Herbs A-C

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 ANGELICA ROOT 

 

Main Constituents: 
Botanical Name: 
Radix angelicae sinensis 
Plant Part: Root
Extraction Method: 
Origin: Asia

Description: Commonly known as dong quai or female ginseng, Angelica is a large hairy, biennial plant with ferny leaves and umbels of white flowers. It can grow 5 to 8 feet tall, and flowering time is June to August. 
Color: Light brownish yellow to brown viscous liquid.
Consistency: Medium
Aromatic Scent: It is said to have a peppery, rich, herbal, earthy, woody and musk animal odor.
Note: Middle
Strength of Aroma: Strong
Blends well with: Cedarwood, Frankincense, Myrrh and Sandalwood. 
Common Uses: Also referred to as Dong Quai and Chinese Angelica, in Chinese medicine it is used to relieve cramps, infrequent and irregular periods, PMS, and ease menopausal symptoms. Based on its monoterpene hydrocarbons, Angelica Oil may be antispasmodic, carminative, depurative, diaphoretic, digestive, diuretic, hepatic, stomachic and tonic; however, it has photosensitizing properties as well, and may have properties as a nervine stimulant. Though animal studies had indicated it has the properties for which it is known in China, more studies are necessary to test its safety and efficiency in humans. 
History: Used in the West for perfumery, as a sugared confection in Europe, and as one of the flavoring ingredients in Chartreuse, Benedictine and gin, Angelica has long been used in traditional East Asian medicine, dating back to 400 BCE as one of the first drugs recorded in China. Still used today in Chinese medicine, it is taken as a tonic to improve gynecological and general health in women. 
Cautions: Angelica essential oil is considered generally non-toxic and non-irritant; however it is known to be photo-toxic. After any application to the skin, avoid direct exposure to strong sunlight for up to 12 hours. Avoided during pregnancy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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 ANISE STAR

Main Constituents: Anethole: 82.5%
Botanical Name: Illicium verum 
Plant Part: Seeds
Extraction Method: 
Steam Distilled
Origin: China
Description: A small to medium evergreen tree of the magnolia family, reaching up to 8m (26ft). The leaves are lanceolate and the axillary flowers are yellow. The fruits are harvested before they ripen, then sun dried. It is, as the name suggests, star shaped, radiating between five and ten pointed boat-shaped sections, about eight on average. These hard sections are seedpods. Tough skinned and rust colored, they measure up to 3cm (1-1/4") long. 

Color: Colorless to pale yellow liquid. 
Consistency: Light
Aromatic Scent: Anise Star has a powerful and licorice-like scent.
Note: Top
Strength of Aroma: Strong
Blends well with: Lavender, Pine, Orange, Rosewood, Clove, and Cinnamon. 
Common Uses: The potent chemical constituents of Star Anise include trans-anethole and safrole, and can cause dermatitis in sensitive individuals. The seeds have traditionally been used in the East in small quantities, as a spice and remedy but also as a carminative, stomachic, stimulant and diuretic for combating colic, indigestion, and rheumatism. 
Important Note: This essential oil may solidify, and if so, must be heated to be brought back to a liquid state. This attests to the purity of the oil you have purchased. 
History: For centuries, the seeds of Star Anise have been chewed in small quantities after each meal to promote digestion and sweeten the breath. The Japanese plant this tree in their temples and on tombs, and use the pounded bark as incense. Homeopaths prepare tinctures from the seeds. 
Cautions: Anise star is generally non-toxic and non-irritating (unlike Illicium anisatum the Japanese variety that is long considered toxic). It should not be used by anyone who is allergic or has inflamed skin; is pregnant, nursing, or who has a serious medical condition such as endometriosis or other oestrogen-dependent conditions or cancer.

 

 

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 ANISEED 

Main Constituents: Anethole: 92%
Botanical Name: Pimpinella anisum 
Plant Part: Seeds
Extraction Method: Steam Distilled
Origin: 
India

Description: Aniseed is the fruit of the annual anise plant of the parsley family (Umbelliferae). It grows up to 60cm in height and is umbelliferous in appearance with leaves varying in shape from heart-shaped to feathery. The fruits are covered with short hairs and each contains two dark seeds with light ribs. 
Color: Colorless to pale yellow liquid.
Consistency: Thin
Aromatic Scent: Aniseed Essential Oil has a spicy-sweet characteristic scent.
Note: Top
Strength of Aroma: Medium
Blends well with: Bay, Cardamom Caraway Cedarwood, Coriander, Dill, Fennel, Mandarin, Petitgrain and Rosewood. 
Common Uses: Because of its high anethole content, Aniseed is considered to have antiseptic, anti-spasmodic, carminative, diuretic, and expectorant properties. Additionally, it is reputed to control lice and itch mite. 
History: Revered by ancient civilizations, particularly in the Middle East, Aniseed has long been used in cooking and in bread-making. The Romans hailed it as an aphrodisiac, and in India, the seeds are still chewed to sweeten the breath. It is widely used as a spice in cooking, and as an ingredient in toothpastes and mouthwashes. Aniseed oil is very popular amongst soap-makers because the fresh spicy scent eliminates the smell of onions and fish on the hands when used by cooks, and masks the odor of humans when used by fishermen and hunters. 
Cautions: The oil is very potent and not to be used on sensitive skin. Avoid use during pregnancy.

 

 

 

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BASIL, SWEET 

Main Constituents: Methyl chavicol: 71.8%, Linalool: 20.46%
Botanical Name: Ocimum basilicum L. 
Plant Part: Leaves
Extraction Method: Steam Distilled
Origin: India
Description: Steam distilled from the flowering tops of the Ocimum Basilicum, this oil is almost colorless to a pale yellow with a sweet spicy, slightly green, fresh, with a faint balsamic woody back note and a lasting sweetness. 
Color: Pale yellow to amber color liquid.
Consistency: Thin
Aromatic Scent: Basil Oil has a sweet-spicy, fresh aroma with a faint balsamic woody undertone.
Note: Top
Strength of Aroma: Strong
Blends well with: Bergamot, Clary Sage, Clove Bud, Lime, Eucalyptus, Juniper, Lemon, Neroli, and Rosemary. 
Common Uses: Basil Oil is praised in Ayurvedic medicine for its ability to strengthen compassion, faith and bring clarity. Traditionally, it has also been used to relieve muscular aches and pains, colds and flu, hay fever, asthma, bronchitis, mental fatigue, anxiety, and depression. In aromatherapy Basil is used to soothe and uplift. It is popular with massage therapists for alleviating tension and stress in their patients. It also helps to clear the sinuses, so it is a favored ingredient by naturopaths when treating many respiratory ailments. When applied in dilution, Basil is reputed to be a good insect repellent, while the linalool's mild analgesic properties are known to help to relieve insect bites and stings. 
History: In Greek its name means 'royal remedy' or 'king'. In the 16th century, powdered basil was used to treat migraines and chest infections. There are many rituals and beliefs associated with basil, which is native to Africa and Asia. The ancient Egyptians believed that it would open the gates of heaven to a dying person, and the Hindus use Basil sprigs to protect the dead from evil while in transition between lives. Western European lore sometimes claimed that it was a symbol of evil, while the Eastern Orthodox Church used it in the making of holy water. 
Cautions: May irritate sensitive skin. Do not use during pregnancy.