Spice Chest of Calm
One delightful way of using spices is to create a mini spice chest for your desk or where you sit to make phone calls or pay your bills. Either buy a small chest of drawers or make one yourself from several matchboxes stuck together and either painted or covered in pretty fabric.
In each drawer create a different collection of spices, dried flowers, seed heads, bark, shells, pebbles or cones, and each one will have its own individual essential oil aroma. Don't be put off by the more unusual sounding ingredients, e.g. dried galangal, dried kaffir lime leaves and pink peppercorns, these are all usually stocked by large supermarkets.
Then, either sprinkle drops of the essential oil blend onto the plant material, or tuck a cotton wool ball in each drawer, soaked with your essential oils. When you sit at the desk, just open one of the drawers to allow a subtle aroma to emerge, closing the drawer when your work is done. Just refresh the ingredients when you need to. Below are some of the combinations you might like to try, each is based on a key essential oil.
Spice Chest Mixtures
Based on Cinnamon (Cinnamonum verum) Buy oil made from the leaves rather than the bark as this is just as suitable for fragrancing, and considerably cheaper. The aroma is warm and spicy with a slightly harsh note. Helpful for feverish infections, the oil can be a skin and mucous membrane irritant, so take care when smelling it. Add cinnamon sticks, star anise seed heads and dried lavender.
Based on clove bud (Eugenia caryophyllus) A sweet, spicy and fruity aroma which can be beneficial for colds and flu, also for dyspepsia and nausea. Take care when handling as the oil is quite irritant. Add clove buds, bay leaves and orange peel.
Based on coriander (Coriandrum sativum) Considered beneficial for the digestion with a musky, pleasantly aromatic fragrance. The essential oil is considered to be uplifting, almost euphoric, when small quantities are inhaled. Add coriander seeds, dried lemon peel and dried galangal (an aromatic root).
Based on ginger (Zingiber officinalis) A warm, spicy base note with a fresh citrusy top note. Warming and comforting to the digestion, helping to ease nausea and stimulate appetite. Add fresh ginger root or white dried ginger, dried rosemary and dried kaffir lime leaves.
Based on black pepper (Piper nigrum) The essential oil is distilled from the dried peppercorns and the hot, spicy piquant aroma is excellent for lethargy, mental fatigue and easing headaches. Add black, pink, white and green peppercorns, dried red chillies and dried mushrooms.
Based on nutmeg (Myristica fragrans) The essential oil is used in small quantities in aromatherapy as an antibacterial, a digestive tonic for relieving flatulence and also for nervous fatigue. Too much of the sweet, warm, spicy fragrance can induce nausea. Add whole nutmegs (grate the side to release the fragrance), dried apricots, apples and pears.
This really is one of the speediest ways to scent your home. Hang them from house plants, door handles, coat hangers etc.
You will need:
2 cotton wool balls
scraps of fabric
A blend of the following essential oils
- 8 drops pure neroli essential oil
- 4 drops pure mandarin essential oil
- 4 drops pure clove bud essential oil
- 2 drops pure frankincense essential oil
Soak two cotton wool balls in the essential oil blend and leave to dry
Cut the fabric into two 14cm circles, using a plate as a guide (pinking sheers will make a pretty edging).
Gather each piece of fabric round a cotton wool ball and tie a ribbon loop to hang the purse by.
Add a bow or leaf for decoration.
Fill your home with gold frankincense and myrrh
Make three potpourri to represent the wise men's gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. Making a potpourri from scratch involves storing the ingredients for weeks so that the fragrances blend well. Here are some quicker ideas.
A hint of gold
The essential oils which seem to suggest gold most vividly are sweet orange, bergamot or neroli. Their rich fragrance marries well with the gold theme and gives you a joyous, uplifting effect. Arrange mandarins, satsumas or kumquats with gilded fruits and nuts, such as walnuts, pomegranates, almonds, lotus seed heads, gourds or fir cones. Soak a cotton wool pad in the following blend of oils and tuck it in the bottom of the bowl.
9 drops pure sweet orange essential oil
2 drops pure bergamot essential oil
2 drops pure neroli essential oil
1 drop pure cedarwood essential oil
Frankincense Boswellia carteri
Invaluable for soothing the nervous system and deepening the breathing. A small amount blends will with most oils. Combine dried, red rose heads, glossy fresh bay leaves, whole nutmegs, shells or pebbles. Soak a cotton wool pad in the following blend of oils and tuck it in the bottom of the bowl.
9 drops pure frankincense essential oil
2 drops pure black pepper essential oil
2 drops pure lemon essential oil
Myrrh Commiphora myrrha
The slightly medicated, spicy yet balsamic fragrance of myrrh has been valued for centuries for its mind-altering effects. Too much can be disorienting, but the following blend makes a warm, stimulating fragrance. Combine cinnamon sticks, pine cones, star anise seed heads, rosemary sprigs, holly leaves or teasels. Soak a cotton wool pad in the following blend and tuck it in the bottom of the bowl.
9 drops pure myrrh essential oil
2 drops pure rosemary essential oil
2 drops pure cedarwood essential oil.