Chaulmogra Oil


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

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

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Historical uses and significance of Chaulmogra and its essential oil:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chemical components and remedial properties of Chaulmogra oil:

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

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

Ayurvedic health benefits of Chaulmogra essential oil:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Ayurvedic health benefits of Chaulmogra oil are:

Chaulmogra-broucher1. Proven traditional remedy for leprosy:

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

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

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

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

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

2. Heals wounds and other skin problems:

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

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

3. Alleviates rheumatic pain and associated symptoms:

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

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

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

4. Relieves congestion:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Disclaimer:

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

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

Thought for the day:

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

Suggested Reading:

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

Reference Links:

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

Cinnamon Oil


Cinnomon-banner“Cinnamon is empowering to the will and is one of the best oils for circulation especially during menopause”, says Light Miller in her book Ayurveda and Aromatherapy. This oil also enhances blood circulation, supports the functions of the heart, augments sexual function, improves digestion, boosts sexual desire and controls diabetes.

The essential oil of Cinnamon is obtained from the dried inner bark of the Cinnamon tree, scientifically known as Cinnamomum zeylanicum (now called as Cinnamomum verum) by steam distillation method.

Cinnamon is a symbol of sovereignty and respect and was a prestigious gift to Gods and Monarchs in the history. Called as Darusita or Tvak in Ayurveda, Cinnamon has a long history in Ayurvedic medicine for treating malaria, diabetes, menopausal problems, headache, bad breath, digestive disorders, impotence, anemia, sinus congestion, dyspepsia, blood circulation, scabies, intestinal infections and gynecological problems (used even as a natural birth-control aid).

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Historical uses and importance of Cinnamon herb and its essential oil:

Cinnamon is a small bushy evergreen tree that is indigenous to South Asia, especially to Sri Lanka and India. It is credited as one of the three oldest herb known to the ancient world along with Myrrh and Frankincense. The oldest historical reference of Cinnamon is its description found in the ancient Jewish religious text Torah.

Biblical texts talk about Cinnamon and its esteemed uses in various places and the most noted among them is the command to Moses to make use of cinnamon and cassia in the holy anointing oil.

Solomon describes the charm of his love by saying that her garments scented with cinnamon are like the smell of Lebanon. In various proverbs it’s been mentioned that the bed of the lovers is adorned with the aroma of cinnamon, aloes and myrrh.

The primordial Indians used Cinnamon as a condiment and in Ayurvedic healing before 8th century and the traditional Chinese physicians used Cinnamon as early as 2700 B.C.

It was also imported to Egypt in 2000 B.C. Pliny the Elder, Dioscorides, Galen and many other renowned herbalists have documented the therapeutic uses of Cinnamon.

Cinnamon was held high in the ancient period and was valued more than 15 times of silver (about 350 grams of Cinnamon was equivalent to that of 5 kgs of Silver in the 1st Century). The traditional Egyptians used Cinnamon and its essential oil in embalming dead bodies and in preserving meat. Ayurvedic system used Cinnamon for controlling the blood sugar level and for assisting digestive disorders. Its essential oil was used in pacifying the nerves and muscles.

The Traditional Chinese Medicine used this herb as an aid in treating painful and delayed menstruation, diarrhea, cold, cough and other respiratory problems.

Cinnamon was burnt as an offering in religious ceremonies and also for sanctifying the atmosphere. It was used by the primeval Romans attaining the healing powers for spiritual wellness.

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

The Gas chromatography report witnesses Cinnamon oil with about 15 chemical constituents that contribute to its distinct aroma, remedial values, consistency and superiority of this splendid oil. Among which, (E)-Cinnamaldehyde has the highest area with a proportion of about 76.8% of Cinnamon oil components.

Just click on:

(E)-Cinnamaldehyde

Eugenol

Cinnamyl acetate

Alpha-pinene

Linalool

Alfa-copaene

Beta-caryophyllene

I certainly trust that this information would help in having a clear picture about the major chemical constituents of Cinnamon oil.

