Labdanum

Labdanum, also called ladanum, laudanum, ladan or ladanon, is a sticky brown resin obtained from the shrubs Cistus ladanifer (western Mediterranean) and Cistus creticus (eastern Mediterranean), species of rockrose. It has a long history of use in herbal medicine and as a perfume ingredient. Continue reading “Labdanum”

Laurus nobilis

Laurus nobilis or laurel is an aromatic evergreen with green, glossy leaves, native to the Mediterranean region. Laurel can vary greatly in size and height, sometimes reaching 10 to 18 metres. It is widely used in a wide variety of recipes, particularly in the Mediterranean kitchen, and for medical treatments.  In ancient Greece (Daphne is the Greek name for the tree) and Roman culture it was a symbol of victory and highest status, today it gives still the name to an academical degree. In the Bible laurel is often an emblem of prosperity and fame, in Christian tradition, it symbolizes the resurrection of Christ. Continue reading “Laurus nobilis”

Lemon

The lemon, Citrus limon, is a species of small evergreen tree in the flowering plant family Rutaceae, native to South Asia, primarily North eastern India. The tree’s ellipsoidal yellow fruit is used for culinary and non-culinary purposes throughout the world, primarily for its juice, which has both culinary and cleaning uses. Continue reading “Lemon”

Myrrh

Myrrh is a natural gum or resin extracted from a number of small, thorny tree species of the genus Commiphora. Myrrh resin has been used throughout history as a perfume, incense, and medicine. Myrrh mixed with wine can also be ingested. Commiphora myrrha is native to Somalia, Oman, Yemen, Eritrea, (Somali Region) of Ethiopia and parts of Saudi Arabia. Continue reading “Myrrh”

Lavandula

Lavandula (common name lavender) is a genus of 39 known species of flowering plants in the mint family, Lamiaceae. It is native to the Old World and is found from Capo Verde and the Canary Islands, Europe across to northern and eastern Africa, the Mediterranean, southwest Asia to southeast India. Many members of the genus are cultivated extensively in temperate climates as ornamental plants and landscape use, for use as culinary herbs, and also commercially for the extraction of essential oil. The English word lavender is generally thought to be derived from Old French lavandre, ultimately from the Latin lavare (to wash), referring to the use of infusions of the plants. The most common form in cultivation is the common or English lavender Lavandula angustifolia. Lavenders flourish best in dry, well-drained, sandy or gravelly soils in full sun. All types need little or no fertilizer and good air circulation. English lavender yields an essential oil with sweet overtones, and can be used in balms, salves, prfumes, cosmetics, and topical applications. The plant is as well used as a condiment in the kitchen and as a herb in medical treatments having an anxiolytic effect and influence in sleep quality. Lavender was one of the holy herbs used in the biblical Temple to prepare the holy essence, and nard (‘nerd’ in Hebrew) is mentioned in the Song of Solomon (4,14).

Lavdendelfeld in Sutton

Lavandula Angustifolia, der Echte Lavendel oder Schmalblättrige Lavendel (Lavandula officinalis, Lavandula vera) ist eine Pflanzenart aus der Gattung Lavendel (Lavandula) innerhalb der Familie der Lippenblütler (Lamiaceae). Der mittellateinische Name “Lavandula” gehört zum lateinischen lavare = waschen, weil man das aromatische Kraut gern dem Waschwasser oder den Bädern zusetzte. Lavendel ist ein Lehnwort aus dem lateinischen “lavandula”. Die Heimat des Lavendel sind ursprünglich die Küstenregionen des Mittelmeers. Dort kommt er an trockenen, warmen Hängen bis Dalmatien und Griechenland sowie in der Toskana in Italien weit verbreitet vor. Benediktiner-Mönche führten ihn nördlich der Alpen ein. Der Echte Lavendel gehört zu denjenigen Arten, die als winterhart gelten und daher im Freien den in Mitteleuropa üblichen Winter gut überstehen. Eingebürgert ist er bei Jena, Rudolstadt und Bad Blankenburg. Aktuell wird in Deutschland ein bescheidener Lavendelanbau in der Nähe von Detmold betrieben. Der Gebrauch des Lavendels auf den britischen Inseln geht weit zurück, denn er ist schon unter den Arzneien der Physicians of Myddvai (13. Jahrhundert) angeführt. Allerdings gilt: je kälter die Gegend, desto geruchsärmer der Lavendel. Dem Echten Lavendel wird ein breites therapeutisches Spektrum zugeschrieben. In seinem Lehrbuch der Biologischen Heilmittel (1938) sagt Gerhard Madaus: „Lavandula ist ein mildes Nervinum, das besonders bei Migräne gern gegeben wird. Man verordnet es bei Neurasthenie, Vertigo, nervösem Herzklopfen, allgemeinen nervösen Aufregungszuständen, Hysterie, Krämpfen, Ohnmachten und Schlaflosigkeit.“ Matthiolus nennt in seinem Kräuterbuch die Lavandula ein “köstlich Kraut wider alle kalten Gebresten des Hirns und der Senader/  als da ist der Schwindel/  gantze und halbe Schlag/  der fallend Siechtag/  die Schlafsucht/  Krampff/  Zittern/ Contract und Lähme”.

