Wintergreen Essential Oil


Winter-green-bannerWintergreen essential oil extracted from the leaves of Wintergreen plants, botanically known as Gaultheria Procumbens is native to North America and Canada. Gaultheria fragrantissima wallich is indigenous to India and the Indian Wintergreen essential oil has similar therapeutic properties just as the American Wintergreen essential oil. I love Wintergreen oil for its effectiveness in relieving muscular pains and spasms.

Experts call it as ‘Nature’s Aspirin’ as it is exceptionally potent in treating arthritic and rheumatic pain since ages together. Ayurveda, the ancient natural science of healing calls this herb as Gandapura and was used in many spiritual ceremonies where this sacred plant was trusted to bring harmony between earth and its inhabitants through its healing powers.

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Historical uses of Wintergreen essential oil:

The essential oil of Wintergreen was used for flavoring in the primordial times. The principal constituent of this oil is methyl salicyclate, which is 98% of this oil and other major constituents are gaultherilene, myrcene, limonene and formaldehyde.

The Native Americans used Wintergreen leaves to brew tea for treating rheumatic problems and chewed the leaves to treat respiratory problems, headache, sore throat, fever, tooth decay and to augment lung capacity.

Wintergreen essential oil is used externally as a folk medicine for joint problems, muscular discomforts, inflammation, cramps, rheumatism, arthritis, psoriasis, bruises, eczema, improper blood circulation, cellulite, headache, obesity and certain heart diseases. Wintergreen was used in numerous ritual practices for treating curses, protecting from evils and for its amazing healing benefits.

Chemical constituents or Gas Chromatography Report (GC) of Wintergreen oil:

According to the Gas chromatography report, Wintergreen oil constitutes of 2 chemical components that contribute to its fragrance, therapeutic attributes, consistency and quality of this oil. Of which, Methyl salicylate contributes to the highest proportion of Wintergreen oil with about 99.9% of its total composition.

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I trust that this must certainly help you in getting to know the exclusive information about the prime chemical constituents of Wintergreen oil.

The table crafted below clearly depicts the unique nature and contributions of these bio-chemical constituents to the healing magnificence of Wintergreen essential oil.

wintergreen-gct

Ayurvedic health benefits of Wintergreen essential oil:

Ayurveda is a holistic approach that doesn’t focus on the disease alone but treats the individual as a whole. According to this ancient science, human body is made up of three doshas or energy elements namely vata, pitta and kapha, which are a combination of five vital elements of nature (air, water, fire, earth and ether).

Vata symbolizes air and is responsible for ejections, eliminations and discharges of the body. It regulates metabolism and is the key to functions of the brain and nervous system. Pitta represents fire and is in charge of digestion, body temperature, vision and reasoning skills.

Kapha with its lubricating qualities signifies earth and is completely responsible for the shape and figure of an individual. Reproductive health, circulation, muscular strength and ability to regain good health are vested with a balanced kapha.

Every individual will have a predominance of any of these three doshas where the predominant one determines the characteristic of an individual. Good health is a symbol that your doshas are in balance and imbalance of any of these doshas will end up in illness.

Ayurvedic remedies are purely natural and suggest the use of herbs, essential oils extracted from plants, Abhyanga or Ayurvedic massage, practice of yoga, meditation, taking up an Ayurvedic routine and spirituality.

Wintergreen essential oil is a trusted medication in treating vata imbalances predominantly. In Ayurveda, wintergreen oil is used in treating Vata gout where the autoimmune system gets weakened and affects joints and muscles.

This is mainly due to the natural pain killing attribute of Wintergreen oil and a gentle massage with Wintergreen essential oil is said to soothe and warm up the skin, granting complete relief from pain, stiffness, inflammation and dryness.

Let’s now have a look at the other major Ayurvedic health benefits of Wintergreen essential oil are:

Wintergreen-broucher1. Chronic rheumatism and arthritis:

Rheumatoid arthritis or chronic rheumatism is a long term health disorder and is known as Ama vata in Ayurvedic terms. It affects the joints, causing inflammation, swelling, redness, and sharp pain.

