When I was asked to write about Ho essential oil, I was delighted. This beautiful essential oil has so little publicity and yet it has so many benefits and interesting facts surrounding it and its uses in aromatherapy! Locally known as Ho Sho oil, we simply call it Ho.
The oil is steam distilled from the leaves of a tall evergreen tree that grows in abundance in China, Japan and Taiwan. This is the same tree that produces White Camphor essential oil (Camphor comes from the wood of the tree)
The name ‘Ho Wood Essential Oil’ is slightly confusing to be honest, so I will start here to clarify the matter!
The essential oil of Ho comes from the leaves and twigs of the camphor tree, rather from the wood of the tree, hence Penny Price Aromatherapy call the oil Ho Leaf essential oil, but they are synonymous.
There are two essential oils that come from the leaves and twigs of the camphor tree, Ravintsara and Ho. The two chemotypes of oil that come from this tree, cineol and linalool, give us two very different essential oils:
Linalool is a very gentle component of the oil and amazingly, this is what makes the oil almost identical to Rosewood.
There is much concern and quite rightly so, regarding the sustainability of rosewood essential oil from Brazil. Brazil does produce the best rosewood, but as the forests are diminished and continue to be so, the availability of the oil is causing concern around the world.
Penny Price Aromatherapy used to obtain rosewood essential oil from small distillation units that used leftover wood from cabinet making. However, as the number of trees reduce, so does the furniture crafting industry in Brazil. We then sourced our rosewood essential oil from India, the next best place, and have had no supply problem there at all.
The concern is though that because traditionally the oil comes from Brazil, that somehow this makes rosewood unethical and so even though we can source it, it is becoming scarcer even in India, because demand is dropping.
It can be hard to give explanations to the general public about where you source your oils from – they just see the name of the oil and assume we are being unethical!
Not only does it have a beautiful fragrance, but as I mentioned above, it is almost exactly the same chemically as rosewood, the smell is almost exactly the same and the properties are almost exactly the same. Win win! In fact most people cannot tell the difference between the two oils, and better still, Ho is much cheaper as it is much more readily available.
Ho Leaf's Latin name is Cinnamomum camphora c.t. linalool and it is form the plant family. The essential is obtained by steam distillation of the twigs and leaves and it originates in China, Japan, Taiwan. It also goes by the synonyms: Ho Leaf, Chinese Rosewood, Formosan (Taiwanese) Camphor, Ho-Sho Leaf.
Camphor is a tall tree growing up to ten metres in as many years. When grown in a plantation the trees are coppiced and harvested twice yearly. The essential oil of Ho possesses a clean, sweet, floral woody and delicate odour, and is clear to pale yellow and is generally thought to be safe to use.
Traditionally, the Ho-Sho [Ho = fragrant] tree was called formerly Shiu-Sho [Shiu = smelling], and the oil obtained from it was known as Shiu Oil. The characteristic of the Ho-Sho is that its chief component is linalool.
At one time Ho-Sho was not produced at all, but when it was realised that linalool could be used as a valuable perfume ingredient, the exploitation and distillation of Ho-Sho trees were started in 1920. The rectified oil, obtained from crude Ho-Sho oil by fractional distillation, gained a worldwide reputation as an excellent source for the isolation of linalool.
Other chemical constituents include cineole, g-terpinene, terpinolene, p-cymene, and cis-linalool which all help to support the linalool in the gentle therapeutic effect of the oil.
Ho essential oil is very versatile and can be used for many common ailments. It is particularly helpful to the nervous system, especially in helping with stress, anxiety and insomnia.
For the skin, Ho essential oil is really useful. It can be helpful to relieve the itching and redness of acne, and help with candida, dermatitis, dry skin, dull skin, eczema, scar tissue and stretch marks.
In the bedroom department, Ho essential oil is highlighted for frigidity and apathy! The main chemical component as we have said above, is linalool, which has been found to have a relaxing effect, and inhalation of linalool vapours does have a sedating effect producing calmness and sleepiness. Using one or two drops on the pillow at night to induce sleep works in much the same way as Lavender essential oil, which also contains linalool.
In a massage oil, Ho essential oil can help combat tired muscles- especially after vigorous exercise.
Ho essential oil works really well with other essential oils such as Jasmine, Ylang Ylang, Patchouli, Vetiver, Rose, Bergamot, Orange, Mandarin & Neroli. Lavender and Geranium, Frankincense and Clary Sage, and the various wood oils.
As far as I know, Ho essential oil has no known toxicity, although most books tend towards saying it should not be used in pregnancy. For myself, I am sure that if it is used correctly by a qualified aromatherapist and for a therapeutic reason, it would be fine.
Ho essential oil is used for its uplifting, cleansing, clearing and relaxing properties, but for me, is most useful in relieving topical pain (such as sunburn) and as a skincare active (for problem skin and for relieving skin stress). It has traditionally been used for a many common ailments including muscular aches and pains, insomnia, stress and tension and skin conditions.
Penny Price Aromatherapy has several blends including Ho essential oil. Three of these products are Nurture Love, Nurture Peace and Active Rollerball.
A carefully chosen blend of essential oils to help bring about a state of forgiveness and benevolence, thereby promoting cordial relationships. The blend can also be used in the bedroom. The blend is made with Ho, Ylang-Ylang, Jasmine and Lavandin Essential Oils to promote peace and unity within the spirit.
This lovely blend eases feelings of tiredness, leaving you happier and more relaxed. Inhalation of this blend is recommended during panic attacks and massaging with the ready-mixed blend in carrier oil around the neck and shoulders can bring instant relief to tension.
Mixed with Lavender, Ho, Juniper and Geranium essential oils to help with everyday stresses and strains.
This little rollerball helps you to roll on energy. The blend helps increase energy in the mind and body and will help to boost energy and promote wakefulness.
Active, is a blend of essential oils which include Ho, Bergamot, Rose Absolute and Eucalyptus Staigeriana essential oils.
Let’s Make Recipes with Ho Leaf Essential Oil!
You may like to try some of my recipes as below, and if you do, please do give us feedback on how they worked – we love hearing from you!
For a beautiful Christmas aroma that brings a little joy and peace, use the recipe below, in a 10ml dropper bottle use:
Blend all the oils well in the bottle and push in the dropper cap. Use up to 8 drops at a time in a vaporiser and on cotton wool balls to hide in the Christmas tree.
This recipe will help to keep hands smooth and soft and looking beautiful, in a 100ml jar use the following recipe:
Put the blending cream into the 100ml jar and stir round to soften. Add the rosehip and stir again, then add the hydrolat and mix well. Finally add the essential oils in the order they are written in the recipe and stir well. Clean the edges of the pot and put on the lid. Use as needed throughout the day and before going to bed.
This is a light cream recipe for those warmer summer days, in a 100ml jar blend the following:50ml Blending Cream
Put the moisture cream into the 100ml jar and stir round to soften. Add the blending cream and stir again, then add the hydrolat and mix well. Finally add the essential oils in the order they are written in the recipe and stir well. Clean the edges of the pot and put on the lid. Use twice a day to help skin stay soft and supple.
This is a really relaxing way to end the day and it is safe for children and the elderly too! In a 100ml bottle with pump top blend the following recipe:99ml Bath Foam Base
I hope you have enjoyed this blog. We love to hear from you so do give us feedback on the blog and the recipes, and how they have worked for you or your clients. All the products mentioned are available from www.penny-price.com or you can phone your order through or get advice on 01455 251020. If you are interested in training with us, please call, or email Lizzie our course administrator. Thank you X