Tidbits of information:
Vanilla planifolia: prefers hot, wet, tropical climates within 20° either side of the Equator. A climbing vine, it grows up to 100 feet high with whitish-green flowers that are hand pollinated. The fruit, when mature, is about 5" long and 1/2" thick and looks like a bean pod. Vanilla beans are mainly harvested for export from Madagascar, Mexico, and Tahiti. India is becoming a source as well. Vanilla Planifolia is the only orchid whose fruit is cultivated for use in both the food and cosmetic industries.
The Sense of Smell
The sense of smell plays a vital role in our sense of well-being and quality of life. The sense of smell brings us into harmony with nature, warns us of dangers and sharpens our awareness of other people, places and things. It helps us to respond to those we meet, can influence our mood, how long we stay in a room, who we talk to and who we want to see again.
*gathered from the Iowa Soybean Association
Combining Soy Wax with Essential Oils
Natural soy wax is opaque or milky white. The addition of the aromatic essences may give the wax of your candle a hint of...color. This is a natural coloring and not a dye or a toxic chemical. Examples:
For centuries, cultures have used herbs, tree sap and its bark, flower petals, fruit and berries for ceremonial purposes. Whether burned, carried or rubbed on clothing, the fragrant plant essences were transported into the air.
These natural concentrated essences come from all parts of plants: bark, roots, seeds, stems, flowers, leaves, peel. They are usually steam distilled. Pure means the oil includes much of the fragile and original aromatic compound as possible. This starts with choosing the right species of plants, and giving them exactly what they need to thrive, including uncontaminated soil. To guarantee the quality of these aromatic essences, their production must meet or exceed the ISO (International Standards Organization) standards.
The tender care taken - in growing and during the extracting process - make these aromatic essences very expensive. Here are a few examples of the cost of just 60 ml (2 oz) of USDA organic essential oil:
The Top Ten Essential Oils
peppermint - eucalyptus - ylang ylang - geranium
lavender - lemon - clary sage - tea tree
Roman chamomile - rosemary
Over the years, Europeans have filled empty olive oil bottles with their favorite essential oils. This method has since evolved. The newest way to add a hint of... home fragrance, on this side of the pond, is with reed diffusers. Adding reeds helps disperse the scent throughout the room in a worry-free way.
Today, carrier oils are often blended with the essences. These oils help to wick the fragrance up the reeds - as the essential oils are sometimes too thick to be used alone. (Example: guaiac is almost completely solid at room temperature.) Some of the most common carrier oils are apricot kernel oil, grapeseed oil, jojoba oil, sunflower oil, and sweet almond oil. The carrier oils also help defray the cost, as essential oils can be very expensive. (See the paragraphs above.)
Sometimes, fragrance oils (derived from synthetic compounds) are blended with essential oils to provide a unique scent. While producing a wonderful aroma, the blends are something not found naturally.
aromatherapy: aro·ma·ther·a·py \ə-ˌrō-mə-ˈther-ə-pē\ noun massage of the body and especially of the face with a preparation of fragrant essential oils extracted from herbs, flowers, and fruits; broadly : the use of aroma to enhance a feeling of well-being
candle: can-dle \'kan-dl\ noun a usually molded or dipped mass of wax or tallow containing a wick that may be burned (as to give light, heat, or scent or for celebration or votive purposes)
essential oil: es·sen·tial \i-ˈsen(t)-shəl\ oil \ˈȯi(-ə)l\ noun any of a class of volatile oils that give plants their characteristic odor and are used especially in perfumes and flavoring, and for aromatherapy
potpourri: pot-pour-ri \ˌpō-pu̇-ˈrē\ noun a mixture of flowers, herbs, and spices that is usually kept in a jar and used for scent
sachet: sa-chet \sa-ˈshā\ noun a small bag containing a perfumed powder or potpourri used to scent clothes and linens
Olfaction - the act or process of smelling - is said to be thousands of times more sensitive than taste. This sense allows us to detect pleasure (such as the odor of perfume or just baked bread) as well as danger (smoke, a natural gas leak, chemicals or food that has gone bad.)
Odor information is stored in long term memory and has strong connections to emotional memory.
Inhaling aromatic essences can help us attain a pleasurable emotional balance. A balanced emotional state in turn can have a therapeutic effect on physical problems, particularly those that are stress-related.