Lemon Essential Oil = Refresh and Reload

Lemon - gorgeous simplicity

Lemon – gorgeous simplicity

One of my first stories on this blog was about lemons –  The Loveliness of Lemons!.

Lemons truly are delightful and I categorize the essential oil from the rind as an oil of happiness. Sparkly, zingy, zesty, fresh, clarifying and clean, lemon essential oil is a must-have oil for the aromatherapy enthusiast.

I use lemon oil frequently when treating clients as I find it’s a great addition to a body blend for sore muscles. When I was studying, I remember my teacher telling me a therapist she knew used lemon juice with oil for sore muscles and had great results. Not sure if I could do that (you’d smell like a salad after the massage), but the essential oil is definitely the go.

Aw -  a baby lemon!

Aw – a baby lemon!

From my earlier article:

Lemon essential oil is an uplifting oil with a sweet innocence about it, but don’t be fooled – it has a solid place in modern aromatherapy.

Some aromatherapists and scientific data claim lemon oil is good for:

  • stimulating the action of white blood cells
  • killing bacteria in the gut
  • soothing and lessening varicose veins
  • tonifying the circulatory system and aiding high blood pressure
  • helping the body shed excess fluids
  • decreasing cellulite
  • improving concentration
  • easing rheumatic pain & gout pain
  • stopping the flow of blood with cuts and abrasions

…… and the list continues.

Mum's lemon tree with the washing hanging on it

Mum’s lemon tree with the washing hanging on it

Lemon essential oil is inexpensive and accessible and has a scent that is also easy to inhale. Within the chemical constituents and energy of the drops of lemon oil, lay the coded information of lightness and happiness. I often say the words “refresh and reload” in my mind when I get the bottle of lemon oil out, and it does just that!

* Feeling tired and uninspired? Lemon oil.

* Need a new perspective on life? Lemon oil.

* Want some more joy? Lemon oil.

*Just like clicking on the “reload” icon in your web browser, lemon essential oil can give you a clean slate to start from.

Lemon blossoms - I wonder why they aren't made into an essential oil like Neroli?

Lemon blossoms – I wonder why they aren’t made into an essential oil like Neroli?

* Add some drops of lemon oil to your water when cleaning surfaces in the house or completely brighten your home with lemon essential oil in the bucket of water for mopping the floors. When cooking with lemons I always keep the rind to rub over the kitchen benches at night to combat bacteria.

Lemons are a fruit of old and have origins in Asia – from Burma and India through to China.

They entered Europe near southern Italy no later than the 1st century AD, during the time of Ancient Rome. However, they were not widely cultivated. They were later introduced to Persia and then to Iraq and Egypt around 700 AD. The lemon was first recorded in literature in a 10th-century Arabic treatise on farming, and was also used as an ornamental plant in early Islamic gardens.[1][2] It was distributed widely throughout the Arab world and the Mediterranean region between 1000 and 1150. Wikipedia

So a big hooray for lemons, and lemon essential oil. They have survived for this long because they are wonderful! Stay tuned for my next article 10 Recipes with Lemon Essential Oil.


copyright suzanne




Cedarwood Virginiana Has a Secret!

Cedarwood virginiana - pic via botany.csdl.tamu.edu

Cedarwood virginiana – pic via botany.csdl.tamu.edu

Cedarwood Virginiana has a secret – it’s a juniper tree! It’s botanical name is Juniperus virginiana but in Aromatherapy today it’s referred to as a cedarwood. I’ve always seen this tree and oil referred to as cedarwood and perhaps it’s because this native to North America is commonly called Red Cedar and/or Aromatic cedar, and a few other names too! It is from the Cupressacae family and the Juniperus genus whereas Cedarwood Atlas (Cedrus atlantica), for example, is from the Pinacae family and the Cedrus genus. Himalayan cedarwood (Cedrus deodora) is from the Pinacae family and the Cedrus genus too.

So back to our Cedarwood Virginiana. You can see by the pic above it has berries like a juniper tree, and leaves like a cypress, but the oil is very different from juniper essential oil and cypress essential oil. This essential oil is thick and creamy and smells like it could easily come from a wood, but also carries a very cleansing energy about it like juniper. I think in my very early days of aromatherapy I blended this oil like it was a basey wood and was never disappointed with the results. I’ve even read a description of the scent of this oil as “pencil- like” and it is also referred to as a pencil cedar , as the heartwood has been used to make lead pencils.

