Flowers and Herbs for Pomanders

Updated on April 1, 2017
Colleen Swan profile image

I love my garden along with its beauty and aroma which I capture in pomanders. Here, I have listed my favorites and their subtle benefits

The golden apple pomander
The golden apple pomander | Source

Introduction

The pomander is a general term for any container that holds fragrant blossoms, herbs, spices, oils and resins. The term includes any aromatic plant or material intended to impart scent. Hence a clutch of lavender tied with string and hung in a room would satisfy the definition. Traditionally the pomander was a cloth bag that was worn on the person as a form of perfume to hide unpleasant odors, or to protect one from evil spirits, and disease. They were worn as an accessory at social gatherings and even today serve as decorative additions at weddings.

Pomanders have developed into all shapes and sizes and the containers might be made of gold, silver and expensive china. Nowadays it is generally around the home that we seek to have pleasurable aromas. Typically we might create different aromas for individual rooms using pomander cushions, door stops, scatter bags, and vases; we may place these in bedding, wardrobes or as ornamental features.

Replenish in The Autumn

Every Autumn I refill ten or more decorative china pomanders with an individual herb or blossom and place them about the house. Apart from creating a pleasant ambiance in each room, these little receptacles can be held to the nose for an uplifting intake of aromatherapy. It can make housework an enjoyable experience with each room rewarding you for your attention. One of the advantages in using refillable china shapes is that if after a few weeks the fragrance begins to fade; it is easy to add a few drops of essential oil in order to replenish it.

Collection of pomanders
Collection of pomanders | Source

Listed below are my favorite fillers and some information about the health benefits from the unique chemical compounds they contain

Lemon Balm “Melissa Officinalis”

Lemon balm has a light green tender leaf
Lemon balm has a light green tender leaf | Source

Lemon Balm

This delicate leaved plant is also known as balm mint and like other mints is spreading and invasive and best grown in pots or in restricted spaces. The leaves are aromatic and if rubbed between the fingers impart a strong scent of sweet lemon. It is used to flavor fruits, salads, cordials, ice-cream, herbal tea, and is included in many fish recipes.

I keep my lemon balm pomander in the kitchen, and it helps to eliminate cooking odors. It is lovely to walk into the kitchen in the morning and be met with the zest of lemon. Both the dried flowers and the essential oil are economic to produce, and are therefore not expensive to purchase. It is said that lemon balm tea is good for the digestion, a natural detox, calms the nervous system, and sharpens brain activity. The chemical compounds continue to be investigated as possibly beneficial in the treatment of Dementia.

Common Wormwood: Artemisia Absinthium

The foliage is a soft silvery green
The foliage is a soft silvery green | Source

The Common Wormwood

This plant produces a powerful pungent odor that stimulates the nasal receptors. Known as Artemisia absinthium or common wormwood, it contains the compound thujone which is used in the manufacture of perfume. Growing wild in Europe in areas with arid soil, it is favored as a silvery foliage perennial border plant in gardens. Due to its bitter taste it is used to flavor the alcoholic spirit drink absinthe as well as vermouths and as a medicine in specialized elixirs. Wormwood can be purchased as a dried leaf or as a plant from most garden centers.

Jasmine “Jasminum”

Flower of the Night
Flower of the Night | Source

Jasmine

Jasmine is a shrub that produces highly fragrant flowers which are used as a beverage and in perfumery. Generally the delicate flowers open at night and are hand-picked for drying, a labor intensive and expensive method. This is also true in the extraction of the essential oil whereby huge quantities of flowers are required. Jasmine aroma is said to be a natural sedative. The flowers are worn in garlands at wedding ceremonies mostly in India and Indonesia where it is the national flower as it is in Pakistan and the Philippines. This tradition has spread to the Western hemisphere where the dried and fresh flowers have become popular.

Southernwood: Artemisia Abrotanum known as Lads Love

The foliage is a light feathery green
The foliage is a light feathery green | Source

Lads Love

This plant has a similar aroma to the common wormwood, but is sweeter and spicier. Known as Artemisia abrotanum or Lads Love and Southernwood, it grows across Europe preferring dry sunny conditions, and is grown as a standalone garden plant. Traditionally, fronds of the plant were hung in doorways, windows and with clothes in wardrobes to deter insects’ flies and moths from entering.

