Monday, February 27, 2012

"Yardley" Lavender?

Was reading an article about industrial uses of essential oils, and came across the following, which fascinated me:

",,,in 1620, an Englishman, named Yardley, obtained a concession from King Charles I to manufacture soap for the London area. Details of this event are sparse, other than the high fee paid by Yardley for this privilege. Importantly, however, Yardley's soap was perfumed with English lavender, which remains the Yardley trademark today, and it was probably the first case of use of an essential oil as a fragrance in large-scale soap production."1

I just remember loving English Lavender soap, years ago, before I ever knew what an essential oil was...and buying it whenever I could find it in my travels. Some got used, some got stashed in bureau drawers to scent the contents.  No wonder I love our English Lavender essential oil...it's a "memory of days gone by"   If you, too, are or were a lover of Yardley's English Lavender soap, we have the secret!

(I also wondered why their labels read "since 1770" if they received the concession in 1620? The Yardley website has a timeline explaining that. ) 

1. Industrial Uses of Essential Oils, W. S. Brud in "Handbook of Essential Oils Science, Technology, and Applications" Ed. by K. Husnu CanBaser and Gerhard Buchbauer, CRC Press, 2010.

Out of Season - Gifts - and Gratitude

Out of season - but delightful!
Every year, early in December, we receive an Amarylis plant from a wonderful client in a state east of us.  We watch it grow tall, and sometime during the last week of December we are graced by its stunning blooms.  After they fade we store it away in the dark, following directions, in hopes that it might bloom next year. Often, it does.

Our plants need a calendar this year.  Both our small Christmas Cactus, and the peppermint stick Amaryllis from Christmas past have chosen to bloom this week. Out of season delights!

Today we had yet another cause for gratitude.  Two weeks ago, when I blogged about our new Indonesian Sandalwood I mentioned not having any of our aged Mysore Sandalwood to compare it to.  My memory said it was close, but I couldn't compare it.

Some of our clients have been with Nature's Gift since the 90's, when we first went online. Some of them purchased our Mysore Sandalwood in the late 90's when we offered it. One of them, Susan, from Carbondale IL,  sent us a small vial of 1999 Mysore Sandalwood.  The postman delivered it this morning. What a glorious start to my week!

What a gift!!!  This oil is truly priceless.  I don't know how much Susan has,  but if she isn't using and enjoying it on a daily basis, it should be locked in a safe deposit box. It is that valuable. 

And what makes it an even better gift - we all agree that yes, our Indonesian Sandalwood is so very close aromatically to this aged treasure.  I'm glad that my memory served me so well.   But even gladder for the clients who reach out and "give back."

A friend talks about a speaker who, in the middle of her talk, looked around the room and said "isn't it grand to be us!"

Today I echo that unknown speaker. It is TRULY grand to be us!!!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Indonesian Sandalwood

I never knew Sandalwood trees grew in Indonesia, nor that Sandalwood Essential Oil was distilled there.

It is.  And apparently if you know the right people,  essential oil distilled from roots and heartwood.

A month or more I was sent a wee sample, and it was love at first sniff.  Deep and mysterious.   So much Sandalwood these days is sweet and smooth but light. This is deep, mysterious, evocative, the ultimate masculine oil. 

In the early '90's, when we could still procure Mysore Sandalwood with some confidence that it was "the real thing" a friend in the industry sent me a dram of Mysore Sandalwood distilled in 1942.    It was magnificent.  Deep, mysterious, magical.  Amazing stuff.  That small sample has, forever after, been the benchmark to which I compared all other Sandalwood specimens.  Some I received measured up.  Our almost legendary Tamil 2002;  the Tamil 2006 was not close, but obviously from the same family.

This amazing new Indonesian oil is if not a direct decendant, then a very close cousin of that so well aged Mysore, close to 70 years old.

I have read that Indonesia was the origin of the Sandalwood trees grown in India for the past 2000 years, that they originated in Timor, and were taken to India in hopes that they would flourish.  How did I not learn this years ago?  How did I never experience Sandalwood from Timor, from Eastern Indonesia? I've led a deprived life!


The Indonesian Government/Forest Service is responsible for the islands' Sandalwood trees.  The people of Timor believe that those who cut the Sandalwood tree illegally will not have a peaceful life.  We hope that these measures will be sufficient to preserve these beautiful trees, and prevent the poaching and black market activities that have made true Mysore Sandalwood unavailable.

Santalum album  Hydrodistilled from roots and heartwood in Spring, 2011.  What this amazing oil will mature into remains to be seen.  It may be the aromatic investment of a lifetime.  Coming soon to a website near you. (We have to pour and label it first.)

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Vitex Essential Oil: For Women Only


by Christi R. Pugh
for Nature's Gift Inc.

Menstrual irregularities are often a source of great frustration for women, & the choices available for treatment are not always the most desirable. An interesting “women’s” oil available for use in aromatherapy is Vitex agnus castus from the leaves and/or berries of the Vitex Tree, also known as Chaste Tree or Chasteberry of the Verbenaceae family of plants native to the Mediterranean.

For many years the herb has been used mainly as a tincture with success but more recently, the essential oil has been studied for its reported ability to balance estrogen-progesterone in females: those having menstrual difficulties such as PMS or those experiencing menopausal symptoms. Vitex is a key component of our Passages blend of essential oils.

It is particularly helpful where an overabundance of estrogen is present, it seems, helping alleviate painful periods & PMS symptoms such as severe cramping, hormonal headaches and/or hot flashes & night sweats for those experience menopause or perimenopause. The oil may be used stand alone via inhalation from the bottle or an inhaler or in a low dilution in a lotion or crème, & some have experimented with internal use of one drop a day which so far has shown no adverse results, according to Dr. Kurt Schnaubelt in Medical Aromatherapy. (If you use Vitex internally the gentler Vitex Leaf is a better choice than the Berry, we believe.) We also offer Vitex Hydrosol (floral water) which the distiller recommends at one half teaspoon per day in a bottle of water, eventually increasing intake to up to one tablespoon per day as needed.

Not for use by men, pregnant women, or by those taking birth control pills. For individuals on Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT), a recalibration of dosage might be necessary once you begin using Vitex. As with any essential oil, please keep pertinent safety concerns, cautions, & warnings in mind before use.

For more information on other blends & oils recommended for women see http://www.naturesgift.com/aromatherapy_women.htm.