Sweet Orange Exploration

Sweet Orange Exploration

Common name: Sweet Orange
Botanical name: Citrus sinensis
(C. aurantium var. dulcis, C. aurantium var. sinensis)

Part of the Rutaceae family, Sweet Orange is derived from the peel of the sweet orange fruit. A byproduct of orange juice production, the peel is most often cold-expressed, but it can be steam-distilled as well. Big areas of production include Portugal, China, and the United States.

Looking at the biochemical class, Sweet Orange is a monoterpene because of its high limonene content. It’s very similar to Lemon. There’s up to 89% d-limonene* and a-pinene in Sweet Orange. It has a little bit of alcohol in the form of linalool, with a few other aldehydes (octanal, citronellal) and ketones.

The Sweet Orange fruit was used in traditional medicine. The essential oil was not, but we have found that Sweet Orange oil has some useful properties. These include: antidepressant, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, bactericidal, choleretic, fungicidal, nervous sedative, lymphatic stimulant, and tonic-digestive (stomachic, carminative).

In terms of skincare, it is useful with its antiseptic properties. Sweet Orange is said to aid chapped and fissured skin. It strengthens the epidermis and increases circulation. However, it can make any open wound burn. AVOID USE ON SENSITIVE OR DAMAGED SKIN.

Mentally, Sweet Orange energizes, yet harmonizes the physical and mental, gives courage, and counters worry. Tested at a low dose, it is non-toxic, non-irritant, and non-sensitizing in most people. (Older oxidized oils or those with high d-limonene increase the potential for sensitization.)

Diffused in the air, it makes the perfect, inexpensive, bright, clean environmental blend by itself—shown to be especially relaxing for children. It can also be diffused with other oils. In public places, it refreshes and provides a nice atmosphere. If you’re concerned about complaints, simply diffuse it with a bowl of fruit to create the perception that it’s coming from that. Everyone loves Orange!

Sweet Orange is perfect for kids’ rooms as well. They seem to like it, and it has been shown to decrease anxiety in school-age kids. See how orange essence helps reduce anxiety in school-age children with diabetes.

We recommend that you DO NOT use Sweet Orange in the bath. It should be used in the air only. Note: Sweet Orange has properties similar to Bitter Orange, but Sweet Orange is milder and useful for children.

According to Tony’s book, oranges are the most extensively produced citrus crop in the United States and Brazil, with Brazil leading the way. Despite the high limonene content of Sweet Orange, the characteristic smell of Orange is probably due to its oxygenated fractions. For many years, this weighed heavily towards aldehyde C10 (n-decanal), but recent thinking suggests that aldehyde C8 (n-octanal) may be more influential.  

In perfumery, Orange oils are often used in citrus blends, air fresheners, and in cheaper perfumes. Though they are also found in oriental top notes, along with tropical and fruity blends.

Sweet Orange oil can also be produced by distilling the fresh peel, or by distilling the oils separated during the juice-pressing process. (These are sometimes separated by centrifugation or other physical means.)

From Tony’s book: “Orange essence oil is the oily layer separating from the aqueous juice layer when oranges are pressed for juice (Gaffney 1996).[1]”

Watch as Sylla compares her Orange samples, including Orange essence and Blood Orange. You can also see what happens when Orange oil oxidizes.

We hope you enjoyed this segment on Sweet Orange! Let us know what you like and dislike about Sweet Orange and how you’ve used it.

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Patchouli Meditation

Patchouli Meditation

Patchouli has a round, full-bodied smell. It is deeply resinous, herbaceous around the edges, with a deep core and a full heart.

Patchouli can bring forth a sense of protection and let us know that it’s okay to ask for help. This oils teaches us about the value of becoming vulnerable and how that leads to a reclamation of our power.

There is a sense of being drawn-in with this scent, inviting us on an inner journey, which offers necessary lessons for our next steps in growth. Often, growing means stretching beyond what we thought capable and exposing ourselves to what we might not be quite ready for. Patchouli helps us get grounded in our bodies and reconnect with our source of inner-knowing.

As you inhale Patchouli, consider a question that you need to answer. Feel your breath move through your body, and feel the support of the earth underneath you.

Connecting with your heart, ask yourself these questions, and listen intently for your true answers:

  • What empowers me to be my best self?
  • What gets in my way?

Let Patchouli help you relax into being who you are, stand up with confidence to resistance along the way, and know that you are forever shrouded in its loving arms.