Ayurveda states that the fundamental cause for this illness is the imbalance of the digestive fire and the stagnation of ama or toxic substances of the body mainly due to unhealthy lifestyle and stress.

Wintergreen essential oil has stimulant, anti-arthritic and anti-rheumatic properties that aids in discharging toxins from the body through urine and stimulating proper blood circulation.

Applying few drops of Wintergreen oil with carrier oils like Jojoba oil or sesame oil will help clearing impediments in the blood flow, checks rheumatism and helps in removal of toxins, reduce excess weight, salts and excess water by penetrating deeply into the tissues and muscles through the skin.

2. Pain, inflammation and muscular problems:

Wintergreen essential oil is used as a counterirritant in treating pain, sores, muscular pains, lower back pain, achy joints and inflammation, where counterirritants act by creating an irritable sensation that lessens swelling and pain in the tissues.

The analgesic, relaxant and anodyne properties of this oil cause numbness and warmth when applied on the painful area. It eliminates pain, reduce stress, drive away tension and induce good sleep by inhibiting the formation of prostaglandins responsible for causing pain.

This is mainly due to the presence of Methyl salicyclate which is equivalent to the conventional medicine aspirin (the fundamental component of aspirin is salicyclate). These soothing and pain-relieving attributes of Methyl salicyclate in Wintergreen essential oil makes it a vital part in celebrated pain relievers like BENGAY.

3. Respiratory problems and other spasmodic disorders:

The anti-spasmodic properties of Wintergreen oil aids in treating all kinds of spasms in the respiratory system, digestive system, nervous system, circulatory system and muscles.

Adding few drops of Wintergreen essential oil in steam inhalation, warm baths, gentle massaging and few other topical applications on the affected parts will give complete relief from respiratory disorders like asthma, chest congestion, breathing problems and spasmodic coughs.

Nervous afflictions, muscular contractions and certain other health disorders due to spasms can be effectively treated with the oil of Wintergreen.

4. Skin disorders:

Wintergreen essential oil is highly toxic and it acts as a protective shield against bacteria, virus, fungi, microbes and other harmful organisms. This makes it a good antiseptic and protects the skin from being septic in case of microbes’ prone open wounds, cuts and other skin infections.

This oil is very powerful and kills Staphylococcus Aureus bacteria and heals septic problems. Mild application on the skin is effective for treating all types of skin disorders as this oil has the potential to infiltrate into the skin and is easily absorbed by tissues and blood stream for faster relief. Wintergreen essential oil is also effectual in uplifting the skin, augmenting the skin tone and fighting against the symptoms of aging.

5. Digestion and elimination:

To put in simple terms, this oil boosts digestion, promotes quicker absorption of nutrients and stimulates trouble-free excretion, where the toxic substances of the body are eliminated for supporting good health.

The hepatostimulant property of Wintergreen essential oil assists the secretion of digestive enzymes, bile, gastric juices and hormones facilitating proper functioning of the body. This oil stimulates the working of gall bladder, liver, kidneys, endocrinal glands, digestive system, excretory system, circulatory system and the nervous system.

The diuretic attribute of Wintergreen oil aids in eliminating the excess water, salt, fat and uric acid in the body through urine, which makes it a promising natural remedy for treating bladder infections, hypertension, edema, obesity and water logging.

6. Woman’s health:

Being a natural emmenagogue, wintergreen essential oil helps in treating plenty of womanly problems like delayed menstruation, uterine ulcers, dysmennorhea, blocked menses, pain in the pelvic region, hair fall, hemorrhages, fatigue, vomiting and stress related to menstruation.

A soothing massage using 2 to 3 drops of Wintergreen essential oil blended with sesame oil can grant complete relief. Adding few drops of this oil to your bath tub with warm water can calm your nerves and soothe your senses.

7. Spiritual strength:

The strong aroma of Wintergreen essential oil improves attentiveness and stimulates the mind. Applying this oil to your skin is said to heighten the vibration of the body and accentuate sound.

Increased vibration helps in unveiling spiritual awareness and paves way to the harmony of self and divinity. This attribute has made Wintergreen oil to be an incredible part of the ancient chants (mantras) and meditations where sound was used for adding spiritual strength.

