Calendula Oil


Calendula-bannerIf and only if ‘the power of a flower can shower one forever’ with enormous benefits for the skin, then it cannot be anything less than Calendula, the one and only ‘on the dot’ flower that blooms probably on the first of the calendar month. Calendula and its oil has always been one among the best natural aid for treating numerous skin problems ranging from eczema to cracked foot.

While it looks resemble Marigold, this magical Pot Marigold called as Zergul in Hindi and Chin Chan Ts’ao in TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) has been used in Ayurveda and other Complementary and Alternative Medicinal practices for treating wounds, insect bites, sunburns, vaginal infections, varicose veins, acne, warts, calluses, scabies, corns, gastritis and conjunctivitis.

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Historical uses and importance of Calendula oil:

Lovingly called as ‘pot marigold’, Calendula officinalis is an arm of the daisy family, Asteraceae. Indigenous to southwest Asia and West Europe including the Mediterranean and Macaronesia, Calendula is also called as Garden marigold and Scottish marigold.

There are many misunderstanding facts between other Calendula and Marigold varieties like marsh marigold, corn marigold and desert marigold that belong to the Tagetes genus and not the Calendula genus.

The word ‘Calendula’ is extracted from the Latin word ‘calendae’, which means ‘little calendar’, ‘little weather-glass’ or ‘little clock’, mainly due to its promptness in blossoming on the new moon or on the beginning of the calendar month.

The word ‘Marigold’ means ‘Virgin Mary’ and is trusted to possess divine healing properties and even today, these flowers are used to honor Mother Mary during numerous Catholic occasions. It is also used to decorate the deities during auspicious religious gatherings in the Hindu tradition in India.

The ancient Greeks and Romans wore garlands and crowns made with the dazzling golden color Calendula flowers and these beautiful blossoms were also used in religious ceremonies and other rituals. The traditional Egyptians believed that these sacred flowers had revitalizing attributes.

The bright golden color petals were also used in textile industry as a source of natural dye for fabrics and it was also used as a natural colorant in cheese and butter varieties. These flowers are a popular ingredient in many Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cuisines along with stews and soup varieties in Germany, for which it is called as ‘Pot marigold’.

Calendula is still remembered for its cordial use during the World War I and the American Civil War as a natural healing agent for treating open wounds. Calendula dressing helped in healing wounds much quicker with its antiseptic and anti-hemorrhagic properties. These flowers were dabbed directly on wounds and cuts to promoter faster healing, control bleeding and to arrest infectious growths.

Being a vital part of the Traditional and alternative medicine, Calendula has been etched in certain oldest medical scripts for cleansing toxins in the gall bladder and liver and was prescribed to treat associated digestive disorders. Till today, the world sings the glory of Calendula tea, attributed to its appetizing taste and enormous healing benefits.

Pharmacological effects and chemical constituents of Calendula oil:

Calendula oil is said to possess antiseptic, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, stimulant, detoxifying, carminative, anti-tumor, anti-hemorrhagic, antiviral, antifungal, anti-HIV, hepatoprotective and emmenagogue properties.

The major chemical constituents of Calendula oil are a-cadinol, limonene, a-cadinene, p-cymene, 1, 8-cineol along with other flavonoids, terpenoids, coumarins, flavonol glycosides, carotenoids, sesquiterpene glucoside, amino acids, triterpene oligoglycosides, saponins, and oleanane-type triterpene glycosides.

Ayurvedic health benefits of Calendula oil:

Ayurveda is not associated only with the word ‘remedy’ and much more than that, it encompasses diagnosis of the root cause of an illness, prevention of diseases, healthy aging and longevity to love and live with nature, naturally.

Loved as the most precious gift of the God of Creation, Brahma to the Lord of Medicine, Acharya Dhanvantari, Ayurveda is in healing and harmonizing mankind for more than 5,000 years, for which it is called as the Mother of all healing methodologies on earth. This includes Unani, Siddha, Homeopathy, Chiropractic, Aromatherapy, Allopathy, TCM or the Traditional Chinese Medicine, Acupuncture and Naturopathy.

Ayurveda is held high in India and all over the world for its holistic healing practices that defines health as the wellness of the mind, body and spirit together. Among the 4 sacred books of the Indian Hindu mythology (Rig, Yajur, Sama and Atharvaveda), Ayurveda is a significant part of the Atharvaveda, where 114 verses talk about various health conditions, its symptoms, natural remedies and various Ayurvedic techniques for prevention and increased life span.

Dinacharya or the Ayurvedic routine recommends numerous ways for leading a hale, hearty and disciplined life. Human body is regarded as a temple, where the soul dwelling in is considered as a divine presence. This school of thought enables Ayurveda to strongly recommend practices for keeping the body, mind and spirit clean and cheerful.

Everything in this world is a part of nature and is made up of the fundamental elements, namely earth, water, fire, air and space. Every person is made up of a unique combination of these five elements, precisely called as doshas (vata, pitta and kapha). Vata (air + space), pitta (fire + water) and kapha (water + earth) make up an individual constitution, which is also called as Prakriti.

Each and every individual has a unique Prakriti just like the fingerprints, with a predominance of any of these three doshas. This doshic predominance determines the character, personality, behavioral patterns and emotional setup of an individual.

Perfect balance between doshas as per the law of nature indicates health and doshic imbalances due to sedentary lifestyle, change in food habits, weather fluctuations etc., lead to sickness. Ayurvedic remedies aim at treating the root cause of a health condition and prescribes unique medication for every person as per the Prakriti or the individual constitution.

The major Ayurvedic remedies include Ayurvedic essential oils, yoga, simple physical exercises, meditation, herbs, Pranayama (the art of balanced breathing), Abhyanga or the Ayurvedic massaging technique, Dinacharya or the Ayurvedic routine and Panchakarma (the Ayurvedic detoxification therapy).

Calendula oil is recommended for pacifying pitta and kapha doshas and for augmenting vata energy.

The most significant Ayurvedic health benefits of Calendula oil are:

Calendula-broucher1. Calendula for skin:

As we saw above, it’s historical significance during the World War I and the American Civil War as an excellent first aid agent in healing wounds, arresting bleeding and in treating inflammatory conditions is a noble proof for its brilliance in wound healing and is called as ropana in Ayurveda, means one which heals wounds.

