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

Chironji Oil



Often used as a substitute for almonds, Chironji is an almond-flavored nut with blood purifying and life force enhancing qualities. Called as Charoli or Chironji in Ayurveda, these dried modest seeds have been in use in the Ayurvedic medicine for treating digestive disorders like diarrhea, ulcers and irregular bowel movements.

Chironji-bannerIt was also recommended to enhance the secretion of semen, increase vigor and vitality, reduce fever, clear acne, skin blemishes, cold and blood disorders. Chironji oil is extracted from the dried seeds by steam distillation method and is scientifically called as Buchanania lanzan.

Purchase Chironji Oil – Wholesale – CLICK HERE

Historical importance and uses of Chironji:

Chironji is a medium-sized evergreen tree that grows up to 15m height. This tree is indigenous to India and is found growing widely in Nepal, Malaysia and Burma. The dry forests of Madhya Pradesh, Mirzapur and Varanasi districts of Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand and Chattisgarh are the natural Chironji growing hubs of India. It is a member of the Anacardiaceae plant family and is also known as Almondette tree. Chironji is also called with other names such as ‘Cuddapah almond, Charooli, and Chirolo.’

The seed kernels of this tree contribute to about 52% of oil and are often used as a substitute for almond oil and olive oil. Chironji nuts gained favorable demand in the foreign market and has been nurtured by the Indian government as a reliable source of earning foreign exchange.

Ayurvedic medicine uses all the parts of this tree including its bark, fruits, roots, leaves, nuts and kernels for its varied medicinal properties in treating cold, bowel disorders, premature ejaculation, fever and rheumatism.

Charoli seeds are a popular ingredient in Indian sweets (Chironji ka Barfi, piyush, shrikhand, kheer and halwa), meaty kormas, lamb pepper with Chironji, Gajar ka Meetha, Hyderabadi Haleem, Charoli mutton, Malai kofta and as a flavoring for batters and sauces.

The gum extracted from the bark of this tree and powder of the roots and dried leaves mixed with buttermilk is a traditional remedy for treating diarrhea.

In the folklore medicine of Andhra Pradesh, Chironji gum was mixed with cow’s milk for relieving rheumatic pain and they also used the leaves as a tonic for supporting cardiac functions. The leaf powder was also used in encouraging quick healing of wounds.

Powdered seeds blended with milk and turmeric powder is used in India since as a natural face pack for augmenting the glow, complexion and suppleness of the skin. The juice or the decoction of the Chironji leaves is being used in Unani medicine for purifying the blood, treating loss of libido, impotency and also as a tonic for the digestive system.

Therapeutic properties and chemical constituents of Chironji oil:

The major therapeutic values of Chironji oil are carminative, expectorant, diuretic, aphrodisiac, relaxant, antiseptic, anti-inflammatory and stimulant. The chemical components of this oil are camphene, a-pinene, y-terpinene, b-pinene, myrcene, 8-cineole, sabinene and triglycerides like triolein, dipalmitoolein and dioleopalmitin.

Chironji seeds are a powerhouse of various nutrients like proteins, fiber, vitamin C, B1 and B2, carbohydrates, amino acid, iron, maleic acid, cardanol, linoleic acid, niacin, calcium and few water soluble extracts.

Ayurvedic health benefits of Chironji oil:

Ayurveda means ‘the knowledge of life’ and the greatest thing that has made this science as an admiration to the entire world is its disciplinary approaches that tend to mold the individual on all aspects of life including the physical, mental and attributes of the soul.

The most celebrated Ayurvedic Physician Mr. Vasant Lad says in his Textbook of Ayurveda as, “Ayurveda treats the whole person, not just the organ or system involved.”This clearly depicts that Ayurveda is a holistic healing science that deals with an individual and not just with his ailments.

It follows nature’s system of handling health and harmony leading to disease-free living, healthy aging and expanded life span. Ayurvedic healing identifies the root cause of an illness for preventing it in future and never believes in treating the symptoms alone. The National Institute of Health rightly quotes “The aim of Ayurvedic medicine is to integrate and balance the body, mind, and spirit. This is believed to help prevent illness and promote wellness.”

Ayurveda respects every individual as a unique creation and a vital part of nature. This makes the Ayurvedic treatment methods different for every individual even if a group of people are affected by same sickness.

