It's autumn and Mother Nature has begun to flaunt her aloof side...here comes the cold! The silver lining as the nights draw in can be found in our quest for cosiness. The foods we eat, the toasty socks we wear and the comforting, warming scents we surround ourselves with whilst we look towards Christmas and all its cheer. It's at this time of year that I turn to the spice essential oils. They offer warmth enough to contrast the rapidly cooling weather and conjure up the colourful vibrancy that the trees display to us in their final "Hooray!" of the year.
The spice family of essential oils are made up of roots, seeds and even fruits (Black Pepper). They are a headstrong bunch standing tall and proud, unashamed of their light bearing aromas. Recall the scent of Cinnamon, in all its kitchen counter glory. It has the power to transport you back to your Grandma's kitchen and is instantly reminiscent of Christmases past. Ginger root has an immediate, moist earthiness and Black Pepper, a dry warmth. The unmistakable sweetness of Clove with its connection to food seasoning (or perhaps unfortunately, tooth ache!).
Blending with the spices is a great joy. Due to their unmistakably individual aromas, I usually blend to complement them rather than attempt a seamless partnership or harmony with other oils. I find that the spices are always quite happy to take centre stage and are happiest when they have a great supportive cast around them, working on bringing out the best in them. Divas? Perhaps.
Most people would instantly recognise the combination of Sweet Orange and Cinnamon. The pairing perfectly encapsulates Christmas and brings instant warmth and cosiness. In fact there isn't a spice oil that doesn't combine well with Sweet Orange. Sweet Orange has the chameleon-like ability to harmonise with most other essential oils and it certainly helps to calm and cheer the spice personalities, making them instantly more approachable. An alternative Christmas blend worth considering however, is Clove and Frankincense. A less obvious choice which has a mellowness and sophistication.
Clove is a beautiful spice oil to work with, although due to its 'irritating' side, topical dilutions need to be kept low. Pairing it with Ylang Ylang creates a warming and sensual blend which brings about a deeper sense of connection between body and mind. It was a colleague who lived and trained in Bali who introduced me to these 'Balinese National Treasures' in tandem.
Add to this some of our friendly Sweet Orange and hey presto! we have magic!
Cardamon brings with it a deep peace and is expansive and cuddly at the same time. Blended with Rose it brings an easy tranquillity, blended with Lime it lifts the senses and invigorates. However, blend Cardamon, Rose and Lime together and the scent is pure hedonism.
Ginger works well with the sweeter smelling essential oils and buddies up quite nicely with Lemon and Geranium. I find the blend can bring great comfort when feeling under the weather or when recovering from illness.
The spice family are certainly worth exploring. Be brave when trying out new scent combinations and you may be rewarded with an unexpected gem.
I hope you enjoyed reading my musings - Emma Kenny