Guide to Oils
This is not completely mine, but a copulation of my own and from other sites.
Essential oils are used in a wide variety of different products that you can make yourself. They’re aromatic oils that exist within plants and flowers, and are the concentrated essences of those plants and flowers.
Not only are essential oils excellent for addressing skin disorder symptoms, but they can also be utilized in the treatment of various illnesses, such as: bronchitis, headache, migraine, mouth ulcer, gum infection, cold, kidney problems, sinusitis, urinal and vaginal infections, asthma, hypertension, flu, nausea, menstrual pain, insomnia, constipation and many other types of diseases.
The aroma of a pure essential oil that is matched to specific symptoms is an excellent way to allow the therapeutic properties found in nature adddress the condition of various illness. Essences and oils also are beneficial in relieving the symptoms of various types of mental disorders such as stress, tension, depression, and anxiety, which have become quite common nowadays.
While it is possible to buy these oils, it would ultimately be much cheaper to make them yourself, though a bit more difficult. Later, I’m going to outline a method of extracting these oils with little difficulty. There are better ways, which are also more difficult ways, to do it. For now, I think it’s imperative that I give some information on oils and methods in general; I’ll try to keep it simple.
What essential oils are
Essential oils are one of the great untapped resources of the world. The concentrated essences of various flowers, fruits, herbs, and plants have been used for centuries all over the world, far beyond even “civilaized” or documented times. Because the essential oils are so sweet smelling, many people think they are for only charm and fragrance - but this is a mistake. Modern scientific research has proven that essential oils are potent, with remarkable medicinal properties. These substances are very complex in their molecular structure, and very powerful. The essential oil of oregano, for example, is said to be twenty-six times more powerful as an antiseptic than phenol, which is the active ingredient in most commercial cleansing and cleaning agents..
Unlike chemical drugs, essential oils do not remain in the body. They leave no toxins behind, and essential oils make much more sense as air fresheners than commercial products, as they cleanse the air by altering the structure of the molecules creating the smells, rather than masking the unwanted smells. They may also be used for personal care, such as soaps, powders, perfumes, cleansing baths and the like. Also they are known to work very well for first aid treatments, healing, body maintenance, meditation, even use in things like incense, baby wipes and uses for the home as well as “safe” insecticides.
At encyclopedia.com it states:
volatile oils that occur in plants and in general give to the plants their characteristic odors, flavors, or other such properties. Essential oils are found in various parts of the plant body (in the seeds, flowers, bark, or leaves) and are also concentrated in certain special cells or groups of cells (glands). Because of their properties, they are widely used in perfumes, flavorings, and medicines...They are obtained from the plant in various ways, depending upon the nature of the part in which they occur-by compression, by distillation with steam, by dissolving the oils out (extraction) or absorbing them, and by pressure and maceration."
A little documented history
The essential oils which were regularly used in ancient Rome, Greece, and Egypt and throughout the Middle and Far East had, as a common feature, the essence of a plant; an identifiable aroma, flavor, or other characteristic that was of some practical use. They were used as perfumes, food flavors, deodorants, pharmaceuticals, and embalming antiseptics. Usually, plant material was steeped in a fatty oil or wine that acted as a solvent for the desired flavor or aroma. The extracts (usually impure and dilute) were used as oils or creams. They were introduced into Europe, without further development, to become the subject of specialist craftsmen (the English Guild of Pepperers and the French court perfumers of the
12th Century) and early publications ("The Book of Nurture", 1430).
In Spain and France from the early 1300s, distillation was developed to produce more concentrated essences mof rosemary and sage. The demands of medieval pharmacy improved the distillation process. By 1550, different trends had become obvious:
~ spike lavender oil was being produced in France for
export as a trading commodity,
~ flavors and aromas were being distilled or expressed
from an increasing number of new plant sources, and
~ pharmacists, chemists, and physicians were studying
the physical, chemical, and medicinal properties of
Since then, the numbers and types of individual oils have increased enormously. International markets and industries have evolved to deal solely in essential oils. As a result of twentieth century distillation technology, essential oils can now be regarded as industrial raw materials. Their complex mixtures of chemical compounds can be separated and the individual components used as building blocks to introduce a particular flavor or aroma into a product.
How essential oils work
Essential oils have an immediate impact on our sense of smell, also known as "olfaction". When essential oils are inhaled, olfactory receptor cells are stimulated and the impulse is transmitted to the emotional center of the brain, or "limbic system".
The limbic system is connected to areas of the brain linked to memory, breathing, and blood circulation, as well as the endocrine glands which regulate hormone levels in the body. The properties of the oil, the fragrance and its effects, determine stimulation of these systems.
When used in massage, essential oils are not only inhaled, but absorbed through the skin as well. They penetrate the tissues and find their way into the bloodstream where they are transported to the organs and systems of the body.
Essential oils have differing rates of absorption, generally between 20 minutes and 2 hours, so it is probably best not to bathe or shower directly following a massage to ensure maximum effectiveness.
Notes of essential oils
Essential oils are often described by their "note". The three categories of classification are top note, middle note and base note, and these terms relate to the rate at which they evaporate - or how long the fragrance will last.
