Cape Snowbush Oil

For the smell of the Cape Fynbos.

Cape Snowbush Oil

Cape Snowbush (Eriocephalus africanus)

Eriocephalus africanus is a common, fragrant woody shrub that occurs in specific localities in the Western Cape. The leaves are similar to those of rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis), but are greyer in colour. In spring the plant is covered in small white flowers, giving the impression that the plant is covered in snow – therefore the name snowbush. The seeds are covered with a wool-kapok.

When Schreyver visited the Cape (circ.1677) he distilled a plant called ‘roosmaryn’ growing in the Company’s garden. This is most likely to be E. africanus. In his records he penned “das köstliche Rosemarienöhl” (the precious rosemary oil). This is the earliest record of an essential oil extract from a South African plant.


Eriocephalus africanus has a wide distribution in the Western Cape and Karoo.


Essential oil by steam distillation of stems and leaves. Harvested sustainably from wild crafted plants.


The oil is viscous and pale yellow in colour. The fragrance is remotely similar to Cape chamomile oil, but with unique aromatic, bitter, spiced artemisia notes.


Linalyl acetate, cymene, 1.8-cineole, many sequiterpinoids./p>


Snowbush oil is suited to fruit flavours. It has been used traditionally to enhance the flavour of meat and legumes.


With the unique combination of bitter, spiced, artemisia and aromatic notes it could have exciting potential for new fragrances.


Little information on the traditional use of E. africanus. Is used a diuretic, and has been used to treat oedema and stomach ache.


PROPERTIES: Antidepressant, antiseptic, antispasmodic, balsamic, bechic, carminative, cephalic, decongestive, digestive, diuretic, haemostatic, restorative, sedative, stomachic, styptic, sudorific, tonic, vulnerary.

USES: Colds, coughs, colic, diarrhoea, dysentery, flatulence, hair tonic, influenza, insomnia, menstruation, muscular pain.

CONTRA-INDICATIONS: Not recommended for use during early pregnancy.

BLENDS: Basil, bergamot, benzoin, cedarwood, frankincense, fennel, geranium, ginger, lemon, litsea cubeba, mandarin, palmarosa, sandalwood, vetivert, ylang-ylang.

Mental and emotional: Warming to the emotions, useful in the treatment of depression. Helps in the letting go of negative thought forms to clear the mind and achieve a positive gentle perspective. This oil is useful in the treatment of addictive personalities and for those who have no time to allow themselves healing.
Physical: Useful in the treatments of colds and flu. It eases coughing and helps the body to expel mucous. Aids digestion, calms intestinal cramps, relieves flatulence and colic, useful in the treatment of diarrhoea and dysentery. Excellent for scanty or painful menstruation, oedema of the legs (pre-menstrual).