Hello. If you have an account, please Sign In.

 07769 339007 


Blue in a Bottle

Blue is one of the three blends we created a few years back around colours. Inspiration came to create synergies to embody in a scent the intrisic value and meaning.of a colour. Blue was born, followed by Yellow and Rose.

I am not a fan of the sea, mostly because it is too cold around the British shores and it rarely has the hue of blue that I had in mind. So I turned to the sky to contemplate the true nature of the colour that we call sky blue. I stared at the open space, the freedom and peace it emobodies, the softeness and calmness of the wispy cotton-like clouds drifting through a sea of blue. I felt light and re-freshed, able to let dreams, imagination and creativity run free.
At a deeper level, blue and especially light or sky blue is associated with intuition and wisdom, trust and stability, intuition and inner peace along with its counterparts of sadness and depression - having the blues.

Read More

Posted in January 2024

Organic Base Cream

A new Organic Base Cream that has been certified by Cosmos.
It is a light base, suitable for all sking types. It offers scope to allow for your creative streak as it will easily asborb the addition of a small percentage of essential oils and/or a specific base oil. Think of rosehip and pomegranate for mature skin, calendula for dry and sensitive skin, borage or evening primrose, St John's wort or arnica etc…

Follow the link if you wish to know more about our new base cream. You will find a list of all the ingredients along with a lexicon that will explain fully those more specialised terms.

Read More

Posted in March 2023

Oily Beauties - Vegetable Oils - Borage, St John's Wort & Avocado

Vegetable oils are the most commonly used base for massage. Aromatherapists often formulate oil-based formulations for clients and skin care product producers, particularly those making natural products, heavily rely on oils from a range of plants as core product ingredients.
There are many terms associated with vegetable oils: refined, unsaturated and filtered to name a few. Then there are the multiple nutritional benefits gained from consuming vegetable oils. Add that to the fact that these oils are interchangeably referred to as ‘base oils’, because they are the base which essential oils are added to; ‘carrier oils’, because they hold or carry the essential oils and ‘fixed oils’, because unlike essential oils they are not volatile and do not evaporate. Some suppliers even refer to them as simply ‘massage oil’. So…
Why should widen your selection of Vegetable oils?
Spotlight on Borage, St John's Wort & Avocado

Read More

Posted in September 2022


Hip, Hip Hooray for Rosehips!

Why every aromatherapist and natural skin care producer should know about rosehip seed oil

The Joy of Roses

If you grow roses in your garden you have probably noticed that they recently sprouted fresh new leaves. This growth burst should soon be followed by the appearance of delicate new buds, which will open into gloriously-scented summer blooms. If you have a dog rose (Rosa canina), or another variety of wild rose such as Rosa rubiginosa or Rosa rugesa, you can expect even more gifts. Come autumn, distinctive bright red fruits, commonly called Rosehips, will take the place of the faded flowers. As well as being cottage garden favourites, these hip-bearing wild roses can often be found gracing British parks, hedgerows and woodlands. Aromatherapists will notice that hip producing rose varieties do not include Rosa damascena and Rosa Centifolia, which give us our much loved rose essential oils, hydrolats and absolutes.

Read More

Our Organic Status

Materia Aromatica has been running for over 20 years now. The first action we took when we opened for business was to become a member of the Soil Association. Sourcing organic raw maerials was of primary importance as we truly believe that plants grown without chemicals have a vitality, a frehsness of aroma that is unmatched except perhaps by their wild counterparts. As it is clearly not possible to rely on the wild and the generosity of nature to provide for the increasing demand for essential oils, selecting plants grown organically offers the best alternative to extract oils with an energetic blue print as close to what nature intended. In order to certify our oils as being organic, we have remained a faithful member of the Soil Association ever since…..

Read More

Posted in February 2022

Benzoin & Vanilla

It has been a long while since we were able to have these 2 aromatics on our shelves, as much as a few years indeed.

We are very pleased to be able to supply once more one of our favourites - a dilution of benzoin extract in organic ethanol. The oil is organic but not Cosmos

And also a hydrosouble extract of vanilla beans - also organic.

Read More

Posted in September 2021

A Jouney through Thyme

If you look in your kitchen cupboard, the chances are that a jar of thyme is nestled amongst your herb collection. The roots of this humble garden herb, long favoured by cooks, stretch way back through history.

Which thyme is which?
Bataglia tells us that there are over 300 varities of thyme, with Thymus vulgaris being the commonest. As with any aromatic plant, the chemistry, aroma and recommended uses of its essential oils are not the same as that of the whole plant. However the variations do not stop there, as T. vulgaris has 6 known chemotypes and the essential oils of several are commonly used in aromatherapy. You may be aware that when aromatic plants produce different chemotypes they can vary widely between each other in terms of chemistry, recommended therapeutic uses and safety issues. Therefore aromatherapists and essential oil lovers should be familiar with each essential oil chemotype you use.

Read More

Let’s Celebrate the Light!

