Bay Oil



The energy of being able to feel the new fragrance of the dewfall from a rose petal is the symbol of being hale and hearty. Bay leaf and its essential oil is another gift of nature that can help one in attaining this absolute state of health and heartiness.

Bay-oil-bnrBeing a stimulant of the digestive system, respiratory passages, circulatory system and the lymphatic functions, Bay leaf has been a trusted traditional remedy for keeping numerous health conditions at bay.

Celebrated as an aromatic culinary spice all over the world, Bay leaf is one among the most important ingredient of the garam masala and the authentic Biriyani, the much relished dish of the world from the Mughal Empire.

Botanically called as Laurus nobilis (Mediterranean Bay leaf), Bay leaf is known as Tejpatta (Indian Bay leaf or Cinnamomum tamala) in Ayurveda, and it has been used in the treatment of scalp dryness, migraine, amenorrhea, neuralgia, headache, asthma, poor memory, kidney infections, joint pain, uterus infection, arthritis, high blood sugar, menstrual difficulties, flatulence, stress, indigestion, diabetes and certain respiratory problems.

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Historical uses and importance of Bay leaf and its essential oil:

Bay leaves generally refer to various aromatic leaves of several plants used for culinary purposes. These names are given based on their nativity and few notable Bay leaf varieties are Bay laurel or Laurus nobilis, which is of Mediterranean origin; the next is the Indian Bay leaf or Cinnamomum tamala; West Indian Bay leaf or Pimenta racemosa; Indonesia Bay leaf or Syzygium polyanthum; Mexican Bay leaf or Litsea glaucescens; and the California Bay leaf or Umbellularia californica.

Every variety of Bay leaf has its own fragrance and numerous uses in cooking and in remedial practices for more than thousands of years across the globe. Whole leaves and powdered leaves are often used in adding that unique flavor in food preparation, where as the infusion or decoction of these leaves and its essential oil play a vital role in the Traditional and Alternative healing methodology.

Held high as the Sun God in Astrology, Bay laurel tree and its leaves have been related to wisdom, protection and peace since the primeval times, where the wise King was honored with the garland made of Bay leaves. This is mainly due to the positive emotional benefits of Bay leaves that aid in treating anxiety, stress and insomnia.

The powdered Bay leaves were mixed with milk for treating urinary infections, fever and dyspepsia. It was also recommended for normalizing blood circulation and reducing bad cholesterol in the system. The fresh and dried Bay leaves were used in the preparation of an herbal infusion, which was used as a promising diuretic for promoting frequent urination; eliminate excess water from the body and toxic remains in the system causing rheumatic conditions, indigestion, obesity and even heart problems.

Bay leaves were a trusted remedy in the Indian folklore medicine for treating vomiting, fatigue, nausea, diarrhea, rheumatism, obesity and colic. These magical leaves were also used as an aid for preventing cancer and oral problems. It is also used in the preparation of soups, stews, curries, liqueurs, anti-dandruff shampoos and cologne.

Bay leaf essential oil has been recommended in treating dandruff, rheumatism, migraine pain, arthritis, high blood pressure, congestion and earache. The astringent and anti-bacterial properties of this leaf supports its use as a salve for wounds and was used in the traditional medicine for treating skin rashes due to stinging nettle, poison ivy etc.,

Chemical constituents and therapeutic properties of Bay leaf essential oil:

The most notable therapeutic values of Bay leaf essential oil are anti-bacterial, antifungal, diuretic, stomachic, emmenagogue, tonic, febrifuge, diaphoretic, sedative, astringent, appetite stimulant, anti-neuralgic, expectorant, insecticide, anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory, cholagogue, antibiotic, aperitif and sudorific.

These remedial properties are due to the presence of effective chemical constituents in Bay essential oil including eucalyptol or cineole, linalool, limonene, eugenol, a-terpineol, geraniol, phellandrene, myrcene, a-pinene, b-pinene, neral, chavicol, and geranyl acetate.

Ayurvedic health benefits of Bay essential oil:

Ayurveda is the oldest medicinal science known to the world with more than 5,000 years of successful healing. It is a vital part of the ancient Indian Hindu mythology, which contains a compilation of 4 major Holy books called as Vedas.

They are Rig, Sama, Atharvaveda and Yajur Vedas. Between them, Ayurveda is a component of the Atharvaveda, in which 114 verses indicate the all-embracing Ayurvedic philosophy and natural remedies to guide a healthy and hearty living.

The world of Ayurveda attained its wholesomeness with the writings of the Ayurvedic physicians like Charaka (regarded as the ‘Father of medicine’) and Sushruta (known to the world as the ‘Father of surgery’). Acharya Charaka composed Charaka Samhita and Sushruta wrote Sushruta Samhita respectively, which was later combined together and gifted to the world of medicine in the name of Ashtanga Hridaya Samhita.

Ayurvedic healing insists on the importance of leading a healthy life with absolute physical, mental, social and spiritual balance. For attaining this, Ayurveda advises on leading a healthy lifestyle and balanced food habits along with other routine tasks like simple physical exercises, meditation, yoga, prayers and natural remedies like herbs and Ayurvedic essential oils.

As a holistic healing methodology, Ayurveda has everything including disciplinary values for increased life span and attaining bliss while on earth itself. With these respectable principles, Ayurveda aims at preventing illnesses rather than just healing. It believes that the adherence to Ayurvedic lifestyle and healthy habits can aid in preventing lifestyle disorders like high blood pressure, fatty liver conditions, high cholesterol, heart diseases, obesity, kidney degeneration and diabetes etc.

Ayurveda strongly believes that everything on earth including mankind is made up of the five basic elements of nature. They are earth, fire, space, air and water. It further states that every individual is a unique creation with a unique individual constitution, which is made of three biological energies known as doshas. They are vata, pitta and kapha.

Vata dosha is a combination of air and space and is responsible for the circulatory and nervous functions of the system. Pitta is made up of fire and water and is in charge for the metabolic functions and body temperature. Kapha is a mix of water and earth and is accountable for the functions of the reproductive system, sustenance and physique.

