which seems strange when you can eat it in a lolly )this is however, at an extremely low dosage). Wintergreen is an essential oil of warmth, expansion and healing and can be used in an external oil blend for:

  • sore muscles
  • a chest cough
  • a headache
  • tension
  • poor circulation

I think the reason this oil is misunderstood is that some texts say it is high in the same chemical constituents that are in aspirin – but that’s not quite true. It has a high concentration of methyl salicylate ……

“Methyl salicylate is good for some people, not for others. A blanket contraindication is not necessary, but it is best avoided in pregnancy – all salicylates are teratogenic in sufficient amount, including methyl salicylate and aspirin (acetyl salicylic acid). Methyl salicylate must be absolutely avoided by anyone taking blood-thinning drugs, as it increases the action of the drug, and this causes blood to leak into tissues and  internal bruising occurs.


Wintergreen oil has some wonderful properties, but I would not like to see it used at more than 5%.”


Robert Tisserand


wintergreen - Gaultheria procumbens

wintergreen – Gaultheria procumbens


NB: As Robert Tisserand says above, he would not recommend using this at a higher concentration then 5%. Well 5% is a very high concentration in aromatherapy as mostly our oil blends are a standard 2.5%.

I have used this oil with an elderly client who is on blood thinners and it really helps him with back pain. I don’t use it all the time and when I do make a blend I always add other oils too.

Common sense and intuition must always play a part when you use essential oils. One size does not fit all. 


Here are a few recipes for an oil blend at 2.5%

For a coat of your body use 3 teaspoons of carrier oil in a little dish and, add 7 – 8 drops of essential oil. It’s always best to patch test first, before you apply all over.

***** Always put the drops of essential oil into the bottle or dish first, then add the carrier oil. It gives the scents time to create a synergistic fusion.

For a 50ml bottle of oil add 25 drops and see my articles “Ratios for Blending Essential Oils – A Reminder of the Basics” and “Aromatherapy – It’s Easy as 1 2 3”


Wintergreen with frost - pic via http://tcpermaculture.com/

Wintergreen with frost – pic via http://tcpermaculture.com/


“BRRR I’m Freezing”

Wintergreen     1 drop

Lemon             7 drops



“The Anti Cough”

Wintergreen         2 drops

Marjoram             2 drops

Frankincense     4 drops



“Period Pain-Away”

Wintergreen     2 drops

Lavender         4 drops

Peppermint     1 drop



“Oh My Aching Knees”

Wintergreen     3 drops

Ginger             3ginger drops

Cypress          2 drops


Do you like wintergreen?

Remember to treat yourself first, then everyone will benefit.

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3 Essential Essential Oils for Stress Relief

Essential oils work powerfully on the mind and the brain, and often smelling an oil is enough to create change in emotions and stress addiction. Stress often becomes a habit that we get used to rather than a trigger to help us survive, and in turn we get adrenal and cortisol overload. This is not good! Smell an essential oil to break your bad habit.


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sweet little marjoram leaves

sweet little marjoram leaves

Marjoram (Oreganum marjorana)

Keyword: relief

Little leaf, big scent, great results. Marjoram has been used in herbal medicine for centuries, and comes from a time when our food was our medicine. This beautiful herb essential oil will help everyone from babies to the elderly with its stunning aromatic medicine. Marjoram is wonderful for:

  • muscle pain
  • period pain
  • headaches
  • grief
  • any kind of physical stress
  • soothing emotional pain and angst
  • help induce sleep

Wonderful frankincense resin is steam distilled into the beautiful oil

Wonderful frankincense resin is steam distilled into the beautiful oil


Frankincense (Boswellia carterii)

Keywords: meditation, truth, preservation

Another botanical substance that has been used for a long time, made popular by stories from the Bible, is a must have for stress relief. This essential oil which is steam distilled from the resin has a deeply calming effect by inducing longer, slower, deeper breaths. This leads to a meditative state of mind creating Alpha brainwaves to help you chill out. It is great for:

  • asthma attacks and sufferers
  • coughing and not being able to breathe very well
  • meditation and instilling a greater connection to spirit
  • relaxing in general
  • connecting to your youthfulness, no matter how old or young you are
  • helping us see the bigger picture, and moving us away from a busy mind
  • setting up a restful sleep


German Chamomile and Roman chamomile are both great for stress

German Chamomile and Roman chamomile are both great for stress

The Chamomiles – German Chamomile (Matricaria recutita) and

Roman Chamomile (Chamaemelum nobile)

Keywords: cool down         and          less tension more inspiration

Both chamomiles are wonderful for stress relief but work in slightly different ways and have distinctly different scents. Roman chamomile has an intense honey-like sweetness whereas German chamomile is very deeply herbaceous.

