Aromatherapy Secrets

Production of Essential Oils
There are a number of methods used to obtain essential oils from the plants.
The part of the plant used varies, due to concentration of the oil in the
cells. All parts contain some oil, but the plants are processed according to
the type of plant.

As an example:

Blossoms - Jasmine oil comes from the blossoms.

Wood - Sandalwood comes from the wood.

Root - Carrot comes from the root
The basic process is designed to break down the cellular walls and to
release the essential oil. The following methods are the most common methods
used to extract essential oil

Distillation is a process of heating a substance until its more volatile
constituents pass into the vapor phase, and then cooling the vapor to
recover such constituents in liquid form by condensation. The main purpose
of distillation is to separate a mixture of several components by taking
advantage of their different volatility's, or the separation of volatile
materials from nonvolatile materials. Distillation is the main method by
which essential oils are extracted from plants. There are two methods of

The term "still", is the vessel in which liquids are boiled during
distillation. Stills for laboratory work are usually made of glass, but
industrial stills are generally made of iron or steel. In cases in which
iron would contaminate the product, copper is often used.

If two insoluble liquids are heated, each is unaffected by the presence of
the other and vaporizes to an extent determined only by its own volatility.
Such a mixture, therefore, always boils at a temperature lower than that of
either constituent. The percentage of each constituent in the vapor depends
only on its vapor pressure at this temperature. This principle may be
applied to substances such as oils that would be damaged by overheating if
distilled in the usual fashion.

Steam Distillation
Direct - Involves placing the plant material in water which is then heated
and brought to boil.

Steam - Involves placing the plant material on a rack or grid and heating
the water above or beneath it. The steam passes through the plant matter,
causing the Aromatic volatile essence held within the plant to be released.

In both methods, the heat and steam cause the walls of plant cells to break
down and release the essence in the form of vapor. The steam and essence
passes through a pipe, which passes through cooling tanks. This causes steam
and essence to return to a liquid form. That liquid is collected in vats.
The steam condenses into a watery distillate while the essence from the
plant becomes an essential oil. This oil being lighter than water, collects
in the upper part of the vat and can be easily separated. In some cases, the
water is sold as flower or herbal water.

Vacuum Distillation
This method is rarely used and is included for your information only. It is
used on occasion and you should be aware of it. It is generally a more
expensive process. Another method of distilling substances at temperatures
below their normal boiling point is to partially evacuate the still. This
method is as effective as steam distillation, but somewhat more expensive.
The greater the degree of vacuum, the lower is the distillation temperature.
If the distillation occurs in a near vacuum, the process is called molecular
distillation. The process is used industrially for the purification of
vitamins and other items. The substance is placed on a plate in an evacuated
space and heated. The condenser is a cold plate, placed as close to the
first as possible. Most of the material passes across the space between the
two plates, and very little is lost.

Maceration is to separate constituents by soaking. There are two methods
used in the maceration process.

One method is the preparing of aromatic plants by prolonged soaking in warm
water or oil creating an infusion. The plant material is filtered out. The
resulting liquid contains the essential oil. When water was used, it is used
as 'a wash". If oil is used to soak the plant matter, it is used as an
infusion oil e.g. Calendula oil.

The second method is dipping the blossoms into hot oil until the wall of the
cells break apart. The hot oil absorbs the essence. The oil is then cooled
and separated. This is an old and expensive method not often used today.

Pressing is simply the pressing of the plant material until the essences
drain. Control is important however, so that the temperature does not exceed
set standards.

Essential Oil of citrus fruits, such as orange, lemon, grapefruit and
tangerine, are obtained by pressing the unpolluted peels of the fruit. The
peel is pressed between two pieces of wood, one of which has a sponge
attached to it. The oil is released by the cells and absorbed by the sponge.
Wringing out the sponge then collects the oil. This type of essence is high
quality and suitable for internal use.

Enfluerage / Extraction
This is a process in which odourless fats or oils absorb the fragrance of
fresh flowers. This method is used to produce an absolute. Some of the
finest flower absolutes are produced by means of solvent extraction.
Extraction is reserved for plants with a low concentration of Essential Oil
like Jasmine. These oils usually have a finer fragrance. There are two
methods used to extract the Essential Oil.