Wintergreen essential oil improves logical thinking and stimulates mental power. Apart from all these natural benefits, this oil is used as a flavoring agent in candies, root beer, chewing gums, smokeless tobacco, mouth fresheners, mouthwash like Listerine, in toothpastes and certain other oral care products. It is also used as a solvent in printmaking.

Disclaimer:

Ingesting Wintergreen essential oil should be strictly avoided as it is highly toxic and can cause serious health effects. 1 fl oz of this oil is equivalent to 171 adult aspirin tablets. Use it only as a topical application after diluting it with soothing carrier oils in 1:10 ratio.

This oil has blood-thinning effects and should be avoided by people who are susceptible to aspirin. Never use it on children below 12 years of age, pets, pregnant women and on broken skin. Consult your healthcare practitioner before using Wintergreen essential oil for your individual constitution.

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

Gas Chromatography Report (GC analysis) of Wintergreen oil.

Wintergreen Oil Possible Skin Issues:

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

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

Wintergreen oil can also be called as methyl salicylate as this essential oil contains about 99.9% of the methyl salicylate component. Besides being an excellent analgesic equivalent to the aspirin, it leaves behind trepidation with numerous adverse effects on the human system.

Alarmed as a toxic substance, Methyl salicylate is claimed as a neurotoxic, teratogenic and unsafe during pregnancy, labor and nursing.

Poisoning due to Methyl salicylate is said to cause adverse dermal conditions, vomiting, sweating, respiratory alkalosis, pulmonary and laryngeal edema, fluid retention, lethargy, tinnitus, internal haemorrhage, restrains blood clotting and should not be used when using blood-thinning drugs.

“Methyl salicylate is much more toxic than salicylates” quotes the book, Leung’s Encyclopedia of Common Natural Ingredients used in Food, Drugs and Cosmetics. Various studies also witness that lethal poisoning of methyl salicylate in Wintergreen oil can happen by absorption through the skin cells.  Mainly due to the aspirin-like qualities of Methyl salicylate, there are chances for bleeding and other subsequent side effects when applied on the skin for treating pain and spasms.

The safe maximum dermal use level of Wintergreen oil is 2.4% as per the International Fragrance Association (IFRA). According to the Health Canada Cosmetic Ingredient Hotlist, March 2011, the safe maximum level of external use of methyl salicylate in topical products is 1%. This level of usage is applicable only for topically used products and is invalid for rinse-off products, including soaps, shampoos and other bathing products.

A 2007 study, published in the Cal Journal of Emergency Medicine reveals that percutaneous (effected through the skin surface) absorption of Methyl salicylate in Wintergreen oil and other salicylates, may end up in acute poisoning, especially in people with renal failure. This study also concluded that based upon the autopsy, the death of an elderly man with renal failure occurred due to the continuous dermal absorption of Wintergreen oil.

Skrakosch studies on ointments containing salicylic acid, state that the factors affecting the dermal absorption of salicylate are “the effect of salicylic acid on the epidermis, the pathologic state of the skin, the degree of hydration of the stratum corneum, and the solvents used.” Based upon the studies on volunteers with normal skin, it was found that salicylate ointments caused damage to the epidermis within 2 to 14 days.

The use of methyl salicylate is prone to interact with drugs when used along with anticoagulant medication (warfarin) and GERD (Gastroesophageal reflux disease). It is good to avoid Wintergreen oil if you are sensitive to salicylates and certain other skin conditions as it may trigger skin damage. Methyl salicylate is also said to inhibit platelet aggregation.

Along with Methyl salicylate and aspirin, all kinds of salicylates are teratogenic in nature and might harm the fetus so it is best avoided during pregnancy, labor and while nursing. The reproductive toxicity of Methyl salicylate has been witnessed as reproductively toxic in rodents and it can also be 4.5 times more poisonous in humans than in rodents.

Various studies have proved the high mortality rate of methyl salicylate accounting to 50 to 60% with 4 to 8 ml used in children is reported as the lethal dose for children. Use of Methyl salicylate on children (including infants and toddlers) should be strictly avoided, (especially in children with ADHD-Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder), patients with hypersensitivity, asthma, gastro-intestinal irritation, inflammation and salicylate allergy.

