A Tea Tree in Sheffield

Sheffield, winter gardens, tea tree, essential oils, Aromatherapy, massage, Belper, Derbyshire, eucalyptus, aloe, plants, gardens,

I had a wander around the Winter Gardens in Sheffield the other day, a stunning feat of architecture with huge timber beams soaring cathedral-like towards the heavens.

Sheffield, winter gardens, olive, tea tree, Aromatherapy, massage, essential oils, Belper, Derbyshire, gardens

Inside is housed a collection of plants often found in temperate climates and sections devoted to Australasia, including a tea tree. I don’t think I’ve ever seen one in the flesh before so I was delighted!

Tea tree, gardens, winter gardens, Sheffield, essential oils, Aromatherapy, massage, Belper, Derbyshire

Tea Tree is one of the most commonly used essential oils as it has great antibacterial, anti-infectious and anti-fungal properties, to name just a few. It appears in many different products from skin cleansers to natural toilet cleaners. According to Tisserand, it is also an emotional tonic for lethargy, anxiety and depression. It is often known as the bottle brush tree due to the formation of the needles, as you can see below.

Tea tree, Sheffield, winter gardens, Aromatherapy, massage, essential oils, Belper, Derbyshire

There were also some great examples of New Zealand’s Norfolk Island Pines, which have been around since the Jurassic period.

Norfolk Island Pines, Sheffield, winter gardens, essential oils, Aromatherapy, massage, Belper, Derbyshire

As far as I’m aware, these pines aren’t used in aromatherapy. I dare say they are used medicinally in some way in their native home though. Other plants I found that are harvested for their healing properties were eucalyptus, aloes, jasmine and the olive pictured above.

Eucalyptus, essential oils, massage, gardens, Aromatherapy, Sheffield, winter gardens, Belper, Derbyshire

Aloe, aloe Vera, massage, essential oils, Aromatherapy, Sheffield, winter gardens, Belper, Derbyshire

A selection of Aloes

Jasmine essential oil, essential oils, massage, aromatherapy, Sheffield, winter gardens, Belper, Derbyshire
Jasmine, it caught my nose before it caught my eye!

There was also some beautiful colours dotted around, although I don’t know the name of those plants as there’s no essential oils produced from them! The Winter Gardens are well worth a visit, I’ll definitely be hanging around in there again soon.


The Scent of Christmas

Wrapping presents, writing cards, eating chocolate and listening to classic Christmas tunes all help to get me in the mood for the big day. But there’s something missing from the picture, one of my senses is yet to be fulfilled, and that’s when I reach for my essential oils to concoct a festive feast for my nose. There’s so many to choose from at this time of year, each evoking it’s own memory of Christmas past.

Image courtesy of Black Velvet Styling

Pine and fir essential oils remind me of putting up the tree and decorating it, finding those lost baubles I’d forgotten buying and where I lived when they first went on the tree.

Orange and cinnamon bring to mind this delicious Italian chocolate nut Christmas cake by Delia Smith, which is a hit every time. To me it combines my all favourite Christmas flavours in one scrummy treat.

And last but not least, frankincense and myrrh, those most famous of nativity gifts. They bring back memories of my school plays as a girl and more recently my son’s star turn in his play group Christmas play. It was definitely a proud mummy moment.

I add a couple of drops each of 3 – 4 different essential oils to my burner, light the candle and let the scent of Christmas fill my room. If you don’t have a burner, you can always fill a small bowl/dish with water, add the oils to that and carefully balance it on a radiator for the same effect.

Wishing you all peace, joy, love and laughter for Christmas and the new year.

Image courtesy of Black Velvet Styling

Eden in Winter, part two

I’m always surprised when visiting Cornwall in winter by how many plants are in flower. Daffodils out before Christmas, camellias in full bloom in February and rosemary that seems to flower all year. One plant that definitely wasn’t in flower was the lavender at Eden, on the bank outside the entrance to the biomes. But that just makes me want to go back again in the summer to see, touch and smell it in all it’s full flowering glory.

Lavender at Eden
Winter domed lavender goals

This hedge of beautiful camellias was just starting to flower.  Camellia seed oil, camellia sinensis, makes a skin-regenerating base oil that is full of vitamin A. Essential oils are blended into base oils (also known as carrier oils) to massage into the skin during an aromatherapy treatment.  I would add camellia base oil to sunflower base oil to make it extra nourishing.

Camellia sinensis seeds make a skin-regenerating base oil

I wish you could smell this jasmine, it was quite intoxicating! It was climbing over one of the buildings in the temperate biome and capturing passers by with it’s sweet, floral, heady scent. Jasmine, jasminum gradiflorum, absolute (it doesn’t yield enough essential oil to make it commercially viable to distill it) is euphoric, helping to uplift you in times of emotional suffering and heartache.

Jasmine at Eden
Jasminum gradiflorum is euphoric and uplifting.

These young lemongrass plants (cymbopogan citrata) were outside the Malaysian hut in the rainforest biome. As the zesty, grass-like leaves grow, the stalk will thicken up to become the lemongrass that you see in supermarkets today. The essential oil is distilled from the leaves and stem and is used as a digestive aid.  It stimulates the liver and immune system, and is an insect repellent too – use it in a burner to ward off midges.

Young lemongrass plants

This is a black pepper bush (piper nigrum). It’s a climbing plant that is cultivated in India, Madagascar and Indonesia. The peppercorns grow in a grape-like formation, another reason for me to go back to Eden to take a photo of them! Apparently the Romans used black pepper to settle taxes as it was a highly prized commodity, today it’s one of the most widely available spices in the world. As an essential oil, it’s used as a circulatory stimulant, to get the blood flowing to stiff and achy muscles and to invigorate the senses.

Black pepper invigorates the senses