A 2008 study on ‘Calendula officinalis and Wound Healing: A Systematic Review’ by Matthew J. Leach, PhD, BN (Hons), ND, RN, MATMS, published in WOUNDS, A compendium of clinical research and practice substantiates that the presence of triterpenoids like faradiol and the faradiol monoester and other components including flavonoids, saponins, polysaccharides and micronutrients contribute to its anti-inflammatory, anti-edematous, wound healing attributes and antioxidant properties.

The major skin conditions considered for this study includes foot ulcer, dermatitis, varicose ulcer, burns, injuries, cuts, abrasions, pressure ulcer, skin ulcer and other wounds. This study also explains that Calendula officinalis has “Anti-inflammatory activity – The acute inflammatory response during the early stages of injury generates factors that are essential for tissue growth and repair.

Antimicrobial activity -Wound healing can also be delayed when microorganisms are present in large enough numbers. Therefore, reducing the bacterial load of a wound may be necessary to facilitate wound healing, as well as reduce local inflammation and tissue destruction.

An ideal agent for the prevention and control of wound infection would therefore be one that directly destroys pathogens, while also stimulating immune activity. Calendula is one agent that possesses both of these properties.

Antioxidant effect – The production of free radicals at or around the wound bed may contribute to delays in wound healing through the destruction of lipids, proteins, collagen, proteoglycan, and hyaluronic acid.

Agents that demonstrate significant antioxidant activity may, therefore, preserve viable tissue and facilitate wound healing. Calendula demonstrates free radical scavenging activity against superoxide radicals and hydroxyl radicals and facilitates wound healing via an important antioxidant effect.

Wound healing activity – The most important clinical endpoint in wound management is wound closure or 100% epithelialization. Given that wound closure is critically important; it is argued that any agent demonstrating significant wound-healing activity should be seriously considered in conventional practice.

Calendula, for example, may facilitate wound healing by increasing wound angiogenesis and collagen, nucleoprotein, and glycoprotein metabolism, leading to improvements in both local circulation and granulation tissue formation.”

This study concludes stating “Calendula officinalis possesses a number of properties that are conducive to wound healing, especially in a number of acute and chronic wounds, particularly for its effect on inflammation, microbial load, and epithelialization.”

With its immunostimulant, astringent, anti-inflammatory, antifungal, antiviral, anti-microbial, antiseptic and disinfectant properties, applying a blend of 5 drops of Calendula with 2 drops of Bay leaf oil in your mild skin care cream or with 10 drops of Coconut oil can help in healing bee stings, insect bites, sores, cuts, bruises, skin abrasions, swelling, burns, acne, scrapes, diaper rashes, athlete’s foot, conjunctivitis, dermatitis and other inflammatory skin conditions.

The most adorable quality of Calendula oil is that it helps in controlling the formation of scars and diminishes stretch marks with its ability to stimulate tissue repair generation and secretion of collagen that enhances the natural elasticity of skin cells.

You can also add few drops of Calendula oil in your skin care ointments, lotions and creams or in salves, facial steams, baths, washes, tinctures and Ayurvedic essential oils for nourishing, enriching and nurturing the texture and health of your skin.

2. Calendula for circulation and inflammation:

Calendula oil has diuretic and anti-inflammatory properties that assist in clearing away excess of kapha dosha responsible for fluid retention through the mutravahasrotas, means the urinary passages by promoting the frequency and quantity of urination. By this way, the excess water deposits, toxic remains, salt, uric acid and fat in the system are eliminated through urine.

The effectiveness of Calendula in enhancing the functions of rasa and rakta dhatus, which means the plasma and blood tissues contributes to its ability in augmenting proper blood circulation. This makes Calendula oil as a promising remedy in treating circulatory conditions like varicose veins, arthritis, gout and rheumatic conditions.

Thus massaging the affected or painful parts with 1 ounce of Calendula oil with 2 drops of Cassia oil and 2 drops of Black cumin oil can help in enhancing blood circulation, discarding toxic remains and fluid retention through urine and reduce pain and inflammation associated with rheumatism, varicose veins, gout and arthritis.

You can also add 2 drops of Calendula oil in warm water and use it is a gargle for alleviating sore throat, killing germs and microbes in the mouth causing bad breath, cavities, gingivitis and other gum problems.

3. Calendula for immunity:

Low immune power is the direct doorway for numerous microbes, pathogens and other micro-organisms causing various diseases and contagious medical conditions. The presence of calendulin, a yellow resin along with tannins and other chemical constituents of its volatile oil makes Calendula a promising medication for augmenting the rapid growth response of the human lymphocytes.

WBC or the white blood corpuscles are responsible for the body’s immune power or the potent to fight against pathogens, microbes or other harmful micro-organisms invading the healthy system. With its anti-microbial, antifungal, antiviral and antibacterial properties, Calendula oil strengthens the immune system by shielding against the attack of bacteria, virus, fungi, worms etc.

Calendula oil also helps in treating inflamed lymph glands and decrease lymphatic congestion. It also aids in purging away harmful toxic remains in the body through urine with its triterpenoid components responsible for its anti-inflammatory and diuretic properties.

Adding 5 drops of Calendula oil in bathing water every morning and 2 drops of Calendula oil added to your hankie or your pillow cover are the best ways to strengthen your immunity through the ‘Calendula power’.

4. Calendula for digestive disorders:

Calendula oil boasts its support to various digestive functions with its astringent, anti-inflammatory, anthelmintic and antimicrobial properties. The ability to pacify excess of pitta energy or digestive fire makes Calendula an excellent natural remedy for soothing the lining of the stomach, intestines and the gastrointestinal tract.

Massaging your abdomen with 10 drops of Calendula oil blended with 2 drops of Calamus oil and 4 ounce of Coconut oil can help in soothing the walls of the stomach and intestines, thus pacifying irritable bowel syndrome, peptic ulcer, gastritis and other inflammatory conditions of the gastrointestinal tract.

This medicated massage can also assist in stimulating the functions of the liver, the organ of detoxification, thus support in eliminating microbial infections, ama or toxic remains in the stomach, intestinal worms and other pathogenic foreign bodies in the gut, which may otherwise lead to dysentery, viral hepatitis, diarrhea and enteritis.

