Birch Oil


Well identified as the ‘Shining Tree’, Birch tree sets a remarkable note in the field of ancient and modern medicine for its preventive and defensive actions against rheumatism, skin disorders, circulatory problems and dental mayhems.

Birch-new-2

Scientifically called as Betula Alba, Birch tree bears its origin to the Indian subcontinent, especially in the cold and temperate climates, in particular the northern part of India, which has been the safe haven for numerous saints, sages and Rishis since the pre-historic period for attaining divinity through meditation.

Birch tree is well known for its silvery white bark, from which the Birch essential oil is extracted by dry distillation method. It is called as ‘bhurja’ in Sanskrit, which means ‘a tree whose bark is used for writing upon’, and few sources also state that this name is extracted from the Sanskrit word ‘bhura’, which means ‘shining tree’.

Birch tree is highly rich in flavonoids and saponins. For its enormous medicinal and curative attributes, this tree and its essential oil are being used in Ayurveda for treating obesity, fluid retention, kidney stones, arthritis, colitis, indigestion, cholesterol and respiratory disorders.

Historical uses and importance of Birch and its essential oil:

Being a priceless tree of the ancestral origin, Birch and its essential oil were widely utilized since the primitive times, dating back to the Paleolithic and the Mesolithic era as an adhesive and for various other uses. Adhering to the meaning of its name (tree which is used for writing purposes), Birch has been extensively used for preparing manifold documents in olden days, which are now termed as Birch Bark Manuscripts.

Fulsome with spiritual and cultural importance, Birch tree is crowned as the National tree of Russia and Finland. The most special fact about Birch tree is that it resists all kinds of adverse soil and climatic conditions. The bark of this tree has been used for numerous purposes such as construction, writing and medicinal applications. This tree was also called as ‘Lady of the Woods’, for its elegance, charm, lightness and the mesmerizing aroma after rain.

The Native Americans used Birch in their folklore remedies, where it was taken along with beverages to deal with various health conditions associated with the stomach including dysentery, diarrhea and indigestion.

The essential oil obtained from the bark of this tree has been used in hair care and skin care products to drive away dandruff, hair fall, eczema, psoriasis and dermatitis. The sap of the inner bark is a rich source of nutrients and was used in making cakes and is predominantly known to the world as a famine food for its ability to satiate hunger as a last choice if not anything is accessible.

Birch essential oil has been used as a disinfectant, powerful insect repellent, and also in the treatment of skin infections, fever, kidney stones, eczema and rheumatism. It is also a key ingredient in various perfumes including the most popular Russian Leather fragrance and Iceland Wintergreen.

In various folk medicines, Birch was used in transfer magic remedies for alleviating rheumatic pain and other associated symptoms. The aromatic leaves of this tree were also used in making Birch tea, which was used as an effective remedy for dissolving kidney stones, alleviating pain, gout, dropsy and rheumatism.

Chemical constituents and therapeutic properties of Birch Oil:

The remedial properties of Birch essential oil are anti-rheumatic, anti-arthritic, febrifuge, diuretic, astringent, detoxifying, analgesic, depurative, antiseptic, stimulant, germicide, tonic, insecticide, and anti-depressant. The major chemical constituents contributing to its therapeutic properties are betulene, methyl salicylate, betulenol, creosol, salicylic acid, and guaiacol.

Ayurvedic health benefits of Birch essential oil:

The word ‘Ayurveda’ has become the most common terminology in this contemporary living as many are becoming conscious about their health. When absolute health is the need of the hour, then natural remedies and chemical-free medications come along without any say and this where Ayurveda comes into picture.

Besides being a natural healing methodology, Ayurveda is a holistic system that helps in leading a disciplined life, including guidelines for a balanced diet to a modest lifestyle.

Ayurveda is the oldest of all medicinal systems on earth and it completely trusts that Mother Nature has the cure for all ailments including physical disorders and mental mayhems.

It is also said that living in harmony with Nature gifts a disease-free, harmonious and healthy life. According to this philosophy everything on earth is a combination of the 5 fundamental elements of nature. They are fire, earth, water, space and air.

For a better understanding, it is clearly depicted that earth is the representation of the bones and muscles, fire is the heat energy generated in the body for many vital functions of the system like metabolism, water stands for blood and other fluids, we breathe air and space is the representation of our soul that harmonizes all the other functions of the human body and keeps us alive.