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Patchouli Salve Recipe

Patchouli Salve Recipe

For a soothing skin treatment, a refreshing scent, or a perfume fitting for the “boho” crowd, crunchy moms, and even old hippiestry our Patchouli Salve Recipe.


1 gram of beeswax
5-6 grams of oil (olive, coconut, or an infusion)
1 cup Calendula infusion
1/2 oz beeswax (pastilles, shaved)
Patchouli of your choice


Melt the 1 gram of beeswax in a double boiler/water bath.

Once the beeswax is melted, add the 5-6 grams of oil. This ratio may vary depending on your oil! This combination seems to make it so that the salve melts easily yet retains its shape.

In a double boiler, melt the pastille beeswax into Calendula (or use olive oil).

Once all is melted, remove and cool off.

Add 15 drops of Patchouli.

Pour into tins or jars.

And there you have your Patchouli salve! We hope you enjoyed playing with Patchouli.

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Blending with Patchouli

Blending with Patchouli

When I think about how Patchouli leaves have to be soaked and fermented before distillation, it reminds me that Patchouli represents the breakdown of the past life of nature. This makes it a perfect new generation scent, which is why I think it was adopted in the 1960’s.

My first essential oilbecause my brother used itwas Patchouli. To this day, it makes me think of himmy Irish twin and our younger days together. I love it so much that I added it to the signature scent I made in the 1970’s, which I still wear to this day. And when I made my special blend called 2AH (for Two Aging Hippies), which I gave away when I did a talk called “Restart Me Up” at the 2013 Alliance Conference in St. Petersburg, FL, I used Patchouli. A few ounces of that blend remain, and one day, it will become part of another special blend.

Because of the many associations people have with Patchouli, some people love it and some people hate it. Once, when I went shopping and stopped into a store, the clerks said, “Did the bug man come today?” Others recognize it immediately and say, “I love that smell!”

Hopefully this will give you some ideas on how to enrich your blends, make some fabulous diffusion blends, or make some personal perfumes!        

When we use this leafy oil, we like to blend it with roots or woods and a touch of herbs or flowers. This combination can take us through the whole spectrum of life cycles. Then we have a complete plant perfume! What medicine can you make from these notes? We like to say, “Your perfume becomes your medicine … ”


Patchouli with ROOTS:

With Vetiver grounding Patchouli’s wild side, these two go together well. Both being bold and strong, it only takes a tiny amount to create their synergistic effect.


Vetiver and Patchouli Blend

Blend equal parts Patchouli and Vetiver. Start slow; let it mellow out and adjust. A tiny bit is very long-lasting. These two together can be used as a base for blends or even as a perfume on their own.

1 part Patchouli

1 part Vetiver


Patchouli with WOODS:

Cedarwood also has a grounding effect on Patchouli. In combination, they make a soothing anti-inflammatory for the skin.

Patchouli and Cedarwood Blend

Blend equal parts Atlas and Texas/Virginian (Juniperus spp.) Cedarwood for an earthy, masculine scent and grounding blend. You can use one Cedarwood in place of both … We just love them together.

1 part Atlas Cedarwood

1 part Virginian Cedarwood

2 parts Patchouli


Patchouli with HERBS:

With Geranium, Patchouli takes a whirl being a more feminine scent, exposing a different side of the oil. Here we have even more possibilities of actions, using the well-known balancing action and the slight, rosy floral of Rose Geranium, alongside the relaxing richness of Patchouli.


Patchouli and Rose Geranium Blend

5 drops of Patchouli

3 drops of Geranium


Patchouli with FLOWERS:

Jasmine is one of the most luscious flowers, and paired with the exotic, earthy Patchouli, this blend is good for dancing in the moonlight or lolling on the beach. Patchouli brings some spice to Jasmine and keeps it down on this plane! Pairing these needs practice and patience.


Patchouli and Jasmine Blend

3 drops of Patchouli

1 drop of Jasmine


Want to get really creative? Blend the Patchouli/Geranium, the Vetiver/Patchouli, or both—then play with some Jasmine. One drop at a time!

Tell us about your blending adventures with Patchouli. Leave a comment below.

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Rose Exploration

Rose Exploration

Common name: Rose

Botanical name: Rosa damascena

Part of the Rosaceae family, there are many variations of Rosa damascena. The big areas of production are Bulgaria and Turkey, and other names for it include Summer Rose, Bulgarian Rose, Turkish Rose, and Otto of Rose. Rose Otto is the oil, and the absolute is a thicker, richer-smelling extract. When you hear the name Rose Otto, you’ll know it’s the essential oil.

