Essential Oils


Based on a totally unscientific sample of people whose opinion of Jasmine I happen to know, it is a very polarising smell and is one that appeals to men more than women.  That many people don’t particularly like the smell is a bit unfortunate given the trouble that has to be gone to to obtain …

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Neroli is an essential oil made from the petals of the bitter orange.  The amount of oil in a petal isn’t very high so it takes a lot of  them to make much oil.  So it isn’t surprising to learn that the use of neroli oil was originated by an aristocrat.  The production and use …

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Rosa Centifolia

The Roman Emperor Elagabalus once threw a party for some guests, against whom he had a grudge. After they had eaten at a prearranged signal his servants poured vast quantities of rose petals onto them.  They suffocated to death.


Lemongrass is pretty well known to lovers of oriental cuisine (which seems to be nearly everybody in the UK).  But just as you can get varieties of mint that smell of lemons – there are also kinds of lemongrass that don’t have the distinctive aroma of lemongrass.  

Essential Oils

Essential oils have gone from being an obscure aspect of botany to an all round marketing  ‘good thing’.  You can even by washing powder now that trumpets that it contains essential oils.  What actually are they?


The tropical uplands of Somalia and the Yemen are a hard and unforgiving environment.  To survive there the Frankincense tree has had to develop some nifty abilities.  One of these is a thick resin that exudes from damaged parts of its trunk and branches. The sticky substance rapidly provides a defence against the teeth of …

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