According to Ayurveda, every person has a predominance of one of these doshas and it decides the personality, behavior and character of an individual. Balance between these doshas as per the law of nature indicates perfect health and doshic disparities due to change in food habits, lifestyle and climatic conditions leads to illnesses.

Ayurveda prescribes natural remedies and Ayurvedic techniques like Abhyanga or the art of Ayurvedic massaging, Panchakarma or the detox techniques, Pranayama or balanced breathing etc., for correcting the imbalance of doshas.

With its drying and warming energies along with its fresh, long lasting, sweet-balsamic and spicy aroma, Bay leaf essential oil is said to pacify kapha and vata dosha and aggravate pitta dosha.

Let’s take a look at the Ayurvedic health benefits of Bay leaf essential oil:

Bay-oil1. Promising remedy for diabetes and other lifestyle disorders:

Bay leaf essential oil has numerous remedial properties that help in the treatment of diabetes and other lifestyle health problems like fatty liver conditions, high blood pressure, obesity and kidney degeneration.

A 2009 study on ‘Bay leaves Improve Glucose and Lipid Profile of People with Type 2 Diabetes’ by the Department of Human Nutrition, NWFP Agricultural University, Peshawar, Pakistan published in the “Journal of Clinical Biochemistry and Nutrition” analyzed the effects of blood sugar on human beings with Type 2 diabetes.

Among the participants who were given about 1 to 3 grams of ground Bay leaf per day in this program for 30 days, reflected a significant fall in the level of blood glucose, triglycerides and cholesterol. This research concluded that “Bay leaves reduced serum glucose, total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, and increased HDL cholesterol levels in people with type 2 diabetes.”

The antioxidant and anti-diabetic properties of Bay leaf promotes the system in the progression of insulin effectively. The most amazing result of this study was that it also helped in reducing the level of cholesterol and triglycerides, which also assists in reducing the menace of cardiovascular disorders due to enhanced insulin function.

Another study in 2011 on “The effects of Bay leaves on the patients with Diabetes Mellitus” by Abdulrahim Aljamal conducted on 65 patients with Type2 diabetes witnessed that “this study group using Bay leaf supplementation for 4 weeks decreases the risk factors for diabetes and cardiovascular diseases by reducing blood glucose and lipids levels.”

It was also explained that diabetes mellitus is one among the major risk factors for cardiovascular problems, where the occurrence of such disorders are increased 2 to 4 times in people with diabetes. He also says “Diabetes is a chronic disorder of glucose metabolism resulting from dysfunction of pancreatic beta cells and insulin resistance.”

Skin is the largest organ of the human body and it transmits the remedial values of Ayurvedic essential oils quickly into the bloodstream, thus speeding up the healing process. You can either use Bay leaf oil in a massaging blend or your bath for treating diabetes.

Make your home the heaven of Ayurvedic spa in the weekend by massaging your system with 5 drops of Bay leaf oil, 5 drops of Clove oil, 5 drops of Cinnamon oil and 5 drops of Rosemary oil along with 10 ml of Olive oil, followed by a refreshing bath diluted with 1 drop of Bay leaf oil and 1 drop of Lavender oil. This can absolutely help in augmenting your insulin function and support in reducing your blood glucose, lipids and cholesterol levels.

2. Helps in healing wounds quickly:

Bay leaf is nature’s blissful gift for healing wounds and skin infections at ease. With its anti-fungal, anti-bacterial and antiseptic properties, the fresh and dried leaves along with the essential oil have been in use in healing wounds, scars, bruises, cuts, insect bites and minor skin allergies. Bay leaves were used in folklore medicine as a remedy for venomous snake bites, poisonous stings and bites.

Open wounds are always viable for catching up with bacteria, virus and fungus, which ends up in septic of wounds and serious infections, leading to sharp pain, convulsions, cramps and  hydrophobia.  The poultice made using Bay leaves were used by various herbalists for disinfecting and healing wounds.

A 2011 study published in the Natural product research journal proved that Bay leaves contain antimicrobial activity that combats the growth of bacteria and general pathogens like Aspergillus fumigatus, Staphylococcus aureus, Candida albicans and Streptococcus pyogenes. Among these, Staphylococcus aureus is considered to be the most harmful bacteria responsible for wounds becoming septic.

Bay leaf is rich vitamin A & C, which are extremely good for healthy skin. It enhances the healthiness of the skin from within by helping in retaining its natural beauty. Gently massaging your skin with 2 drops of Bay leaf oil with 2 drops of Petitgrain oil, 2 drops of Lavender oil along with 3 ml of jojoba oil can give that charisma for your skin by reducing wrinkles, cleansing the pores deeply, treating acne, stretch marks, scars, eczema and covering up the other skin outbreaks.

2 drops of Bay leaf oil with 2 drops of Rosemary oil and 2 ml of coconut oil can be applied on wounds and other skin infections for promoting quicker healing and arresting the growth of hazardous microbial infections.

3. Improves digestion and other metabolic functions:

The aromatic leaves and its essential oil of Bay are famous as a digestive aid, especially in the Asian, Middle East and Mediterranean countries. Ayurveda states that Bay leaf has heating energies that aids in augmenting Agni or the digestive fire, which is responsible for trouble-free metabolic functions.

Bay leaf is called as a pitta aggravating spice and herb, where pitta dosha deals with metabolism. Digestive disorder or problems due to pitta deficiency are balanced with the help of Bay leaves and its various extracts.

With its carminative, anti-flatulent, stomachic and cholagogue properties, Bay leaf oil helps in expelling the excess gas in the stomach and intestines. The stimulating effect of this oil boosts the metabolic functions and helps relieve digestive problems like colic, flatulence, diarrhea, bloating, intestinal spasms and ulcers.

Massaging your stomach with 2 drops of Bay oil blended with 2 drops of Geranium oil and 2 drops of Lemon oil along with 3 ml of Sesame oil can assist in promoting the secretion of gastric acids, digestive juices, enzymes and bile, which aids in neutralizing surplus acids in the lining of the stomach and intestines, thus preventing ulcers.

