Ashwagandha Oil

Aswagandha-bannerStand tall like a stallion and hold your head up with the strength and inevitable power of Ashwagandha, the most potent and revitalizing herb of the Ayurvedic healing. Often called as ‘Indian Ginseng’ for its enormous and instant energizing attributes, the word ‘Ashwagandha’ means the ‘smell of horse’, as the fresh roots have a horse-like odor.

Ayurvedic writings record the usage of this vital herb as a rasayana, meaning tonic for alleviating extensive range of illnesses from cancer to impotency. Dr. M. Ali in his book ‘Ashwagandha – The Stress Buster’ quotes Ashwagandha as an anti-stress herb with curative, relaxing, preventive, restorative and sedative properties and has the power to alleviate stress, the silent killer and the root cause of many problems including strokes, impotence, heart attacks, blood pressure, depression and stomach ailments.

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Historical uses and significance of Ashwagandha herb and its essential oil:

Lovingly called as ‘Winter cherry and Indian ginseng, Ashwagandha is botanically called as Withania somnifera and is a member of the nightshade or Solanaceae plant family. The word ‘somnifera’ means ‘sleep-inducing’ and Ashwagandha is known for its potential to promote sleep and has been used in the treatment of insomnia.

Indigenous to the Indian subcontinent, Ashwagandha is one among the most popular herb in the history of Ayurvedic healing. Few sources also state that this herb is native to Africa, Australia and the Eastern parts of Asia. Ashwagandha is also found growing naturally in Sri Lanka and Pakistan.

Ashwagandha has been used for more than 4,000 years in the world of traditional medicine, including Ayurveda, Homeopathy, Siddha, Traditional Chinese Medicine and Unani. The tribal populace in Africa is said to have used this herb initially in the treatment of inflammatory medical conditions and fevers.

Ayurvedic use of Ashwagandha has been documented in the Ayurvedic texts like Charaka Samhita and Sushruta Samhita and certain records also state that Ashwagandha is popular since the sacred teachings of the Ayurvedic Rishi, Punarvasu Atriya. Ashwagandha is recommended in Ayurveda for longevity, physical and mental wellness of the aged, reproductive health and as a brain tonic for children.

The Ashwagandha root paste has been applied for treating joint inflammation, swelling, ulcers, pimples, piles, carbuncles, boils, colic and leucorrhoea. Traditional remedies also prescribe this powerful root in treating venomous snake and insect bites, including scorpion stings. It is used in the Middle East countries for its ability to support normal sleep patterns and persuade a strong inflammatory response.

Used as a Rasayana or natural tonic in Ayurveda, Ashwagandha has been a promising Ayurvedic remedy for rheumatism, insomnia, arthritis, impotence, loss of libido, improper blood circulation, constipation, goiter, nervous breakdown, fatigue and depression. The most common use of this herb since the traditional times is for the encumbrance from old age and emaciation of children.

The leaves of this plant bear a bitter taste and have been used in curing fever, swellings, tubercular glands and tumors. Numerous research studies have witnessed the power of Ashwagandha in the treatment of respiratory problems, cardiovascular diseases, loss of energy along with psychological and physical stress. Chyawanprash is one among the most popular Ayurvedic blend with Ashwagandha, Amla or the Indian Gooseberry and numerous other herbs.

Chemical constituents and remedial properties of Ashwagandha essential oil:

The therapeutic properties of Ashwagandha essential oil are anti-stress, adaptogenic, aphrodisiac, astringent, antioxidant, rejuvenative, anthelmintic, tonic, diuretic, stimulant, anti-rheumatic, antibacterial, anti-ulcerogenic, anti-tumor, anti-inflammatory, anti-carcinogenic, anti-arthritic, cardio-protective, immunomodulatory and anti-depressant.

The major chemical components in Ashwagandha essential oil are alkaloids (anaferine, isopelletierine, anahygrine, cuseohygrine, etc.), steroidal lactones (withaferins, withanolides) and saponins.

Ayurvedic health benefits of Ashwagandha essential oil:

Ayurveda is precisely called as the Mother of all the other healing sciences on earth for its enormous holistic healing principles that aim in healing and preventing illnesses for more than 5,000 years.

Acharya Dhanvantari, known as the Ayurvedic God of medicine and physician of Gods is said to have gifted Ayurveda for the wellness of humanity. Ayurveda is a part of Atharvaveda, one amongst the 4 sacred books or Vedas of the Indian mythology.