German chamomile is good for:

  • healing inflammation in the body and in the emotions
  • heat and anger
  • restlessness
  • inducing sleep

Roman chamomile is good for

  • reducing cramping in the body
  • unwinding inflexibility which can lead to more stress
  • soothing tiredness
  • relaxing the body as a whole
  • allowing tension to subside

The best and easiest way to use the oils is to open the bottle and take a whiff.

more gorgeous lavender

more gorgeous lavender


If you’re wondering why I haven’t included lavender in this article it’s because I know that you know it’s a really great oil for stress relief – well done!

For more ideas on how to use essential oils check out my other articles:

How to Use Essential Oils – A Dummies Guide

“Ratios for Blending Essential Oils – A Reminder of the Basics” and

“Aromatherapy – It’s Easy as 1 2 3”

copryright SR Banks 2015



Australian Eucalyptus Oil – A Review and Giveaway

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Australian Eucalyptus Oil – A Review and Giveaway


The picturesque road to Banalasta

The picturesque road to Banalasta – it was stinking hot and there was a bushfire in the distance

At the end of last year I visited a friend in Armidale which is about 5 hours drive from Sydney (or about an hour flying). On our way to see friends in Tamworth – the Country Music Capital of Australia – we saw signs to a Eucalyptus farm. A few kilometres up a bumpy dirt road we found the gorgeous little shop and cafe, selling eucalyptus oil from the property “Banalasta” (the land of healthy waterholes). They are growing quickly and increasing their wholesale business to the USA, as well as supplying the Australian public through online sales and sale on the property. They are a certified organic farming business.

The lovely people gave me a quick look around out the back, where they actually store the leaves and distill the oil. Here are a few pics:

Here you can see fresh eucalyptus leaves (Eucalyptus radiata) harvested off the property, from living trees (that continue to live). The scent was absolutely divine!

Fresh eucalyptus leaves awaiting distillation

Fresh eucalyptus leaves awaiting distillation


The massive vats used for distilling the oil:

Distilling vats

Distilling vats


The receptacle that collects the essential oil:

The pot of gold at the end of the rainbow - where the essential oil is collected

The pot of gold at the end of the rainbow – where the essential oil is collected


Glass measuring and testing equipment to assess each batch:

Ooo glass measuring equipment!At Banalasta they also grow and distill lavender (Lavandula Intermedia grosso):

Lavender just about to flower outside the shop

Lavender just about to flower outside the shop

The Oil: Eucalyptus radiata certified organic

The Scent: A sweet and soft eucalyptus, almost like you are eating a eucalyptus candy. Within the scent I can detect mild camphorous tones and the poetic sense of the Australian bush.

The Verdict: A must have for all scent enthusiasts

To Win:

10ml bottle Eucalyptus radiata

10ml bottle Eucalyptus radiata

Please comment via the little thought bubble at the top of the blog and tell my why you’d LOVE this little bottle of Aussie goodness. The winner will be chosen through random.org on the 20th May 2015.

Thanks so much! You can support local organic farmers by buying direct from Banalasta here: http://www.banalasta.com.au/Essential-Oils-p-1-c-252.html

Check out my YouTube channel too, thanks.

copryright SR Banks 2015


I Just Used Wintergreen On A Client …..

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I Just Used Wintergreen On A Client …..

Wintergreen - be cautious!

Wintergreen – be cautious!


Well it’s nothing new I often used wintergreen on clients. A couple of drops at the most. I’m an aromatherapist and I am trained, however it wasn’t an oil I learnt about at college. A couple of text books I have, say we mustn’t use wintergreeen, as it’s too strong and potentially toxic. I say to you, follow this advice, as in everyday life there are other oils you can use that don’t have the potency, and that are more tried and tested.

Wintergreen, Gaultheria procumbens, comes from the family Ericaceae and the genus Gaulteria. The family Ericaceae generally refers to heath or heather and it has (according to Wikipedia), over 120 genera. This family also includes plants such as cranberry, blueberry, huckleberry, azalea, rhododendron. I’m not sure if any other plants in the genus lend themselves to producing essential oils, but I’d love to find out!