Monday 21st December heralds Yule, or the Winter Solstice, a festival celebrated in different forms across the Northern Hemisphere since ancient times. It's when we honour the darkness of the longest night and welcome the return of the sun. Traditionally, it's a time of symbolism, power and reflection, a chance to bid farewell to the old and welcome in the new. .…
The authors of the Goddess and Green Man (2020) explain that Winter Solstice is the start of a new year, when we acknowledge that all beginnings emerge from darkness. They remind us this is the time when the light starts to return to the earth. No matter what your spiritual beliefs may be this surely resonates with us all, at the end of a year dominated by numerous restrictions. So this Winter Solstice, we invite you to celebrate with essential oils and aromatics which honour these ancient traditions. Let’s welcome back the light!

Read More

Posted in December 2020

Tradtitional Chinese Medicine (TCM) - A different approach to Essential Oils

Water, wood, fire, earth & metal. What do these words mean to you? Perhaps your first thoughts are baths, forests, BBQs, gardening and tin cans. Or you might recognise them as the 5 Elements of Traditional Chinese Medicine. In some of our newsletters this year we will explore some of the foundations of this ancient medicinal system and its relationship with essential oils. We aim to scratch the surface of this fascinating medicinal world, hopefully enough to pique your curiosity.

Read More

Posted in January 2020

Blue Tansy

I love surprising clients with the vibrant hues of certain essential oils. Blue is never a colour which people expect to see in their blending bowl. From the greeny-blue of copper-distilled Sweet Inula to the depths of German Chamomile and the stunning hues of Yarrow and Blue Tansy, blue is a colour shared by several members of the Daisy family (Asteraceae)…
Blue Tansy (Tanacetum annuum) is not as widely-used as German Chamomile essential oil, though it deserves to be! ...
it is steam distilled from the plant’s bright yellow flowers and buds. It has an enticingly complex aroma: sweet, herbaceous, slightly camphoraceous with an added hint of lemon and spice. Perfume-wise it's a heart note, adding strength to blends without overpowering the scent of other oils. ...
if we take a moment to look at its key chemistry the presence of chamazulene, found in levels of up to 38%, gives us a clue – it’s fair to assume that an anti-inflammatory action is high on this oil’s curriculum vitae…
Follow the link to know more about the therapeutic value and suggestions ...

Read More

Posted in October 2019

Calendula - The Sunshine Herb

Many years ago I walked through the arrivals gate at Kolkata’s Airport to be met by an excited group of children who placed a garland of bright flowers around my neck. This was my introduction to India and to the tradition of presenting flower garlands on special occasions, in this case a new children’s centre volunteer arriving on a flight from London. It was also my introduction to the beautiful Calendula officinalis flower. Throughout the months I spent in India I became increasingly familiar with garlands of these bright orange flowers, often accompanied by strings of jasmine, being placed around people’s necks at conferences, theatre shows, weddings and of course as offerings to the Gods.

Read More

Posted in August 2019


For over 2 years now we have been awaiting our new batch of Fragonia essential oil.

After many months of waiting, we are pleased to announce that we have finally a small amount of this beautiful essential oil back on our shelves.

According to the producer, there are various chemotypes of Agonis bushes but only one presents a chemical analysis with a near to perfect balance between the oxides (1.8 cineole), monoterpenes (alpha pinene) and monoterpenols (linalool, alpha terpineol).

It is this harmony between these compounds that give the essential oil the ability to restore peace, calm and serenity within the body and mind. According to Dr Penoel studies and feedback from his patients, the oil seems to work on any level to help the body, mind and spirit to find its own balance.

Read More

Posted in April 2019

Sweet Inula - A winter wonder oil

Is one of your new year’s resolutions to try out some new essential oils? If you’re not familiar with the lovely Sweet Inula then this sunshine-blossomed aromatic is a great oil to get to know.
Hailing from the daisy family, and sporting a flower that looks a little like a dandelion, this herb loves to grow on wasteland and roadsides across Europe. Rather unfairly it is often considered to be a weed and has enjoyed a variety of mean-sounding common names including Stinkwort, which doesn’t reflect the sweet-herbaceous aroma of its essential oil.

Sweet Inula is primarily indicated for respiratory imbalances, particularly acute conditions including coughs, colds, sinusitis and laryngitis. French author Pierre Franchomme described Inula as the strongest mucolytic in aromatherapy (cited in Jennifer Peace-Rhind’s book, listed below), meaning that its great at loosening and clearing mucous from the respiratory passages….

Read More

Posted in March 2019

Cinnamon - Festive Spice

Which aromas conjure up Christmas for you? Regardless of when I smell them the scent of certain spices are guaranteed to fast-track me to mid-December, like stepping into an aromatic Tardis. Taking centre stage in my festive aromatic spice rack is cinnamon.
This spice is firmly rooted in history. The Ancient Egyptians used it as an embalming ingredient for mummifying their dead and added it to Kyphi, the famous and somewhat mysterious perfume used for both religious and medicinal purposes. Cinnamon is mentioned in the Bible’s Old Testament and was traded along the Silk Road, the ancient commerce route established by the Chinese Han Dynasty. Hailing from Sri Lanka, India and South East Asia Cinnamon was prized as a valuable commodity by Arab traders, the Greeks, Romans, Portuguese and Dutch, amongst others. By Medieval times soldiers returning from the Crusades are rumoured to have landed on British shores carrying exotic spices in their luggage. Slowly cinnamon, this highly prized and once extremely valuable spice, became a key ingredient of European festive cuisine. Today, Christmas just wouldn’t taste, or smell, the same without it.