Studies have proved the neurotoxic effects of Methyl salicylate, the excess of which can end up in death via respiratory collapse and cardiopulmonary arrest. Based on the analysis of deadly salicylate poisoning cases, it was detected in post-mortem examination that about 18% had abnormalities in the nervous system.

Wintergreen essential oil used in a diluted form, blended with safe carrier oils like coconut oil is safe only for external use. Never ingest Wintergreen oil as Methyl salicylate is highly fatal and may cause severe toxicity. The most prevalent symptoms of Methyl salicylate poisoning are fever, excitation of central nervous system, high blood pressure, confusion, rapid breathing, convulsions and even coma.

Reference Links Substantiating the Possible Skin Issues of Wintergreen Oil:

  1. Salicylate Toxicity from Ingestion and Continued Dermal Absorption Rachel L. Chin, MD, Kent R. Olson, MD, and Delia Dempsey, MS, MD, published in Cal Journal of Emergency Medicine
  2. Management priorities in Salicylate Poisoning by The American College of Medical Toxicology
  3. Aspirin and other Salicylate poisoning by Gerald F. O’Malley, DO, Thomas Jefferson University and Hospital; Rika O’Malley, MD, published in the professional version of the MSD Manuals
  4. Methyl Salicylate by Wikipedia
  5. Treatment of Low Back Pain: The Potential Clinical and Public Health Benefits of Topical Herbal Remedies by Patricia R. Hebert, PhD, E. Joan Barice, MD and Charles H. Hennekens, published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine
  6. Wintergreen Oil – Essential Oil Safety: A Guide for Health Care Professionals by Robert Tisserand, Rodney Young
  7. Safety Information on Essential Oils by the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy
  8. Case Reports of Adverse Events of Wintergreen oil by American Herbal Products Association’s Botanical Safety Handbook, Second Edition edited by Zoë Gardner, Michael McGuffin

Suggested Reading:

  1. Potter’s New Cyclopaedia of Botanical Drugs and Preparations by R. C. Wren
  2. Herbal Healing for Women by Rosemary Gladstar
  3. The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Essential Oils: The Complete Guide to the Use of Oils in Aromatherapy & Herbalism by Julia Lawless
  4. The Essential Herbal for Natural Health: How to Transform Easy-to-Find Herbs into Healing Remedies for the Whole Family by Holly Bellebuono

Reference Links:

  1. Methyl Salicyclate by Wikipedia
  2. Ayurvedic and Herbal remedies for Arthriti by Dr. Narendra Jain
  3. Treatment of Gout  – The Ayurvedic Way by Ravi Bhanot, Ayurvedic Researcher, The Ayurveda Institute of Europe
  4. Wintergreen by Georgetown University Medical Center

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Betel Leaf Oil


Have you ever thought whether nature has a heart? If yes, then here’s your answer. The heart shaped Betel leaf is beckoned as the ‘Golden heart of nature’. Dating back to 7000 BC, Betel is one among those oldest divine herbs bestowed on mankind.

Betel-leaf-bannerBesides numerous health benefits, these appealing leaves are a symbol of status and hospitality for greeting Kings, nobles and guests in the cultural heritage of India. Botanically called as Piper betle, Betel vine is a member of the pepper family Piperaceae.

Tambool, Saptashira, Nagavallari and Nagini are Sanskrit names of Betel leaf and is commonly called as Paan in Hindi and the English names are Betel pepper, Betel vine and Betel. In Ayurveda, Tambool or Tambuli has been mentioned in numerous Ayurvedic texts including Charaka Samhita and Sushruta Samhita, where these glossy leaves have been prescribed for enhancing metabolic functions, reducing inflammation, expelling mucus, strengthening the heart muscles, improving appetite, purifying blood, treating ulcer, nosebleed, acne, bronchitis, halitosis, bleeding gums, headache and reproductive problems.

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

Betel leaf has a rich historical charisma and is said to have been indigenous to South East Asian countries including Malaysia and India. Chewing Betel leaves with areca nut is a cultural tradition in most of the Asian countries for it’s said to give a euphoric feeling that stimulates the mind and grants instant energy for working.