Along with this massaging, inhaling the encouraging aroma of Bay oil in a diffuser by adding 2 drops of this oil can strengthen your digestive system and support hassle-free metabolism.

4. Alleviates respiratory illnesses:

Bay leaf oil has excellent warming energy that assists in relieving from illnesses caused due to excess water deposits, which otherwise leads to the amassing of mucus and phlegm in the system. Generally respiratory illnesses are caused mainly due to the imbalance of kapha dosha and vata dosha in cases of breathing difficulties faced in asthmatic attacks.

Bay oil has been trusted as a natural source of reducing excess of kapha and vata dosha. This helps in the treatment of congestion, buildup of phlegm in the lungs and nasal passages, bronchitis, whooping cough and cold.

In their book Ayurveda and Aromatherapy, Bryan Miller and Light Miller say “Bay can be useful for the respiratory tract, also easing congestion or colds, especially in combination with Eucalyptus and Rosemary.”

2 drops of Bay oil and 2 drops of Tulsi oil added to steam inhalation is a great assistance for loosening stiff phlegm and mucus deposits in the breathing passages, asthma, nasal congestion, stiff nose, watery eyes, cough, common cold, headache and other respiratory allergies.

Mixing 2 drops of Bay oil with 2 drops of Eucalyptus oil and 2 drops of Rosemary oil in your vaporizing ointment and gently massaging it on your chest, throat and back is a brilliant way to treat your respiratory infections including asthmatic attacks at ease.

This is attributed mainly by the expectorant, anti-bacterial, anti-viral, decongestant, immune stimulant and tonic properties of these essential oils that strengthen the immune system and help it fight against respiratory disorders.

5. Supports healthy hair and scalp:

The most interesting healing attribute of Bay leaf oil is that it assists in controlling hair fall and promotes hair growth. In the traditional Ayurvedic medicine, a herbal rinse prepared by infusing Bay leaves was used in the treatment of dandruff and dry scalp.

Bryan Miller in the book Ayurveda and Aromatherapy reveals Light Miller’s preferred hair treatment with Bay oil. He says “Light’s favorite use of Bay oil is to add it to hot oil treatment for the hair. To two ounces of Jojoba oil, add 4 drops of Bay, 3 drops of Lavender, 3 drops of Lemon, 3 drops of Rosemary, 3 drops of Rosewood oil and a tablespoon of Sesame oil.”

He further adds “Heat the mixture and apply to the hair while warm, wrap your head in a towel and sit for fifteen minutes to half an hour. Shampoo clean. Bay is also very effective for dry scalp and hair; you may add it to shampoo and cream rinses.”

2 drops of Bay oil with 2 drops of Bhringraj oil, 2 drops of Amla oil and 2 drops of Neem oil added to 5 ml of Sweet almond oil can be massaged on the hair roots, for stimulating the growth of lustrous, black, healthy and strong hair and getting rid of dandruff and head lice.

6. Relieves rheumatic and arthritic conditions:

Bay leaves have anti-rheumatic, anti-arthritic, analgesic, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects, which aid in treating rheumatic and arthritic conditions. Rheumatism is again a kapha disorder, where excess of water deposits get stagnated in the system, especially in the joints. This causes pain, swelling, inflammation, redness, lack of energy, and buildup of toxic substances and free radicals.

Bay leaf oil has warming and drying energies that helps in reducing pain by generating heat in the affected parts and eliminating the toxic remains and surplus water content in the system through urine. The diuretic and sudorific properties in this oil promotes sweating and urination and is a natural remedy for discarding free radicals, ama or toxic substances, uric acid, salt and other excess water deposits.

Massaging the painful area with 4 drops of Bay leaf oil with 3 drops of Lavender oil and 3 drops of Cinnamon oil along with 5 ml of Coconut oil can aid in alleviating pain and sprain, and in reducing inflammation, irritation, redness, painful joints and sore muscles.

7. Effective inhibitor of cancerous cells:

Many scientific studies have proved the effects of Bay leaf in treating various types of cancer with its chemo-protective properties, contributed by the presence of quercetin, catechins, quercetin and eugenol.

Various research reports have established that Bay leaves control the production of cervical cancer cells with the presence of a phytonutrient named parthenolide. Another study have explored that the chemical component lauroside B extracted from Laurus nobilis inhibits the generation of skin cancer or human melanoma cells.

Other benefits:

Bay oil can also be used as an effective repellent against cockroaches, moths, silverfish, mice etc., It is also helpful in treating dental infections and circulatory problems.

Disclaimer:

This article is only for the purpose of education and is not meant for treatment, prevention or diagnosis of any health condition. It should not be used as a replacement for prescription drugs or any expert medical advice. We are not medical professionals and this piece of information is intended only for sharing the traditional richness of Ayurveda, the mother of all medicinal systems on earth.

Internal use of essential oils should be strictly avoided and make sure that you dilute essential oils before using it for topical application, as pure and organic essential oils are highly concentrated liquids and may cause allergies if used on the skin directly. Speak with your Ayurvedic physician or healthcare expert before selecting the appropriate essential oils for your prakriti or unique individual constitution and your medical condition.

Bay oil is emmenagogue in nature and may induce menstruation so it is not advisable for use for pregnant women. Keep it out of reach of children.

The MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet) of Bay oil is readily available for your enhanced safety and better usage.

Bay Oil – Possible Skin Issues:

bay-oil-logos

Greener Life Diamond – Bio-Healthy Score => 3: Possible Skin Issues:

See => http://www.essentialdepot.com/GreenerLifeDiamond.html

Bay oil is said to exhibit irritation, sensitization, hepatoxicity and cytotoxicity. Topical application and inhalation of this oil might cause allergies, skin irritation, sensitization in pregnant women, children and nursing mothers, arrest blood clotting and irritate the mucous membranes. It is recommended to avoid Bay oil during pregnancy, even in a diluted form, as it may cause harm to the developing fetus.