Ayurveda is the only medicinal system that considers human body as a temple and the soul that lives in is regarded as the symbol of divinity. With this thought of nobility, Ayurveda recommends mankind to keep their mind, body and soul clean, happy and content.

The principles of Ayurveda rely on nature for everything as it strongly trusts that everything on earth is a vital part of nature. The visible proof behind this theory is that all things in nature are made up of five basic elements of nature, namely fire, water, earth, space and air.

Human body is also made up of these five elements, where earth is present in the form of bones and muscles; water represents blood and fluids in the system; air is vital for breathing; space is the soul that dwells in and fire is the essential energy for body temperature, metabolic functions and certain other vital activities of the system.

Ayurveda never goes by the fact that ‘one size fits all’, as it trusts that every human being is a distinctive part of nature composed with a unique individual constitution known as prakriti. It is a combination of three biological energies called as doshas. They are vata, pitta and kapha. Every individual has a predominance of any one of these doshas that acts as a deciding factor in determining the character, personality, attributes and behavioral patterns.

Absolute balance between these doshas as per the law of nature indicates health and doshic imbalances due to climatic conditions, lifestyle changes, irregular food habits and moral vitiations lead to illness.

Ayurvedic healing aims at treating the root cause of an illness instead of its symptoms alone. This aids in curing the disease initially and preventing it in the future as well. Ayurveda prescribes natural remedies that go well with the individual constitution of a person, even if a group of people are affected by the same medical condition.

The prime Ayurvedic remedies are plant essential oils, simple physical exercises, herbs, yoga, prayers, Pranayama (Ayurvedic breathing exercises), meditation, Abhyanga or Ayurvedic massaging, Panchakarma or Ayurvedic detoxification techniques and Ayurvedic routine.

Ashwagandha essential oil is said to pacify vata and kapha doshas and increase pitta energy.

It’s time to look into the most significant Ayurvedic health benefits of Ashwagandha essential oil.

Aswagandha-broucher1. Combats cancer causing free radicals:

Ashwagandha is a miraculous Ayurvedic herb that possesses antioxidant and anti-tumor properties that aid in combating the harmful free radicals and curb the growth of cancerous tumors in the system. The anti-antigenic attribute of this natural medicine helps in preventing the malignant tumors from creating new blood vessels for assisting its uncontrolled growth.

Being an immune-stimulant and rejuvenating essential oil, Ashwagandha strengthens the immune system, aids in resisting the effects of chemotherapy and supports quicker recovery. Many research studies have witnessed the cancer inhibiting potential of Ashwagandha, which works by controlling the ability of reproducing of the cancer cells.

A 2006 study on the “Ancient medicine, modern use: Withania somnifera and its potential role in integrative oncology.” By Winters, states “with its polypharmaceutical use, confirming antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, immune-modulating, and antistress properties in the whole plant extract and several separate constituents, Withania somnifera reduces tumor cell proliferation while increasing overall animal survival time.”

This study concludes by stating “Withania somnifera also reduces the side effects of chemotherapeutic agents cyclophosphamide and paclitaxel without interfering with the tumor-reducing actions of the drugs. With its cytotoxic and tumor-sensitizing actions, Withania somnifera presents itself as a novel complementary therapy for integrative oncology care.”

Ayurveda prescribes the use of Ashwagandha oil in Abhyanga or Ayurvedic massaging for treating cancerous disorders. Massaging your system with 10 drops of Ashwagandha oil blended with 5 drops of Parsley seed oil, 5 drops of Turmeric essential oil, 5 drops of Tangerine oil along with 25 ml of coconut oil can grant innate energy to your cells for fighting against free radicals and controlling the growth of cancerous cells.

The cancer-fighting attributes of Ashwagandha oil along with Parsley, Turmeric and Tangerine oils pass on to the bloodstream by penetrating through the skin cells and work on effectively without causing any side effects. You can also add 1 drop of Ashwagandha oil along with 1 drop of Frankincense oil to your warm bathing water for leaving you fresh and fragrant all through the day.