The table crafted below elucidates the unique nature and therapeutic attributes of these biochemical constituents to the medicinal magnificence of Cinnamon essential oil.

cinnamon-tableTherapeutic properties of Cinnamon essential oil:

The remedial properties of Cinnamon essential oil are antioxidant, astringent, antibacterial, antimicrobial, anti-clotting, anti-fungal, cardiac, emmenagogue, stimulant, analgesic, antibiotic, vermifuge, tonic, aphrodisiac, stomachic, diaphoretic, diuretic, anti-parasitic, alterative, expectorant, antispasmodic and carminative.

Ayurvedic health benefits of Cinnamon essential oil:

Ayurveda is the oldest healing systems on earth that focuses on a holistic approach for healing, preventing and ensuring longevity for humanity. By the word holistic, Ayurvedic remedies aim at granting complete health including the physical, mental and spiritual health.

This is because, this traditional Indian methodology strongly believes that these three aspects of health are inter-related and the weakness of any of these aspects will directly or indirectly affect the other two.

This is explained in the Sutrasthana of Charaka Samhita, the oldest Ayurvedic encyclopedia as The three – body, psyche, and soul – act as a tripod. The world stands upon them, and within them, the world abides.” Ayurveda is an absolute common sense science that stimulates proper functioning of the system, peaceful sleep, emotional tranquility, spiritual oneness and takes you a brand new world of energy and enrichment.

The exclusivity of Ayurveda lies in its individual attention for every person even if a group of 10 people are affected by the same illness.

The typical ‘one size fits all’ principle of the modern medical system never holds good for a natural healing technique like Ayurveda. Here every individual is considered as a unique part of nature, made up with the five elemental forces of nature. They are fire, earth, water, space and air.

These five elements represent themselves in the form of three biological energies known as doshas, namely vata, pitta and kapha. These 3 doshas join together to form an individual constitution, which makes every person unique with a specified set of physical, mental and spiritual attributes.

Vata is a combination of air and space and is in charge of respiratory functions, nervous system and the process of circulation. Pitta stands for fire and water and is responsible for body temperature and the process of metabolism. Earth and water put together forms kapha dosha and is accountable for structure of the body, functions of the fluids in the system and sustenance.

Every individual has a unique combination of these doshas. Balance between these doshas indicates healthiness and imbalance due to lifestyle, food habits and other environmental factors lead to doshic imbalances causing illnesses.

Ayurveda recommends the use of natural remedies like herbs, yoga, essential oils, meditation, Ayurvedic routine, prayers and other Ayurvedic therapies according to the individual constitution of a person, so as to correct the imperfect balance of doshas.

Cinnamon essential oil is a perfect Ayurvedic essential oil to treat the surplus of vata and kapha doshas and the deficit of pitta dosha.

This makes Cinnamon oil a prime choice in treating digestive problems as it’s known to enhance the ‘agni or fire’ in the system that is responsible for metabolic functions.

It’s time to have a look at the Ayurvedic health benefits of Cinnamon essential oil.

Cinnoman-broucher1. Boon to diabetics:

In an Ayurvedic perspective, diabetes is a disarray of kapha unevenness occurred due to weakened digestive fire. Cinnamon is a nature’s wonder herb for treating increased kapha dosha and enhance the flow of pitta energy. This is mainly because of its warming properties that help in encouraging Agni or the digestive fire that supports the balanced functioning of the digestive system.

Cinnamon is habitually prescribed for people with kapha dosha predominance and these people generally hold a wet, cold, heavy and slow mechanism of the body.

By this way, using Cinnamon essential oil either in a massage blend or in inhalation along with an Ayurvedic diet and Ayurvedic routine that includes healthy lifestyle changes, meditation, prayers, yoga and other simple physical exercises for controlling the blood glucose levels of the system, thus having a check on diabetes.

Cinnamon has been recommended by the American Diabetes Association in 2006 for controlling diabetes. Dr. Fuhrman quotes few important research works on diabetes including the study on ‘Complementary and alternative medicine for the treatment of Type 2 diabetes’ and states that “The bark of Cinnamomum trees contains phytochemicals that enhance insulin signaling and facilitate glucose uptake and storage by the body’s cells.”

A 2003 study on Cinnamon for diabetes established that taking Cinnamon supplements regularly for 40 days decreased blood sugar and level of cholesterol in type 2 diabetes patients.

