Feuille D’Menthe is a blend of several fragrant grass essential oils, with the main ingredients being sage, vetiver, mint and basilic. The perfect combination of these fragrant herbs exudes a rich and fresh aroma, without gloom and turbidity. The addition of mint further accentuates the refreshing and uplifting fragrance, all enveloped in a richness of grass fragrance.
History of Sage, Vetiver, Mint and Basilic
The healing properties of sage are first discovered by the Romans who brought sage into England. The name “sage” comes from the Latin word “salvere”, which means “to save”. Indeed, sage is a herb that is able to save and heal. The Greeks believe that sage is effective in combating the deterioration of sensory abilities and loss of memory. Ancient Egyptians believed in sage for preventing pestilence infections and also used it to treat infertility.
The name vetiver comes from the Tamil word “vetiverr”, which means “hatchet up”, a reference to its cultivation method. Indians have been using the fragrance of vetiver to cure illnesses for a few thousand years. They also hang vetiver roots in the wardrobe or weave them into cushions and fans to be hung at the doorstep or along the corridor, so as to emit a light fragrance and allow for cooling ventilation. Russians place small aromatic sachets of vetiver essential oil into the pockets of their fur coats. In recent centuries, vetiver roots have also been used to manufacture various fine spices.
The word “mint” was said to originate from a young lady by the name of “Minthe”. According to Greek mythology, when the wife of Pluto discovered Minthe in his arms, she was changed into the mint herb. Romans have been using mint a few thousand years ago to treat problems related to the digestive channel. Ancient Greeks used mint as a perfume and to provide fragrance to their bath water. The use of mint to whiten teeth and flavour toothpastes started from the 14th century and lasted till today. Many eastern cultures use mint as a condiment for cooking. England was the first country to cultivate mint, with Hertfordshire being the largest manufacturer in 1969.
The word “basilic” evolved from the Egyptian word “King”(basileum). As sacred oil used by the King, ancient Egyptians accorded tremendous respect and value to basilic and it even became termed as the King of plants. In the 16th century, people grounded basilic into powder to be inhaled as tobacco for treating illnesses like headaches and flu. The French were the first to distil basilic into essential oils and this breakthrough was even recorded in the Lance Victor articles.
Ecology of Sage, Vetiver, Mint and Basilic
Sage originated from the cold-resistant and evergreen bushes in southern Europe, especially Spain. It has creased round leaves with greyish-green hues and tube-shaped purplish-blue flowers which bloom in June and July. Sage used to be widely cultivated in France but is now mainly supplied by Russia and extracted from Dalmatia and Croatia.
From its Indian and Sri Lankan origins, vetiver has now found its cultivating ground in the Caribbean Sea. Being an upright plant with odourless narrow-shaped leaves, vetiver is quite similar to lemon, citronnelle and other species of fragrant plants. Vetiver essential oil, extracted from the roots, has a dark brown colour and a sweet, earthy and woody fragrance. In 1970, China has also started cultivating vetiver and exporting its essential oils in large quantities. In 1987, the worldwide production quantity of vetiver amounted to 250 tonnes.
Mint originated from the Mediterranean Sea and Western Asia. Currently, it is dispersed across all temperate zones in the world, with America being the largest manufacturer of mint essential oil. Mint comes in many species such as water mint, horseshoe mint, perfume mint, etc. The characteristics of mint lie in its squarish stem and wrinkled, bright green leaves with serrated edges, both of which contain oil. When mint blooms in summer, the flowers range from purple to white in colour. The flowers and roots whither in the winter season.
Basilic originated from India and has over 100 different species, with different shapes, sizes and fragrances. The most common species has dark green leaves and carries a rich fragrance. The Mediterranean region produces the largest quantities of basilic. In fact, the reputation of basilic was very much enhanced in Europe.
Sage, Vetiver, Mint and Basilic Health Notes
Sage is able to reduce the deterioration of nerves, relieve fatigue, depression and irritation and is useful for alleviating symptoms such as liver problems, asthma and rheumatism. It can also be used for common external injuries and wounds, such as cuts, burns, heat and ulcers. It can be said to be a panacea. For beauty purposes, it can be added to perfume to enhance its strength. When used to rinse the mouth, it is able to protect the throat and gums. Besides this, sage is also a supplementary gourmet ingredient.
Vetiver is also known as “oil of tranquility”, mainly due to its psychological effects to eliminate anxiety and soothe insomnia and depression. A few drops of vetiver essential oil in your bath water will make you feel relieved of all burdens and totally relaxed. Ayurvedic medicine prescribed the oil for heatstroke, fevers and headaches. Another lesser-known function is its ability to stimulate the immunity system to enhance our resistance to diseases and calm our minds. It also reduces muscle pain, arthritis and sprains.
Mint essential oil is very helpful for the digestive system. Due to its ability to combat convulsions, it can soothe the smooth muscles in the intestine and stomach and can therefore treat various illnesses related to the digestive system. At the same time, mint essential oil can also be used in the nervous system to mediate and pacify. For illnesses related to the respiratory channel, mint can activate its warming and stimulating characteristics to invigorate emotions, warm the body and aid in symptoms such as flu, sneezing, mucus and fever.