Top Notes are the most stimulating and uplifting oils. They are strongly scented, but the perfume lasts only for approximately 3 - 24 hours. Some examples of Top note oils are: basil, bergamot, clary sage, coriander, eucalyptus, lemongrass, neroli, peppermint, sage and thyme.
Middle Notes are the next longest lasting, at about 2 - 3 days, and affect the metabolic and body functions. The perfume is less potent than that of top note oils. Some examples of Middle note oils are: balm, chamomile, fennel, geranium, hyssop, juniper, lavender and rosemary
Base Notes are the slowest oils to evaporate, lasting up to one week. They have a sweet, soothing scent and a relaxing, comforting effect on the body. Some examples of Base note oils are: cedarwood, clove, frankincense, ginger, jasmine, rose and sandalwood
It will take a little bit of playing around with them to learn the correct balances for your needs.
Distillation of essential oils
The majority of essential oils available today are extracted using a steam distillation process. It's the oldest form of essential oil extraction and is believed by many to be the only way oils should be extracted. The process really is quite simple and as long as this extraction process is closely monitored, the steam will remain at a temperature that won't damage the plants.
The desired plant material is placed onto a still. A still is a specialized piece of equipment that is used in the distillation process. It consists of a vessel into which heat is added and a device that is used for cooling. The plant is first placed into the vessel. Next steam is added and passed through the plant. The heat from the steam helps to open the pockets of the plant that contain the plant's aromatic molecules or oils. Once open, the plant releases these aromatic molecules and in this state, the fragrant molecules are able to rise along with the steam.
The vapors carrying these molecules travel within a closed system towards the cooling device. Cold water is used to cool the vapors. As they cool, they condense and transform into a liquid state. The liquid is collected in a container and as with any type of oil/water mixture, it separates. The oils float towards the top while the water settles below. From there, it's a simple matter of removing the oils that have been separated. These are the highly condensed, aromatic oils used in aromatherapy.
The water is not discarded, however. The water, which also contains the plant's aroma along with the other parts of the plant that are water soluble, are the hydrosols - a milder form of the essential oils. These, too are also used in aromatherapy.
.When steam is used, it's created at a pressure higher than that of the atmosphere. The boiling point is above 100 degrees Celsius and creates an extraction process that is safe and fast. If the temperature is allowed to become too hot, however, the plant material as well as its essential oils can easily become damaged.
Water distillation involves placing the desired plant material in a still and then submerging it in water. The water is then brought to a boil. The heat helps open the pockets containing the plant's aromatic molecules so they can be extracted. The vapors cool and condense, the essential oils separate from the water and they're collected.
The water in this case provides protection for the plant because it acts as a barrier. Less pressure is used as well as a lower temperature than that which is used in the steam distillation method. This extraction method works well with plants that cannot tolerate high heat.
Other distillation methods
Hydro distillation is similar to steam distillation. The only difference is that instead of introducing the heat from the bottom and up through the still, as happens in steam distillation, the heat passes into the still from the top. It's cooled from below, which makes collection of the essential oils easier. This method actually results in a higher yield of essential oils because less steam and consequently less processing time are involved.
In a water/steam combination distillation method, plant material is submerged into heated water and steam is forced through the water, opening the pockets containing the aroma molecules. When cooled, the essential oils condense and are collected as described above.
Types of essential oils
There are basically 3 types of essential oils. Steam Distilled Oils, Expressed Oils, and Solvent Extracted Absolutes.
Steam Distilled Oils These are the true essential oils. The oils are distilled from various parts of the plant as they are heated. This is the oldest and most traditional method of extracting oils from plants. In the process used by the manufacturer of the oils we sell, steam is passed through the plants in a special cooking chamber, and the oils are carried with the steam and condensed in another chamber. The oils are then separated from the water. Care must be taken to not overheat the oils which can burn them and release unwanted by-products. The oils we sell are organic and distilled in special stainless steel alloy chambers (to reduce the possibility of the steam reacting with metal such as aluminum or copper) using a proprietary low-pressure, low-temperature process, which does not destroy the oil properties.
Expressed Oils These oils are pressed from the rinds of fruits. They are not technically essential oils, although they still have many theraputic properties. Care must be taken to use only organic crops, because pesticides can become highly concentrated in these oils. Some examples of expressed oils would be grapefruit, lemon, orange, tangerine, bergamot, mandarin and citrus hystrix oils. The oils we sell are cold pressed and organic.
Solvent Extracted Absolutes These oils are technically essences. Because the oils are volatile and water soluable, they would not survive distillation. The plant must firls be distilled using a hydrocarbon solvent, like hexane, to make a solid waxy residue called a concrete. This concrete is then distilled using pure grain alcohol to produce the absolute. This method is mostly used for botanicals whose fragrance and theraputic properties can only be unlocked using solvents. Examples of solvent extracted absolutes would be jasmine and neroli.
Though I will, later, list some dangers of some of the oils and herbs, here is a small section. Also refer to the “herbs” thread.
First of all, Keep all essential oils out of the reach of children. Essential oils, whether steam distilled, expressed or absolutes are very strong. They need to be used sparingly --a little goes a long way-- and you should always consult a reliable reference when using them. The axiom more is better DOES NOT apply to essential oils in general.
