May Chang – A Princess or an Essential Oil?

Hello natural beauties! This oil has been popping up in my mind and in my oil collection lately so I thought it was about time (again), to have a closer look at May chang (Litsea cubeba), the sunny little oil that could.



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The flower of Litsea cubeba – pic via


May Chang   Litsea cubeba

This gorgeous, sparkly essential oil is made from the berries of the tree which is native to China and south-east Asia. I was first introduced to it when a friend brought some back from her holiday in Thailand about 20 years ago. It’s part of the Lauraceae family which also holds cinnamon and rosewood. May chang, and these oils too, have a subtle peppery note about them too.

It is a lemon scented oil and is high in neral and geranial which is are monoterpenoid structures within the oil. It is however, more than that. It smells like bubbly lemonade. It has a 3D effervescence about it, and that’s probably not possible – can you smell effervescence?. Well I reckon you can in this lovely oil.

Mainly used for fragrance in soaps, May chang does have therapeutic properties in Aromatherapy and other modalities. In traditional Chinese medicine according to Salvatore Battaglia:


“….May chang is used to treat dysmenorrhoea that is relieved with heat or pressure, stomach aches, lower back pain, chills headaches and muscular aches from external conditions.”


So from this we can see that is has a warming quality to it, which you would expect from the local name of ‘mountain pepper”.It’s also described as a great oil for respiratory issues like asthma is it also being used in heart research in China.


Litsea cubeba berry- pic via /


I call it a happiness oil. Here’s an excerpt from my book

“Revelation! Reveal Your Destiny with Essential Oils”


“If you search for May chang on the internet, you may come across images of a super-cute, young Chinese princess from the Chang clan in the Xing Dynasty. She is a fictional character in a Japanese manga series. Her quest is to seek the grand alchemist who will help her fine-tune her skills of making elixirs, master the art of chi to cure ailments, and bring her back to her clan back to its former glory by finding the secret to immortality.








Princess may chang – pic via


…. I use it to call in the energy of the sun into my heart and maintain a sense of purity, innocence and lightness…. It seems the creators of Princess May chang took into the account the uses of the oil and transferred its healing properties into very essence. Perhaps one of the secrets to a long life is happiness?”


If you haven’t tried this gorgeous sunny oil yet please do – and let me know how much you love it!

Better Sleep with Essential Oils

Just a drop of lavender on your pillow at night will help you sleep well – right? No, sorry, it’s not as simple as that. Essential oils can definitely help you relax and adjust your weird sleep patterns, but you’ll have to do a bit more work than opening an oil bottle. Read on to find the best essential oils for sleep, and what you need to change…….


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If we don’t sleep well all sort of problems can start happening. When this becomes more frequent, the daytime can be very challenging. Lack of sleep can be the cause of so many other health problems, but at the very least we simply can’t function well during the day. If bad sleep patterns prevail they can become habit, and then it’s all downhill. Here’s what you need to do to prepare for essential oils to help you sleep:

  1. Drink less coffee and/or don’t have caffeine in the afternoon
  2. Exercise more frequently, even if that means a walk around the block
  3. Stop watching TV at least an hour before bed
  4. Stop all screen time ie phones and computers at least an hour before bed
  5. Set up healthy patterns – eat about the same time each day, go to bed about the same time, wake up about the same time

Other hints:

  1. Have a cup of relaxing herbal tea about an hour before bed
  2. Have a warm bath or shower before bed
  3. Start stretching and force yourself to yawn in the evening (I read that somewhere and I’ve tried it and it works!)
  4. Have a book at your bedside – this always sends me to sleep


timing is everything

timing is everything


Daily habits are important if you are having difficulties sleeping. Of course the clock can be the devil when you’re staring at it every night – 1am, 2am, 3am, 4am ……… It may only take you a few days to reset your body clock, but it could take weeks. In the evening (perhaps after dinner), start your essential oil diifuser to help you unwind. Here are your oils:


The classic sleep and relaxation oil, lavender is a healing herb that’s been around for centuries. This is a panacea (helps everything) in my opinion. The art of aromatherapy comes into play here as too much lavender can be too stimulating, so the key is to mix your oils to get a perfect soothing combination.


Sometimes referred to as “The Oil of Tranquility”, vetiver is a very strong oil and you’ll only need a couple of drops in each blend. It is a cooling oil and very grounding and centering. Great for meditation and stress.


