Juniper – A Three Word Buzz

Hello natural beauties and scent lovers from all over the world! I absolutely love juniper and often go through stages of wanting and needing it all the time. It’s crisp, clean and fresh and in aromatherapy is used as an astringent for oily skin, to help with joint pain and rheumatism, as a diuretic and can be seen as a gentle detoxifier. I often use juniper to cleanse and release heavy, watery emotions. It’s made from the gorgeous purple berries of the juniper bush – Juniperus communis.

And of course juniper’s real claim to fame is its integral part in gin. I have been known to accidentally ask for a “juniper and tonic” once (possibly twice) before.

 There’s one thing for sure, this oil has a distinct and delightful scent, and here are some Australian perfumers and “noses” to give you their 3 word buzz on this unique oil.



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juniper berries


Who are you and what are your 3 words for juniper oil?




Suzanne Banks from banksbotanicals:

sophisticated, clean, tangy




Portia Turbo from Australian Perfume Junkies:

crisp, invigorating, astringent




gin and tonic – with a crisp rosemary garnish




Kim Landsdowne-Walker from Temp L D’or:

uplifting, rosy, flowing






Julie Nelson from Julie Nelson, Artisan Perfumer:

expansion, inner strength, wisdom




juniper is crisp like a walk in the forest




Tonia Walker from IME Natural Perfume:

summer evenings, detoxifying, light






Candace Gabelish from Pearl Perfumery:

bracing, herbaceous, uplifting




The Results – from most popular to least:

  1. uplifting
  2. invigorating
  3. light, crisp, clean
  4. detoxifying
  5. bracing
  6. expansive, inner wisdom
  7. herbaceous, tangy

So I’ll give you an extra hint – this oil is fantastic for lightening up your mood and detoxifying from negativity. It is cleansing and clearing and great to use in a perfume or oil blend to bring a sense of clarification. It is clean and crisp and blends well with so many other oils.

This is a beautiful oil! Do you love it?


The Start of the Vlog!


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

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and many other stores worldwide as a Kindle and Paperback

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




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

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

Amazon USA      Amazon AU      Amazon UK


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



The Divine Scent of Roman Chamomile Essential Oil

Anthemis nobilis - a classic illustation from Kohler's Medicial Pflanzen

Anthemis nobilis – a classic illustration from Kohler’s Medicinal Pflanzen

I have brushed over the chamomiles previously but would love to go into more detail about Roman chamomile. You can check out my previous blog Softly and Gently with the Chamomiles, but lets go into the world of this special, petit fluer in this article.

As with many plants this chamomile has a couple of botanical names – Anthemis nobilis or Chamaemelum nobile. Either way you can pick up that it is considered a nobile plant – distinguished by rank and manner. It is part of the Asteracae family (daisies) and the genus Chamaemelum. I’ve always loved daisies because they are so sweet, simple and pretty. This chamomile also has a very pretty scent and the essential oil is magnificent! For a small flower the scent is BIG!

This scent greatly differs from the other chamomile used in Aromatherapy – German chamomile – which is much darker in colour, darker and heavier in scent too. Our beautiful little “Roman” daisy will appeal to everyone from kids to the elderly, and even our pets.

Chamomile - sweet flower, sweet scent

Chamomile – sweet flower, sweet scent

It’s hard to tell the chamomiles apart as a flower but the German chamomile tends to have a more prominent pointed centre with leaves pointing downward, whereas the Roman chamomile flower is generally more balanced and larger, with a flat centre and daisy-like leaves. This is a generalisation and I’m sure the gardeners out there will have something to say about that!

In Aromatherapy today Roman chamomile is used;

* for stomach cramps as it is a great anti-spasmodic

* as a stomach calming oil in general

* as a calming oil in all respects – both physically and mentally

* as a soothing tonic to overwrought emotions

* as a calming oil for children

* for headaches

* for period pain

* for any kind of cramping whether it be in the body, the emotions, the mind or the energetic body

* in body oil blends and treatments for red, inflamed skin

Roman chamomile - pic via

Roman chamomile – pic via

I find it difficult to describe scent but I would say that this oil is sweet and intoxicating, with honey-like tones. This is a description from Wikipedia –

“The word chamomile, and the genus name Chamaemelum come from the Greek χαμαίμηλον (chamaimēlon), “earth-apple”, from χαμαί (chamai), “on the ground” + μήλον (mēlon), “apple”, so-called because of the apple-like scent of the plant. “

I suppose it has an apple-like scent but at least this gives you an idea and also indicates how long this plant has been around.