Ayurvedic healing relies upon nature and it strongly states that all the other things on this planet are being created just for the happiness of mankind. You can identify this with the following example; Mother earth has 92 elements, including magnesium, calcium, iron, potassium etc, and the human system also has all these 92 constituents.

When a person is ill due to the deficiency of any of these elements, say iron, he/she is advised to take dates, which is rich in iron and to our astonishment dates grow by engrossing iron content from the earth. Simply brilliant, isn’t it?

Every human being is regarded as a unique part of nature in Ayurveda and it is also recommended that the remedial measures should also be unique based upon their unique individual constitution, which comprises of three biological energies called as doshas (also known as Tridosha) namely vata, pitta and kapha.

Pitta represents fire and water, vata is a combination of air and ether, and kapha signifies earth and water. Pitta energy is responsible for body temperature and metabolism, kapha controls the physical appearance, movement of fluids in the system and sustenance and vata dosha regulates the functions of the nervous, circulatory and respiratory systems.

Your first Ayurvedic consultation will help you in identifying your unique individual constitution and your predominant dosha type, which has an upper hand in determining your physical and mental makeup. Perfect balance between these doshas signifies well-being and disparities due to unwholesome food habits, change in climatic conditions, lifestyle and immoral behaviors leads to sickness.

The most significant Ayurvedic remedies that focus on treating doshic imbalances are herbs, plant essential oils, meditation, simple physical exercises, yoga, Pranayama or balanced breathing practices, Ayurvedic routine, prayers and a balanced diet.

Birch essential oil is known to pacify vata and kapha dosha and intensifies pitta dosha. The Ayurvedic health benefits of Birch essential oil are:

Birch-broucher1. Nature’s gift for treating rheumatic conditions:

Rheumatism is generally regarded as a medical condition caused due to excess deposits of fluids in the system along with the built up of toxic substances and improper blood circulation that lead to inflammation, pain, redness, stiffness and irritation.

According to Ayurveda, rheumatism is majorly a kapha imbalance disorder and can be treated with Ayurvedic remedies that reduce kapha vitiation. Birch oil has anti-rheumatic and anti-arthritic properties that aids in alleviating these agonizing conditions and reduces excess kapha dosha.

Birch essential oil is known as an effective pain reliever with the presence of the salicylate component that is present in aspirin based medications. This compound helps in lessening pain, swelling and stiffness associated with rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis and other pain in the joints and muscles. It works by arresting the body’s production of prostaglandins hormones, which are responsible for pain, inflammation and other similar conditions.

Along with these attributes, the essential oil of Birch also has detoxifying, diuretic and depurative properties that assist in eliminating toxins from the body, discarding salt, uric acid and excess fluid deposits in the body by promoting sweat and frequent urination and by purifying the entire system. Being a circulatory agent, this oil also helps in promoting proper circulation of blood and lessens the severity of circulatory disorders like rheumatism and edema.

Massaging the affected parts with 2 drops of Birch oil, 2 drops of Ginger oil and 2 drops of Tea tree oil along with 3 ml of coconut oil can help in reducing pain, inflammation, redness and promote proper blood circulation that helps in treating rheumatic and arthritic conditions. You can also add 2 to 3 drops of Birch oil in warm compress and in warm bathing water that can help in improving your medical conditions related to rheumatism and other muscular and circulatory problems.

2. Alleviates congestion and other respiratory infections:

Birch essential oil is always one among those best natural remedies that assist in relieving severe congestion, long-term allergies and other respiratory infections. With its expectorant, anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties, Birch essential oil supports the system in fighting against chest congestion, bronchitis, nasal congestion, pneumonia and bronchial congestion.

Kapha dosha is a combination of water and earth elements and imbalance of kapha dosha leads to excess level of water deposits, amassing of mucus and phlegm deposits and building up of toxic substances worsening respiratory problems.

Birch essential oil is used in Ayurvedic healing for correcting kapha imbalance by generating heat in system and discarding mucus and phlegm deposits in the lungs and the respiratory passages.

Adding 2 to 3 drops of Birch oil in steam inhalation can aid in loosening mucus accumulation, treating stuffed nose, nasal, chest and bronchial congestion and combats the effects of toxins and microbes in the body.

You can mix 2 drops of Birch oil, 2 drops of Peppermint oil and 2 drops of Lavender oil along with your regular vaporizing ointment and massage in gentle movements on throat, chest and back for quick relief. A hot compress with 2 drops of Birch oil, following this massage on the back and chest can help improve respiratory conditions at ease.