Eastern Red Cedar pic via www.realchristmastrees.org

Eastern Red Cedar pic via http://www.realchristmastrees.org

In Native American medicine this common tree has been used for respiratory infections and other ailments including arthritis and rheumatism, skin disorders and as a treatments for venereal infections (according to Salvatore Battaglia).

In Aromatherapy today Cedarwood Virginiana is used –

* as a treatment for oily and acne skin

* as a treatment for other skin conditions like psoriasis and dermatitis

*  as a soothing treatment for coughs and colds and as an expectorant

* to induce more spiritual connectedness

* as a space/energy cleanser

I’ve always loved using this oil so check out some simple recipes –

The classic Duralex glass dish is handy to make oil blends and quick perfumes in

The classic Duralex glass dish is handy to make oil blends and quick perfumes in

1. Pure Pulse Point Perfume

In a little dish mix these oils and anoint your pulse points or chakras – 3 drops of essential oils and dilute with a few drops of carrier oil

“Psychic Awareness”

Open your upper chakras –

Cedarwood Virginiana   2 drops

Mandarin                       1 drop


“A New Start”

Cleanse and refresh you attitude –

Cedarwood Virginiana 1 drop

Lemon                         1 drop

Rose Geranium            1 drop


“And… Breathe!”

Take a quite moment for yourself –

Cedarwood Virginiana    1 drop

Roman Chamomile 3%  3 drops   * see my article for more info on 3% blends in jojoba


Nourish your body with a beautiful oil blend - pic via redbookmag.com

Nourish your body with a beautiful oil blend – pic via redbookmag.com

2. Nourishing Body Oil Blend

For a coat of your body use 3 teaspoons of carrier oil in a little dish and, add 7 – 8 drops of essential oil.

***** 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”


This is my go-to classic body oil blend –

Cedarwood Virginiana   2 drops

Orange                          4 drops

Lavender                       2 drops


“Give Me Strength”

A warming blend for courage and physical strength –

Cedarwood Virginiana  2 drops

Bergamot                     3 drops

Rosewood                   3 drops


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

Bergamot – Singularly Sensational!

A wonderful botanical illustration of bergamot in Kohler's Medizinal Pflanzen - pic via  en.wikipedia.org

A wonderful botanical illustration of bergamot in Kohler’s Medizinal Pflanzen – pic via en.wikipedia.org

Bergamot, Citrus bergamia, was the very first oil I bought. It’s green citrus scent is fresh and lively and it does wonders for your personality! As you can see from the illustration above it is a green citrus fruit that is not usually eaten, but used for production of essential oils and fragrances. It has a deep history in Europe and was named after a town in Italy – yep – Bergamo. Most of the world’s production still comes from Italy but it is also produced in France and according to Wikipedia, it is produced in Turkey for marmalade.

It’s a funny shaped little green citrus fruit which produces a most appealing and captivating scent. This is an oil you could use with children right through to a grandparent and get great results. And while we are on the subject, it is important to remember not to try and “cure” something with an essential oil, but to use these little gifts of nature to help you change focus, support your emotional well-being and to bring the beauty of the earth into your life. Having said that I bought bergamot essential oil to help with dermatitis I had on my hands and while I can’t exactly remembered if it helped me back then, it introduced me into a world of scented delights. This is a  world that goes beyond any perfume and you only have to compare a whiff of essential oil to a whiff of perfume and see what happens. Essential oils are coded pieces of information that we can turn into experience!

Bergamot - pic via globalhealingcenter.com

Bergamot – pic via globalhealingcenter.com

You can see from the pic the rind is very bubbly with an intense green colour and your essential oil should have a green tinge to it. The oil is high in limonene (which s present in many citrus and lemon scented plants), linalyl acetate and linalool (in lavender), and bergaptene which gives bergamot a warning of being phototoxic. I have a bergaptene free bergamot oil which I use with a client who gets a lot of sun. So from these few constituents you can see that bergamot could be relaxing like lavender, and refreshing like most citrus oils.