The leaves are also used in beverages and meat dishes. Historically, considered a masculine scent, men would pin sprigs of the “Lads Love” onto their shirts to indicate they were seeking romance. Viewed as an aphrodisiac young men would also add this herb to a lady's bouquet.

Eucalyptus Macrocarpa

Source

Eucalyptus

Eucalyptus is an evergreen tree from which the leaves provide the essential oil. The aroma is best described as exhilarating. It reminds me of the scent of sweet heather (Erica) mixed with bruised pine needles. The oil is used in vapor rubs, cough medicines and decongestants, as well as perfumes, and soap.

The Rose

Hybrid rose "Alec's Red"
Hybrid rose "Alec's Red" | Source

Dried Scented Rose Petals

Roses come in all shapes size and colors, but not all have scent. The picture above of the “Alec’s Red” is a hybrid rose variety that is highly fragrant.

Roses are grown primarily for display and for the cut flowers provided by florists. The essential oil is used in perfumes. It requires between two and three thousand roses to produce one gram of oil which puts it beyond most people’s budget. Imagine all that fragrance packed into a few drops of oil. Hence all we need are the rose petals to enjoy their wonderful scent. Rose petals are edible and are used to flavor drinks, desserts, and decorate food. Traditionally the petals are thrown as confetti at weddings. The aroma is said to relief stress and anxiety. I keep a pomander of dried rose petals on my bedside table.

Lavender "Lavandula"

Lavender blosom
Lavender blosom | Source

Lavender is Much More Than Meets The Eye

A herbalist once told me that if you have a garden of lavender and chamomile you have a living medicine chest that will care for your mind and body. Chamomile is not suitable for pomanders, but I recommend it in other applications for your general well-being. Lavender is known for its heady sweet aroma and I believe that only frankincense can equal this humble gift of nature. It likes a sunny position and is grown as a garden scented plant, commercially as a Bee blossom for honey production and for the extraction of its highly aromatic oil which is used in perfumes and cosmetics.

The flowers are also used in bakery, confectionery, and herbal infusions. Lavender essential oil contains a number of complex components that aids its use as an insect repellent, antiseptic, and anti-inflammatory. The aroma is said to relax and alleviate stress and anxiety, and aid the onset of sleep.

Hops “Humulus Lupulus”

The female flower cone
The female flower cone | Source

Hops

Hops are the seed cones of the female flower of hops. They are grown primarily for the production of beer to which they add the “bite” to the flavor. Hops are known to have soporific qualities and are also used to reduce anxiety. Dried hops are often sold ready packed into sleep cushions and are often mixed with lavender. I annually buy a large bag and empty the contents into a colorful cushion cover and hang it on a bedroom wall.

Ylang-Ylang “Cananga Odorata”

Also known as the perfume tree
Also known as the perfume tree | Source

Ylang-Ylang

This evergreen tropical tree produces highly aromatic flowers from which the essential oil is extracted. I describe the scent as exotic; and from the Yum-Yum tree. Traditionally the dried flowers are strewn upon sheets and bedding. It is used in perfumery, and said to lower blood pressure as well as being an aphrodisiac. I keep this pomander in the top drawer and bring it out for special occasions

The following video gives tips on creating potpourri suitable for pomanders using many of the above flowers and herbs

Conclusion

I hope my favorite scented fillers have inspired you to try them either individually or to create your own potpourri.

Questions & Answers

    © 2014 Colleen Swan

    I welcome your comments, and would love to know what is your favorite aroma?

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      • Colleen Swan profile imageAUTHOR

        Colleen Swan 

        2 years ago from County Durham

        Hi Glimmer Twin Fan, Thank you for your input; we enjoy growing different kinds of herbs and spices. While not aromatic, chives from our garden do wonders for an ordinary tossed salad. Happy harvesting. Colleen

      • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

        Claudia Mitchell 

        2 years ago

        This is a really interesting hub Colleen. I love all of the different plants and will definitely plant some of these next year.

