DIY Olive Leaf Tincture

My olive tree is about 10 years old. It’s an amazing tree to have in the UK with its evergreen leaves and occasionally a small olive harvest.
Olive leaf extract is made from the leaves of the olive plant. It contains an active ingredient called oleuropein, a natural antibiotic and antioxidant that can help or prevent many diseases. The bitter leaves of the olives have been traditionally used as a herbal medicine for thousands of years. You can read find more about the science here.

Benefits Of Olive Leaf Extract
• antiatherogenic(prevents formation of plaque in the arteries)
• Anti-diabetic
• antihypertensive (lowers blood pressure)
• anti-inflammatory
• anti-microbial
• antioxidant,
• anti-viral
• bitter
• hepatic
• hypocholesterolemic(lowers cholesterol and protects the circulatory system)
• hypoglycemic (lowers blood sugar)
• protective against radiation damage
• support healthy thyroid function

I have been making an alcohol free version of olive leaf extract for a few years now, below is the recipe I use. I have made 2 jars of tincture here, one with apple cider vinegar (ACV) and one with vegetable glycerine. Glycerine has a sweet taste which many prefer. Alternatively ACV also has extra health benefits too. I make these separately (don’t mix the ACV and the glycerine together).

Ingredients:
1 sterilised wide mouth jar with a non-corrosive lid.
Enough olive leaves to fill the jar.
Organic apple cider vinegar OR vegetable glycerine, depending on which you prefer.
Sieve or cheesecloth to strain the tincture.

Method:
Use unblemished clean leaves which have not been sprayed with any chemicals. Alternatively you can purchase organic olive leaves.
Fill almost all of the jar with the olive leaves.

Once the jar is almost full, pour the apple cider vinegar or vegetable glycerine over the leaves to cover.
If you’re using a metal lid, line it with wax paper so that the vinegar doesn’t corrode it, and then put the lid on. Place in a dark room, at room temperature.

Shake occasionally and let the tincture steep for about 6 week or more.
After a minimum of 6 weeks shake well and then strain the tincture using a cheesecloth or fine mesh sieve. Transfer in to a sterilised jar and keep in a dark place. For dosages, you can transfer a small amount in an amber glass dropper bottle.

Dosage: I would take 2ml of tincture 3 times a day.

Disclaimer: herbal medicine is powerful – always do your research or ask for medical advice before hand!

Dianthus Enfleurage Pomade

enfleurage pomade

My summer adventure with enfleurage has continued and I’m so please to offer this beautiful Dianthus carnation flower enfleurage pomade to my shop. Made from fresh flowers laid on to a bed of shea butter and jojoba wax and recharged regularly until the scent has transfixed itself on the fat. The result is a subtle scent of the flower. It works beautifully as a single note, soliflore perfume.

My enfleurage pomade is mindfully made in very small batches, when the botanical is in season. It really is labour intensive, but also a labour of love. The scent is subtle and true, like laying on a fresh bed of flowers.

New! Loose Incense

loose incense

I’m excited to share something I have been working on all summer, a range of 6 new loose incense recipes. I’ve been busy growing, harvesting and drying many herbs to add to my loose incense collection.

Incense has always been a part my life. Growing up, my mother used Indian incense sticks and cones as well as Arabian bukoor and resins. Scenting the home is something I do everyday, whether through incense, or essential oils, candles, or sage sticks, the natural aroma of botanicals and resins always helps me feel in a good place.

Many cultures around the world use incense as a modality for a wide range of reasons. The ancient practice of burning plants and resins, has been used for thousands of years for its spiritual, therapeutic and healing properties.
Studies have shown that burning certain botanicals, can release negative ions from the atmosphere, improves focus and increases the sense of wellbeing in the same way as aromatherapy does. Indeed it was the first ‘aromatherapy.’

Incense Uses:
– Promote calmness and relaxation.
– Clears negative energy.
– Focus and clears the mind.
– As a medicinal modality.
– For meditation.
– Fragrance
– Cleans impurities from the air.