2. Alleviates arthritis and rheumatic problems:

According to Ayurveda, aggravation of vata and excess of kapha dosha contribute to vulnerable medical conditions like rheumatism and arthritis. With its ability to reduce kapha vitiation and treat vata aggravation, Ashwagandha is one among those best Ayurvedic remedies for alleviating pain, swelling, inflammation and other discomforts associated with arthritis and other rheumatic conditions.

When used as a massage oil (3 drops of Ashwagandha oil + 2 drops of Rose Geranium oil + 2 drops of Tarragon oil with 5 ml of Sesame oil), Ashwagandha penetrates deeply into the system and aids in relaxing the muscles, strengthening the bones and nourishing the tissues.

This also helps in instilling complete relaxation in the nervous system, promote blood circulation, reduce muscular pain, and alleviate inflammation by promoting the frequency of urination and opening of the sweat pores through which the toxic remains, salt and uric acid in the body are eliminated.

The tonic, analgesic or pain-reducing, diuretic, anti-rheumatic, anti-arthritic, anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant and relaxant properties of Ashwagandha oil makes it a great natural remedy for osteoarthritis, rheumatoid and muscular problems, used often by athletes, dancers and body builders. Using 2 drops of Ashwagandha oil in warm compress can support the healing process.

The pain-relieving potential of Ashwagandha oil is often compared to popular pain-relieving agents in the pharmaceutical industry like aspirin and phenylbutazone. This oil is also believed to prevent inflammation and muscular strains, grant flexibility to the muscles and vigor to the joints.

3. Enhances immunity and energy levels:

A healthy immune system is the basis for longevity and heartiness. The disease-fighting or resisting ability of a person is determined by his immune power. The white blood cells (WBC) or leucocytes in the body are cells of the immune system are also known as the police force of the body. These cells are involved in shielding the human body against foreign bodies and infectious diseases.

Leucocytes are present all over the body, including the lymphatic system and blood. Ashwagandha oil has the power to strengthen the immune system by increasing the count of leucocytes or white blood cells.

This promising herb is also called as the ‘Ojas enhancing’ herb with plethora of remedial values.

Ayurveda defines ojas as the subtle or cultured level of energy gained from healthy food. Required level of Ojas in the system is a symbol of well-built immunity, inner consciousness, healthy complexion, mental clarity, hale and heartiness and physical wellness. Decreased ojas or Ojakshaya is an indicator of low immune power as it is in a person affected by HIV.

Ashwagandha is held high in Ayurvedic medicine for its effectiveness in enhancing ojas. This in turn helps in augmenting immune power, keeping away from infections and diseases and aids in recovering quickly from sickness, while rejoicing absolute health and wellness.

Adding 1 drop of Ashwagandha oil with 1 drop of Sandalwood oil and 1 drop of Vetiver oil in diffuser, vaporizer or burner during prayers, meditation and Pranayama can help in augmenting the Ojas, strengthen your immune system, help retain youthfulness, revitalize the senses, relieve from fatigue and insomnia, prevent aging and invigorate the entire system.

The uniqueness of this blend is that all these 3 oils are known for their power to enhance the innate wisdom and kindle your sense of sacredness and divinity.

4. Boosts memory functions and alleviates Alzheimer’s disorder: Ashwagandha is popularly known as a Rasayana in Ayurveda and is said to belong to a sub-category called as Medhyarasayanas, where the word ‘Medhya’ refers to the human mind and its intellectual and cognitive powers.

Ashwagandha essential oil has the ability to wrestle the fall in cognitive levels caused due to brain cell degeneration. It also assists in reducing cortisol levels and enhancing cognition levels.

Inhaling the aroma of this oil by adding 1 drop of Ashwagandha oil with 1 drop of Brahmi oil and 1 drop of Rosemary oil in diffuser especially in the early hours of the day during meditation, yoga, prayers and learning can promote the functions of the brain, augment your memory power, increase your intellect and help fight against Alzheimer’s disease.

5. Fights against stress, depression and other negative feelings: The adrenal glands in the endocrine system are responsible for a person’s ability to manage stress and stress-related negative effects. When a human body is stressed, the adrenal glands augment the level of cortisol secretion.

Cortisol is called as the stress hormone of the system that is related to the ‘fight or flight’ response of the body. This hormone is responsible for the production of negative effects in the body like lack of concentration, fatigue, weak memory, anxiety, mental exhaustion, sleeplessness, pain, anger, weight gain, especially in the abdominal area and lack of interest.