Massaging your body with 10 drops of Cinnamon essential oil blended with 5 to 7 ml sesame oil can help in regulating the blood sugar level with its pungent aroma and heating energy. The therapeutic properties of this oil enters the blood stream by penetrating through the skin cells and act directly on the cellular structure. It also aids in controlling the digestion of sugar and fatty substances, which helps in providing resistance of insulin in Type 2 diabetes.

A 2012 research on “Effects of Cinnamomum zeylanicum (Ceylon cinnamon) on blood glucose and lipids in a diabetic and healthy rat model” by the Diabetes Research Unit, Department of Clinical Medicine, University of Colombo, Sri Lanka published in PubMed concluded that “Cinnamomum zeylanicum lowered blood glucose, reduced food intake, and reduced atherogenic LDL cholesterol.”

2. Nature’s most appealing aphrodisiac:

Cinnamon holds the honor of elating the senses of mankind for numerous centuries with its sweet, mesmerizing and rich aroma. In his book ‘Dangerous Tastes’, author Andrew Dalby quotes Cinnamon as “an aroma of divine worship and of sensual luxury.”

The warming, stimulating and aphrodisiac properties in Cinnamon help in increasing the body temperature and helps in arousing strong sexual desire in men and women.

Massaging your lower abdomen, genital parts and thighs with 5 drops of Cinnamon oil mixed with 2.5 ml virgin olive oil can help in improving sensual feelings, augmenting libido in both male and female, treat impotency and erectile dysfunction.

Inhaling the healing aroma of Cinnamon oil by adding 2 drops to your burner, vaporizer or diffuser along with this massaging can act as a great aid in strengthening the uterus muscles, relieving menstrual pain, regularizing blocked menstruation, washing out uterine congestion, and inducing labor pain.

This is due to the tendency of Cinnamon to stimulate the secretion of Oxytocin hormones responsible for increasing uterine contractions and enhancing the production of breast milk.

3. Aromatic treat to treat your digestive problems:

Cinnamon has an euphoric aroma that increases the secretion of digestive acids and gastric juices by enhancing agni or the digestive fire.

The slightly bitter and pungent taste of Cinnamon along with its hot potency aids in processing ama or the undigested toxic substances, reducing heaviness of the stomach, treating sluggish bowel movements and alleviating abdominal pain.

Inhaling the energizing aroma of Cinnamon oil by adding 2 to 3 drops of this oil in burner, vaporizer or your hanky along with a warming massage of your abdomen with 4 drops of Cinnamon oil blended with 2 ml of coconut oil can assist in treating colic, slow digestion, nausea, dyspepsia and diarrhea.

4. Relieves respiratory infections:

Ayurveda describes most of the respiratory disorders as kapha imbalance. This excess kapha stockpiles in the respiratory passages in the form of mucous and phlegm deposits and cause hindrance in the free movement of air to the lungs and nasal passages. This is why many or all of the respiratory illnesses are accompanied by breathing difficulties.

Cinnamon essential oil has kapha-reducing properties with its bitter, hot, pungent and penetrating qualities. The expectorant, decongestant and demulcent properties of this oil help in loosening the thick phlegm and mucous secretion in the nasal passages and the respiratory tract. The anti-tubercular activity of cinnamic acid present in Cinnamon oil also helps in treating tuberculosis, chronic cough and asthma.

Adding 3 drops of Cinnamon oil in steam inhalation can be extremely helpful in warming up the lungs, liquefying nasal and chest congestion and eliminating phlegm and mucous in the bronchial passages. 2 drops of this oil added to vaporub and massaged gently on the throat, chest and back can also assist in relieving stuffy nose, watery eyes, nasal congestion, headache and cough.

5. Helps release anger and dependence:

The sweet smelling oil of Cinnamon has been found to boost memory power and cognitive functioning abilities of the mind. Many Ayurvedic schools have recommended Cinnamon for enhancing memory skills.

Cinnamon essential oil empowers the willpower and purifies the spirit. This aids in treating mental fatigue, anger, tension, anxiety, depression and other negative feelings. This oil affects the Solar plexus chakra, which connects our personal fire with that of the world revolving around us.