The ancient Ayurvedic texts like Charaka Samhita and Sushruta Samhita say that all things in the universe are made up of five elements of nature namely water, earth, space, fire and air and every human being is distinct with a unique individual constitution, which comprises three biological energies known as doshas. These dynamic forces (doshas) are an arrangement of these vital elements.

Pitta dosha is a representation of fire and water and takes care of metabolism, cognitive functions and body temperature. Vata is a grouping of air and space and controls the working of the respiratory system, circulatory system and nervous system. Kapha dosha represents water and earth and is in charge of movement of fluids in the system, physical set up and nourishment.

Every person has a predominance of any one dosha, which decides their individuality and behavioral traits. Perfect balance between these doshas as per the natural set up denotes health and imbalance due to improper food habits, change in lifestyle and climatic conditions leads to illnesses.

Ayurveda recommends natural remedies like herbs, essential oils, Ayurvedic routine, yoga, simple physical exercises, prayers, Ayurvedic massage, meditation and Panchakarma (detoxification therapies) based on the individual constitution to treat imbalance of doshas. Chironji oil is said to pacify kapha and vata and has a neutral effect on pitta dosha.

Let’s take a look at the Ayurvedic health benefits of Chironji oil:

chironji-broucher1. Proven remedy for diarrhea and other digestive problems:

Diarrhea is called as Atisara in Ayurveda and it can also be caused due to toxins and psychological factors. Generally, accumulation of dampness caused by pitta instills a mild tendency on the colon and causes diarrhea. Ayurveda states that diarrhea may also be due to high toxic deposits or ama in the system, accumulation of water and increased vata or air in the body.

Chironji oil has the tendency to reduce kapha and vata and helps in eliminating the toxins or ama in the body, excess air and water retention. Adding 3 drops of Chironji oil in cool bathing water can help in relaxing the lining of the stomach and intestines, binding the stools and regularizing the bowel movements.

Inhaling the aroma of this oil by adding 2 drops to your diffuser or vaporizer can aid in overcoming loss of appetite. Massaging your abdomen with 5 drops of Chironji oil mixed with 2.5 ml of coconut oil can improve metabolism by acting as a tonic for digestion. Drinking a glass of buttermilk seasoned with 1 teaspoon of cumin seeds and coriander leaves can be of great assistance in treating all kinds of digestive woes.

2. Alleviates cold and other respiratory disorders:

Common cold and respiratory problems in general occur due to the vitiation of kapha dosha, which is responsible for stagnation of water in the body, toxic deposits and development of phlegm and mucous in the system.

Chironji oil has expectorant properties with its power to decrease kapha energy. 2 to 3 drops of this oil added to steam inhalation and massaging your throat, chest and back with 2 drops of Chironji oil mixed with your vaporub can help in loosening the mucous and phlegm deposits, relieving chest congestion, nasal congestion and common cold accompanied with runny nose and watery eyes.

3. Supports the reproductive system:

Chironji oil is a time-honored remedy for treating problems associated with sexual and reproductive functions. These seeds have aphrodisiac properties that help in treating impotence, loss of libido, lack of sexual interest, premature ejaculation and boost strength. Chironji seeds are being used in Maharashtra, India in preparing sweets and nutritious drink for the newlywed couples to maintain vitality and enhance their reproductive ability.

Massaging your body with 20 drops of Chironji oil with 3 drops of Cinnamon oil and 2 drops of Ylang Ylang oil can help in augmenting your sexual interest, grant lasting pleasure, and treat premature ejaculation and impotency by increasing vigor and the count of blood cells.

Adding 3 drops of Chironji oil to your bathing water and 2 drops of Chironji oil with 2 drops of Rose oil put in your diffuser can grant peace, reduce fatigue and treat mood swings.

4. Purifies the blood:

Chironji is used in Unani medicine as a blood cleanser. It has a positive effect on the mind and body and enhances proper blood circulation. Stress and metal worries also contribute to building up of toxins by stimulating the secretion of cortisol, also known as stress hormone in the bloodstream.

A 2012 study on ‘Adaptogenic activity of methanolic extract of Buchanania lanzan’, an experimental study in the rat model concluded that Chironji has antistress or adaptogenic activity. Massaging your body with 10 drops of Chironji oil blended with 5 drops of Lavender oil and 10 ml of coconut oil helps in augmenting the count of blood cells, enhancing positive feelings, calming the mind and eliminating toxic substances in the blood.

