Linseed Oil

Your heart would skip a beat, if I say that about 72,000-96,000 deaths happen in the United States every year due to Omega-3 deficiency. (A Harvard Study on ““The Preventable Causes of Death in the United States: Comparative Risk Assessment of Dietary Lifestyle and Metabolic Risk Factors.”)

Linseed-bannerLinseed also called as Flaxseed is rich in Omega-3, where 55% of Flaxseed oil is dominated with the presence of Omega-3. It is a fatty acid that helps in fighting against heart attacks, high blood pressure, increased levels of cholesterol, free radicals causing cancerous growths, stress, hypertension, weak immunity and more.

Known as Rudrapatni, Masruna, Kshama and Neela in Sanskrit, Flaxseed and its oil has been used for more than 5,000 years in Ayurveda for treating obesity, high blood pressure, excess cholesterol, arthritis, paralysis, bloating, wounds, neuralgia, hemorrhoids and constipation.

Purchase Linseed Oil – Retail – 4 oz – CLICK HERE

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Chemical constituents and remedial properties of Linseed oil:

The oil of Flaxseed contains about 50% of alpha-linoleic acid along with oleic acid, p-coumaric acid, stearic acid, palmitic acid, arachidic acid, cyanogenic glycosides, sitosterol, campesterol, phytosterols and linoleic acid.

Cardio-tonic, expectorant, nervine, antioxidant, immune stimulant, purgative, cicatrisant, analgesic, expectorant, anti-inflammatory, laxative, demulcent, emollient, hepatoprotective, antimicrobial and antifungal are the predominant remedial values of Flaxseed oil.

Flaxseed is rich in lignans, which contain antioxidant and plant estrogen qualities. Trusted sources state that Flaxseed has 75 – 800 times extra lignans than all other plant food varieties.

Omega-3 essential fatty acid is heading the health benefits of Flaxseed with its extremely beneficial effects on heart and its power to resist the incidence of cancerous tumors, discard toxins and bad cholesterol in the system.

According to the Flax Council of Canada, the nutritional profile of Flaxseed oil constitutes of Omega-3, Omega-6, Omega-9 fatty acids and certain other healthy nutrients.

This report also states that Linseed contains Vitamin B1, B2, B3 and B5 along with calcium, magnesium, zinc, selenium, phosphorus, iron, manganese, potassium, about 29% of carbohydrates, 18% of protein and a massive 95% of fiber.

Historical uses and importance of Linseed and its oil:

Flaxseed has a rich history of being used since the ages of Acharya Charaka, the most trusted Ayurvedic philosopher and the author of Charaka Samhita, the pioneering Ayurvedic encyclopedia.

With Linum ustitissimum as its scientific name, Linseed is a limb of the plant family, Linaceae.

The most persuasive thing that I observed about Linseed is that the special Sanskrit names of this magical herb. Names like Rudrapatni, Uma, Parvati, Masruna, Suvarchala, Venu, Kshaumi, Kshama and Kshuma are all female names.

Among which Uma, Parvati and Rudrapatni exhibit absolute power and supremacy as all the three indicate the Indian Hindu Goddess Parvati Devi, the wife of Shiva, the Supreme God adorned as the ‘Transformer’ or the ‘Destroyer’.

This vivid long-established proof is more than enough to understand the glorious healing benefits and the dominance of Flaxseed in curing and benefitting mankind.

The book ’20,000 secrets of Tea’ by Victoria Zak quotes Flax as “Flaxseeds were used by the Greeks, mandated by law as a necessary food in the 8th century in France, and recommended by Gandhi.”

Warm poultice of Flaxseed oil has been prescribed in Ayurvedic remedies for treating eczema and certain other skin conditions. Ground Linseed (fresh paste) with cold water is an exceptional natural remedy for treating headache, poisonous insect bites and arthritis.

The traditional populace of India used Flaxseed to normalize the level of blood sugar and cholesterol with 1 tbsp of Flaxseed powder mixed with 10 ounce of water, especially in between meals to curb hunger and burn excess fat and cholesterol in regular intervals.

This is the right time to crack the difference between the terms ‘Linseed and Flaxseed’, while both these names denote the same seeds of the Linum ustitissimum plant, the distinction lies in its terms of usage.

Based upon a reliable source, the term ‘Flaxseed’ is used when it is meant for human use and ‘Linseed’ is used more for commercial or industrial purpose as an excellent paint binder and wood finish. This is just to help you understand better but to put in a nutshell ‘both Linseed and Flaxseed mean one and the same.’

Linseed and its cold pressed oil is also used as a vital ingredient in Ayurvedic medications like Sarshapadi Pralepa, topical remedy for lymph nodes and inflamed cyst conditions; Kolakulathadi Choornam, powder based medicine used in Ayurvedic powder massage called as Udvartana; Gojihwadi Kashaya is a tonic used in treating bronchitis, cough, fever and few other respiratory problems.

Ayurvedic health benefits of Linseed oil:

Ayurveda simply stands for the ‘Knowledge of life’, where Ayur means life and Veda means knowledge.

This noble healing system is more than 5000 years old and is the ‘Proud pioneer’ of all the medical sciences on earth including Homeopathy, Chiropractic, Aromatherapy, Allopathy, The Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Siddha, Unani and Acupressure.

The beauty of Ayurveda lies in its trust that all things in the universe, including human beings are built with the 5 principal elements, known as Panchaboothas or Devanagari.

They are fire, air, water, space and earth. You’d be more than just amazed to know that each of these 5 elements stays behind as the constructive forces behind numerous functions of our body and the entire world.