According to

“Chamomile was known to the Romans and used for incense and in beverages. Ironically, the name ‘Roman Chamomile’ by which it is sometimes known, does not stem from this time, but from a rather arbitary naming of the herb in the 19th century by a plant collector who happened to find some growing in the Colleseum in Rome!”


This site also refers to the use of chamomile in Egypt for treatment of fever but as we know it was various monasteries throughout Europe who consolidated the use of many herbs in the Middle Ages and who’s recipes still exist today in alcoholic beverages and perfumes.

Old medicine = good medicine!

Stay tuned for some recipes with this stunning essential oil which is more commonly retailed in a 3% blend in jojoba. This way we can use it straight from the bottle and it makes a wonderful perfume on it’s own. Fore more info on 3% blends check out my story here.

copyright suzanne




Fennel Oil – Licorice Love

Fennel - Foeniculum vulgare

Fennel – Foeniculum vulgare

Fennel is a great oil and the plant itself has many medicinal uses. Back through history there are many references to the plant as being useful for improving eyesight, aiding digestion and also calming hunger, improving the flow of breast milk, helping to breakdown uric acid in the body and stimulating fluid loss through urinating.

Poets and herbalists have praised this wonderful plant, as did the Romans and the Greeks.

In “Paradise Lost” (a poem first published in ten books in 1667) Milton the English poet, refers the aroma of fennel:

A savoury odour blown,

Grateful to appetite, more pleased my sense

Than smell of sweetest Fennel.

A 17th Century herbalist, William Cole, notes in his 1650 book “Nature’s Paradise”:

‘both the seeds, leaves and root of our Garden Fennel are much used in drinks and broths for those that are grown fat, to abate their unwieldiness and cause them to grow more gaunt and lank.’

Illustration of a Roman army

Illustration of a Roman army

It’s interesting that both these English references are around the same time which indicates that fennel was well used in the 17th century in England. But before that there are tales of Roman soldiers chewing on fennel seeds on the march when there was no time for resting, or perhaps not much food available. They also regarded it as a medicine to improve eyesight.

It is claimed that the Greeks used fennel as a slimming agent and it even appears in their mythology with Prometheus using a stalk of fennel to steal fire from the Gods.
In India you may often find these delicious little treats to aid digestion – sugar-coated fennel seeds.
sugar coated fennel seeds

sugar coated fennel seeds

Today in aromatherapy we use the essential oil of fennel which is steam distilled from the seeds in much the same way as our predecessors did. Fennel oil is used for:
* stimulating regularity of menses
* helping digestion
* acting as a diuretic for fluid retention and bloating
* stimulating flow of mother’s milk
* relieving coughs by breaking down mucous and by acting as an expectorant
fennel flower

fennel flower

I use fennel oil for all these things and also for nurturing. It is a soft, rounded sweet oil and it blends well with many others. I call it “licorice love” which describes its energetic action of softness, of self-care and sweetness.
Try these recipes:
1. Scent Your SpaceIn a traditional oil burner with a candle or a diffuser add 25 drops of oil

“Be Kind”

Fennel        10 drops

Orange       10 drops

Geranium     5 drops


“Finally A Moment to Myself!”

Fennel        6 drops

Juniper      10 drops

Lavender    6 drops

Patchouli    3 drops


nourish your skin with oil blends

nourish your skin with oil blends

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 article “Aromatherapy – It’s Easy as 1 2 3”

“Oh The Pain”

to help relieve menstrual pain –

Fennel          3 drops

Peppermint  2 drops

Lavender      3 drops


“The Silence of Licorice”

To soften your tension and nerves –

Fennel                            2 drops

Bergamot                       3 drops

Roman Chamomile 3%  9 drops *

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


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

copyright suzannerbanks 2013

Nutmeg – A Spice Oil of Mysticism and Intrigue!

Nutmeg - Myristica fragrans

Nutmeg – Myristica fragrans

Just look at this gorgeous pod of deliciousness!

The red, almost brain-like cover is what mace is made from. The nutmeg we know and love, and use in cooking is hidden underneath. Isn’t nature wonderful? The colours are divine and the nutmeg seed is protected by layers of cellular material. This seed is part of the whole pod which is actually the fruit of this evergreen tree.