A drop of oil can be essential

A drop of oil can be essential

It has become popular over the past few hundred years through perfumery and one of the most famous scents in the world Eau de Cologne, is based on the bitter-sweet citrus oils with other herbs blended into their award winning combination. I wrote an article about my childhood and my grandmother, and Eau de Cologne over at Australian Perfume Junkies about a year ago, so check it out if you feel so inclined.

In aromatherapy bergamot oil is used for many things including –

* as an antidote for anxiety and depression

* as a treatment for anger and frustration (according to Salvatore Battaglia)

* as a mild treatment for cold sores (lemon myrtle works better for this)

* as a digestive and to help stimulate appetite – most citrus oils can make your mouth water when you smell them

* to help with symptoms of eczema and psoriasis

* as a treatment for acne


it’s the citrus flavour used in Earl Grey tea which is why a cup of this tea in the afternoon can refresh you and give you a little boost through the afternoon. Always remember the smell of an oil is very important, as we take in the oil through parts of our brain which can then use this information to create positive change in our bodies. So when you are having your next cup of Earl Grey tea remember to take in the scent while you’re drinking it too.

Earl Grey Tea

Earl Grey Tea

Stay tuned and I’ll follow up this article with “10 Recipes with Bergamot”.

copyright suzannerbanks 2013


Cedarwood Atlas – An Ancient Wood with a Modern Scent

Cedarwood atlas - Cedrus atlantica

Cedarwood atlas – Cedrus atlantica

In Aromatherapy we use a few cedarwoods –

Cedrus atlantica           = Cedarwood Atlas

Juniperus virginiana     = Cedarwood Virginian

Cedrus deodora           = Cedarwood Himalyan

When I first started practicing I didn’t really use this oil a lot – I preferred Cedarwood Virginian. Years ago when I was creating a range for a new clinic in Sydney, I was inspired to incorporate this oil by the Herbalist and sales manager. She encouraged me to use Cedarwood atlas and described the scent to me as being reminiscent of sandalwood. She also suggested I could use it in place of sandalwood as the Sandalwood industry was under pressure and prices had tripled within years.

So embraced Cedarwood atlas and while I don’t necessarily use it as s replacement for sandalwood I certainly love to use it frequently. It is a true cedarwood and has an interesting history.

The Atlas Mountains in Morocco

The Atlas Mountains in Morocco, map originally created by Daniel Feher of Free World Maps. Original map can by found here http://www.freeworldmaps.net/africa/morocco/map.html

It is part of the Pinaceae family of trees and is still considered to be a viable tree with no concern for its life here on earth. It hails from the Atlas Mountains in Morocco and is also farmed for its wood and oil in other regions.

The rich history of cedarwood most probably relates to Lebanon cedarwood which is Cedrus libani and found in Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, Cypress and surrounding areas. It is also from the Pinaceae family and I would assume that the two are quite similar and they both would have been used for ancient rituals and traditions; in Egyptian times, in building the Temples of Jersualem and all the ancient majesty and mystery that comes with them. Phoenicaians and Egytians built their boats with this wood, and the resin was used to treat illness and mummify Phaoroahs. There are also other cedars in these areas that belong to the Cupressaceae family (the cypresses), and have also been used over thousands of years in spiritual practice.

A drop of oil can be essential

A drop of oil can be essential

The oil is steam distilled using the wood and twigs and currently in Aromatherapy Cedarwood atlas is used for-

* respiratory ailments – coughs, colds, bronchitis as it is a great expectorant

* in a sitz bath to address kidney and bladder including cystitis – it’s an astringent oil

* as a tonic for stress and anxiety (yes we say this about many oils so it goes to prove a few drops of distilled nature really can change your focus and make you feel better)

* as an astringent for oily skin and on the flip side to also treat dry and flaky conditions like dry scalp, dandruff and also to ease symptoms of psoriasis

Abundance is a state of being

Abundance is a state of being

I love to use this oil to stimulate connection to spirit and to inspire acknowledgement of the abundance all around us. If the resins of this tree were used in the mummification process  to help souls live for ever after death, I see it as a sign that our abundance is ever flowing in all states of existence.


copyright suzannerbanks 2013

Sweet Orange Essential Oil: A Must-Have for the Scent Lover

orange -  it's a great food AND oil!

orange – it’s a great food AND oil!