The presence of the bioactive compounds called glycowithanolide in Ashwagandha aid in reducing the cortisol levels in the body. Glycowithanolide is a type of steroidal lactone that imitates the body’s own relaxing and stress-alleviating hormones. This works by decreasing cortisol levels in the system to strike absolute balance in the body.

Ashwagandha essential oil has adaptogenic, stimulating, relaxing, mood enhancing, stress-reducing, nervine, sedative and rejuvenative properties that help in treating insomnia by promoting peaceful sleep, alleviating fatigue, cardiovascular problems, depressive feelings, cognitive dysfunction and low immunity.

Numerous scientific studies on the anti-stress and adaptogenic effects of Ashwagandha oil have concluded that this herb is a powerful Ayurvedic remedy for treating and preventing stress and stress induced health conditions including premature graying, hypertension, arteriosclerosis, malignancy, diabetes and arthritis.

Adding 5 drops of Ashwagandha oil with 5 drops of Lavender oil and 5 drops of Patchouli oil along with 20 ml of Jojoba oil in a massage blend can help in reducing stress, fatigue and sleeping difficulties.

You can also add 2 drops of Ashwagandha oil in warm bathing water or air freshener before going to bed to enjoy the richness of a relaxed mind and a comfy sleep.

6. Tones the skin and hair health:

Ashwagandha has vata-pacifying properties that help in retaining the natural glow and suppleness of the skin. The antioxidant effects of this oil combat the growth of free radicals that are responsible for causing aging symptoms like wrinkles, fine lines, dark spots, blemishes and dullness.

The essential oil of Ashwagandha is also an excellent remedy for healing wounds, keratosis, inflammation, skin ulcers, carbuncles, swelling, cuts, bedsores etc. It is also used for moisturizing rough and dry skin with its collagen stimulating attributes.

This is mainly due to the presence of steroidal compounds that enhance the level of estrogen in the body. This aids in augmenting the natural levels of oil in the skin and promote the production of collagen, which in turn retains the young and healthy looking skin. Ashwagandha oil is also known for its ability to promote the secretion of structural protein vital for the skin.

Gently applying 2 drops of Ashwagandha oil with 2 drops of Bitter orange oil, 2 drops of Frankincense oil along with 5 ml of Jojoba oil on the affected parts can help in repairing the skin problems without any harmful effects.

Healthy and lustrous hair is the most prized jewel of mankind, especially women. Ashwagandha has been the secret behind the long, shiny and voluminous locks since the traditional times. Slightly warm the blend of 3 drops of Ashwagandha oil with 2 drops of Ylang Ylang oil, 2 drops of Rosemary oil, 2 drops of Lemon oil and 2 drops of Lavender oil along with 20 ml of Almond oil.

Slowly massage this Ayurvedic hair oil onto your scalp and hair for strengthening the hair follicles, clearing scalp problems like dandruff and itchy scalp, fight hair loss, prevent premature balding, graying and hair breakage due to increased cortisol levels.

It also helps in treating damaged hair and dandruff by flushing out the excess toxins in the system. Adding 2 drops of Ashwagandha oil to your regular shampoo is also an excellent idea to support the health of your hair and scalp.

7. Augments reproductive health:

Ashwagandha is the most powerful aphrodisiac known to humanity since the dawn of the Ayurvedic era. Physicians of various traditional and modern medicines claim Ashwagandha as the most promising and potent aphrodisiac on earth.

With its immune and ojas enhancing abilities, Ashwagandha is said to grant the vigor and vitality of a horse in human beings as well. As an influential adaptogen, Ashwagandha uplifts the system’s defense mechanism against various disease causing infections by augmenting the cell-mediated immunity. It also curbs all kinds of cellular damage caused by free radicals with its antioxidant values.

Ashwagandha promotes a healthy balance of the reproductive system by increasing the quality of semen and count of sperms, thus expanding the possibilities of fertility and conception.

It is also recommended by Ayurvedic professionals for treating loss of libido, impotence, premature ejaculation, lack of sexual interest, erectile dysfunctions and supports the ability to last longer in bed.

It is also prescribed for treating reproductive problems in women like infertility, white discharge, weak uterus, polycystic ovarian syndrome and certain other gynecological disorders.

Ashwagandha is also effective in strengthening the uterine walls, ovaries and ligaments to support pregnancy. Ayurveda also states that this herb helps in improving the quality of the egg or ovum.

