All posts filed under: Materia Medica: Plants Used in Aromatherapy

Get to know the plants used in aromatherapy.

Getting to Know: Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)

Yarrow, an herb in the Asteraceae family, has been used for wound healing/vulnerary purposes since ancient times. According to folklore, Achilles (the Grecian battle hero), carried the herb while on battle campaigns to treat battle wounds. This tough (it’s so tough that it grows in the incredibly damp, clay soil of my gardens!) herb can be found throughout the temperate climates of the Northern Hemisphere. It is often seen in the “wild,” though it is commonly found cultivated in many gardens. Like many herbs, Yarrow is happiest when its roots are in well draining soil and otherwise “neglected” (e.g., left alone, not fertilized, in lean soil). Yarrow essential oil is steam-distilled from the leaves and flowering tops of the plant. How may yarrow be used in aromatherapy? (Remember: ALWAYS dilute EOs prior to using on the skin and NEVER take them internally.) Physical level: anti-inflammatory, astringent, cicatrisant, haemostatic, vulnerary, skin regenerative (just to name a few!) Combine with Helichrysum in a compress for treatment of wounds or skin issues such as bruises or eczema. It helps support the circulatory system (astringent and anti-inflammatory)–combine with Cypress in a salve or …

Getting to Know: Angelica archangelica

Here is a picture of the beautiful Angelica archangelica (commonly known as garden angelica) that was growing in my garden this summer. I saved the seeds from the umbels and plan on distilling them in a few weeks to keep the water (hydrosol) created from the distillation process. Both the root and the seed are used from this plant for aromatherapy purposes. The plant is a biennial, meaning that it flowers the second year and dies after. Root: Should be used with caution as the oil is phototoxic (avoid use when going into the sun). It is noted for a calming (even sedative) effect on the nervous system–making it great when used in an inhaler for those with anxiety. Seed: It “gets things moving” and is an overall stimulant for the digestive & lymph systems and aids in easing water retention (by promoting movement). Angelica seed would be wonderful addition in a belly rub cream to aid in digestion or on the legs in a cream/body butter/salve to promote circulation for those with edema. Both the root and seed oils have an affinity for …