56) PATCHOULI (Pogostemon cablin syn. P. patchouli) (Labiatae)

Native to Malaysia and the Philippines, Patchouli is now cultivated in tropical and sub-tropical regions around the world. Patchouli has been used extensively in Asian medicine, apperaring in the Chinese, Indian and Arabic traditions. The oil is widely employed as a fragrance and, in India, as an insect repellent. Patchouli is used in herbal medicine in Asia as an aphrodisiac, antidepressant and antiseptic. It is also employed for headaches and fever. Patchouli essential oil is used in aromatherapy to treat skin complaints. It is thought to have a regenerative effect on skin tone and to help clear conditions such as eczema and acne. The oil may also be used for varicose veins and hemorrhoids.

MAIN PROPERTIES: Antiseptic, aromatic, antidepressant.

57) PEPPERMINT (Mentha piperita) (Labiatae)

Peppermint's origin is a mystery, but it has been in existence for a long time - dried leaves were found in Egyptian pyramids dating from around 1000 BC. It was highly valued by the Greeks and Romans, but only became popular in Western Europe in the 18th Century. Peppermint tea helps with indigestion and relaxes the muscles of the digestive tract. Peppermint's chief therapeutic value lies in its ability to relieve wind, flatulence, bloating and colic, though it has many other applications. Studies have shown that it relieves colon spasms and helps to cure ulcers. Peppermint also eases nervous headaches. Menthol, its main constituent, has antibacterial properties. Externally, the essential oil is used in balms and liniments to stimulate hot and cold nerve endings and increase local blood flow.

MAIN PROPERTIES: Carminative, relieves muscle spasms, increases sweating, stimulates secretion of bile, antiseptic.

58) PEPPER (Piper nigrum) (Piperaceae)

Native to south-western India, pepper is now cultivated in tropical regions around the world. Praised as a spice and a medicine since ancient times, pepper was a vital commodity in world trade for thousands of years. Pepper has a stimulant and antiseptic effect on the digestive tract and the circulatory system. Pepper is commonly taken, either alone or in combination with other herbs and spices, to warm the body, or to improve digestive function in cases of nausea, stomach ache, flatulence, bloating, constipation or lack of appetite. The essential oil eases rheumatic pain and toothache. It is antiseptic and antibacterial, and reduces fever.

MAIN PROPERTIES: Antibacterial, antiseptic, digestive, reduces fever.

59) Petitgrain - Reviver

Latin name: Citrus aurantium var. amara (bigardia). Family: Rutaceae. Distilled from the leaves and twigs of the bitter orange tree and imported from Africa. It has a sweet, woody-orange floral scent. Petitgrain was one of the ingredients of the original "eau-de-cologne". Some traditional uses: for relieving respiratory infections, to ease nervous tension muscle spasms, for relieving joint inflammation, to balance the central nervous system, for stress relief and restful sleep. Emotional profile: To relieve feelings of betrayal, sadness, pessimism, trauma and disharmony. Blends with clary sage, rosemary, lavender, jasmine, geranium, bergamot, neroli, palmarosa and clove bud.

60) Pine - Nature's Helper

Latin name: Pinus sylvestris. Family: Pinaceae. Distilled from the needles and imported from France. It has a strong, coniferous, woody aroma. Native Americans placed dried pine needles in their mattresses to ward of lice and fleas. Some traditional uses: to ease breathing, as an immune system stimulant, to increase energy, for relieving muscle and joint aches, to repel lice and fleas. Avoid use if you have prostate cancer. Emotional profile: to transform regrets, self-blame, feelings of inadequacy. Blends with: cedar, lemon, marjoram, rosemary, tea-tree, eucalyptus, lavender and juniper berry.

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