3. Lessens pain and heal wounds rapidly:

Birch is such a magical oil that can relieve severe pain in a matter of minutes. With the presence of the salicylate component in aspirin and other pain-relieving pills, Birch oil aids in lessening pain by causing numbness on the painful area and uplifts the nerves and muscles.

Along with the Alternative and Complementary medicinal practices, the Allopathic doctors also recommend Birch oil for relieving severe pain, preventing the joints from swelling in cases of dislocation of joints or fractures.

Gently massaging the painful parts with 2 drops of Birch oil and 2 drops of Lemongrass oil along with 2 ml of olive oil can aid in easing muscular pain and stiffness. It also helps in alleviating muscular spasms and bout. 3 to 4 drops of Birch oil combined with 4 drops of Helichrysum oil and 4 ml of coconut oil massaged on the affected parts will work like a fascination especially on carpal tunnel syndrome.

Mix 2 drops of Birch oil with 2 drops of Lavender oil and 2 drops of Frankincense oil along with 3 ml of Sweet almond oil and apply it on wounds, cuts, skin rashes, cellulites, ringworm, eczema, itches and insect bites for quick relief. This formula works with the disinfectant, antiseptic, anti-bacterial and germicide properties of Birch oil that kills infectious micro-organisms like bacteria and fungi in skin infections and wounds and promotes quicker healing.

4. Cures oral problems:

There’s no wonder that an admirable essential oil like Birch has the therapeutic effects for treating oral problems with its anti-bacterial, antiseptic, disinfectant, astringent and germicide properties. These remedial values help in treating oral problems like weak gums, cavities, bacteria, painful gums, plaque and halitosis or bad breath.

1 drop of Birch oil along with 1 drop of Spearmint oil added to a cup of warm water can be used as a natural gargle formula for combating germs and bacterial growths in the mouth, strengthening the gums as an astringent, protecting the teeth and gums from infections as an antiseptic and also for keeping away from bad breath by refreshing the mouth throughout the day. This therapy can be followed twice a day in the morning and night.

5. Promotes hair growth and treats hair problems:

Birch is yet another nourishing oil for controlling loss of hair, maintaining those beautiful locks, preventing dandruff, enriching the scalp and promoting growth of hair naturally.  Just 1 drop of Birch oil in your regular shampooing can aid in healing your hair problems and deliver quick results in re-establishing your hair growth.

Massaging your scalp with 3 drops of Birch oil mixed with 3 drops of Ylang Ylang oil, 3 drops of Rosemary oil, 2 drops of Lemon oil and 2 drops of Lavender oil along with 7 ml of Virgin olive oil can help in moisturizing the scalp, controlling dandruff with its anti-fungal properties, strengthening the hair follicles with its astringent properties, promotes hair growth and grants the natural lustrous, shiny and glossy look of your hair. Follow this massage with 2 drops of Birch oil added to your mild shampoo for promising results.

Other health benefits:

A 1994 study at the University of North Carolina concluded that “the chemicals found in white birch bark slowed the growth of HIV”. Various other studies conducted on the betulinic acid present in Birch essential oil have been proved to possess anti-tumor properties and kill cancerous cells. Birch essential oil is also used in the treatment of colitis, bladder stone, gout, headache, candida, multiple sclerosis, depression and urinary disorders.

Disclaimer:

This editorial is meant only for the use of education and information. It is not in anyways intended to treat, cure, prevent or diagnose any medical condition or replace any prescribed medication or medical advice of a healthcare expert. We are medical professionals and this information is shared only with the concern of bringing out the importance of Ayurveda, the mother of all healing systems on earth.

Make sure that you speak with an Ayurvedic expert before using the perfect essential oil for your prakriti or individual constitution and state of health. Do not ingest essential oils or use it for internal purposes and ensure that you always employ essential oils in a diluted form, as 100% pure and organic essential oils are extremely concentrated substances and may cause allergic or hazardous reactions, if used directly for topical application. Keep essential oils out of reach of children.

