An aromatic garden encourages the flow of creativity, both in terms of scent, and in color. For example, you can create a theme of citrus, floral, fruity and – as described in this article, chocolate – which incorporates both the actual aromas that we are familiar with in aromatherapy, and the color of chocolate.
When you create an aromatic garden, it is a little bit like painting a picture and/or designing a custom perfume. As an aromatherapist, I always want to incorporate healing qualities of plants, but the garden allows me to go beyond those aromas, and notes, you find in aromatic blends. It allows me to express more creativity and, in my mind, results in greater healing. Combine color and aroma with the plants suggested in this article, and create your very own chocolate-themed (aromatic) garden!
The Original Chocolate Aroma
Chocolate is made from the extract of the cacao (Theobroma cacao) tree but it is not very likely that many of us have the ability to grow a cacao tree in our aromatic garden, unless we live in central or south America. However, it is useful to know a little bit about this plant. The cacao tree is a tropical, evergreen tree with small, yellow flowers and brown fruits (which contain the cocoa beans). Cocoa is extracted from the seeds (cocoa beans). The cocoa beans are fermented, washed, dried, hulled and roasted before cocoa butter is finally hot expressed in the form of a solid fat. The fat is brittle and it has a warm, chocolate aroma; it is used as cocoa butter in aromatherapy and bath and body products.
An absolute and CO2 extract are also made from the extract of the cacao tree.
Fragrant Chocolate Flowers for an Aromatic Garden
If you are looking primarily for a chocolate scent to waft through your aromatic garden, there are several chocolate flower species that can oblige. Some species of flowers do emit scents that resemble the fragrance of true chocolate; examples of chocolate fragrant flowers include:
chocolate soldiers columbine.
You may have to rub the leaves/flowers of the plant to release the chocolate aroma, but it is a quick and easy action, if you are craving the aroma of chocolate.
Edible Chocolate Flowers for an Aromatic Garden
There are some species of chocolate flowers that are edible, too. Some are in common usage and practice today. Others, such as the chocolate lily, have been used in ethnobotany, for centuries. Common edible chocolate flowers that also add some chocolate color to the garden include:
frosted chocolate viola
Add a couple of chocolate mint leaves to your tea or coffee, or add viola flowers to a dessert.
Using the Aromatic Garden for Chocolate Inspiration
I often use my aromatic garden for inspiration when creating a custom blend for a client. A five minute walk in the garden can help to stimulate ideas for a particular theme for a blend, or suggest a slightly different aroma to combine with the blend.
For example, if I was creating a chocolate blend with cacao CO2 extract, I might combine it with mint. There are different varieties of mint growing in the aromatic garden (spearmint, peppermint, apple mint, chocolate mint) which might suggest to me which direction I wanted to take that aromatic blend.
Think of your aromatic garden as an extension of your work as an aromatherapist or perfumist, and you might be surprised at what you end up creating!
Finally, don’t forget about color in the aromatic garden. There are now many versions of common species with different color palettes than those which we are used to; for example, the traditionally yellow-colored sunflower is now available in colors of bronze (chocolate) and red, a beautiful addition to a late summer garden.
Learn More About Aromatherapy with Sedona Aromatherapie
If you would like to learn more about aromatherapy, consider the Sedona Aromatherapie Linguistics of AromaticsTM Program or one of the Sedona Aromatherapie aromatic garden retreats/workshops coming in 2018!
The recommendations expressed in this article are based on the author’s 20 year history in the health care and aromatherapy industry, as a UK-certified aromatherapist, as a published author in aromatherapy, as an approved education provider for the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy (NAHA), as an aromatherapy business owner, as a consultant, as Chief Editor for the NAHA Aromatherapy Journal, and as an aromatic gardener.