The key chemical constituents responsible for the possible skin issues of Bay oil are eugenol and methyleugenol. Besides being an excellent decongestant and antiseptic, eugenol in undiluted Bay oil can cause rashes, itching, irritation of the skin and the mucous membranes, when applied as a decongesting ointment or during inhalation of the concentrated oil.

Remember to dilute Bay oil in suitable carrier oils and 10% is the recommended safe dilution level.  Always perform a patch test on your skin before using Bay oil for dermatological purposes.

Numerous studies state that Bay oil has Cytotoxic effects, which means the potent of being toxic or deadly to cells. For this effect, Bay oil is used therapeutically in Apoptosis or a genetic line up for controlled cell death, especially in the treatment of Cancer. Chemotherapy (treatment of cancer) solely depends upon the potential of cytotoxic remedies to destroy the existing cancerous cells and thwart the rapid reproducing ability of cancer cells (Antiproliferative ability).

According to the European Commission’s scientific committee opinion on Food on Methyleugenol, it displays genotoxic and carcinogenic effect and it does not hold good for topical or external use of Bay oil.

Bay leaf is often misconceived as toxic as it is confused with other members of the Laurel family like Mountain Laurel, Cherry Laurel, which are potential toxic agents.

This warning is applicable to direct skin applications like lotions, balms, massage oils and creams and not for bathing products like soaps and shampoos.

Reference Links Substantiating Possible Skin Issues of Bay oil:

  1. Leung’s Encyclopedia of Common Natural Ingredients, used in Food, Drugs and Cosmetics by Ikhlas A. Khan and Ehab A. Abourashed.
  2. Bay oil by Mercola.com
  3. Opinion of the Scientific Committee on Food on Methyleugenol by the European Commission, Health and Consumer Protection Directorate-General
  4. Aromatherapy: Scent and Psyche: Using Essential Oils for Physical and Emotional Well-Being by Peter Damian and Kate Damian
  5. Cytotoxic effect of Laurus nobilis extracts on different cancer cell lines by Zaynab Saad Abdel Gany, Iraqi Center for Cancer and Medical Genetics Researches

Thought for the day:

Nature and books belong to the eyes that see them.

-Ralph Waldo Emerson

Suggested Reading:

  1. Ayurveda & Aromatherapy: The Earth Essential Guide to Ancient Wisdom and Modern Healing by Dr. Light Miller, Dr. Bryan Miller
  2. God’s Healing Herbs by Dennis Ellingson
  3. The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Essential Oils: The Complete Guide to the Use of Oils in Aromatherapy & Herbalism by Julia Lawless
  4. Functional Foods, Aging, and Degenerative Disease from CRC Press
  5. Therapeutic Blending With Essential Oil: Decoding the Healing Matrix of Aromatherapy by Rebecca Park Totilo

Reference Links:

  1. Bay Leaf by Wikipedia
  2. Bay Leaves Improve Glucose and Lipid Profile of People with Type 2 Diabetes by Alam Khan, Goher Zaman and Richard A. Anderson, published in the Journal of Clinical Biochemistry and Nutrition
  3. Effects of Bay leaves on the patients with Diabetes mellitus by Abdulrahim Aljamal, published in the Research Journal of Medicinal plant
  4. Scientifically proven health benefits of Bay leaf oil published in the Planet of health


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Benzoin Resin Oil



Fixing up your skin setbacks, respiratory ailments and mental mayhems is just a few steps away, until you reach the sacred aroma of Benzoin essential oil. Blessed with a divine fragrance and handful of healing values, Benzoin has been in use since thousands of years as a holy aromatic agent in temples and other religious ceremonies.

Being a pacifying agent, Benzoin and its essential oil is said to have been used for soothing depression and treat skin disorders. Scientifically known as Styrax benzoin, it is also called as gum Benjamin or gum benzoin.

Used as a natural aid to heighten spiritual oneness and divinity, Benzoin resin was burnt by the ancient saints, Hindu priests and Buddhist monks during prayers and holy congregations.

It was used in various Complementary and Alternative Medicinal systems including Ayurveda, in the treatment of depression, wrinkles, congestion, sinusitis, bronchitis, tonsillitis, cough, flatulence, urinary tract infections, premenstrual syndrome, inflamed skin and impotence.

Historical uses and importance of Benzoin resin: Benzoin resin is extracted from the bark of numerous trees of different species in the Styrax genus. Indigenous to the Sumatra and Java islands in Indonesia, Benzoin gets its name from the Arabic word ‘Luban Jawi’, which means Frankincense from Java. The Benzoin tree grows up to a height of 12 meters and is also grown as an ornamental tree in Western Africa.

The crude Balsamic resin is extracted by tapping method, which is nothing but the process of cutting the bark of the tree for obtaining the resin, generally from a seven years old tree. The extracted resin is then left out for 3 to 4 months for drying and hardening. Benzoin resin essential oil is extracted from this resin through a solvent.

It was said that the ancient Egyptians and Chinese imported Benzoin resin via the Red Sea. As an excellent fixative that has the power to embrace the fragrance of many aromatic oils and perfumery ingredients, Benzoin essential oil is a common element in the perfume and incense-making industry.

Benzoin was used in the traditional Malayan civilization as a fumigation and incense, to keep away from evil spirits as well as for ritual uses. Predominantly used as incense for more than 3000 years, Benzoin resin has been powdered and blended with other aromatic items like cypress, pine, labdanum, juniper and galbanum. This blend is then made as cones and kept on the heads of the dancers of Egypt, says Papyrus records.

Queen Elizabeth I used the dry perfumes made with Benzoin and the first use of this enchanting fragrance factor in England is traced between the 15th and 16th centuries. The resin is popular as an incense in Western Catholic Churches and certain Orthodox Christian associations all over the world.

Benzoin resin is also used in the manufacturing of scented wooden chips known as Bakhoor in Arabic. It is also used as mixed resins along with other resins in Horn of Africa and other Arabian provinces. This sweet-smelling resin is burned on charcoal as incense especially during spiritual occasions in India and the Arabian countries of the Persian Gulf.