The most impressive aphrodisiac blend can be prepared at home with 2 drops of Ashwagandha oil with 2 drops of Patchouli oil, 2 drops of Jasmine oil, 2 drops of Clove oil and 2 drops of Ylang Ylang oil with 50 ml of coconut oil. Gently massage your system with this Ayurvedic blend for supporting your active sexual life and healthy reproductive system.

Adding 2 drops of Ashwagandha oil in warm bathing water and your vaporizer, before going to bed can add up the spice to your intimate love.

Thought for the day:

I believe a leaf of grass is no less than the journey-work of the stars.

Walt Whitman

Suggested Reading:

  1. Ashwagandha & Brahmi – Fight stress and chill out with the king and queen of Ayurvedic medicine by James Lee
  2. Healing with the King: Ashwagandha: The Master Herb in Ayurveda Medicine (Learning about Medicinal Herbs within India’s Ayurvedic Medicine Book 4) by Ryder Management Inc.
  3. Herbs for Stress & Anxiety: How to Make and Use Herbal Remedies to Strengthen the Nervous System. A Storey Basics® Title by Rosemary Gladstar
  4. Ashwagandha, Stress and Anxiety Herb – Health Educator Report #37 by C.N.C. Billie J. Sahley Ph.D.
  5. Ashwagandha – the stress buster by Dr. M. Ali

Reference Links:

  1. Withania somnifera by Wikipedia
  2. An Overview on Ashwagandha: A Rasayana (Rejuvenator) of Ayurveda Narendra Singh, Mohit Bhalla, Prashanti de Jager, and Marilena Gilca, International Institute of Herbal Medicine (IIHM), published in the African Journal of Traditional, Complementary and Alternative Medicines
  3. Health Benefits of Ashwagandha or Indian Ginseng by Organic Facts
  4. How Ashwagandha can be used as sexual rejuvenator by Ayurvedic and Natural Home Remedies for a healthy living
  5. Ancient medicine, modern use: Withania somnifera and its potential role in integrative oncology by Winters M, published in the Alternative Medicine Review.

Cucumber Oil

Will you be delighted or dreary if someone beckons you, “As Cool as a Cucumber”? I would rather recommend you to take pride when somebody calls you with that phrase because it simply means the attitude of being calm, composed and in absolute control of your emotions, even if a particular situation demands your aggressiveness and anger.

Cucumber-bannerThis is because Cucumber is one among the coolest fruits as scientific facts state “the inside temperature of a Cucumber can be up to 20 degrees cooler than the outside air”, besides growing well in tropical conditions.

Called as Kantakiphalam, Svetakarahatakam, Mutralam and Sudhavasah in Sanskrit, Cucumber is commonly called as Kheera in the traditional healing methodology.

Proudly representing India as its Motherland, Cucumber has been a part of the ancient Ayurvedic regimen in the treatment of rheumatic conditions, constipation, urinary disorders, cholera, wrinkles, dandruff, arthritis, vaginal infections, loss of appetite, duodenal ulcer, erectile dysfunctions, high cholesterol, eczema and hyperacidity.

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Historical uses and importance of Cucumber and its essential oil:

Cucumber, as far as its history is known to the world is said to be a 3,000 years old fruit variety of the gourd family, cucurbitaceae. Besides its use in culinary, Cucumber has been preferred for raw eating, mainly for its cool, mild and enhancing flavor.

This cylindrical fruit is a powerhouse of various nutrients, for which it has been used in various civilizations across the world including the Rome, Israel, Greek, Egypt, The United Kingdom, France, China, and USA. The three famous varieties of this creeping vine are pickling, slicing and burpless cucumbers.

Cucumbers are absolutely edible and are found across the globe, all around the year but the high seasonal growth curtails to May – August. Pliny The Elder, the Roman philosopher quotes that Cucumber is the most favorite fruit of the Roman Emperor, Tiberius. His gardeners grew cucumbers using artificial methods, just to ensure that the king had cucumbers on his table every day.

It is being said that cucumbers were used in the primordial Roman province for treating more than 40 medical conditions, including scorpion stings, blurred vision, frigidity, high blood pressure and diabetes.

The Biblical reference of cucumber goes like this “We remember the fish, which we did eat in Egypt freely/the cucumbers, and the melons, and the leeks, and the onions, and the garlic.” After which the Israelites started cultivating cucumbers by themselves.