Fears of criticism, rejection and lack of self-confidence affect the functioning of this chakra. Using 2 drops of Cinnamon oil in bath or in diffuser or vaporizer can help in increasing one’s feelings of independence and promotes one to take risks with confidence and power.

6. Clears blood impurities and promotes blood circulation:

Cinnamon essential oil has blood purifying properties that are attributed to its stimulant and cleansing remedial values. It helps in eliminating the toxic substances in the blood through urine and sweat.

2 drops of Cinnamon oil added to diffuser during Pranayama, the technique of balanced breathing followed by a meditation can help in discarding the toxins in the blood through exhalation, enhancing Ojas or the vital energy for longevity, stimulating the cardiac functions and granting mental peace and improved blood circulation especially to the six chakras in the body.

7. Checks the effects of fungal and bacterial infections:

The essential oil of Cinnamon is an effective immune system booster by nature. It also has antibacterial, anti-fungal and antiviral properties that curb the growth of disastrous micro-organisms in the system. Mixing 2 drops of Cinnamon oil with 1 ml of almond oil and applying it on the affected parts can help in healing wounds, burns, cuts, candida, boils, itches, athlete’s foot, and ringworm and prevents the wound from turning septic.

According to a 2006 study by the Saurashtra University, India, Cinnamon essential oil extracted from the bark of the Cinnamon tree got attained 42.5 out of 50 for its anti-fungal activity, whereas Hexaconazole, a popular fungicide often used in agriculture scored only 22.5 for 50. This witnesses the effectiveness of Cinnamon oil in treating fungal infections like ringworm, athlete’s foot etc.

Another study published in the International Journal of Food Microbiology proved that Cinnamon oil killed about 92% of gram negative and gram positive bacteria out of the 25 tested bacterial strains. Another source states that Cinnamon used in a blend with Eucalyptus, Rosemary, Clove and Lemon has the potent to kill about 99% of airborne bacteria in just 12 minutes.

Also used in:

Apart from all these health benefits, Cinnamon oil is used as a flavor in baked products, candies, desserts, soups, pickles, stews, beverages, meat and poultry etc. It is also used in skin care creams and lotions for enhancing the skin complexion and removing impurities and skin blemishes.

Thought for the day:

In wilderness I sense the miracle of life, and behind it our scientific accomplishments fade to trivia.  -Charles Lindbergh

Disclaimer:

This article is only for informational and educational purposes and is written purely in the interest of sharing the traditional wisdom of the Ayurveda, the oldest of all healing sciences. It is not meant to treat, prevent or diagnose any health conditions or replace any kind of prescribed medicines or expert advice or a medical professional.

Never use essential oils internally. Do remember to dilute essential oils in appropriate carrier oils before using it on the skin externally as pure and organic essential oils are the life essence of plants and are highly concentrated substances. Consult your Ayurvedic expert/healthcare professional before choosing the appropriate essential oils for your unique constitution and health condition. Keep away from children, pregnant women and nursing moms.

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

Gas Chromatography Report (GC analysis) of Cinnamon oil.

Cinnamon Essential Oil – Possible Skin Issues:

cinnamon-oil-logoGreener Life Diamond – Bio-Healthy Score => 3 – Possible Skin Issues:

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

Besides being an indispensable spice and herbal remedy, Cinnamon is reported for negative effects including possible skin issues like allergic reactions, irritation of the skin, stimulating menstruation, contracting the uterine muscles, skin sensitization, dermatitis and burning sensation.

It is highly advisable to avoid Cinnamon oil during pregnancy as it may shrivel the uterine muscles, cause indigestion, pain in the abdomen, contribute to premature labor and is completely unsafe for the development of the fetus.

The major chemical components that are in charge for the potential skin problems and other adverse health conditions of Cinnamon oil are Cinnamaldehyde, cinnamic acid and cinnamyl alcohol. It may cause a burning sensation or irritation on the engaged parts when used in the form of skin care, oral hygiene (toothpastes and mouthwashes) and pain relieving products including ointments and rubs.

Cinnamon oil, with the presence of these constituents is said to cause subchronic and severe toxicity, when used beyond the prescribed level of use. The maximum recommended usage level of Cinnamaldehyde by The International Fragrance Association (IFRA) is 0.05%.

