Aromatherapy is a wonderful passion that has brought me in touch with all sorts of wonderful people around the world either through conferences, undertaking tours such as those offered by aroma tours or in more recent times through the wonderful connections on social media such as face book. As a past aromatic educator, practitioner, researcher I have always loved how people can make connections over the wonderful aromas. Previously I have contributed to professional journals such as the International Journal of Clinical Aromatherapy and edited the journal of the NZ Register of Holistic Aromatherapists. Now with the ease of technology my desire is to bring these connections together through the use of social media, this newletter and blogs. I welcome your comments and contributions. My next aromatic journey is going to be in my own new back yard as I am about to embark on a process of growing my own rare or precious plants specifically for the extraction of hydrosols using my gorgeous copper alembic still from Alembics.
I am not sure exactly WHEN I knew my life would be an aromatic one- if you ask my mum she will recall when I was about 7 and cooked up camellia leaves over an open fire to make perfumes and added half a bottle of her expensive Dior perfume to spice it up a bit. My childhood was spent in my parents garden centre working, so botanical things were second nature from a very young age. Somehow fate had me training to be a registered nurse at 17 (my dream was actually to be a pilot but shortsightedness put paid to that one). Somewhere along the way I was gifted a wonderful book called Perfume by Patrick Suskind and that sealed it. However at that time in New Zealand in 1988 I had never heard of aromatherapy or essential oils. Like most kiwi's in their 20's I headed off the the UK to do my OE, going via nursing work in the US and travels in Europe. Around 1991 I was on an Intensive Care nursing course in London and a lady gave a demonstration of using sweet orange oil and leg massages for our critically ill patients. I was hooked! From then on I vowed to learn more about this emerging therapy and incororate it as much as possible in my nursing practice. Now some 21 year or so years later I have run a clinic, taught nursing and complementary health for over 15 years, completed a Masters degree exploring massage in nursing practice; completed NZ's first clinical doctorate exploring the use of essential oils in radiation mucositis. My energy is now primarly devoted to my skin care business (based on aromatics on course) and consultancy. For 2012 a highlight for me will be speaking at the up and coming Botanica2012 event in Dublin-I look forward to meeting aromatic friends there!
Oil of the Month-Mimosa
||Acacia farnesiana (Cassie Flower); Acacia dealbata, A. baileyana, Acacia decurrens (mimosa). These are 2 absolutes extracted from related trees.
||Mimosa-Sydney black wattle
||Both cassie and mimosa are extracted via solvents to produce an absolute. Cassie is also made as a pomade where the flowers are placed in a purified natural fat until it is saturated. This is then melted and filtered and sold as a solid product (mainly in India). A mature plant 10 years old can yield 9 kg of flowers each year. Cassie absolute is employed in preparation of violet bouquets and is extensively used in European perfumery.
|Main oil countries
||Mimosa is a native to Australia. The concrete and absolute are mainly produced in France and Italy. The pomade is made in India. Approx. 5 tonnes of absolute are produced annually world wide.
||Mimosa are a small tree up to 12 metres high with delicate foliage and clusters of fragrant yellow flowers. Various images and growing details can be found here. Mimosa absolute is a golden to amber hard, waxy aromatic substance. Cassie trees are smaller (8 metres). Cassie absolute from concrete is a dark yellow of pale brown, viscous liquid, clear at room temperature but separating waxy crystals at reduced temperatures.
|Key constituents %
||Mimosa: Hydrocarbons, palmic aldehyde, enanthic acid, anisic acid, acetic acid and phenols
Cassie Flower: anisaldehyde, benzoic acid, benzyl alcohol, butyric acid, coumarin, cresol, cuminaidehyde, decyl aldehyde, eicosane, eugenol, farnesol, geraniol, hydroxyacetophenone, methyleugenol, methyl salicylate, nerolidol, palmitic acid, salicylic acid, and terpineol
A French mimosa absolute (Acacia dealbata) has been analysed and the followeing volatile components were identifed -hydrocarbons, esters, aldehydes, diethyl acetals, alcohols, and ketones. Most of them are long-chain molecules: (Z)-heptadec-8-ene, heptadecane, nonadecane, and palmitic acid are the most abundant, and constituents such as 2-phenethyl alcohol, methyl anisate, and ethyl palmitate are present in smaller amounts. The heavier constituents were mainly triterpenoids such as lupenone and lupeol, which were identified as two of the main components. (Z)-Heptadec-8-ene (6%), lupenone (20%), and lupeol (7.8%).
||Nil known concerns
||Antiseptic and astringent when applied to the skin.
||Mimosa bark is known as ‘wattle bark’ and is high in natural tannins and was used extensively by the tanning industry. The gum is used in many applications including glues and artwork and pottery. Medicinally used as an astringent gargle and ointment. Also current in British herbal pharmacopoeia for diarrhoea. Dried flowers have been used on wounds.
||Lavender, Lavandin, floral and spice oils, bergamot, ylang ylang, boronia, frankincense
|| Mimosa absolute is a hard crystal like product so is difficult to work with in a traditonal aromatherapy way. I weighed and soaked a piece of absolute in alcohol for a period of time and then used this in perfumery. It also just seems to melt with care-I usually try and melt with a hard wax like cocoa butter, rather than a carrier oil. I then have used it in solid products. For the cassie absolute I have only ever purchased this as a diluted product 3% in jojoba. It is quite visocus and very robust. Even at that dilution the aroma is quite strong and overpowering- it seems to hit and go right to the back of the head. Not an unpleasnat sensation-just powerful! It has an instant wake up effect without being astringent or strong (like say a rosemary would wake you up). The effect can be tempered with oils like geranium, spearmint (in minute quantities) or sandalwood. For a very grounding effect try it with Rhuh Kus (Vetivert).In perfumery used give a fresh mown hay effect to blends. Used in at least 80 different perfumes.
Lippia alba Research study for migraines- new study.
Conde at al (2011) Chemical composition and therapeutic effects of Lippia alba (Mill.) N.E> brown leaves hydro-alcoholic extract in patients with migraine. Phytomedicine, 18 (14) pp.1197-1201
This non controlled study used oral lippia alba extracts on 313 patients with migraines. The chemotype of lippia was high in geraniol and carvenone. No side effects were reported and 80% of participants experienced a 50% reduction in their symptoms.
Wendy Maddocks (RN, DHlthSc, Aromatherapist)
Posted: Tuesday 4 January 2022