Air governs functions of the respiratory, nervous, muscular and cardiac system. Earth is responsible for physical built-up including muscles, skin, cartilages, hair, nails, bones and tendons.

Water is present in the form of cytoplasm, blood, digestive acids and activities of the salivary glands. Fire is evident through metabolic functions, intellectual power, body temperature and vision. Ether or space is active in the abdomen, lungs, mouth, digestive passage and thorax.

These five elements institute the performance of the five senses, namely the sense of sound, smell, touch, taste and sight. It also controls the functions of the 7 primary elements called as Saptadhatus. They are blood, reproductive tissues, marrow, plasma, fat, bone and flesh.

Every person is made up of a unique individual constitution, Prakriti, which is a combination of 3 vital energies known as doshas. Doshas are nothing but an arrangement of 5 elements, pitta (fire + water), kapha (earth + water) and vata (space + air).

The character, physique, behavioral patterns and spiritual entitlement of an individual is determined by the predominant dosha. Perfect balance between doshas means perfect health and imbalance indicates illnesses.

Every Ayurvedic remedy aims at treating the individual in a unique manner and not just his/her illnesses. It aims at attaining Swasthya, means heartiness of the body, mind and spirit. Ayurvedic healing works with a vision of attaining longevity through healthy lifestyle practices, prevention of illnesses and self-realization.

Ayurvedic remedy prescribe herbal medications, Ayurvedic essential oils, yoga, Dinacharya or Ayurvedic routine, simple physical exercises, Panchakarma or cleansing technique, Pranayama or mindful breathing, meditation (connection with the Divine State) and prayers.

Flaxseed oil has been prescribed in Ayurveda for augmenting pitta and kapha dosha and for pacifying vata dosha.

The Ayurvedic health benefits of Linseed oil are:

Linseed-broucher1. Boosts up your immunity and strength – Balya:

Flaxseed oil is termed as Balya in Ayurveda for its effectiveness in enhancing immune power or the human body’s ability to withstand, guard and fight against the invasion of harmful foreign bodies and other disease causing infections.

With its rich presence of Omega-3 fatty acid, Flaxseed is one among those best natural alternatives for supporting the immune system, augmenting vigor, muscular strength and is highly recommended as ‘Comprehensive food for a body builder’.

Mensfitness.com recommends the use of Flaxseed as a part of one’s routine mainly for its rich fiber and protein and might help in maximizing one’s calisthenics in the gym.

The book ‘Ask the Guru’ by Dickens quotes Flaxseed as “Best body building food”. This is attributed to its improved presence of about 25 percent of essential amino acid proteins, which aids in building muscular potency and enormous strength that is indispensable for workouts and body building.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “About 70 million American adults (29%) have high blood pressure – that’s 1 of every 3 adults.”

Many research studies have witnessed the efficiency of Flaxseed and its oil in lowering high blood pressure and treating headache, fatigue, anxiety and physical exhaustion associated with hypertension and increased blood pressure.

Massaging your system with 2 ounce of Flaxseed oil blended with 4 drops of Argan oil and 3 ounce of Sesame oil can help in augmenting your stamina, physical endurance, briskness, flexibility, disease resistance ability and the emotional authority to achieve your fitness funda.

Fortify your system with this massage everyday or once in 2 days, preferably before stepping into your gym.

2. Stimulates Agni or the digestive fire – Dipana:

Flaxseed, with a high substance of mucilage is an excellent laxative that aids in treating constipation by lubricating the digestive tract and can even treat chronic constipation effectively.

Victoria Zak in her book ’20,000 secrets of Tea’ says that the tea prepared with Flaxseed is a bulking laxative and is used in blends for rheumatism and intestinal cleansing.

Termed as Malakrut for its ability to increase the volume of faeces, Ayurveda states that Flaxseed and its oil have the potent to increase Agni or the digestive fire, responsible for spontaneous and trouble-free digestion, for which it is called as Dipana.

Massaging your abdomen with 5 drops of Flaxseed oil and 1 drop of Peppermint oil, stimulates the secretion of bile, gastric juices and digestive acids that help in supporting metabolic functions including digestion, absorption of nutrients in food and excretion of toxic remains in the system.

This assists in treating long term constipation, hemorrhoids, Crohn’s disease, irregular bowel syndrome, flatulence, bloating and heartburn.

3. Increases your brain power and treats brain-related disorders – Medhya:

Linseed and its oil are known as Medhya with the presence of Omega 6 and Omega 3 fatty acids that are used in enhancing the functions of human brain.

It is a proven fact that Omega-3 fatty acids are indispensable for normal development of brain and insufficiency of fatty acids may lead to the surfacing of neurologic dysfunctions.

A 2012 study onProtective role of Ashwagandharishta and flax seed oil against maximal electroshock induced seizures in albino rats by Ila R Tanna, Hetal B Aghera, BK Ashok, HM, Chandola, published in Pharmacological Research and Ayurjournal witnesses the effectiveness of Flaxseed oil and Ashwagandha in treating neuropsychological disorders like epilepsy, depression and anxiety.

This study concludes that Flaxseed oil and Ashwagandha are the richest plant sources of omega-3 fatty acids. These natural medications have anti-stress and anxiolytic activities.

They work as “antidepressant by enhancing 5-HT neurotransmission and omega-3s promote transmission of the chemical messengers that facilitate communication between nerve cells and are associated with emotional stability (e.g., serotonin) and positive emotions.”

In addition, “it also affects brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which encourages synaptic plasticity, provides neuroprotection, enhances neurotransmission, and has antidepressant effects. Both Ashwagandharishta and flax seed oil are having antiepileptic activity; besides, they are having excellent anti-post-ictal depression effect.”

