Aromatherapy: Cypress for Beauty and Home

Castor Oil Hair Pack

A healing and beauty-care treatment in one - this gently medicated pack helps clear the scalp, leaving hair supple and silky. It is ideal for normal to dry hair with dandruff. Castor oil is available from most chemists. Despite its sticky texture, it's very easy to shampoo out. Cypress is blended with sandalwood and tea tree because they work well together to protect the scalp against fungi and bacteria which are believed to contribute to dandruff. Cider vinegar helps maintain the scalp's natural pH balance.

4 tsp castor oil
3 tsp cider vinegar
3 drops cypress oil
3 drops tea tree oil
4 drops sandalwood oil

Put the castor oil in a bowl, add the essential oils and vinegar, and stir well. Apply to damp hair, massaging into the scalp. Leave on for 20-30 minutes, before washing out with a mild pH balanced shampoo. Use once a week.

Tonic for Oily Hair

This will reduce sebum secretion, help keep dandruff at bay and add shine.

50ml distilled witch hazel
100ml distilled water
3 tsp cider vinegar
3 drops cypress oil
2 drops rosemary oil
2 drops lavender oil

Put the vinegar and oils into a dark glass bottle and shake well. Funnel in the witch hazel, and shake again. Apply to damp hair after shampooing and massage into the scalp. It can also be applied to dry hair in between shampoos. Apply two or three times a week.

Treatment for Broken Capillaries

Some people have an inherited tendency to broken capillaries which appear as red blotches, particularly on the cheeks and nose. The condition is aggravated by extremes of temperature, so avoid steam treatments and saunas.

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Natural treatments are mainly preventative rather than curative. The only way to eradicate a network of broken capillaries is to have the cauterised with an electric needle, a procedure which must be carried out by a qualified beautician.

Vitamin C (with citrus flavonoids) and vitamin E can certainly help prevent the condition from worsening. Vitamin C has an anti-inflammatory action, citrus flavonoids (found in the pith of citrus fruits) strengthen blood vessels and vitamin E improves circulation. Externally, this treatment oil will help strengthen the capillaries.

Tonic facial oil
2 tsp carrier oil
1 vitamin E capsule
1 drop cypress oil
1 drop neroli oil
1 drop frankincense oil

Pierce the vitamin E capsule with a pin and squeeze the contents into the carrier oil, add the essential oils and shake well.

Gently pat into the affected areas morning and night, three or four times a week. Don't be tempted to apply every day for months on end. The oils are much more effective if the skin does not become too used to the treatment. Other essential oils which may be helpful for this condition are rose otto and lemon.

Refreshing Green Shower Gel

aromatherapy shampoo

50ml unperfumed bath gel
5 drops cypress oil
5 drops cedarwood oil
5 drops lemon oil
2 drops rosemary oil
3 drops petitgrain oil

Tranquil Burner Blend

Ideal for meditation or yoga practice.

3 drops cypress oil
1 drop scots pine oil
2 drops cedarwood oil
1 drop frankincense oil

Miracle Earth Pack

Tone and firm sagging skin and help reduce cellulite with this stimulating treatment. Dry brush your skin for a few minutes using a vegetable bristle body brush. Sweep upwards from the feet to stimulate lymphatic drainage and the elimination of toxic wastes and slough off dead skin cells. This makes the skin more receptive to the ingredients in the pack.

2 tbsp Fuller's earth
3-4 tbsp witch hazel
1 tbsp natural yoghurt
4 drops cypress oil
4 drops juniper berry oil

Mix the Fuller's earth with the witch hazel and yoghurt to form a smooth paste, then stir in the essential oils. Apply to your legs and buttocks. Leave on for 20 minutes, rinse off with lukewarm water followed by a splash of cold. Repeat at fortnightly or monthly intervals.

Punch Bowl

Make a bowl of mulled wine really special by surrounding it with a ring of cypress foliage studded with cinnamon, nutmeg, walnuts, kumquats and physalis (Cape gooseberries). Sprigs of rosemary are useful for filling in gaps. You could also use golden or purple sage leaves.

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You will need:

  • Oasis ring set in a plastic holder
  • Light and green sprigs of cypress, preferably with cones
  • Sprigs of rosemary
  • 5 walnuts
  • 5 nutmegs
  • 3 cinnamon sticks
  • 7 kumquats
  • 7 physalis
  • Wooden cocktail sticks
  • 2-3 pieces florists' wire
  1. Immerse the Oasis ring (Oasis side down) in cold water for about 5 minutes - it's best not to oversoak it as it will become too crumbly.
  2. Break off small pieces of rosemary and dark green sprigs of cypress and insert them evenly into the Oasis, working all round the sides. Push longer sprays of golden cypress into the top, so that they lie sideways around the ring in the form of a wreath. Any pieces that stand too upright can be pinned down with a short length of florists' wire, bent double to form a 'peg'.
  3. Pierce the walnuts and nutmegs with a fine bradawl or drill bit. Put the walnuts on cocktail sticks and the nutmegs on short pieces of florists' wire. Insert them into the Oasis along with wired pieces of cinnamon and kumquats and physalis on cocktail sticks.
  4. Stand the glass bowl in the centre of the ring and fill it with spiced, mulled wine ot a wine punch.

For an autumn celebration, harvest thanksgiving supper or Halloween party, crab apples, plums, sprays of elderberries and slows may be substituted for the kumquats.

Bathroom Air Freshener

Pumice stone, being soft and porous, readily absorbs the scent of the essential oil, and freshly-picked cypress cones have a wonderfully strong fragrance of their own. Together, they make a bracing 'air freshener' mix for the bathroom to put in a glass dish ot wooden casket.

You will need:

  • Cypress cones
  • A piece of pumice stone
  • A few small shells
  • Cypress essential oil

Break the pumice stone into small pieces (about 2cm long) using a hammer. Put these into a bowl and sprinkle with a few drops of the oil. Add a handful of cypress cones and mix in some pretty shells. (If you do not have access to your own supply, small shells are available from craft shops).