Neroli

Neroli oil is an essential oil produced from the blossom of the bitter orange tree (Citrus aurantium subsp. amara or Bigaradia). Its scent is sweet, honeyed and somewhat metallic with green and spicy facets. Orange blossom is also extracted from the same blossom and both extracts are extensively used in perfumery. Orange blossom can be described as smelling sweeter, warmer and more floral than neroli. The difference between how neroli and orange blossom smell and why they are referred to with different names, is a result of the process of extraction that is used to obtain the oil from the blooms. Continue reading “Neroli”

Opoponax

Opoponax  refers to a kind of gum resin (natural substance that is a mixture of water-soluble gum and alcohol-soluble resin) obtained from a plant called πάνακες (Panaces, Panakes, Panax or Panacea), traditionally considered to have medicinal properties. Pliny (Historia Naturalis) and Dioscorides (De Materia Medica) described various kinds of Panaces with uncertain identifications. Continue reading “Opoponax”

Oud

Oud, also known as agarwood, aloewood or jinko, is a resin that forms in Aquilaria trees, large evergreens native to southeast Asia when they become infected with a type of mould. Prior to infection, the heartwood is relatively light and pale coloured; however, as the infection progresses, the tree produces a dark aromatic resin in response to the attack, which results in a very dense, dark, resin embedded heartwood. Continue reading “Oud”

Palo Santo

Bursera graveolens, known in Spanish as palo santo (“holy wood”), is a wild tree native from Mexico and the Yucatán Peninsula to Peru and Venezuela that inhabits the South American Gran Chaco region (northern Argentina, Paraguay, Bolivia and the Brazilian Mato Grosso). It is also found in Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and on the Galápagos Islands.  Continue reading “Palo Santo”

Petitgrain

Petitgrain is an essential oil that is extracted from the leaves and green twigs of the bitter orange tree (Citrus aurantium ssp. amara) via steam distillation. It is also known as petitgrain bigarade. Its main regions of production are Paraguay and France, with the former’s product being of higher odour tenacity. Continue reading “Petitgrain”

Peumus boldus

Peumus boldus, the only species in the genus Peumus, is commonly known as boldo (from the Mapudungun name foḻo). This tree of the family Monimiaceae is natively endemic to the central region of Chile, occurring from 33° to 40° southern latitude. Boldo has also been introduced to Europe and North Africa, though it is not often seen outside botanical gardens. Continue reading “Peumus boldus”

Picea (spruce)

A spruce is a tree of the genus Picea a genus of about 35 species of coniferous evergreen trees in the family Pinaceae, found in the northern temperate and boreal (taiga) regions of the Earth. Spruces are large trees, from about 20–60 m  tall when mature, and have whorled branches and conical form. Continue reading “Picea (spruce)”

Salvia rosmarinus (rosemary)

Salvia rosmarinus, commonly known as rosemary, is a woody, perennial herb with fragrant, evergreen, needle-like leaves and white, pink, purple, or blue flowers, native to the Mediterranean region. Until 2017, it was known by the scientific name Rosmarinus officinalis, now a synonym. It is a member of the mint family Lamiaceae, which includes many other herbs. The name “rosemary” derives from Latin ros marinus (“dew of the sea”). Continue reading “Salvia rosmarinus (rosemary)”

Salvia apiana (White sage)

Salvia apiana (white sage, bee sage, or sacred sage) is an evergreen perennial shrub that is native to the southwestern United States and northwestern Mexico, found mainly in the coastal sage scrub habitat of Southern California and Baja California, on the western edges of the Mojave and Sonoran deserts. S. apiana is a shrub that reaches 1.3 to 1.5 metres tall and 1.3 metres wide. The whitish evergreen leaves have oils and resins that release a strong aroma when rubbed. Continue reading “Salvia apiana (White sage)”