Read More

Posted in November 2018

Black Seed - Nigella Sativa

Black seed oil is etracted from the tiny black seeds of nigella sativa. It is a plant that originates from countries around the Mediterannean and grows well in English gardens, often viewed as a weed. It has had a long and rich history of medicinal uses considered by islamic traditions as the plant that cures all except Death.
Nigella sativa has been the subject, in recent years, of numerous studies and clinical trials. The chemical analysis of the seeds reveal a high content of quinine which has been the subject of intensive research for its anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties. The research has resulted in 100s of studies, many of which are easily accessible. These have demonstrated and proven the healing potential of black seeds over a wide range of human disorders.

Read More

Posted in October 2018

Menopause - Autumn Years

Autumn is a time of transition – trees, flowering plants, new school terms or perhaps learning to live with an empty nest. Autumn also symbolises a woman’s transition from her fertile to menopause years, experienced by most women sometime between their mid-forties and mid-fifties. The menopause can be challenging on many levels, but it's a natural part of a woman’s life journey.

There are many essential oils and aromatic waters we can harness to support us through this time of profound change. We’ve chosen to highlight a few of our favourites here.

Read More

Posted in September 2018

Keep Minty Fresh this Summer!

Here in the UK the weather forecasters promised us a hot summer and so far they haven’t disappointed us. Like me, you might love the heat, but even the most dedicated sun-worshipers will admit there are times when we need to cool down. Aromatically, members of the mint family excel at this task. Think of sprigs of mint in cool summer drinks, tongue-freezing minty ice creams, sharp peppermint sweets or that refreshing foot lotion that’s lurking in the back of your bathroom cupboard.

There are many varieties of mint, the most famous being peppermint (Mentha x piperita). Its essential oil has been a household staple for decades, used extensively in toothpaste, food flavourings, cold remedies and much more. Mints are members of the Lamiaceae family, alongside other aromatherapy favourites such as lavender and rosemary. This plant family is rich in volatile oils – just stroke a mint or rosemary leaf to rupture the delicate oil sacs and release the aromatic essential oils.

Read More

Posted in July 2018

St John's Wort

The brightly coloured flower of hypericum perforatum is steeped in ancient folklore, traditions and esoterism. Various parts of the plant have now made the subject of clinical trials and have been scientifcally proven to disperse mild depression & amxiety, instil sleep, to work as a powerful anti-inflammatory and skin healer.
Discover the history and modern therapeutic uses of St John's Wort.

Read More

Posted in June 2018

Soapy Goodness – body & conscience cleansers

Palm free Hand-made soaps.
We have changed the formulation of our soaps to make them palm-free. We use cocoa and shea butter to replace the controversial palm oil. It has been a change forced by environmental circumstances which we are thankful for as it has transformed the quality of the bars we produce now. The combination of the cocoa butter and the shea added at trace has made our soaps silkier and softer than ever before.
Hand-made from start to finish, they are made following the cold process method that is the only way to preserve the therapeutic value of the ingredients.
Soap-making is a lengthy and time-consuming process. We do not bargain with the quality of the ingredients we use and the care we put in the various manufacturing stages. This makes our soaps extremely fragrant and unique on the market!

They come in 4 Fragrances, including our signature blend ‘Joie de Vivre’ & geranium, reknown for its calming and uplifting ability, featured in this month's newsletter.

Read More

Posted in May 2018

Make your own base creams

Face creams are a delicate product

  • They are based on 2 ingredients that are ‘indifferent’ to each other. Water and fats do not mix together unless there is a binding agent to unite them
  • The water content attracts bacteria and moulds rapidly unless a preservative is added.
  • If the cream is designed with a view to being kept on the shop shelves and stay ‘fresh’ for 36 months as per regulations in place, stabilisers are needed to ensure colour and texture remain undisturbed and strong preservatives to control contamination and bacterial growth, a long list of add-ons that are there specifically to ensure preservation for the sake of the manufacturers and retailers but that your skin does not need.

Base creams are easily made and in minutes. You will avoid the dilemma that the cosmetic industry has to face, be free to choose your ingredients, play, be creative and come up with the mixture that will suit your skin. You won’t be able to go back.

Face creams need to be treated like food. The best quality is those that are freshly made by yourself in your own home. Make them only when you are about to run out and need a new batch, use fresh ingredients and nourish your skin in the same way as food is prepared every day to nourish your body.

Read More

Posted in April 2018

Drops for the Loo

It can be bad enough at home, attract comments from family members, partners and children. How more embarassing though, when travelling and sharing an hotel room with frriends, new partner, where space is restricted, ventilation usually limited and inadequate.

How more embarassing though, when travelling and sharing an hotel room with frriends, new partner, where space is restricted, ventilation usually limited and inadequate.

Read More

Posted in April 2018

Madagascan Ginger to spice up your Day!