Another ancient herb, marjoram will help induce relaxation and works wonderfully with its sister, lavender. Marjoram is an oil to treat pain relief, grief and anguish, so is perfect to help you turn off the events of the day, and the anxiety of tomorrow.


Frankincense is the oil to help you take deeper, slower breaths. By breathing deeply you will automatically slow your heart rate, calm your mind and allow yourself to “be”. This is a classic oil for meditation and asthma.


Bergamot is not a classic sleep oil, but it’s a lovely oil to help with anxiety, and mixed with some other oils, can add some sweetness to your blend. In fact all the citrus oils (lemon, lime, mandarin, orange, grapefruit) are light and blend well with most other oils so are always handy to have nearby. They will add happiness and lightness to your blends.

The Chamomiles – Roman and German

Both these oils are relaxing oils. German chamomile is blue due to a chemical change during distilling, and is an anti-inflammatory oil for the body. It works synergistically with lavender in this regard. The scent is not as pretty as Roman chamomile, which has a honey sweetness to it, and could be better for you to use for this reason. Why not double up and have a relaxing chamomile tea in the hour before bed too?


I regard Indian (Mysore) sandalwood as a sleep inducing oil due to its traditional uses, and it’s powerful energetic presence. This oil has many uses for the body but excels when treating the mind and emotions. It is a beautiful and expensive oil to use, but when it comes to sleep I’d say it’s worth buying a bottle. It will cover you in a comforting, soft yet strong, blanket of love. Other woods could be used in its place and I’d recommend cedarwood Virginian (which is actually a juniper, not a true cedar).  Australian sandalwood could be a bit too stimulating with its hint of the hot Australian bush.


Sexy black diffuser from

Sexy black diffuser from


And now some blends for your diffuser –

In a traditional oil burner with a candle or a diffuser add 25 drops of oil, which could be too much for some diffusers, so check the recommendation of each unit and adjust thee recipes accordingly.


“Universal Flow”

Lavender         10

Frankincense    8

Bergamot         7



Marjoram                   6

Roman Chamomile    7

Orange                       8

Vetiver                        2



Mandarin                       10

German Chamomile       4

Cedarwood Virginian      6

Lavender                        5



Sandalwood                6

Lavender                    6

Marjoram                     4

Orange                       11



“The Way”

Frankincense              10

German Chamomile     2

Vetiver                          2

Sandalwood                5

Lime                           6

I've got these gorgeous chamomile flowers in a teapot nest to my bed - sweet dreams!

I’ve got these gorgeous chamomile flowers in a teapot nest to my bed – sweet dreams!


By now you have the idea so go for it! Mix those oils baby!

Let me know how you go and –

remember to treat yourself first, then everyone will benefit.

Check out my YouTube channel too, thanks.


copyright 2016


The Persian Garden – Cruising on the Celebrity Solstice with Eucalyptus Oil – Video


Hello friends! I missed a post last week all caught up in summer in Sydney, parties with visiting DJ’s and singers, and the beach. This week I share a moment in time on the cruise ship the Celebrity Solstice, where I was excited to discover a eucalyptus infused steam room and sauna, sailing home from New Caledonia.


Please check out my new book REVELATION! – Reveal Your Destiny with Essential Oils

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and many other stores worldwide as an ebook and paperback


The theme of this little video is “aromatherapy is easy” …



And just to prove it here is a pic of my good friend DJ Wayne G (DJ WAYNE G) from San Francisco, playing tunes on New Years Day:


Me and Wayne at the start of a party

Me and Wayne at the start of a party


And me with other incredibly talented friends, singer and recording artist Peyton (Peyton Music) and travel writer and blogger Amanda (Adventures All Round). It was dark so I had to do a few little adjustments including some stars and fireworks too …



Thanks for your time! Have you been to a spa on a cruise? I’d love to hear about it.

Remember to treat yourself first, then everyone will benefit.

copryright SR Banks 2015

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

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



Himalayan Cedarwood – Cedrus deodora

The shaggy Christmas tree type of Cedrus deodora - pic via

The shaggy Christmas tree type of Cedrus deodora – pic via

While I was searching for some good pics of Himalayan cedarwood I came across a few species variations, but they all look gorgeous – especially the one above which looks like the perfect Christmas tree to me. This cedarwood comes from the Pinacae family and the genus Cedrus (like Atlas and Lebanon cedars but not Virginian cedar which is actually a juniper).