All essential oils are not alike. Knowing which oils must be diluted, and which are generally regarded as safe for use is very important. The more information you have before you start using a particular oil, the more likely it will be that you will have the desired outcome. Remember to consult your health care professional.
For any serious disease or injury, you should consult your health care professional. You should not attempt to self-diagnose or prescribe any natural substances, such as essential oils, for serious health conditions which require professional attention. Talk to your health care practitioner about using essential oils in your care. Many professionals are very open to their use.
· Always consult the properties of the individual oil and use it according to the instructions you are given.
A patch test should be performed, especially if the user has sensitive skin. (This is especially important for people with allergies.)
Ingesting some oils can cause problems, rather than solve them, or even prove fatal. Do not ingest an oil unless you are ABSOLUTELY SURE it is safe for ingestion, and then BE VERY CAREFUL of the amount you are using.
Never put oils directly on children's skin.
Always do a patch test for children and then apply oils only when diluted in a carrier oil first.
Pregnant or lactating women should be careful of certain oils --see individual oil properties. Some oils contain constituents with hormone-like activity, such as clary sage, sage, and fennel. Consult your health care practitioner.
Essential oils can react with toxins built up in the body. These can be from food, environment, or chemicals in cleaners or personal products. If you experience a reaction, it may be wise to
Essential oils rich in menthol (such as peppermint) should not be used on the throat or neck area of children under 30 months of age.
Keep essential oils away from eye area. Do not handle contact lenses or rub eyes with essential oils on your fingers. Oils with high phenol content (oregano, cinnamon, thyme, clove, lemongrass, bergamot, etc.) may damage contacts and irritate eyes.
Do not put essential oils into ears.
· Do not add undiluted essential oils directly to bathwater. A dispersing agent, such as Bath Gel Base should be used.
Apply oils to a small area first.
Apply one oil or blend at a time. When layering oils that are new to you, allow 15 to 30 minutes for the body to respond to each one before applying the next.
Never put oils directly on children's skin. Always do a patch test for children and then apply oils only when diluted in a carrier oil first.
Epileptics and people with high blood pressure should consult a health care professional before using essential oils. Avoid hyssop, fennel, and Idaho tansy oils.
Always keep a carrier oil handy (like olive, almond, or v-6 mixing oil) if you are applying oils directly to the skin. The essential oils can be diluted immediately with the carrier oil if discomfort is felt.
That being said, essential oils are safe if used correctly. Know the oils you are using and what their recommended uses are.
Blending Aromatherapy Recipes
To gain the most from blending aromatherapy recipes it will help to understand the history behind the perfume industry. In the early 19th century, the Englishman George William Septimus Piesse discovered a way to classify scents. Similar to music he used "top notes", "middle notes" and "base notes". He called this an "odophone".
Top notes are the scents you smell first in a perfume and include the fresh and light smelling essential oils such as Basil, Lemon and Eucalyptus.
Middle notes are revealed once the top notes evaporate and form the character of a blend. These middle notes are generally floral, herbal and light woody, and spicy scents such as Geranium, Juniper and Black Pepper.
The heavier and richer base notes are usually woods, resins, and spices such asCedarwood, Benzoin and Cinnamon. These base notes are warming and tend to hang around the longest and they round off a good blend.
Ideally all blends should contain all three notes, to keep the blend in harmony and 'in tune'! That is the secret behind blending aromatherapy recipes.
You don't have to follow the suggested aromatherapy perfume recipes strictly - these are merely to get you started. Use your own creativity and personality to create your very own personal scents. Use your favorite essential oils or the essential oils you currently have at hand. If a recipes calls for an essential oil you don't have replace it with another, just remember the 'odophone'.
Essential oil blends can be used in a variety of ways including for aromatherapy perfumes, aromatherapy diffusers, natural skin care recipes including aromatherapy body scrub recipes, aromatherapy home recipes such air fresheners and soap.
Essential oil extraction
There are many methods of essential oil extraction, the most popular being steam distillation. Other methods include expression, enfleurage, maceration, and solvent extraction.
Essential oils are extracted from many different parts of their plants. For example, Lavender is extracted from its flowers, Orange from the rind of its fruit, Frankincense from the resin of its tree, Cinnamon from its bark, Pine from its needles, and so on.
Depending on the method of extraction and the quantity of the raw materials used, the price and quality of the oil are determined. As an example, it takes roughly 12,000 Rose blossoms to produce 5 ml of Rose. Whereas it take 100 kilos ofLavender leaves to produce 3 litres of Lavender. As a result Rose is roughly 24 times more expensive than Lavender.
There are many other factors to be taken into consideration when producing a good quality essential oil, which is important for its full benefit. Soil quality, climatic and geographic conditions all contribute to the overall quality of the essential oil.
In some cases the length of cultivation is most important. Jasmine flowers must be picked by hand at dawn on the very first day they open. A Sandalwood tree must be 30 years old and 30 feet high before it is ready to produce its best quality oil.
Various methods of essential oil extraction in detail
As mentioned earlier, distillation is by far the most popular method for essential oil extraction. This is mostly used for leaves, flowers, seeds, roots, and stems.
