The Start of the Vlog!


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The Start of the Vlog!

at the movies!

at the movies!

I’ve started my YouTube channel to try something new.

I’ve been writing 2 articles a week for just over 2 years, and sometimes it’s hard to find things to write about – especially now I have a book to promote too.

I’ve got a way to go with presenting style but I’d be grateful if you hang in there with me, as I talk about essential oils and aromatherapy.

This week I introduced myself – now you know what I look like (but after having said that I had just come from the hairdresser’s so it’s not always going to be that pretty)





And I also talked about Fennel Oil:





So with a few less “ums” and “ahs” and “so’s” and “yeah’s”, I’m looking forward to doing some new things. Please subscribe to my channel if you feel so inclined.

hearts to you

hearts to you


Thanks so much everyone,


copryright SR Banks 2014




Caraway Essential Oil – What’s That Used For?

Caraway botanical drawing from Kohler's Medizinal Pflanzen

Caraway botanical drawing from Kohler’s Medizinal Pflanzen

Caraway essential oil is steam distilled from the caraway seed of the plant Carum carvi. This belongs to the Umbellifrae (also known as Apiacae) family and the genus Carum. Other similar plants belonging to the same family are fennel, parsley, carrot, angelica, anise, celery, chervil, coriander, cumin, dill, and parsnip, just to name a few.

I have never used this oil in my practice because it doesn’t have many traditional uses in Aromatherapy and other more common oils are usually used for therapeutic value, like fennel. I couldn’t find a typical analysis, which gives the breakdown of chemical constituents in an oil, but I have found some basic information naming the major active ingredients.

Carvone - pic via

Carvone – pic via

According to Wikipedia:

“The fruits, usually used whole, have a pungent, anise-like flavor and aroma that comes from essential oils, mostly carvone and limonene.[10] Anethole, generally regarded as a minor product in the essential oil of this species, has also been found to be a major component.”


And from a paper 1994 UPDATE ON ESSENTIAL OILS IN SASKATCHEWAN SPICE CROPS by F. Sosulsk$, A.E. Slinkard and G. Arganosa:

“Carvone contributes the typical aroma of caraway seed and the carvone to limonene ratio in the essential oil should be 60:40”


Limonene pic via


It is important to note that even when we have a chemical breakdown of an oil, we must consider it as a whole and remember the old adage “the whole is greater than the sum of it’s parts”. This means we can expect an oil to behave in a certain way when we find out what molecules it contains, but there will also be a unique signature that lends itself to other properties too.

Caraway essential oil could be used for digestion, as for fennel and aniseed. Regulating menses and attendant pain could also be helped by caraway oil, but I would probably just stick with fennel. In these instances I would dilute a drop or two in some carrier oil and rub all over the stomach and lower back. I would also use caraway for coughs and lung problems (especially catarrh) in a steam inhalation


Caraway seeds - they look like fennel seeds don'y they? pic via

Caraway seeds – they look like fennel seeds don’t they? pic via

According to Aromatherapist Danielle Ryman, fossilized caraway seeds were found in Neolithic dwellings in Switzerland, and in Mesolithic sites, which means that it was in use up to 8,000 years ago. She also says the Ancient Egyptians used the spice in religious rituals, (like many aromatic plants and flowers) and in cooking to make foods like bread and onions more digestible.

So it seems the modest caraway seed has similar properties to other Umbellifrae seeds and you can check out my article Star Anise, Aniseed and Fennel Essential Oils – What’s the Difference? to understand more about those oils -their similarities and differences.

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




Rosemary Essential Oil – Get Fired Up!

Get fired up!

Get fired up!

Rosemary is a herb that is found all around the world in suburban gardens, dried in little bags and fresh at grocery stores. It’s a herb that has been used for medicine and in gastronomy for thousands of years and packs a powerful punch. Rosmarinus officianalis belongs to Lamiacae family (which has all the herbs in it) and the genus Rosmarinus.

I have written about this wonderful herb before when I attended a funeral and we were offered sprigs of rosemary to place on the coffin (Remember with Rosemary – Lest We Forget). Rosemary’s traditional use is that of remembering.

In Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Ophelia says, “There’s rosemary, that’s for remembrance.” (Hamlet, iv. 5.) Wikipedia

The fresh herb and of course the essential oil, is stimulating to the mind, and is warming and generally stimulating in its nature. It is high in 1-8 cineole (found in high amounts in Eucalyptus), and camphor and a-pinene (also found in many others oils including sage and thyme, citrus oils, eucalyptus and cedarwood).

Flowering rosemary in my client's garden

Flowering rosemary in my client’s garden

Rosemary was found in the tombs of Egypt, used by the Greeks and Romans as medicine and revered as a sacred herb. More modern herbalists and physicians from the middle ages have used rosemary to treat any sickness of the head – and in this way we could see rosemary as a “cephalic oil” – the same as basil, which I have just written about. It has been used as a treatment for the liver, muscle aches and pains and for colds and sinus.

