Valerian Root Essential Oil

‘ALL HEAL’ is how the medicinal world calls Valerian herb and more than 250 species of this plant variety. This name was derived from the Latin word ‘Valere’ meaning ‘to feel good‘ or ‘to be well’.

Valerian root--bannerYes! You might have now known why this therapeutic herb is celebrated all through these years in treating a wide range of illnesses since the 2nd century A.D. In this context we are going to travel around the enormous health benefits of the species Valeriana Wallichii also known as Indian Valerian and is indigenous to India and is cultivated all around the world.

The most popular one among this family Valerianaceae is Valeriana Officinalis, which is native to Europe and North America but Valeriana Wallichii is used as an effective alternative to V. Officinalis with more or less the same healing values.

This herb is commonly known as Tagara in the Ayurvedic world of medicines. Ayurvedic texts suggest the use of Valerian root and the essential oil extracted from this root to treat an extensive range of illnesses including insomnia, skin problems and certain other nervous disorders. Valerian is listed as ‘Generally Recognized As Safe” by the United States Food and Drug Administration and has been approved as an effectual mild sedative by German’s Commission E.

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Historical uses of Valerian root:

Aelius Galenus, the popular Roman physician, philosopher and surgeon prescribed Valerian root for treating insomnia. Valerian tea was prescribed to treat a sick woman by Pilgram Marpeck, the Anabaptist reformer in the sixteenth century.

Dioscorides, the renowned Greek physician recommended this herb for the treatment of digestive disorders, urinary tract infections, heart palpitations, epilepsy and few other skin problems. Hippocrates, the father of western medicine also suggested Valerian root as an effective anti-depressant and as a remedy for treating insomnia.

During the medieval times in Sweden, this herb was said to be placed in the wedding clothes of the bridegroom to keep away from the envy of the elves. Such a historical mark of this herb spread its use extensively as an efficacious sedative for nervous disorders, menstrual cramps, anxiety, behavioral problems in childhood, high blood pressure, irritable bowel syndrome, learning difficulties and few other health conditions. Valerian was also used in baths to alleviate pain and promote sleep for fibromyalgia patients.

Ayurvedic health benefits of Valerian root essential oil:

Valerian Wallichii is the popular species used in the Indian Ayurvedic system of healing mankind and is known as the major species of Valeriana genus. Valeriana Wallichii is used as a significant substitute for the European species Valeriana Officinalis and has been an important part of the traditional healing system for treating skin disorders, obesity, snake poisoning, sleep disorders and nervous problems.

Charaka, the Ayurvedic philosopher has named Tagara as Sitaprasamana meaning to relieve cold feeling of the skin. This herb is also known as Sirsa dosaghna, meaning treats the illnesses of the head; Chaksusya meaning effective for the eyes; Bhutapasmara nasan meaning a promising remedy for hysteria, epilepsy and certain other evil powers; Visaghna meaning a natural anti- toxin.

According to Ayurveda, human body is made up of three predominant doshas or individual body types namely vata, pitta and kapha where vata governs metabolism and is in charge of destructions and eliminations of the body, pitta controls reasoning capacity, digestion and body temperature and kapha is responsible for the shape and structure of your body and is accountable for the power to repair the imbalances of the body. According to Ayurveda, valeriana wallichii is an effective herb in treating vata, pitta and kapha imbalances.

Valerian root essential oil is known for its deep, rich, musky and woody aroma. The essential oil of Valerian root is said to have sedative, stimulant, anti-epileptic, stomachic, antispasmodic, analgesic, carminative, analeptic and nervine properties.

The major constituents of Valerian root essential oil are limonene, borneol, pienene, sesquiterpenes, nerolidol, p-cymene, valerone, malliol, valerenic acid and 1, 8-cineole.

The chief health benefits of Valerian root essential oil are:

Valerian-root-broucher1. Sleeplessness and Valerian root essential oil:

The sedative property of this oil makes it a promising remedy for treating insomnia. Valerian is a well-known alternative to prescription drugs for sleeping disorders mainly because of its safe and gentle effects on the human body. Numerous studies have proved that Valerian aids people to fall asleep quicker and is also found that they have a quality sleep without any disturbances mentally.

Researchers also ensure that not like many over-the-counter sleeping pills, valerian have lesser side effects. Valerian root essential oil can be used by burning it in an aroma lamp before going to bed or used as soothing massage oil with tranquilizing carrier oils like coconut oil or by adding few drops to your bathing water in the evening.