In the first, the blossoms are spread on perforated metal sheets and washed
continuously with the same water until all Essential Oils are dissolved.
Afterwards, the Essential Oils are separated from the water by distillation.

In the second method, both enfluerage and maceration depend on the physical
fact that fat will absorb the essential oils within the plant. A sheet of
glass is placed into a wooden frame and coated with a thin layer of fat.
Freshly picked flowers are spread over the fat. After 24 hours the flowers
will have given up all their oils to the fat and the dried and withered
flowers are removed. The process is then repeated. This process is continued
for up to three months. When the fat has been completely saturated with the
essential oil, the fat is then collected and cleared of any debris. The
resulting mixture is known as pomade. The essential oils of the flowers are
isolated from the pomade with a solvent, such as petrol ether. After the
solvent has evaporated, a paste remains called a "concrete". This paste also
contains waxes and chlorophyll, and is only partly soluble in alcohol. The
paste is mixed with alcohol, heated to 120 degrees Fahrenheit, cooled again,
and filtered. The remaining alcohol is removed through evaporation. Finally,
an oily residue remains that is totally soluble in alcohol.

The residue or concrete is then diluted in alcohol and shaken vigorously for
twenty-four hours to separate the fat from the essential oils. The alcohol
absorbs the essential oil from the fat. The alcohol is then evaporated,
leaving the very concentrated essential oil. They are not suitable for
internal use. (If not separated, the fats are used for cosmetics such as
high quality creams, called "huiles francaises'.

A large number of flowers is needed to produce a small amount of essential
oil. It takes 1000 pounds of petals to make approximately two pounds of rose
oil. This equates to 30 roses to make one drop of essential oil. This is a
very expensive and time-consuming process that accounts for the high price
of these oils or absolutes. Today, extraction is done using carbon dioxide,
a liquid gas. This allows the process to be carried out with low
temperatures. This preserves the quality of a very fragile fragrance, like
the Lily of the Valley. The use of carbon dioxide removes any possibility of
the absolute having any solvent contamination.

To avoid the higher prices of true, natural and pure Absolute oil, trading
companies often offer absolute oils that are diluted with up to 90%
vegetable oil. This does not affect or damage the healing properties and the
scent is still strong since these oils are highly concentrated. In fact, it
is recommended to use them diluted.

Solvent Extraction
This is a combination of processes. It is commonly used for gums and resins,
as well as flowers. Flowers are treated with petroleum, ether or benzene.
Resins and gums are treated with acetone. The plant material is placed in a
glass container and saturated with a solvent. This is then heated
electrically causing the odour bearing molecules to evaporate, which are
then filtered out and collected.
How To Make Vanilla Extract

From Peggy Trowbridge, Your Guide to Home Cooking.

Learn how to easily make your own vanilla extract at home. Plan in advance,
as it will take months to make the infusion. Great for gifts.
Difficulty: Easy

Time Required: 4 months

Here's How:
Split vanilla bean lengthwise with a sharp knife.
Place in jar with 3/4 cup vodka.
Be sure bean is completely covered with vodka.
Seal tightly.
Let stand in a cool, dark place for 4 to 6 months.
Shake jar occasionally during the standing time.

Extract will strengthen upon standing.
Store, tightly-sealed, indefinitely in a cool, dark place.
Place a few drops of vanilla extract on a cotton ball. Place in custard cup
in back of refrigerator to diffuse odors.

What You Need:
vanilla bean
glass jar or bottle
Healing & First Aid with Essential Oils

Heal by Ailment: Aches & Pains, Cold & Flu, First Aid, Headache, Sinus &

Headache Relief Herbal Bath - August 2001 Online Newsletter
4 Tablespoons Dried Lavender
4 Tablespoons Dried Lemon Balm
2 Tablespoons Dried Peppermint
Make a simple infusion. If you don't have time to make an infusion, just put
the herbs in a muslin bag or bath ball and throw in the tub with you.

Peppermint Headache Relief - December 2001 Online Newsletter Rub directy on
skin where it hurts. Two of Peppermint's main key constituents are menthol
(35%-55%) and flavonoids. Also, new studies show pure Peppermint oil is as
good as Tylenol for relieving headaches.