Hurrah for March, the month when we climb from winter’s depths to bask in spring’s vibrant hues. Despite the temperature outside creeping upwards the spring months can still feel chilly, so I’m not packing away my warming essential oils just yet.
One of my favourite oil for chilly days is ginger (zingiber officinalis), described by the 16th centruary herbalist Gerard as being, “…of an heating and digesting qualitie, and is profitable for the stomacke…”.

The essential oil of this perennial herb is distilled from its rhizome, or underground stem, rather than the root as is often believed. It’s indigenous to South East Asia and happily grows in tropical climes;
Our current batch is grown and distilled in Madagascar. The Madagascan oil is quite characteristic and easily recognisable. It is sweet, sharp, bouncy and clear without any of the grassy undertone of the Indian and Nepalese versions of the oil. It smells and tastes just like candied ginger.
Rich in antioxydant, ginger has also strong anti-inflammatory qualities useful in case of arthritis, and asthma. Anti viral and anti bacterial, it is used to soothe cold and flus and digestive upsets.
Generally warming, energysing and uplifitng, ginger essential oil is an all-rounder.
Follow the link to our 2 delicious blending ideas to spice up your day!

Read More

Posted in March 2018

Make your own bath salts & disperse January blues!

January is a month associated with the colour blue, and not for the best of reasons. Its common to feel low in this deepest of winter months, when festive frivolities have past and spring sunshine can feel like a distant dream. Frazzled nerves, mental exhaustion and anxiety often go hand-in-hand with low mood, perhaps especially at this time of year, so this is a month when I’m extra-thankful for citrus peel oils. Gently inhaling any one of our commonly used citruses instantly uplifts my spirits and reminds me of sunnier times to come. Most people seem to have a positive association with one of more citruses, so I find them particularly useful in my client work at this time of year.

For more with bath salt recipes

Read More

Posted in January 2018

Christmas 2017



The countdown has started! Advent calendars being opened each day, their secret doors revealing the treasure hidden within. What fun and excitement for the young and not so young ones too!

For Christmas we have many treats, small and big, ideal for cracker fillers, secret Santa or that very special person in your life.

Please take a look and enjoy the world of fragrances and pampering that Materia Aromatica loves to offer!

Read More

Posted in December 2017

Christmas Treats & Crackers fillers

‘Christmas is coming, the geese are getting fat
Please to put a penny in the old man’s hat;
If you haven’t got a penny, a ha’penny will do,
If you haven’t got a ha’penny then God bless you’

As the old nursery rhyme reminds us, the festive season is drawing near. For many of us this time of year is full of nostalgia - decorations, trees and food often trigger memories of childhood Christmases.

For my sister and I, Christmas was one of the rare occasions that our parents let us eat sweets, a huge treat! Candy canes, chocolate santas and boxes of chocolates (where, mysteriously, only coffee creams remain by Boxing Day) are still part of many people’s festive experience. To help you prepare for this year’s festivities we’ve devised some bath and body treats to conjure up nostalgic aromas of childhood sweets. Of course, favourite sweets vary between families, regions and countries, but these gift ideas make lovely gifts regardless of which sweetie aromas you grew up with. Christmas selection boxes have never smelt so good!

Fruitylicious Bath Bombs

Our fizzy bath bombs conjure-up memories of chewy, fruit sweets. This aroma takes me on a swift journey to the alleyway next to my house in the 1970s, illicitly chewing sweets that my mother certainly didn’t approve of. The uplifting citrus aromas of this blend are designed to bring an impish, child-like smile to your lips. Despite being a low dilution be aware that lime oil in particular is phototoxic. The usual guidelines are to avoid direct sunlight for at least 12 hours after using, though this shouldn’t pose a problem to Europeans in December. Many thanks to Aromatherapist friend Julie Lever for sharing her favourite nostalgic blend recipe with us.

Read More

Posted in November 2017

Spanish Sage

‘Cur moriatur homo cui Salvia crescit in horto’
Why should a man die whilst sage is growing in his garden
(Latin proverb)

‘Salvia’ is said to come from ‘salvere’ or to be saved, heal, to be well.

Sage has been valued over the centuries by many cultures for its medicinal and therapeutic uses and in modern time as a decorative and aromatic garden shrub.

In Spain, it is regarded as a ‘cure all’. It is believed to promote longevity, protect and cure against all infections including the plague. It has been used to treat rheumatism, digestive complaints, menstrual problems, nervous weakness and also to boost memory and cognitive responses ...

Read More

Posted in October 2017

Earth’s Treasures

I always mourn the passing of summer, my favourite season, so thank goodness that autumn is packed full of beauty to ease me through the seasonal change. One of my favourite sights right now are the many seed heads adorning gardens, parks and verges. As well as providing interesting textures, the seed heads of flowering plants often look stunning and – excitingly - carry the promise of next year’s growth and colour.

For aromatherapists, members of the Apiaceae family are always a particular joy to spot, their umbrella-like heads bulging with seeds at this time of year (this distinctive look gave this family their old name of Umbelliferae). In particular I often spot Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) growing in my local park. Ancient Egyptians, Romans and Greeks all used common fennel medicinally…..

