Now then, here’s the stuff to give the troops in this dreary season of colds, snuffles and sunlight deficiency: what else but OLVERUM bath oil? Of German origin and a best-seller for over 80 years, OLVERUM has always been a firm favourite at Les Senteurs.
OLVERUM has now been glamorously and elegantly repackaged to look as ravishing as it smells. Most importantly, its holistic healing magic is undiminished: sleep like an angel and awake restored with a dash of this hero product. Relaxing at night, a reviving tonic in the morning, OLVERUM is kind to the skin and helps to clear and stimulate a stuffy head or sluggish brain. The perfect gift – especially to oneself.
I think you’ll love OLVERUM even more if you know what goes into it: run the names and properties of the component oils through your mind like a mantra; tell them off on your fingers like beads and meditate on their powers. Do you remember the Fourteen Holy Helpers, so widely invoked in late medieval Europe as guardians of health and protectors against the plague? Thanks to OLVERUM’s ten time-tested ingredients you too can enjoy an aromatherapeutic and soothing immersion fit for the Holy Roman Emperor or a Byzantine princess born in the purple.
For optimum results, fill your bath with warm water then add a few drops of the elixir. Lie back and relax as the healing oils are absorbed by the skin and thence into the bloodstream, while simultaneously stimulating your brain through inhalation. The relief is deep and can be very wonderful.
You may use OLVERUM in the shower, too. Gently scrub for a few minutes with a little of the precious oil; then rinse under the flow. Massaging oil into aching, bruised or rheumatic joints may also help to relieve discomfort. (Remember, of course, to make a tiny patch test first).
And, while you enjoy OLVERUM, freely ruminate on the ten wonder workers:
The indigenous Australian blue gum was first brought to England by the charismatic naturalist Joseph Banks in 1771. Eucalyptus seeds were subsequently sent out to British dominions all over the globe, re-colonising the world from our own little island. Banks had sailed with Captain Cook to observe the Transit of Venus in the South Pacific: he was one of the first Europeans to know the sensual delights of Tahiti. As the expedition’s resident botanist, Banks marvelled at the eucalyptus tree not only for its elegant eerie beauty but for its properties as nature’s own best-stocked pharmacy. The leaves and tender shoots of this easily sustainable quick-growing tree yield a pungent oil which decongests and deodorises. It is strongly anti-inflammatory, and so excellent for easing rheumatics and muscle pains. Warming and cleansing, Eucalyptus is also anti-bacterial, analgesic and anti-neuralgic. Magical medicine from the other side of the world.
2. Litsea Cubeba
Also known by the equally exotic synonyms of may chang and tropical verbena, this deliciously scented oil is as well known to perfumers as to herbalists and apothecaries. Native to China and, like cinnamon, belonging to the laurel family Litsea Cubeba yields a green herbal lemony odour and has for centuries been revered in the Far East for as a natural antiseptic, disinfectant and insecticide. Litsea Cubeba cleanses the skin, removing excess oil and cleaning pores. It has gentle but effective properties as a deodorant, a digestive aid and has a rejuvenating tonic effect on mind and body.
Famous for its magical and symbolic appearances in myths and fairy tales, juniper is a cleansing oil which relieves rheumatic pain and muscular tension besides easing a stressed and anxious mind. Every part of the juniper tree yields a fragrant woody oil which is kind to a fragile respiratory system, being immensely beneficial to the easing to the symptoms of bronchitis, coughs, colds and colic. Juniper grows widely all over the northern hemisphere: you may even have a tree in your garden – a homely link to the religious rites of Ancient Egypt when the oil was burned before the old gods as an essential ingredient of the sacred khyphi incense.
Like juniper, rosemary has a very ancient history – its beautiful name means “the dew of the sea”. The leaves and flowers of this wonderful herb glow with all the colours of the ocean; the plant thrives in salty marine air. Sacred to the ancient Greeks and Romans, rosemary also played a key role in one of the earliest known western perfumes and first “celebrity fragrance” – Queen of Hungary Water, formulated in the 1380’s. Medieval folk believed that rosemary was a powerful repellent of demons, evil spirits and witches: its magical mystic and medicinal properties ensured its presence in even the humblest of garden plots. A natural analgesic, rosemary is anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial, excellent for soothing muscle pains and repelling infections of all kinds. Rosemary cleanses the skin, improves the circulation and reduces hypertension. It is a serene oil; its traditional role in improving the memory – as noted by Shakespeare’s Ophelia – has lately been proved by the scientific faculty.
