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  February 2017---Ignatius Bean


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Hyacinth



Hyacinthus orientalis

[hy-uh-SIN-thus or-ee-en-TAY-liss] 

Family: Hyacinthaceae 

Names: Scilla nutans, bluebell, Garden Hyacinth, Hyacint, Jacinthe d'Orient (French); Hyazinthe (German) 

Description: The flowers of the Hyacinthus orientalis have ten-inch spikes of star shaped flowers, commonly one spike per bulb, accompanied by sword like green leaves.  It is not frost tender. It is in flower from April to May. The scented flowers are hermaphrodite and are pollinated by bees. The flowers have a strong sweet fragrance that can fill the air for a considerable distance.  

Cultivation: Easily grown in a well-drained sandy soil in full sun. Prefers a moderately rich soil. The dormant bulbs are fairly hardy and will withstand soil temperatures down to at least 23F.   Bulbs should be planted out 7cm deep in October. The seed is best sown as soon as it is ripe in a cold frame in a light sandy soil. If sown thinly, the seedlings can be left in their pots for the first year, though give them regular liquid feeds to make sure that they get sufficient nutrient. Prick out the seedlings about 3 to a pot and grow on for 1 - 2 more years before planting out into their permanent positions when they are dormant.  Division in the autumn. Plant the small offsets 5cm deep. Larger bulbs can be replanted direct into their permanent positions, but it is best to pot up smaller bulbs and grow them on for a year in a cold frame before planting them out when dormant in late summer.

Aromatherapy Uses:

Extraction: concrete and absolute by solvent extraction from the flowers.  An essential oil is also obtained by steam distillation from the absolute. 1kg of the oil is obtained from 6,000kg of flowers

Characteristics: a reddish or greeny-brown viscous liquid with a sweet-green, floral fragrance and soft floral undertone.

It blends well with narcissus, violet, ylang ylang, styrax, galbanum, jasmine, neroli and with oriental-type bases

Actions: antiseptic, balsamic, hypnotic, sedative, styptic

Constituents: phenylethyl alcohol, benzaldehyde, cinnamaldehyde, benzyl alcohol, benzoic acid, benzyl acetate, benzyl benzoate, eugenol, methyl eugenol and hydroquinone, among others

Uses:
Nervous System
: the Greeks described the fragrance of hyacinth as being refreshing and invigorating to a tired mind.  It may also be used for stress-related conditions and developing the creative right-hand side of the brain

Other Uses: used in high-class perfumery, especially oriental/floral types 

Toxicity:  The wild bluebell bulbs are poisonous; however, the white juice used to be employed as a substitute for starch or glue.  Most commercial hyacinth oil is adulterated or synthetic 

Ritual Uses:  Gender: Cold.  Planet: Venus.  Element: Water.  Part Used: Flowers.  Basic Powers: Love and Protection.  Sachets to ease childbirth, protection, and a guard against nightmares. Sniff the fresh flowers to relieve grief.  Fill the home with fresh hyacinths to comfort the bereaved and assuage their grief.   

Other Uses: A blue dye is obtained from the flowers.  

References:
The Element Encyclopedia of 5000 Spells
, Judika Illes, Harper Collins, 2004
The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Essential Oils
, Julia Lawless, 1997, Element Books; ISBN: 1-56619-990-5
Magical Herbalism
, Scott Cunningham, Llewllyn Publications, 1982, ISBN: 0-87542-120-2
Plants for a Future Database  

 

  

 

 

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