According to the study of numerous Anthropologists, the traces of Betel leaves were said have been found in spirit caves of Northwest Thailand, which dates back to 5500 to 7000 B.C. The oldest historical book of Sri Lanka, ‘Mahawamsa’ written in Pali talks about the leaves of the Betel vine. There are certain other findings in human skeletons dating back to 3000 BC in countries like Philippines and Indonesia, indicating the use of Betel leaves even before thousands of years.

The traditional practice of chewing Betel leaves with areca nut has been mentioned in the pre-historic books of the Indian mythology and the most predominant among them are Raghuvamsa written by Kalidas and Kamsutra written by Vatsyayana. In one of the oldest text named Sakta-tantra, Betel leaves have been denoted as one of the important ways of attaining siddhi or abundant blessings from the Almighty.

In these ancient texts Betel leaves were referred as Tambulika, Tambuladhikara, Tambuladayini, and Tambuladyaka and so on. Ayurvedic encyclopedias like Charaka Samhita and Sushruta Samhita have also indicated the many uses of Betel leaves. In chapters 28-46 of Sushruta Samhita Betel leaves are described as “aromatic, sharp, hot, acrid and beneficial for voice, laxative, appetizer, beside this they pacify vata and aggravate pitta.”

The primeval Ayurvedic texts also highlight the aphrodisiac properties of Betel leaf that aid in treating male and female reproductive problems. The Chinese Traditional medicine also used Betel leaves for its warm and spicy nature that aided in the treatment of cough, itching, inflammation, headache and respiratory infections.

Betel leaves were used in various medical preparations of the Unani medicine and was used as a brain tonic, and in treating throat infections, cleansing the blood and for enhancing the appetite.

Betel leaves were also used in the traditional healing system for treating various health disorders like conjunctivitis, leucorrhea, rheumatism, ringworm, constipation, infertility, bad breath, ottorrhoea, cough and asthma. Singers chewed these leaves to enhance their voice.

Therapeutic properties and chemical components of Betel leaf essential oil:

The primary ingredients of the essential oil of Betel leaf are cadinene, sesquiterpene, chavicol, geraniol, α-thujene, terpinolene, chavibetol, phenyl propane, trans β-ocimene, safrole, caryophyllene, cineole, cadinol, eugenol, camphene, limonene, pinene, and eugenyl acetate.

These chemical constituents contribute to its remedial values like antifungal, antiseptic, antimicrobial, antioxidant, immunomodulatory, gastroprotective, radio-protective, anti-diabetic, hepatoprotective, galactogogue, anti-inflammatory, expectorant, carminative, analgesic and nervous stimulant.

Ayurvedic health benefits of Betel leaf essential oil:

Veda means knowledge and Vedic studies were strongly suggested for people during the primordial times for gaining knowledge on various aspects including reading and writing skills, discipline, war skills and spiritual values. Ayurveda is much more than a traditional healing system and the word Ayurveda literally means knowledge of life.

The 4 major Vedas of India is like the pillars of the Indian mythology with the world’s richest cultural heritage. They are Rig, Yajur, Sama and Atharva Veda, and among these Ayurveda has its origin from Atharva Veda. This ancient medicinal science is said to have been blessed by the God of Medicine, known as Acharya Dhanvantari.

The main aim of Ayurvedic healing is longevity and healthy aging through a disciplined life and prevention of illnesses with the use of natural remedies like herbal remedies, plant essential oils, yoga, meditation, simple physical exercises, Ayurvedic routine, prayers and other established Ayurvedic techniques including Panchakarma or the Ayurvedic detoxification therapies, Abhyanga or the art of Ayurvedic massaging and many more.

The most treasured Ayurvedic writings include Sushruta Samhita, Charaka Samhita and Ashtangha Hridaya Samhita. These texts throw light on the basic Ayurvedic concepts and its detailed healing mechanism. Charaka known as the father of medicine represents the Atreya School of physicians and shared his medical intelligence on pathogenesis, anatomy, physiology, etiology, disease symptoms, and diagnosis.