My blend of sacred resins, woods, herbs and flowers have been intuitively chosen for their different properties. Many of the herbs have been organically grown in my garden, other ingredients are wild harvested and ethically and organically sourced.

How to burn loose incense:
Place a charcoal disc in a heat proof dish.
Hold a flame to the charcoal disc until it is lit and an ash grey colour.
Add a very small amount of incense on top and enjoy.

New Botanical Perfume ‘Birdsong’

birdsong botanical peach perfume

A Midsummer’s day when the light hits the trees, and the branches sway in the colours of a gentle wind. Scattered crushed peaches lay on an orchard floor, accompanied by a sea of iris. Overhead, there is a symphony of tiny winged creatures, and the scent, is that of birdsong.

Birdsong is an earthy grassy gourmand I have been working on for a while. I must admit I have spent months perfecting this scent, made with extract off macerated peaches, essential oils, and plant, seed and bark extracts and all mindfully made with organic, wild crafted or ethically sourced botanicals.

Opening notes are Fresh Oranges, Bergamot and Elemi merged with herbaceous Pettitgrain. Galbanum adds the scent of grass, helped along with the extracts of Green tea. This leads to a heart of crushed peaches, merged with iris root, evoking a hint of violets. Osmanthus is fruity and narcotic and then there is a subtle mention of Gardenia. The base ends with Sandalwood and the golden warmth of Amber, Vanilla and Benzoin. Labdamen is also incorporated and juxtaposed with the earthy scent of Vetiver.

Enfleurage Pomade

rose enfluerage

This is simplified version of ‘enfleurage’ a beautiful age old technique of extracting essential oil from delicate flowers. Historically this method originated in 18th century France, by perfumers who were looking at different ways to capture the scent of flowers. Similar methods of extracting scent from fat and oils were also popular in antiquity, in ancient Egypt and the Near East.

Certain delicate flowers such as roses, tuberose, orange blossom, violets, lilacs and jasmine continue to release perfume after picking.  Fat has excellent absorption properties, therefore when they come in to contact with a fragrant flower, they readily absorbs the perfume that is released. Traditionally, the fat used in enfleurage comes from animals, and later this is combined with alcohol to further distill the fragrance. I am going to omit the alcohol process, and use coconut oil instead of animal fat. The fat containing the flower scent and oils is called an ‘enfleurage pomade’ this is what I will be making.

You will need:

2 glass dishes, one to fit on top of the other.

Fat – enough to cover about 2cm of one of the glass dishes. I’ve use coconut oil here.

Fragrant flowers – enough to lay on top of the fat.

The process:

+ Gently melt the coconut oil in a pot, but do not heat up. Pour the fat in to the glass dish and let it cool. Once cooled, score the fat in to a diamond pattern to help the fragrance of the flower absorb the fat.

+ Before adding the flower on to the fat, remove any foliage or stems from the flower. Place the flower face down on to the fat, making sure you cover it entirely with the floral matter. Gently press down. Place the second glass dish, or a cover on top. You can seal with tape or cling film to make sure it is completely covered, but I just like to place a cover or lid on top.

+ Leave in a cool dark place for 24 to 48 hours, depending on the type of bloom.  Now remove the old blooms and recharge with fresh ones. Repeat this process ideally, a minimum of 6 to 7 times and up to 30 times. The scent is stronger the more times you repeat this process.

+ You now have an elegant enfleurage pomade!

+ You can whip the scented ‘pomade’ up and put in to glass jars and use as required. Makes a wonderful balm for the skin and hair, or use as a base for making other beautifully scented products.

