Essential Oils – Notes Descriptions

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Top Notes –

  1. BERGAMOT (top note)This tree belongs to the Rutaceae family. ‘The oil is expressed from the peel of the fruit off of the tree. Newly ripen fruit is picked in winter for the best oil. 100kg of fruit produce 1/2 kilo of oil, which ranges in colour from yellow to brownish green. Italy is the primary area it comes from, but Morocco and Guinea cultivates it too.

Other essential oils that work well with it are: cypress, jasmine, lavender, neroli, patchouli, and ylang-ylang.

  1. CLARY SAGE (top note) An herb from the Labiate family. Found most abundantly in Russia; France and Spain also have cultivated it. The essential oil comes from the flowers of the plant. It is very sensitive to the way it is grown.

Other essential oils that work well with it are: cedarwood, geranium, jasmine, juniper, and sandalwood.

  1. CLOVE (top note) An essential oil that comes from the flower beds of the tree of the Myrtaceae family. Zambia is the best known country to have the trees naturally; but Molucca Islands, the Indies and the Philippines all cultivate them.

Other essential oils that work well with it are: clary sage, juniper, peppermint, sage, and thyme.

  1. EUCALYPTUS, EUCALYPTUS LEMON, EUCALYPTUS PEP- PERMINT, EUCALYPTUS RADIATA (top notes) All are trees that belong to the Myrtaceae family. Essential oils are rich, being extracted from fresh leaves. The trees are abundantly growing in Australia, China, Brazil, Spain, Tasmania, and the S. (California).

Other essential oils that work well with these are: benzoin, lavender, peppermint, petitgrain, and pine.

  1. LEMON (top note) This tree belongs to the Rutaceae family. The essential oil is extracted from the rind of the fruit. Originally hand cared for in Sicily, this essential oil made Italy the centre of all the lemon oil Though prepared by machines, hand processing still makes the richest essential oil. By 1887, it was brought over from Europe to the U.S. (California) and later to Florida.

Lavender and neroli are just two of the many other essential oils that work well with lemon.

  1. LEMONGRASS (top note) This grass belongs to the Poaceae family. ‘The essential oil is extracted from the whole wild grass. Cultivated in some parts of Africa, Brazil, Madras, Sri Lanka and West Indies. It is harvested from mid-summer to mid-winter. It takes a great deal of lemongrass to extract the essential oil (ap- proximately 100 kilos to extract approximately 20 kilograms). With the colour similar to what dry sherry looks like, its natural aroma is very strong resembling a lemon.

Other essential oils that work well with it are: basil, cedarwood, geranium, jasmine, lavender, orange, and oregano.

  1. ORANGE (top note)This tree belongs to the Rutaceae family. The essential oil is extracted from the rind of the fruit. Two other essential oils (neroli and petitgrain) are obtained from this tree, but extracted from different parts. Originating in China, it is now cultivated in Brazil, France, Spain and the United States (California and Florida). Always make sure that the orange essential oil that you use is of top quality, A key test for this is its natural orange color.

Other essential oils that work well with it are: cedarwood, geranium, ginger, lemon, lime, neroli, and petitgrain.

  1. PEPPERMINT (top note)This herb belongs to the Labiate family. The essential oil is extracted from the whole plant. The flower tops create the better oil. Cultivated in China, England, throughout Europe, and in the United States. England has the reputation of providing the finest peppermint oils.

Other essential oils that work well with it are: benzoin, cedarwood, lemon, myrrh, rosemary (remember to use sparingly and NEVER during pregnancy), and tea tree.

  1. SAGE (top note) This herb belongs to the Labiate family. The essential oil is extracted from the sun-dried leaves and flower tops from the plant. The purer oil comes from the flower tops. Originating in the Mediterranean, it is cultivated in China. Its natural yellow colour tends to make one believe it will smell sweet, when in reality the aroma mimics camphor.

Other essential oils that work well with it are: lemongrass, sandalwood, and violet leaf oil.

  1. TEA TREE (top note) This tree belongs to the Myrtaceae family. The essential oil is extracted from the leaves and twigs of the tree. Cultivated in Australia, China, India, and Tasmania. Australia has the reputation of producing the best Although the name tea tree is misleading, it is not a tea, as we know tea to be.

Other essential oils that work well with it are: chamomile German, cypress, lemon, myrrh, neroli, and orange.

