Health & Beauty Recipes > Pot Pourri


Although all the ingredients in these beauty recipes are natural, remember that it is still possible to be allergic to anything applied to the skin. DO NOT USE ANYTHING NUT BASED ON YOUR SKIN IF YOU HAVE A NUT ALLERGY. To test other ingredients make up a very small amount of the recipe you intend to use. Wash and gently dry a small patch of skin inside your elbow. Apply a little of the mix to the skin and leave for 48 hours. If you experience any redness or swelling DO NOT USE THE BEAUTY RECIPE AT ALL.

We strongly recommend that you do your own research before using any of the ingredients in these recipes since some ingredients should be avoided by certain groups of people. Mountain Rose Herbs' website has a wealth of information on herbs, their uses and possible side effects. Many essential oils and herbs should always be avoided by pregnant/nursing ladies. Always check with a qualified health advisor if in doubt.

Pot Pourri:

Mountain Rose Herbs
Mountain Rose Herbs offers a wide range of dried herbs and spices.

Pot Pourri makes a great natural air freshener. It looks pretty and its perfume can have a therapeutic, mood enhancing effect on those nearby.

It is not difficult to make your own pot pourri, especially if you grow and dry the herbs and flowers yourself. The dried ingredients can be bought from companies like Baldwin's but by growing and drying your own you can both save money and have your preferred colours and perfumes.

Roses and lavender are an obvious choice for making pot pourri because these two flowers retain their fragrance when dried. Try growing some of the older more perfumed varieties of rose. English lavender is the best choice, easy to grow and highly perfumed. The petals of wall flowers, lily of the valley, red valerian and pinks are excellent for drying.

Dried herbs such as sweet woodruff, costmary, common valerian, hyssop, geranium, lemon balm and verbena add scent to a pot pourri mix. Basically you can experiment with any flowers and herbs bearing in mind that the drying process greatly reduces the volume of petals and leaves and that modern varieties of flowers often have less perfume than the older varieties.

Spice is also an essential ingredient of pot pourri. Nutmeg, all spice, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, coriander and anise can all be added in equal amounts. 1 tablespoon of spice per 4 cups of dried petals and herbs is the usual ratio. Dried, powdered lemon, lime or orange peel can be added for a fresh citrus tang.

The volatile oils in the flower petals and other ingredients disperses very quickly making it necessary to add a fixative to pot pourri. Orris root powder which has a lovely violet scent is a good fixative. 2/3 cup of orris root powder should be added to between 4 and 8 cups of dried herbs and flowers. Gum benzoin is another good fixative which can be used in conjunction with orris root powder and added at a rate of 1 ounce to between 8 and 12 cups of petals. Other fixatives include tonka bean with its vanilla perfume, myrrh, frankincense, sandalwood, patchouli, oakmoss, vetiver and cinnamon sticks which all bring their own fragrance to the pot pourri. Use between 1 and 2 ounces of each per 8 to 16 cups of dried ingredients.

Essential oils can be added according to preference to intensify the perfume of a pot pourri or to refresh it. It should be added just before the pot pourri is put into decorative pots or later on when the pot pourri has begun to loose its fragrance. As a rough guide use 4 drops to 8 cups of petals and herbs and add more drops if a stronger fragrance is required.

There are two ways of making pot pourri. The dry method and the moist method.

The Moist Method
1/. Dry rose petals for about 2 days until they are leathery.
2/. Take a large china basin and layer the rose petals with a very course salt until the basin is three quarters full.
3/. Put the basin into a dark, well-ventilated place for about 10 days.
4/. The petals will have formed a cake.
5/. Break up the cake and add the spices and fixatives.
6/. Seal and store for 6 weeks.
7/. Shake frequently.
8/. Add your choice of dried flowers and herbs to the pot pourri base.
9/. Seal and leave for another 2 weeks, shaking regularly.
10/. Decant pot pourri into pretty, lidded containers. 
11/. Keep lid on except when the room is in use.

Dry Pot Pourri Method

1/. Dry all the petals until crisp dry.
2/. Mix the petals with spice, dried herbs and fixative.
3/. Seal in a basin or plastic bag.
4/. Keep for 6 weeks shaking daily.
5/. Decant into lidded containers as for moist pot pourri.

A recipe for moist pot pourri

Add these ingredients to the rose petal base at stages 5 and 8.

2 tablespoons dried thyme
2 tablespoons dried bergamot
2 tablespoons dried sweet marjoram
2 tablespoons dried bay leaves, crumbled
2 tablespoons dried lemon balm
peel of 1 orange, dried and crushed
1 1/2oz orris root powder
1oz gum benzoin
1oz ground cloves
1/2oz ground mace
1/2oz ground allspice
1/2oz powdered sandalwood