Though Cinnamon has GRAS (Generally Regarded As Safe) status, The Council of Europe has fixed an ADI of 1.25mg/kg for Cinnamaldehyde, which is the same as an adult dosage of 115 mg of Cinnamon bark oil.

According to the Scientific Committee on Cosmetic Products and Non-Food Products (SCCNFP) the presence of Cinnamaldehyde in any ready to use products should not surpass 0.1%

Essential oils are recommended only for dermal application and never ingest Cinnamon oil as it may cause toxic effects on the liver (hepatotoxic), kidney (nephrotoxicity) and the entire system. Diluted Cinnamon oil in appropriate carrier oils is prescribed safe and concentrated use may cause chronic allergies, irritation, dermatitis and chronic sensitization.

Studies witness severe burns in people due to the skin contact of undiluted Cinnamon oil and is commonly related to burning sensation in the skin, mouth, mucous membrane stomach and chest , intermittent blistering, nausea, dizziness and sensitization accounted to the presence of Cinnamaldehyde. This also applies to the use of Cinnamon oil in vapor therapy and dermal application.

Cinnamon oil is said to have mild phototoxic effects, control platelet aggregation (Do not use Cinnamon oil if you are taking anticoagulant and anti-diabetic medications). It may cause reproductive toxicity (when tested on pregnant mice, it decreased the count of nuclei and modified the embryo distribution).

Always do a patch test before using Cinnamon oil on your skin.

Reference Links Substantiating Possible Skin Issues of Cinnamon Oil:

  1. Cinnamon: An Imperative Spice For Human Comfort by Raaz K Maheshwari, AK Chauhan, Ayushi Gupta, Shobha Sharma published in The International Journal of Pharmaceutical Research and Bio-Science
  2. Cinnamon: Mystic Powers of a Minute Ingredient by Pallavi Kawatra and Rathai Rajagopalan, published in the Journal of Pharmacognosy Research
  3. Medicinal Properties of ‘True’ Cinnamon (Cinnamomum zeylancium): A Systematic Review by The Faculty of Medicine, University of Colombo, Sri Lanka, published in Bio Med Central, Complementary and Alternative Medicine
  4. A toxicologic and dermatologic assessment of cinnamyl alcohol, cinnamaldehyde and cinnamic acid when used as fragrance ingredients by The RIFM expert panel, published in the Food and Chemical Toxicology
  5. Essential Oil Safety: A Guide for Health Care Professionals By Robert Tisserand, Rodney Young
  6. Leung’s Encyclopedia of Common Natural Ingredients, used in Food, Drugs and Cosmetics by Ikhlas A. Khan and Ehab A. Abourashed.

Suggested Reading:

  1. The Cinnamon Supplement: Alternative Medicine for a Healthy Body (Health Collection) by William Wagner
  2. Natural Cinnamon And Honey Cures: Cinnamon Health Benefits, Cures, Remedies, Treatments and Recipes. Boost Energy, Control Diabetes, Cure Arthritis, Prevent Alzheimer’s, Colds, even Weight Loss! by Patricia Gardner
  3. Cinnamon Oil Aromatherapy (Group 3 Card 9) by Alternative Therapies
  4. God’s Healing Herbs by Dennis Ellingson
  5. Ayurveda & Aromatherapy: The Earth Essential Guide to Ancient Wisdom and Modern Healing by Dr. Light Miller, Dr. Bryan Miller

Reference Links:

  1. Cinnamon by Wikipedia
  2. Choosing the right Cinnamon by Dr. Fuhrman
  3. Cinnamon plant profile by Sacred Earth (Ethnobotany and Ecotravel)
  4. Effects of Cinnamomum zeylanicum (Ceylon cinnamon) on blood glucose and lipids in a diabetic and healthy rat model by Priyanga Ranasinghe, Sanja Perera, Mangala Gunatilake,1 Eranga Abeywardene, Nuwan Gunapala, Sirimal Premakumara,Kamal Perera, Dilani Lokuhetty,and Prasad Katulanda, Diabetes Research Unit, Department of Clinical Medicine, University of Colombo, Sri Lanka
  5. Medicinal properties of ‘true’ cinnamon (Cinnamomum zeylanicum): a systematic review by Department of Pharmacology, University of Colombo, Sri Lanka


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Balsam Tolu Oil


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From being a promising remedy for skin ailments for the American and Mexican tribal population to a vital element in popular skin care liniments and cough formulas, Balsam Tolu extracts and its essential oil have traveled a long way in the history of natural medicine. With a unique and fresh vanilla-like aroma, Balsam Tolu is used as a natural fragrance in perfumes, creams, soaps, shampoos, hair tonics and diaper rashes creams.