      • Colleen Swan profile imageAUTHOR

        Colleen Swan 

        3 years ago from County Durham

        Hi Kristen. Glad you found this of interest. I was out in the garden this morning, and the first signs of spring are here, buds and bulbs waiting to burst into life. Looking forward to the display and aromas to come soon.

      • Kristen Howe profile image

        Kristen Howe 

        3 years ago from Northeast Ohio

        Great hub, Colleen. I never heard of pomanders. I guess it's different than potpourri that I know of in it is packets. Great info!

      • Colleen Swan profile imageAUTHOR

        Colleen Swan 

        3 years ago from County Durham

        Thank you Larry for your kind words. I had assumed that the pomander was an everyday word, but other people have since said it was new to them. When I look at the stats for the hub I realize that Hubpages gets visits from far away locations.

      • Larry Rankin profile image

        Larry Rankin 

        3 years ago from Oklahoma

        When you can write about something a reader has never heard of and make it interesting, you are a good writer.

        Before this article I had never even heard of a pomander, but your definition and description of fragrant plants and how they can be used with the pomander was expertly executed and had my attention throughout.

        Bravo!

      • Colleen Swan profile imageAUTHOR

        Colleen Swan 

        3 years ago from County Durham

        Thank you for the congrats, it is that time of year to collect tomorrows aromas,. I am happy that it has inspired you and I hope many more will decide to use these flowers and herbs around the home.

      • Colleen Swan profile imageAUTHOR

        Colleen Swan 

        3 years ago from County Durham

        Thanks for looking in. That's great that you have found something new from this article, maybe a new hobby.

      • MsDora profile image

        Dora Weithers 

        3 years ago from The Caribbean

        Congratulations on your Hub of the Day accolade. I share your love of eucalyptus and lavender. Yes, you have inspired me. Thank you.

      • newbizmau profile image

        Maurice Glaude 

        3 years ago from Mobile, AL

        Thank you I've never heard of this. I know of lots of other uses I can use these for. Nice

      • Colleen Swan profile imageAUTHOR

        Colleen Swan 

        3 years ago from County Durham

        Thank you Suzette for your congratulations. The china pomanders are a small part of my collection. I like them because they are easily topped up with a few drops of essential oil. They are also a colorful addition in any room.

      • Colleen Swan profile imageAUTHOR

        Colleen Swan 

        3 years ago from County Durham

        Thank you Poetry Man. Yes I love the aromas. The postman said he loves my door opening when he has a parcel to deliver. Thanks for looking in.

      • suzettenaples profile image

        Suzette Walker 

        3 years ago from Taos, NM

        Congratulations on HOTD! This is very interesting and informative. I have heard the word pomander before but never really knew what it was. The china pomanders you have pictured are so pretty and certainly would enhance a room in the house. I love lavender and chamomile and I can attest to their great, healthy and well-being properties. I just love the fragrance of Lavender and chamomile is great for settling an upset stomach. Thanks for sharing you knowledge of these herbs and pomanders.

      • poetryman6969 profile image

        poetryman6969 

        3 years ago

        I'll bet your house smells real nice!

      • Colleen Swan profile imageAUTHOR

        Colleen Swan 

        3 years ago from County Durham

        Thanks for the tip Paynes. I will think on this for the spring plan.

      • Colleen Swan profile imageAUTHOR

        Colleen Swan 

        3 years ago from County Durham

        Thank you Heidi for the Congrats, hope you find some of the information fruitful.

      • profile image

        PaynesGrey 

        3 years ago

        I grow my Patchouli in my conservatory, and put it outside for the summer months.

      • heidithorne profile image

        Heidi Thorne 

        3 years ago from Chicago Area

        Gorgeous photos and great tips for using these amazing aromas in the home. Congrats on Hub of the Day!

      • Colleen Swan profile imageAUTHOR

        Colleen Swan 

        3 years ago from County Durham

        Thank you for your comment. It's fun to grow your own, especially if you have a sunny position or even a windowsill to put pots on. I love Patchouli, but I cannot grow it in my garden, so I use the essential oil instead. it is Wonderful.

      • profile image

        PaynesGrey 

        3 years ago

        Lovely selection of plants. I grow many aromatic herbs, the oily ones produce the most scent generally. My favourite is Patchouli.

