It’s official – autumn has begun in the Northern Hemisphere. Here in Arizona, fall is quite different compared to most of the United States. The elevation is a key factor. The lower desert areas don’t typically experience fall foliage, but the higher altitudes (Sedona, Prescott, Payson, Flagstaff, etc.) have all four seasons. One of the first things we notice is the humidity levels decreasing. Overnight temperatures are cooler and the days are shorter. As most of the country sees the colors of leaves on deciduous trees change from green to red, yellow, and orange, and the evenings get brisk, summer becomes a memory.
In this article, we’ll profile 10 essential oils associated with autumn, and how to blend them for diffusing to create certain moods.
Cinnamon Leaf and Bark
As I discussed in a previous article, I prefer Cinnamon Leaf over Cinnamon Bark (Cinnamomum zeylanicum) when it comes to topical application. This is because cinnamon leaf has a higher dermal limit (0.6%) as compared with cinnamon bark (0.07%). This means that cinnamon leaf is gentler to the skin.
If you only intend to diffuse cinnamon into the air, then you won’t need to be concerned with the dermal limits. I’m listing them here simply as a reminder that oils like cinnamon need to be heavily diluted before using them on the skin.
Cinnamon leaf and bark are great choices for aerial diffusion because they are warm and welcoming. It takes a small amount to provide a lot of scent.
Clove bud (Eugenia caryophyllata) is another popular spice used in aromatherapy. Like cinnamon, clove bud should be used with caution on the skin. This oil has a dermal limit of 0.5%, which equates to a drop per two teaspoons of carrier oil. Again, if you are only going to diffuse it in the air, these limits won’t apply.
Clove Bud blends very well with cinnamon. Cinnamon and clove bud are highly antiseptic and provide a warming sensation in topical application.
There are a few varieties of orange essential oil. They are Sweet Orange and Blood Orange (Citrus x sinensis) as well as Bitter Orange (Citrus x aurantium). They are uplifting oils, with sweet orange being the sweetest smelling, of course. They are versatile, having applications in cleaning products (think Goo-Gone and other degreasers) as well as cleaning and purifying the air in a room. Citrus essential oils are also versatile in that they blend well with most other oils, such as woody, spicy, floral and other citrus species. A cautionary note: although sweet and blood orange are not phototoxic, bitter orange is.
There are two types of true Cedarwood species: Atlas Cedarwood (Cedrus atlantica) and Himalayan Cedarwood (Cedrus deodara). Virginia Cedarwood (Juniperus virginiana) and Texas Cedarwood (Juniperus mexicana) are not true cedarwood and not included here. Cedarwood Atlas and Himalayan are both sweet smelling and have calming qualities when diffused. They combine well with spice essential oils as well as woodsy and citrus oils.
Nutmeg (Myristica fragrans)is another sweet spice. The essential oil has a rich, spicy, sweet, and woody aroma similar to the spice, but more potent. I find that nutmeg blends well with woody oils like cedarwood and citrus oils like orange.
There are three main varietals of Frankincense: Boswellia Serrata, Carteri, and Frereana. An article I wrote describes them in detail. Frankincense is a resin obtained from trees of the genus Boswellia. The resin is then steam distilled to produce the essential oil. It’s hard to describe the scent of Frankincense; it’s somewhat resinous, and depending on the species, has spicy and woody undertones. From my experience, the Serrata version is the least costly and has the spiciest scent to it. I prefer the smell of the Carteri and Frereana versions, although they do cost a bit more.
Cardamom (Elettaria cardamomum) has a spicy, woody, rich, and sweet scent. It is often blended with other essential oils, particularly, spice oils, citrus oils, wood oils, and others. It is said that cardamom can make an ordinary blend come to life. It’s a middle note in perfumery. And it’s also an aphrodisiac.
We associate Ginger (Zingiber officinale)with gingerbread cookies, gingerbread houses, ginger snaps, ginger tea, and redheads. The essential oil is steam distilled from ginger root. The quality of the resulting oil varies depending on the distillation process and quality of the root being distilled. Ginger essential oil is often diffused to help relieve motion sickness and nausea, and is diluted in a carrier oil for topical applications to treat muscle aches and pains.
Sandalwood (Santalum album) is very popular and widely known for its spiritual and emotional applications as well as in perfumery. It possesses a rich, sweet, fragrant yet delicate, woody scent. It is a deeply grounding oil useful for reducing stress. This oil is also an aphrodisiac. Due to it being more costly than most other oils, I recommend it be used sparingly.
Our final entry is Vanilla absolute (Vanilla planifolia). Unlike regular essential oils, which are mainly steam distilled or cold pressed, absolutes are extracted from plant material using solvent or carbon dioxide (CO2) extraction. Vanilla absolute has a rich, warm, sweet vanilla aroma and is deep brown in color. It is a base note in perfumery applications.
You now have a list of ten essential oils that can use to freshen up your home this fall. Proof that you don’t need to purchase synthetic fragrance oils or products to make your house smell warm and inviting. What are your thoughts about this article? Do you have any favorite essential oils for the fall season?
Thanks for your time,
Bold Aromatherapy LLC