History is always fascinating and Ayurvedic use of Balsam Tolu indeed owns an interesting history behind its scene. It was the Native Indians who identified the medicinal values of Balsam Tolu during their reign of Peru while they were residing in the South and Central American provinces, where Peru was recognized as the birthplace of the Balsam trees in the ancient period.

Being the traditional Indian medicine, Ayurvedic remedies prescribe Balsam Tolu and its essential oil for asthma, migraine, tuberculosis, abscesses, bronchitis, cough, ringworm, wounds, bed sores, scabies, sprains and certain venereal diseases.

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Historical uses and significance of Balsam Tolu essential oil and its other extracts: Botanically known as Balsamum tolutanum, Balsam Tolu is the resin extracted from the Myroxylon tree. It is grown primarily in South America and Central America. This tree has a natural resin producing ability and this resinous Balsam is called by other alternate names including Balsam Peru, Peruvian Balsam, Toluifera pereirae, Myroxylon Balsamum, Indian Balsam, Quina and China oil.

The gummy resin tapped from this tall tree is then made into Balsam and the major exporters of Balsam of Tolu are Columbia, El Salvador and Venezuela. The tribal people from Central America and Mexico used the leaves and bark of the Balsam Tolu tree as a folklore remedy for arthritis, wounds, cold, flu and asthma. The name ‘Tolu’ denotes the tribal race ‘Tolues’ from Columbia and it is said that they used this tree as an ancient remedy for various conditions.

The tribal populace who were aboriginal to the rainforest area used various parts of this tree in the treatment of tuberculosis, wounds, headache, rheumatism, asthma, venereal diseases, abscesses, sprains, catarrh, sores and bronchitis.

Balsam Tolu was first documented in the German Pharmacopeia in the 17th century. The book on “The Essence of Herbs” by Chrissy Brownlyn says “some native Indians used the bark in a powdered form as an underarm deodorant while others found it best for lung and cold ailments”.

It further denotes that the credit of using this plant in pharmaceutical industry goes to the Europeans, especially the Germans who used Balsam of Tolu in treating skin problems like ringworm, scabies, diaper rashes, bedsores, wounds, head lice, dandruff and certain minor ulcerations, after identifying its anti-parasitic, antibacterial and antifungal properties.

The mild and gentle vanilla and cinnamon like aroma of Balsam Tolu oil had supported its use as a flavoring agent in confectionaries, cough syrups, throat lozenges, chewing gums and soft drinks. The mesmerizing floral fragrance of this oil has been prescribed for use in relaxation techniques like meditation and yoga for soothing the mind and calming the senses.

Balsam Peru oil and Balsam tolu oil are extracted from the same tree but by different extraction methods. Even today, Tolu Balsam is used in anti-dandruff shampoos, conditioners, soaps, female hygiene sprays, perfumes, hair tonics, detergents, skin care creams, perfumes, topical salves, ointments, deodorants, surgical dressings, suntan lotions, cosmetics, colognes and certain other medical aids and equipments.

Chemical constituents and remedial properties of Balsam Tolu essential oil:

Among the 25 different chemical components, the major elements contributing to the therapeutic values of Balsam Tolu oil are cinnamic acid, cinnamein, benzyl benzoate, vanillin, nerolidol, cinnamyl cinnamate, benzoic acid, farnesol and other aldehydes. The most important therapeutic attributes of Balsam Tolu oil are antifungal, antiseptic, expectorant, anti-dandruff, anti-stress, analgesic and anti-parasitic.

Ayurvedic health benefits of Balsam Tolu essential oil:

From men in the Stone Age to this Digital Era, celebrate Ayurveda as a boon to mankind for its holistic and regimented approach towards health and harmony.

