20 Good Reasons Lavender is the Superhero of Essential Oils

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20 Good Reasons Lavender is the Superhero of Essential Oils

Lavender at my local market

Lavender at my local market

The following is an excerpt from my book:

“Lavender – Singularly Spectacular for General Health”


If it all gets a bit too confusing, lavender is here to save the day. It’s the super hero of essential oils and here are 20 good reasons why:


1. It is a herb that has been used for perfumery and healing for centuries and is still thriving.


2. Lavender’s purple colour is related to the upper chakras, mainly the crown chakra which connects us with the universe and all the knowledge contained within its structure.


3. The perfect oil for use in first aid as it has properties of cell regeneration, anti-bacterial and anti-septic constituents. Perfect for cuts, grazes, falls and anytime first aid is required. Even rushing to someone’s aid with a little bottle of lavender can help shock and fright.


4. A great after sun oil and THE one indicated oil to use for any kind of burn.

lovely lavender

lovely lavender

5. Great for relaxing and inducing sleep.


6. It is calming and can be used for headaches and as an antidote for sadness and depression.


7. A wonderful tonic for the heart both physically and meta-physically.


8. It has warming and cooling properties and could be considered a balancing oil – an oil of evening things out. I call it the oil of solidarity.


Lavender backpackers in Akeroa NZ

Lavender backpackers in Akeroa NZ


9. Treats insect bites by immediately stopping the itching.


10. It’s easy to find and relatively inexpensive.


11. It’s grown and produced all over the world, each region giving its scent and quality to the oil.


12. Lavender oil can be inhaled as a steam for colds, coughs and sinus infections to relieve the symptoms.

wild lavender with buterfly

wild lavender with butterfly

13. It counteracts most kinds of pain – physical an emotional.


14. The herbaceous scent blends well with all other oils and can be used as the main part of a potion to provide a platform for all the other scents to project from.


15. The herb can be used in baking, in jams, in teas and in body products.


16. Children seem to like it – it tends to provide a sense of calm and security. It is also a powerful oil to use with the elderly to instill a sense of safety.

more gorgeous lavender

more gorgeous lavender

17. The essential oil is perfect for grounding and centering, using in spells and to help stimulate creativity.


18. It is wonderful to use if you need support and encouragement, and either don’t have anyone around to give that to you, or you’ve temporarily exhausted your own supply. Helps you to find the strength to carry on when times are tough.


19. Connects us to the great feminine power of Gaia.


20. One drop is enough to change your perspective from weak to strong.



Remember to treat yourself first, then everyone will benefit.

Check out my YouTube channel too, thanks.

copryright SR Banks 2015


10 Recipes with Rose Geranium – Pelargonium graveolens

Rose geranium - pic via commons.wikimedia.org

Rose geranium – pic via commons.wikimedia.org

So what is the difference between Rose geranium and Geranium?

Good question.

Both Rose geranium and geranium come from the same species. They are from the family Geraniaceae, the genus Pelargonium and then the species Pelargonium graveolens. It seems that the common name Pelargonium roseum is actually just another term for graveolens too.

But they do smell different! Rose geranium is a lot sweeter with a distinct rosey scent and geranium just smells like geranium. There are many different cultivars and it depends where the plants are grown as to what scent they have. The particular sweet rose scented flowers will be sold as Rose geranium and others as just geranium.

Just to add something else into the mix, hundreds of years ago the Island of Reunion was famous for their geranium which was called Bourbon geranium. It is thought that this could have been Pelargonium capitatum rather than, or as well as P. graveolens. Now the neighbouring island of Madagascar produces geranium which is called Bourbon, but it is  listed from my suppliers as coming from P. graveolens.

According to Marcia Elston http://www.wingedseed.com/blog/

“North Africa is a principal producer and includes the countries Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, Egypt. Most of the plant stock for North African development came from Grasse from P. graveloens or its hybrids; the French oil produced around Grass having the most rosaceous odor of all.”


Ok let’s get into some recipes!

Sexy black diffuser from puzhen.com

Sexy black diffuser from puzhen.com

1. Scent Your Space

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


Get the party started –

Rose geranium        8 drops

Orange                    8 drops

Cedarwood Atlas     5 drops

Patchouli                 4 drops


“Fresh Saturday House Cleaning Vibe”

Don’t avoid the housework any longer –

Rose geranium        7 drops

Lemongrass            7 drops

Juniper                    7 drops

Tea tree                   4 drops


“Cheer Up!”

Add some happiness –

Rose geranium                 5 drops

Mandarin                        10 drops

Ylang Ylang                      5 drops

Sandalwood Australian    5 drops



Rub oil into your body - it's good!

Rub oil into your body – it’s good!

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”

“Happy Days”

Get smiling in the morning –

Rose Geranium       3 drops

Lavender                 3 drops

Black spruce           2 drops



Get your cute on –

Rose geranium       3 drops

Peru balsam           3 drops

Vanilla CO2             1 drop   * see my article for more info on CO2 extracts What are CO2 Extracts in the World of Aromatherapy?