5. Calendula for reproductive functions:

Calendula is extremely beneficial in supporting the functions of the female reproductive problems including irregular menstruation, uterine fibroids, frigidity and ovarian cysts (polycystic ovarian syndrome).

For all these special benefits, Calendula blossoms are called in Ayurveda as Striroga, one which aids in gynaecological problems; Granthi, remedy for treating the complications of tumors, and Artavajanana for aiding trouble-free menstruation.

The oil of Calendula helps in clearing excess of kapha and pitta energies in the uterus, mainly because of its effectiveness on artavavahasrotas.

A gentle massage of the lower abdomen, back and thighs with 10 drops of Calendula oil and 1 drop of Cinnamon oil and 1 drop of Cassia oil can help in promoting blood circulation in the uterus, regularizing blocked or delayed menstruation, relieving dysmennorhea or menstrual pain.

You can also use this blend in bath, especially during your menstrual cycle and the times you’re sick with menopausal symptoms.

Calendula oil functions like a tonic to the uterine muscles, aiding in balancing the estrogen hormones that are responsible for PCOS and uterine fibroids. It is also trusted to treat cysts in the digestive passage and the breasts. Calendula infusions were used in folklore remedy for fostering uterine contractions and the discharge of placenta during childbirth.

Other health benefits:

The most celebrated herbalists, Gerard and Culpeper call Marigold as a “comforter of the heart and spirits”. Calendula is also recommended safe for diaper rashes, hemorrhoids, stomach upset, people undergoing radiation therapy, abdominal cramps, fistulas, sprains and eye inflammation.

Disclaimer:

This information is only for the use of education and is not intended to diagnose or prevent any health condition or to substitute any prescription drugs or professional medical advice. We, the Essential Depot team are not healthcare professionals and this content is written only in social interest of educating the public about the richness of Ayurvedic treatment, the most trusted traditional healing system.

Calendula oil is suggested only for the use of topical application and do not take it internally. Talk with your medical expert or your Ayurvedic practitioner before choosing the appropriate Ayurvedic oils for your Prakriti or unique individual constitution and medical condition and before using them on children, nursing women, pregnant ladies and on people who are undergoing other treatments (please check on drug interactions) and on those who are allergic to specific oils.

Thought for the day:

“The marigold goes to bed with the Sun
And with him rises, weeping.”
-Shakespeare

Suggested Reading:

  1. Calendula – Calendula Officinalis by Amanda Klenner
  2. Calendula Oil (How To Make Natural Skin Care Products Series Book 29) by Miriam Kinai
  3. Calendula by Marian Kim
  4. Calendula by Mindy Green
  5. Herbs for Healthy Aging: Natural Prescriptions for Vibrant Health by David Hoffmann FNIMH AHG

Reference Links:

  1. Calendula by Wikipedia
  2. Calendula by The University of Maryland Medical Center
  3. Calendula officinalis and Wound Healing: A Systematic Review by Matthew J. Leach, PhD, BN(Hons), ND, RN, MATMS, published in WOUNDS, a compendium of clinical research and practice
  4. Phytochemical Constituents and Pharmacological Activities of Calendula officinalis Linn(Asteraceae): A Review by BP. Muley, SS. Khadabadi and NB. Banarase, Govt. College of Pharmacy, Maharashtra, India, published in the Tropical Journal of Pharmaceutical Research

 


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Castor Oil


‘Don’t judge a book by its cover’ is a celebrated phrase and it promptly applies to Castor oil, the often overlooked oil. Castor is indeed a Master in healing colossal medical conditions including alopecia, wrinkles, ovarian cysts, fibroids, constipation, phantom tumor, piles, asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, neuralgia and the list goes on.

Castor-bannerCalled as Gandharvahasta or Eranda taila in Ayurveda, Castor oil is the handiest remedy for alleviating abdominal tumors and uterine fibroids in women and certain other inflammatory conditions.

It is also prescribed for enhancing sperm quality, cognitive functions, memory power, skin health, digestive ability, muscular strength, immunity and in cleansing vagina, semen and the abdomen.

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Therapeutic properties and chemical constituents of Castor oil:

The primary chemical components of Castor oil are ricinoleic acid that contributes to about 85 to 95 per cent of its oil along with other constituents like oleic acid, stearic acid, palmitic acid, a-linoleic acid, linoleic acid and dihydroxystearic acid.

Anti-inflammatory, emmenagogue, anti-infectious, anti-rheumatic, fungicidal, laxative, immune stimulant, insecticidal, anti-viral, labor inducing, anti-allergic, anthelmintic, rejuvenative, anti-aging, germicidal, disinfectant, and analgesic are the major remedial attributes of pure Castor oil.

Historical uses and importance of Castor oil:

Castor oil is extracted from the attractive and ornamental Castor seeds by cold press method. It is one among the most commonly used oil since the pre-historic times for cleansing the colon, reproductive system and as a powerful detoxifying agent.

Ricinus communis is the botanical name of the Castor plant from which this healing vegetable oil is extracted.

You’d be shocked to know that Castor oil was given as punishment to mischievous children and it was later restricted by the Physicians for using medicines as punishment.

Mussolini is known for the use of Castor oil as a penalty for political dissidents and it was popularly quoted that Mussolini’s supremacy was supported by the ‘bludgeon and castor oil’.

These negative facts about Castor oil vanished gradually after few decades of Mussolini’s death in the Western world and with its enormous medical benefits that had proven positive effects.

The ancient Ayurvedic healing records the use of Eranda or Castor oil since 2000 BC as a traditional analgesic, purgative and laxative for treating arthritis, constipation and infestation of worms. It has also been used in lamps.

Castor oil is the hero in the Asian and African provinces and was regarded as a panacea for various infectious diseases and chronic health conditions.

Ayurveda and other alternative medicinal practices prescribe Castor oil as an effective remedy for rheumatism, lumbago, hair fall, wrinkles, cysts, warts, menstrual discomforts, constipation, yeast infections, acne, ringworm, arthritis and inflammatory nerves.

Castor oil has been listed as ‘Generally recognized as safe and effective’ (GRASE) by Food and Drug Administration (FDA) of the United States as an over-the-counter laxative.