Certain sources state that cucumbers were brought to Haiti in 1494 by Christopher Columbus and were cultivated by the early Spanish settlers. South and North Dakota boasts for owning the finest cucumber farmers of Native America.

These fresh and refreshing fruits are often used in making salads (Indian raita), sauces, pickles, cold soups, sausages, chutneys, lamb chops, relishes and dressings. Cucumber and its essential oil are also used in the manufacturing of soaps, moisturizing lotions, anti-dandruff shampoos, conditioners and skin care creams, especially anti-aging products, for its nourishing properties.

Therapeutic properties and chemical constituents of Cucumber oil:

The oil of Cucumber contains about 14 to 20% of oleic acid, stearic acid, palmitic acid and 60 to 68% of omega-3-linoleic acid. It also contains potassium, silicon, cucurbitacins, sulphur and certain fatty acids like 9, 12, 15-Octadecatrienoic acid and 9, 12-Octadecadienoic acid.

Cucumber oil has antioxidant, diuretic, anti-rheumatic, anti-ulcer, relaxing, antidote, rejuvenating, anti-stress, anti-inflammatory, anti-cancerous, tonic, anti-dandruff, and laxative properties. It is rich in Vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, and C along with magnesium, calcium, phosphorous, zinc, iron and folic acid.

Next time, when you are exhausted and drained out, stop sliding on toxic caffeine drinks, instead grab a Cucumber and bank upon it for all your nutritional requisites.

Ayurvedic health benefits of Cucumber oil:

Ayurveda and Cucumber share the mutual joy of being indigenous to India, the land of rich cultural heritage. This oldest healing science on the globe states that everything on earth is made up of the five vital elements of nature, namely fire, water, earth, space and air.

Among which the living things on this planet acquires prana, the vital energy of life and ojas, and the nutritive quintessence from Mother Earth. While animal and human beings utilize prana and ojas for vitality and livelihood, plants grab ojas and prana from the ground and renovate them as food, herbal medications and essential oils for the absolute well-being of all other organisms.

The greatest news about the nobility of plants and trees are that they capture enormous life force and spiritual energy straight from the space by constantly looking up to the sky. Thus, any source of food or medicines acquired from plants instills the purest form of energy directly to our soul. It is because of this reason; we call invigorating plant fragrances (especially from essential oils, the life essence of plants) as soulful aromatic substances.

Cucumber is a bundle of joy and instant coolant that refreshes everyone even on a bright sunny day. It bears all the heat in the atmosphere, yet remaining absolutely cool in the inside makes it a special fruit with enormous healing attributes and nutritional values. India, being a country of tropical climatic conditions, rests upon Cucumber to quench its thirst and no Indian summer is complete without Cucumbers on the street.

Being a complete traditional remedy, Ayurveda regards health as a combination of physical, emotional and spiritual wellness and this ideology is based upon its philosophy of considering the human system as a place of worship or temple.

Ayurveda believes that the soul vested within each of us connects with Divinity and this connection or synchronization is the rationale behind hale and heartiness.

Ayurveda says that every individual is made up of three distinct doshas (vata, pitta and kapha) or biological energies. The most predominant among the three doshas acts as a deciding factor for your personality, character and behavioral traits.

Imbalance of any one of these doshic elements end up in health problems signaling that the body is out of balance with nature.

Imbalance of vata dosha can end up in memory loss, lack of concentration, fear, insomnia, dry skin, restlessness and constipation. Pitta unevenness might lead to disgust, ulcer, anger, heartburn, high blood pressure, jealousy, fever and skin ulcers.

Fluid retention, toxic remains, congestion, sluggishness, delayed menstruation, uterine fibroids, obesity and procrastination are the results of Kapha vitiation.

Cucumber oil has pacifying effects on pitta and kapha dosha. The cooling and refreshing properties of this oil can help in treating high blood pressure, heartburn, ulcer, fluid retention, skin eruptions, constipation and stress.

Cucumber is absolutely a treat for the four senses of healing, whereas its lucid green color soothes the sense of sight, it’s refreshing taste energizes the sense of taste, its cooling properties penetrate deeply into the skin to transfer its therapeutic values through the sense of touch, it’s refreshing aroma reaches the limbic system in the form of aromatic molecules to control emotions.

