The definition of Materia medica is a Latin medical term for the body of collected knowledge about the therapeutic properties of any substance used for healing, may it be a drug or plant.
In 2018 I will be developing an in-depth treasury of information about the therapeutic qualities of essential oils for a series of workshops in which participants will explore the therapeutics, energetic and folkloric medicine of the plants the essential oils are derived from.
Here are six Materia Medica profiles on essential oils:
Palmarosa (Cympobogon martini)
Known as rosha in India or “Indian geranium”. Both the essential oil and dried herb of palmarosa is used in Ayurveda medicine for neuralgia and rheumatic condition. It’s main therapeutic properties are antiviral, antifungal and cicatrizant (encourages scar tissue healing).
Like Rose and Geranium it clears heat being Yin in nature and is the perfect summer oil to cool any skin inflammation and temper trauma moments. It’s lemony-rose scent is both soothing and calming, it encourages adaptability and a free-flowing attitude.
Roman chamomile (Anthemis nobilis)
One of the few essential oils suitable to use on babies and young children to sooth and calm. Roman chamomile is a gentle sedative oil to help with sleep and stress. It’s anti-inflammatory properties can help with eczema and other allergic skin reactions, it’s antispasmodic action benefits musculoskeletal and menstrual cramps. Roman chamomile’s warm, apple-like fragrances eases frustration and resentment and helps us to let go of fixed expectations of our own limitations.
Sweet Fennel (Foeniculum vulgare var dulce)
The ancient Greeks recognized Fennel’s value as a diuretic sliming aid, naming the herb Marathon, from maraino meaning to grow thin. As an essential oil in modern aromatherapy practice it is often used by aromatherapists as a diuretic and lymphatic decongestant, helping to rid the body of stagnant fluids and fats.
Like many essential oils derived from seeds such as Cardamon, Sweet Fennel stimulates the digestive system and is used to relieve indigestion, abdominal bloating and to aid bowel movement in cases of constipation. As a seed oil, Fennel contains the energy of potential and creativity and frees unexpressed thoughts and emotions that tend to express itself in the form of nervous spasm and gas in the intestines.
Nutmeg (Myristica fragrans)
Nutmeg is the dried kernels of the seeds of Myristrica fragrans with a long history as a culinary spice and herbal medicine for gastrointestinal aliments. It’s warming yang energy has a direct affinity to the musculoskeletal system for cold conditions such as arthritis and rheumatism. As a digestive stimulant it is helpful for individuals with digestive problems such as indigestion and flatulence.
Nutmeg instills the qualities of ambition, commitment and persistence and helps one to carry things through to completion. It increases mental clarity and focus.