Kolliphor EL is one among the most common Castor oil derivative that is included in various modern drugs as follows:

“Xenaderm ointment, a topical treatment for skin ulcers, is a combination of Balsam of Peru, castor oil, and trypsin.

Paclitaxel, a mitotic inhibitor used in cancer chemotherapy.

Miconazole, an antifungal agent.

Nelfinavir mesylate, an HIV protease inhibitor.”

Even today, Castor oil is used as a natural emollient and moisturizer in numerous soaps, shampoos and various other cosmetics manufacturing.

Ayurvedic health benefits of Castor oil:

Castor oil is an excellent detoxifying, cleansing, nourishing and pacifying oil for the mind, body and spirit, especially when used in Abhyanga or Ayurvedic massage. Abhyanga is an ancient art of repairing and rejuvenating the tensed muscles and the system with the use of therapeutic Ayurvedic oils.

Charaka, the most celebrated Ayurvedic philosopher quotes massaging as:

The body of one who uses oil massage regularly does not become affected much even if subjected to accidental injuries, or strenuous work. By using oil massage daily, a person is endowed with pleasant touch, trimmed body parts and becomes strong, charming and least affected by old age.”

Charaka Samhita Vol. 1, V: 88-89.

Many Ayurvedic experts and philosophers beckon Castor oil as ‘the only oil that eliminates ama (toxic remains in the system mainly due to improper digestion) and crammed mala (faeces) and kapha vitiation (stagnation of water deposits).’ Castor oil works best when it is employed with heat on the affected parts of the body.

Often rated as the best oil for treating vata imbalances, Castor oil has the potent to treat chronic constipation, Gastro-intestinal congestion, benign tumors, uterine fibroids, infections, cysts, dry skin conditions, matured skin, brittle hair, discards morbid vata, stiff joints, gout and bloating.

Castor oil pacifies vata and kapha dosha in excess and enhances pitta energy. It augments circulation with its warm attributes, thus encouraging the movement of lymph.

Being the oldest of all remedial sciences on earth, Ayurveda is the real inspiration and the root for all other medical systems on earth. This includes Siddha, Homeopathy, TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine), Unani, Aromatherapy, Acupressure and Chiropractic.

Ayurveda abides by a ‘cause and effect’ technology that sticks to the popular adage, “There’s no smoke without fire.”

Any health condition, according to Ayurveda does not occur instantly and Ayurveda believes that there is a strong underlying root cause behind every illness. The mind, body and the spirit are interconnected with each other and imbalance of any of these factors would affect the others.

Ayurvedic healing endeavors to identify the root cause of a sickness and treat it for complete cure and prevention, instead of treating its symptoms that might be of temporary relief.

Ayurveda states that good state of health is a blend of emotional, physical and spiritual wellness of an individual. It aims at self-realization and attaining Divinity through purity along with hale and heartiness.

Thus, Acharya Charaka, the renowned Ayurvedic Guru and the author of Charaka Samhita, the first Ayurvedic encyclopedia says The three – body, psyche, and soul – act as a tripod. The world stands upon them, and within them, the world abides.”

Every person in this universe is a unique individual with a distinct individual constitution known as Prakriti. This is a combination of three doshas, namely vata, pitta and kapha.

World is made up of five fundamental elements called as Panchamahabhutas (earth, air, fire, space and earth.) Doshic energies are an arrangement of these five vital forces.

All the human beings have a predominance of any one dosha, which decides the physical, mental, spiritual and behavioral attributes.

Ayurveda strives to strike absolute balance between these doshas and treat the unevenness with Nature as imbalance with the natural buoyancy is often the beginning of any medical condition.

The most common Ayurvedic medications are herbs and herbal medicines in the form of powder, syrup and paste; Ayurvedic essential oils, Panchakarma or the practice of Ayurvedic detoxification, Pranayama or conscious breathing, Abhyanga or Ayurvedic massaging, yoga, Ayurvedic routine or Dinacharya, simple physical exercises, prayers and meditation.

The most effective but the less known Ayurvedic health benefits of Castor oil are:Castor-Oil1. Promising natural remedy for treating uterine fibroids and hormonal imbalances:

Uterine fibroids are one among the most common problems in women, often present without any symptoms and in certain cases it causes extreme menstrual pain, pain in the pelvic area, frequent urination and fertility problems as well depending upon its location in the inner wall of the uterus.

The actual reason for fibroids in the uterus is not known but is generally stated as a change in the hormonal levels of women in the reproductive age. Fibroids tend to shrink with age as the level of estrogen reduces gradually.

Fibroids are benign tumors that require no treatment unless it causes severe pain or fertility problems. The most intricate solution for treating uterine fibroids is hysterectomy or removal of uterus.

Gulma is the Ayurvedic term for fibroids and other phantom tumors. Ayurveda recommends the use of warm Castor oil in massage and as a medicinal intake.

Castor oil is called as Gulma hara, which means that the best remedy for discarding tumors present in the abdominal area.

Abdominal tumors are often caused due to the vitiation of vata and kapha dosha. Castor oil is termed as one among the best natural medication for eliminating excess vata and kapha dosha, thus enhancing circulation and reducing the size and symptoms of fibroids, cysts and other abdominal tumors.

Vata dosha is the air and space energy that rush through the system in a jiffy and is prevalently the cause behind the imbalance of other two doshas. Vata doshas rules circulation and movement of the body and vitiated vata might end up in causing anxiety, dry skin, bloating, muscular stiffness, dehydration, improper blood circulation, insomnia and more.

This Sanskrit verse says it right, “THE LION OF CASTOR OIL ALONE CAN KILL THE MADDENED ELEPHANT OF ‘VATA’ AS IT STAMPEDES THROUGH THE BODY.”

Castor oil is by far considered as the only oil that has the ability to eliminate ama or toxic remains, kapha imbalance (surplus fluid deposits) and congested mala (faeces). When used externally with heat, Castor oil is effective in decreasing the growth of excess tissues, cysts and tumors.

The rich therapeutic oil extracted from the seeds of the Castor plant is a promising alternative for treating Yoni Roga, which means the disorders of the genital tract in women and Udara, meaning abdominal diseases.

It is also termed as Adhobhaga Doshahara, which means its efficacy in flushing out doshic vitiations from the lower part of the system.