The other significant Ayurvedic health benefits of Cucumber oil are:

Cucumber-oil1. Augments skin health and supports radiating complexion:

Cucumber oil has stupendous revitalizing and nourishing properties that help in treating dull, damaged or mature skin conditions. The presence of linoleic acid and oleic acid in cucumber makes it an excellent aid for skin problems including acne, blackheads, sunburns, psoriasis, eczema and certain other inflammatory skin conditions.

The antioxidant properties of cucumber oil are attributed to the significant existence of tocopherol and tocotrienol substance along with the three lignans including secoisolariciresinol, lariciresinol and pinoresinol. These elements make Cucumber oil powerful in fighting against the free radicals responsible for aging symptoms, skin damages and several types of cancer, including ovarian cancer, prostate cancer, breast cancer and uterine cancer.

Massaging your skin with 10 drops of Cucumber oil blended with 2 drops of Orange oil and 4 ounce of coconut oil can help in retaining the natural moisture in the skin, repair dry and dull skin surface, treat eczema, psoriasis, rough, scaly and mature skin, reduce wrinkles, aging symptoms and skin eruptions.

A 2011 study on “Exploring Cucumber Extract For Skin Rejuvenation” by Naveed Akhtar, Arshad Mehmood, Barkat Ali Khan, Tariq Mahmood, Haji Muhammad Shoaib Khan and Tariq Saeed, Department of Pharmacy, The Islamia University of Bahawalpur and the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, COMSATS Institute of Information Technology, Pakistan, Published in the African Journal of Biotechnology, states that cucumber extract has been proven extremely beneficial for the skin.

These experts also say that Cucumber extracts have passed the maximum number of dermatological tests including skin melanin test, skin erythema test (safety of cosmetics), pH tests, skin moisture content test, skin sebum content test, and trans epidermal water loss test.

This study concludes stating that this was a preliminary initiative in exploring the unknown effects of Cucumber as a topical cream for skin rejuvenation.

It also states that cucumber extracts aid in reducing the melanin content (responsible for skin pigmentation and complexion); has anti-acne effects with its potent to decrease the content of skin sebum.

This study also declares that these analyses have proved to be capable in the context of prospective topical applications of cucumber extract (with its varied skin care properties), as cosmetics, skin-care items and in the manufacturing of pharmaceutical preparations.

You can also add 2 drops of Cucumber oil in a cup of cool water and wash your face for locking the moisture and fight against acne causing micro-organisms.

2. Combats dandruff and explores the natural shine of your locks:

Bouncy, strong, silky and dandruff-free lustrous locks are the dream of many women out there. Men are not an exception though, in longing for healthy hair that is free from hair loss, dandruff and other scalp conditions.

Cucumber is one among those natures’s richest owner of the minerals like silica and sulphur, of which sulphur is known for promoting hair growth and silica fortifies the hair follicles and protect from breakage and loss of hair. Silica is an essential element for supporting the health of connective tissues like skin, muscles, ligaments and bones.

The moisturizing properties of Cucumber oil helps in hydrating the scalp and aids in reducing dryness, itchy and flaky scales on the scalp surface and nourishes the scalp and roots of the hair from within.

Massaging your scalp with 5 ounce of Cucumber oil mixed with 5 drops of Rosemary oil and 5 drops of Brahmi oil and leaving it for 1 hour by wrapping a warm towel (helps the medicated blend to penetrate deeply into your scalp) can assist in reducing dandruff, replenishing the scalp, enhancing the luster of your hair and prevent excessive hair fall. You can also add 5 drops of Cucumber oil in your mild shampoo for fastening the natural moisture in your hair for a longer duration.

This blend can be applied by the swimmers before their swimming voyage in the chlorinated and chemical filled water. This helps in preventing the hair damage naturally.

3. Helps control high blood pressure, cholesterol and diabetes:

Certain studies witness that the presence of sterols in Cucumbers may help in reducing the high level of cholesterol, while the presence of fiber, magnesium and potassium assists in treating high blood pressure. Cucumber also stimulates the secretion of insulin hormones in the pancreas, thus assisting in the treatment of diabetes.

Eating fresh cucumber daily along with adding 5 drops of Cucumber oil in your liquid soap can help in vitalizing your cells and augment your energy levels.