Stills are believed to date back to the eighth century where they were used by the Arabs. Many diverse methods have been used since, the best method is using a 'low-pressure' still which produces the best quality essential oil for aromatherapy purposes.
Two large containers are used. The first container has an inlet at the bottom, in which steamed water, heated at low pressure, is sent in. This container is loaded with the aromatic raw materials (the part of the plant to be distilled). The steam rises, gently simmering the contents.
The heat causes the essential oils to be released from the plant by evaporation and to travel, as part of the steam, towards an outlet at the top of the container. This outlet carries on into another container and coils itself all the way down. This coil is called a serpentine.
The second large container is filled with cold water and the serpentine is immersed into it. As the aromatic vapors rush through the coil, the water acts as a cooling agent and the essential oil begins to separate from the cooled steam. At the bottom of this second container is another tube connected to a vessel called an alembic, in which the essential oil and the water collect. Usually essential oils have a density lighter than water so they will float on top of the water.
After this the essential oil is separated from the water. The by-product of distillation is called a floral water, examples are rose water, orange water and lavender water.
The essential oils of citrus fruits extracted from their fruits using a method called expression. This is a simple method in which machines using a centrifugal force such as Orange, Lemon, Mandarin, Bergamot, andLime are, squeeze the rind which produces the essential oil.
Enfleurage involves using a fixed oil, usually a vegetable oil, animal fat, or lard. A sheet of glass mounted on a wooden frame, is spread with the fixed oil. The raw materials, flower petals, are then placed on this. A number of these can be stacked on top of each other. These are then placed in the sun until the fixed oil is saturated with the essential oil.
This is then dissolved in alcohol then the alcohol is evaporated from the essential oil. This method is mainly used for delicate flowers such as Rose, Jasmine, Neroli, and Violet. These will be labeled 'absolute' rather than 'essential oil'. Enfleurage is quite rare as it is very expensive.
Very similar to enfleurage, maceration differs only in that the fixed oil is heated up to facilitate the release of the essential oil.
Solvent extraction is another method used to extract essential oils from delicate flowers such as Rose, Jasmine, Violet, and Mimosa. This method uses volatile solvents such as petroleum ether. The flower petals are placed on perforated metal trays. These are then sprayed with the solvent which is absorbed by the flowers to make them release their essences. Alcohol is then added to extract the essence. These are also called 'absolutes' but are a slightly less expensive essential oil extraction method than enfleurage.
Using Carrier Oils and Preservation Steps
Carrier Oils (Base Oils) chose the best recipe base from these mixtures:
Base oils are used as “carriers” for essential oils, and to dilute essential
oils because they may be too strong to apply safely to skin. Possible carrier
Apricot Kernel oil: This light yellow oil provides a fine texture, is rich
in vitamins and minerals, and a popular choice.
Castor oil: A thick, sticky oil with a strong odor. It has good lubricating
Coconut oil: A light colored oil that turns solid in cooler room temperatures.
A fractionated version is exceptionally light and will not become rancid
making it a versatile carrier oil, though not often used.
Grape seed oil: This oil has a very fine texture, with a distinct fragrance.
It has a greenish hue. The oil provides vitamins and minerals, and is an
antioxidant that will extend the life of other oils. Very popular oil that
is easy to find locally.
Hazelnut oil: This oil is medium-light, and absorbs very well. It has a nice
texture and a light and subtle fragrance that don’t contrast greatly with
the wonderful fragrances of natural herbs. My favorite choice for anointing
and body oils.
Jojoba oil: The properties are similar to liquid wax, much different than
vegetable oil. It is an antioxidant and does not turn rancid. Popular oil
for massage, it remains heavy on skin surface.
Olive oil: Extra-Extra virgin, cold pressed is the best quality. Olive oil
is very rich in vitamins, protein, and mineral content. It has a distinctive,
somewhat pervasive odor, but works well.
Sunflower Seed oil: This is a nice lightly textured golden yellow carrier.
Good essential fatty acids and vitamins, fair quality, low fragrance and
Sweet Almond oil: A Pale golden oil with glyceride, linoleic and olein acid.
This is a very fine skin lubricant, rich in protein, vitamins and minerals.
Another popular medium-light oil, my second favorite for all general use.
Wheat Germ oil: An orange colored oil that is heavy and sticky. Very rich
in proteins, vitamins, minerals, and vitamin E. It is used mixed with other
carrier’s oil for its antioxidant properties that prevent degradation and
extend shelf life.
1 drop = 0.05 ml
1 ml = 20 drops
1 teaspoon = 5 ml
1 teaspoon = 100 drops
1 tablespoon = 15 ml
1 tablespoon = 300 drops
1 ounce = 30 ml
1 ounce = 600 drops
For your best success, use fresh organic herbs so that chemical preservatives
and pesticides on commercial plants are never included in your mixture. You
may need to wild harvest, buy from a local organic seller, or grow your own
herb garden. Forest herbs are wonderful, also- wild flowers in untended locations
can usually be used. Herb gardens are easy, inexpensive, and require minimal
attention. You can even grow your favorites in a window box to start with.
