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Tantalizing Tuberose

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Tantalizing Tuberose

by Lisa Maliga

Most flowers begin to lose their scent when they are picked. Not so with tuberose, like jasmine, the heady floral scent continues to produce itself. Tuberose (Polianthes tuberosa) is native to Central America. Aztec healers called it omixochitl (bone-flower) due to the waxy, luminous white flowers that actually contain anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic properties. Tuberose may grow wild in Mexico and surrounding countries, but the cultivation of tuberose is usually in Morocco, the Comores Islands, France, Hawaii, South Africa, India, and China.

For the Gardener

The tuberose grows in elongated spikes that produce clusters of aromatic white flowers. They can be grown outdoors in warm climates. Tuberoses flourish in sunny places and bloom in late summer. After the last frost, plant your tuberoses in a sunny spot, beneath a couple of inches of soil and almost a foot apart. Fertilize and water regularly.

If you pot and grow tuberose indoors, keep at a temperature of 75 degrees Fahrenheit. Potted bulbs take about four to five months to bloom.

Tuberose in Hawaii

For millions of tourists who have been to Hawaii, the first scent to greet their nostrils has been that of the offered tuberose leis. The ancient tradition for a Hawaiian wedding is for the bride and groom to wear flowers. The groom wears a maile lei, which is a native Kauai plant, while the bride wears a wreath of tuberose and pikaki flowers around her head called a haku. The custom is still popular as a part of a time-honored Hawaiian wedding ceremony.

If you're interested in purchasing tuberose bulbs from Hawaii, contact Paradise Flowers at: Paradise Flowers. You can also order tuberose leis, bouquets, and hakus too!

The Healing Powers of Tuberose

The legend of the tuberose in France warns that young girls should not breathe in its fragrance after dark for fear that it would put them in a romantic mood. In India, tuberose is known as rat ki rani, (The Mistress of the Night) for similar reasons. In Ayurvedic medicine, attars are held in high esteem not only for their exquisite fragrance, but their healing properties. Tuberose is known to improve one's capacity for emotional depth. By opening the crown chakra it improves psychic powers. Tuberose also amplifies artistic inspiration as it stimulates the creative right side of the brain. And it brings serenity to the mind and heart. Maybe these reasons are why tuberose essential oil is so expensive!

More expensive than most rose attars, pure tuberose essential oil is difficult to find. "If you want to be precise, there is no 'essential oil' of tuberose. The flowers won't stand up to the high temperature of water/steam distillation. Therefore a solvent, usually hexane, is used. Solvent extracted oils are absolutes. Some aromatherapists will not use them, as they believe there are traces of the solvent in the oil, even if only on a vibrational level. I disagree with this in general, and use absolutes quite often, however, it is case by case, as I often will choose to use only distilled oils in a blend." Trygve Harris, Enfleurage, New York City.

"But this is where phytol enters center stage... the product of the amazing Phytoncis process, conceived and developed by Peter Wilde in England. Phytonics uses low pressure, involves no heat and uses a solvent which is recyclable; it produces an essential oil that requires no additional processing unlike other concretes and, remarkably, does not emit by-products that damage the endangered ozone layer." Eva-Marie Lind, Dean of the Aromatherapy Department of the Australasian College of Herbal Studies.

Make Your Own Tuberose E.O. Recipe

You can make your own tuberose perfume using other pure essential oils. This won't really save you that much money if you have to buy these essential oils, but if you have them on hand, then give it a try! To make this perfume for one application, remember to use a carrier oil such as sweet almond or jojoba. Add jasmine, rose and ylang ylang oil with just a hint of neroli oil. It will be a wonderful floral combination that will be a sincere imitation for tuberose.

Where to Buy Tuberose Essential Oil

Note: While the companies listed here sell tuberose oil that is as close to pure as can be found, please make sure that you don't buy products that are 'bargains.' When double-checking references, I surfed upon a web site where tuberose essential oil was sold at $3.50 for ¼ ounce! This is impossibly cheap and makes mockery of the term essential which cannot possibly apply to this 'tuberose' oil. When purchasing pure essential oils, you really do get what you pay for.

Lisa Maliga is a freelance writer who is interested in ice skating, films, soap-making, aromatherapy, reading, writing, watching more films, screenwriting, writing novels, newsletter design and editing, Buddhism, ballet, holistic medicine, photography and many other topics. Check out her latest book at eNovel.com, The Ones You Leave Behind.

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