Thought for the day:

All things are artificial, for nature is the art of God. -Thomas Browne

Suggested Reading:

  1. The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Essential Oils: The Complete Guide to the Use of Oils in Aromatherapy & Herbalism by Julia Lawless
  2. Medical Herbalism: The Science Principles and Practices Of Herbal Medicine by David Hoffmann
  3. Medicinal Plants of the World by Ben-Erik van Wyk, Michael Wink
  4. The Healing Power of Essential Oils: The Original Liquid Copals by Bevonne Birch Crookston
  5. American Indian Medicine (The Civilization of the American Indian Series) by Virgil J. Vogel

Reference Links:

  1. Birch Tar by Wikipedia
  2. Health benefits of Birch essential oil by Organic Facts
  3. White Birch by the American Cancer Society
  4. Birch Tree: Natural Medicine in your Backyard by Mother Earth News

Cubeb Oil


Cubeb-bannerCubeb, the tailed-pepper is an exceptional fertility aid for both the Kings and Queens out there, with its significant aphrodisiac properties. “It stimulates the parathyroid, and so it would be an excellent addition to menopausal formulas, helping with problems of osteoporosis”, says Jenny Rose in her Aromatherapy Book.

Cubeb essential oil is extracted from the dried Cubeb berries through steam distillation method. This plant is botanically called as Piper cubeba and is a limb of the pepper family Piperaceae.

Cubeb was recommended by Charaka and Sushruta, the legendary Ayurvedic philosophers for treating halitosis, cough, loss of voice, fever, gonorrhea and certain other oral problems. Cubeb is known in Sanskrit as kankol and in Hindi as kabab chini and is a part of the Ayurvedic family Pippali kul. It is also used in Ayurvedic formulations for treating impotence, tastelessness, asthma, inflammation, piles, indigestion and menstrual problems.

Purchase Cubeb Oil – 4oz – CLICK HERE

Historical uses and importance of Cubeb:

Native to the Java and Sumatra islands of Indonesia, Cubeb is often called as Java pepper and is also grown widely in India and Malaysia. It’s taste is often compared to allspice or pepper like. Cubeb is said to have reached the European subcontinent through the ancient trades by the Arabs through India and Arabians call it as Kababa and is also talked about in the writings of Alchemy.

The use of Cubeb dates back to 4th century BC in various parts of the world. It was brought to China during the Tang dynasty and was called by the Sanskrit names vidanga and vilenga.

The most interesting uses of Cubeb by the Tang physicians are to darken hair, treat demon vapors, loss of appetite and as a natural perfume for the body. Cubeb was also used in the Tibetan Medicine for treating problems associated with the spleen.

Hildegard of Bingen prescribed the use of Cubeb as an antiseptic and as a good tonic for the nervous system. The London Dispensatorie written by Nicholas Culpeper in 1654 says “Cubebs were hot and dry in the third degree… (snip) they cleanse the head of flegm and strengthen the brain, they heat the stomach and provoke lust“. Theophrastus has stated the use of Cubeb as an important ingredient in making sweet-smelling confections along with cassia and cinnamon.

Chemical constituents and therapeutic properties of Cubeb oil:

The chemical constituents of Cubeb essential oil are sesquiterpenes (namely α- and β-cubebene, caryophyllene, germacrene, δ-cadinene and copaene) and monoterpenes (including carene, 50% sabinene and α-thujene) along with camphor, pinene, azulene, lineal, alcohol cubebol and other oxides like 1,4- and 1,8-cineole.

The remedial attributes of Cubeb essential oil are carminative, diuretic, antiseptic, aphrodisiac, expectorant, antioxidant, antimicrobial, antipyretic, hepatoprotective, analgesic, disinfectant, astringent, gastro-protective and stimulant.

Ayurvedic health benefits of Cubeb essential oil:

Ayurveda implanted strong roots of health through prevention of illnesses, disciplined lifestyle and absolute balance with nature leading to aging in the pink and extended life-span even beyond a hundred years. This 5,000 years old ancient healing methodology strongly insists to be on par with nature for leading a hale and harmonious living.

According to Ayurveda, everything on Earth is a combination of the 5 vital elements of nature and they are earth, fire, water, air and space.

It says that the only difference between a living thing and a non-living thing is the element of space that rests within living organisms as the soul. Bones and muscles represent earth, fire stands for the metabolic processes and body temperature, blood is a symbol of water, air assists in breathing and space is the soul, which indicates that we are alive.

Ayurvedic philosophy states that each human being is created with a unique individual constitution that comprises of three bio-energies known as doshas, namely vata, kapha and pitta types. Vata is a combination of air and space, pitta stands for fire and water and kapha represents water and earth.