Like the LIME, the name derives from the Arabic word “limah”. Lemons and lemon trees probably came to the west from Asia with the early medieval Arab invasions of Europe in the eighth century; hence their extensive cultivation in Spain from whence Columbus took seeds of the fruit to America. The lemon was so prized in Tudor England that a single costly fruit provided the centrepiece of Anne Boleyn’s coronation banquet. Sometimes used in old religious art as a symbol of faith, the lemon concentrates the prime of its goodness in the rind. The peel from which the oil is extracted contains more than ten times the amount & strength of vitamins than the juice. Lemon nourishes the bones, lowers blood pressure, guards against fungal infections and is prized as an anti-depressant and mood-enhancer.
Like the lemon, lime is a natural anti-scorbutic formerly prized in the British Navy as an essential source of vitamins; easily stored and providing vital relief from an enervating diet of salt meat and wormy biscuit. The strength and pungency of limes is increased by the heat of the sun: the fruit is sharper and more intense the nearer it grows to the Equator. Lime oil has been known for its antiseptic properties for many centuries: its costliness added to its reputation, and it was prized as a healing deodorising disenfectant by the medical team who treated Louis XIV’s mother, Anne of Austria. Good for feverish colds, sore throats and chest infections lime is also invaluable as a rejuvenating tonic, restorative and mood enhancer.
The oil is derived from the leaves of the rose geranium. This flowering scented plant was first brought to Britain from its native South Africa over 300 years ago in the reign of William and Mary. The rose geranium is a member of the pelargonium family: ‘pelargos’ in Greek means a stork and if you look at the seed pods of these plants you will see a remarkable resemblance to the bill of the bird that brings the babies. Though there are over 700 varieties of rose geranium, less than a dozen yield sufficient oil to make extraction worth while. A natural powerful disinfectant, geranium extract has great harmonising and uplifting powers: banishing gloom and anxiety by balancing the body’s nervous & hormonal systems. Because rose geranium promotes healthy circulation of the blood it also boosts a glowing, clear and healthy skin.
8.SIBERIAN FIR NEEDLE
A magnificent powerful oil to warm the blood, boost energy levels and lift the spirits. Siberian Fir originates from the forested banks of the River Volga and the densely wooded Siberian taiga where it was for centuries an essential remedy of native wise women and shamans. The tree was venerated as the tutelary Spirit of the Forest, a link between Earth and Heaven, a sustainer of life, fertility and a source of cosmic energies. Ailments could be absorbed by the tree giving a sufferer relief from bodily pain. The oil is antiseptic, anti-fungal – a powerful repellent of winter colds and flu as it clears the bronchial passages and respiratory system. It can be beneficial for rheumatism, arthritis and sports injuries as it soothes muscle pain and reduces swelling & inflammation.
9. TRUE LAVENDER
Lavender is one of the very few plants we all know and recognise from infancy. Indigenous to the Mediterranean this modest but powerful ancient herb thrives on sun and dry poor soil. Lavender is virile and energising, clean and uplifting, healing and calming. The Romans named it from the verb “lavare” – to wash. They cleansed their bodies with the fragrant healing oil yielded by the blossoms, and laid up their laundry in layers of the moth-repelling flowers and leaves. It was probably Roman colonists who brought the herb to Britain, two thousand years ago. Lavender is a powerful stimulant which relieves headache and low spirits: excellent for soothing and cleansing all skin irregularities it boosts the immune and respiratory system, eases aching joints and relieves indigestion. Excellent for promoting restful sleep, due to its powers of soothing an anxious mind.
This is a naturally occurring or cultivated modern hybrid of true and spike lavenders. A larger plant than true lavender, lavandin produces a stronger-scented, more abundant and richer oil which makes it invaluable in the perfume industry. Lavandin’s aromatherapeutic properties are similar to those of its botanical parents: the especial pungency and fresh sharpness of its natural fragrance render it especially efficient in tackling all respiratory, circulatory and muscular weaknesses and problems.
I bet you can hardly wait to fill the bath!