5. Relieves rheumatic conditions:

Rheumatism is caused by kapha aggravation leading to sluggishness, water stagnation, building up of salt, uric acid, fatty substances and toxins especially in the joints causing swelling, pain, redness and irritation. Chironji oil reduces kapha dosha and assists in discharging excess deposits of water, uric acid, salt and toxins in the body through urine.

Its diuretic properties promote the quality and frequency of urination and its anti-inflammatory along with its analgesic attributes aid in reducing swelling and pain associated with rheumatism. Massaging the affected parts with 5 drops of Chironji oil, 2 drops of Peppermint oil along with 4 ml of sesame oil can assist in alleviating rheumatic problems.

Other health benefits:

Chironji oil is also used in treating wounds, fever, ulcers, pimples, skin blemishes, glandular swelling of the neck, itching, exhaustion and biliousness.

Disclaimer:

This piece of writing is only for the purpose of education and is written wholly in the concern of sharing the long-established insight of Ayurveda, the mother of all healing sciences. It is not intended to prevent or diagnose any disease or health conditions or to substitute any kind of expert medical advice or prescribed medications.

Do not use essential oils internally. Always ensure that you dilute essential oils in suitable carrier oils before using it for topical application, as pure and organic essential oils are highly concentrated substances. Consult your healthcare professional/Ayurvedic practitioner before choosing the right essential oil for your unique individual constitution and medical condition.

Thought for the day:

Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished. -Lao Tzu

Suggested Reading:

  1. The Secret to Great Health – The Vedic Health Code by Swami Ram Charran
  2. The Modern Ayurveda: Milestones Beyond the Classical Age from CRC Press
  3. Handbook of Nuts: Herbal Reference Library by James A. Duke
  4. Unsaponifiable Matter in Plant Seed Oils by Didier Fontanel

Reference Links:

  1. Buchanania lanzan by Wikipedia
  2. Charoli by Only Foods.net
  3. Diarrhea by Baidyanath Ayurveda
  4. Chironji nut (Buchanania lanzan) processing, present practices and scope by the Agricultural and Food Engineering Department, Indian Institute of Technology, West Bengal published in the Indian Journal of Traditional Knowledge
  5. Adaptogenic activity of methanolic extract of Buchanania lanzan leaves an experimental study in rat model by Shalini Kapoor Mehta, Navpreet Bains and Naira Nayeem, GHG Khalsa College of Pharmacy, Ludhiana published in Pelagia Research Library

Caraway Oil



Caraway-bannerWhich Ayurvedic oil ‘warms the kidneys’ and ‘moves the liver’? Ah! Wait! Wait! Don’t panic, it is Caraway essential oil that has the potent to cleanse the liver, detoxify the system and discharge toxins, salt, uric acid and excess fluid deposits in the system through urine.

Also known as Persian cumin, Meridian fennel and Shahi jeera, Caraway is one among the 3000 species of plants of the Umbelliferae family dispersed throughout the world. The essential oil is extracted from the dried seeds through steam distillation method.

The Sanskrit name of Caraway is karavi and it is one among the oldest culinary herb used in Ayurvedic healing since the Stone Age. Caraway and its essential oil is being used in Ayurveda for treating diarrhea, dyspepsia, flatulence, morning sickness, colic, dyspeptic headache, bloating, cold, cough, rheumatism, inflammation, delayed menstruation, genitourinary problems, anemia, obesity and hormonal imbalances.

Purchase Caraway Essential Oil – 4oz – CLICK HERE 

Historical uses of Caraway and its essential oil:

Indigenous to Western Asia, Europe and Northern Africa, Caraway is botanically called as Carum carvi. The roots of the Caraway herb were mixed with milk and used in the preparation of Chara – the bread that was taken by Julius Caesar and his soldiers of Valerius.

Caraway has been carved in the ancient scriptures and gained esteem during the middle ages. The recent research from Arabic regional studies recommend “Carum carvi use as an endocrine function support agent, specifically related to thyroid disorders and auto immune disease.”

Parkinson mentions its healing attributes in one of his works which quotes Caraway ‘is much used to be put among baked fruit, or into bread, cakes, etc., to give them a relish. It is also made into comfits and taken for cold or wind in the body, which also are served to the table with fruit.’

It was a tradition to serve a saucer full of Caraway with roasted apple and is still kept in Trinity College, London. Caraway seeds were used as the best condiment in Greece, Rome, Russia, Norway and Sweden. Caraway essential oil is used as an active ingredient in the preparation of alcoholic liquors. It is also used in the Traditional Chinese Medicine for treating hiccups, hernia, lower back pain, lack of appetite and nausea.