Acharya Sushruta is called as the father of surgery and corresponds to the Dhanvantari School of surgeons. He explains about the classification of wounds, burns, fractures, amputation, rectal surgery, plastic surgery and about many types of surgical equipments.

The credit of introducing Abhyanga or Ayurvedic massaging based on the marma points in the body also goes to Sushruta. The third Ayurvedic text Ashtangha Hridaya contains the medicinal values of both Charaka Samhita and Sushruta Samhita.

According to the Ayurvedic philosophy, the major principles of Ayurveda include the 5 vital elements of nature known as Panchamahabutas, 3 dynamic energies known as tridosha, discarding of waste called as malas and the important organs of the body, known as dhatus.

This conventional therapy believes that the earth is made up of five fundamental elements known as space, earth, fire, water, and air. Similarly, the whole thing in this world is also made up of the same five elements also called as the building blocks of nature.

By nature, every person has a unique individual constitution, named as Prakriti and it comprises of three biological forces known as doshas. They are vata (air and space), pitta (fire and water) and kapha (earth and water).

Among these, vata dosha is accountable for the activities of the nervous system including the central and autonomic functions. Pitta dosha is responsible for metabolic functions, tissue building, endocrinal functions and the body temperature. Kapha energy is in charge of physical fitness, binding power, sustenance and reproductive functions.

Absolute balance between these doshas as per nature’s law signifies health and disparity caused by irregular food habits, detrimental practices, climatic conditions and certain other factors leads to sickness.

Ayurvedic remedies are prescribed in order to balance these doshic vitiations. Betel leaf essential oil is known for its remedial properties that pacify kapha and vata dosha and increase pitta body type.

The Ayurvedic health benefits of Betel leaf oil are:

Betel-leaf-broucher1. Ayurvedic approach for refreshing your breath:

Betel leaves are an excellent Ayurvedic aid for refreshing the breath instantly even after heavy meals or especially after having food items that may possess strong odor like garlic or onion. Chewing betel leaves is a customary practice in India since the traditional times mainly for its potent to prevent bad breath, enhance digestion, support healthy gums, assist strong teeth and combat germs and other micro-organisms that cause oral infections.

According to numerous research studies, Betel leaves and its essential oil are the best remedies for treating plaque, dental decay, dental caries and other oral infections caused by bacteria and other harmful micro-organisms.

According to a study on Piper betle, published in the Journal of Pharmacognosy and Phytochemistry, “Dental caries is a chronic endogenous infection caused by the normal oral commensally flora. The carious lesion is the result of demineralization of enamel and later of dentine by acids produced by plaque microorganisms as they metabolize dietary carbohydrates.”

The primary bacteria responsible for tooth decay is Streptococcus mutans and certain other researchers have concluded that the aqueous extracts present in Betel leaves have the oral protective action and potent to combat such bacterial growths along with various acid-producing oral pathogens.

Gargling every morning and night with one cup of warm water mixed with 1 drop of Betel leaf oil can act as a protective shield against tooth decay, plaque, halitosis or unpleasant odor in the mouth, harmful effects of bacteria, germs and other oral pathogens. This also helps in sweetening your breath, arresting oral bleeding, strengthening your gums and fortifying your teeth.

2. Keeps away microbes and its hazardous infections:

The essential oil extracted from betel leaves prevent the system from the dangerous effects of pathogens and micro-organisms and kills the existing microbes and treats the infections caused by such harmful bodies.

A 1991 study on the ‘Biological activity of the essential oil of Piper betle L., by S. C. Garg and Rajshree Jain states that “The essential oil from the leaves of Piper betle L. has been found in vitro to be highly active against the growth of four keratinophilic fungi, Arthroderma benhamiae, Microsporum gypseum, Trichophyton mentagrophytes, Ctenomyces serratus and five pathogenic Aspergilli. Bacterial organisms Bacillus subtilis, B. pumilus, Staphylococcus aureus, Salmonella typhi and Vibrio cholerae were also found to be susceptible to the oil.”

Certain studies also state that Betel leaves and its extracts also possess bactericidal activity on various urinary tract pathogenic bacteria including Enterocococcus faecalis, koseri, C.fruendi, Klebsiella pnemoniae.