“I Like Life”

Rose geranium   2 drops

Palmarosa          2 drops

Rosemary           2 drops

Lemon                2 drops


get any cute little dish to mix your oils in

get any cute little dish to mix your oils 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!

“Yee ha Lets Go!”

Rose geranium   1 drop

Black pepper      1 drop

Basil                   1 drop


“Lollipops and Laughs”

Acknowledge your inner child –

Rose geranium   1 drop

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


“Sweet AND Determined”

You can do it –

Rose geranium     1 drop

Nutmeg                1 drop

Lime                     1 drop


“First Class”

You are the Queen –

Rose Geranium    1 drop

Rose 3%              3 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

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


Palmarosa – Soft Skin and Happiness

palmarosa pic via choicehealthmag.com

palmarosa pic via choicehealthmag.com

I’ve used this lovely oil with clients a few times in the past couple of weeks. It blends well with so many oils and adds a green, fresh and slightly rosey scent to a formula. This is a relative newcomer to aromatherapy and doesn’t really have a rich colourful history like the spice oils, but is a wonderful addition to a collection. This gorgeous grass originally hails from India and is sometimes known as East Indian geranium. It’s also grown in Madagascar and the Comoro Islands. Although I can’t really find out a lot about this lovely oil I assume, like lemongrass, it has been used in India as a part of their Ayurvedic lifestyle and natural way of treating disorders in the body.

Palamarosa (Cymbopogon martini) is a grass like lemongrass and citronella, and belongs to the same family – Graminae (or Poaceae). This is the family of ‘true grasses”. There’s also a gingergrass plant that creates an essential too, and that is quite close to palmarosa as it is a variation of the plant – Cymbopogon martini var. sofia. One of my suppliers offers gingergrass oil and although I don’t use it therapeutically is has a beautiful soft scent. Maybe I’ll do a story on that oil soon.

Back to palmarosa – which is an oil often used in cosmetics and soaps to enhance the scent and add an inexpensive rose scent to the product.

Rosa centifolia - another rose used to make essential oil

Rosa centifolia

I’ve always used palmarosa as a skin conditioning oil and one of it’s main components is geraniol so that may give you a hint too, as geranium is a great oil for the skin. However it’s interesting to note that geranium only contains about a third of the amount of geraniol than palmarosa! And while we are on the geraniol track, lemongrass has a high content of geranial – a different molecule with slightly different carbon bonds (with a similar function).

In aromatherapy today palmarosa is used for

* hydrating the skin and hair

* as a stimulant for skin cell growth therefore working well on scar tissue and the uneven appearance of skin

* as a tonic to the digestive system

* as an insect repellent – just like lemongrass and citronella

* I use it as an oil for happiness and for flexibility in the emotions and thoughts

Try these combo’s –

Scent your space

Scent your space

1. Scent Your Space

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


Get your house in the mood for a lovely dinner

Palmarosa      10 drops

Mandarin         8 drops

Juniper            7 drops


“I’m Going to be Flexible on this Issue”

Palmarosa      8 drops

Rosemary       5 drops

Geranium       5 drops

Siberian Fir     7 drops


nourish your skin with oil blends

peru balper 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 articles “Ratios for Blending Essential Oils – A Reminder of the Basics” and  “Aromatherapy – It’s Easy as 1 2 3”

“Sweet and Soft”

Soften up your skin and add a little sweetness –

Palmarosa      3 drops

Peru Balsam   3 drops

Lavender       2 drops


“Gettin’ Vibed Up”

An oil blend to refresh and send you into the day with gusto –

Palmarosa     2 drops

Cinnamon     2 drops

Lemon          2 drops


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

copyright suzannerbanks 2013

Stop and Smell the Roses

Rosa damascena - the most used rose for oil production

Rosa damascena – the most used rose for oil production

Rose is a rose is a rose is a rose.

Gertrude Stein, 1935

Some say Gertrude Stein is referring to the rose like this to express her feeling that things are what they are. According to Wikipedia: “In Stein’s view, the sentence expresses the fact that simply using the name of a thing already invokes the imagery and emotions associated with it,..”

So when you say rose do you invoke the scent, or the colour, or everything? It is the most romanticised flower in history and appears in many poems, prose and plays. It is often associated with love and intimate moments of the heart.

Do you take time to stop and smell the roses? What is life if we don’t connect to its beauty at every turn? The scent of a beautiful rose is a true gift of nature which invites us to convene with the oneness of the universe in the now!

Rosa centifolia - another rose used to make essential oil

Rosa centifolia – another rose used to make essential oil

I never buy a rose that doesn’t have a scent – to me that’s the most important part. Isn’t it a wonderful thing when you enter your house to be greeted by the natural perfume of roses? Essential oil of rose is made by either steam distillation or as an absolute (where the scent is extracted into a fat and then lifted by a solvent). I tend not to buy absolutes as there seems to be a heavy chemical intervention and I’d rather have my oils extracted in the simplest way.