The essential oil of Himalayan cedarwood is steam distilled from the wood, however I can’t find any evidence to support the notion that the needles are also used. I would have thought some twigs and leaves would also be used in the distillation process, but at any rate it’s a bloody gorgeous oil. It has an almost creamy, spicy, woody scent which seems much more rounded than Cedar Atlas and has roots in Ayurvedic medicine and spirituality on the sub-continent of India. Traditionally in India, the forests of Cedrus deodora have been regarded as sacred places, maybe even where one could reach a clearer connection with Shiva. In one of my Ayurvedic Aromatherapy books, the author Farida Irani claims the wood is offered to Ganesha, the remover of obstacles. Both these Gods are part of the Hindu religion.

It’s also the national tree of Pakistan.

In both Ayurveda and traditional aromatherapy this cedarwood is indicated to treat –

* respiratory tract infections, particularly the lungs as it is a drying oil

* urinary tract disorders

* fluid retention

* oily and acne skin.


Up close and personal with Himalayan cedarwood - pic via

Up close and personal with Himalayan cedarwood – pic via

As with many essential oils Himalayan Cedarwood is used to treat anxiety and stress related conditions and isn’t it interesting that many essential oils are used for the same thing.


By smelling an essential oil your brain responds almost immediately to the stimulus and starts to bring about change. This change could be anything from a change in emotion, a stimulus to the hormone producing centres in the brain and/or a shift in consciousness. These moments can start to breakdown resistance to the flow of life and therefore be interpreted as lessening stress. The outcome will be stronger the more you like the scent of the oil, and the more you are willing to release negativity.


One type of Himalayan cedrawood - pic via

One type of Himalayan cedrawood – pic via

Enhanced connection to spirit is often a claim when using essential oils and I wholeheartedly agree with this surmise. Essential oils are little drops of coded information, on which the future of the universe rides. Delve into a scented paradise and try to disprove me; you won’t be able to as you continue to expand exponentially!

Stay tuned for 10 Recipes with Cedrus deodora!

copyright suzanne



Essential Oils for Winter Wellness

Warm up in winter with essential oils

Warm up in winter with essential oils

It must seem strange to all my northern hemisphere readers that I’d be writing about this subject now. Well it is winter for us in the southern hemisphere, so next week I’ll do an article on essential oils for summer so you guys don’t miss out.

What essential oils to use for winter …… hmmm?

Flowering rosemary in my client's garden

Flowering rosemary in my client’s garden

1. Rosemary


* Stimulates blood circulation, good for those with cold hands and feet (used in a body oil)

* Works against catarrh and congestion (used in a body oil or a drop in a steam inhalation)

* Works a pain reliever for sore muscles and for aching rheumatic joints (used in a body oil)

* Stimulates the brain and memory so it can wake you up on a cold winter’s day (used in a steam inhalation or a shower steam)

Warming, spicy ginger

Warming, spicy ginger

2. Ginger


* Warming to the digestive fire and the body in general (used in a body oil)

* Alleviates catarrh (used in a body oil or steam inhalation)

* Soft and gentle to treat people who are very sick with a cold or flu and may help stimulate appetite (diffuse in the sick room or use as a body oil)

Lemon myrtle flower- pic via

Lemon myrtle flower- pic via

3. Lemon Myrtle


* highly anti-bacterial and anti-viral (diffuse this oil in the home or office to help prevent YOU from getting what THEY have)

* use lemongrass or lemon as a substitute if you can’t find lemon myrtle oil



Eucalyptus globulus is the most commonly produced essential oil although there are quite a few - pic via

Eucalyptus globulus is the most commonly produced essential oil although there are quite a few – pic via

4. Eucalyptus


* the number one oil to break down mucous in the sinuses and lungs (used in a steam inhalation and diffuse in the sick room)

* an expectorant (used in a steam inhalation)

* generally helps easier breathing (diffuse in the sick room) and may also help throat inflammation


Sage - use in small amounts

Sage – use in small amounts

5. Sage

* analgesic for a sore throat (used as a body oil or a drop in a steam inhalation)