Adding 4 drops of Flaxseed oil with 2 drops of Ashwagandha oil in bath or in steam inhalation or in mild skin care creams and dabbing it on your temples, wrist and forehead might help in calming your nerves, soothing your senses, improve cognitive functions and help promote emotional steadiness with the secretion of positive hormones like serotonin.

Thus Flaxseed oil can assist in the treatment of depression, anxiety, Alzheimer’s disease, ADHD, epilepsy and certain other bipolar health disorders.

4. Discards toxic remains and free radicals – Mutrala and Malakrut:

You might have come across the efficacy of Flaxseed oil in treating cancer and might have even doubted its worth. If you have heard it before, then you’ve heard it right.

Flaxseed/Linseed oil is extremely effective in guarding the system against the infestation of free radicals, toxic substances, salt, uric acids, fat and bad cholesterol.

If permitted these health demolishers may lead to the birth of cancer (skin cancer, prostate cancer, colon cancer, breast cancer etc.,), rheumatic conditions, edema and arthritis.

The most influencing cancer fighting component in Flaxseed oil is phytochemical Lignans. It contains the richest antioxidant properties than any other plant derivatives and is approximately 800 times more than in other alternatives.

Various researches about Flaxseed in treating cancer have stated that lignans in Flaxseed protect the system from cancer by blocking enzymes that are responsible for hormone metabolism and pry with the spreading and growth of tumor cells.

An American study has proved that Flaxseed has about 27 anti-cancerous elements and it also has the power to treat ovarian cysts, menopausal symptoms and breast cancer with its power to block estrogen receptors.

Linseed oil has warming effects and massaging the painful parts with 5 drops of Flaxseed oil and 2 drops of Bay oil can assist in increasing the frequency and quantity of urination (for which it is called as Mutrala) through which the toxic substances, salt, fat, bad cholesterol and uric acid are eliminated.

By this way it treats inflammation, swelling, soreness, pain and redness associated with rheumatoid arthritis and other autoimmune disorders. It also supports the health of bones by enhancing the calcium absorption ability of the body.

The mention of Dr. Johanna Budwig and her power to treat various types of cancer with Flaxseed and cottage cheese is indeed a valuable information of all of us.

5. Supports heart health and treats diabetes – Hrudya, Medohara and Pramehaghna:

Medohara is the name attributed to the power of Linseed oil in regulating the metabolism of cholesterol and fat in the body.

Flaxseed has the ability to boost HDL or good cholesterol and reduce LDL or bad cholesterol and triglycerides, whereas HDL has been held responsible for an increased risk of obesity, heart disease, metabolic syndrome and diabetes.

Flaxseed controls high blood pressure that augments the risk of serious health conditions like stroke, heart attack, heart failure and kidney disorders.

Fitzpatrick says “”Lignans in flaxseed have been shown to reduce atherosclerotic plaque buildup by up to 75%.” And several studies have revealed that the presence of Omega-3 fatty acids in Linseed oil aids in checking the hardening of the arteries, prevent plaque from being settled in the arteries by controlling white blood cells from clinging to the inner linings of the blood vessels.

Called as Hrudya, Flaxseed oil has Omega-3 fatty acids that play a vital role in regularizing the functions of the heart and helpful in treating atherosclerosis, heart condition where blood clots or cholesterol clots is developed in the blood pipes; irregular heart beat or arrhythmia; stroke, cardiac arrest and ventricular arteriamia.

Flaxseed also assists in preventing the spikes in blood sugar, which happen after eating. Lignans also support in controlling the blood sugar level, thus helping in the treatment of diabetes for which it is called as Pramehaghna.

Massaging once in 2 days or twice in a week, advisably after work with 2 ounce of Linseed oil and 2 ounce of Coconut oil can help in regularizing your heart functions, dissolve HDL or bad cholesterol, liquefy blood clots in the blood vessels, reduce high blood pressure, regulate blood sugar and tranquilize your system for a healthier tomorrow.

You may even doubt whether a massage would be effective in treating heart problems??? Trust me; skin is the largest and permeable organ of the human body.

Massaging remedial oils on the skin aids in passing on the therapeutic properties of the oil to the bloodstream, by allowing deeper penetration of these oils.

Follow this massage with warm bath before going to bed… That’s it….. Everything else for a peaceful night and hearty day is all set…….

Other health benefits: Apart from these health benefits, Flaxseed oil is also helpful in treating Sjogren’s syndrome, benign prostate hypertrophy or enlarged prostate, hot flashes, eczema, acne, ringworm, clawed nails, Parkinson’s syndrome, wrinkles, dandruff etc.,

Flaxseed oil is used in Ayurveda as nasal drops (nasya), enema (basti chikitsa), ear drops (karna poorana), and of course Ayurvedic massaging (Abhyanga).

  1. Eat healthy and nutritious food.
  2. Ensure that you stick to a routine of simple physical exercises every day.
  3. Meditate or just close your eyes for about 10 minutes in a quiet place (reflecting and visualizing your vision).
  4. Practice balanced breathing or Pranayama (about 70 % of toxins are discarded through exhalation).
  5. Arm your mind with positive thoughts.
  6. Fulfill your duties to your family and society.
  7. Drink enough water.
  8. Smile even through adversities.

And that is what Ayurveda is all about…

It is more than enough to make your days more than just meaningful and rewarding……

Disclaimer:

This post is meant only for educational purposes and is not intended for treatment of any health condition or to substitute any prescribed medication or expert medical advice. None of us in Essential Depot are healthcare professionals and this article is shared only on the basis of spreading awareness on Ayurveda, the mother of all medical systems on earth and the oldest remedial science in the universe.

