A Wonder of Nature

Roses have been prized throughout history, and al lover the world, for the sweetness and the soothing nature of their scent, and for the colour and shape of their blooms.

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Rosemary

Rosemary is probably one of the best known and most used of aromatic herbs.

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Santalum Album

Sandalwood has a long history. It is mentioned in old Sanskrit and Chinese manuscripts: the oil was used in religious ritual, and many deities and temples were carved from its wood.

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Tea tree

The tea tree oil is one of the most useful in holistic healing arts.

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Thyme

Thyme oil is steam-distilled from the leaves and flower tops. It is fatty and thick, and the smell is pleasant.

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Verbena

Like lemongrass, lemon verbena has a high citral content, which makes it a very good antiseptic and bactericide.

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Frankincense

Frankincense has been used since ancient times in religious ritual and, indeed, is still used today, as a major ingredient of church incense. It was very highly valued by many early cultures.

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Fennel

The herb fennel has been known since the very earliest days, the Chinese, Indians and Egyptians all using it both as condiment and medicine.

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Eucalyptus

All the eucalyptus trees – of which there are 600 or so species originate from Australia.

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Elemi

Elemi became popular as a medicine in Europe around the sixteenth century, and was referred to as ‘resina elemnia’.

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Cypress

Cupressus sempervirens – the Mediterranean or Italian cedar – is native to Mediterranean Europe, although cypress trees are now cultivated in much of temperate Europe and North America.

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Cumin

There are two types of cumin spice, which are most clearly defined in Indian culinary terminology. Kala or shah zeera is the ‘true’ or black cumin, and this is quite rare and expensive.

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Coriander

Coriander, both spice and herb, can be traced back over many centuries, and it could be one of the oldest flavourings in the world.

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Cloves

Cloves grow best near the sea, thus the preponderance of island cultivation.

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Cinnamon and Cassia

Cinnamon and cassia come from the bark of trees or bushes belonging to the laurel family.

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Cardamom

There are several botanical varieties of cardamom, a tall herbaceous perennial native to India and Sri Lanka.

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Caraway

Caraway is a biennial plant, native to south-eastern Europe, and now grows in the wild and in cultivation all over Europe and temperate Asia.

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Calendula / Marigold

Calendula oil is distilled from the petals of the pot marigold (Calendula Officinalis), a species of flower native to southern Europe, but which grows well further north in even the poorest of soils.

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Juniper

Juniperus oxycedrus is the Mediterranean equivalent of the common juniper.

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Bois de rose

Bois de rose – literally ‘wood of rose’ – is given the French name to prevent confusion with actual rosewood.

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Bergamot

Bergamot is the oil produced from the rind of a bitter orange tree (Citrus aurantium bergamia) said to have been exported by Christopher Columbus from the Canary Islands to the New World.

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Stryrax benzoin

Styrax benzoin is a tree which originated in Laos and Vietnam, but now grows in and around Malaysia, Java and Sumatra.

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Bay Tree

The bay tree, or bayberry tree, originated in South America, but is now cultivated in the Antilles, Mexico, Venezuela, Barbados and Jamaica. It is closely related to Pimenta 0fficinalis, the tree which produces allspice berries, also known as whole-spice, Pimento and Jamaica pepper.

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Balsam of Peru

Myroxylon pereirae is a large spreading tree of tropical America, closely related to the tree which yields baume de Tolu (M. Toluiferum).

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Fir

All the silver, or true, firs smell aromatic and yield resin to a greater or lesser degree. For this reason, the fir trees in North America have been called balsams for many years.

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Anise

Anise or aniseed is a tender annual, growing to about 60cm (2 ft) high, belonging to the same family as parsley and fennel.

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