The Ebers Papyrus of the African medicine, dated 1500 B.C. prescribe Caraway for treating gastrointestinal problems. People in the primeval period believed that the presence of Caraway in any object will be protected from theft. It was also used in love potions to keep the lovers away from wandering and was given to pigeons and other fowls to keep them away from straying.

Alleged to be first used by the ancient Arabs, Caraway seeds are used in Arabic medicine as a carminative for children and to treat psychological conditions such as hysteria. It is used as a diuretic to treat hypertension and diabetes in Moroccan traditional medicine. Caraway water is used as a medium for pediatric medicines and vapors obtained from Caraway seeds is trusted to alleviate rheumatism and lumbago.

Chemical constituents and therapeutic properties of Caraway essential oil:

Owing major similarities to the other members of the Apiaceae (also known as Umbelliferae) family, Caraway essential oil have carvone and limonene as its major components and the other constituents are carvacrol, α-pinene, γ-terpinene, linalool, furfurol, thujone, carvenone, and p-cymene.

Caraway also serves as a rich source of fatty acids, lignin, vitamins, amino acids, polysaccharides, triacylglycerols and numerous minerals such as copper, potassium, manganese, magnesium, calcium, selenium, zinc and iron.

Caraway essential oil has been in use since antiquity for its countless therapeutic properties like carminative, astringent, antispasmodic, eupeptic, antihistaminic, antiseptic, aperitif, antimicrobial, disinfectant, emmenagogue, expectorant, stimulant, stomachic, digestive, insecticide, diuretic, galactogogue, cardiac, antioxidant, anti-diabetic, anti-ulcerogenic, anti-carcinogenic, anti-stress and vermifuge.

Ayurvedic health benefits of Caraway essential oil:

Ayurveda is the oldest healing sciences known to the world and is said to have been in practice for more than 5,000 years. The most notable thing about Ayurveda is that its healing practices are recorded systematically in the form of literature.

Among the 4 major sacred books of the Indian Mythology, Atharvana Veda records the Ayurvedic therapies and about 114 verses of this sacred book shares the symptoms and diagnostic techniques of numerous health disorders.

Ayurveda is a holistic healing methodolgy that treats the individual instead of the symptoms and traces the root cause of an illness. By this way, this ancient common sense science focuses on prevention of illnesses leading through healthy aging process to longevity.

Based on the Vedic references of Ayurveda, two ancient Ayurvedic texts were written by the legendary Ayurvedic physicians known as Charaka and Sushruta, who wrote Charaka Samhita and Sushruta Samhita.

These Ayurvedic encyclopedias states that everything is a part of nature and the human body is a combination of the five elements known as Panchamaha Bhoothas, namely fire, water, earth, air and space.

Every person is made up of a unique individual constitution that consists of three dynamic energies known as doshas (vata -air & space, pitta – fire & water and kapha -water & earth), which are a combination of the elemental forces of nature.

For a person to be hale and healthy, these doshas should always remain in a specific ratio as set by nature and any change in the functioning or the balance between these doshas cause illnesses. Imbalance of these biological energies mainly occurs due to food habits (mainly depending on the quality of the food taken), change in weather conditions and lifestyle changes.

Ayurvedic remedies like plant essential oils, herbs, yoga, meditation, prayers, Abhyanga or art of Ayurvedic massaging, Panchakarma or the detox technique and Ayurvedic routine are recommended based on the Prakriti or the unique individual constitution of a person and for correcting the imbalances of dosha.

Caraway essential oil has the potent to reduce kapha and vata doshas and increase pitta dosha, making its use inevitable in the treatment of respiratory problems, skin disorders, spasms, cramps, bloating and other digestive disorders.

The Ayurvedic health benefits of Caraway essential oil are:caraway-broucher-info1. Combats the growth of free radicals:

Caraway essential oil serves as an effective antioxidant with its rich content of monoterpene alcohols, linalool, flavonoids and other polyphenolic compounds. This helps in destroying and inhibiting the growth of free radicals, which are responsible for cellular oxidation.

Certain scientific studies conclude that the dietary supplementation of Caraway to rats induced with colon cancer suppressed the crypt foci development and decreased the level of fecal bile acids and alkaline phosphatase which affects the epithelial cells of the colon and the rectum if not kept under control. The presence of carvone and limonene helps in reducing the lipid peroxidation products of the intestines and the colon.