Essential oils are recommended only for topical application and are not advisable for ingestion. This is because 100 percent pure and organic oils are highly concentrated substances and may lead to allergic reactions when taken internally or used on the skin without appropriate dilution. Ensure that you use Linseed/Flaxseed oil only for topical use, sooner after a patch test on your skin.

Speak with your Ayurvedic practitioner or healthcare professional before selecting the fitting essential oils for your Prakriti or unique individual constitution and Vikruti or current health condition. Consult your Doctor before using Flaxseed/Linseed oil on pregnant or nursing moms and on children.

Thought for the day:

You are naturally beautiful when you are YOURSELF.

Suggested Reading:

  1. The Healing Power of Flax: How Nature’s Richest Source of Omega-3 Fatty Acids Can Help to Heal, Prevent and Reverse Arthritis, Cancer, Diabetes and Heart by N. D. Joier-Bey, Herb Joiner-Bey, N. D. Joiner-Bey
  2. Flax: The genus Linum (Medicinal and Aromatic Plants – Industrial Profiles) from CRC Press
  3. Flax Oil as a True Aid Against Arthritis, Heart Infarction, Cancer and Other Diseases, 3rd Edition by Dr. Johanna Budwig
  4. Flax for Life!: 101 Delicious Recipes and Tips Featuring Fabulous Flax Oil
    by Jade Beutler
  5. Flax Seed :The Ultimate Recipe Guide by Jonathan Doue M.D., Encore Books

Reference Links:

  1. Linseed oil by Wikipedia
  2. The health benefits of Flaxseed oil by Dr. Edward Group for Global Healing Center
  3. 6 reasons to never neglect Flaxseed by Mensfitness.com
  4. Protective role of Ashwagandharishta and flax seed oil against maximal electroshock induced seizures in albino rats by Ila R Tanna, Hetal B Aghera, BK Ashok, HM, Chandola, Department of Roga Nidana and Vikriti Vijnana, Institute for Postgraduate Teaching and Research in Ayurveda, Gujarat Ayurved University, published in Pharmacological Research, 2012 and Ayurjournal
  5. The Benefits of Flaxseed by WebMD

Sesame Oil

Sesame-bannerFrom nasal drops to enema, from babies to elderly people, Sesame oil forms an incredible part of the Ayurvedic regimen. Experts say that about 90% of the herbal oils in Ayurvedic treatment are prepared with a base of Sesame oil.

Celebrated for its rich presence of nutrients, this oil is used as a nourishing cooking oil in most parts of India, especially the southern parts of the nation where Ayurvedic system of healing has its roots deeply vested with.

Known as Tila in the Ayurvedic world, Sesame oil is extracted by pressing the seeds of the plant Sesamum indicum (syn. Sesamum Orientale). Sesame oil has been used for its innumerable benefits to mankind and the most touching thing is that the seed hulls left after pressing the oil can be fed to livestock as a wholesome food.

Purchase Sesame Oil – Wholesale – CLICK HERE

Historical importance of Sesame Oil:

This invigorating oil has the longest history of more than 5,000 years just like the ancient Ayurvedic system. This was the main oil crop and was cultivated during the times of Indus valley civilization, the oldest civilization of the world. Sesame was the first crop used for extracting oil.

Before 600 BC, Sesame oil was used as a salve, medicine and in food by the rich Assyrians community. From times immemorial, this oil has been an important part of the world of Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Various traditions like Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Southeast Asian and Middle Eastern used Sesame oil as a flavor enhancer and natural health stimulant.

Most of the Ayurvedic therapies have registered the use of Sesame oil for its ability to strengthen the system, detoxify the body and ensure the proper functioning of all the vital organs. Sesame seed oil is considered as a sacred oil in many parts of India and is used in votive lamps and other ceremonies of religious importance.

Among the seven chakras or the vital points of human energy, sesame oil is said to benefit the heart chakra responsible for unconditional love for others and self, compassion, emotions and all kinds of relationships with the world, root chakra responsible for dealing with the challenges of the world and the spleen chakra responsible for the right to think, self-confidence, self-control and intellect.

Therapeutic properties and nutrients of Sesame oil:

Sesame oil is rich in vitamin E (potent antioxidant), iron, omega-6 fatty acids, vitamin B6, magnesium, calcium, zinc, copper, dietary fiber and flavonoids phenolic antioxidants.

All these enriching nutrients make Sesame oil as a powerful antioxidant with antibacterial, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, immune-stimulant, restorative, anti-rheumatic, carminative, tonic, anti-diabetic, anti-atherogenic, cardiac, dermatologic, laxative, emollient, warming and anti-depressant properties.

Ayurvedic health benefits of Sesame oil:

Ayurvedic encyclopedias like Charaka Samhita and Sushruta Samhita have listed enormous health benefits of Sesame oil. Practicing Ayurveda is a sure shot remedy for self-improvement as it involves a systematic life-style along with essential oils, herbal medications, yoga, meditation and physical exercises that keep you fit and fine even in your late 60s.

Human body is made up of 3 energy elements known as doshas in Ayurveda. They are vata, pitta and kapha. The predominant energy element determines your personality, character and behavior. Sesame oil has the potent to balance excess vata along with kapha and pitta deficiency.

Let’s take a look at the Ayurvedic health benefits of Sesame seed oil in terms of various ways of administration.Sesame-broucher1. Oil Pulling:

This is a simple Ayurvedic therapy that helps in eliminating the harmful toxins from the body and enhances immunity and is known as Gandusha in Sanskrit. It is nothing but swishing 1 tablespoon of sesame oil in the mouth for 20 minutes in empty stomach in the morning and spitting out the toxins-filled remains. This process helps in protecting the dental health known as Dantya Swasthya in Ayurveda.