The nutmeg tree

The nutmeg tree

Like many spices and spice oils, nutmeg has a rich history spanning, in the very least hundreds of years, and probably even more. Originating from the Banda Islands, north of Timor and west of Papua New Guinea, the trade of this wonderful spice is traced as far back as the middle ages in Europe. You can imagine how long before this the islanders would have used this amazing plant.

In the 1600’s the Dutch East India Company ruled the spice trade and the beautiful islands. They staged a nasty takeover of the islands to absolutely rule and control the supply of nutmeg to the world. When the Brits took over they transplanted many of these nutmeg trees to other islands under British rule and because of this Grenada actually produces 20% of the world’s nutmeg supply. They even have an illustration of the nutmeg on their flag.

The flag of Grenada

The flag of Grenada

Our modern history is quite brutal really. Thank goodness we are now in a time of rapid evolution – the best time to employ essential oils to get us all to the next level of peace and harmony.

The essential oil of nutmeg is steam distilled from the seed and it is high in a-pinene (alpha pinene, b-pinene (beta pinene) and sabinine (also in black pepper oil); with many other constituents including camphene. We know that camphene (and other types of camphor molecules) are warming and stimulating constituents – and so is the oil of nutmeg.

The traditional uses of nutmeg include:

* to ease the symptoms of colds and flu

* as a tonic to warm the body

* as a treatment for all things digestive – to stimulate appetite, to treat nausea and vomiting and to generally stimulate the digestive fire

* as an anti-inflammatory agent especially in the treatment of arthritis and swelling of the joints

* to warm aching muscles and joints

The nutmeg spice is known as an hallucinogen due to a chemical constituent called elemecin, which Wikipedia claims is similar to the properties of mescaline. According to Salvatore Battaglia (an aromatherapist and author of a great book called “The Complete Guide to Aromatherapy”), this is lost in the distillation process and is not present in the oil.

Isn’t it interesting that the red mace covering of the seed looks like a brain – and that the seed can effect the brain, inspiring whacky mind visions!



I use this oil as a connection to spirit – as an awakening oil of the mind and the higher chakras. I find nutmeg oil to be expansive on all levels of our existence – the physical, the emotional, the mental and the spiritual. And just the fact that it’s called “myristica”, I always think of this oil as an agent of attaining our mystical existence, and accessing our mystical guides. I use this oil when I need to connect to universal intelligence.

Try these recipes:

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 – always patch test first!

“Sweet Release”

Allow divine guidance to enter your world

Nutmeg        2 drops * patch test first as nutmeg could be sensitising to the skin

Orange         1 drop


2. Scent Your Space

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

“Intergalactic Love”

Reach out into the universe with love

Nutmeg        10 drops

Rosewood     8 drops

Mandarin       6 drops


Remember to use your intention when you are blending, it will add to the creation process and also be an exercise in using your intuition.

copyright suzannerbanks 2013

Ginger – an Oil of Warmth and Movement

ginger - a fantastic food and oil

ginger – a fantastic food and oil

I used ginger oil in 2 treatments last week, and loved every minute of them.

Treatment 1

Rosemary, Ginger and Geranium

My intention for this blend was to create warmth in the muscles, and release muscle tension so there was more room for fluidity and movement.

The blend was stunning and the geranium was the little sweet treat the ginger and rosemary needed to be more appealing to the nose, and to add a little happiness and joy.

Treatment 2

Ginger, Rose Geranium and Orange

This blend was created to treat stomach upset and IBS. It was important to make ginger the star here, so I just added some rose geranium (because my client likes the scent, it’s a delightful flower oil that inspires joy, and I must have had it on my mind from the previous blend) and some orange for sweetness. Having bad digestion can indicate someone may not be enjoying and “digesting” life.

It must have been the ginger-geranium week and these two oils work really well together. So do ginger and orange!

Geranium in my street

Geranium in my street

So what is Ginger good for?

The ginger root is used for

– treating upset stomach and sea sickness

– making a hot drink with lemon and honey to reduce the symptoms of a cold

– warming the extremities by drinking ginger tea or taking a straight shot of ginger juice

The essential oil can be used for the same things physically, and in a meta-physical sense I use ginger oil to

– negate the colder/harder parts of my mind and thinking

– enhance my ability to communicate in a softer way

– help to focus on dharma and purpose in life

Here are some recipes to try:

Scent Your Space

In a classic oil burner or diffuser add these oils

“Joan of Arc”

To inspire your inner fire and find the purpose of your life;

Ginger               10 drops

Mandarin            8 drops

Peru Balsam      6 drops



To allow room for movement and change in your body (particularly heart chakra) and mind;

Ginger              10 drops

Rosewood         8 drops

Petitgrain           6 drops


Shower Steam

Open a bottle of ginger and pour 10 drops into the bottom of the shower (cover the drain with a cloth or your foot). Breathe in deeply. This will soften your emotions and help you feel compassion for others.

