Mysterious & Curious
Australia, a remnant of the ancient supercontinent Gondwana, is the most primordial landmass on Earth. Its age, and isolation, have resulted in many unique and mysterious botanical wonders. Buddhawood is certainly one of these.
If the name doesn’t capture your attention, then the product itself should, as its unique woody note has got many in the fragrance world excited!
Endemic to Australia, Buddhawood (Eremophila mitchellii), also known as ‘False Sandalwood’ or ‘Desert Rosewood’, ranges in habit from a large shrub to small tree up to 10 metres tall.
It is widespread, and common, in New South Wales and Queensland where it can sometimes become a woody weed, and hence a serious pest of grazing land. Serendipitously, the essential oil from the plant has been shown to have valuable properties, both as a fragrance and medicinally, which has led to attempts to produce this oil commercially whilst helping to control this potential native weed.
Buddhawood Oil is an opaque, viscous, dark copper-red coloured essential oil, uniquely heavier than water, with a medium intensity aroma.
The species was first formally described in 1848 by the botanist George Bentham, his description being published in the Journal of an Expedition into the Interior of Tropical Australia.
The genus name Eremophila is derived from the Greek ‘eremos’ (desert) and ‘phileo’ (to love), and reflects the preference of Buddhawood for growing in the drier inland and arid (thus ‘desert loving’) areas to the west of the Great Dividing Range in New South Wales and Queensland, where it grows in a range of soils and is common in most types of woodland. The species-specific epithet (mitchellii) honours the explorer and surveyor, Thomas Mitchell.
Australia’s First Nation’s people have used Buddhawood for thousands, perhaps tens-of-thousands, of years. They have used it to help heal cuts and grazes, to treat rheumatism, and the smoke from burning the leaves has been used for general medicinal purposes. It was also used in ceremonies to inspire peace and mindfulness.
Aromatherapy & Medicinal
The oil is extracted by steam distillation and has been used as a mild analgesic and as an aromatic additive in toiletries. It is active against some pathogenic microorganisms including Staphylococcus aureus, Salmonella typhimurium and Candida albicans when undiluted and against Salmonella at a concentration of 1%. The oil is also an effective termiticide.
Buddhawood oil helps to centre our emotions and encourage calm and relaxation, making it a fantastic aromatherapy oil. It can also be used to help relieve muscular pain thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties.
The timber from Buddhawood is very hard, and aromatic, and is known for retaining its pleasant fragrance long after harvest. The main constituents of the wood essential oil, which impart these benefits, are eremophilone, hydroxyeremophilone, and hydroxydihydroeremophilone.
Many describe the aroma of this oil as having a sweet and fresh top, a tenacious musky heart with a warm and mossy (almost animalistic) depth, and a peppery spice note. Anecdotally, it is said to be somewhat similar to Vetiver and Agarwood oils.
With qualities such as these it is not surprising this oil suggests itself as an innovative inclusion in ‘Chypre’ (pronounced ‘shee-pruh’) type fragrances. (The term ‘Chypre’ coming from the French name for Cyprus birthplace of Aphrodite, the goddess of love – and the island on which many of the aromatic plants that feature in traditional ‘Chypre’ type fragrances flourish.)
In today’s market Buddhawood oil presents some interesting commercial value as other essential oils in the woody family are either more expensive (like Sandalwood), IFRA restricted (like Oakmoss) or simply unavailable (like Vetiver). Not only does its unique aroma profile enhance the fragrance chemists’ available palette, it blends nicely with cedar and patchouli and also performs well as a fixative.
So, when all this is put together what’s not to love about the name, and the product itself. It certainly won’t let you down!
Perfumers from around the globe have expressed a genuine interest in this oil. There have been, however, few examples of this oil being used in fine fragrances – most likely due to unfamiliarity and lack of supply – until now. Thankfully, with the encouragement of Golden Grove Naturals, a new steam distillation facility has been established thus ensuring both a continuous supply of commercial quantities of this oil and oil of consistent quality.
In summary, this essential oil performs, has genuine benefits, is unique, has a great story, is sustainable and is competitively priced.
So now seems an appropriate time to ask – Are you using Buddahwood oil? A new sustainable woody note that ticks all the boxes!
Golden Grove Naturals – helping to improve lives, and our planet, through the power of essential oils.