Rose oil is a complex arrangement of hundreds of molecules, some of which have still not been identified. No wonder it is referred to as the “Queen of Oils”.  We know Cleopatra used roses in her beauty regime, and it is claimed she used rose petals in her boudoir to seduce Marc Anthony from the Roman Empire. The Romans used roses too, and the mention of roses appear in Christian, Buddhist and Confucian literature. Roses are seen in Asian motifs dating back to 3000 BC. It seems as though commercial production of rose oils and rose by products can be traced to Persia in the 10th century. The oil was referred to as “attar of roses” or “rose otto”, which is a term still used today.

Rosa gallica - a sub species named "James Mason"

Rosa gallica – a sub species named “James Mason”

So what can we use use rose oil for?

* use rose oil to help with any heat or infection in the body (you would put a few drops into some carrier oil and smooth it on the face and body –  a great treatment for any illness)

* use this rose body oil to help take the sting out of eczema and psoriasis

* a drop on the temple to relieve stress and tension and counteract a headache

* a great oil for attending to grief (use it a single drop on the heart chakra or in a personal mist or room mist)

* a drop added to your facial oil or cream will refine your skin and give you one of the most powerful aromatherapy treatments in the world. You will feel soft, unruffled, connected to the universe and ready to be the Queen of your world

* a few drops of rose oil in an oil burner will create a scented paradise of peace and calm so it’s great for upset children, the elderly and even pets (if you are using 3% in jojoba it’s not really suitable for an oil burner – you will need to buy the pure oil)

* a drop or two in the right place, as a perfume, will do amazing things for your self esteem as rose is the oil of self-love and nurturing

When buying rose oil you will mostly find it comes in a 3 % dilution in jojoba oil and this is simply because it is a premium oil and is very expensive. Even if you buy wholesale, pure rose oil can cost hundreds of dollars. It is precious!

Remember, treat yourself first then everyone will benefit!


copyright suzannerbanks 2013

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!

Macadamia Oil – the scent of CAKE!

Macadamia integrifolia

Macadamia integrifolia

I’ve just been on holidays in the Northern Rivers district of NSW, which claims hundreds of kilometres of beautiful beaches, rainforests, waterfalls, divine weather, great food, tea plantations, a huge tea tree plantation used to produce fantastic Australian Tea Tree oil  and lots of Macadamia farms. MMMMMMMMM….. macadamias. The Macadamia trees are native to Australian rainforests and were “discovered” by white botanists in the mid 1800’s. They come from the Proteacae family, the genus name “macadamia” being coined by a German botanist after his colleague John Macadam. According to Wikipedia this tree may also go by the common names “macadamia, macadamia nut, Queensland nut, bush nut, maroochi nut, queen of nuts and bauple nut; Indigenous Australian names include gyndl, jindilli, and boombera”. I’ve just read an article also claiming local Aborigines from this area call the tree “kindal kindal”.

They are a gorgeous little round nut with wonderful health properties which include:

* 83% (typical value) of monounsaturated fats – the healthier fats that may help in lowering blood cholesterol. It also has the most balanced ratio of Omega 3 to Omega 6 fatty acids of any oil.

*  significant levels of protein and all the essential amino acids

* many antioxidants including Vitamin E as tocopherols and tocotrienol, epicatechin (which is the principal antioxidant in tea), the amino acids methionine and cysteine and the mineral selenium.

* Macadamias also contain phytosterols (plant sterols) believed to lower total serum cholesterol and the undesirable low density cholesterol. I’ve just read an article where the author claims “Research from Australia’s Newcastle University has shown that a balanced diet supplemented daily with macadamias can help lower blood cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease.”

Right so they are good for you ok?

But what about using macadamia oil for health and beauty externally? The reason this is on my mind is not only the fact that I I’ve seen loads of little macadamia farms, but also that I’ve been visiting my “aunty” from childhood, Wendy. Wendy is at home in palliative care being looked after by her son and daughter, their families and the district nurses and doctors. To my absolute surprise, one of the doctors actually prescribed grapefruit essential oil in macadamia oil to smooth on her legs to help prevent oedema. I was so happy when I heard this and even though I would probably use cypress and juniper oils over grapefruit (and even fennel oil), I was very happy.

So why did the doctor choose macadamia oil rather than almond oil, or sunflower oil? It’s probably because he is lives in an environment where it is a native. Great work doc!

I must say I don’t use a lot of macadamia oil for body oil blends because it is very viscous (thick) and has a distinct scent. Whenever you mix an essential oil into it, it smells like cake. Now I know that can’t be bad, but it never quite works for me. I would be inclined to use it as a hair tonic, rather than a body oil but I encourage you to have a go. I have also used the oil in cream products where it forms part of a formula but it’s not overwhelming.

Most cold pressed carrier oils have anti-oxidants and other nutrients so they are quite comparable therapeutically. I tend to use the carrier oils that have a more neutral scent and that are a little thinner in consistency. So if you have some why not try making a blend with it, and if you don’t like it you can use the oil in cooking.

sneakily borrowed from informedfarmers.com

sneakily borrowed from informedfarmers.com

Long live the macadamia!