Read More

Posted in September 2017

The Christmas Tree

Once upon a time the British Isles were swathed in pine forests, perfuming the air with their uplifting aroma. Scots Pine (Pinus sylvestris), native to Britain, is a particularly special tree. Sporting distinctive red-brown bark this majestic conifer can grow 35-40 metres tall. As its name suggests it has a strong connection to Scotland, where it still grows and traditionally symbolised immortality. For me, Scots Pine is a perfect oil for this time of year, and not just because pines make lovely Christmas trees.

Read More

Posted in November 2016

NEWS FROM THE FIELD - February 2024

As some of you may already be aware from the little snipets in our newsletters, I have a strong interest and passion for animals big and small and can't help but share with our readers their wonderful nature and the work I do with them.

The Old Chapel of Ermington has openend its doors to guests and visitors of our Farm.
If you ever think of a short break in Devon and are visiting friends for a special occasion, we would be delighted to welcome you to stay in the large suite located in the old vestry of the building. It is a private space with its own entry, lounge and dining areas, an emperor size bed and a shower room.

The field is nearby and should you wish to meet our animals, we will love to introduce you to our alpacas, horses and goats. As you may have gathered from all our newsletters, I am passionate about my animals and would like nothing more than share my love for them.

The Old Chapel is also the home of Materia Aromatica and samples of our essential oils will be made available for you to test and experience.
The listing of the Old Chapel is on Airbnb with numerous pictures of the suite and of the animals. Just search for Ermington UK. Bookings can be made through Airbnb. Should you have any query, please contact Isabelle on 0776933907.

To know more what about we do, visit our Youtube channel

Read More

Posted in May 2022

Greeting Card - Dog Rose

We are very pleased to introduce our first greeting card, designed by local artist Terry Bailey for Materia Aromatica. The cards are printed from an orignal drawing of crayons and ink on paper.

A beautiful representaition of Rosa canina, commonly called dog rose.
A well-known and widely spread inhabitant of our British hedges.
These delicate flowers produce red hips, the very same that make the headlines of this newlsetter.

We have also added a function to our check out process. When ever you wish to send a present and do not want to have the receipt included, you will now be able to select a card and write a personal message that we will add to your order and send directly to your loved one.
The choice is currently limited to this one card but we hope to be adding more in the near future once our artist has let out his creative colours flow!

A7 - 74 x 105mm

Read More

Dried Herbs & Spices

We are now stocking a range of organic dried herbs and flowers. We are waiting to receive our organic certification from the Soil Association. The organic logo will be added as soon as the paperwork is all in order.

Read More

Posted in August 2019

Skin Care - Creams versus Oils

I have always enjoyed using my hands, making and creating. Learning about vegetable oils and essential oils lead very quickly to the intense desire to make my own skin care.

Read More

Posted in August 2017

Queen of Hungary Water

I love a good story, particularly when aromatics are the heroines. The truth behind the legend of the Queen of Hungary's Water is long lost to the mists of time, leaving behind intriguing whispers of a beautiful queen, reclusive monks and magical alchemists.

Read More

Posted in July 2017

Fire & Water

The days are getting warmer. Soon, instead of reaching for long sleeves, we’ll be looking for ways to cool down. I love the summer so I can’t wait to feel hot sunshine on my skin, but even I can get too warm at times. This year I’m prepared with some watery aromatic remedies.

Read More

Posted in May 2017

Hayfever and Allergies

The joys of spring and summer are manifold. Here at Materia Aromatica we love watching the trees sprout new growth and humble garden plants transform into flowering beauties, providing nectar for happy bees and insects. Unfortunately though the pollen released by the season’s blooms and grasses spells misery for many of us.

Read More

Posted in April 2017

Juniper & New Year resolutions

January is the time for making life-transforming resolutions, and all too often breaking them before the month is out. Regardless of how much we’d like to try new things or break certain habits, we humans tend to be scared of change. Like most people, I break far more new year’s resolutions than I keep.

Read More

Posted in January 2017

Summer into Autumn

I can hardly believe its autumn already, but it’s been a great summer! One of the things I loved most about the sunshine months was taking my aromatherapy work to festivals. I’ve discovered a common pattern amongst clients whilst working at music and other festivals. For the first few days people tend to bounce into my aromatherapy and massage tent, often sprinkled with mud and glitter, occasionally dressed as unicorns and full of the joys of life. The final day however can be very different; sleep deprivation and over-indulgence giving rise to frayed emotions.

Read More

Posted in October 2016

Season's Greetings!

Season’s Greetings! The festive season is finally upon us! Here are our top Christmas survival tips and special Christmas offers to help you through the next few weeks.

Read More

Posted in December 2015

Using vegetable oils as base ingredients for skincare

We are often faced with comments such as: ‘Oils will make my skin greasy, oily and shiny !’ If it does, you will have either used the wrong type of oil or put too much of it. Vegetable oils are made of the same molecules and substances that are already present in the skin. Each oil has a different texture and therapeutic application. If used and applied appropriately, they are all your skin need. They will leave it clean, soft, nourished and rejuvenated.

![](/UsedImages/Article_citrus squash-open (193x200).jpg)

By the end of this article, we hope to have dissipated the worries and misconceptions and made you an addict of skincare formulated with the best ingredients in mind to look after your skin.


