What is Potpourri?
Potpourri is a natural air freshener and purifier used to perfume a room simply by mixing dried flowers and spices.
Potpourri literally means “putrid pot”, and comes from the French words “pot” (pot) and “pourri” (rotten) (source: Merriam- Webster, The Putrid Origin of ‘Potpourri’). Not particularly inviting, right?
Potpourri-making was a common practice in 17th Century France. It involved mixing fresh flowers and herbs to infuse a room with a sweet smell. During the fermenting process, the flowers and herbs would become a “putrified mixture”, which would release a delicious sweet scent. (source: The Herb Lady, A History of Potpourri).
I love Potpourri because it’s a very natural way to prepare a home-made natural scent for your home. It’s also a cozy and stylish decorative item! I display it around the house in ceramic bowls or glass mason jars to show off its amazing colours.
Rose Petals and Rose Essential Oils Properties
Rose petals have a strong scent which has incredible relaxing and calming properties. Thanks to their natural strong perfume and their anti-bacterial, soothing and moisturizing properties, rose petals have been used since ancient times to add aroma to baths, as well as to make cosmetics and medicines (source: 7 Natural Beauty Benefits of Roses, Organic Authority).
Orris Root Powder
Orris root powder is a fundamental ingredient in potpourri when mixed with essential oils because it’s a fixative. By absorbing the essential oils, it will prevent them from evaporating faster, and it will make the scent last longer. It is not mandatory to add essential oils in potpourri, but they will definitely give the potpourri a stronger and longer lasting fragrance.
Orris root has been harvested in Italy since the beginning of the 19th Century particularly in the Tuscany region, and has been used as a traditional fixative for scents, cosmetics and drinks (Source [Italian] La Coltivazione del Giaggiolo in Toscana), Georgofili Info). In ancient Greece, Orris root was considered having magical properties, while its found in contemporary society used in cosmetics, as well as in aromatic liquors (Source [Italian]: Giaggiolo: fiore, coltivazione e proprietà, Idee Green). It has a curious violet scent, and, for this reason, I think it matches really well with a lavender essential oil.
A natural digestive, cardamom has similar properties to rose petals, such as anti-bacterial and anti-depressive properties (source: 7 Amazing Benefits Of Cardamom Essential Oil, Organic Facts). Researchers have also found that cardamom is a powerful anti-oxidant, with the intrinsic ability of inhibit chemical carcinogenesis (source: Herbs and Spices in Cancer Prevention and Treatment, Herbal Medicine: Biomolecular and Clinical Aspects. 2nd edition, CRC Press/Taylor & Francis, 2011).
Cardamom has a very strong lemon-like smell and taste, which will give your potpourri a fresh and clean touch.
Keep reading to learn more!
Natural Potpourri: Rose, Orris Root and CardamomPrint This
A 17 ounce Mason Jar: I used the Italian Bormioli Rocco: Bormioli Rocco Quattro Stagioni 4 Piece Canning Jar Set, Gift Boxed.
8 ounces/250 grams dried rose petals
1 cup cardamom pods
1 tbsp each (about 20 drops) of rose absolute oile, cardamom essential oil and lavender essential oil
1 tbsp orris root natural powder
Step 1: pour the orris powder in a large bowl and add the essential oils
Step 2: stir well until the orris powder has absorbed the essential oils completely
Step 3: add the rose petals and the cardamoms
Step 4: stir until everything is fully blended – you should not notice the orris powder white bits anymore
Step 5: pour the mix into the mason jar and shake well
Step 6: tighten the lid and let sit for about 10 minutes
Step 7: Open the jar and enjoy!
If you want, you can add other types of essential oils, but I would strongly recommend to use a rose, cardamom and lavender essential oil. These scents will accentuate the natural perfume of the potpourri, while any other essential oils would cover it.