“Gaultheria procumbens (eastern teaberry, checkerberry, boxberry, or American wintergreen) is a species of Gaultheria native to northeastern North America from Newfoundland west to southeastern Manitoba, and south to Alabama.[1] It is a member of the Ericaceae (heath family).”


Dwelley, Marilyn J. (1977). Summer & Fall Wildflowers of New England via Wikipedia


Eastern teaberry sounds nice!

Wintergreen - pic via naturallycuriouswithmaryholland.wordpress.com

Wintergreen – pic via naturallycuriouswithmaryholland.wordpress.com

The oil of wintergreen smells like a lot of sports rubs and liniments, very menthol-like. You can understand why it would be used in a product for sore muscles, when you look at the traditional uses of the oil –

Traditionally this oil has been used for –

* joint pain and inflammation

* muscle and tendon pain

* headaches

* bad circulation

and many other issues, that you could take aspirin for – pain and inflammation.

The reason it is thought of as toxic is that it is extremely high in Methyl salicylate, which when absorbed by the body turns into salicylate, basically aspirin. But a very, very high dose of aspirin from a very small amount of wintergreen oil. Check out this article, which states:

“The sudden death of a 17-year-old Staten Island high school track star was caused by the accidental overuse of an over-the-counter remedy routinely used by millions of Americans to treat sore muscles and joints, the New York City medical examiner ruled after a two-month investigation.”


This happened in 2007, and while rare, please take note that just because something says it’s “natural” or has “natural ingredients, doesn’t always mean its safe.

From Kohler's Medizinal Plfanzen a book now in the public domain

From Kohler’s Medizinal Plfanzen a book now in the public domain

So basically it’s a anti-inflammatory, high in aspirin, and can cause people to react with asthma and other aspirin overdose issues.

Use lavender or German chamomile instead.


And FYI my blend was equal parts of lavender, juniper and lemon with a couple of drops of wintergreen. It was stunning. I’m going to text my client now to see how she’s feeling.

Look after yourself people!


copryright SR Banks 2014



Palo Santo – I Tried to Like You But I Didn’t, Sorry

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Palo Santo – I Tried to Like You But I Didn’t, Sorry

The spindly tree Palo Santo pic via blessyourbody.com

The spindly tree Palo Santo

About this time last year, Palo Santo popped into my world. Within a week or two, a friend had asked about it and one of my readers here on the blog also mentioned it in one of her blends. I’d never used it nor had I really heard much about this oil. So my interest was sparked and I did a bit of research to find –

* it belongs to the Family “Burseraceae” of which frankincense and myrrh also belong, and it definitely shows in its form and the fact that it’s a desert dwelling tree and looks just like a frankincense or myrrh tree

* according to Wikipedia the Burseraceae family has also been called the incense tree family

* its sort of like the South American sandalwood, as the scented wood is used to make incense and of course essential oil

* it is used in the Americas more than in Europe or Asia

* it has been used for healing in communities in South American countries for many years and has a strong place in their folklore too

* spiritual and healing ceremonies often used the smoke of the burning wood to purify bad or stagnating energy (similar to indigenous Australians using tea tree branches, and Native American Indians using sage for smudging)

* my friend who studied in Thailand was told it was good for increasing sexual drive and raising kundalini

The dried wood can be burnt directly

The dried wood can be burnt directly

“It is widely used in folk medicine for stomach ache, as sudorific, and as liniment for rheumatism. Aged heartwood is rich in terpenes such as limonene and α-terpineol.”  Wikipedia

As it is very high in limonene one would expect a lemon scent (if only slightly), but the mix of molecules makes for a very deep, earthy, heady scent indeed!

I bought a couple of bottles from a small environmentally focused company in Ecuador and I was feeling very international and slightly self-important when I placed the order. I was excited to receive and smell this intriguing oil of history and healing in many South American cultures including Mexico, Argentina, Paraguay, Bolivia, Brazil, Peru, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Colombia, Ecuador, and on the Galapagos islands.

Then it arrived. It probably didn’t help that I was unwell at the time. I ripped open the bag to find a cute little wooden box. Opened the box, cracked the lid, took a huge whiff and almost vomited. It has an earthy, rich, almost truffle scent, which is pungent and warm.

I could end the story right there, but I put it away in the oil cupboard until my friend dropped in for a blend. A week or two later she came by to collect her bottle of oil (she had actually experienced this oil in a yoga teacher training place in Thailand!)

She was excited. I wasn’t.