Massage your lower abdomen with 5 ml of warm Castor oil and cover it with a flannel cloth, followed by a plastic wrap. Use a heating pad or hot water bottle over the wrap and relax in a comfortable position for about 30 minutes to 1 hour.

Castor oil has deep penetrating properties, thus it enters the bloodstream quickly and passes on its therapeutic properties at ease. This power-packed massage therapy can help one in breaking up scar tissues, if any, eliminates uterus congestion, reduces and confiscates fibroids, cysts and other benign tumors in the abdominal area (uterus and ovary).

It works by increasing the blood circulation in the abdominal region and thus breaks down the clogged mass of fibroids, cysts and tumors.

Dysmennorhea or painful menses, delayed or obstructed menstruation are treated with the natural emmenagogue properties of Castor oil, which is attributed to the presence of ricinoleic acid.

Remember not to use Castor oil during menstruation as it might increase the flow of menses and the best time to use is before the onset of your periods.

Castor oil is an excellent cleansing remedy for the male and female reproductive system. Ayurveda calls Castor oil as Yoni vishodhana, medication for vaginal cleansing and as Shukra vishodhana, remedy for enhancing the quality of semen and purifying it.

Ayurveda recommends newly married couples to take Castor oil as an aid to purify the mind, body and spirit before giving birth to a new soul on earth. The oil of Castor is also used for treating Shukra gada or seminal problems.

2. Nourishes and supports skin health:

Are you into Soap making business? Then just choose Castor oil with your eyes closed and you’d definitely order bulk of Castor oil cans if you get to know the Ayurvedic benefits of it.

Castor oil is a promising Ayurvedic remedy for healing skin disorders (Kushtapaha); an excellent invigorating and anti-aging agent (Vaya sthapana); enhances the natural glow of your skin (Kantikara); boosts skin health (Twachya); enters even through the minute channels of the skin and repairs the damaged skin cells (Teekshna and Sookshma).

The most impressive use of Castor oil is its effectiveness in treating wrinkles, fine lines, crow’s foot, spots and other symptoms of aging. This quality is attributed to its emollient benefits that influence the natural production of elastin and collagen, the secret agents of supple skin.

Massaging your skin with 4 ml of Castor oil blended with 1 ml of Jojoba oil can assist in revitalizing and revivifying the skin surface.

Castor oil can also be helpful in treating psoriasis, ringworm, eczema, stretch marks, skin inflammation, boils, acne, abrasions, corns, cysts and dry skin conditions.

3. Fortifies and thickens your hair by enriching the roots:

Hair and skin are the most promising indicators of a ‘Healthy You’. Loss of hair, dandruff, dry, rough and gray hairs do not always occur because of environmental nuances. There are much more intense reasons behind the illness of your hair and scalp.

Stress, worries, anxiety, fatigue, insomnia, panic attacks and of course unhealthy diet and lifestyle practices contribute to the detrimental state of your hair.

Castor oil is an incredible natural asset for addressing most of your hair problems and has even been proven to influence the growth of hair on your eyebrows.

Unclogging the blocked pores, strengthening the hair follicles, nourishing the scalp conditions, moisturizing the hair and scalp and motivating the natural growth of hair is all that the magical touch of Castor oil can spell upon you.

Being a traditional remedy for addressing various hair conditions, Castor oil is also recommended in the United States of America as an economical substitute for the most expensive serums for the growth of hair and eyebrows.

To start with, blend 10 ml of Castor oil with 2 drops of Lime oil and 5 drops of Rosemary oil and heat it slightly. Massage this warm blend on your scalp and leave it for about an hour. Shampoo your hair with a mild herbal shampoo for best results.

Continue this enriching massage twice a week for about 3 months for repairing your hair damages and fostering the natural shine and luster of your bouncy locks.

Ayurveda beckons Castor oil as Keshya for its efficiency in encouraging hair growth and enriching the hair follicles.

The presence of Vitamin E, ricinoleic acid and other Omega-9 and Omega-6 fatty acids help in influencing good circulation of blood in the scalp, seal the moisture in the hair and scalp, treat split ends and breakage of hair.

The antimicrobial, antiviral and antifungal properties of Castor oil also assist in treating itchy scalp conditions, dandruff and other infections of the scalp.

4. Relieves pain, inflammation and rheumatic conditions:

Rheumatism and rheumatoid arthritis are the children of the toxic elements left in the system, especially amassed in the hands, legs and joints. This results in pain, inflammation, improper blood circulation, redness, soreness and irritation in the muscles and joints.

Castor oil is a winning rescuer from amavat (inflexibility and pain in joints) and rheumatic conditions with its wonderful effect to augment blood circulation, relieve pain, reduce swelling and treat stiffness in joints.

With its easily penetrating quality, Castor oil pierces into the bloodstream and starts working instantly on the affected parts. Castor oil is called as Shulaghnam for its analgesic values and is also known as Guhya shoola and Prushta shoola for supporting the treatment of lower back pain.

It’s also been proven effectual in the treatment of Shotha (inflammation and swelling) and Katigraha (stiffness in the lower back).

Massaging the painful parts with 3 ml of warm Castor oil blended with 2 drops of Ginger oil can help in eliminating the toxic wastes and excess fluid deposits stagnated in the system through urine and metabolic wastes.

It can also be helpful in alleviating pain, soothing the tensed muscles, calming the nerves and instilling complete relief.

5. Expels toxic remains and excellent cleanser of the digestive tract:

Ama or toxic remains in the body are mainly due to indigestion, irregular diet and other lifestyle practices. Ayurveda states that build up of noxious substances in the system might pave way to the rise of chronic and even fatal diseases.

As read already, Castor is one among the best Ayurvedic remedy for eliminating toxic (ama) remains, excess fluid, salt, uric acid and fat deposits in the body.

Castor oil is a grandmother’s remedy for eliminating worms, parasites and toxic substances in the body, especially the digestive system. Pure Castor oil is ingested during the night and is trusted to stimulate the bowel movements and flush out the toxic waste through faeces in the morning.

Gas (anaha), bloating (Vatodara), gout (Vatashonita), chronic constipation (Vid bandha), prostitis (Ashtila), and heaviness are often treated with Castor oil, either as a tonic or massage oil.