  • All ingredients in our skin care formulations are derived from plants only.
  • As much as possible, we only use ingredient that have undergone the least aggressive extraction processes before they reach our shelves so as to preserve the vital components of the plant.
  • We use ingredients that are certified by the soil association so our customers know that they are the purest we can find
  • We do not add anything to our formulations – no preservatives, no chemicals of any sort, no colourings. We also endeavour not to take anything out.
  • As a result, our skin care is suitable for all skin types, from dry, mature to sensitive or damaged.

The reason we can do this is because we use vegetable oils as our bases. They do not contain water, therefore do not need any preservatives. As long as they are kept sensibly out of a source of heat and out of light, they will keep for a year. They are packed with fat soluble vitamins, A, D, E, K, essential fatty acids, antioxidants, carotenoid, chlorophyll, lecithin… all that is necessary to feed the skin.


The skin has 2 basic layers, dermis and epidermis.

The epidermis which is in contact with the environment is made of layers of dead or dying cells separated by layers of lipids which role is to protect and retain the moisture held in the deeper layer of the skin. These lipids are made of fatty acids, waxes etc. and accounts for 14% of the total weight of the skin.

The dermis is a mixture of protein fibre collagen and elastin. The moisture is retained in the collagen. It contributes to the plumpness, smoothness, elasticity and youthfulness of the skin. This will dehydrate quickly if the limpid barrier, residing in the epidermis, is poor or damaged, resulting in sagging skin forming wrinkles etc. It is therefore important to look after the oil film protecting the skin so that it can effectively protect the collagen and its moisture retaining properties.

The body produces its own protective oil – sebum a mixture of fatty acids and glycerides. It is produced by special glands and are most active after puberty. Their activity decreases as the body gets older. Diet, reactions caused by the use of chemicals on the skin affect greatly the secretion of sebum causing dry, oily or a variety of skin complaints.

Vegetable oils offer the right solution. They are used because of their low incidence of irritation, sensitivity and non clogging.


Vegetable oils are made of chains of fatty acids, the very same that are present in the lipid barrier in the top layer of the skin. The variations in the combinations of these fatty acids and their nos give the oils their own specific values and characteristics, whether it is solid or liquid, saturated or unsaturated, mono-unsaturated or polyunsaturated. The latter are the oils that contain the EFA (essential fatty acids - omega 3 & 6) that are not produced by the body – sign of deficiency in EFA is a dry, flaky skin

They also contain all the liposoluble vitamins A (provitamin A), D (D3 in avocado), E and K.

There is a wide range of vegetable oils, we stock about 20. They are all very different from one another.

Some are solid (contains more saturated fatty acids) - cocoa butter, coconut, shea butter
Some are thick (olive, almond), others are light (macadamia, evening primrose, borage, walnut, sesame, sunflower ...)
They have a colour from pale yellow to green, red and brown
They have the aroma of the seeds or nut they come from.

All these describe an oil which has not been refined and has only undergone the basics of cold-expression.

Refining involves deodorising, bleaching, degumming, using solvent (petroleum based) to increase the yield (grapeseed, almond), winterisation to avoid cloudiness caused by waxes (filtered or centrifuge), neutralisation (to remove free fatty acids with caustic soda), fractionating. Hydrogenation is the process of hardening a liquid fat into a hard fat, adding hydrogen molecules to the chain of fatty acids to make it a saturated chain. That requires pressure and heat along with creating a reaction using hydrogen gas and metal catalyst usually nickel or platinum. That process creates trans-fatty acids that compete with enzymes, interfere with the work of essential fatty acids in the body and are toxic.

The refining process covers a number of operations which varies from manufacturers depending on the type of oils they wish to produce.
All these processes remove all the vital elements of the oils and produce an oil which has very little to do with its original counterpart.

It is essential to use a vegetable oil that has not been refined, which means that it should have retained its original colour and aroma.

  • Rosehip oil is red because it contains carotenoids that are red. Bleaching the oil will remove the carotenoids therefore will deprive the oil of the anti-antioxidant properties contained in the carotenoids.
  • Evening Primrose and Borage are pale green to a deep green which is the colour of the Essential fatty acids that the oils contain. Bleach these oils, and all the EFA are gone.


Clinical studies have demonstrated the wide benefits when appropriate oils have been massaged into the skin.
Combinations of specific vegetable oils have shown to make significant improvement in the skin treating:

  • Dry skin – calendula, rosehip, jojoba
  • Eczema, psoriasis, particularly true using oils reached in EFA, GLA, carotenoids (rosehip, carrot)
  • Signs of aging, rosehip, camellia, sea-buckthorne,
  • Reduce scaring and stretch mark, argan, rosehip,
  • Balance the sebum secretion, jojoba, reducing it in case of oily skin or acne, jojoba, hazelnut,

If chosen correctly, they do not make the skin greasy. Although not technically absorbed by the skin, they seem to blend with the already present fatty acids in the skin to enrich the natural lipid barrier and restore the skin to health. Vegetable oils offer elements that the body need.