Homemade Smudge Incense Sticks

The burning of herbs for its smoke has been practiced since ancient times in many different indigenous cultures for thousands of years as a ceremonial ritual for healing and cleansing. The benefits of burning herbs have been studied and have shown that it does in fact release antimicrobial as well as other beneficial properties, which keeps bacteria and viruses at bay. See study here and here.
Smudge sticks that are derived from Native America are usually made up of sage or a combination of herbs. Different herbs such as rosemary, bay, thyme, cedar, and flowers such as lavender or rose can be used. You can research the herbs you want to combine. For example lavender for calm and restfulness, rosemary for mental clarity and purification, sage for cleansing the bacteria in the air etc. Be sure to use plants that have not been sprayed with pesticides. You can ethically wild craft the plants to be used or use your own from your garden.

You will need:

Fresh or dried herbs
Cotton twine/hemp
Scissors

Collect all the plant material. You can use dry or fresh, or a mixture of both.
Here I have used herbs that are in season in my garden right now. They include sage, rosemary, lavender, olive leave, bay leaf, calendula and geranium flowers.

Cut the plants to similar lengths and bundle together.

Cut a long piece string or hemp, enough to wrap 2 – 3 times around the plants, and to make two knots.

Start tying the bottom of the plants together, making a knot and wrap around the bottom a few times.

Wind the string around firmly at an angle all the way to the top of the bunched plants and then wind it back down diagonally, in a zig zag fashion, and tie a not at the bottom again.

Let the plants dry out for a few weeks.

To smudge:

Light the top of the smudge stick. Once it has a flame, blow it out quickly and let it smoke. Fan the smoke around the room or around your body and hold a fireproof bowl underneath to catch the ash, or to place the smudge stick in.

The Nature Of Botanical Perfume

When it comes to botanical perfume, it has a completely different nature compared to synthetic perfumes that are mass produced and created in labs.

The colour
Botanical perfumes take on the hue of the botanical ingredients. Perfumes with a high percentage of darker materials such as Oakmoss, Oud or Labdanum will give a darker colour. Perfumes with a larger percentage of light coloured botanicals will have a lighter hue.

Sediment
My perfume making methods are motivated by ancient civilisations. The Egyptians, Greeks and Arabs used botanicals and oils to produce their scents. The ingredients come from plant, seeds, spices, flowers, bark and resins and are obtained through tinctures, infusions, essential oils and absolutes of these plant materials. As a result, my perfumes may have some sediment from the raw natural ingredients. This does not effect the scent in any way, just shake the bottle before application.

Slight variation in scent
As with anything in nature, botanicals vary from season to season, depending on their environment. I think this is the beauty of a botanical perfume as you capture the true essence of the plant in a bottle, as opposed to chemically formulated identical perfumes.

Longevity
With botanical perfume, the durability depends on the alchemy between the botanical ingredients and your body temperature. Therefore it can vary from person to person. Typically a scent can last anything between 3 – 6 hours. Main stream synthetic perfumes have a chemical fixatives that keep the scent at an intrusive level and makes it lasts longer. As there are no chemicals in my perfume, I use plants that are natural fixatives to help lengthen the sillage of the perfume. These can include Sandalwood, Vetiver, Cedarwood, Ambrette seed, Violet leaf, Vanilla and many more wonderful botanicals.

New Botanical Perfume ‘The Bookist’

Cosy evenings, darken days, dusty books, serendipity old bookshops, orange peel, steaming hot ground coffee and decadent chocolate. This is a description of my new perfume ‘the Bookist’ a multifarious fragrance with a character that is gourmand, earthy and woody.

I wanted to create a scent to wear for autumn and the winter season. When nights draw in and there’s a feeling of nostalgia as summer has ended and the leaves have fallen. The feeling of comfort when sitting in an old armchair, reading an old book, drinking bitter coffee and the comfort of eating sweet chocolate treats.

The notes include Bitter Orange, Bergamot, Magnolia, Damascus Rose, Pepper, Black Cumin, freshly brewed Coffee, pure Cocoa essence, Vanilla, Amber, Vetiver, Benzoin, Amyris, Cedar and Ho wood. An enveloping elixir, that is reassuring and calmative, perfect for this time of year.