Deepana is another medicinal term for Castor oil for its ability to enhance digestive power and is a promising natural laxative. For its anthelmintic properties that aids in discarding worms, parasites and other pathogens in the body, Castor oil is also known as Krimighnam.

Blend 2 drops of Peppermint oil with 3 ml of Castor oil and massage on the abdominal area for alleviating digestive discomforts.

Other health benefits:

In general, Castor oil is said to contribute to varied health benefits of the system including its power to nurture immunity or the power to resist against diseases (Balakara); improve cognitive and memory functions (Medhakara and Smrutikara); and augment general health and heartiness (Arogyakara).

Disclaimer:

This article is only for the purpose of education and is not destined to treat, prevent or diagnose any health conditions. It is not meant for substituting any prescription medicines or the advice of a medical professional. We, at Essential Depot are not healthcare experts and this information is shared only for thinning out the phenomenal healing of Ayurveda, the oldest of all medical sciences on earth.

All essential oils are recommended topical use only and not for ingestion. This is mainly because 100 per cent pure and organic oils are concentrated substances and may cause allergic reactions.

Take special care when using essential oils on pregnant or nursing women, children and people with chronic illnesses. Speak with your Ayurvedic professional or General practitioner before choosing the suitable oils for your unique individual constitution or Prakriti and the state of health or Vikruti. A patch test on your skin before enjoying the enormous benefits of Ayurvedic essential oils is recommended.

Thought for the day:

Wherever the art of medicine is loved, there is also a love of humanity.
Hippocrates

Suggested Reading:

  1. Castor Oil Pack Therapy: Application & Instruction by ND, Bruce Baar MS
  2. Castor Oil and Rosemary Oil for Hair Growth: The Secret to Re-growing Hair and Preventing Hair Loss Naturally by Mark Calhoun
  3. Castor Oil: How To Grow Longer Hair, Get Rid Of Scars, Remove Wrinkles, And Other Health And Beauty Recipes (Homemade Body Care Book 4) by Kathy Aquino
  4. The 3 Essential Oils: Olive Oil, Coconut Oil and Castor Oil by Cat McEwan
  5. Castor Oil (Carrier Oils Book 7) by Miriam Kinai

Reference Links:

  1. Ricinus communis by Wikipedia
  2. Transdermal Absorption of Castor Oil by Douglas G. Richards, Ph.D., David L. McMillin, M.A., Eric A. Mein, M.D., and Carl D. Nelson, D.C. published in the Meridian Institute.
  3. Final report on the safety assessment of Ricinus communis (Castor seed oil), published in the International Journal of Toxicology
  4. Benefits of Castor oil by MedIndia
  5. Health benefits of Castor oil by Times of India


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Curry Leaf Oil


Curry-leaf-bannerCure leaf, Potent cancer warrior, Sweet neem, Indian bay and Vitamins powerhouse are some of the celebrated names of Curry leaf, the much treasured and relished aroma provider of Indian soups and curries.

Owning a similar appearance to bay leaves, these aromatic leaves hold a distinct flavor contributed by caryophyllene and 3-carene. Curry leaf essential oil is extracted from curry leaves by steam distillation method.

Curry leaf tree is an easy to cultivate herb and is indigenous to India and Sri Lanka, the countries of rich cultural heritage. Every part of this tree including its leaves, berries and flowers have enormous medicinal values and the best part is that it is easily affordable to poor people as well.

Ayurveda calls this tree as Girinimba or Krishnanimba, named after Lord Krishna, the God of ultimate protection. This ancient art of holistic healing has used Curry leaves and its essential oil in various Ayurvedic preparations for the treatment of diabetes, eye diseases, liver problems, diarrhea, high cholesterol, hair fall, gastrointestinal problems, skin pigmentation and oral disorders.

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Historical uses and importance of Curry Leaf tree:

Curry leaves have its name carved in the Tamil literature dating back to 4th century AD for its abundant culinary benefits. Derived from the Tamil word Kari meaning spicy sauce, curry leaves are being clad by numerous vernacular names such as Kariveppilai in Tamil, Kariveppu in Malayalam, Meetha Neem or Karipatta in Hindi, Karibevu in Kannada, Karepeku in Telugu, Folhas de caril in Portuguese, Listya karri in Russian, Fogli di cari in Italian, Hoias de curry in Spanish and Curryblatter in German.

Beautifying the backyard of every home in the Indian subcontinent, Curry leaf tree has a strong precedence in the Indian folklore medicine. The leaves are widely used for its digestive properties in numerous Indian cuisines and have been used in Ayurvedic healing as a natural tonic for an extensive range of ill-health conditions.

Curry leaves are used in alternative medicinal practices like Ayurveda, Unani, Siddha and the Traditional Chinese medicine for treating diarrhea, vomiting and to endorse the appetite. These leaves are known to possess anti-diabetic properties and is a popular natural aid for controlling diabetes. The paste extracted from the ground leaves are applied on wounds, eruptions, bruises, burns, acne and to treat other skin disorders.

Curry leaves boiled in coconut oil is a popular natural tonic for hair growth. This herbal tonic is trusted to nourish hair follicles and restore its natural color. It quenches thirst and suppresses the heat of the body, for which the yummy buttermilk flavored with curry leaves is often served to greet the guests in India. These leaves are also used in ancient rituals, prayers and sacred ceremonies as a substitute for tulsi leaves.

Certain Ayurvedic remedies include the roots of Curry leaf tree as an aid to relieve pain associated with kidneys. It also assists in treating inflammation, itching, anemia and other blood disorders. Known for its astringent properties, the fruits of the Curry leaf tree are found to be nutritional and beneficial in the mythological medicines of ancient India and China.

The branches of the Curry leaf tree are used since primordial times vastly in the field of oral care. It was used as a datun (natural brush) for cleaning the teeth and strengthening the gums by building a protective shield to battle against the harmful microbes.

Chemical constituents and therapeutic properties of Curry Leaf oil:

Rich in carbazole alkaloids, Curry leaf oil constitutes of  α-pinene, sabinene , caryophyllene, β-pinene , terpinen-4-ol, γ-terpinene , limonene ,α-terpinene, (E)-nerolidol, α-humulene, α-thujene ,β-elemene ,β-selinene , b-gurjunene, b-bisabolene, trans beta ocimene, b-cardinene, a-selinene and myrcene.

