Aromatherapy, Herbs, and Color to brighten your day, sooth frayed nerves, or get you motivated!

From Apples to Vanilla. I love different scents. The effect of color, scent, and herbs has always interested me, so I decided to start a blog on aromatherapy, medicinal use of herbs, and color, to brighten you mood, get you motivated (or get you In The Mood!), or sooth frayed nerves after one of those days when you really want to come home and kick the dog. Even when you don’t have a dog.

Sunday, April 6, 2008



I thought about doing cinnamon first (probably because that was the batch of wax I had cooking at the time), but decided on vanilla instead. Simply because vanilla is the most popular scent sold today. It's also my favorite ice cream flavor.

Anyway...the wonderful vanilla scent so may of us love actually comes from an orchid indigenous to areas 20 degrees either side of the equator. First found in Mexico, today it is grown primarily in Madagascar, with Indonesia, China, and Mexico coming in 2nd, 3rd, and 4th. The name itself means, "little pod" in Spanish as it is the pod and not the flower that produces scent and is harvested.

As with most of history, vanilla was native to the Totonaco Indians of Mexico until their defeat by the Spanish Conquistadors, namely Hernando Cortez and his band of merry men, who brought it back to Spain where the nobility kept the delicious flavor to themselves for another 80 years of so. Eventually an apothecary to Queen Elizabeth the 1st convinced HRH vanilla should be used as a flavoring in its own right. (So the rest of us peons could enjoy it as well).

If you want to get technical, Vanilla Planifolia it the proper term for this luscious scent. it is a climbing perennial that grows up to 75 feet clinging to trees for support. The first flowers and fruit usually don't appear for three years. Looking just like your garden variety green beans, the vanilla orchid produces pods that can grow up to 12 inches long.

It isn't the actual fruit, but the curing process that produces flavor. This changes the glucovanillin in vanilla pods into vanillin that produces its distinctive flavor. Further processing, usually using alcohol, give us the vanilla extract used in cooking. Vanilla can also be found as a powder, paste, or in ground beans.

I choose not to get into the curing process because, quite frankly, just reading about it made my eyes cross. If you cant to learn more, Wikipedia is a great resource.

A bit about me…

Personally I think I’m fairly boring, however my husband of 31 years, already known to some of you as ABNPOPPA blogging at assures me people who read my blog will be interested in knowing this stuff. So here goes…

My name is Gretchen, although I also go by Honey, Gert, Sweetheart, Mom, Grandma, and Aunt Gretchen. My boss calls me Gretchie when she wants me to do something she knows I’d rather not. Oh, yeah, I also have the title of RN when I’m doing my day job. I’ve been doing the nurse stuff for about 31 years as well. I have 3 grown children and 10 who call me Grandma.

So how did I get into the candle-making business? What can I say? I’m a candle freak. I love scents and have always had a multitude of candles around my home. But, it’s sometimes hard to find candles that maintain their scent, burn without a lot of smoke, and last for more than a week. So one day I decided to make my own. Naturally I got on the computer and started researching. Who knew there was actually chemistry involved! I started making my own, self taught, through a lot of trial, error, and wasted wax. Then my husband started taking my candle warmer scents into work to spice up his workspace. Next thing you know his co-workers were asking for them. So on and so forth. My candle business was started.

I’d also love to hear from you. Tell me your favorites as they relate to scent, color, or herbal remedies. Just remember, be polite, euphemisms are good, nasty words aren’t. This is a bit of a family-type site.