Ayurveda was gifted to humanity by Acharya Dhanvantari, the ancient God of medicine and is said to have its origin in India, the land of herbs and cultural heritage. This traditional remedy also holds the pride of being a part of Atharvaveda, one among the 4 sacred books of the Indian mythology.

When compared to the modern medicine, where personal care and attention to individuals becomes a question mark, Ayurveda is a divine science that regards and respects human body as a temple where the soul lives in. 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 leads 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.

Balsam Tolu essential oil is said to pacify kapha and vata doshas and increase pitta energy. It’s time to look into the Ayurvedic health benefits of Balsam Tolu essential oil. Ayurveda generally prescribes the use of essential oils in the following ways:

Balsam-Tolu-broucher1. As an invigorating massage oil:

Abhyanga or the art of massaging with Ayurvedic oils is an important Ayurvedic technique prescribed for healing numerous illnesses since the traditional times. Abhyanga is the traditional method through which the soft tissues of one’s body is maneuvered with the help of fingers, elbows, feet, forearms and other ancient massaging equipments.

Ayurvedic massaging has the potent to pass innumerable benefits to the human body and the key benefits among them are:

  • Relieving muscular tension.
  • Normalizing the breathing pattern.
  • Relaxing the nervous system.
  • Revitalizing the mind.
  • Alleviating pain and inflammation.
  • Improving blood circulation
  • Augmenting the natural glow and suppleness of skin.

Ayurvedic physicians generally prescribe the appropriate essential oil based on the prakriti and medical condition of a person. Balsam tolu oil is good to treat vata and kapha vitiations and pitta deficit.

Massaging your system or affected parts with 5 drops of Balsam tolu oil, 2 drops of Patchouli oil, 2 drops of Frankincense oil, 2 drops of Lavender oil, 2 drops of Cardamom oil, 2 drops of Petitgrain oil along with 50 ml of Coconut oil can assist in relieving pain, soreness and inflammation associated with rheumatism, alleviating muscular tension, relaxing the nerves, enhancing the skin texture, improving slow digestion, treating constipation, supporting urination through which the toxic remains in the body are eliminated and promoting peaceful sleep and positive feelings.

Skin is the largest organ of the human body and is the quickest transmitter of remedial properties to the bloodstream. Using Balsam Tolu oil in Ayurvedic massaging aids in passing away its healing values like antioxidant (helps in checking aging symptoms and discard the growth of free radicals in the body), antiseptic, cicatrisant and stimulating properties (supports in enhancing the skin health), diuretic, anti-rheumatic, analgesic values (aids in alleviating pain, eliminating toxic remains by promoting frequent urination, reducing inflammation, redness and stiff muscles) and anti-stress properties that help in relaxing the nerves, mind and induce good sleep.

2. In compress or bathing:

Balsam Tolu oil owns an exotic floral fragrance that makes it an excellent bathing oil that can help in leaving you fresh and energized all through the day.

Using 2 drops of Balsam oil along with 1 drop of Cinnamon oil and 1 drop of Ylang Ylang oil in your bathing water or in warm or cold compress is a great way to recharge your nerves, enchant your muscles, lessen muscular tension, alleviate tension headache, back pain and calm your senses and instill a complete feeling of newness.

A warm bath with this blend especially before going to bed is a great way to promote good sleep without any nightmares.

3. Topical application as creams or salves:

Balsam Tolu has been used as a promising remedy for myriad skin problems since the times of the tribal populace. 2 to 3 drops of Balsam Tolu oil along with 1 drop of Turmeric oil mixed with your mild skin care cream or with 2 ml of Jojoba oil can be applied on wounds, eczema, minor skin ulcerations, acne, scabies, rashes, ringworm, bedsores, diaper rashes and skin infections caused due to fungi and parasites.

The herbal blend of 2 drops of Balsam Tolu oil with 2 drops of Rosemary oil, 2 drops of Ylang Ylang oil and 2 drops of Basil oil along with 10 ml of sweet almond oil, applied on the scalp and hair, followed by a thorough rinse with your mild shampoo can assist in keeping away from dandruff, combat head lice, enrich the scalp and promote the growth of healthy hair naturally.