Cold & Flu Relief
For a stuffed up nose or head, place a tissue with a few drops of Eucalyptus
inside a plastic zip lock baggie. Keep this in your purse or glove
compartment. Open baggie and breathe deeply as needed. At the first sign of
a stuffy nose place 1 drop of Eucalyptus on the corner of your pillow. This
can sometimes even stop a cold from coming on.

Fever Reducer
Eucalyptus can effectively bring down a fever. Add 6 drops to a bowl of
tepid water and mix well. Dampen several clothes in the water, wring out and
apply to wrists, feet and forehead. Wipe down the rest of the body with one
of the cloths.

Germ Fighting Blend - January 2004 Online Newsletter
Lemon 8 drops
Eucalyptus 6 drops
Tea Tree 6 drops
Discourage the spread of colds in the home. Use this blend of Eucalyptus and
Lemon and Tea Tree to wipe down surfaces (add to warm water). Use 8
- 10 drops in a diffuser or room spray to help cleanse the air.

Cold and Flu Bath Blend - January 2004 Online Newsletter
Mix equal parts Eucalyptus, Rosemary, Calendula and Peppermint. Steep in hot
bath water or make a simple infusion. (See instructions above.)

Cold & Flu Spray - October 2003 Online Newsletter
15 drops Eucalyptus
15 drops Tea Tree
15 drops Rosemary
1 cup Water
Add to a spray bottle. Great for clearing the head and chest while
disinfecting a room. Spray on door knobs, phones and in the air. Spray in
sleeping rooms and public room. Any place you want to purify.

Cold Buster and Blemish Fighter Blend - October 2003 Online Newsletter
8 drops Lemon essential oil
6 drops Eucalyptus essential oil
6 drops Tea Tree essential oil
Discourage the spread of colds in the home. Use this blend of Eucalyptus and
Lemon and Tea Tree to wipe down surfaces (add to warm water) or use 8 - 10
drops in a diffuser or room spray to help cleanse the air . Use the end of a
cotton swab to apply tiny amounts to blemishes.

Honey Hot Toddy - October 2002 Online Newsletter
To make the recipe
1 tablespoon of honey.
1 shot of lemon juice.
1 shot of whiskey.
Add all the ingredients to a coffee mug, fill with steaming hot water, stir,
and sip until gone. Drink whenever coming down with a sore throat, head cold
or the flu.

Cold and Flu Bath Blend - January 2001 Online Newsletter
Mix equal parts Eucalyptus, Rosemary, Calendula and Peppermint. Steep in hot
bath water or make a simple infusion.

Steam Inhalation - January 2001 Online Newsletter
For nasal congestion, pour boiling water into a bowl, add 3 drops Eucalyptus
and 2 drops Peppermint. Place a towel over your head, close your eyes, lean
over the bowl and inhale the steam.

Hibiscus High Blend - February 2002 Online Newsletter
High in Vitamin C and great for the cold and flu season. Boil 2 quarts of
water, add 1 teaspoon each: Hibiscus Flowers, Rosehips, Lemongrass Leaves,
Orange Peel, Spearmint Leaves and Rose Petals. Let steep 5-10 minutes. Add a
pinch of stevia or add sugar to taste. Delicious hot or cold or with a slice
of lemon. Sandalwood eases coughs, bronchitis, laryngitis and other throat
afflictions. Use as a compress. 6 drops to a bowl of water. Wet a cloth,
squeeze out some of the water and apply for 15 min. Repeat.

June 2002 Online Newsletter
To Alleviate Cold Symptoms: Place a few drops of Eucalyptus oil on a
handkerchief or tissue and deeply inhale the aroma.

Nausea Spray - July 2002 Online Newsletter
20 drops Spearmint
15 drops Lemon Essential oil
5 drops Sweet Orange Essential oil
Add to four ounces of distilled water in a spray bottle.
Shake well and mist air when feeling nauseous.

