Thursday, January 26, 2012

Aromatherapy Thursday - Lilac

You can get Lilac Fragrance Oil from Etsy Shop Indigo Fragrance at
I Grew up in the Midwest where lilacs were abundant and splashes of purple would decorate the country landscape, taking it for granted that everyone had one in their yard. The fragrance of the blossoms was so sweet and if we didn't get a hard freeze it would be heavy on the air in the spring time.  They are a short blooming shrub but maintained a nice foliage throughout the summer months so they were well worth having and very popular.  Unfortunately for me they only grow in zones 3 -7 so I haven't been able to enjoy that sweet scent for over 4 years.

As I mentioned in other posts, my grandmother Lily had a green thumb.  She had so many wonderful signature plants that many of my memories with her has a flower or herb attached to it.  She always had giant trumpet lilies, fragrant pink peonies, four-o-clocks and one of my favorites, her Lilacs.  She was not very well-off financially but she was very thrifty and appreciated the things she had and labored hard to make sure those things precious to her lasted.  She loved plants and the lilacs she had (along with the lilies and peonies) were heirloom.  My great-grandmother gave her those plants which came from her heirloom collection so the lilacs that decorated my grandmother's yard were over 100  years old.

I am  not a winter person at all and would probably drive my grandmother nuts way before April with my cabin fever.  I hated waiting for the outdoors to come back alive.  On some of my restless days she would take me through the yard showing me the signs of rebirth everywhere.  The lilacs were one that I distinctly remember because the buds looked like tiny little grape clusters.  I noticed how if I would pick one and smash it a little the tiny petals would open slightly and they smelled almost lemony.  Even after she passed away I survived my cabin fever anxiously waiting for the those tiny purple nubs to pop from her lilac bush letting me know that I had almost made it through another year's dark winter days.

When my grandfather passed, many years later, the land was passed down and I took joy in nurturing my grandmother's plants and adding many more.  Often I would stand back, look at my gardens, and hope that she would be able to see how the land she loved was well taken care of.  But at one point I thought my grandmother's lilac bush was going to finally die after all those generations.  It was the largest of the group but was starting to look too sick to keep, its branches were stiff and gnarled with barely any leaves.  We had been renovating the land and decided to cut it down and smooth out the hill to make room for a larger cottage garden.  The area was beautiful and bright but in my heart I knew that I had lost a great heirloom and something very dear to me. 

After a few months I noticed a little green stem poking out of the ground where the original bush had been.  Amazingly the small amount of roots left behind came back to life.  Over the next few years the bush grew back, slightly smaller but healthy and full of its original glory.  Although I have since moved it is reportedly still growing and standing proud, just like the memories of my grandmother it will never die. 
This beautiful painting was found in ETSY shop Studio Laura at
Another unfortunate thing about lilacs is that I do not know of any true Lilac Essential Oil.  They have very good fragrance oil but none I have seen are truly essential.  If they do it would have to be made differently than others since the distilling process makes the oil smell rancid.  I have always relied on the synthetic but find the results to be very satisfying.

Aromatherapy is much more scientific than my personal studies give it credence but personally I believe that some of the effects of certain aromas have more to do with the scent memories than actual properties.  For me I feel more up lifted and rejuvenated after I burn a lilac scented candle or tart.  I think that it tells my brain "you made it winter is over."  So, due to my budget, I will have to stick with the in expensive oils.

If you are able to acquire a natural product or use the actual fresh flowers themselves; lilac boasts of the ability to sooth and calm nerves giving you a better balance emotionally.  It is sedative and lessens anxiety so overall its main properties are soothing and calming.

Although it is not commonly used in true aromatherapy I believe that this beautiful flower is worth adding to the list since it has such a delicate and rich aroma that packs a powerful emotional punch.


TDC said...

Thank you very much for featuring our Perfume Oil in your treasury!!

Luster Canyon said...

Beautiful post!
Our lilac is my husbands fave of what we carry because it reminds him of his childhood, thanks for including us in your post. :)

Hollis Street said...

It felt like I was with you & your grandmother!

Lovely memories

Lara Harris said...

Thank you so much! :)