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OWYHEE - Artemisia ludoviciana
A New Essential Oil & Hydrosol • the plant, the place, the name

by Jeanne Rose & George Sturtz

Printed in the Aromatic News the Aromatic Plant Project 


     There is a vast and special place in the northern part of the United States that encompasses parts of southeastern Oregon, northern Nevada and southern Idaho, called the Owyhee Canyonlands. It is the largest unprotected wild area in the lower 48 states. 

History and Name:

     Peter Ogden in 1819 or Donald McKenzie in 1818, depending on what source you have referred to, led a contingent of Hudson Bay trappers into this area.  "Two Hawaiians were sent to trap on a tributary of the Snake River, where McKenzie/Ogden was camped.  They were killed by Indians, and Ogden or McKenzie named the tributary of the river for them.  The name Hawaii River eventually became corrupted, because of spelling errors and poor diction, into the Owyhee River" and thus the name. "Owyhee" and "Hawaii" are two different spellings for the same word The Latin binomial ludoviciana means 'from Louisiana'.  The Lewis and Clark expedition found the plant first early on in their explorations in what is now Louisiana, and then continued to find the plant throughout their journey into the West.

     I (Jeanne Rose) have been distilling since 1990 and own several stills and have been teaching Aromatherapy classes since 1975.   George Sturtz who taught me how to distill for the blue-colored essential oils is an expert on the blue oils and in particular the Artemisia genus and the areas where they live. This just about includes most of northern Nevada and Idaho as well as Washington and Oregon.  The Artemisia's populate the Western part of the United States from Louisiana to Washington and Oregon as well as my ex-husband, Michael Moore's paintings.  In particular when Michael painted the Owyhee desert he painted Artemisia ludoviciana. At the time the plant had no common name.  When George Sturtz went into the Owyhee in 1986 he was intrigued with the plant and eventually distilled it. In  2000 he named it Owyhee because it is known throughout the area.  So now it is common named Owyhee plant, Owyhee essential oil and Owyhee hydrosol.

     One can find lots of information on the Owyhee area on the Internet. George was mightily impressed that I even knew the Owyhee Canyonlands and that I had driven through it on my honeymoon in 1972.  The Owyhee is still the darkest corner of the United States with very little artificial light. 

The Plant, the Hydrosol and the Essential Oil:

     The plant, A. ludoviciana Nutt. (Silver wormwood) - is a perennial that grows 3 to 10 feet in diameter, from a rhizome.  Stems are many, simple gray-to white-tomentose.  Leaves are 1 to 11 cm, are linear to narrowly elliptic in shape, entirely to deeply lobed and are densely tomentose.  Fruits are <0.5 mm. and glabrous.  Common, generally found in dry, sandy to rocky soils <3500 meters. SW to WA, eastern Canada, Texas, northern Mexico. The common name for the essential oil and hydrosol is Owyhee and was named by George Sturtz and Jeanne Rose in 2000. Tomentose means densely covered with short matted woolly hairs. Glabrous means smooth or having no hairs.

     The hydrosol is very floral and fruity in scent and can be substituted for the water in any skin care product where it will be very beneficial for skin care. and where you might want a soothing anti-inflammatory.  You can find Owyhee at the sources named at the end of the article.

     The essential oil is clear like water and almost colorless. It is full of esters, over 85% and has more esters than Roman Chamomile. The scent is strongly fruity, with herbal and spicy back-notes such as Roman Chamomile.  Since it contains more esters than Roman Chamomile it makes a great substitute that is very fragrant and much more economical than that imported product.

GC of A. ludoviciana latiloba by A. Tucker

     Artemisia triene =  0.10%
     Iso-amyl acetate =  0.27%
     Yomogi alcohol = 11.08%
     Alpha-copaene =  0.04%
     Linalool = 2.25%
     [l lpfdterpinene-4-ol = 0.21%
     (Z)-nerolidol = 0.08%
     Camphene = 3.50%
     1,8-cineole =    5.10%
     Artemisia acetate = 62.52%
     Artemisia alcohol = 6.45%
     Cis-sabinene hydrate = 0.14%
     Iso-borneol =   0.09%

Uses:

     The herb itself is used in herbal therapy as an infusion gargle to help the healing of a sore or inflamed throat. Herbal infusions and the hydrosol can be used in the bath for soothing the skin. The herb smoke has been used for coughing or clearing a room.