In aromatherapy today rosemary is used –

* for muscular aches and pains

* for stimulating memory – to be used in study and for the elderly

* for warming the body and increasing circulation to extremities

* as a digestive tonic

* as a tonic for the spleen meridian organs (liver, gall bladder, pancreas, spleen)

Rosemary botanical drawing - from Köhler's Medizinal Pflanzen

Rosemary botanical drawing – from Köhler’s Medizinal Pflanzen

As you can see the modern uses of rosemary are the same as the traditional uses of rosemary – stimulating and warming. It certainly is a strongly flavoured herb. Recently my friend, who has loads of rosemary bushes on his new property, stuck some in a bottle of gin and it didn’t take very long for the flavour to infuse.

I use rosemary frequently in my practice. Most clients have some type of muscle stiffness or soreness and rosemary is a real winner when it comes to relieving muscle tension. I’ll often use lavender, rosemary and marjoram together for a warming, pain relieving oil blend.

Rosemary oil is produced in a few countries around the world and this herb and oil has some very common chemotypes (again this is similar to basil and other herbs like marjoram too). Different chemotypes will have different scents and varying degrees of the common chemical constituents, depending on the soil, climate and other factors. Don’t get too confused, just dive in and use whatever rosemary oil you can find. It’s inexpensive and easily accessible!

Rosemary will stimulate your mindpic via

Rosemary will stimulate your mind – pic via


Embrace Basil Essential Oil and Free Your Mind

Flowering basil - beautiful!

Flowering basil – beautiful!

Basil, Ocimum basilicum, is part of the Lamiacae family and the genus Ocimum. This family of plants also holds many herbs including mint, rosemary, lavender, patchouli and many more. The most common basil essential oil is sometimes referred to as sweet basil as there are a couple of chemotypes that are used to make essential oils.

Sweet basil is a linalool type. Linalool is one of the main ingredients of lavender, so this basil with have a softer scent and be more soothing and calming.

I have a basil essential oil that is a chavicol chemotype (methyl chavicol), which is slightly spicier and more camphorous in scent. I would use this with a client in a treatment blend if I wanted a warmer more stimulating blend. I would use the linalool type for a more relaxing blend, and I tend to use the sweet basil more often.

The stunning basil leaf makes a wonderful essential oil

The stunning basil leaf makes a wonderful essential oil

Basil takes its name from the latin ’Basileum’ meaning royal.  It is also considered a holy plant of India used in Ayurveda and dedicated to Vishnu and Krishna. This Indian basil is a different plant and is called tulsi, Ocimum tenuiflorumi. One of my suppliers now offers this as an organic essential oil but I haven’t smelt it yet so I’ll have to get back to you on that. There are some great tulsi teas on the market – they don’t taste like the sweet basil, just a soft lovely herb.

Sharp and spicy (yet sweet), basil helps clear the head and open the mind. It is referred to in aromatherapy as a “cepahilc” oil, which means pertaining to the head. It is a very powerful clearing oil, particularly effective when used in a vapouriser as an inhalation, or even when you are cooking! Making a fresh basil pesto is enough to make you feel refreshed and alive – especially when you use a mortar and pestle.

Basil is alluring - even to bees!

Basil is alluring – even to bees!

Basil essential oil is used for mental and physical fatigue and its anti-spasmodic properties make it ideal for treating menstrual problems and digestive disorders too.

* Sinus congestion, asthma and bronchitis are all soothed by basil.

* Fever can be treated effectively with basil.

* In the middle ages it was prescribed for melancholy and depression

So when you are feeling like you need some energy try basil oil for a quick pick-me-up. I’ll follow up with some recipes in the next article, but in the meantime buy a fresh bunch of basil instead of flowers and make sure you inhale the fragrance deeply. Get cooking with some basil and when you do, crush up a leaf in your fingers and allow the cooling fragrance to open your mind!

copyright suzanne




10 Recipes with Lemongrass Essential Oil- Cymbopogon citratus

Delicious lemongrass

Delicious lemongrass

Lemongrass belongs to the Poaceae family (the grasses), and its genus is Cymbopogon. Other plants you may know in this family are palmarosa, citronella and vetiver (same family different Genus).

Commercially lemongrass essential oil comes from Cymbopogon citratus and Cymbopogon flexuosis, some of my suppliers have both, and some only have one.