Chemical constituents and therapeutic properties of Benzoin resin oil: The key chemical components of Benzoin resin essential oil are benzoic acid, coniferyl benzoate, phenylpropylic alcohol, benzaldehyde, cinnamic acid, benzyl benzoate, vanillin and phenylethylene.

The most significant remedial attributes of this oil are antioxidant, antifungal, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, anti-depressant, astringent, expectorant, disinfectant, antiseptic, anti-rheumatic, cordial, vulnerary, carminative, sedative, relaxant and deodorant.

Ayurvedic health benefits of Benzoin resin oil: Ayurveda embraces nature wholly and it is reflected in every single remedy it prescribes to mankind. This is the most valued attribute that has helped Ayurvedic healing survive and stay in the hearts of many across the globe.

With the immaculate meaning of ‘knowledge of life’, Ayur+Veda is the only healing system on earth that insists on self-awareness about one’s own health condition and individual constitution. This traditional wisdom of healing brings in that wakefulness,  where an individual understands that every human being is being created with all kinds of mental and physical abilities in a clear order.

Ayurveda helps in appreciating this uniqueness and leading a hale and hearty life in sync with nature, which is built with five fundamental elements. They are earth, water, air, space and fire. Everything on earth including the human body is made with these five elements, where the earth takes the form of muscles and bones, water represents blood, fire helps in the biological functions including metabolism, space is the soul that keeps us alive and air assists in breathing.

According to Ayurveda, every human being is a unique part of nature with a unique individual constitution. This constitution is known as Prakriti and is a combination of three biological elements called as doshas. They are vata, pitta and kapha. Every person has a predominance of any one of these doshas and it determines the traits, character and behavioral attributes of a person.

Ayurvedic remedies are based on the predominance of the doshas and the balance between them. Absolute health in Ayurveda is a sign of perfect balance between these doshas and illness indicates doshic imbalances. Ayurvedic healing techniques and medications aim at correcting the disparities between the doshas.

The major natural remedies prescribed in Ayurveda are herbs, plant essential oils, meditation, yoga, simple physical exercises, Ayurvedic routine, prayers and few other Ayurvedic techniques like Panchakarma or Ayurvedic detox, Abhyanga or Ayurvedic massage and Pranayama or Ayurvedic art of balanced breathing.

Benzoin resin oil has moisturizing and warming energies, which helps in tranquilizing the mind and enriching the skin. This oil has the power to pacify vata, pitta and kapha dosha with its sweet-balsamic, pleasant and vanillin based aroma.

The Ayurvedic health benefits of Benzoin resin essential oil are:

Benzoin-Res-Broucher1. Alleviates rheumatic conditions: Rheumatism generally occurs due to the stagnation of excess water deposits in the system. This leads to improper blood circulation, inflammation, swelling, redness, pain, soreness and difficulty in the normal functioning of the body. Excess of water and fluids in the human body is mainly caused due to the imbalance of kapha dosha, which is responsible for similar diseases like obesity, respiratory illnesses etc.,

Benzoin essential oil has anti-rheumatic, anti-arthritic, anti-inflammatory and diuretic properties that help in promoting proper blood circulation, reducing pain, lessening inflammation, controlling soreness and swelling, and eliminating the surplus water deposits and toxic elements in the system by promoting frequent urination. This function also assists in treating obesity, controlling blood pressure, supporting the functions of the circulatory system and enhancing metabolism.

To get rid of rheumatic and arthritic problems, Ayurveda suggests a healthy diet that naturally controls kapha vitiation along with yogasanas that treat rheumatism and arthritis and the use of Ayurvedic essential oils like Benzoin resin oil.

The Arthritis Foundation reported that a research by the John Hopkins University has concluded that yoga is extremely beneficial for people with rheumatoid arthritis after publishing its research analysis stating that “who participated in eight weeks of yoga classes had significantly fewer tender and swollen joints than they did before starting class.”

Steffany Haaz, the grant recipient of the Arthritis Foundation also says, “We have previously reported that yoga helps people to feel better, and we wanted to make sure it wasn’t harmful to arthritic joints. So, we were glad to find that there actually seems to be improvement in joint symptoms for RA patients.”

Along with this, massage the painful parts with 3 drops of Benzoin resin oil mixed with 1 drop of Ginger oil, 1 drop of Lavender oil, 1 drop of Black pepper oil, 1 drop of Juniper berry oil with 4 ml of coconut oil. You can also add 2 drops of Benzoin resin oil and 2 drops of Marjoram oil in warm bathing water or in hot compress for improved results. This formula works quickly as the benzyl components in the Benzoin oil are easily absorbed by the pores of the skin.

2. Relieves congestion and other respiratory problems: Breathing is the natural action that sustains life. Trouble-free breathing brings in enormous health and happiness by permitting the flow of prana or vital life force in the system.

Any interruption or blockage in the breathing mechanism due to improper food habits, environmental factors, stagnation of water deposits and toxic substances in the system leading to built up of mucus and phlegm deposits (this is a kapha imbalance) cause respiratory problems.

Benzoin resin essential oil has the power to reduce excess kapha dosha, with its expectorant properties. 1 drop of Benzoin oil with 1 drop of Eucalyptus oil and 1 drop of Niaouli oil in steam inhalation aids in loosening the accumulated phlegm and mucus, relieving congestion and cleansing the breathing passages.

Gently massaging your chest, throat and back with your vaporizing ointment mixed with 2 drops of Benzoin oil and 2 drops of Frankincense oil, following the steam inhalation can aid in relieving cough, cold, congestion, bronchitis, laryngitis, blocked nose, asthma and other respiratory allergies. You can practice breathing exercises like Pranayama and yoga asanas for respiratory illnesses.

3. Drives away depressive feelings: Benzoin resin oil has a gentle, sweet and soothing aroma that tranquilizes the mind with its relaxant, sedative and anti-depressant properties. When inhaled, these remedial properties in the aromatic molecules of this oil pass on to the brain through the nasal passages. This has a positive effect on the limbic system, which is the control center of the brain.

Bryan Miller and Light Miller in their book ‘Ayurveda and Aromatherapy’ say, “Benzoin resin oil is beneficial to an irritated nervous system and can be useful in depression, PMS and stress.”