Note: find a friend who has sage herb, tradition for sage is to be grown
Please don’t take the time to grow your own herbs just to use them in a common
vegetable oil that has preservatives, growth chemicals and pesticides. Choose
the oil that most suits your use. Organic olive oil might be costly but is worth the extra expense it you are looking for something easy to find. You may want to make your own oil base after trying these oil making options. Check out a couple health food stores to try the recommended carrier oils.
Next, you will harvest, or gather and prepare your herbs. Herbs should be diced finely to allow maximum absorption in your carrier oil. Powdered herbs work best, since you can add them directly to the oil base for a quicker result and stronger end product. If you decide to dice, you can tie the herbs in cheese cloth, which is then placed directly in the oil. For fresh herbs 2/3 parts oil to 1/3 herb is recommended. Dried herbs will require a larger amount of oil; about 80% oil mixture will work fine.
Now you need to extract the medicinal essence from the herbs. Heating the mixture to around 100 to 115 degrees for about 2 weeks. Some people place their jars in a sunny window, or outside where there is more exposure. You can check your oil every few days until you achieve the desired result. Your sense of smell is the best measure. Powdered herbs need to steep 7-14 days, diced herb take 2 or more weeks, depending on the strength you want to achieve.
The next step is extracting the oil from the herbs. You can twist the cheesecloth to strain the liquid into another jar, pour off the remaining oil, and let it all settle. After a day or two pour off the oil again to eliminate pieces of herbs and any liquid that surfaces. Your finished oil is ready to use, or store in tightly capped dark jars or bottles.
Hint: a couple drops of Benzoin oil is a great natural preservative for oils
that have low antioxidants
Choose a carrier oil (I prefer the overall qualities of Hazelnut & Sweet
Almond), and fresh or dried herbs or flowers. Have one or more small Jars
with tight fitting lids handy, to hold the mixture.
Place the base oil (whatever oil you have decided to use) and herbs in clear jars, tightly cap. Store in a dark cool place. Once a week for 2 weeks, vigorously shake the mixture in the jars. In the third week, use cheesecloth to strain the mixture. Add more herbs and oil if necessary and allow to sit for another 2 weeks. When you have the scent that you want, strain the herbs out again and use your finished oil or store in a dark cool place.
Pour your carrier oil into your mortar; add diced, crushed, or powdered herbs a little at a time, pressing into the oil with your pestle. When the mixture looks well blended, pour it into a bottle. Store the bottle in a dark, place for three days. On the fourth day smell your oil to see if it has absorbed enough of the herbal scents. When it smells right for you it is ready to use in your spell work. Or, add more herbs and repeat the process until your oil is as strong as you desire.
Remember to visualize your intent while blending your ingredients. You can also speak a charm to enhance magical properties of your recipe. Enchanting your oil and herbs will impart your personal power into the mix. Small amounts of these oils are very effective. Both fragrance and magic are quite strong when properly prepared.
Note: You can learn how to create your own oils from herbs, roots and barks, and find directions for oil blending from category “How to Make Magical Oils”. There are many other recipes for specific magical intent. Use only natural oils for these recipes. Never use artificial ingredients or your results will be ineffective. These recipes are wonderful when used in making incense or as warming oil. You can anoint your body or use them in bath preparations, unless you have a sensitivity to any of the ingredients.
Now, another way is to use your crock pot or slow cooker, instead of placing the ingredients in a jar for 2 weeks, you can put in the slow cooker for 6 hrs on low setting after warmed on medium.Let cool before bottling.
A few notes about galangal
also known as:
Galanga, Galengale, Galingale, Garingal
Greater: Big Galangal, Galangal Major, Java Galangal, Kaempferia, Siamese Ginger
Lesser: Aromatic Ginger, China Root, Chinese Ginger, Colic Root, East Indian Catarrh Root, East Indian Root, Gargaut, India Root, Siamese Ginger.
French: grand galanga
Chinese: kaoliang-chiang, ko-liang-kiang
Indian: barakalinjan, kulanjan
Malay: languas, lenguas
French: galanga de la Chine, galanga vrai, petit galanga
Chinese: sa leung geung, sha geung fun
Malay: kunchor, zedoary
Some of the iol recipes call for this tricky little herb. when you deal with it a bit, u will become more comfortable with the use of it. here are a few tips also for the storage, use, preservation of it, and also the use of it with in some of the recipes.
** Abramelin Oil and Galangal tips and hints
These are from various people...thanks to them, you may have an easier time with it.
Just a side note.....if you get galangal oil, be careful that it isn't
rancid. It does that rather quickly. This is the information I get
from some friends that make it.
Abramelin oil is known to undergo some alchemical "change" as the
ingredients "marry". I forget the particulars, but the idea is to let
it sit for a while and let it do it's thing. You'll know when it's
ready. It clears and gets that wonderful golden color.
Also, Galangal is said to have certain mind-altering qualities, perhaps
a reason why it is used instead of ginger. : ) Galangal oil is
associated with the Sun, and all solar energies.
As for the Galangal, it needs to be mixed with the other ingredients
ASAP in order to prevent the rancid effect. If you find a place
that sells the essential oil of this root, be sure they over-night it
to you in a "cold" pack OR have it shipped via refrigerator truck.
