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Edition 56: June 2013

Edition 56: June 2013

Essential Oil of the month
Pimento

Pimento the ‘nice’ warming oil
THE PIMENTO berry is widely known for the sweet, intense flavour it adds to culinary dishes.
It is often referred to as allspice because it tastes and smells like a combination of cloves, cardamom, cinnamon and pepper.
This spice has a long history dating back to the Aztecs, who used pimento in a drink called ‘chocolada’. It is still  used in a West Indian drink called ‘Pimento Dram’ and is an ingredient in the well-known ‘Bay Rum’.
Portuguese traders introduced pimento to Europe where it met great favour as flavouring for drinks and condiments.
But Pimento also has a long traditional usage for digestive disorders - which is a common medicinal application for many spices.
It was also applied externally for pain relief from arthritis and neuralgia.
As a natural anaesthetic, pimento can be applied onto painful places where it acts as a local numbing agent, suppressing pains such neuralgia, bone and muscular injuries, arthritic joints and gout. This all has a relaxing effect on the muscles, nerves, blood vessels and the brain.
Pimento is considered an antioxidant; an agent that protects the body from damage caused by oxidation, while also stimulating cell growth.
Externally for sores or wounds, pimento oil gives protection against infections by effectively inhibiting bacterial growth. A dab of pimento gives an instant numbing from pain of insect bites, stings etc.  It may also be applied to quell toothache if the gums are carefully avoided.
As a carminative, pimento is soothing to the gastro-intestinal tract and eases indigestion, stomachaches, heaviness, continuous hiccups and griping pains. This essential oil gives relief from trapped gases, encouraging their dispersal.
Circulation booster
Pimento oil really gets the blood circulation going, which is just the thing in cases of extreme cold. It is a rubifacient, which means it increases circulation of blood below the skin and brings a sort of redness in the skin. Conditions such as colds, coughs, chest infections, influenza and bronchitis all respond well to this warming property.
Pimento acts as general tonic to the liver, spleen, stomach, the nervous system and the endocrine system, enhancing the secretion of hormones and enzymes for digestion all of which helps maintain proper metabolism and tones the immune system.
Add pimento to room-spray, soaps or perfume blends to bring an oriental note. A small drop of pimento could be added to a hot mulled wine to boost its spicy appeal; the same could be said of cake and biscuit mixes. It is especially nice with ginger loaves and cakes.
Pimento oil’s effect on the mind and psyche is comforting and warming, especially when one feels cold and rejected, unloved and abandoned.
Pimento is empowering for the shy, and brings more social ease and confidence. Allspice/pimento oil encourages us to let go of the energy blockages and distortions created by unfulfilled childhood needs, which are often held in the root and sacral chakras.
Pimento releases these distortions, which in turn allows the throat chakra to open, and truth to be spoken.
Common Uses
Burners and Vapourisers: a couple of drops can help to lift depression and ease stress.
Massage blends: A very small amount for chest infection, congested coughs and bronchitis. It is also helpful for rheumatism, arthritis, stiffness, severe muscle cramp or extreme chills.

Pimento helps to heal the fifth chakra at the throat, Vishuddha. It helps us gain the ability to speak our truth and express what is true to our hearts.
It makes us more courageous in our creative self-expression and interaction with others. To open the throat chakra, gently stroke well-diluted pimento oil (1:100 in a vegetable oil) into the neck, inhale and chant the seed sound “ham”.
Apply pimento and hold with deep pressure to the throat reflex points, found under the big toe on either foot, to help stimulate self-expression. These points are also on the hands at the base of each thumb.
Massage the blended oil into the back of the legs to release feelings of grief or other repressed or unconscious memories, obstructions causing anti-social behaviour.
This will stimulate the bladder meridian to release suppressed emotions of shame and repeated feelings of failure or persecution for speaking our truth.
Pimento lifts us of the burden of carrying family secrets, acknowledging painful experiences that have shaped our lives; such honest insight is a major step towards healing.
FACT FILE
Name:  Pimento
Latin name: Pimenta officinalis or Pimenta Dioica
Common names:  Allspice, pimenta, Jamaican pepper
Family: Myrtaceae
What is it?  Pimento is a large evergreen tree indigenous to the West Indies and South America and reaches up to 10m. It has small white flowers and the fruit is produced in its third year, with each fruit containing two kidney-shaped green seeds, which turn glossy black when they ripen. The tree is extensively cultivated in Jamaica, Cuba and some in Central America. The berries are imported into Europe and America to be distilled into oil.
How is the oil made? The oil can be extracted by steam distillation from the leaves or the fruit and each of these two is slightly different from the other in colour and aroma. The leaf oil is yellow-brown in color and has a smell similar to cloves. The oil made from the fruit is pale yellow in color and has a fresh, warm, spicy smell. The unripe green berries produce more oil than the ripe berries, however most of the oil is obtained from the shell of the fruit. The plant is distilled into two portions, a lighter fraction floating on top and a heavier one sinking to the bottom; the usual oil is obtained by mixing the two. An oleoresin from the berries is also produced in small quantities.
Scent: Pimento oil is a complex and warm scent with a sweet, spicy heart note. Its main constituent is eugenol, which is responsible for its clove-like smell.
Blends well with: other spice oils such as ginger and cinnamon or cardamom, resinous oils such as myrrh or benzoin. Try it with lavender, ylang-ylang, geranium or patchouli. Pimento offers richness and pungency to any blend.
Therapeutic properties: anaesthetic, analgesic, antioxidant, antiseptic, carminative, muscle relaxant, rubefacient, stimulant and tonic
Precautions: Pimento oil should only be used in high dilutions and low dosages to avoid irritation to the mucus membrane or dermal irritation. Pregnant women should use caution with this oil.
What Herb is That?
Meadowsweet
Meadowsweet a safe option for pain, fever and inflammation
MEADOWSWEET’S European history dates back to the iron age, when, along with vervain and water-mint, it was one of the three herbs held most sacred to the Druids.
In the middle ages it was one of the fifty ingredients in a drink called Save in Chaucer's Knight's Tale, where it was called Meadwort.
It was often added to beers and wines and soups for its interesting almond flavor.
Meadowsweet belongs to the rose family (Rosaceae), and was Queen Elizabeth I’s favourite strewing herb to mask unpleasant odours. The 16th Century herbalist Gerard believed it outranked all other strewing herbs because it’s aromatic leaves “delighteth the senses” as well as curing fever and diarrhoea.
Meadowsweet was popular as a fragrant bridal bouquet herb at weddings, hence its alternate name, bride wort.
 The herb found favour as a cosmetic and was used as an astringent and skin conditioner. The early colonists used meadowsweet as an anti-inflammatory to reduce the symptoms of arthritis and rheumatism and also to treat stomach upsets, feverish colds, diarrhoea and heartburn.
In 1838 the Italian Rafaela Piria first produced salicylic acid from meadowsweet and willow bark (Salix alba). Meadowsweet was the key ingredient from which aspirin was then synthesized by Bayer Pharmaceuticals to form a new drug (acetylsalicylic acid) called aspirin, a name which is derived from the old botanical name for meadowsweet, Spiraea ulmaria.
Meadowsweet is a tall and fragrant, clump-forming perennial, reddish brown in colour with deeply veined leaves and creamy white, almond scented soft flowers. It is native to Europe and North/Central Asia. It grows in damp meadows, ditches and bogs, at the edges of ponds, on river banks and in damp open woodland. The aerial parts (fresh/dried flowering tops and leaves) are used medicinally.
Did you Know?
A strained and cooled infusion of meadowsweet herb is said to calm itching and inflammation of the eyes and to treat conjunctivitis.

