Laughter makes the best medicine
Our Giggle range was named for the fun and laughter we enjoy every time we get together to ‘work’. It’s not that we don’t put long hours in, but we always make each other smile too. How many people get to go to work with their best friend? How many get to choose their hours, their products, how they work? Not (many) a day goes by that we don’t realise how lucky we are to be doing what we love, with ingredients we believe in.
We know that our success is thanks to our loyal customers and so we wanted to write this blog series to share our love of essential oils with our readers and explain why we worked so hard to create our flagship candles which combine actual essential oils with wax. This means that unlike most other candles, you are not just enjoying the fragrance of a plant or flower, you are burning the very essence of it. And all those lovely beneficial properties are working their way into your body and soothing your mind. At least that’s what they do for us and it’s the reason we are so passionate about what makes our candles stand out from the rest.
We are extra proud of our Giggle range as it was picked by Storm Clothing to feature as their signature scent in all their stores. We love this partnership, not just because they create the coolest clothes, but because they are also a local NZ brand and our values align beautifully.
Botanical name: Lavandula Augustiflolia
Extraction method: steam distillation
Lavender is one of the best-known scents and oils. Thought to date back a whopping 2500 years it originated in the Mediterranean and Middle East and, like its fellow scent partner Patchouli, is part of the mint family.
The ancient Greeks knew lavender as ‘Nard’ and it even gets a mention in the bible as one of the herbs used to prepare the Holy Essence.
The Romans used Lavender to scent pretty much everything, from baths, hair and skin to sheets and clothes. Still today it’s a favourite for drawer liners and many of us will have bags of the dried buds hanging in our cupboards to keep our clothes and laundry smelling sweet.
Some of you will have seen pictures or even been lucky enough to see first-hand, the Lavender fields in Provence, France, which make a stunning purple patchwork across the countryside and fill the air with the flowers’ heady fragrance.
Today it is harvested primarily for its oil but also its foliage which is used in a multitude of ways, from dried posies to wedding confetti. It is also used for cooking – often in baking as it is complemented beautifully by sugar.
A natural antiseptic, lavender also has soothing properties which make it a perfect natural solution to sunburn, minor cuts and grazes and insect bites.
Perhaps best known for its relaxation properties, lavender oil is sometimes prescribed to treat anxiety and can be ingested, often in capsule form.
Botanical name: Citrus Reticulata
Extraction method: cold pressed
Cultivated for over 3000 years, the evergreen Mandarin tree originated in India and spread to China, then Europe before making its way to other countries. As with the orange, the Chinese believe the fruit brings good luck and giving one as a gift is believed to represent the doubling of wealth.
The Mandarin owes its name to the Chinese empire too as its bright orange colour was reminiscent of the robes worn by Chinese officials and it was given its name in England when it was brought to the country by the Chinese in the early 1800s.
The tangerine is a spin-off from the mandarin – differentiated by the darker orange colour of a few of the variations of the original fruit.
With a bright, uplifting scent, mandarin oil gives off a mood improving essence and is often used in happiness-related blends.
Used often in anti-ageing products, mandarin oil is thought to rejuvenate the skin, increase circulation and blood flow and clear skin blemishes with its antibacterial properties. Considered to be the most calming of the citrus scents, it also creates an energy boost when inhaled.
Botanical name: Myroxylon balsamum var. pereirae
Extraction method: steam distillation
Originating in EL Salvador, the Myroxylon tree produces this balsam, which is basically a resin high in essential oils so it is a thick liquid consistency. It is available as a resinoid as well as an essential oil.
The name is somewhat misleading as the tree is native to El Salvador, often planted along the coast and used for shade in coffee plantations, but the Balsam oil was historically transported by land to Peru where is shipped to various other countries from its ports, which is where the name originated.
With recorded uses dated as far back as the Mayan, Aztec and Inca civilisations, where it was used to treat wounds and for breathing-related illnesses, this oil was also thought to have been used in ceremonial incense by popes in the sixteenth century. In India its uses have also been diverse – from worm removal to blot clotting.
Myroxylon translates as ‘fragrant wood’ in Greek and so it’s no surprise that the scent of this essential oil has many of its fans waxing lyrical about its deep, rich aroma that is woody and smoky yet with sweet vanilla notes.
Widespread use of the balsam to improve respiratory function has been recorded as well as its healing properties which encompass the microbial properties you would expect from a substance that has been designed by nature to heel a tree’s wounds.
Also hailed as an antioxidant, diuretic, anti-inflammatory, expectorant and antiseptic, you could describe this one as a wonder oil.
Botanical name: Pogostemon Cablin
Extraction method – steam distillation
Originating in South East Asia, the patchouli plant is a bushy herb from the same family as mint. Its flowers are pink and white and headily fragrant.
Dubbed with its hippy-associated image, Patchouli oil is sometimes considered cliché, but in many ways it’s an unsung hero of the aromatherapy world, offering a myriad of benefits.
Patchouli is thought to act as a natural anti-depressant, relieving anxiety and anger by releasing dopamine and serotonin. Like its scent-fellow white grapefruit, it also has antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties. As an oil it can be used externally for anti-ageing, healing and detoxifying.
Although many of these benefits are anecdotal, there has been some small studies associated with patchouli usage including one that has shown it promotes weight loss in rats!
With so many advantages associated with patchouli, we hope it leads you to a ‘hippy’ state of mind!
Rose Maroc Absolute
Botanical name: Rosa damascena
Extraction method – Solvent
The rose is perhaps the most classic of flowers, symbolising love and beauty and sometimes known as ‘Aphrodite’s Flower’. It is believed to have been cultivated originally in Persia’s ancient gardens. Rose Maroc has been grown and extracted in Morocco for more than 5000 years and is now often associated with the quintessential English rose garden, as well as extravagant romantic gestures. With so many varieties now available there really is a rose for every occasion and the pure beauty and delicate scent is hard to match.
Particularly good for mature skins, the essential oil when used externally has softening, anti-ageing benefits and the rich, floral, elegant scent is immediately recognisable, used in perfumes, lotions and creams as well as the oil we’ve captured it in here. Rose Maroc is known to be the most strongly fragranced of all the rose oils.
The medicinal properties of the rose are no less steeped in history than the bloom itself. In the seventeenth century red roses were believed by some to heal the heart as well as gladden it. Thought to have mild anti-viral effects and sometimes described as ‘heart oil’ roses are also thought to help alleviate grief and loss.
Botanical name: Acacia Dealbata
Extraction method – Solvent
There are multiple variations of the Mimosa plant, also known as Cassia. Some are thought to have originated in Australia, others in India. While it is often associated with the heady smells of the Mediterranean, it is actually not native to there.
Not much seems to be known about when it was first used as an essential oil, but it’s clearly widely used now for its fragrance and oil. The Mimosa has bright stand out yellow pom-pom shaped flowers which bloom in Spring. Described as sweet, floral and woody, the aromatherapy benefits include feelings of warmth, calmness and upliftment.
Mimosa absolute essential oil is extracted from the blossoms and the leaves and is thought to be particularly good for oily skins and brightening dull complexions.
Used externally Mimosa Absolut is thought to combat skin rashes, eczema, psoriasis and other skin conditions. When inhaled it can fight feelings of depression and stress. It may also be considered an aphrodisiac and when used as a massage oil can promote intimacy and relaxation.