This will add to the expense of the oil and you really should expect
to pay approx. $150 to 200 for an ounce (shipping incl.). At least
that is the last price I received from the Labs that make the
essential oil from the root.
Galangal is not ginger. It is from the same family, but not the same.
Galangal is more "bitter", "hot". Ginger is "sweeter". It is more
popular in Thai cooking than in Chinese cooking, where ginger is
Olive Oil extract, or pressed Olive Oil will work. I doubt that the
original recipes used Extract of Olive Oil. I can almost bet that they
used the pressed. Extraction being the more "expensive" if not the
I used "extra virgin pressed". The resultant was a nice base. Very
smooth and luxuriant. I feel that extract would scent the resultant
But then again, Do what thou whilst!
A simple method for finding out if the oils you are buying are *truly* non-synthetic is to taste them. Be brave, and taste only a tiny amount on the end of a toothpick. Real cinnamon oil is easy enough to buy at the grocery store (read the ingredients and be sure it's not quassia, a common substitute), but I have been sold "natural" galangal oil that was nowhere near genuine. Myrrh is very bitter and galangal tastes like hell, but *neither* of them tastes the least bit like perfume. If you detect the slightest bit of soapy, perfumey taste, the oil has at least some synthetic ingredients and is likely a blend, not the real thing. For some purposes that's just fine, but if you're going to be using it for cakes of light, I don't recommend it.
How do you still smell anything after the 8th sniff or so?
Coffee, love. It's an old trick: freshly grind some coffee and give it
a sniff after each sniff or so of the oils. It keeps your olfactory
receptors from getting tired and accustomed to the same old smell.
One thing I have noticed is that it's very hard to get someone who DOES make it successfully to give out all of the steps.
Fragrances do blend or "marry" over time. It's a molecular thing and it just takes time. My Abramelin oil matures pretty much completely after about two or three months. The only way I can describe the difference is that the freshly made stuff, while definitely usable and quite nice, is more "raw" or "green" smelling and become more mellow with age. Kind of like people. It's a very subtle change.
I'm not sure if Abramelin oil would go rancid over time or not. In any case, the addition of a small amount of oil from a vitamin E capsule will keep most oils that do go rancid from doing so.
all true essential oils will keep with care. Remember, these are natural extracts. In most cases they are susceptible to air, light and heat. I have a special cabinet where I keep my extracts and essences. All oils are kept in tightly sealed jars. If I am really worried, or the essence is highly valuable (Rose Otto), the fridge has always worked well.
if you wish to make your own, distilling galangal root in a grain alcohol is the most effective way of obtaining galangal. Since you use grain alcohol, there is little or no chance of getting rancid galangal and it keeps for years. Galangal has a strange organic chemistry and many of the so-called experts that deal with galangal will sell you a bad batch. So let the buyer beware. for the hard part? Where do you get the fresh root? Assuming that is what is used in the distillation process.....Try your local Thai grocery store.
Abramelin Oil is a famous formula for dressing oil whose name came about due to its having been described in a medieval grimoire called "The Book of the Sacred Magic of Abramelin the Mage" written by Abraham of Worms, a fifteenth century Jewish Kabbalist. The recipe is adapted from the Jewish Holy Oil of the Tanakh, which is described in the Book of Exodus attributed to Moses. There is quite a bit of controversy concerning one of the ingredients, due to translation issues surrounding a French manuscript of the book, several German manuscripts, an Aramaic manuscript, an error in the late 19th century English translation by S. L. McGregor Mathers (from the incomplete French manuscript), and the Hebrew scripture from which the recipe obviously derives.
INGREDIENTS AND METHODS OF PREPARATION
There are, especially among English-speaking occultists, four variant forms of Abramelin Oil. In the original manuscripts, the recipe for Abramelin Oil is as follows:
You shall prepare the sacred oil in this manner: Take of Myrrh in tears, one part; of fine Cinnamon, two parts; of Calamus half a part; and the half of the total weight of these drugs of the best Olive Oil. The which aromatics you shall mix together according unto the art of the apothecary, and shall make thereof a balsam, the which you shall keep in a glass vial which you shall put within the cupboard (formed by the interior) of the altar.
Those familiar with the recipe for Jewish Holy Oil will at once recognize the derivation of this formula, right down to the catch phrase "according unto the art of the apothecary." Here is the recipe for Jewish Holy Oil from the Bible:
Take thou also unto thee principal spices, of pure myrrh five hundred [shekels], and of sweet cinnamon half so much, [even] two hundred and fifty [shekels], and of sweet calamus two hundred and fifty [shekels], And of cassia five hundred [shekels], after the shekel of the sanctuary, and of oil olive an hin: And thou shalt make it an oil of holy ointment, an ointment compounded after the art of the apothecary: it shall be an holy anointing oil. (Exodus 30:22-33)
The Bible lists five ingredients: Myrrh, Cinnamon, Cassia, Calamus, and Olive oil.
The four ingredients listed by Abraham of Worms in "The Book of the Sacred Magic of Abramelin the Mage" are Myrrh, Cinnamon, Calamus, and Olive oil.