  • essential fatty acids, omega 3 are present in evening primrose, borage, pumpkin, melon
  • Carotenoids - pro-vitamin A in rosehip, calendula, carrot
  • Vitamin E (tocopherol) is naturally found in all vegetable oils to various degree.
  • Vitamin D – (formed in the skin when the skin is exposed to sunshine) regulates the calcium maintenance and bone structure. The sole vegetable source is reputed to be avocado oil.
  • Vitamin K – needed to form the blood clotting agent. Found in green leafy vegetables and in green oils olive, canola, camellia.

All those are powerful anti-oxidants


Cleanser ‘Citrus Squash’

The ingredients have been chosen to create a thick and greasy consistency that will glide on the skin and dilute all the make up and grim of the day. Only a peanut size is necessary. Rub with the tip of your fingers and massage the face, even around the eyes. This blend will dissolve, eye liner, mascara, thick foundation. Remove with a warm, wet cotton pad and repeat until the pad stays clean. No feeling of dryness or tightness will be experienced. You skin will feel refreshed, cleansed, plumped through the action of avocado oil which is nourishing to the skin.

Tone with our Rose Essential Water

Apply with a cotton pad or a spray over the face. The purpose of the toner is to refresh and harvest the benefits of rose essential oil. Putting it on the face will look after the skin and fill your senses with the psychological properties of rose.

For the skin, rose is antiseptic, astringent, cicatrisant and anti-aging. For the mind, Rose is antidepressant, boosts self esteem and confidence.


Combines in a small bottle the essence of what the skin needs.

Moisturisers are designed with a blend of oils chosen for their specific properties and for their lightness. Very little is needed indeed: 2, 3, 4 drops at most rubbed on the tips of the fingers and massaged over the face following natural lines. Leave to sink in for ten minutes and apply make-up as normal. Your skin will not feel greasy.

‘Tissue repair balm’ was designed specifically for damaged tissue, scars, post operative stress, stretch marks, eczema, psoriasis, wrinkles. It is our best seller and works wonders as a daily moisturiser for mature skin or even not so mature. A wonderful combination of specialists oils packed with anti-oxidants, carotenoids and is ideal as a moisturiser around the eyes, mouth where wrinkles are more likely to develop.

‘Nocturnal mist’ is especially designed for night time. Made slightly richer with added avocado therefore to use when the skin is given time to rest and restore itself. Packed with Omega 3, vitamin A, D, E & potassium. It is a good emollient, very nourishing, ideal for dry and mature skins or those suffering from eczema.

Posted in September 2014

Ravintsara and Sleep

For light sleepers

Although Lavender and chamomile haves been widely used to help those who suffer from disturbed sleep, their aroma is not always appreciated by everybody.
Ravintsara offers a useful alternative. Like rosem...ary and eucalyptus, it is rich in cineole and has a refreshing, pungent aroma which one would not necessarily associate with a calming and relaxing action. But the oil has a balancing effect on the nervous system, is sedating and induces a peaceful and tranquil state. It will improve sleep quality and promote a calm and deep sleep.

  • Put 5 drops on your pillow
  • If you are lucky enough to have a willing partner, ask him / her to massage your back, following the grooves along side the back bone using 6 drops of ravintsara in a table spoon of jojoba or apricot oil.

Use the oil for a week or two and give your body and olfactory senses a break for a while. Start again if necessary.

Ravintsara is also reputed for its anti-bacterial and anti-viral action, will help clear up bunged-up noses and air passages and at the same time boost the immune system… two birds killed with one stone!

Winter & Seasonal Depression

How to go through the cold and shortest days of winter without feeling seasonal depression

Read More

Ravintsara versus Ravensara

Cinnamonum camphora
Family: Lauraceae


Ravensara aromatica is native to Australia, Tasmania and Madagascar and thrives in humid conditions of rain forests with an altitude between 70 and 100 metres. It grows to a height of 20 metres with several buttress roots at the base. The bark is reddish and the leaves are simple elliptical in shape. The flowers are small and green and a fruit is produced with six septum inside.

Traditionally, the Malagasy people use the bark and stem as a tonic and antibacterial medicine. The leaves were also burnt in homes after a death to prevent the spread of disease. The anise flavoured bark is used in the production of local rum.

Cinnamomum camphora - Ravintsara is a large evergreen tree that grows up to 20–30 metres tall. The leaves have a glossy, waxy appearance. The foliage is bright green with masses of small white flowers that come out in spring. It produces clusters of black berry-like fruit. It has a pale bark that is very rough and fissured vertically.


The ravintsara tree is not indigenous to Madagascar and was introduced to the island in the early 19th century from China. It is a chemotype of the Cinnamonum camphora tree which has lost its ability to produce any trace of camphor in the Madagascan climate.

Ravintsara means ‘the good leaf’ and the Malagasy people have come to recognise and highly appreciate the therapeutic value of the leaves and the essential oil. Both have been used intensively in folk medicine to treat stomach aches and headaches, colds and chest infections.

The Agatophyllum aromaticum tree was discovered in 1792 by Sonnerat and was given the botanical name of Ravensara aromatica. Two types of oils are produced from this tree. The oil produced form the steam-distilled leaves is called 'ravensara aromatica' and the oil produced from the bark is 'ravensara anisata'.