Rosa centifolia is another species that produces a much lighter oil. It comes from a lot of different places, and Sylla’s sample in this video is from Russia.

In the Otto, stearoptenes are up to 22%. These constituents are the more solid parts of the oil, which can cause the Otto to solidify at about room temperature. There are also monoterpenols in the Otto, along with geraniol and citronellol—up to 45%. The percent of phenylethyl alcohol is not as high in the Otto as it is in the absolute. The phenylethyl alcohol, or PEA, is what produces that very rosy, floral scent. A lot of people prefer the absolute for this reason.

Drawing these samples up in the pipette, you can see that the Damask Rose has a beautiful color. It is clear, which is very similar to the Centifolia. The absolute is a little thicker, darker, and richer. Some of the colors will come through with the absolute because it’s solvent-extracted. You can blend the two together, so you get the best of both.

Rose is a universal oil for all skin types and is great for skin care. It can be an antidepressant, an aphrodisiac, and it has antibacterial properties, which are especially effective on the skin, and even the underarm bacteria.

Rose is wonderful for balancing hormones. It works very well as a nervous sedative and can be used for all ages. Unless somebody has an aversion to Rose, it’s a wonderful thing.

When a lot of people first smell the real Rose, they don’t like it because they’re used to synthetic Rose. They’re used to their grandmother’s perfume or some cheap facsimile that’s called Rose. So true Rose is really a beautiful scent that people have to get used to.

Rose can help with cardiovascular issues, stress, and palpitations because it is such a relaxing oil. It’s great for insomnia, migraines, headaches, nervous tension, stress-related disorders, melancholia, sadness, disappointment, sorrow, and heartache. In this video, you’ll learn how Sylla used it while she was grieving the passing of her mother. Many books say Rose is good for grief, but Sylla cautions against using any oil too much during these times, as scents can become deeply connected to emotional states.

When Sylla was working the United Aromatherapy Effort and started to get sick, she used a hot toddy recipe recommended to her by a friend: hot water, a drop of Rose, Neroli, Eucalyptus, and Tea Tree. She added some honey, had two cups of it, and because of the steam and the uplifting properties of Rose and Neroli, she “felt like a million bucks.”

In terms of the safety of the oil, when tested at a low-dose, Rose is nontoxic, non-irritating, and non-sensitizing. However, if you use any oil undiluted, you always run the risk of sensitization.

In Natural Aromatic Materials: Odours and Origins, Tony Burfield talks about Provence Rose, or the centifolia, which is one of the samples Sylla shows us in the video. This is also called Rose de Mai because there are some fields in Grasse that still produce this in May.

About this oil, Tony writes that it’s a powerful, toppy, fresh, sweet but honeyed Rose odor and yet it’s spicy. “It’s less full and fruity than the Turkish…and the dry-down reveals a delicate yet moderately strong-rounded, petaly Rose character.”

It is often quoted that 4,000 pounds of Rose flowers produce one pound of Rose Otto. That means one pound (16 ounces) of Rose Otto is 4,000 pounds of roses! That’s 250 roses for every 30ml bottle. That’s a lot of Rose.

It’s important to remember that the phenethyl alcohol or PEA content of Rose is highly water-soluble and therefore, it is lost to the distillation water. This is why Rose water smells so rosy. By contrast, of course, the absolutes contain a much higher percent of PEA. Because of this, absolutes are considered a better character of the Rose blossom. The odor of the Moroccan absolute is full Rose character, somewhat with green PEA or phenylethyl alcohol, honeyed and sweet with slight woodiness.

Rose Otto Bulgarian is a white to pale green, like you saw, or yellow semi-solid liquid with a powerful, heady, rounded, fruit Rose odor with an almost alcoholic liquor character. The dry-down is disappointing, revealing a slightly smoky, woody, Tea Rose character. If we look at the Turkish, it is a little bit different. The odor terms of the Turkish show a strong, fruity top note with a spicy, deep Rose character. It is less floral and less rosaceous than the Bulgarian. The dry-down is a powerful, fresh, leafy Rose with some spiciness.

There is also Rose wax, which is very waxy, muddy brown, and almost greenish. It has a nice odor, is very petal-like, and this is part of the Rose extraction that is used a lot in cosmetics. You can also dab this on as perfume.

Watch Sylla smell and compare different Roses alongside the constituents in our chemistry kits. To get your own chemistry kit, follow this link.

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