Moreover the chemical compounds such as anethofuran, carvone and limonene are potential cancer chemo-preventive agents that build a protective shield against various mutagens such as dimethylnitrosamine, nitrosodimethlyamine, methylazoxymethanol acetate and inhibit the development of stomach cancers in mice induced by diethylsitosamine.

The antioxidant property of Caraway essential oil also makes it an efficient anti-carcinogenic, apoptotic, anti-proliferative and anti-mutagenic agent. As an apoptotic, Caraway essential oil proves fruitful against human leukemia cells and it also anti-proliferates the tumor cells.

Massaging your body with 10 drops of Caraway oil blended with 5 ml of Coconut oil can help in controlling the growth of free radicals and enhance the immune power of the system to shield against the harmful effects of the cancerous cells.

2. Makes you free from toxins:

Caraway essential oil serves as an excellent detoxifier, which assists in promoting active metabolism and excretion of harmful toxins or ama in the body. A 2007 research on the diuretic effect of Caraway essential oil on normal rats states that it increased the frequency and quantity of urine in a 24 hour period. It increased the level of sodium and potassium in the urine while that of the plasma remained unchanged.

Adding 2 to 3 drops of Caraway oil in warm bathing water or in a massage blend with 10 drops of this oil mixed with 5 ml of olive oil helps in excreting the toxins, fats, uric acid, salt and excess fluid deposits with ease. By this way, Caraway oil aids in alleviating hypertension, promoting weight loss and treating inflammation caused due to water retention.

Ayurvedic texts adore Caraway seed oil as a liver-friendly oil that support in protecting the liver from the encountering of highly toxic substances. In addition to this, its antimicrobial attribute clears out urinary tract infections. Caraway essential oil is a great source of dietary fiber.

3. Aids in proper digestion:

Caraway essential oil has been in use since the prehistoric period for its pitta-enhancing properties that stimulates the Agni or digestive fire, secretion of gastric and digestive juices. This attribute is responsible for the carminative, digestive and stomachic properties of Caraway oil. Its flavonoids, fatty acids and triacylglycerols help in reducing inflammation in the intestines and relieving smooth muscle contractions induced by spasmogens.

With flavonoids and monoterpene alcohols acting as natural stimulants, Caraway essential oil regulates the secretion of the digestive enzymes and its rich mineral content aid in complete absorption of the dietary nutrients. It raises the temperature of the body and speed up the process of metabolism thus preventing constipation and it helps in regulating the bowel movements.

A 2011 study on the various healing attributes of Caraway essential oil proves the antibacterial activity of this oil against gram negative bacteria such as helicobacter pylori which is identified as the primary etiological factor associated with the onset of various gastrointestinal ailments such as gastric carcinoma, gastritis and peptic ulcer. It blends well with Peppermint oil in treating non-ulcer dyspepsia, irritable bowel syndrome, indigestion and other gastrointestinal disorders.

Inhaling the refreshing aroma of Caraway oil by adding 2 drops of this oil in diffuser or burner along with massaging your abdomen with 5 drops of Caraway oil blended with 2.5 ml of sesame oil can effectively treat diarrhea, flatulence, vomiting, morning sickness, dyspepsia, heartburn due to indigestion, gastrointestinal disorders, stomachic ulcers, intestinal worms and parasites and colic.

Carvone which owes the credit of the anti-inflammatory attribute of Caraway essential oil actively reduces the production of prostaglandin and increases the production of leukotriene thus helping in alleviating colic for which reason Caraway seeds boiled in hot water was used in treating infants with colic. As an effective antimicrobial agent, Caraway oil destroys the harmful microbes in the stomach and inhibits the growth of intestinal pathogens.

4. Alleviates menstrual discomforts and other womanly problems: 

Caraway essential oil has reproductive and estrogenic parameters due to the presence of flavonoids and apigenin. It increases and regulates the secretion of estrogen. Moreover it’s rich iron, calcium and vitamin content stimulates the secretion of hemoglobin and regulates  blood flow to the uterus.

Massaging your lower abdomen, genital area and thighs with 5 drops of Caraway oil blended with 2.5 ml of Almond oil aids in opening up blocked menstruation and alleviates menstrual irregularities, dysmennorhea, menstrual cramps and associated mood swings. It relaxes the uterus and helps in its contraction facilitating the process of child birth before delivery.

Furthermore this oil possesses galactogogue properties, where the mammary glands are induced and the secretion of milk in lactating mothers is increased. Nursing mothers who use Caraway essential oil benefits their baby as well from colic and other stomachic discomforts.