How can you NOT be captured by the beautiful colour, taste and scent of an orange?

Well, actually, I have a client who really can’t bare the smell of orange essential oils because it gives her a headache. Fair enough. But let’s all love it together – because we can!

* I use a lot of orange essential oil because it is light, fresh, sweet and blends well with ALL essential oils.

* I use a lot of orange essential oil because it is a simple representation of the beauty of life.

* I use a lot of orange essential oil because it lends itself to become the body of an aromatherapy blend, easily and effortlessly.

* I use a lot of orange essential oil because it appeals to most people by connecting to the inner child, or the innocence and happiness of children.

* I use a lot of orange essential oil because it always allows my client to completely relax and enjoy the experience of the treatment



Traditionally orange oil as been used for:

* helping with digestion and gut issues including symptoms of IBS

* as a tonic for depression and anxiety

* as a soothing agent to the skin, and in inflammatory skin conditions like acne

* as a mild stimulant to the lymphatic system

I would say most therapists use orange oil because of it’s scent and it’s intrinsic nature of joy and happiness.

orange = happiness

orange = happiness

Handy Hints

+ If you squeeze oranges for fresh juice keep the rind and rub it over the kitchen benches to act as a disinfectant and make your place smell great.

+ Use the rind in a bath to have a de-stress unwind moment of peace – no need for a bottle of oil go straight to the source.

+ Make a cake with whole boiled oranges and almond meal to have an aromatherapy treatment and a dessert at the same time.

+ Kids LOVE this oil so it’s good have around in case they need a little help to re-focus and chill out

And try these recipes:

Scent Your Space

1. “Good Morning Darling (Get out of Bed on the Wrong Side Did Ya?)”

To infuse your space with some soft happiness add these oils to a classic oil burner:

Orange          15 drops

Rosewood     5 drops

Cinnamon      5 drops


2. “I’ve Got a Headache”

To relieve tension and relax:

Orange                     10 drops

Lavender                  10 drops

Cedarwood Virginian  5 drops


Skin Scrub

To a cup of fine sea salt add a good splash of oil (almond, olive, sunflower) and either 5 drops of orange oil OR grate the rind of 2 oranges into the mix.


Pure Pulse Point Perfume

Anoint your chakras, or pulse points with the pure essential oil. Use the energy of the oil and the scent for transformation and energy protection. Always place a tiny residue under your nose for the scent to go to work on your mind.

In a little dish mix these oils and anoint your pulse points or chakras – 3 drops of essential oils and dilute with a few drops of carrier oil – always patch test first!

1. “Serendipity”

To invite openness into your life:

Orange         2 drops

Geranium     1 drop


2. “I’m Lovin Myself Sick Tonight”

To help you connect with your inner sexy goddess:

Orange       2 drops

Nutmeg      1 drop


Orange oil is an oil of happiness so…….

Remember to treat your self first and then everyone will benefit!

copyright suzannerbanks 2013

Grapefruit Essential Oil Makes Your Mouth Water (and other stuff too)

pink grapefruit

pink grapefruit

There are lots of good things to say about the wonderful grapefruit AND the essential oil that comes from the rind.

* There are white grapefruit and pink grapefruit essential oils. There is definitely a difference in the scent but it’s quite subtle. Just like there is a difference in the taste, pink grapefruit is a bit sweeter and milder than the white variety.

* With both varieties of essential oil it’s important to remember that when you are making an oil blend for a vapouriser or a mist, the grapefruit oils are so mild you will need to use a lot! It’s almost not worth using any with strongly scented oils – you’d be better off using a more robust citrus like lime, orange or mandarin, if you want to blend deeper oils. Stay light with Grapefruit.

oil burner

oil burner

Recipe for a classic oil burner for a soothing calming blend:

Grapefruit    30 drops

Lavender       5 drops


white grapefruit

white grapefruit

* Grapefruit oil is fantastic to use as an energetic and physical “cleanser”. It works wonderfully on your etheric energetic body and its great to use in a mist to refresh and cleanse any negative vibes.