Charaka Samhita (Charaka Samhita Ch V-78 to 80) quotes the act of oil pulling as “It is beneficial for strength of jaws, depth of voice, flabbiness of face, improving gustatory sensation and good taste for food. One used to this practice never gets dryness of throat, nor do his lips ever get cracked; his teeth will never be carious and will be deep rooted; he will not have any toothache nor will his teeth set on edge by sour intake; his teeth can chew even the hardest eatables” . The best oil recommended for oil pulling by Ayurvedic texts is organic cold pressed Sesame oil.

Sesame oil has sesamol, sesamolin and sesamin components along with the presence of polyunsaturated fatty acids and Vitamin E that make this oil as a rich natural antioxidant. This property helps in preventing decay and degeneration of cells in the body and blocks the absorption of negative cholesterol in the liver.

A popular study on “Effect of Oil Pulling on Plaque and Gingivitis” by Dr. HV Amith proved that 45 days of methodical oil pulling showed a significant decrease in plaque and gingivitis.

The antibacterial and antifungal properties of this oil help in treating halitosis or bad breath, plaque, gingivitis and dental cavities.

One more study conducted in 2008 on “The Effect of oil-pulling on dental caries causing bacteria” proved the in-vitro antibacterial activity of Sesame oil against dental caries causing bacteria, especially Streptococcus mutans and Lactobacillus acidophilus. This study also witnessed the considerable reduction of the total count of bacteria after oil-pulling.

Oil pulling with Sesame oil is also effective in treating cracked lips, eczema, sinusitis, heart disorders, psoriasis, obesity, dry skin, headache, kidney problems, rheumatic pain and inflammation, dry throat and tooth decay.

2. Abhyanga, the art of Ayurvedic massage therapy:

Abhyanga or Ayurvedic massage with Sesame oil is a significant part of the Ayurvedic treatment to relieve muscular pain and tension, make the skin healthy and glowing, regularize the breathing pattern, improve blood circulation, relax the nervous system, revive the mind and relieve stress and sleeping difficulties. These benefits are mentioned in Ayurvedic texts as Twachya , Balya and Keshya.

(i) Balya (benefits for children):

Known as the King of Oils, Sesame oil is completely safe for the use of children and is known to strengthen the bones, joints and muscles by penetrating deeply into the muscles and the bone marrow. It is because of this property, every Indian family massage their new born babies and toddlers with Sesame oil before bath and leave them under sunlight for few minutes allowing the body to absorb vitamin D and nourish the skin cells naturally.

(ii) Twachya (benefits for the skin):

The presence of vitamin E and zinc in this oil helps in augmenting the elasticity of the skin; repairs damaged skin cells and promote the production of collagen. Massaging your skin with this nourishing natural emollient aids in preventing the symptoms of aging, wrinkles, acne, psoriasis, wounds, burns and other skin infections. Sesame oil also protects your skin from dangerous ultra-violet rays.

(iii) Keshya (benefits for the hair):

Massaging your head with warm Sesame oil stimulates hair growth, controls dandruff, nourishes the scalp, kills the infestation of lice, and eases anxiety and fatigue.

It is a long time tradition of Indians to massage their head and body with Sesame oil once in a week and take bath with the herbal powder known Shikakai to reduce the body temperature and enliven the nerves and cells. This oil kills the dandruff causing bacteria and protects the skin and scalp from the harmful effects of chlorine in swimming pool water.

3. Nasya, nasal cleansing:

Nasya is one important methodology among the 5 methods of Ayurvedic Panchakarma therapy. It is the method of administering herbal oils and medicines through the nostrils. According to Ayurveda, nose is the entrance to the brain. Applying a few drops of Sesame oil in the nostrils as nasal drops helps in treating illnesses above your shoulders.  This aids in removing the toxins from the body, alleviate stress, sinusitis, allergies, headache, cold and wrinkles.

4. Pathya, daily diet:

When used as cooking oil in daily diet, Sesame oil is highly beneficial for the entire system from head to toe. Ayurveda suggests the daily use of this oil and is said to grant Vranashodhana (healing and cleansing internal and external wounds), Agni janana (augmenting the power of digestion and metabolism) and Medha janana (enhancing intelligence).

Regular use of Sesame oil helps in fighting cancer with its antioxidant properties, guards the body from DNA damage due to radiation, treats rheumatism, improves digestive health, supports respiratory wellness, aids in preventing diabetes, lowers blood pressure and improve the health of the cardiovascular system.

Disclaimer:

Consult your Ayurvedic physician before using Sesame oil for your individual constitution. This article is only for informational purpose and is not meant to replace your prescribed medicines or the advice of your healthcare professional.

Thought for the day:

For in the true nature of things, if we rightly consider, every green tree is far more glorious than if it were made of gold and silver. -Martin Luther

Suggested Reading:

  1. The Encyclopedia of Ayurvedic Massage by John Douillard
  2. Eat-Taste-Heal: An Ayurvedic Cookbook for Modern Living by Thomas Yarema, Daniel Rhoda, Johnny Brannigan
  3. The Oral Health Bible by Michael Bonner, Earl L. Mindell
  4. Oil Pulling Therapy: Detoxifying and Healing the Body through Oral Cleansing by Bruce Fife

Reference Links:

  1. Sesame Oil by Wikipedia
  2. Effect of oil-pulling on dental caries causing bacteria by Durai Anand T, Gopinath RM, Pothiraj C and Kayalvizhi B of the PG Department of Microbiology, VHNSN College, India
  3. Open Sesame! 10 Amazing Health Benefits Of This Super-Seed by GreenMEDInfo
  4.  Sesame Oil For Bone Building in Ayurveda by Livestrong.com

Basil Oil

‘The Elixir of life’ and ‘Mother medicine of Nature’ are the most popular historical references of Basil for its enormous healing values to the mind, body and soul.