4. Soothes the digestive system, thus helps in treating ulcers and halitosis:

Cucumber oil has the power to soothe and pacify pitta dosha. The excess of which would end up in overindulgence of digestive fire leading to ulcer, high blood pressure, acidity, heartburn, acne, negative emotions, feelings of rage, insomnia, acne and certain other skin eruptions.

Massaging your abdomen and chest with 10 drops of Cucumber oil blended with 2 drops of Peppermint oil can help in cooling the digestive system (intemperance of digestive fire) by soothing the lining of the stomach and intestines. Using 2 drops of Cucumber oil in warm gargle can assist in fighting against bad breath with the presence of phytochemicals.

5. Flushes out toxins and aids in treating rheumatic and inflammatory conditions:

Cucumber has enormous amount of ascorbic acid, contributing to its diuretic properties. This moisture-rich oil helps in replenishing the system with its anti-rheumatic, antioxidant and diuretic properties by flushing out the excess fluid deposits, toxic remains, salt, uric acid, free radicals and fat deposits in the system, which is often responsible for inflammatory conditions like gout, rheumatism, arthritis, swelling, redness, obesity and puffy eyes.

Massaging the affected parts with 5 ounce of Cucumber oil with 5 ounce of Sweet Almond oil can help in promoting frequent urination, thus eliminating toxic remains, free radicals, salt, fat deposits and uric acid, which helps in reducing swelling, skin irritations, muscular soreness, pain, redness and muscular stiffness associated with rheumatism and arthritis.

Pranayama or the art of balanced breathing can help highly in expelling ama or excess toxic substances in the system, where all these toxins are discharged through exhalation.

Inhaling the refreshing fragrance of Cucumber by adding 2 drops of this oil in your air freshener, especially during Pranayama and meditation can grant quicker relief by releasing your mind and body from toxic emotional blocks and harmful toxins in the system.

Other health benefits:

Cucumber is also helpful in treating vaginal itching, erectile dysfunctions, heart problems, renal calculi, cancer therapy, dark circles, urinary infections, cholera, and cellulites.

Disclaimer:

This piece of information is meant only for the purpose of information and is not recommended to treat or prevent any kind of medical conditions. It is not meant to replace any prescription medicines or the advice of a medical professional. We, the team of Essential Depot are not experts in Remedial practices or Traditional medicine and these facts are shared only for spreading the greatness of Ayurveda in treating mankind.

Essential oils are recommended only for topical applications and do dilute essential oils in suitable carrier oils before using it on the skin. Never ingest essential oils as absolutely pure and organic essential oils are highly concentrated substances and may cause allergic reactions, when used internally or on the skin without dilution.

Speak with your Ayurvedic expert or medical professional before choosing the right essential oils for your state of health and unique individual constitution. Performing a patch test on your skin before enjoying its complete benefits is an amicable advice.

Thought for the day:

Green is the prime color of the world, and that from which its loveliness arises.

– By Pedro Calderon de la Barca.

Suggested Reading:

  1. Cucumber Recipes by Jackie Swansen
  2. Ayurvedic Pharmacopoeial Plant Drugs: Expanded Therapeutics by C. P. Khare
  3. Dying to Look Good by Christine Hoza Farlow
  4. Asian Secrets of Health, Beauty and Relaxation by Sophie Benge, Luca Invernizzi Tettoni
  5. The Aromatherapy Encyclopedia: A Concise Guide to over 385 Plant Oils by Carol Schiller, David Schiller

Reference Links:

  1. Cucumber by Wikipedia
  2. Cucumis sativus (Cucumber) – Derived Ingredients as Used in Cosmetics, published in Cosmetic Ingredient Review
  3. The anti-aging effects of Cucumbers by Dr. David Jockers, published in Natural News
  4. Exploring Cucumber Extract For Skin Rejuvenation by Naveed Akhtar, Arshad Mehmood, Barkat Ali Khan, Tariq Mahmood, Haji Muhammad Shoaib Khan and Tariq Saeed, Department of Pharmacy, The Islamia University of Bahawalpur and the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, COMSATS Institute of Information Technology, Pakistan, Published in the African Journal of Biotechnology
  5. Phytochemical and therapeutic potential of cucumber by Mukherjee PK, Nema NK, Maity N, Sarkar BK, Department of Pharmaceutical Technology, Jadavpur University, India, published in PubMed

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