* Clary sage can also be used for a sore throat (used as a body oil or a drop in a steam inhalation)

Ah lovely lavender

Ah lovely lavender

6. Lavender


* general aches and pains from the cold and/or sickness (used in a body oil or diffused in the sick room)

* analgesic for a sore throat  (a drop in a steam inhalation)

* analgesic in general for headaches and other inflammatory symptoms (diffuse in the sick room and in a body oil)

The fennel plant

The fennel plant

7. Fennel


* helps with catarrh and lung congestion acting as an expectorant (use in a body oil)

* acts as an analgesic in coughs and colds (used in a body oil)

* digestive tonic to calm an upset stomach (diffuse in the sick room or in a body oil)


As you can see these oils can help you feel a bit better if you get sick in winter, or warm you up when your feet are freezing, or help clear the air of unwanted germs.

If you have a few people in your home, especially if you have kids, I recommend you diffuse oils in your home at night during winter not only to create a lovely scented atmosphere, but to lend a little bit of anti-bacterial magic to the mix. Of course when using essential oils they will not necessarily cure an infection or disease, but they can help you feel a little better and more comfortable too.

Remember to treat yourself first, then everyone will benefit.

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

copyright suzanne



10 Recipes with Frankincense Essential Oil- Boswellia carterii

Frankincense resin in it's organic form is then distilled into an essential oil

Frankincense resin in its organic form is then distilled into an essential oil

Ah frankincense it’s a good oil! It’s an oil that helps you breathe deeply, relax and connect with your spirit. It’s an oil that can help skin looking and feeling younger. It’s an oil that’s been around for thousands of years. It’s an oil of truth.

Frankincense has a fine scent and I have written more about it previously with my article ‘Frankincense is the Scent of Truth’. It is from the family Burseraceae and the genus Boswellia.

Many years ago a friend of mine (he’s not around any longer, hi Peter!) was having a really bad asthma attack and was getting very anxious. He called me and I went to him immediately with a vapouriser and some Frankincense oil. I sat him down next to the stream of vapour and within 5 minutes he was better and after 20 minutes he could breathe normally. He also felt much more relaxed and I left the set up with him for a few weeks so he could access the treatment whenever he needed it.

Frankincense has many applications so let’s get into some recipes –

A clay face mask is the best and most natural clarifyng mask. pic vis

A clay face mask is the best and most natural clarifying mask. pic via

1. Face Mask

Usually add 1 or 2 drops of oil to some clay and add water, floral water or hydrosol. Keep the mask on for 5 minutes then rinse off with cool water. Mist with a hydrosol or floral water and moisturise.

I would use 2 drops of frankincense in pink clay to rejuvenate your skin, help tone oilier skin and to treat acne.


Take a huge whiff to change your focus in seconds

Take a huge whiff to change your focus in seconds

2. Open The Bottle and Take a Huge Whiff

Do this with frankincense to help you relax and gather your energy. It will give you a chance to stop and catch you breath too.



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

3. 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 – always patch test first!

“Peace and Quiet”

Frankincense   2 drops

Lavender          1 drop


“I’m Ready for the Day”

Take a deep breath and go!

Frankincense   1 drop

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



Life IS sweet –

Frankincense   2 drops

Peru balsam    1 drop


“Now is the Best Time”

Do it now!

Frankincense      1 drop

Lemongrass       1 drop

Rose Geranium   1 drop


Check this out - an oil burner made from a can - pic via

Check this out – an oil burner made from a can – pic via

4. Scent Your Space

In a traditional oil burner with a candle or a diffuser add 25 drops of oil

“Sunday Night Settle Down”

You’ve got school in the morning!

Frankincense    10 drops

Orange               9 drops

Marjoram            6 drops


“Fresh Vibe”

A great blend for when you’ve finished cleaning the house –

Frankincense       10 drops

Lime                      6 drops

Cedarwood Atlas   5 drops

May Chang            4 drops


Rub oil into your body - it's good!

Rub oil into your body – it’s good!

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. 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”


A blend to feel hydrated with a new outlook –

Frankincense  3 drops

Palmarosa    3 drops

Lavender        2 drops


“It’s All About Me Tonight”

Shower off the day and oil yourself –

Frankincense    2 drops

Ylang Ylang      2 drops

Mandarin          3 drops


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

copyright suzanne