A Walk through the Herb Garden

Spending an afternoon in the Herb Garden in the Royal Botanic Gardens ,Sydney was a sheer delight. Even just the little signs with the herbs and plants make me feel good. Herbs, fruits and flowers have been our food and medicine for centuries, give or take a millennia. Here are some pics …


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lovely lemongrass


Ah the beautiful lemon!

A culinary delight – Vietnamese mint


Tumeric! The anti-inflammatory wonder plant


Thyme is not vulgar! Hehe but very antiseptic 


Melissa is a strong anti-stress herb

Citrus aurantium is bitter orange


remember with rosemary


Oregano is often used as an antibacterial oil and herb


the one and only – Lavender is actually a herb

I can never get enough citrus!

Me with a shard of sunlight right through my third eye chakra


Take a walk in nature it will do you the world of good.

Plants are healers!


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




Cleanse Your Space with Essential Oils – Prepare for a New Year

Orange And Lemon Peels - pic via www.mindbodygreen.com

Orange and lemon peels help cleanse and clean your space – pic via http://www.mindbodygreen.com

As we are coming to the end of another year on earth it is a wonderful ritual to do some cleaning and get organised, so new energy and abundance can flow into your life in the new year. Even if it’s just cleaning out the kitchen cupboards it can have positive flow-on effects. I’ll be cleaning and tidying my bedroom in detail, and doing a good tidy-up all around.

And what better little helpers to employ but essential oils? Once your tidying is done the most fun part starts – the cleaning (ugh)! I add essential oils to warm soapy water to do all the surfaces and objects, and do the same with the water for mopping. It’s like having an aromatherapy treatment while you clean. Most essential oils will work well but there are a few that are standouts when it comes to cleaning. These oils will have an energetic cleansing effect as well as a great scent, and will help dissolve dirt and collect dust.

To a bowl of soapy water just adds ome essential oils - pic via mossymossy.com

To a bowl of soapy water just add  some essential oils – pic via mossymossy.com

Eucalyptus – a good oil remover, dissolves sticky stuff, helps you breathe deeply and works against stuffy sinuses. It breaks down unwanted, thick energy and has a clarifying and stimulating scent.

Tea tree - pic via www.eranurseries.com.au

Tea tree – pic via http://www.eranurseries.com.au

Tea Tree – wonderful for an anti-bacterial wash on surfaces. This fabulous Australian native as an enlightening cleansing effect on the soul, and has been used by some Aboriginals in smoking ceremonies, which purge the bad spirits.

Juniper – a light, spicy oil to clear teary emotions and any type of sadness hanging around. I love using this oil for surfaces in the bedrooms because of it’s enchanting and clear scent.

Lemon – can be used from kitchen benches to the bathroom to give you a bright, happy feeling to your home. It is such a simple oil but has so many great qualities for cleaning, including a lightness and sweetness that appeals to everyone. Or you could just use the lemon rind or whole lemon with some bi-carb soda or salt for benches and bathrooms.



Lemongrass – another lemony scented oil to wash away the old. It’s a lot stronger than lemon but when you mop and clean with this oil you’ll be keeping away the insects too!

Grapefruit – pink or white grapefruit will work but the scent is very subtle. It’s hard to vapourise this scent well too, as it is so light it will fly away. Remember the energy is still there and grapefruit is the classic cleanser oil. I use grapefruit mostly in body oil blends for this purpose – when someone needs a gentle cleanse.

Pine – fresh, clean and a little herbaceous too this oil is a great cleaner, and makes room for more inspiration to come flooding in. To be creative in your new life next year you’ll need to allow inspiration to come to you, and when you have a clean home you have a clean mind too!



Thyme – when you need the big guns of anti-bacterial oils thyme is your friend. Along with oregano these oils are a great disinfectants but beware  USE WITH CAUTION  because the scent is so strong. Mix a little thyme with some lavender and orange and you are in business baby! In fact I’m going to use that combo this arvo (Australian slang for afternoon. “This arvo”, or even “s’arvo” mean “this afternoon”).

Lavender – use it liberally as it will work as a cleaner and will also bring a sense of solidarity and calm to your space. In the wars of the past some hospitals in France used lavender and thyme to clean everything. And of course they worked amazingly!

Don’t worry too much about quantities of oils to soapy water I just chuck them in. You really only need to be careful when you are using them on your body and for those ratios see my latest article here.

I was speaking with a cleaner at a wedding last month and we got talking about essential oils and cleaning. She wanted some advice about how to use them in her work with the specific intention of her clients being able to smell the essential oils when they arrived home from work. She was particularly interested in orange oil because she had seen it in supermarket brand cleaners. I explained to her that they may disappear before the client comes home – just because they are natural doesn’t mean they will be long-lasting – in fact it’s the opposite. The citrus oils will tend to disappear first as they have simple molecular structures so it’s good to mix them with a heavier oil like lemongrass or even cedarwood. Don’t be afraid to use lavender either that will work well with the citrus oils.

Happy New Year my friends and thanks so much for connecting!

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

copyright suzannerbanks 2013

Really? Perfume for clothes? Yuck!

Scented washing liquid

Scented washing products

In the commercial for this product (a scented fabric softener), the gorgeous woman in her LBD (see my article on the LBD ), has run out of all her glamourous perfumes. She looks everywhere. I think she lives in Paris and wears designer clothes. She’s wearing stockings with a seam at the back and maybe she’s going out for an intimate dinner. Oh no, what is she going to do without her perfume? Here’s a brilliant idea…… take off your dress and wash it with this fragrant product – just like perfume for your clothes. NO!!!!!!