Basil-oil-bannerIt has marked its presence significantly in various medicinal systems in the world including Ayurveda and Homeopathy for treating diabetes, renal colic, epileptic attacks, painful breasts, congestion, asthmatic attacks, diarrhea, numbness, migraine, nervous exhaustion and insomnia.

Scientifically known as Ocimum canum, Basil is a member of the mint family Lamiaceae. This traditional medicinal herb is widely distributed in India, especially Tamil Nadu and is called as Nai Tulasi in Tamil. Besides numerous therapeutic properties, the most noteworthy remedial effects of Basil and its essential oil are its functions as a cancer chemoprotective agent and anti-diabetic agent for reducing blood glucose levels in type 2 diabetes.

Historical uses and importance of Basil oil:

Basil is said to have its origin in India, the land of rich traditional values. The healing, culinary and aromatic attributes of this sweet-smelling plant have been talked about in many classical herbal writings including Charaka Samhita (ancient Ayurvedic text) and the works of renowned herbalists like Dioscorides, Gerard, Culpeper and Parkinson.

Parkinson has quoted that Basil’s scent “fit for a King’s house”, denoting its royal aroma and has also said that Basil can be used “to procure a cheerful and merry heart.” Gerard and Culpeper has mentioned that Basil is an excellent remedy for melancholy and is a natural antidote for insect bites including scorpion stings, mosquito bites and bee stings.

The word ‘Ocimum’ (generic name) is derived from the Greek word ‘okimon’, which means smell. This indicates one among those reasons behind the unforgettable fragrance of the Basil variety. Basil plays a vital role in various religious practices across the world, where it has been considered as a sacred herb in Hinduism and said to have grown at the place of Christ’s crucifixion.

Basil plant has also been associated as a symbol of love, protection, courtship, truthfulness, courtship, death and luck. This plant has been a significant part of various religious ceremonies, where the smoke from burning this herb is said to calm the mind and augment the spiritual power.

Ocimum canum has been used in the traditional medicine for treating oral problems, fever, insect bites, constipation, parasitic infestations, cold, inflammation, headache, joint pain and dysentery. This plant was burnt in the homes as incense and for protecting from insects. Basil leaves were also used to guard the crops post harvesting from the damages of insects.

This herb is much remembered in various traditions across the world in the treatment of type 2 diabetes. Basil and its essential oil are also used as a flavoring agent in soft drinks, shampoos, cuisines, body lotions, teas, candies, dairy products, toothpastes and cosmetics.

Therapeutic properties and chemical constituents of Basil essential oil:

The essential oil of Basil has about 36 chemical components and is a rich source of camphor, eugenol, β-caryophyllene, a-pinene, limonene, myrcene, camphene, naphthalene, caryophyllene and valencene.

These components contribute to its therapeutic properties like antiemetic, anti-stress, antiviral, antibacterial, rubefacient, antidiabetic, antiasthmatic, antimicrobial, anticancer, insecticide, anti-fertility, anti-fungal, anti-malarial, antioxidant, expectorant, analgesic, antispasmodic, anti-inflammatory and antiseptic.

Ayurvedic health benefits of Basil essential oil:

Ayurveda is a complete medicinal practice which stands on the three pillars of health, including physical, mental and a hearty soul. For attaining this holistic healing, Ayurveda focuses on treating the root cause of an illness instead of treating the symptoms. This aids in curing the sickness initially and preventing it in the future as well.

The principle of Ayurveda strongly believes that every individual is a unique part of nature with a unique individual constitution, which consists of three dynamic energies called as doshas. They are vata, pitta and kapha. These doshas are a representation of the five fundamentals elements of nature. They are water, fire, earth, space and air.

Vata dosha is an arrangement of air and space and is in charge for circulatory, respiratory, and nervous functions of the system. Pitta energy is a combination of fire and water and it takes care of body temperature and metabolic activities including digestion, absorption and elimination. Kapha is a representation of earth and water and is responsible for reproductive functions, movement of fluids and muscular development of the body.

Ayurvedic texts state that every person should be treated in a unique manner according to the predominance and balance between the 3 doshas. This doshic structure determines a human’s physique, character and behavioral attributes.

Imbalance between these doshas is said to happen based on an individual’s balance with nature, which is said to deviate depending on a person’s change in food habits, lifestyle changes, environmental factors and climatic conditions.

Doshic imbalances lead to illnesses and is best treated in Ayurvedic medicine by recommending natural remedies including herbs, essential oils, meditation, yoga, prayers, Pranayama or the art of balanced breathing, simple physical exercises, Abhyanga (Ayurvedic massaging), Ayurvedic routine, Panchakarma (Ayurvedic detoxification) techniques.

These remedies help in correcting the imbalance between these doshas and aid in healing the illness initially and preventing it in the future as well. Basil oil is said to reduce kapha dosha predominantly, pacify vata and enhance pitta dosha with its warming effect on the system.

Let’s look at the Ayurvedic health benefits of Basil essential oil based on its usage:

Basil-oil-broucher1. Benefits as a bathing or massaging oil:

Abhyanga or the art of Ayurvedic massaging is an ancient healing technique and is one among the friendliest remedy for treating various medical conditions.  Massaging in Ayurveda means the use of palms, elbows, feet and other conventional massaging tools and equipments for maneuvering nerves, muscles and the whole body.