     The oil and hydrosol has powerful uses for skin care and in custom body care products.
Essential Oil of A. ludoviciana that has high ester content is useful as a relaxing inhalant or in fragrant blends for perfume or in massage oils. There is application in skin care for healing inflamed skin, inhaled to calm the mind, the hydrosol as a soothing facial spray or great as a fragrant mister on bed linens for scent and sleep.

Source:

You can purchase the hydrosol for Jeanne Rose Aromatherapy and the essential oil is in the Woman’s Kit. You can purchase the hydrosol and essential oil wholesale from Prima Fleur botanicals at 415/455-0957 or info@primafleur.com. Aromatherapy Studies Course and Herbal and Aromatherapy classes at 415-564-6785.

Bibliography:

Aromatic News of the Aromatic Plant Project
Owyhee -Winter '01/02
www.or.blm.gov/Vale/Recreation/Owyhee/cultlbroc.htm
www.owyheecanyonlands
Rose, Jeanne. Honeymoon Notes, Private Letters, 1972
Sturtz, George. Private communication, 2000


OWYHEE

Artemisia ludoviciana

Essential Oil and Hydrosol

Indigenous to the United States and harvested in the western United States,
Owyhee essential oil offers a fruity, spicy, strong herbal scent.
Artemisia ludoviciana
(Owyhee) essential oil contains more esters
than Roman Chamomile and can be used for its strong
anti-inflammatory and anti-fungal actions on the skin.
We put it in our wonderful Aromatherapy Women’s Kit for use
on your skin and inhaled for your peaceful mind. 

 


Prima Fleur Botanicals
415/455-0957 • fax 415/455-0956

Your Source for Nature's Pure Creations • Authentic APP Hydrosols, • Essential Oils & Custom Skin Care.
The only source of Owyhee hydrosol and essential oil at wholesales prices!
 

Idaho History

     "Owyhee" and "Hawaii" are two different spellings for the same word. When Captain James Cook discovered what he named the Sandwich Islands (known more recently as the Hawaiian Islands) in 1778, he found them inhabited by people called Owyhees. The spelling "Owyhee" is simplified a little from its original form: "Owyhee" is the spelling that British and American traders used during the early nineteenth century in referring to natives of the Sandwich Islands, and a number of Owyhees sailed on to the Columbia, where they joined trapping expeditions or worked at some of the fur trade posts. 

     Three of the Owyhees joined Donald MacKenzie's Snake expedition, which went out annually into the Snake country for the North West Company--a Montreal organization of Canadian fur traders. Unluckily, those three Owyhees left the main party during the winter of 1819-20; they set out to explore the then unknown terrain of what since has been called the Owyhee river and mountains, and have not been heard from since. Because of their disappearance, the British fur trappers started to call the region "Owyhee," and the name stuck. 

     Just at the time the Owyhees disappeared into the Owyhee country, American missionaries came to the Sandwich Islands and worked out an alphabet for the native language in order to print the Bible and other missionary literature. In the alphabet they adopted, the word "Owyhee" turns out to be "Hawaii." 

     However, in Idaho, the older form survived. Many of the fur traders' Idaho place names were lost in later years, but some--including "Owyhee" for a mountain range and river--were retained. That may result in part from the fact that Owyhees remained active in the Idaho fur trade right down to the last years of its decline: as late as 1850, Fort Boise (located on the Snake Riverjust below the mouth of the Owyhee) was staffed by James Craggie and fourteen Owyhees. When the Owyhee mines were discovered in 1863, the name still was in use. And the mines brought permanent settlement that preserved the name ever since that time.

©All Rights Reserved 2003, 2004. No part of this article may be used
without prior permission from The Aromatic Plant Project.
©Author's Copyright and Jeanne Rose, info@aromaticplantproject.com

 


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