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Myrtle, Niaouli, Lemon balm, and Coriander (seed)

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myrtle

There are 3 recognised species in the myrtle family, common myrtle native to the Mediterranean, western Asia, and Macaronesia is the one we are talking about today.Common myrtle is not a large tree, growing only to about 16 feet tall and mostly spread by birds eating the fruit it produces. The tree is also used for hedges in parks and gardens because it still looks good after trimming. If not trimmed too frequently it will bloom nicely and a couple of sub species have even gained the Award of Garden Merit from the Royal Horticultural Society.The previously mentioned berries are edible to humans and are used in Corsica and Sardinia in the local food to season meat, ground up as a pepper substitute, or to make an aromatic liqueur called Mirto.Arabian writers, classical Greek herbalists, and others have mentioned the medicinal properties of myrtle for pain and fever, myrtle, like willow bark, contains salicylic acid (source of aspirin).Myrtle has a specific meaning in a few different mythologies, in Greek it was sacred to Aphrodite and Demeter which makes dreaming of myrtle particularly auspicious for women and farmers.For the Jewish myrtle is still apart of their rituals for their religious leaders and during the Feast of Tabernacles it is one of the four sacred plants.Modern paganism and Wicca associate it with Beltane despite the fact that it is not native to Northern Europe or the UK.In aromatherapy myrtle essential oil is useful for deodorising, opens the lungs, and reduces tension in the body.

Uses:

Diffused;

Phlegm, cattarh, sleeping aid, self destructive behavior, anger, greed, envy, fear.

Topically;

Acne, nervous tension, stress, piles, infection.

Cautions:

Excessive use can cause headaches and nausea.

First aid:

If skin irritation has occurred apply cornstarch or similar to absorb excess.

If gotten in the eye rinse with clear water for 15 min, if irritation persists for more than 30 min seek professional help.

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niaouli

Niaouli is in the same family is eucalyptus, it grows up to 70 feet tall and prefers growing environments with plenty of water such as rivers, swamps, and floodplains. The preferred growing environment means it has managed to fully naturalise in Florida despite actually being native to eastern Australia, New Caledonia, and Papua New Guinea.The blooms of niaouli are in dense white spikes at the end of the branch, which will continue to grow after the bloom turns into seed pods, which will disperse the seeds at maturity.The tree is very tolerant and even thrives from wildfire. It will regrow after a fire vigorously and can bloom within weeks.The trunks can reach up to 9 feet in diameter and can live over 100 years.The trees were introduced to the USA at the beginning of the 1900’s on both the west coast and east coast by A.C. Andrews and J. Gifford respectively. This would set the stage for an ongoing battle with the resilient species that happily beats out native species. To this day they can still be found near the original plantings.Research has found that due to a lack of predatory species to feed on it the trees produce significantly more seeds overall and more viable seeds compared to their Australian counterparts. In Australia a canopy may have about 5,000 seeds with 20 viable but in Florida they found it was 13,000 seeds with 1,200 viable.In aromatherapy niaouli is useful for opening the lungs, preventing infection, and providing some pain relief.

Uses:

Diffused;

Concentration, lung infections, pain relief, bronchitis, asthma, sinusitis, sore throats, catarrh, laryngitis

Topically;

Ulcers, acne, blemishes, boils, burns, cuts, insect bites, minor infections, digestion, pain relief

Cautions:

No specific cautions

First aid:

If skin irritation has occurred apply cornstarch or similar to absorb excess.

If gotten in the eye rinse with clear water for 15 min, if irritation persists for more than 30 min seek professional help.

essential oil benefits
lemon balm

Lemon balm is yet another member of the mint family. Native to Central Asia, Iran, southwestern Europe, and the Mediterranean basin but has spread much farther.The plant grows between 28-59 inches tall, it smells lightly of lemon (hence the name) and the leaves make a lovely tea that is calming for anxiety and stress.While the seeds require fairly warm temperatures before they will sprout, once established the plant will come back year after year regardless of freezing winter temperatures. If you haven’t been following my blog for long you may not know that any plant with the name “officinalis” was traditionally stored in a monastery apothecary which was called an “officina” and is a marker of long recognised medicinal value.Currently there is ongoing research to understand the medicinal potency of lemon balm to understand how best to use it in modern life.In aromatherapy lemon balm/melissa essential oil is useful for aiding sleep, digestion, stress.

Uses:

Diffused;

Depression, calming, headaches, nausea, stress.

Topically;

Fever, upset stomach, fungal infections.

Cautions:

Oil can cause sensitization, high dilution is best.

Pregnant women should avoid due to emmenagogue properties.

First aid:

If skin irritation has occurred apply cornstarch or similar to absorb excess.

If gotten in the eye rinse with clear water for 15 min, if irritation persists for more than 30 min seek professional help.

If a pregnant woman has been exposed monitor closely for signs of labour or miscarriage.

essential oil benefits
coriander

Coriander is also known as cilantro. I’ve used coriander for the seed oil and cilantro to indicate the leaf oil. There is a group of people who have a specific gene that makes them perceive the taste of cilantro leaves as soap like so if you dislike it, now you know why.The plant is native to southwestern Asia, southern Europe, and northern Africa. It typically grows to about 20 inches tall and has leaves similar to flat leaf parsley.Archaeological digs have found evidence in Tutankhamen’s tomb that Egypt once cultivated this herb and considered it important enough that the pharaoh should have it in the afterlife. All parts of the plant are edible though the roots are not often used except in specific Asian cuisines. The type preferred for essential oil production grows in more temperate zones, and is chosen due to it’s higher essential oil content.Coriander seeds along with citrus peel are used when brewing particular types of Belgian wheat beers. Growing cilantro and allowing it to flower can help control aphids on leafy crops, something which California is doing in lettuce fields found in Salinas valley.In aromatherapy coriander seed essential oil is useful for digestion, deodorant properties, and pain reduction.

Uses:

Diffused;

Mental fatigue, migraine, tension.

Topically;

Migraines, muscle spasms, arthritis, rheumatism, digestive complaints.

Cautions:

Very large doses (relative to size) can have a stupifying effect.

Some people find the oil irritating to the skin, do a patch test if you have sensitive skin.

First aid:

If skin irritation has occurred apply cornstarch or similar to absorb excess.

If gotten in the eye rinse with clear water for 15 min, if irritation persists for more than 30 min seek professional help.


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