Good for before work, if you have any challenging stuff going on at the office.


Pure Pulse Point Perfume

Anoint your beautiful self with a few drops of oil. It’s a secret treatment for YOU, and YOU only.

Mix these oils together and dab on your wrists, heart, anywhere you are called to do so. If you are not sure ask the angels for guidance – they will silently place the answer in 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!

“Give Me Strength”

Garner a little extra energy for the day ahead;

Ginger            2 drops

Lavender        1 drop


“Kindness, Compassion and Baby Animals”

When YOU feel you need to show more compassion to another person;

Ginger                     1 drop

Rose in 3% jojoba   2 drops


Make ginger oil your friend and rejoice in the amazing results!

Remember to treat your self first, then everyone will benefit.

copyright suzannerbanks 2013

Softly and Gently with the Chamomiles

Roman chamomile Anthemis nobilis or Chamaemelum nobile

Roman chamomile Anthemis nobilis or Chamaemelum nobile

What a pretty flower! I always loved daisies as a child, and the chamomiles belong to this species called Asteraceae or Compositae. Chamomile is famous for it’s soothing nature and tranquil effects, and is used in both herbal medicine and aromatherapy alike. I’ve always thought of Aromatherapy as a specialist part of herbal medicine, powerful because it insists we use our sense of smell for healing and interacting with the world.

1. Roman Chamomile 

Anthemis nobilis or Chamaemelum nobile

This chamomile has a sweet honey like aroma, and appeals to many people because of this softness. Roman chamomile is usually found in a 3% jojoba blend because of its price. It is often overlooked in favour of German chamomile but please give it a try. It is one of those oils that gives an immediate reaction of bliss.

In aromatherapy Roman chamomile is the one used as an anti-spasmodic treatment, an tonic for unclenching, that may also help the smooth muscle of the gut relax. Also great for muscle spasm and tension and general fatigue and stress.

Best of all, I like to use Roman chamomile as a perfume straight from the bottle. No doubt people will be attracted to you when you wear this oil as you will smell divine and will be radiating a sense of calm and knowingness. Try these recipes

“Floatin’ on a Cloud”

For release of gripping tension and pain in the body make an oil blend with 3 teaspoons of carrier oil and add:

Roman Chamomile 3%      8 drops

Marjoram                           2 drops



As a pulse point perfume mix these drops together and anoint your chosen spot –  for attracting and resonating with a goddess-like energy

Roman Chamomile 3 %    3 drops

Rosewood                        2 drops


German chamomile - Matricaria chamomilla or Matricaria recutita)

German chamomile – Matricaria chamomilla or Matricaria recutita)

2. German Chamomile

This tiny little flower is a different genus to Roman chamomile and what sets it apart from most oils is its blue colour. During the distillation process, one of the consituents – chamazulene – is changed to give a deep blue hue to the oil. This oil is best used as an anti-inflammatory and works well with lavender in this sense. It is great for stress, anxiety, and any tension in the body. It is a strongly scented herbaceous oil and I would not say this is an oil to use as a perfume. Think BLUE – think COOLING! A good oil for joints and muscles as well as an over thinking mind. German chamomile is more readily found then Roman chamomile and will also be in a 3% jojoba blend. Try these remedies:


For a treatment of painful joints make an oil blend with 3 teaspoons of carrier oil, rub over the joint and cover with a bandage. Rest. Add these essential oils to create your treatment:

German chamomile  3%   8 drops

Lavender                          2 drops

Peppermint                       1 drop



After a stressful day stop your mind from over-processing by mixing the following into a little container and rubbing on your temples and third eye. Remember to put a little of the oil residue inside your nose to gain maximum benefit, and dilute with a few drops of carrier oil.

German Chamomile           2 drops

Orange                               2 drops


The chamomiles are your ancient tool for stress release.

Remember to use your intention when you make your blends to give extra power and personality to the formula.  For more information on intention see my article What Do I Mean when I Say “Use Your Intention”?

copyright suzannerbanks 2013