4. In burner, diffuser or vaporizer:

Ayurvedic texts recommend the use of aromatics or aromatherapy as a major means of natural healing and prevention of illnesses. Smell or aroma has an important effect in balancing and stimulating various functions of the body. This action is performed by the odor-bearing molecules that influence the receptors in the nose while breathing. They reach the olfactory bulb of the limbic system in the form of nerve impulses.

The aromatic molecules of Balsam tolu essential oil has expectorant, antifungal, anti-dandruff, antiseptic, anti-stress, anti-parasitic, analgesic, anti-rheumatic and stimulating properties. When inhaled by adding 2 drops of Balsam tolu oil in vaporizer, burner or diffuser, these molecules containing the therapeutic properties of this oil reach the limbic system.

Following this, the hypothalamus and other vital parts of the limbic system convey the corresponding commands to different parts of the body as per the remedial values. Inhaling the soothing aroma of Balsam tolu oil can assist in relaxing the system, lessening pain, reducing fatigue, treating insomnia, and alleviating stress and depression.

Ayurveda states that using Balsam tolu oil in diffuser or vaporizer specifically during meditation, yoga and Pranayama instills a sacred feeling as the mind is said to reach the most subtle and tranquil α (alpha) state during meditation.

5. In vaporizing ointments or steam inhalation:

Inhaling the medicated steam is a proven natural remedy for alleviating cold, cough, sore throat, headache, sinusitis, blocked nose, watery eyes and migraine pain. Steam inhalation works effectively as the steam aids in bringing out the toxic remains in the body through sweat and one can feel the relief instantly after a medicated steam inhalation.

Adding 2 drops of Balsam Tolu oil along with 1 drop of Peppermint oil and 1 drop of Eucalyptus oil in steam inhalation can aid in relieving headache, opening blocked sinus and nasal passages, soothing sore throat, discarding phlegm and mucus deposits and eliminating the microbes present in the system through sweat.

When added to your vaporizing ointment, this blend can also be helpful in treating bronchitis, tuberculosis, chest congestion, nasal congestion, whooping cough and certain other respiratory infections.

Certain test tube studies have revealed that Myroxylon plant has been effective in inhibiting H.pylori, the general ulcer-causing bacteria and Mycobacterium tuberculosis, which is responsible for lung diseases.

Disclaimer:

This article is not meant to treat or diagnose any medical condition or substitute any professional medical advice. It is only for educational purposes and we are not medical practitioners. This heath related information is shared only with the view of spreading the ancient wisdom of Ayurveda, the oldest holistic healing system on earth.

Never use essential oils for internal purposes. Always remember to dilute essential oils before using it for topical uses, as organic and 100 percent pure essential oils are highly concentrated substances and may lead to allergies, if used without diluting them. Discuss with your healthcare expert/Ayurvedic physician before taking the right call on the most suitable essential oils for your health condition and unique individual constitution. Keep away from Balsam Tolu oil, if you are a nursing or pregnant mother, as it is regarded as a sensitizing oil and may have chances of causing allergic reactions.

Thought for the day:

In nature, nothing is perfect and everything is perfect. Trees can be contorted, bent in weird ways, and they’re still beautiful. -Alice Walker

Suggested Reading:

  1. Prescription for Herbal Healing, 2nd Edition: An Easy-to-Use A-to-Z Reference to Hundreds of Common Disorders and Their Herbal Remedies by Phyllis A. Balch CNC, Stacey Bell
  2. 10 Ways to Use Balsam Of Peru (Recipe Book) by Sam Enrico
  3. The Encyclopedia of Essential Oils: The Complete Guide to the Use of Aromatic Oils In Aromatherapy, Herbalism, Health, and Well Being by Julia Lawless
  4. Scabies Natural Home Treatment Solution by Alyson Rodgers
  5. Medical Herbalism: The Science Principles and Practices Of Herbal Medicine by David Hoffmann

Reference Links:

  1. Balsam of Peru by Wikipedia
  2. Balsam of Tolu from The Essence of Herbs by Chrissy Brownlyn
  3. Balsam of Tolu by Infostir.com
  4. Peruvian Balsam (Myroxylon pereirae syn. M. Balsamum) by Herbs2000.com