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Middle Notes –

  1. CHAMOMILE ROMAN ( middle note ) A herb distilled from Anthemis nobilis family of dried flowers. Found in Bulgaria, England, France, and Hungary.

It works well with the essential oils that work with the other chamomile (German).Its color is lighter and will change to yellow-brown color when exposed to light.

  1. GERANIUM (middle note) A plant belonging to the Anaceae family. Originated in Reunion (a French island Indian Ocean), it now flourishes in Algeria, China, France, Madagascar, Morocco, and Russia.

Other essential oils that work well with it are: clary sage, frankincense, lavender, rosemary (use VERY sparingly), and sage.

  1. GRAPEFRUIT (middle note) A tree belonging to the Rutaceae family. The essential oil is extracted from the rind of the fruit. Cultivated in Israel and the United States. It is a particularly wide-ranging oil.

There are almost too many other essential oils that work well with it to mention. It works well with most oils. Cedarwood, cypress, lavender, lemon, orange and parsley are just a few examples.

  1. LAVENDER (middle note)This plant belongs to the Labiate family. The essential oil is extracted from the flower tops of the plant. Often mixed with a close member of the same family- Lavandin-to make the oil. The lavandin yields a greater volume than that of the pure lavender. In the lavender plant, the flowers are very fragile, with their tiny star-like shape. Instead of seedlings, cuttings are replanted to cultivate the plant. Originally found in its best form in Provence. Other mountainous areas in England, and Tasmania cultivate the plants.

Other essential oils that work well with it are: carrot, chamomile German, clary sage, patchouli, pine, rose, and rosemary (remember to use sparingly, and NEVER during pregnancy).

  1. MARJORAM (middle note) This herb belongs to the Labiate family. The essential oil is extracted from the flower tops and leaves. Originating from Egypt, it is now widely cultivated in Spain, France, Germany, Hungary, and Portugal. If you purchase the essential oil from Spain, make sure to use its Latin name (origanum majorana), because the Spanish refer to their Spanish thyme (thymus mastichina) as “marjoram” and although it, too, is an essential oil, it is not the same oil, nor is it used for the same reasons.

Other essential oils that work well with it are: benzoin, bergamot, cypress, lavender, petitgrain, and rosemary (remember to use sparingly whenever selecting rosemary for any reason or blend).

Base Notes –

  1. CEDARWOOD (base note) This tree belongs to the Pinaceae family found in North America. The essential oil is extracted through steam distillation.

Other essential oils that work well with it are: bergamot, cypress, jasmine, juniper, neroli, and rosemary.

  1. FRANKINCENSE (base note) A tree that belongs to the Burseraceae family. Originated in East Africa, it has the longest history with Christianity and involved in stories relating the birth of Jesus.

Other essential oils that work well with it are: basil, camphor, geranium, lavender, neroli, orange, and pine.

  1. PATCHOULI (base note) A plant belonging tot he Labiate family. The essential oil is extracted from the young leaves. As the plant matures, it loses the ability to make the oil. Originated in the Philippines. It is cultivated in China, Indonesia, Madagascar, and Japan.

Other essential oils that work well with it are: bergamot, geranium, lavender, myrrh, and neroli.

  1. SANDALWOOD (base note)This tree belongs to the Santalaceae family. The essential oil is extracted from the heart of the centre of the tree. This means that the oil is only available when the tree is old and ready to be cut down. This has a direct impact on the price of the oil, due to its limited availability. It can take more than three decades for a tree to mature! The trees grow in India and Indonesia.

Other essential oils that work well with it are: benzoin, cypress, frankincense, juniper, neroli, palmarosa, rose bulgar, rose maroc, and ylang-ylang.

  1. YLANG-YLANG (base note) This tree belongs to the Annonaceae family. The essential oil is extracted from the blooming flowers of the trees. Early summer is when the flowers are best to harvest, although they are gathered year-round. There are several grades of oil, and the best and lightest molecular portions are taken away for expensive and exotic perfumes. The rest are then available for aromatherapy purposes. Unfortunately, these grades do not have as pleasant an aroma. Therefore, in aromatherapy, this essential oil does not have as wonderful an experience as the perfumes. Cultivated in the Comoro Islands, Indonesia and the Philippines. Manila has the reputation of creating the best ylang-ylang oils.

Other essential oils that work well with it are: bergamot, clary sage, frankincense, jasmine, lavender, lemon, neroli, orange, and sandalwood.

– Salon Ovations’ Guide to Aromatherapy by Shelley M. Hess

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