Dried Rose Tea - - February 2001 Online Newsletter
A mild sedative, high in Vitamin C. Helps lower cholesterol levels. Use 1 to
2 teaspoons of dried petals or hips per cup of boiled water. Steep 10

Sage Tea - - April 2001 Online Newsletter Make an infusion to settle the
stomach. Use 1 to 2 teaspoons of dried leaves per cup of boiling water.
Steep 10 minutes. Drink up to 3 cups a day. This may also be used as a
gargle. Sage tastes warm, pleasantly aromatic, and somewhat pungent.

Tea For Nervous Tension: - May 2001 Online Newsletter
1 1/3 oz. St. John's Wort
1 oz. Lemon Balm Leaves
1 oz. Valerian
Use 1 tsp. of the herb mixture per cup of boiling water. Steep for 10 min.,
strain, sweeten if necessary. Drinking a cup of this tea before going to bed
each night for several weeks will calm overwrought nerves, lift depression,
and help you fall asleep more easily.

Tea For Coughing Fits: - May 2001 Online Newsletter
1 1/3 oz. St. John's Wort
2/3 oz. Thyme
2/3 oz. Linden Flowers
Use 1 tsp. of the herb mixture per cup of boiling water to soothe
irritations of the upper respiratory tract that cause coughing. Steep for
5-10 min., strain, sweeten with honey for added benefit. This tea has proved
helpful with bronchitis and whooping cough.

Tea For Migraines: - May 2001 Online Newsletter
1 2/3 oz. St. John's Wort
1 oz Valerian 1 oz. Linden Flowers
1/4 oz. Juniper Berries
Use 1 tsp. of the mixture per cup of boiling water. Steep for 10 min, strain
and sweeten. This tea helps dilate blood vessels and improve circulation. If
your headaches are triggered by weather, drink the tea as the weather is

Lemon Balm Tea - - August 2001 Online Newsletter
Drink for colds, fever, indigestion, PMS and insomnia.
Use 1 to 2 teaspoons of dried crushed herbs per cup of boiled water. Steep
10 minutes. Drink Rosemary tea to clear sinus, bronchitis & colds. Also
great for settling the stomach. Makes a good mouthwash for halitosis.
Relaxes stomach muscles of the digestive tract and uterus. Great for upset
stomachs and menstrual cramps. Also a great decongestant for colds, flu and
allergies. Blends well with Mint, Bergamot, Basil, Lemon, Juniper, Lavender,
Thyme, and Peppermint as well as many others. - September 2001 Online

Peppermint Tea - December 2001 Online Newsletter
1-2 teaspoons of dried, crushed Peppermint leaves. Steep 10 minutes. Great
for indigestion, cramps, and other stomach disorders.

Hot Spiced Tea - November 2000 Online Newsletter
2 qts. fresh brewed Orange Spice tea
2 c. water
2 c. sugar
2 large cans pineapple
1 1/2 c. lemon juice
3 c. orange juice
1 stick cinnamon
1 t. whole cloves - tied in cheesecloth
Boil 2 c. each water and sugar together 10 minutes to make syrup. Add
remaining ingredients. Bring to boil. Simmer 20 minutes. Remove cloves and
cinnamon. Serve hot.

First Aid
Antiseptic Wash - October 2003 Online Newsletter
Add 30-40 drops of tea tree to 8 oz water.
Use to clean and heal scrapes, cuts, burns and other wounds. Also great for
a facial wash. Tip: substitute rose or lavender water.

Upset Stomach Compress - September 2002 Online Newsletter
Make a compress by folding or rolling a washcloth.
Use up to 6 drops of Chamomile essential oil in a bowl of warm water. Mix
submurge compress cloth, ring out and apply to tummy area. Repeat as
compress cools.

Garden First Aid - Rub fresh Sage leaves on stings and bites. Or crush some
fresh leaves into cuts and scrapes on the way to thoroughly washing and
bandaging them.

Compress - May 2001 Online Newsletter
Make an infusion of the dried St. John's Wort. Can be used hot or cold for
headaches, wounds and rashes.

Soothing An Upset Tummy- December 2000 Online Newsletter
Try this tip that is especially soothing for upset stomachs. Add up to 6
drops of Roman Chamomile essential oil to a bowl of warm water. Mix well,
put a small cloth in the water, wring out excess and apply compress to tummy

For minor kitchen burns, apply pure Lavender essential oil generously to the
affected area, then cool with ice cubes. The next day the skin should look
like nothing happened.