      • Colleen Swan profile imageAUTHOR

        Colleen Swan 

        3 years ago from County Durham

        Thank you for looking in. I agree the real thing is best and often cheaper to purchase. I don't like those chemical ones that you plug into the electric socket.

      • mySuccess8 profile image

        mySuccess8 

        3 years ago

        Wonderful selection and variety of natural aromas produced from flowers, herbs and plants! These are healthy alternatives to the sometimes toxic artificially-scented fragrances formulated using chemicals. Congrats on HotD!

      • Colleen Swan profile imageAUTHOR

        Colleen Swan 

        3 years ago from County Durham

        Thank you Rebecca; It's nice to know people are motivated to seek unusual things. I sometimes think that computer culture has made us forget basic natural pleasures.

      • rebeccamealey profile image

        Rebecca Mealey 

        3 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

        Nicely done! I have never had a pomander, and this makes me want one. Thanks for sharing!

      • Colleen Swan profile imageAUTHOR

        Colleen Swan 

        3 years ago from County Durham

        Thank you Gilbert. I have tried several floral herbal teas. It is more often the medicinal claims that attract me rather than the flavors. I inevitable reach for the coffee jar .

      • rebelogilbert profile image

        Gilbert Arevalo 

        3 years ago from Hacienda Heights, California

        The pomanders and herbal flowers combine a beautiful combination of art and sweet fragrances. I enjoy some of the herbs you've listed as tea concoctions. Beautiful photos, Colleen!

      • Colleen Swan profile imageAUTHOR

        Colleen Swan 

        3 years ago from County Durham

        Thank you Manatita for your kind words. Glad you like the photos.

      • Colleen Swan profile imageAUTHOR

        Colleen Swan 

        3 years ago from County Durham

        Thank you Nadine. That must be a luxury, having lavender growing wild. To cold here in the North of England. Glad you enjoyed the article.

      • Nadine May profile image

        Nadine May 

        3 years ago from Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa

        What a great post on a very enjoyable topic. I use Lavander since that grow like a weed on our property.

      • Nadine May profile image

        Nadine May 

        3 years ago from Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa

        What a great post on a very enjoyable topic. I use Lavander since that grow like a weed on our property.

      • Colleen Swan profile imageAUTHOR

        Colleen Swan 

        3 years ago from County Durham

        Thank you Thomas, I am glad this article evoked childhood memories. Aromatic memories can prove extremely powerful and long-lasting.

      • Colleen Swan profile imageAUTHOR

        Colleen Swan 

        3 years ago from County Durham

        Thank you DDE, glad you enjoyed the variety of flowers and their properties. I enjoyed writing this hub.

      • Thomas Swan profile image

        Thomas Swan 

        3 years ago from New Zealand

        This article is brilliant, and I mean that for more than our namesake :) Voted up, beautiful, and shared.

        The wealth of information, presentation, and images are excellent. My grandparents used to grow lavender in their garden, and the aroma was powerful, yet wonderful. I think the smell will always remind me of my youth. Though, the plants did attract a huge quantity of bees that made me slightly terrified at times!

      • DDE profile image

        Devika Primić 

        3 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

        Beautiful photos.! I thoroughly enjoyed this interesting hub.

      • Colleen Swan profile imageAUTHOR

        Colleen Swan 

        3 years ago from County Durham

        Thank you DJ for looking in. It was fun to turn my autumn ritual into a hub. With the late summer here in the UK I am still able to cut fresh roses from the garden. I don't recollect the store, I've been in the UK along time.

      • profile image

        DJ Anderson 

        3 years ago

        Colleen, what a delightful hub! I have moved away from sachets and

        potpourri over the last few years. The pomander reminded me that I once owned a few ceramic ones. Have lost track of them over the years.

        Do you remember the store, "Crabtree & Evelyn"? I loved that store, but I think they have gone out of business. 'Savannah Gardens' was my favorite fragrance. Later I went through a Moroccan phase with oils and candles from health food stores. I do have some exotic oil heaters. You helped to bring back some lovely memories.

        Allen Smith is always full of great ideas. He does make it look so simple.

        Thank you for this informative hub.

        DJ.

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