Meadowsweet is an important herb for the management of the digestive system. It protects and soothes the mucous membranes of the digestive tract, reducing excess acidity and alleviating nausea, and can be used in the treatment of heartburn, gastritis and peptic ulceration.
Meadowsweet also assuages the sense of bloat in the gut and the discomforts of flatulence.  It contains astringent tannins that help relieve diarrhoea.
A European study found meadowsweet to clear one of the bacteria responsible for infectious diarrhoea (Shigella dysenteriae). It is considered a safe and effective anti-diarrhoea treatment for children. As an excellent digestive remedy meadowsweet is often combined with chamomile, peppermint, marshmallow or liquorice.
The herb has a powerful pain relieving (analgesic) effect and is of value to bring down fevers, as well as to treat the common cold especially for children.
The anti-inflammatory action of the salicylates in meadowsweet makes it safe and effective against rheumatic and arthritic pain, unlike aspirin that can cause gastric ulceration among other side effects.
The tannins and mucilages appear to buffer the adverse effects of isolated salicylates, which can cause gastric bleeding.
These same actives in meadowsweet make it an excellent diuretic; to promote urinary health, as well as working to clear the tracts. This herb is active against Escherichia coli, the bacteria that cause urinary tract infections. It is also recommended for water retention and for bladder and kidney ailments and this fluid-clearing quality also helps with gout.
Promotes sleep
Meadowsweet also eases insomnia and promotes lengthy sleep and relaxation, depending on the strength.  
Nonetheless regular usage promotes a general feeling of well-being. The tea will reduce cramps and alleviate pain associated with tension headaches and is thus a boon for pre-menstrual tension.
A strained and cooled infusion of meadowsweet herb is said to calm itching and inflammation of the eyes and to treat conjunctivitis.
Alternatively, this infusion added to a bath can be beneficial for helping alleviate sores and burns as the herb has been shown to possess bactericidal properties.
Research is revealing that meadowsweet has anti-coagulant (blood thinning) properties that could provide cardiovascular protection.
In the kitchen, meadowsweet has a sharp almond–like flavor and if you add some into a cup of claret wine it will add a certain bite and poignancy. Use fresh leaves to flavour sorbets and fruit salads.
FACT FILE
Name: Meadowsweet
Latin name: Filipendula ulmaria
Common names:  Spiraea ulmaria (L.), bridewort, meadow queen, meadow-wort, queen of the meadow, lady of the meadow.
Properties: stomachic, mild urinary antiseptic, anti-rheumatic, astringent, antacid, anti-inflammatory, diuretic, diaphoretic, (promotes sweating) antiemetic, tonic, aromatic.
Indications: peptic ulcer (prophylaxis and treatment), atonic dyspepsia with heartburn and hyperacidity, gastritis, peptic ulceration, acute catarrhal cystitis.
Therapeutic uses: Meadowsweet has chemicals that allow it to act like aspirin, making it beneficial for colds, influenza aches and fevers or bladder complaints and other ailments where one would use aspirin such as headaches.
Precautions: Not to be used by people hypersensitive to aspirin/salicylates, this includes asthmatics.

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