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

Betel Leaf Oil



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Therapeutic properties and chemical components of Betel leaf essential oil:

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

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

Ayurvedic health benefits of Betel leaf essential oil:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Ayurvedic health benefits of Betel leaf oil are:

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

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

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

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

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

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

2. Keeps away microbes and its hazardous infections:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

3. Natural digestive aid:

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

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

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

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

4. Instant remedy for respiratory problems:

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

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

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

5. Relieves rheumatic conditions and pain:

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

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

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

6. Treats various skin disorders:

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

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

Other health benefits:

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

Disclaimer:

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

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

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

Thought for the day:

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

Suggested Reading:

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

Reference Links:

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