Ayurveda prescribes the use of Ayurvedic essential oils in massaging technique after analyzing the individual constitution and the state of health. By this way, the medicinal properties of the essential oils pass on to the blood stream and then to the skin, where it transforms the respective health benefits to the related parts of the system.

The largest organ of the human body is skin. Using Ayurvedic essential oils in topical application, aids in passing on the healing values to the system by penetrating through the skin cells. This traditional massaging technique helps in enhancing the blood circulation and augments the red blood cells count.

Massaging your system with 10 drops of Basil oil blended with 5 drops of Clove oil, 5 drops of Lavender oil and 5 drops of Lime oil along with 15 ml of coconut oil can assist in treating respiratory infections, skin problems, diabetes, high levels of cholesterol, headache, arthritis, rheumatism, dandruff, kidney stones, urinary infections and digestive disorders like indigestion, heartburn, vomiting and other stomach disorders.

a) Relieves pain and eliminates toxic substances:

Basil essential oil has detoxifying, diuretic, antioxidant and analgesic properties that help in discarding toxic remains from the system by promoting frequent urination. This also aids in reducing the level of uric acid and salt deposits, which may otherwise lead to the formation of kidney stones.

Improper blood circulation, stagnation of water deposits and amassing of toxic remains or ama (left due to indigestion) are the major causes for rheumatic conditions, arthritis and pain leading to stiff joints, inflammation, painful muscles, soreness, redness, irritation, fatigue and difficulties in performing routine tasks.

Gently massaging the painful and affected parts with this Ayurvedic massaging blend can be of great assistance in reducing inflammation, redness, irritation, pain and it also supports in promoting blood circulation in the painful areas. The therapeutic values of Basil oil along with other Ayurvedic oils in this massage blend promotes the frequency and quality of urination through which the toxic remains in the system are eliminated.

Homeopathy medication prescribes the use of Ocimum canum in the treatment of diseases associated with the kidneys, urethra and bladder. The most common health disorders treated with Basil in Homeopathic medicine are cramps and pain in kidneys and ureters, urinary problems like formation of high acidity or spike crystals of uric acid, renal colic, swelling and other symptoms of renal calculus.

b) Skin disorders and hair problems:

The essential oil of Basil has antimicrobial, antifungal, antiseptic and antiviral properties that help in healing numerous skin disorders including acne and dermatitis. 3 drops of Basil oil blended with 3 drops of Lavender oil and 3 ml of coconut oil can be applied on acne, marks, ringworm, eczema, athletes’ foot, leucoderma, itches and insect bites for improved results.

Basil oil also helps in clearing away skin blemishes and marks left behind by acne and wounds. Fresh juice extracted from Basil leaves mixed with honey is a traditional remedy for treating acne in Ayurveda. With its antifungal properties, Basil oil is said to be an excellent remedy for clearing dandruff, hair fall, dry and itchy scalp conditions.

A 2012 study on Antifungal activity of Ocimum canum Essential oil against Toxinogenic Fungi isolated from Peanut Seeds in post-harvest in Benin, published in the International Research Journal of Biological Sciences, concluded that the essential oil of Basil is used as an antifungal agent in protecting peanuts post harvest in Benin against the toxic strains of fungi like Aspergillus parasiticus and Aspergillus flavus.

This study justifies the use of the Basil leaves in the traditional medicine for treating numerous ailments and also reports “the essential oil of fresh leaves of O. canum as aflatoxin inhibitor and fungal growth suppressor. Based on these potentials, essential oil of Ocimum canum may be recommended as preservative of stored food commodities from fungal and aflatoxin contamination in storage system.”

Slightly heat 5 drops of Basil oil with 5 drops of Rosemary oil, 3 drops of Ylang Ylang oil and 3 drops of Lemon oil along with 10 ml of sesame oil and massage it soothingly on your scalp. Leave this blend to rest on your scalp for 30 minutes. Wash your hair with a mild shampoo blended with 1 drop of Basil oil and 1 drop of Lavender oil for treating dandruff, rough hair and split ends. This also aids in controlling hair fall and supports shiny, lustrous and thick hair.

c) Controls diabetes and reduces the level of cholesterol in the system:

Just like Clove oil, Basil oil is also a rich source of eugenol, caryophyllene and methyl eugenol. The high level of antioxidants along with these chemical constituents helps in supporting the proper functions of the pancreatic beta cells. These cells are responsible for storing and releasing of insulin in the system.

Massaging your system with this medicated blend will be a great aid in increasing the sensitivity to insulin and can help in controlling the level of blood sugar and insulin. This also helps in treating oxidative cellular stress and damage, thereby reducing the increased level of cholesterol and high blood pressure. You can also add 1 drop of Basil oil and 1 drop of Clove oil in your bathing water daily for obtaining these benefits.

A 2002 study on “Extract of Ocimum canum lowers blood glucose and facilitates insulin release by isolated pancreatic beta-islet cells” by Nyarko AK, Asare-Anane H, Ofosuhene M, Addy ME, Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research, University of Ghana, Legon studied the use of the aqueous extract of Ocimum canum in the traditional Ghanaian medicine for treating diabetes mellitus.

This study concluded that the use of Ocimum canum extracts on animal models “inhibited insulin secretion by the pancreatic beta-islet cells and fasting blood glucose levels and body weight decreased significantly.”

d) Reduces fever:

Basil oil is a known Ayurvedic remedy for treating fever, including viral and malarial fever. With its febrifuge, antibacterial, antifungal, insecticide and antimicrobial properties, Basil and its essential oil assists in reducing the body temperature even in cases of high fever.