This oil serves as a rich nutritional source of carbohydrates, fibers, minerals, proteins, Vitamins A, B, B2, E & C, calcium, phosphorous, iron, magnesium, oxalic acid and nicotinic acids with zero fats.

Curry leaf oil is used in promoting the health of humanity with its antioxidant, anti-diabetic, anti-inflammatory, anti-carcinogenic, stimulant, anti-dysenteric, stomachic, carminative, antiemetic, purgative, appetizer, analgesic, detoxifier, diuretic, anti-aging, hepatoprotective, antimicrobial, aphrodisiac, depurative, revitalizing, insecticidal, fungicidal, anti-hypercholesterolemic, lipolytic and deodorant properties.

Ayurvedic health benefits of Curry leaf oil:

Ayurveda is the ancient science of holistic healing, where ‘Ayur’ means life and ‘Veda’ means knowledge. Being the oldest of all remedial systems in the world, Ayurveda is the mother of all healing methodologies on earth and is the pioneer system for many healing sciences including Siddha, Unani, Chiropractic, Acupressure, Homeopathy and the Traditional Chinese Medicine.

Health according to Ayurveda is a three-tier structure comprising of the perfect balance between the body, mind and spirit. This natural science states that wellness and illness depends solely on the perfect rhythm with nature.

It also says that everything on earth is a part of nature and is made up the five elements of nature. They are earth, water, fire, space and air. Among these elements earth constructs the physical body (bones and muscles), water runs in the form of blood and other fluids in the body, air aids in breathing, agni or fire is the heat energy created in the body for carrying out the functions of metabolism, absorption and body temperature and space is the spirit that lives in.

Ayurveda trusts that every individual is made with a unique combination of these five elements in the form of biological energies known as doshas. These energies put together is the individual constitution or the physical, mental and spiritual make up of a person. Every human being has a predominance of any one of these doshas and this predominance determines their unique personality, character and behavioral attributes.

Illness according to Ayurveda is an opportunity to trace out that there is something out of balance in the body due to the imbalance of these three doshas. To treat these imbalances, which are mostly the root cause of a sickness, Ayurvedic system prescribes natural medications like herbs, physical exercises, essential oils, Ayurvedic routine, healthy lifestyle, meditation, prayers, and yoga that suit the individual constitution.

Curry leaf oil has the power to pacify aggravated kapha and vata doshas and increase pitta dosha. With such well-built healing values, Ayurveda prescribes Curry leaf oil as an aid to assist every human being with healthy hair, bright eyesight, strong teeth and gums, glowing skin, actively functioning liver, smooth digestive system, cholesterol and diabetes-free system.

The most important Ayurvedic health benefits of Curry leaf oil are:

Curry-leaf-broucher1. A natural tonic for long and lustrous hair:

Healthy, long, strong and lustrous hair is the dream of many. Here comes the natural wonder to give life to your dreams about your hair and would you believe if I say that the wonder is nothing but the most affordable Curry leaf oil? Yes! A balanced diet with equal proportion of vitamins, minerals, iron and other nutrients is required to maintain a healthy hair. Rich in minerals, iron, Vitamins A, B, C & E, Curry leaves and its essential oil have been used both internally and externally in Ayurveda since ages for hair care.

As a rich source of natural antioxidants, Curry leaf oil helps in contracting the muscles and tissues, thus strengthening the roots of the hair and preventing hair fall. The healthy nutrients in this oil promotes natural hair growth and effectively works on the real pigmentation of the individual’s physique and helps in bringing back the original color of the hair.

This attribute of Curry leaf oil makes it a wonderful natural aid for premature graying of hair and skin pigmentation problems, where the skin loses its natural pigmentation and white patches start spreading all over the body. A renowned article by the members of the Spices Board Team states that curry leaves have done miracle in the life of those affected by skin pigmentation problems.

All you need to do is to add 5 drops of Curry leaf oil in 2.5 ml of coconut oil and massage it gently on the scalp and let it for 1 hour. After this soothing massage wash your hair with natural hair cleansers like Shikakai or herbal shampoos for startling results. For treating skin pigmentation, add 2 drops of Curry leaf oil in 1 ml of olive oil and apply it on the affected areas in a relaxing manner. Use mild soaps on the skin after this massage.

2. Protects the eyes and improves eyesight:

Vitamin A is all that comes to our mind, the moment we think about ways to improve our eyesight and protect our eyes from the onset of some common diseases that come along with aging. As a rich source of Vitamin A, Curry leaf oil provides the necessary compounds required by the retina of the eye in the formation of the light absorbing molecule called rhodopsin, which aids in good vision.

Curry leaves not only help in brightening the vision of the eyes but also assists in delaying the onset of cataract if utilized regularly. You can add 1 drop of Curry leaf oil in steam inhalation or in warm water for washing your face. The best ways to benefit your vision is to use fresh Curry leaves in your diet and adding 1 to 2 drops of Curry leaf oil in almond oil for massaging your face.

3. Aids in maintaining oral health:

Gum problems, toothache and bad breath are often the most annoying health conditions. It has been a practice in India since the ancient times to chew Curry leaves daily to maintain good oral health. The essential oil extracted from these leaves are rich in vitamin C, calcium, folic acid and zinc. Adding 2 drops of this oil in a cup of warm water and using it as a gargle aids in strengthening the teeth and gums and gives a long lasting freshness in your breath.

Moreover the antimicrobial, antibacterial and antifungal attributes of this oil helps in refreshing the breath thus curing halitosis as well. It is for this great reason; the primeval Indians used the branches of the Curry leaf tree to clean their teeth.

A recent study on the role of herbal products for oral care states that chewing Curry leaves or gargling with its essential oil stimulates the process of salivation that in turn increases the salivary PH value which plays an important role in maintaining the oral health and promoting the dental remineralization apart from protecting against various other oral health issues such as bad breath, advent of tooth decay due to harmful bacteria etc.

4. Excellent aid in skin care:

Skin is the largest organ of the human body and most often your skin health reflects the healthiness of your entire system. Today’s contemporary living forces most of us to encounter numerous dermatological problems due to the close contact with harmful chemicals in various forms ranging from cosmetics, hair care, skin care and personal hygiene products that we use every day.

