Monday, March 29, 2010

Alma Mater

Here is a postcard sent to me by my sister via epodunk a really fun website for country girls & redneck wannabes. This is from Oneonta, NY and is a quaint scene of women harvesting hops, infamous for it's soporific effect, so these ladies probably took a good hearty nap after their long work day! Oneonta is where I went to 'university' to study English, Art History & Anthropology - all in preparation for my career as an Aromatherapist (?)

Gretchen M.
Certified Aromatherapist
Adirondack Aromatherapy

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Perfume Organ, Grasse

This is a 'perfume organ' -- where perfumers orchestrate hundreds of essences; as seen at the old Fragonard factory in Grasse. Actually Blogger is only letting me show 1/2 a perfume organ; you must click on it to see the whole thing :D

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Traditional spice shop in Deira, Dubai.

Traditional spice shop in Deira, Dubai.
Partial listing of botanicals pictured here includes:
Frankincense, myrrh, nutmegs, cinnamon, chili flakes, dried lemons, smoked dried lemons, dried sage, chamomile, oregano, hibiscus, rose buds & saffron....

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Sunday Scripture

Exodus 30:22-25

" Then the LORD said to Moses, "Take the following fine spices: 500 shekels of liquid myrrh, half as much of fragrant cinnamon, 250 shekels of fragrant cane, 500 shekels of cassia—all according to the sanctuary shekel—and a hin of olive oil. Make these into a sacred anointing oil, a fragrant blend, the work of a perfumer. It will be the sacred anointing oil."

250 shekels of "Fragrant Cane" translates to approximately 6 pounds. Fragrant Cane is known to modern aromatherapists as Calamus Oil. It is extracted from the Root of the Sweet Flag, which is most commonly used by home gardeners as an ornamental grass for pond, fountain & water gardening.

500 shekels of myrhh & cinnamon together is about 25 pounds and hin of olive oil translates to probably about 4 quarts, or one gallon.

In Biblical Times I would guess that these 4 ingredients would have been macerated together for a couple months & decanted before use. I am also guessing the smaller proportion of Calamus would be not only for blending purposes but also due to the fact that it causes hallucinations in large quantities. It also has tranquilizing & antibiotic qualities and can be potentially toxic.

It has a refreshing scent & traditionally has been smoked, eaten, or brewed into a tea, decoction, extract, tincture and syrup. In Indian Aryuvedic medicine Calamus is a 'sattvic' herb, which means it feeds sexual 'kundalini' energy. Calamus has a reputation as the closest thing to a sex stimulant that nature has to offer.

And you thought you were getting a scripture lesson ..... ;)

Monday, March 8, 2010

Decanting Day

The Last of Last Year's Harvest.

Spring is coming to the Adirondacks early this year (keeping fingers x-ed)!
I'm itching to get out & do some wildcrafting :o)


Here's a small collection of woodcuts from Europe.
They were a popular staple of early editions of herbals such as Culpeper's.


Always dilute Essential Oils in carrier oils or unscented body care products before applying them to the body. Some cost effective examples are:
almond oil
safflower oil
sunflower oil
olive oil
avocado oil
apricot kernel oil

Jojoba Oil is ideal for many applications due to the fact that it does not go rancid & has an indefinite shelf life - but Jojoba is a bit more pricey.

Number of essential oil drops to use with carrier base quantity :
A good general guideline is 10 -12 drops per fluid ounce of carrier.
1 drop per teaspoon (tsp.) for 1% dilution
2 drops per tsp. for 2% dilution
and 3 -4 drops per tsp. for 3% dilution
Essential Oils are safe for topical application in these dilutions.

When diluting essential oils :
Use a maximum dilution of 0.5% on the face, with small children, and individuals weakened by illness or age.

1- 2 % dilution is the standard recommendation for healthy adults.

Use up to 2 - 3 % if you have experience with essential oils and enjoy them in strong concentrations.

Essential oil, carrier oils & unscented product catalogs are available on request from

Adirondack Aromatherapist