5. Relieves common cold and other respiratory infections:

Common cold and certain other respiratory problems are often known as the most annoying ailments of mankind of all ages.

According to Ayurveda, excess of Kapha element in the body cause water retention, formation of mucus and phlegm deposits in the body. As a natural kapha reducing agent, Caraway essential oil can help in clearing off the phlegm and mucus secretion that often obstruct the nasal passages and block the respiratory tract.

Being a natural anti-bacterial and anti-fungal agent, Caraway essential oil destroys all the harmful microbes that cling onto the respiratory tract resulting in infections and huge deposits of mucus and phlegm. Carvone, limonene and linalool play a major role in destroying the infectious microbes and hold antihistamine properties that calm down the muscles causing coughing spasms.

2 to 3 drops of Caraway oil added to steam inhalation along with the gentle massaging of your chest, throat and back with 2 drops of this oil mixed in your regular decongesting ointment or rub can help in loosening the deposits of mucus and phlegm, aid in its excretion and reduce the symptoms of bronchitis, laryngitis and sore throat.

6. Alleviates skin disorders:

Caraway essential oil is a powerful antiseptic that helps in treating acne, boils, scabies and itches. It is used in cleansing the wounds as it destroys the presence of micro-organisms and prevents it from spreading and becoming septic, thus protecting one from the onset of tetanus with its anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties.

Carvone and limonene components present in Caraway oil have enormous anti-oxidant properties that strengthen the connective tissues and confer potent effects on aging symptoms and clears out wrinkles, lessens the sagging of skin and aids in tissue regeneration. This oil is also used in the manufacturing of skin care lotions, creams and ointments for reducing wrinkles and acne.

Rich in vitamins and minerals such as potassium, calcium, iron, manganese, selenium and zinc, Caraway essential oil helps in regulating the growth and development of cells and aids in improved natural complexion of the skin. Mix 2 drops of Caraway oil with 1 ml of Coconut oil or your mild skin care cream or lotion and gently massage on your skin in circular movements for visible results.

7. Instills tranquility:

Caraway essential oil serves as a boon to mankind with its pleasing aroma and its therapeutic compounds that have a soothing effect on the mind and instills feelings of trust and harmony. It acts as a tonic for the nerves and encourages positive thoughts in a person and eases the mental strain while making one to feel full of life and energy.

The best way to use Caraway essential oil for emotional benefits is to add 2 drops of this oil in burner, vaporizer, diffuser, aromatic candles or your pillow cover for boosting up your system and revitalizing you from within.

Other health benefits of Caraway oil:

Caraway essential oil is also used in treating rheumatism, toothaches, eye infections and inflammations. It is used as a flavoring agent in mouth-wash, gargle preparations, toothpastes, soaps, lotions, perfumes and incense sticks. It also serves as an insecticide and a potential natural fumigant for stored products. With its strong yet pleasing aroma it refreshes your breath and hence used in the manufacturing of mouth fresheners, toothpastes and other oral care products.

Disclaimer:

This is only for educational use and is not meant to prevent or diagnose any health condition or substitute any prescribed medication or professional medical advice. This information is shared only with the concern of highlighting the importance of Ayurvedic healing, the traditional wisdom of holistic remedy and we are not medical professionals. Do not use essential oils internally.

Ensure 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. It is advisable to consult your Ayurvedic professional/ healthcare expert before choosing the appropriate essential oil for your state of health and unique individual constitution.

Thought for the day:

Joy in looking and comprehending is nature’s most beautiful gift. -Albert Einstein

Suggested Reading:

  1. Caraway: The Genus Carum (Medicinal and Aromatic Plants – Industrial Profiles) from CRC Press
  2. Aromatherapy for the Soul: Healing the Spirit with Fragrance and Essential Oils by Valerie Ann Worwood
  3. The Nursing Mother’s Herbal (The Human Body Library) by Sheila Humphrey

Reference Links:

  1. Caraway by Wikipedia
  2. Essential oil content in Caraway species (Carum carvi) by J.Sedlakovai, B. Kicourkova, L. Lojkovai and V.Kubani of the Mendel University of Agriculture and Forestry, Czech Republic
  3. Cuminum Cyminum and Carum carvi by R.K. Johri published in PubMed
  4. The effects of Carum carvi L. (Caraway) extract and essential oil on TNBS-induced colitis in rats published in PubMed