Curry Leaf oil serves as a natural antimicrobial and antioxidant agent that aids in protecting the skin from tanning with its rich nutrient values. Massaging your skin with 5 drops of Curry leaf oil blended with 2.5 ml of Jojoba oil effectively helps in keeping the connective tissues intact thus helping in reducing wrinkles and relieving from other signs of aging.

You can also add 2 drops of Curry leaf oil in your regular skin care cream or lotion and apply it gently on the affected area for arresting the spread of infectious micro-organisms like bacteria, virus and fungi that often remains as the cause of concern for various skin problems including pimples, athlete’s foot, ringworm, itches, acne, boils and septic of wounds and burns.

The antimicrobial property of this oil assists in curbing the growth of microbes causing skin problems and infections and this powerful oil is used in the manufacturing of toiletries and ointments and skin care creams. This oil has the power to treat poisonous insect bites also.

5. Helps in treating Diabetes Mellitus:

Diabetes mellitus is the most common health condition among the numerous hereditary diseases that affect human beings. It is one of the most hazardous ailments for it is always associated with plenty of other factors that can make you completely wreck-down if not kept under control.

Ayurvedic healing strongly prescribes the use of Curry leaf and its essential oil for treating diabetes, as these magical leaves have hypoglycemic values. Numerous research studies by medical practitioners and scholars state that curry leaf oil has the potential of slowing down the rate of breaking down of start into glucose which results in lower level of glucose being dispersed in the bloodstream.

Ensure that you go on for a natural Ayurvedic massaging twice a week with 6 drops of Curry leaf oil mixed with 3 to 4 ml of sesame oil, followed by a warm bath where 2 drops of this oil is diluted in the bathing water as well. The remedial properties of this oil penetrate through the skin and enter the blood stream where it fights against diabetes mellitus by controlling the blood glucose levels in the body.

6. Effectively cares your digestive system:

Curry leaf oil has a handful of remedial benefits including stimulant, appetizer, anti-dysenteric, stomachic, carminative and antiemetic. Being a natural stimulant, it enhances the appetite and promotes the secretion of digestive enzymes, thus aiding in proper digestion and complete absorption of the nutrients after every meal.

Curry leaf oil serves as an excellent purgative to regularize your bowel movements. It also helps in alleviating other digestive disorders such as diarrhea, vomiting, nausea due to indigestion, constipation, piles etc. Moreover, it acts as an efficient antimicrobial and antifungal agent to set your intestines free from harmful microbes. This is the major reason for using Curry leaves in food preparation.

To help with digestive disorders, you can massage your tummy and abdomen with 4 drops of Curry leaf oil mixed with 2 ml of sesame oil or add 2 drops of this oil in your vaporizer or diffuser. You can also go for a warm bath diluted with 3 drops of Curry leaf oil to relieve from stomach upset, indigestion, irregular bowel movements and loss of appetite.

7. Helps maintain the optimal cholesterol level:

Curry leaf oil is rich in carbazole alkaloids (antioxidant), which helps in aiding the metabolism of fats and fatty acids in the body, thus helping in reducing and eliminating the bad cholesterol in the system. This potential of Curry leaf oil has significant impact in the treatment of obesity and high-cholesterol levels.

Massage your system with 6 drops of Curry leaf oil with 3 ml of warm coconut oil and inhale the remedial aroma of Curry leaf oil by adding 2 drops of this oil in your burner or aromatic candles for maintaining the proper level of HDL (good cholesterol) in your system. When inhaled, the aromatic molecules of this oil passes the nasal passages and reach the limbic system, which is the chief control center of the brain and it passes appropriate signals and commands to various organs for active functioning.

8. Reduces inflammation:

As a natural detoxifier and depurative, Curry leaf oil helps in excreting the harmful toxins from the body and purifies the blood. It also acts as a diuretic and eases the quantity and frequency of urinating. By this way, it leaves less pressure on the kidneys and protects the liver by aiding it to encounter with less amount of toxic substances.

All these medicinal values make Curry leaf oil as a superior natural remedy for reducing inflammatory conditions caused due to water retention and deposits of toxins, excess salt and uric acid. Mix 2 drops of Curry leaf oil with 1 ml of olive oil and massage it firmly on the painful or inflamed parts for quick relief. You can also add 3 to 4 drops of this oil in hot compress for effective results.

Other health benefits of Curry Leaf Oil:

Due to its richness in vitamin A and calcium, Curry leaf oil is used in strengthening the bones and hence it is highly recommended for women who suffer from osteoporosis and calcium deficiency. It is also a great aid in recovering from the aftershocks of radiotherapy and chemotherapy treatments of cancer. With its disinfectant and antimicrobial properties, Curry leaf oil is also used in the manufacturing of soaps, insecticides and mosquito repellents.

Disclaimer:

This information is only for educational purposes and is not meant to substitute any professional medical advice or prescribed medication. Do not use essential oils internally and always use it topically in a diluted form only, as pure and organic essential oils are highly concentrated extracts from plants. It is advisable to consult your Ayurvedic expert before making the right choice of essential oils that are suitable for your unique state of health and individual constitution.

Thought for the day:

Knowing trees, I understand the meaning of patience. Knowing grass, I can appreciate persistence. -Hal Borland

Suggested Reading:

  1. Herbal Antibiotics: Natural Alternatives for Treating Drug-Resistant Bacteria (Medicinal Herb Guide) by Stephen Harrod Buhner
  2. Curry Leaves and Cumin Seeds: A Healthier Approach to Indian Cooking by Jeeta Gandhi
  3. Pharmacognosy and Biological evaluation of Murraya Koenigii (Linn) by Ashish Gaur
  4. Essential Oils from the Leaves of Murraya Koenigii (spreng.), Murraya Exotica (linn.) And Murraya Exotica Var. Ovatifoliolata by A. R.; Simonsen, J. L.

Reference Links:

  1. Curry Tree by Wikipedia
  2. Phytochemical diversity of Murraya koenigii from Western Himalaya published in pubmed.
  3. A 2012 research article on the Estimation of salivary and tongue coating pH on chewing household herbal leaves: A randomized controlled trial published in PubMed.
  4. A 2004 article on ‘The traditional diabetes remedy offers hope’ published in The Times of India.
  5. Ayurvedic Herb Curry Leaves published in Geocities