I was fortunate to attend the launch of the ‘Botanical Bible’ in London recently, a beautifully illustrated book written by Sonya Patel Ellis which has just been published by William Collins. It represents a very ambitious project in that it covers not only the evolutionary history of botanical plants but also their prominent cultural role in the development of art, gardening, medicine and science…. as well as providing lots of interesting recipes to try out.

I particularly like the ‘Story of Plants and Flowers’ section where the principles of botany are laid out in a very clear and precise way as well as the numerous nature-inspired recipes and craft ideas … many of which would be fun to do with children, such as flower pressing. Here is the recipe for a Warming Winter Body Oil which I contributed to the book, as well as an except from ‘My Botanical World’ as detailed in the Well-being section of Botanical Remedies:

“During winter, it’s easy for our skin to become under-nourished. We are also much more likely to be affected by chills and viral infections such as colds and flu. Jojoba is an excellent nourishing carrier oil, being suitable for all skin types, while the combination of rosemary, lavender and marjoram essential oils is my favourite ‘proven’ blend for cold, achy joints.

Adding a few drops of spicy oils helps warm the entire system, plus they are among the best antiviral agents available. More specifically, ginger combats cold and dampness in the body, black pepper acts as
an overall tonic and improves muscle tone, while cardamom is antimicrobial and brings instant heat
to the metabolism.

Note: Warming the oil a little before application makes the blend even more effective and yummy. “

Winter Body Oil Recipe: makes 1 x (30ml/1oz) bottle

20ml jojoba oil (or light coconut oil)

5ml avocado oil (to provide extra nourishment for the skin)

2 drops of black pepper essential oil

3 drops of marjoram essential oil

3 drops of rosemary essential oil

4 drops of lavender essential oil

2 drops of ginger essential oil

1 drop of cardamom

Blend the oils together in a glass beaker or bowl and mix well. Decant the blend into a dark-glass 30ml (1oz) bottle and seal. To use, gently massage the oil into sore muscles and joints or apply as a warming preventative remedy and skincare treat.

My Botanical World...

”I grew up beside the River Wye in rural Herefordshire. Wild flowers proliferated on its banks so I learned all their names, pressed them in diaries and marveled at their beauty. I have always been a complete devotee of the natural world and still consider nature to be my perfect refuge. My summers as a child were spent in Finland, since my mother was Finnish, where I enjoyed a sense of wilderness. Later I became a passionate gardener, as well as training as a medical herbalist and aromatherapist. Today I am responsible for the formulation of aromatic products for Aqua Oleum Ltd, our family business.“ - Julia Lawless