Have you ever smelled these vile, toxic, synthetic, over-scented products? They are so strong and so false, they exude out of the container and assault you when you are walking down the laundry isle in the supermarket. It’s not just this particular brand, but many brands. Clearly I can’t stand them. Any of them. My recommendation is to buy an unperfumed washing soap, and if you really feel you need some fragrance, chuck in a few drops of lemon or eucalyptus essential oil. Or even just the juice of a lemon – and squeeze the rind into the juice too (as this contains the essential oil).

the lovely lemon

the lovely lemon

We have completely gone overboard with synthetic fragrance. It screws with our sense of smell and interferes with healthy living. It prevents us from turning scent into valuable information. It dominates over the beauty of nature and our divine natural connection to the earth. Chemicals are absorbed and stored by our bodies – is it any wonder that western society has sickness and disease? Don’t for one minute think that a little bit of perfume won’t harm you. Extended exposure to toxicity within and without, is bad.

So what could have our glamourous lady from the ad, scented her beautiful skin with? In a couple of minutes our lady –

* could have found some citrus fruit, cut some rind, and squeezed the essential oil on her skin and hair – grapefruit, lemon, lime, orange, mandarin.

the amazing vanilla pod

the amazing vanilla pod

* could have used some vanilla extract from the cupboard and dabbed a little on her wrists, behind her ears. Or rubbed a vanilla pod on her wrists.

* could have bought or picked a single scented flower for her hair

Billie Holliday with gardenias in her hair

Billie Holliday with gardenias in her hair

* could have ground up some black pepper, cinnamon or any spice with a little oil, and used that as a perfume. How delicious would a little bit of nutmeg and pepper be?

I’m sure you can think of a few more too. But if she didn’t have the scented fabric softener she probably could have sprayed her highly toxic, scented deodorant all over her – yep that would have worked!

Hey – instead of fabric softener use half a cup of bi-carbonate of soda. It works and you can always add some essential oils to the mix.

Please be mindful, and informed. Choose wisely.

Aussie Blue Sky – Aussie Blue Cypress

Sydney summer sky

Sydney summer sky

You’d be forgiven for thinking that the blue pic above, was just a picture of blue. I took this, this afternoon lying on Maroubra beach – it’s a picture of a clear blue Sydney summer sky! I felt so fortunate today. I’d just finished doing the last of the Chopra Centre 21 Day Meditation Challenge about abundance and as I opened my eyes this is what I saw.

The feeling of freedom was overwhelming.

Then I thought “cypress”.

Then I thought “Australian blue cypress”. Callitris intratropica.

This oil is not very well-known but its absolutely stunning. It comes from the trees that grow in the Northern Territory, the wood and bark being resistant to insects. It is native to the area of the mainland and also the Tiwi Islands. The Tiwis’s are Melville and Bathurst Islands and they have a magic and special energy. It is claimed that the islanders have been living here for at least 20,000 years or more. Just like our other indigenous peoples, these civilisations have actually been around for much, much longer.

The trees grown in sustainable plantations and have various uses, one being the essential oil that is distilled from the wood.

Australian Blue Cypress sneakily borrowed from  griffith.edu.au

Australian Blue Cypress sneakily borrowed from griffith.edu.au

The blue colour comes from the active ingredient “Guaiazulene” which is similar to “chamazulene” in German Chamomile. This is the anti-inflammatory component of the oil, and one of the most obvious. It is dark blue, almost inky and has a spicy, woody fragrance. It’s is quite thick and heavy too.  I remember being at a conference years ago and someone presented this oil as wonderful for lung infections. Any kind of disorder that requires cooling and soothing could be used with Blue Cypress. It still isn’t really classified as an essential oil as the regulating body in Australia hasn’t recognised it’s therapeutic qualities yet.

Australian Blue Cypress is a more expensive oil as the yield is quite low, and it takes a long time to distill.

I sometimes use it as a grounding, centering treatment when a client is overwhelmed or heated up with stress. It is powerful. I always say all oils go with all oils, but this cypress lends itself to lighter sweeter oils like lemon, orange, geranium, rose geranium, rose and anything you can think of really.

If you ever see it, it is worth a try. What about 1 drop on your wrists as a connection to the mysterious, wondrous time of the last world age.

The Loveliness of Lemons

Mum’s lemon tree with the washing hanging on it

I love lemons because they are an adaptable fruit. Seemingly originating from Asia around the start of the common era, they were probably used in some form or another before then. Anyway they’ve been around for ages (literally) and my friend connects them to his medieval past life. Once he came to my house with a gift of oranges and I returned his gift with some organic lemons off Mum’s lemon tree (see pic). He said “oooooo that’s so medieval”.

Lemon juice can be used in all types of cooking; on salads, in baking, jams and marmalades, as a drink and whenever you can think of lemon flavor.

You can use the juice as a bleach to remove stains from clothing, as a cleaner mixed with bi-carb soda, as a disinfectant on kitchen benches and the list goes on.

When Martha Stewart was on Oprah she lamented the one thing she missed in the big house, was lemons, as she drinks black tea with lemon everyday. I’ll never forget that, it stuck in my mind. She would be ingesting some of the juice which is alkalising, and some of the essential oil which can act as a digestive aid as well as adding flavor. Just like Bergamot is used as a flavor agent Earl Grey tea.

sneakily borrowed from proutils.github.com

Obviously lemon essential oil comes from the rind, and is a sparkly, light fantastically scented oil. I call it a happiness oil. How can you not smile when you take a huge whiff of the oil. It can make your mouth water too.

Lemon essential oil can be used for muscle fatigue among many things. I remember when studying, a massage therapist told me she used lemon juice in olive oil for sore muscles. You’d smell like a salad dressing but I love the simplicity of it. Thousands of years ago basic remedies like this were the only things available for sickness.

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.

All hail the lemon as a stalwart of modern living!

Lemon essential oil is like a treat for our crazy world. Enjoy the simple things in life with this gift from nature.