Massaging your foot soles with 2 drops of Basil oil along with 2 drops of Coriander oil and 2 ml of coconut oil can help in reducing fever significantly as all the nerves in body end up in foot soles and passing the therapeutic properties of these essential oils through the foot soles grants instant relief.

2. In steam inhalation:

Basil essential oil has been proven for its remedial effects in reducing excess of kapha dosha, which is responsible for respiratory infections including flu, common cold, nasal congestion, sinusitis, bronchitis, chest congestion, whooping cough and breathing difficulties.

Adding 2 drops of Basil oil and 1 drop of Eucalyptus oil in steam inhalation can help in relieving cold, cough, nasal congestion, sinusitis, sore throat, watery eyes and difficulties in breathing due to excess of mucus and phlegm deposits in the nasal and bronchial passages.

3. In burners or vaporizers:

Aroma plays a significant role in the natural healing methodologies and is one among the five types of remedial measures in Ayurveda. The sense of smell in Ayurveda states that an encouraging, energizing and tranquilizing fragrance has a positive effect on the entire system. This is the major reason for the use of incense sticks, flowers and aromatic candles during prayers and other spiritual gatherings.

Basil essential oil owns a warm, sweet, herbaceous and invigorating aroma that implants an encouraging effect on the plasma, nervous system and the circulatory system. When inhaled the therapeutic properties of this oil reach the limbic system of the brain through the nasal passages. Limbic system is the control center of the human brain that controls the feelings, emotions and attributes of a person.

2 drops of Basil oil with 1 drop of Neroli oil and 1 drop of Clary Sage oil added to the burner, diffuser, aromatic candle or vaporizer during meditation or Pranayama can assist in treating anxiety, mood fluctuations, stress, fatigue, nervous weaknesses and stressful conditions. This also assists in enhancing memory power, concentration, sexual interest, self-confidence and spiritual oneness.

Being a sacred oil, Basil is known for its power in uplifting the spirit and supporting improved spiritual bonding. This also helps in expanding the heart chakra, which is responsible for self-confidence, self-love, self-respect and love for others. Inhaling the curative aroma of this oil is said to generate a soothing effect on the intestines and stomach and alleviates spasms and cramps.

4. In oral rinse and compresses:

Basil essential oil has antimicrobial and antibacterial properties that work as a protective shield against germs causing tooth decay, bad odor and gum problems.1 drop of Basil oil and 1 drop of Clove oil added to a cup of warm water can be used as an oral rinse for relieving plaque, tooth pain, bad breath and protecting from damaging germs and other micro-organisms. This gargle can also aid in strengthening the gums and lessening toothache due to sensitivity.

2 drops of Basil oil blended with 2 drops of Eucalyptus oil and 2 drops of Bergamot oil in warm or cold compress aids in relieving joint pain, headache, muscular spasms, arthritis, stomach ache, rheumatic pain and migraine.

5. Other uses:

Basil and its essential oil is also effective in the treatment of intestinal worms, indigestion, cancer (attributed to its antioxidant and cytotoxic activities), eye irritation, epileptic attacks, renal colic, vomiting, painful kidneys, epileptic convulsions, painful urination and weak immune system.

Disclaimer:

This article is meant only for the use of education and information. It is not in any way recommended for substituting prescription drugs or expert medical guidance. We are not professionals in healthcare and this information is shared purely based on the interest of spreading the fragrance of Ayurvedic healing, the world’s oldest medical system on earth.

Never use essential oils internally and make sure that you dilute essential oils before using it for external application. This is because 100 percent organic and pure essential oils are highly concentrated substances and may cause allergic reactions if used on the skin directly.

Talk with your Ayurvedic practitioner/ healthcare expert before selecting the most suitable essential oils for your prakriti or unique individual constitution and state of health. Please avoid using Basil oil if you have sensitive skin or during pregnancy.

Thought for the day:

By bringing nature into our lives, we invite humility.  -Richard Louv

Suggested Reading:

  1. Adaptogens: Herbs for Strength, Stamina, and Stress Relief by David Winston, Steven Maimes
  2. The Basil Supplement: Alternative Medicine for a Healthy Body (Health Collection) by William Wagner
  3. Basil Recipes: Cooking with the King of Herbs (Quick and Easy Series) by Dogwood Apps
  4. Essential Oils for Weight Loss: If You Are Not Using These Essential Oils You Are Missing Out On Weight Loss Success (Essential Oils for Beginners – … Need to Accomplish Your Weight Loss Goals) by Sophie Hart
  5. The Ayurveda Encyclopedia: Natural Secrets to Healing, Prevention, & Longevity by Swami Sadashiva Tirtha

Reference Links:

  1. Basil: An Herb Society of America Guide by the Herb Society
  2. Extract of Ocimum canum lowers blood glucose and facilitates insulin release by isolated pancreatic beta-islet cells by Nyarko AK, Asare-Anane H, Ofosuhene M, Addy ME, published in PubMed
  3. Antioxidant and cytotoxic activities of essential oil of Ocimum canum Sims. from India by Tamil Selvi, Thirugnanasampandan, Sundarammal published in the Journal of Saudi Chemical Society
  4. Antifungal activity of Ocimum canum Essential oil against Toxinogenic Fungi isolated from Peanut Seeds in post-harvest in Benin by Adjou Euloge S., Kouton Sandrine, Dahouenon-Ahous, Si Edwige, Sohounhloue Dominique C.K., Soumanou Mohamed M published in the International Research Journal of Biological Sciences