Let’s look into some of the more rare essential oils – you know, the ones you wouldn’t usually find lying around in the cupboard. They usually carry a hefty price, and for good reason. Some of the more rare essential oils include agarwood, angelica, buchu, calamus, cape camomile, roman camomile, helichrysum, lippia javanica, pink pepper, rock rose, true sandalwood, spikenard, lemon ti-tree, vanilla absolute, and yarrow. Here, we take a deeper look into three of these magnificent essences.
Agarwood essential oil – the scent of nirvana
It takes 70kg of heartwood to produce a mere 20 ml of the essential oud oil, and it’s estimated that only 2% of wild ‘agar’ trees produce this resin. The wild crafted Agarwood undergoes several rounds of steam distillation, which produces different grades of oud oil of varying strength. It is said to demand a higher price than gold. It is used in Ayurvedic medicine as a treatment for neuro-muscular conditions, pleurisy, anaemia, halitosis, impotence, blood impurities, urinary infections, indigestion, skin problems and bed wetting. It is said that Buddha described the burning fragrance of Agarwood as the “scent of Nirvana” (the state of attaining Divinity). Additionally, the string of 108 beads in Buddhism is made up of Agarwood. The Bible also mentions that Jesus Christ was scented with Aloeswood (Agarwood).
Helichrysum essential oil – for clearing energies
Helichrysum essential oil is produced through steam distillation of the flower petals, stem and leaves. The oil is yellow to light green in colour with an herbaceous, earthly and pungent scent. Some may find the smell unappealing, however, its distinct ability to heal and increase the flow of energy throughout the body has been ancient knowledge for centuries. Many Helichrysum species have been used over centuries in South African traditional medicine practices to treat wounds and respiratory tract infections. It is said to be useful for rheumatoid arthritis, stress, insomnia, depression, and fungal infections, such as athlete’s foot.
Vanilla Absolute – earth and warm
The vanilla pods, or beans, are used to extract Vanilla absolute. Interestingly enough, it takes 6 – 9 months before the pods are mature enough to be cured. The actual curing process may take another 6 months to complete. Given this complex and intensive process, it is easy to see why pure vanilla comes with a high price. True vanilla absolute has a warm, rich, balsamic aroma and it exists as a dark brown solid liquid, which requires warming up before it can be blended. The antioxidant properties of vanilla oil protect the body from wear and tear by neutralizing free radicals. It also has anticarcinogenic properties, which are said to inhibit the development of cancer before it becomes a problem. Vanilla absolute has a calming effect on the brain, which helps with anger, insomnia, stress and anxiety.