The molecule sterol present in these leaves is said to be responsible for the anti-bacterial activity of Betel leaf oil. This contributes to its effectiveness against numerous gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria. It also contains anti-fungal activity and proves challenging to fungi and the resulting fungal infections.

This property of Betel leaf oil helps in treating related skin problems like acne, wounds becoming septic, ringworms, athletes’ foot and certain other infectious diseases like dermatophytosis, which is caused by highly specialized fungi known as the dermatophytes and this disease occurs mainly on the keratinized parts of the body like nail, skin and hair.

A study on the “Evaluation of Anti-dermatophytic activity of Piper betle, Allamanda cathertica and their combination: An in vitro and in vivo stud” published in the International Journal of Pharm Tech., states that the chloroform extract of piper betel shows the much more efficiency than the methanol fraction against dermatophytes because of presence of non-polar components in the fraction.

Gently applying 2 drops of Betel leaf oil blended with 1 drop of Peppermint oil and 1 drop of turmeric oil along with 2 ml of coconut oil on the affected parts can help in relieving wounds and infections quickly along by combating and preventing the growth of destructive microbes. You can also 2 drops of Betel leaf oil to your bathing water to protect you from germs, prevent body odor and grant ultimate refreshment all through the day.

3. Natural digestive aid:

Chewing of betel leaf is considered as an edible digestive aid since the traditional times for its carminative, intestinal, anti-flatulent and gastro-protective properties. The essential oil extracted from these aromatic leaves are also claimed to possess these therapeutic properties, as essential oils are nothing but the life essence or vital life force of the plants.

Massaging your abdomen with 2 drops of Betel leaf oil mixed with 2 drops of Peppermint oil and 2 ml of sesame oil can be an excellent digestive assistance. This helps in promoting the secretion of saliva, gastric juices and digestive acids and it also supports in producing the peristaltic waves, which is highly significant for hassle-free digestion.

This Ayurvedic massaging along with inhaling the warm aroma of Betel leaf oil by adding 1 drop of this oil to your hankie or a tissue paper can aid in treating constipation, diarrhea, gas pain, flatulence, intestinal spasms and sluggish digestion.

Certain researches have also established that the essential oil of Betel leaf has been highly effective against hookworms (Bunostomum trigonocephalum) and tapeworms (Taenia solium) than the accepted synthetic anthelmintics like hexyl resorcinol and piperazine phosphate.

4. Instant remedy for respiratory problems:

The best Ayurvedic remedy for relieving cold, cough and breathing difficulties is applying warmed Betel leaves on the chest after soaking it in mustard oil. Juice extracted from crushed Betel leaves mixed with honey is another traditional remedy for loosening tough phlegm deposits and relieving severe cough.

Betel leaf oil has expectorant properties that aids in expelling accumulated mucus and phlegm especially in the lungs and the respiratory passages. Along with this, the antimicrobial properties of this help in killing contagious microbes in the system like bacteria and viruses that aggravate respiratory infections, if left uncontrolled. Adding 2 drops of Betel leaf oil in steam inhalation and inhaling this medicated steam can help in treating nasal congestion, chest congestion and other cough.

Mix 2 drops of Betel leaf oil with 2 drops of Eucalyptus oil and 2 ml of mustard oil and warm it slightly. Gently massage your throat, chest and back with this medicated oil to eject excess water deposits in the body leading to the amassing of phlegm and mucus deposits. The micro-organisms in the body are eliminated through excessive sweating and urination after taking up these Ayurvedic remedies with Betel leaf oil.

5. Relieves rheumatic conditions and pain:

One amongst the three Ayurvedic schools (Sushruta Samhita, Charaka Samhita and Ashtangha Hridaya Samhita) has recommended the use of betel leaves in the treatment of severe pain and aches, mainly originating from the nervous system. This pain-relieving attribute of Betel leaf is due its analgesic, numbing and cooling properties.

