January 28, 2013

Mama Mia! What's that Smell?

Can You Say Tea Tree Essential Oil? Whew!

Essential Oils sometimes freeze in transit.One of the benefits of being a soapmaker--with dozens of fresh soap bars sitting around on curing racks--is that there's always a pleasing mix of aromas circulating around the house, vying for "King of the Mountain" in the hierarchy of discernible scents. First it's Lavender, then a whiff of Sandalwood, and coming in the back door it's Rosemary who talks the loudest. But tonight, it's Tea Tree Essential Oil shouting above the din throughout the entire house, and I haven't even used it yet! In fact, I don't even have any in the house! So why does it smell so strong?

I received my latest shipment of ingredients from Brambleberry Soap Supplies tonight. On Friday, I got an e-mail from Tina at Brambleberry warning me that they had been notified by Federal Express that the package had been damaged. I was grateful for the warning; it's typical of the good and friendly customer service that I have often received from Brambleberry. It's hard to say what exactly happened to the package. The note on the outside indicated that Federal Express had repackaged the box. The only thing missing was the Tea Tree Essential Oil. The bottle of Anise Essential Oil (left) was frozen, and you can almost see the large chunk of ice that still floats in the center of the bottle. Everything else was pretty much intact, though, messy. Evidence suggests that the Tea Tree bottle broke and spilled all over EVERYTHING. So now that I have pulled out all of the ingredients, along with the stuffing material, tissue paper, and few Styrofoam peanuts, the house is now filled with this strange new smell. Whew!! Curing soap bars aren't nearly so astringent!

But Essential Oils have healing properties, so surely there is some good to come of all of this, right? According to The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy, this is how Tea Tree Essential Oil is described:

The antiseptic action of tea tree is thought to be one hundred times more powerful than carbolic acid--and yet it is nonpoisonous to humans! The Aborigines have been using this indigenous Australian tree in their medications for centuries and today tea tree is the subject of a great deal of international research. Its impressive antiviral, antibacterial, and anti-fungal properties make it useful in a wide range of conditions. It is used in the treatment of Candida and all sorts of infections, for ringworm, sunburn, acne, athlete's foot, toothache, and pyorrhea, among other things.

One hundred times more powerful than carbolic acid?! Well, whatever conditions might be ailing the dog and I (and I don't think we have any of the above) it's sure to be healed by morning, don't you think?