2. Valerian oil for depression and other psycho-spiritual problems:

Renowned scientists trust that Valerian augments the amount of GABA in the brain where GABA is a chemical by name gamma aminobutyric acid. This chemical aids in promoting a calming effect on anxiety and control the nerve cells. The distinct aroma of this oil is trusted to combat seizures, anxiety, neuralgia, emotional stress, mental strain, depression, restlessness, tension and trauma.

Recent studies have proved the effectiveness of Valerian Wallichii essential oil as an effective anti-depressant and this ability to dispirit the central nervous system aids you in attaining deep hypnotic states. Tagara assists in discharging toxins from the nerves, joints, blood, colon and tissues and acts directly on the nerve channels.

3. Attention-enhancing and neurologic benefits of Valerian root:

It is a well-known fact that numerous herbalists and physicians use preparations containing Valerian essential oil in the treatment of many psychosomatic problems, peripheral, central and autonomic nervous system conditions. The attention-enhancing property of this herb has made some German physicians to use Valerian root to treat ADHD, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in children.

4. Valerian essential oil in the treatment of pain:

According to the PMDD information blog that talks about preventing and treating severe premenstrual syndrome, valerian root is an effective natural remedy for treating PMDD problems and dysmennorhea. It is also said that the anxiety and sleeping difficulties due to premenstrual concerns can be easily treated by using this herb.

Valerian root essential oil also aids in treating migraine pains, gout pains, rheumatism and headaches due to cold. With its antispasmodic properties, this oil is also used widely in the healing of muscular spasms. Charaka Samhita says that the best way to keep away from pain and get a peaceful sleep is to take a warm, relaxing bath before bed. Adding 2 to 3 drops of Valerian oil to your bath tub can help you fight against most of your painful conditions effectively.

5. Skin disorders and Valerian root oil:

Few drops of Valerian essential oil added to your skin cream can help in treating dry scaly skin. The antibacterial properties of this oil is helpful in the remedy of burns, cuts, wounds, open sores, eczema, bruises, psoriasis, itchiness, boils, acne, scars, insect bites, stings etc. You can apply this oil externally on the affected area after blending it with your favorite carrier oils or to your skin care cream. The soothing effect of this oil will calm and cool your skin instantly.

6. Other health benefits of Valerian root essential oil:

Valerian root essential oil is a valuable remedy for treating vata disorders like facial palsy, flatulence, and paralysis. This oil is also effective in lessening kapha imbalances and is used as a natural remedy for treating asthma, whooping cough and certain other respiratory infections. The carminative and bitter properties of this oil assist in stimulating the appetite and treat indigestion and few other digestive problems like constipation, diarrhea and digestive ulcers.

Except for its pungent odor, nothing else can stop you from using Valerian root essential oil to enjoy its greater natural health benefits.

Disclaimer: Do not ingest Valerian root essential oil unless suggested by your Certified Ayurvedic Practitioner.

Thought for the day:

There is new life in the soil for every man. There is healing in the trees for tired minds and for our overburdened spirits, there is strength in the hills, if only we will lift up our eyes. Remember that nature is your great restorer.                                                      – Calvin Coolidge

Suggested Reading:

  1. Valerian: The Genus Valeriana (Medicinal and Aromatic Plants – Industrial Profiles) From CRC Press
  2. Valerian: The Relaxing Herb (The Herbs and Health Series) By Christopher Hobbs
  3. Kava Kava, Valerian, Nervine Herbs (Woodland Health) By Rita Elkins

Reference Links:

  1. Valerian by Kathi J. Kemper, MD, MPH – The Longwood Herbal Task Force and The Center For Holistic Pediatric Education and Research
  2. Valerian (herb) by Wikipedia
  3. Valerian by University of Maryland Medical Center

Basil Oil

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

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

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

Historical uses and importance of Basil oil:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Therapeutic properties and chemical constituents of Basil essential oil:

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

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

Ayurvedic health benefits of Basil essential oil:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

a) Relieves pain and eliminates toxic substances:

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

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

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

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

b) Skin disorders and hair problems:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

d) Reduces fever:

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

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

2. In steam inhalation:

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

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

3. In burners or vaporizers:

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

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

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

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

4. In oral rinse and compresses:

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

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

5. Other uses:

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

Disclaimer:

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

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

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

Thought for the day:

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

Suggested Reading:

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

Reference Links:

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

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