Rheumatism is often regarded as a health disorder caused mainly due to kapha vitiations. Excess of kapha dosha due to changes in food habits, climatic conditions and other lifestyle changes leads to stagnation of water in the system, built up of toxins, inflammation, pain, irritation and certain other symptoms. Betel leaf essential oil with its warming properties increases the heat energy in the system and reduces excess of kapha dosha.

Massaging the affected parts with 3 drops of Betel leaf oil mixed with 1.5 ml of coconut oil can help in alleviating the surplus water deposits in the system by promoting frequent urination with its diuretic properties. You can also add 4 to 5 drops of this oil in hot or cold compress and use it gently on the painful parts. This can also help in relieving headache, lumbago or lower back pain, arthritis pain, swelling, redness and muscular tension.

6. Treats various skin disorders:

Betel leaf juice mixed with turmeric powder is a trusted folklore medicine for treating wounds, boils, acne, cuts and other minor injuries. With its powerful antiseptic and antimicrobial properties, Betel leaf and its essential oil have been proven effective in treating allergies, skin ulceration, nosebleeds, body odor, itchiness, vaginal wetness, acne and other skin infections.

Mix 2 drops of Betel leaf oil with 2 drops of Lavender oil and 2 ml of Jojoba oil and apply it on the infected parts and leave it for half an hour. Wash it thoroughly with a mild skin cleanser. 1 drop of Betel leaf oil added to a cup of warm water can be used as a safe genital wash for treating vaginal wetness, combating germs and other micro-organisms in the discharge, and for supporting genital shrinkage in women, especially after delivery.

Other health benefits:

Betel leaf essential oil is also an effective Ayurvedic remedy for treating reproductive problems with its aphrodisiac properties, diabetes with its anti-diabetic properties, urinary problems with its diuretic properties, constipation in children with its carminative properties, halitosis and other oral problems with its disinfectant and anti-microbial properties.

Disclaimer:

This article is meant only for the use of education and information. It is not intended to cure or prevent any medical condition or replace any prescription medicines. This is only an initiative to spread the time-honored wisdom and medical excellence of Ayurveda and we are not healthcare professionals.

Remember to consult your Ayurvedic professional/healthcare practitioner before selecting the appropriate essential oils for your state of health and prakriti or unique individual constitution.

Avoid ingesting or using essential oils internally. Make sure that you dilute Ayurvedic essential oils in suitable carrier oils before topical application. This is because pure and organic essential oils are the vital life force of plants and are highly concentrated liquids.

Thought for the day:

In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks.  -John Muir

Suggested Reading:

  1. Betelvine (Piper Betle L.): Genetic diversity, Phytochemical analysis, Bioactive compounds, Antimicrobial activities, Betelvine by Mofizuddin Mollah, Monzur Hossain, Rafiul Islam
  2. Betel leaf Cultivation – A Potential Crop for Sustainable Income: An In-depth Study on Economy of Betel leaf Cultivation and Marketing with reference to Nadia District, West Bengal, India by Sayan Ghosh, Asit Maiti
  3. The Encyclopedia of Psychoactive Plants: Ethnopharmacology and Its Applications by Christian Ratsch, Albert Hofmann
  4. Antimutagenic and Bactericidal effect of betel vine ethanol extract: Antimutagenic and Bactericidal Property of Ethanol extract of Piper betel L. (Betel vine) leaf by Mukesh Singh
  5. The Encyclopedia of Aphrodisiacs: Psychoactive Substances for Use in Sexual Practices by Christian Rätsch, Claudia Müller-Ebeling

Reference Links:

  1. Betel by Wikipedia
  2. Golden Heart of the Nature: Piper betle L., D. Pradhan, Dr. K. A. Suri, Dr. D. K. Pradhan, and P. Biswasroy, Indian Institute of Integrative Medicine published in the Journal of Pharmacognosy and Phytochemistry
  3. Effects of betel chewing on the central and autonomic nervous systems by Nai-Shin Chu MD, published in the Journal of Biomedical Science
  4. Betel leaves , Ayurvedic herbs and their healing power by Dr. Satish Kulkarni published in NZhealth.net
  5. Biological activity of the essential oil of Piper betle L., by S. C. Garg and Rajshree Jainpublished in the Journal of Essential Oil Research

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.

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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