Recipe for a 50ml mist bottle filled with water:

Grapefruit      22 drops

Cinnamon       3 drops

50ml mist bottle

50ml mist bottle from essenceofwellbeing.com.au


* Grapefruit oil is fantastic to use in an oil blend for your body when you feel you need a gentle cleanse. It will help move excess fluid from the body (mild effect) and brighten the skin with the alpha hydroxy acids.I love using grapefruit oil with my clients when I feel they may need to move emotions through their system and to give them a fresh start to the day.

Recipe for a body oil blend:in 3 teaspoons of oil add –

Grapefruit                   6 drops

Cedarwood Virginian  1 drop

nothing like a massage with grapefruit oil

nothing like a massage with grapefruit oil


* The therapeutic properties of grapefruit also include being a mild astringent on the skin – perfect for a face mask for acne!

Recipe for a face mask: in 2 teaspoons of white clay, add a few drops of water to make a fine paste and add –

Grapefruit       3 drops

unlike this lady I recommend putting the mask on all over your face!

unlike this young lady I recommend putting the mask on all over your face!

* Grapefruit is also used with other citrus oils to act as a stimulating burst of happiness. It’s light sparkly nature lends itself to freshness and newness!

Pink or white, the grapefruit oil is wonderful!

Delicious, Mouth-watering Petitgrain Essential Oil

Citrus aurantium ssp amara or var. amara

Citrus aurantium ssp amara (or var. amara)

I recently mentioned petitgrain essential oil in my new year article I’ve Got a New Attitude but I feel it requires a lot more attention because I LOVE it!

The scent of petitgrain is beautiful and these are some words to describe it:

* citrus with a hint of grass

* green yet floral

* herbaceous and tangy with citrus undertones

* light

* slightly “soapy” in scent

* similar to Neroli (orange blossom from the same tree)

Petitgrain stands out from the other citrus oils because it is actually made from the leaves, twigs and green buds of the tree. See the pic below which captures the branches and leaves being prepared for distillation.

the leaves and twigs ready to be distilled

the leaves and twigs ready to be distilled

Lemon, grapefruit, mandarin, orange and lime essential oils are all pressed or distilled from the rind of the fruit, but our lovely petitgrain oil claims its distinction with ease. It is a scent widely used in perfumery and appeals to men and woman alike because of its fresh, clean nature.

Due to its chemical constituents it has a relaxing and soothing effect, similar to the properties of all the citrus oils. It is high in linalool (in lavender) and linalyl acetate. Other oils high in linlayl acetate are clary sage (a very high content) , lavandin, lavender, and bergamot, as well as neroli, lemon, lime, rosewood, and some mints.

Remember it is interesting to note the similar components of essential oils ,but each oil will have a very complex arrangement of molecules and the oil as a whole has a very individual energy, scent, and effect on the mind and body. “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts” applies so well to essential oils – and then when you add your intention you potentially create a whole new level of benefits.

petitgrain (citrus aurantium v amara)

petitgrain (citrus aurantium v amara)

Petitgrain can be used :

* as a perfume straight from the bottle mixed with a little carrier oil

* in an oil blend for the body where this oil will work in synergy with the others oil for its scent and as an addition to an anti-inflammatory blend

* in a body oil blend as an astringent or tonic for oily skin

* in a facial as a soothing and repairing treatment for acne and inflamed skin, particularly in teenagers as the oil will help with anxiety too

* to help release tension in the house use the oil in a diffuser or oil burner

* to reduce stress use a few drops in the shower and inhale the steam

* perfect for children and the elderly as it has an appealing scent with relaxing qualities and it will go to work for you in helping you amplify your care

* as a treatment for general sickness use a few drops on a cool washcloth and press all over the skin, then leave the cloth across the forehead

* use in place of lavender if a different scent is needed, but you still require a calming nurturing oil

I like to use Petitgrain when I need to look at things in a new light, or if I just need to chill out. It has so many uses in my practice, and when I am treating someone who is a bit stressed it is an oil that has far-reaching effects and tends to also work as an agent to simplify life.

Remember to add your intention when you make an oil blend which will add a powerful energetic, yet subtle force. Expects miracles using essential oils!