For the Ears: For middle-ear infections, saturate a cotton ball in olive
oil, drip 5 drops of Lavender oil onto it and place it on the outer part of
the affected ear. The Lavender oil will help relieve the pain and inhibit
the inflammation that often accompanies ear infections.

Sinus & Allergy Relief
A compress with Peppermint oil relieves the symptoms of a sinus infection.
Mix 5 drops of Peppermint oil in two cups of warm water. Lay a small cloth
dampened with the mixture across your nose and your cheekbones. Breathe
deeply, keeping your eyes closed.

Aches & Pains
Muscular Aches and Pains - January 2004 Online Newsletter
Make a cold compress by adding 3 drops Eucalyptus, 3 drops Lavender, and 3
drops Rosemary to a bowl of cool water. Use a wash cloth or any soft cloth,
wring out and apply. Repeat. Can also be used as a hot compress for muscle
aches, sprains and flesh wounds.

Muscular Aches and Pains - January 2001 Online Newsletter
Make a cold compress by adding 3 drops Eucalyptus, 3 drops Lavender, and 3
drops Rosemary to a bowl of cool water. Use a wash cloth or any soft cloth,
wring out and apply. Repeat. Can also be used as a hot compress for muscle
aches, sprains and flesh wounds. Massage - 1/2 teaspoon Eucalyptus oil and 1
tablespoon pure olive oil - very good for arthritis.

Rosemary Essential Oil - September 2001 Online Newsletter
Use on sore muscles, rheumatic and arthritis pain. Helps lower high blood
sugar. Great for cold feet, and tired or weak legs. Increases warmth and
stimulates blood circulation. Acts through the skin as a detoxifer. Always
dilute with a carrier oil when using on skin.

Foot Soak - December 2001 Online Newsletter
5 drops Sage
5 drops Tea Tree
2 drops Peppermint
Fill basin or tub with hot water. Add essential oils and soak feet for 15

For Muscular Pain Relief: Mix 10-15 drops of Eucalyptus oil and 2 ounces of
Sweet Almond or Grapeseed Oil. Massage into your muscles.

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Patchwork Merchant Mercenaries had its humble beginnings as an idea of a few artisans and craftsmen who enjoy performing with live steel fighting. As well as a patchwork quilt tent canvas. Most had prior military experience hence the name.


Patchwork Merchant Mercenaries.


Vendertainers that brought many things to a show and are know for helping out where ever they can.

As well as being a place where the older hand made items could be found made by them and enjoyed by all.

We expanded over the years to become well known at what we do. Now we represent over 100 artisans and craftsman that are well known in their venues and some just starting out. Some of their works have been premiered in TV, stage and movies on a regular basis.

Specializing in Medieval, Goth , Stage Film, BDFSM and Practitioner.

Patchwork Merchant Mercenaries a Dept of, Ask For IT was started by artists and former military veterans, and sword fighters, representing over 100 artisans, one who made his living traveling from fair to festival vending medieval wares. The majority of his customers are re-enactors, SCAdians and the like, looking to build their kit with period clothing, feast gear, adornments, etc.

Likewise, it is typical for these history-lovers to peruse the tent (aka mobile store front) and, upon finding something that pleases the eye, ask "Is this period?"

A deceitful query!! This is not a yes or no question. One must have a damn good understanding of European history (at least) from the fall of Rome to the mid-1600's to properly answer. Taking into account, also, the culture in which the querent is dressed is vitally important. You see, though it may be well within medieval period, it would be strange to see a Viking wearing a Caftan...or is it?

After a festival's time of answering weighty questions such as these, I'd sleep like a log! Only a mad man could possibly remember the place and time for each piece of kitchen ware, weaponry, cloth, and chain within a span of 1,000 years!! Surely there must be an easier way, a place where he could post all this knowledge...

Traveling Within The World is meant to be such a place. A place for all of these artists to keep in touch and directly interact with their fellow geeks and re-enactment hobbyists, their clientele.

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