2 drops of Benzoin resin oil along with 1 drop of Ylang Ylang oil and 1 drop of Orange oil added to your vaporizer, burner or diffuser can assist in stimulating the central nervous system, pacifying the mind, granting mental clarity, controlling anger, treating anxiety, improving blood circulation and instilling the power to control depressive feelings.

According to Ayurveda, among the 7 chakras, Benzoin resin oil affects the root chakra and the solar plexus chakra. Root chakra or sacral chakra is responsible for survival factors like security issues, financial independence and the ability to stand up high. Imbalance of this chakra leads to depression and various other nervous problems.

Solar plexus chakra deals with self-confidence, self-esteem, self-control, self-worth and other personal powers. The failure of the functions of this chakra leads to nervousness, lower self-confidence, inferiority complex, poor memory and digestive disorders.

Benzoin resin oil, with its power to treat the imbalances of the root chakra and solar plexus chakra, brings in self-confidence, trust and the ability to stand tall to beat depression and other negative feelings.

While talking on the relaxing effects of Benzoin resin oil on the emotional aspects of the system, Madame Maury says, ‘this essence creates a kind of euphoria; it interposes a padded zone between us and events’. You can also work out these Yoga asanas for depression and practice meditation.

4. Keeps skin problems at bay: The essential oil of Benzoin has amazing healing for nourishing your skin and helps you look younger and charming. The book on ‘Aromatherapy: Essential oil for vibrant health and beauty’ by Roberta Wilson quotes, “Benzoin was often added to cosmetics to keep skin clear and youthful. People in many different cultures have appreciated its ability to soothe and stimulate the skin.”

Benzoin resin oil has everything in its kitty for dealing with various skin problems ranging from wounds to treatment of scars. The healing properties are mainly due its chemical components including benzyl benzoate, benzoic acid and benzaldehyde.

This oil is a natural antiseptic with germicidal, disinfectant, antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal and vulnerary properties that aid in healing wounds, cuts, sores, acne, chapped skin, eczema, scars, skin irritation, psoriasis and dermatitis.

Applying the mix of 2 drops of Benzoin resin oil with 1 drop of Lavender oil, 1 drop of Rose oil, 1 drop of Lemon oil, 1 drop of Bergamot oil, 1 drop of Frankincense oil and 4 ml of Sweet almond oil on pimples, wounds, cuts, sores, scars and other infectious skin problems can help in protecting the infected parts from germs and promote quicker healing.

Massaging this blend on your skin especially on dry, cracked, blistered or chapped skin helps repair and rejuvenate the skin cells especially on the elbows, knees and heels. It also helps in maintaining the skin suppleness and softness. Ayurveda recommends drinking ample water every day to retain healthy skin cells.

5. Benefits to the entire system: Apart from these magnificent benefits, the essential oil of Benzoin can bring in enormous other benefits to your complete system. They are the promising effects of this oil that can help in destroying germs in the mouth with its disinfectant properties and tightening the gums with its astringent properties. It also aids in treating digestive disorders with its anti-flatulent and carminative properties. It can serve as an excellent deodorant with its mesmerizing aroma, for your body as well as your home.

Other uses: Benzoin is known for its fixative and preservative values and is used in the perfume industry for these reasons, especially for reducing the dispersal of fragrance elements and essential oils in air. This oil is also utilized as a flavoring agent in baked goods, gelatins, candies, gums, puddings, frozen dairy and beverages including alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks. Apart from this, its use in the manufacturing of scented candles, cosmetics and veterinary medications makes it a much prized natural alternative since ages.

Disclaimer: This information is only for the purpose of education and is not intended for diagnosis or prevention of any illnesses. Do not substitute these remedies for any prescription drugs or expert medical advice. We are not medical professionals and this article is shared with the interest of throwing light on the world’s oldest healing system, Ayurveda.

Never use essential oils for internal purposes and make certain that you dilute essential oils in appropriate carrier oils before using it topically. This is mainly because pure and organic essential oils are extremely concentrated liquids and may cause allergic reactions, when used on the skin directly.

Talk with your Ayurvedic professional prior to selecting the right essential oils for your Prakriti or unique individual constitution and state of health. Care should be taken before using essential oils, if you are pregnant or a nursing mom.

Thought for the day:

Nature never did betray the heart that loved her. -William Wordsworth

Suggested Reading:

  1. Fragrance & Wellbeing: Plant Aromatics and Their Influence on the Psyche by Jennifer Peace Rhind
  2. The Encyclopedia of Essential Oils: The Complete Guide to the Use of Aromatic Oils In Aromatherapy, Herbalism, Health, and Well Being by Julia Lawless
  3. Ayurveda & Aromatherapy: The Earth Essential Guide to Ancient Wisdom and Modern Healing by Dr. Light Miller, Dr. Bryan Miller
  4. Magical Herbalism: The Secret Craft of the Wise (Llewellyn’s Practical Magick Series) by Scott Cunningham
  5. Making Your Own Incense: Storey Country Wisdom Bulletin A-226 by Tina Sams, Maryanne Schwartz

Reference Links:

  1. Benzoin Resin by Wikipedia
  2. Benzoin from the book, Aromatherapy: Essential Oils for Vibrant Health and Beauty by Roberta Wilson
  3. Benzoin from the book, Ayurveda and Aromatherapy: The Earth Essential Guide to Ancient Wisdom and Modern Healing by Light Miller and Bryan Miller
  4. Health Benefits of Benzoin Essential Oil by Organic Facts
  5. Yoga – A Remedy To Respiratory Illnesses by Dr. Sripriya Krishnan, Department of Psychology, Dr. M.G.R Janaki College of Arts and Science for Women, Chennai

Chaulmogra Oil



Chaulmogra-bannerChaulmogra oil created a revolution in the treatment of leprosy and the first effective drug for treating leprosy used the chemical components of Chaulmogra seeds. These therapeutic seeds are being used in Ayurveda for more than 4,000 years in the treatment of leprosy, rheumatism, eczema, leucoderma, scrofula, wounds, sprains, sores and bruises.