Since Cinnamon and Cassia are two species of the same Cinnamomum genus, their doubling up into one name by the medieval author Abraham of Worms is not unexpected. His reasons for doing so may have been prompted by a pious decision to avoid duplicating true Holy Oil, or by a tacit admission that in medieval Europe, it was difficult to obtain Cinnamon and Cassia as separate products.
SAMUEL MATHERS' MISTAKE
According to the S.L. MacGregor Mathers English translation, which derives from an incomplete French manuscript copy of the book, the recipe is as follows:
You shall prepare the sacred oil in this manner: Take of myrrh in tears, one part; of fine cinnamon, two parts; of galangal half a part; and the half of the total weight of these drugs of the best oil olive. The which aromatics you shall mix together according unto the art of the apothecary, and shall make thereof a balsam, the which you shall keep in a glass vial which you shall put within the cupboard (formed by the interior) of the altar.
The four ingredients listed by Mathers in his translation of "The Book of the Sacred Magic of Abramelin the Mage" are Myrrh, Cinnamon, Galangal (Little John to Chew), and Olive oil.
Mathers' substitution of "Galangal" for "Calamus" was a poor translation on his part; the word that he translated from the French is actually the word "Calamus." All of the other extant manuscripts, in German and Aramaic, also list "Calamus" as the ingredient. This mistake by Mathers was to have repercussions in the works of later occultists, especially Anglophones.
THE SHIFTING SYMBOLISM OF THE INGREDIENTS
Many traditions of magic work with plant materials, and most also assign some symbolic meanings or ascriptions to these botanical ingredients.
In the Jewish tradition, from whence came the original Biblical recipe upon which Abramelin Oil was based, the Olive is a symbol of domestic felicity and stability, Myrrh (which contains opioids) is sacred to the Lord, Calamus is known for its sweetness and phalliform fruiting body and stands for male sexuality and love, while Cinnamon is favored for its warming ability.
In hoodoo folk magic, these symbolisms are somewhat changed: Myrrh and Olive remain the same, but Cinnamon is for money and luck, and Calamus is used by both men and women to sweetly control others. (The Matherian alternative, Galangal, is employed in protective work, especially that involving court cases.)
Aleister Crowley had his own symbolic view of the ingredients that he found in the Mathers translation. He wrote:
This oil is compounded of four substances. The basis of all is the oil of the olive. The olive is, traditionally, the gift of Minerva, the Wisdom of God, the Logos. In this are dissolved three other oils; oil of myrrh, oil of cinnamon, oil of galangal. The Myrrh is attributed to Binah, the Great Mother, who is both the understanding of the Magician and that sorrow and compassion which results from the contemplation of the Universe. The Cinnamon represents Tiphereth, the Sun -- the Son, in whom Glory and Suffering are identical. The Galangal represents both Kether and Malkuth, the First and the Last, the One and the Many, since in this Oil they are One. [...] These oils taken together represent therefore the whole Tree of Life. The ten Sephiroth are blended into the perfect gold. ("Majick, Book 4", Ch. 5)
This ridiculous mish-mash of Greek, Jewish, and Christian fabulizing was typical of Crowley's scholarship. Worse, due to a persistent racist bias in Crowley's works, he repeatedly appropriated Jewish sources in Kabbalah while simultaneously proclaiming his belief in the blood libel against Jews, namely, that they commit ritual murder and cannibalism. There is a kind of poetic justice in the fact that Crowley's peculiar version of Abramelin Oil burns the skin; let that pain serve as a warning to those who would follow him that he was a sadist and one who was fundamentally inept in the both realms of perfumery and botanical magic, both of which he so conspicuously defiled by his deep-seated anti-Semitism.
SIDE-EFFECTS OF MATHERS' MISTRANSLATION
AND CROWLEY'S MIS-USE OF ESSENTIAL OILS
Those who make Abramelin Oil according the recipe given by Abraham of Worms are working well within the Jewish and Christian occult traditions of the Middle Ages. Mathers' mistaken substitution of Galangal for Calamus, coupled with Crowley's innovative use of essential oils rather than raw ingredients in weighing out the proportions has resulted in some interesting repercussions to those who work with various formulas for Abramelin Oil:
· SCENT: The oils of Mathers and Crowley have an entirely different aroma from the Jewish Abramelin oil. The scent of Galangal is gingery and spicy whereas Calamus is florally sweet yet a bit yeasty. Insofar as occultists work with plant materials because they value botanical contributions to ceremonial rites, they find that these oils produce different states of mind, of thought, of "being."
· SYMBOLISM: In Jewish, Greek, and European magical botanic symbolism, the ascription given to Sweet Flag or Calamus is that of male sexuality, due to the shape of the plant's fruiting body. Crowley, following Mathers' substitution of Galangal for Calamus, gave his own unique meaning for Galangal: "Galangal represents both Kether and Malkuth, the First and the Last, the One and the Many." Thus Crowley's reliance on the mistake made by his mentor, Mathers, led him to inanely create a new meaning for Galangal and to remove from the original Jewish Holy Oil basis, its important symbol of phallic virility.