  • A little chemistry

Ravintsara oil is extracted by steam distillation from the leaves and has a fresh, slightly sweet balsamic odour quite reminiscent of rosemary. The main chemical components are oxides (with at least 45% to 55%1,8-cineole), monoterpenes (sabinene 15%, alpha-pinene and beta-pinene), sesquiterpenes(beta-carophyllene), monoterpenic alcohols(alpha-terpineol 7% and terpineol) and esters (terpenyl acetate) and numerous trace compounds.

Ravensara aromatica is high in methylchavicol (estragole), sabinene, alpha-terpinene, limonene, but contains very little 1.8 cineole. Ravensara anisata has a higher methylchavicol content (up to 90%) than the leaf oil and is characterised with a stong anisic odour. This oil is not used in Aromatherapy.


  • Botanical identity

“The situation regarding the exact botanical identification of the source of Ravensara oil has previously confused some most learned and academic researchers (let alone aromatherapists) and has been the subject of a number of articles.” writes Tony Burfield.

Kurt Schnaubelt, leading figure in Aromatherapy, has described Ravensara aromatica as being high in 1.8 cineole, of which it contains very little. A certain confusion with ravintsara.

Ravensara is a latinisation of the Malagasy word ravintsara and was generally given to the oils distilled from either ravensara aromatica or cinnamonum camphora.

Recent research in the chemical make-up of these 2 oils has lead to give each of them a clear botanical identity. The leaf oil from Agatophyllum aromaticum has kept its common name of Ravensara and its botanical name of 'Ravensara aromatica' and the oil from cinnamonum camphora has been given the common name of 'Ravintsara'.


  • Therapeutically

Both oils have a strong anti-viral action. Ravensara aromatica is particularly efficient at treating all forms of herpes and soothe inflamation caused by shingles. It needs to be used cautiously as the oils can cause skin irritation. Methylchavicol is a suspected carcinogen.

Ravintsara oil is antibacterial, anticatarrhal, antifungal, anti-infectious, anti rheumatic, antiviral, decongestant, cicatrisant, expectorant, immune tonic and neurotonic.
Schnaubelt says ‘it is the essence of choice for the treatment of influenza and shingles’ and calls the alpha-terpineol/cineole synergy the “cold-and-flu" synergy. He includes laurel, eucalyptus radiata, niaouli (MQV), tea tree and spike lavender in the same antiviral category and explains that prompt aromatic treatment of a viral condition inhibits the virus by altering the pH and electrical resistance of humoral fluids in a way that is adverse to the virus. For more information on advanced techniques using the oils consult his book 'Medical Aromatherapy'.

Ravintsara makes the ideal oil to use when there are coughs, colds, influenza and other respiratory ailments such as asthma, bronchitis, sinusitis, laryngitis, tonsillitis and otitis. It acts as a tonic when one is lethargic or congested with white or clear catarrah.

Use it for tissue repair in cases of shingles, herpes, verrucas, warts and athletes foot.

Glandular fever, ME and immune deficiency are also assisted with ravensara oil.

Gabriel Mojay recommends the oil for nervous debility, chronic anxiety, melancholy, mild depression as well as aching muscles and sinews. He says it is ideal for restlessness and insomnia, weakened immune systems and to open the chest and instil a sense of positivity.
Certainly an all round oil which is especially beneficial during our cold damp months when we all could do with a boost to our immunity.


  • Suggestions for use:

Makes an ideal inhalation to clear catarrah – 3 drops into a bowl of freshly boiled water and place a towel over the head to trap the rising vapours for ten minutes 3x a day.

Ravintsara can be added to a diffuser in the bedroom and living areas when one is poorly, to boost immunity and constrain infection all while raising the spirits.

And for aching muscles after a workout in the gym, a soothing sports rub or addition to a hot bath.

A few drops can be added to warm water as a gargle in the case of a sore throat. It can be dabbed neat onto verrucas or warts.


  • Blending suggestions:

Ravintsara will blend well with all eucalyptus's,
- Rosemary, laurel, frankincense, cardamon
- Woods such as black spruce, cypress, juniper
- Citrus such as lemon


Ravensara is still commonly sold as either 'ravensara aromatica' or 'cinnamonum camphora' which refers to two essential oils with completely different chemical make-ups. For many years now, Ravensara aromatica has been available to purchase on the market as an oil with a high level of cineole 1.8 of which, we now know, it naturally contains very little. This is rather confusing as one never knows exactly which oil one is actually buying.

Although the name 'Ravintsara' is still unknown, Materia Aromatica have decided to try and clear some of the confusion over Ravensara and Ravintsara, confusion, we have to admit, we have shared with many others. We have always stocked the Madagascan version of cinnamonum camphora, high in cineole 1.8, immune booster and strong anti-viral but free from camphor and methylchavicol.

We have now changed the name of our Ravensara to Ravintsara.

Tony Burfield – Aromatherapy Times 2004
Kurt Schnaubelt - Medical Aromatherapy
Gabriel Mojay – notes from 2003 ITHMA diploma course
International Journal of Aromatherapy Vol 11, Number 1, Robert Harris

To order Ravintsara