Chaulmogra is botanically known to the world as Taraktogenos kurzii/ Hydnocarpus kurzii/ Hydnocarpus wightiana/ Hydnocarpus laurifolia and its Sanskrit name is Tuvrak, Tuvaraka and Kushtavairi. This tall tree is a limb of the Achariaceae plant family. The essential oil is extracted from the Chaulmogra seeds through steam distillation method.

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Historical uses and significance of Chaulmogra and its essential oil:

Chaulmogra or Chaulmoogra has been a part of the Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda, the oldest healing science originated from India, especially in the treatment of leprosy and other chronic skin disorders.

Chaulmogra tree is indigenous to India and grows extensively in the tropical forests of Western Ghats from Maharashtra to Kerala and is also found in the hilly regions of Tripura and Assam. It is cultivated in Nigeria, Uganda, Sri Lanka and few other South East Asian countries. These evergreen, deciduous trees grow up to 15 m height and bear fruits between the months of August and September.

The seeds are angular and ovoid with rounded endings and the essential oil extracted from the seeds are pale yellow in color with viscous and heavy consistency. Chaulmogra oil is called as Oleum Chaulmoograe in the United States and in Great Britain as Gynocardia oil. This oil was used in England in the treatment of lung tuberculosis.

Chaulmogra oil was also used in China since the 14th century in alleviating various skin ailments and leprosy. It was slowly then spread to the Western countries including the United States and Europe.

A mixture of Chaulmogra oil balanced in gum or as an emulsion was prescribed for treating leprosy. The bark of this plant is used by the people of Arunachal Pradesh, India in relieving toothache and itching. The tribal populace in Sikkim uses the boiled Chaulmogra seeds as a food item.

Chaulmogra seed oil was mixed with limewater and was applied externally in treating rheumatic conditions especially in the joints and for relieving sprains. These seeds were also used in folklore as a fish poison. The seed paste along with camphor, sulphur, Jatropha curcus seed oil and lime juice was used in topical application for healing skin ulcers and wounds.

Chemical components and remedial properties of Chaulmogra oil:

The seeds of this tree yield about 32.4 percent fixed oil along with other fatty oils. The major chemical constituents are 49 percent hydnocarpic acid, 27 percent chaulmoogric acid, 12 percent gorlic acid (with these 3 primary components, Chaulmogra is called as triglyceride oil) 6.5 percent oleic acid, 2 percent Palmitic acid, 3.4 percent chaulmoogric acid with lower homologues along with myristic acid, linoleic acid, and stearic acid.

These components contribute to its curative properties like antibiotic, astringent, anti-inflammatory, anti-rheumatic, antiseptic, antibacterial, expectorant, decongestant and febrifuge properties.

Ayurvedic health benefits of Chaulmogra essential oil:

Ayurveda is a Vedic medical science, which is the greatest gift of the ancient Indian Sages to the whole of mankind. Among the 4 four predominant Vedas of Hindu mythology, Ayurveda has its roots to the Atharvaveda and it is also accepted as a supplementary Veda or an Upaveda in its own sacred ways and was enlightened by Acharya Dhanvantari.

This holistic healing science is the oldest remedial science on earth and aims at treating illnesses with the help of herbal plants, essential oils, meditation, yoga, simple physical exercises, prayers, an Ayurvedic routine and other proven Ayurvedic therapies like Abhyanga or Ayurvedic massaging and Panchakarma or detox therapies.

Ayurveda suggests disciplined ways to fulfill responsibilities or Dharma, lead a healthy lifestyle, aging in the pink and also aims at preventing illnesses and longevity.

Charaka Samhita, Sushruta Samhita and Ashtangha Hridaya Samhita are the three greatest Ayurvedic texts that established the basic concepts of Ayurveda and the complete system of medicine.

Few noteworthy works are the eight Ayurvedic branches or methodologies of healing. Acharya Charaka (Father or medicine) stands for the Atreya School of physicians and threw light on anatomy, pathogenesis, physiology, diagnosis, etiology, symptoms of diseases along with guidelines for prevention and extended life span.

Sushruta (Father of Surgery) is a part of the Dhanvantari School of surgeons. He talks about the categorization of burns, wounds, fractures, rectal surgery, amputation, plastic surgery and various surgical equipments. Sushruta also introduced the art of massaging using vital body points or the marma points in the body. Ashtangha Hridaya Samhita is a combination of Charaka Samhita and Sushruta Samhita.

Ayurvedic medicine is based on its four major concepts. They are Panchamahabutas (5 elements of nature), tridosha (3 doshas), malas (elimination of waste) and dhatus (vital organs of the body). This traditional remedy trusts that the world is made up of five vital elements namely earth, water, fire, air and space and everything in the world is also made up of these five elements or the building blocks of existence.

Every human being has a unique individual constitution consisting of three biological energies known as doshas. They are vata (air + space), pitta (fire + water) and kapha (earth + water). Vata energy is responsible for the functions of the central nervous system and the autonomic nervous system.

Pitta is in charge of tissue building, metabolism, body temperature and functions of the endocrine system. Kapha is accountable for strength of the body, virility, binding power and firmness of the system.

Balance between these doshas as per the natural composition indicates health and imbalance due to unhealthy practices, change in food habits and weather conditions causes illnesses. Ayurvedic remedies are prescribed in order to balance these doshic vitiations.

The Ayurvedic health benefits of Chaulmogra oil are:

Chaulmogra-broucher1. Proven traditional remedy for leprosy:

The Encyclopedia Britannica says ‘the first textual reference to leprosy—in an ancient Sanskrit sacred work known as the Atharvaveda’, which is the holy book of Ayurvedic principles. It also says that leprosy has been talked about in Sushruta Samhita, the ancient Ayurvedic text, the Hebrew Bible, Chinese medical texts and the writings of the Greek physicians like Galen.

Leprosy is said to be the most feared and most misapprehended disease in the history. For thousands of years, the essential oil derived from the seeds of Chaulmogra tree had been in use in the treatment of leprosy and other skin conditions in India, China, Europe, America and certain other Middle East countries.