50 ml bespoke body oil made by me

50 ml bespoke body oil made by me

I made her oil blend and put 6 drops of Palo Santo in 150mls with a few other oils. Months later she reported that her body oil blend was beautiful, but now I’m scarred for life!

The weather is warming up and I’ve started to smell the Palo Santo wafting from my studio. It has managed to penetrate the triple bubble wrapping.


Use with caution!

Ay comments on this interesting oil are welcomed.

copryright SR Banks



There’s More Than One Eucalyptus Oil!

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There’s More Than One Eucalyptus Oil!

Eucalyptus globulus - pic via www.wildseedtasmania.com.au

Eucalyptus globulus – pic via http://www.wildseedtasmania.com.au


I love Eucalyptus!

1. Eucalyptus globulus

This eucalyptus tree – the “blue gum” – is the one most used to produce the essential oil. According to Wikipedia it’s also called the Tasmanian Blue Gum or Southern Blue Gum too. You are probably going to get Eucalyptus globulus when you buy eucalyptus oil. This oil is sharp, strong, clean and fresh and is the classic, most identifiable eucalyptus scent.This oil has been produced for nearly a century and the main production now comes from China. There are many of these trees in the USA too and other warm climates. The tree is easily able to adapt, and because of this it has been the most planted eucalyptus tree in the world.

Eucalyptus radiata

Eucalyptus radiata

2. Eucalyptus radiata

This is also called the “narrow-leaved peppermint gum” and there seem to be quite a few chemotypes (different scents). I buy this as my everyday eucalyptus oil, as it’s a bit milder and sweeter in scent than the globulus. It still has the same amazing qualities of globulus, and in fact all the eucalypts (as with the melaleucas – see my post “All the Australian Melaleucas”, share similar properties. I recommend trying this lovely oil next time you need some eucalyptus oil.

Eucalyptus polybractea

Eucalyptus polybractea

3. Eucalyptus polybractea

This is the ‘Blue mallee’ tree. The oil from this tree has a high cineole content (1,8-cineole is one of the particular active ingredients in eucalyptus tree), which gives it a camphorous and pungent scent. Penetrating and sharp, it is less likely to be found when searching for “eucalyptus oil”, but I have bought blue mallee oil from supermarkets here in Australia and it’s inexpensive and gorgeous. I think there is one brand I found in a supermarket that’s also organic. Even looking at these three pictures it’s hard to distinguish the difference in the look of the leaves and flowers.

Eucalyptus citriodora

Eucalyptus citriodora

4. Eucalyptus citriodora

Yep if you guessed lemon scented you’d be right. It has a citronella/lemon scent, a bit like lemon tea tree, but not really. It is high in citronellal and that would explain the scent. It is a warm, almost herbaceous lemon scent and has different shaped leaves to the others discussed so far. I don’t really use this oil although I do carry it in my kit. I would probably use a classic eucalyptus with another lemon scented oil if I need that combination.

Eucalyptus dives

Eucalyptus dives

5. Eucalyptus dives

This eucalyptus tree is also used to distill essential oils, but I don’t really use this one a lot either. In fact I don’t think I even have any. Its common name is “broad-leaved peppermint” (radiata was called narrow-leaved peppermint). It has a couple of chemotypes that produce oils and once again the constituents are particular to its type but include the 1,8-cineole, common to all eucalypts. I can’t describe the scent as I can’t remember the last time I used it or smelled it. It is however used for its high piperitone content which gives it a pepperminty-camphorous scent.

Eucalyptus piperita

Eucalyptus piperita

6. Eucalyptus piperita

Wikipedia claims this is called “Sydney peppermint” but I’ve never heard that. Can’t say I ever smelled the oil either but this one is also high in piperitone too. I’ve never looked for it for sale but I’m sure someone makes it. The English phyto-chemist H. G. Smith who moved here in the late 1800’s, wrote a paper on the volatile oil of Eucalyptus piperita and also wrote a book with his colleague on the Eucalypts of Australia.

Eucalyptus smithii

Eucalyptus smithii

7. Eucalyptus smithii

This is the “gully gum” also found in South Africa where this is the main eucalyptus for oil production. It was named after Mr Smith (from the paragraph above) and is quite high in 1,8-cineole. It has that classic eucalyptus scent and all the qualities you would expect:






and the list goes on. It’s typically used for colds, flu, coughs and many respiratory complaints and is warming and refreshing.

Get some eucalyptus oil in your house NOW! It has a simple yet very strong message –

“cleanse, clarify, open your mind”



copryright SR Banks