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Autumn Gold to Winter Silver

by Barbara Payne(more info)

listed in aromatherapy, originally published in issue 71 - December 2001

The deep and strong colours of autumn reflect the mood of the time of year. It is rich in every way, giving fruits and flowers that are strong and full in form, aroma and taste. There is nothing pastel or feeble about autumn. It is powerful and vibrant and full-bodied. For this reason, I like to use brave, reviving essential oils in my mixes, oils that reflect that strength.

By November in Britain most areas have experienced varying degrees of a nip in the air. In the garden, bulbs are safely tucked in their beds under the yellow, red and bronze leaves of the trees. The late sun casts honeyed glows through the year's growth on twigs and branch, showing up beautiful spiders' webs encrusted with frost-diamonds. Bonfires crackle into the dark night air and fireworks invade the starry skies.

The year may be advancing to its end but still it has, undoubtedly, definite delights that can bring us satisfaction and feelings of well-being as the year starts to wind down. It's time to enjoy hearty casseroles and roasts of harvest time, make pickles and household goods, and use dried herbs collected earlier in the year. When nights lengthen, I make pressed flower and herb pictures, which make good token gifts; homey and 'the thought was there' type.

These mellow, tawny days can, however, suddenly turn into the metallic silvery snow and ice of November. The glittering beauty of early frost and snow is indeed a feast for the eyes and can produce lively entertainment but can also catch people unawares. For this reason, now is the time prudently to prepare rubbing oils for chests and antiseptic mixes for protection against winter viruses.

Equipping your car with a duvet and a few warming essential oils could save lives. There are several oils that are warming and uplifting, such as rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis), ginger (Zingiber officinale), lemon (Citrus limon) and those of the eucalyptuses.

Why not mix one or two of these together to create a 'comfort mix' which will keep you cosy in the cold and will help prevent viruses such as the common cold and influenza invading your nasal and throat passages when giving lifts to those with the sniffles. Dab a couple of drops on to a handkerchief and keep it near, but remember not to use sedative oils as these could cause drowsiness.

Spraying the car interior with a mix of the above (10 drops in total) in 30mls of vodka is another option.

How can we spare the time to create home-made toiletries and cleaning agents from essential oils, home-grown dried herbs and everyday ingredients? It's easy if you make one sort of product at a time, perhaps on your day/half-day off. Once made, they will last for weeks, so each separate item can be stored and used when needed.

Making time approximately 5 minutes – drying out time 14 days.
1 handful of soap flakes (if you have big hands you make big soaps!)
1 handful of ground or rough porridge oats
1 teaspoon of dried thyme (for colds) or chamomile (for dry skin)
Mix together and add:
1 teaspoon of evening primrose oil
8 drops of essential oil of your choice
Enough floral water to bind
Store in a warm place for two weeks until set. Polish with a soft cloth.


Pomander for Car or Room Fragrance
I usually have a half-made one on the kitchen table in a basket and spend two or tree minutes working on it when having a break.
1 orange or satsuma
1 handful of clove buds
Prick the clove buds into the orange, either in patterns or randomly, and when completed roll it in orris root powder or ground cloves, cinnamon or herbs. Leave it to dry and it will shrink slightly. Attach a ribbon for hanging.


Furniture Cream
1oz of beeswax
1/4 pint of turpentine
1oz of grated castile soap or soap flakes
3oz of floral water
10 drops of essential oil
Put turpentine and beeswax into a bain-marie (or bowl over a pan of lightly boiling water). Stir until ingredients are mixed together. Take off the boil and slightly cool. In small pan place soap and floral water and heat slowly. Whisk this with a bubble whisk until frothy and then cool. Now combine the two mixtures together and stir until a thick lotion consistency is created. Add essential oils of your choice and stir again. Place in an airtight container and label. This takes about 30 minutes.


Rubbing Oils
There are many essential oils that have the ability to bring about broncho-dilation and are supportive of the immune system. They are also antiseptic, anti-inflammatory and antibacterial. When winter ills start to appear it seems natural to me as an aromatherapist to prepare products such as simple rubbing oils for chests. Many do not appreciate just how powerful and useful they are.
Any of the following essential oils, or a mixture of two or three:
Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus smithii) (safe for children)
Thyme (Thymus vulgaris)
Lavender (Lavandular angustifolia)
Marjoram (Origanum marjorana)
Niaouli (Melaleuca viridiflora)
These are but a few of the many available for the respiratory system.
Place 15 drops (in total) of any of the above or a mixture of two or three into 50mls of grapeseed oil and shake till blended.


I hope you enjoy making these recipes.


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About Barbara Payne

Barbara Payne taught clinical aromatherapy in various hospitals in the North of England, for School of Health, University of Hull, and was principal of an IFA and IFPA accredited college of clinical aromatherapy, for many years. She served as an inspector and examiner and was Chair of Education for the ISPA, (now IFPA). Barbara had regular interviews with BBC radio and appeared on national television occasionally and lectured annually for the RHS. Having contributed to Positive Health over many years, Barbara has now decided to retire from her PH Expert Regular Column after Issue 154 in Jan 2009. She can be reached on Tel: 01482 835358;


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