In 1854 an English Doctor Frederic John Mouat described the use of this oil in the treatment of leprosy, while he was working in Kolkata, India. In the paper submitted in 1854 named ‘The Indian Annals of Medical Science, he wrote on Chaulmogra oil as “Its success was, however, so remarkable and indisputable in one well-marked case of the worst form of leprosy, that I venture to hope an external application of it to that most loathsome and intractable of diseases, may prove so successful, as to secure the general introduction of the remedy.”

Dr. Mouat tried Chaulmogra in two different ways on his leper patients, one by applying and dressing the external ulcers of the patients with the oil and he also gave it internally in the form of pills, prepared by beating the Chaulmogra seeds into a pulp.

It was also introduced as an established treatment for leprosy in 1874 in the Madras Leper Hospital. Chaulmogra oil is still being used in Ayurveda, the Traditional Chinese Medicine and even Western medicine for treating leprosy and other highly-communicable skin diseases.

2. Heals wounds and other skin problems:

Chaulmogra oil has anti-bacterial, antiseptic and analgesic properties that help in healing wounds, prevent it from becoming septic and infectious, kill harmful microbes that may affect the wounds and reduce pain in the injured area.

Certain research studies have proved that Chaulmogra oil contains a weak acid known as 5′-methoxyhydnocarpin, which plays a predominant part in preventing the multidrug resistance in certain bacteria like Staphylococcus aureus and this bacteria is often the reason for wounds and infections turning septic. Applying a blend of 1 drop of Chaulmogra oil with 1 drop of Lavender oil in 1 ml jojoba oil can work like a miracle on your skin and aid in healing wounds, cuts, bruises, acne, eczema, psoriasis and sores.

3. Alleviates rheumatic pain and associated symptoms:

Rheumatism is characterized by pain, swelling, redness and inflammation of the hands and legs, especially the joints. Amassing of excess water, toxic remains due to indigestion, salt, uric acid and fat deposits cause rheumatic conditions and it is often regarded as a kapha imbalance.

Chaulmogra oil has kapha-reducing and diuretic properties that help in promoting frequent urination, through which the surplus water deposits and toxic remains are eliminated through urine.

Massaging the affected parts with 2 drops of Chaulmogra oil blended with 2 drops of Chamomile oil and 2 ml of coconut oil can be a great aid in reducing pain and inflammation with its analgesic properties and discard toxic substances by stimulating the functioning of the kidneys.

4. Relieves congestion:

Chaulmogra is quoted as an oil with sharp and unctuous quality with hot virility and pungent taste by the book ‘Health & Harmony through Ayurveda’ by Anil K. Mehta, R.N. Sharma and N.K. Gupta. These attributes aid in liquefying excess kapha dosha responsible for cold, cough, congestion, tuberculosis and other respiratory problems.

Chaulmogra oil acts as an excellent aid in loosening the deposits of mucous and phlegm in the nasal passages, respiratory tracts and bronchial tubes, and helping in the treatment of chest congestion, nasal congestion, bronchitis and tuberculosis.

This oil also has antibacterial, expectorant and decongestant properties that help in combating harmful micro-organisms that worsen respiratory infections and promote the expulsion of phlegm.

A 1922 study on ‘Chaulmoogra oil in the treatment of tuberculous laryngitis’ concluded that the Chaulmoogra treatment at the Jefferson Hospital and at the Henry Phipps Institute of the University of Pennsylvania on 60 cases over a duration of 8 months “showed promising results from the beginning and in the majority of the cases, Chaulmoogra oil exerted an analgesic action on the larynx, which became more complete after repeated treatments.

This study also said that “there was no pain or discomfort in the throat afterward, but rather a pleasing sensation of warmth in the throat and chest.” Throat dryness associated with tuberculous laryngitis exhibited improvement after this treatment.

2 drops of Chaulmogra oil added to steam inhalation or in gentle massage by blending 2 drops of this oil with 1 drop of Tea tree oil along with your decongestant ointment on your chest, throat and back can help in relieving cold, cough, sore throat and congestion. A cup of warm gargle with 1 drop of Chaulmogra oil can help in discarding microbes and microbial infections in the mouth and throat and assist in treating sore throat and dry cough.

Disclaimer:

This information is only for educational purposes and is shared only with the thought of spreading the traditional values of Ayurveda, the ancient wisdom of healing. It is not meant to prevent or diagnose any disease or medical conditions or to replace any kind of professional medical advice or prescribed medicines.

Never use essential oils internally. Make sure that you dilute essential oils in appropriate carrier oils before using it externally on the skin, as pure and organic essential oils are highly concentrated substances. Consult your Ayurvedic practitioner or healthcare professional before choosing the best essential oil for your unique individual constitution and state of health. Chaulmogra oil is a non-sensitizing and non-toxic oil but it is good to avoid this oil on children and pregnant women.

Thought for the day:

Everything in Nature contains all the powers of Nature. Everything is made of one hidden stuff.  -Ralph Waldo Emerson

Suggested Reading:

  1. Leprosy in Colonial South India: Medicine and Confinement by Jane Buckingham
  2. Ayurvedic Drug Plants by Anil Kumar Dhiman
  3. Health & Harmony Through Ayurveda by A. k. Mehta, N. K. Gupta
  4. The Aromatherapy Encyclopedia: A Concise Guide to over 385 Plant Oils by Carol Schiller, David Schiller
  5. Medicinal Plants of Asia and the Pacific by Christophe Wiart

Reference Links:

  1. Hydnocarpus wightiana seed oil by Wikipedia
  2. Leprosy by Encyclopaedia Britannica
  3. Chaulmogra Oil and the Treatment of Leprosy by John Parascandola published in LHNCBC
  4. Chaulmoogra oil in the treatment of Tuberculous Laryngitis by R.M. Lukens, Chief Clinical Assistant, Department for diseases of the chest, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association
  5. Chaulmogra from the book Ayurvedic Drug Plants by Anil Kumar Dhiman