“East Indian lemon grass (Cymbopogon flexuosus), also called Cochin grass or Malabar grass (Malayalam: (inchippullu), is native to Cambodia, Vietnam, India, Sri Lanka, Burma, and Thailand, while West Indian lemon grass (Cymbopogon citratus) is native to maritime Southeast Asia.” Wikipedia

Recently I have seen more C. flexuosis on offer and I wouldn’t really be able to tell the difference unless I had both bottles to sniff at the same time. There are variations in chemical constituents however if you bought either you would be fine to use them in the recipes below.

An essential oil steam in the shower will do wonders for your mind and energy levels - pic via

An essential oil steam in the shower will do wonders for your mind and energy levels – pic via

1. Put A few Drops Of Oil into the bottom of the Shower

This works in a similar way to just taking a whiff straight from the bottle, but if you’ve got an extra minute, it will give you a completely different experience. Your whole body will be immersed in an essential oil steam.

With a lemongrass steam in the shower expect to feel uplifted, awakened, refreshed and ready to go. Some extra happiness may also randomly occur.

Nourish your body with a beautiful oil blend - pic via

Nourish your body with a beautiful oil blend – pic via

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”

“Pre Exercise Zinger”

When you need a bit of encouragement to get you going –

Lemongrass     2 drops

Rosemary         2 drops

Orange             4 drops


“After Exercise Soother”

Lemongrass       3 drops

Marjoram           2 drops

Lavender           2 drops


“Eye of the Tiger”

To give yourself some positive vibes for the day ahead –

Lemongrass                   3 drops

Cedarwood Virginiana    2 drops

Rosewood                     3 drops


Anoint yourself with pure essential oil blends

Anoint yourself with pure essential oil blends

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!

“Energy NOW!”

Lemongrass    1 drop

Basil                1 drop

Geranium         1 drop


“After Work Before a Dinner Date”

Refresh and revitalize –

Lemongrass        1 drop

Petitgrain             1 drop

Nutmeg               1 drop


“It’s Gonna Be a Bumpy Ride”

To help with travel sickness –

Lemongrass        1 drop

Ginger                 1 drop

Peppermint          1 drop


oil burner

A classic oil burner with a candle helps to remove and transmute unwanted energy

4. Scent Your Space

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


Lemongrass     8 drops

Peru Balsam     9 drops

Cinnamon         8 drops


“A Night of Intrigue and Love”

Lemongrass        6 drops

Ylang Ylang         6 drops

Mandarin             6 drops

Sandalwood        6 drops


“Sunny Sunday”

The perfect scent for a Sunday afternoon –

Lemongrass          8 drops

Bergamot            10 drops

Cedarwood Atlas   7 drops


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

copyright suzannerbanks 2013




Lemongrass – A Universal Scent and “All Seasons” Essential Oil

Delicious lemongrass

Delicious lemongrass

Just look at the pic above. Lemongrass appears to be a substantial, almost “meaty” root. The essential oil of lemongrass definitely has a substantial scent, and I would dare say is one of the more popular oils. In general, men like the deep gutsy scent, women adore the verve and vitality and kids and pets resonate with it’s fresh yet syrupy energy. It is a universally appealing oil and is accessible and inexpensive.

Lemongrass is a great oil for energising and creating energy where there is lack. In cooking lemongrass gives a zingy, lemony bite to a dish. I often use the oil with clients when they are lacklustre. It’s like the giddy-up oil. The get-going oil.

So fresh and green!

So fresh and green!

Lemongrass is great for summer to ward off insects – just put some drops straight onto your skin to keep away the mosquitoes.

Lemongrass is great for winter as it helps to start you up on a cold morning.

Lemongrass is fantastic for spring to clear away the cobwebs of winter.

Lemongrass is wonderful for autumn as a mood enhancer when you realise summer is coming to an end.

Goodbye summer ...

Goodbye summer …

The main active ingredient in lemongrass is citral. Then there’s lots of other little helpers including geraniol, limonene and nerol. Can you guess what other oils these belong too? If you said geranium, lemon and neroli you are right. These molecular structures are found in other oils too. Each essential oil has its own character that is created by different chemical consituents but it’s hard to pinpoint the magic. It’s all about the old adage “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts”. This refers to the energetic presence an entity has. You can break down a plant into scientific measurements, but its the synergistic combination of all the little molecules that makes it unique. With essential oils, their uniqueness is their scent.

The scent of lemongrass can been described as lemony, herbaceous & strong. A little goes a long way. It’s a very tropical scent and is grown in hot areas in Asia and Africa. Perfect for bringing the warmth of the tropics into your life.

In Aromatherapy today lemongrass is used –

* for clearing the mind

* as a tonic for exhasution

* in a treatment when someone is recovering from sickness or is post viral

* to aid digestion

* for aching muscles and an aching body

Try a few drops in the shower for an awakening steam treatment or making an energising essential oil body blend. Stay tuned for more recipes!

Remember to treat yourself first, then everyone will benefit.

copyright suzanne