· SKIN TOXICITY: The original recipe for Abramelin Oil does not irritate the skin and can be applied according to traditional Jewish and Christian religious and magical practices. Crowley's recipe has a much higher concentration of Cinnamon than the original recipe. This results in an oil that so uncomfortably hot on the skin that it can actually cause skin burns or rashes if applied too liberally. Cinnamon essential oil is listed as a dermal (skin) toxin, irritant, and sensitizer. Safety guidelines for essential oil of Cinnamon recommend 10% dilution with 90% neutral carrier oils such as Olive oil (Tisserand & Balacs, 1995). Therefore, the Crowley recipe, in which Cinnamon essential oil is 38% of the whole by weight, or almost four times the recommended safe level, can only be used in relatively small amounts upon the skin and must be carefully placed to avoid contact with the eyes, nostrils, or mucous membranes of the genitals or anus. If dermal sensitivities are an issue, a skin patch test should be conducted prior to first-time use.
· DIGESTIVE TOXICITY: Galangal is edible, Calamus is not, being toxic. This is certainly relevant to Thelemites who use Crowley's recipe as a flavoring for their Eucharistic Cake of Light, giving it a mild opiate taste (from the Myrrh) and a spicy tang (from the Cinnamon and the Ginger-like Galangal). Any use of Calamus essential oil in such a recipe would render their sacred host inedible.
· Abraham von Worms, edited by Beecken, Johann Richard. (1957)."Die heilige Magie des Abramelin von Abraham." ISBN 3877020178
· Abraham von Worms, edited by Dehn, Georg. "Buch Abramelin das ist Die egyptischen groessen Offenbarungen. Oder des Abraham von Worms Buch der wahren Praktik in der uralten goettlichen Magie". (Editions Araki, 2001) ISBN 3936149003
· Abraham of Worms, edited by Dehn, Georg. "Book of Abramelin: A New Translation". (Nicholas Hays, September 2006) ISBN 089254127X
· Abraham of Worms, translated and edited by Mathers, S.L. MacGregor. "The Book of the Sacred Magic of Abramelin the Mage". (1897; reprinted by Dover Publications, 1975) ISBN 0850302552
· Abraham of Worms, edited by von Inns, Juerg. "Das Buch der wahren Praktik in der goettlichen Magie." Diederichs Gelbe Reihe. (1988).
· Crowley, Aleister. "Majick: Book 4." 2nd ed. York Beach, Me. : S. Weiser, 1997.
· Koenig, Peter R. (1995). "Abramelin & Co." Hiram-Edition. ISBN 3927890243
· Tisserand, Robert & Balacs, Tony. (1995). "Essential Oil Safety: A Guide for Health Care Professionals" ISBN 0443052603
The ingredients in a bottle of store bought perfume or cologne cost about ten percent of the retail price, the rest is in packaging, advertising, sales profit, and tax. Now wouldn’t you rather put your money into really exotic essential oils that you could afford, by simply making your own perfume? Haven’t you ever smelled a fragrance and you just knew that if you were a perfume that this one would be you? Now these essential oils could set you back a dollar or two, but don’t panic, you need only a drop or two of jasmine, for example, to infuse a bottle of really luxurious perfume. Unlike many store bought perfumes you can be sure that you are buying the real thing.
The strength of your aromatic liquid or perfume depends on the ratio of essential oils to water and alcohol. Perfume is the strongest formula: 15-30 percent essential oil, 70-85 percent alcohol, and the remainder or at least 5 percent water. Be sure and use bottled distilled or spring water only. 100 proof Vodka should be used for the alcohol, you may also use Brandy, but it has a distinct aroma of its own and sometimes gets in the way of blending in the essential oils. If you want to add color, use a high quality, natural, vegetable food dye. You will also need sterilized bottles to put your creations in, and as much as you want to use the pretty clear cut glass bottles, please don’t. They attract perfumes worst enemy: the sun. But if you feel you must display your new creations in a beautiful bottle, at least store the majority of your perfume in a separate container and only what you want to display in the pretty glass one.
Finally, you need a notebook to record the exact formulas, in drops of essential oils, that you use when making up your concentrate. Remember that one drop of essential oil can change the whole formula. For instance you know you put in jasmine, ylang-ylang, and vanilla, but was it one drop or two of jasmine, and 3 or 4 drops of vanilla? So if you stumble upon a masterpiece you sure want to have everything nice and neat to look back on.
Concentrate of essential oils
2 1/2 oz of 100 Proof Vodka or Brandy
2 tbsp of Distilled or Spring Water (add more water if needed)
Take your essential oil concentrate and add to Vodka, stirring slowly but long enough to disperse the oils. Let this mixture stand for 48 hours, then add 2 tbsp of distilled or spring water, again stir slowly and thoroughly. Let this mixture stand another 48 hours. Some people let there perfume stand anywhere from four to six weeks curing time, this way you will get a stronger perfume, and not a cologne. This choice is up to you, just remember if the formula seems too strong you can always add more water and dilute it back down. After letting the perfume mature or cure, pour through a coffee filter (so any sediment does not get in the final product) into your bottle. Voila’ your very own signature perfume. Enjoy!!!!