Ayurveda denotes that every individual has a predominance of any one these doshas and that determines their physical set up, mental makeup and their personality. Balance between these doshas is a symbol of good health and imbalances of these biological energies due to food and lifestyle changes causes illnesses.

Treatments in Ayurveda vary from person to person even if it is for the same illness because this common sense science examines the individual constitution, patient history and the root cause of an illness before prescribing the suitable medication.

The most prevalent Ayurvedic remedies are herbs, plant essential oils, Abhyanga (the art of Ayurvedic massaging), yoga, Ayurvedic routine, prayer, simple physical exercises and mediation depending upon the unique individual constitution for correcting the doshic imbalances.

Cubeb oil is an effective Ayurvedic remedy for treating excess of kapha and vata energies and regularizing the pitta deficit.

The Ayurvedic health benefits of Cubeb essential oil are:

Cubeb-broucher1. Natural aid to fertility problems:

Cubeb essential oil has natural aphrodisiac properties for which it was used by ancient Arabians and in the Unani medicinal system in the treatment of fertility problems like infertility, loss of sexual interest, impotence, erectile dysfunction, all stages of gonorrhea and other STD (Sexually Transmitted Diseases).

In Ayurvedic terms, Cubeb oil contains Ushan as its Virya means hotness as its main potency. Warmth and increased body temperature influence better intimacy in a sexual relationship. Excess of vata dosha can also be a reason for lack of sexual interest and impotency. Cubeb essential oil is known for reducing increased vata dosha and helps treat various sexual problems.

Unani medicinal system suggests the use of Cubeb corns for increased sexual contentment and is it because of this attribute Cubebs were initially called in Arabic language as ‘Habb-ul-Uruus. It has also been noted in the book ‘One Thousand and One Nights’ as a key ingredient in the preparation of an aphrodisiac cure for infertility.

Cubeb oil has a warm, pungent and slightly camphoraceous fragrance with a feel of Nutmeg aroma. Add 3 drops of Cubeb oil in 3 ml of olive oil and massage your body for arousing intimate sexual feelings naturally. You can also add 2 drops of this oil in warm bathing water before going to bed and add 1 drop of Cubeb oil along with 1 drop of Lavender or Ylang Ylang oil in your diffuser to set the right mood perfectly.

2. Alleviates dental and oral infections:

Cubeb gets a special mention in both the highly-held Ayurvedic encyclopedias, the Charaka Samhita and the Sushruta Samhita as an oral cleanser and as an aid for treating dental problems.

The essential oil of Cubeb has natural antiseptic, antimicrobial and astringent properties that assist in killing the harmful organisms in the mouth causing halitosis or bad breath, bleeding gums, plaque and cavities. Mix 1 drop of Cubeb oil in a cup of warm water and use it as a gargle for relieving all kinds of dental and oral infections.

3. Relieves congestion and other respiratory illnesses:

Vitiated kapha dosha is responsible for water retention, excess deposits of phlegm and mucous, thus leading to respiratory problems like nasal congestion, chest congestion, cold and other pulmonary infections including bronchitis. The ability to reduce increased kapha energy is the major reason for Cubeb oil being used as a promising remedy in treating respiratory illnesses.

Many popular Physicians and Herbalists like Nicholas Culpeper have said that Cubeb is an excellent remedy for clearing phlegm deposits, strengthening the brain, alleviating bronchitis; asthma, relieving congestion and treating cough and throat infections. Add 2 to 3 drops of Cubeb oil in steam inhalation or to your vaporub and massage it gently on your throat, back and chest to experience quick relief from respiratory infections with its expectorant and antimicrobial properties.

4. Discards toxic substances in the body:

Cubeb essential oil has diuretic properties that help in discharging the toxic substances in the body known as ama, which is nothing but the remains of improper digestion which slowly turns toxic. These toxic remains along with salt deposits, uric acid, cholesterol and fat can lead to numerous medical conditions including kidney problems and heart diseases.

Light Miller and Bryan Miller in their book ‘Ayurveda and Aromatherapy’ say about Cubeb as “This herb has a light peppery smell. On occasion, when substituted into a formula for weight loss instead of black pepper, patients reported greater effectiveness .”

Cubeb oil acts as a stimulant in the body and promotes the proper functioning of the system. Its diuretic properties increase the quantity and frequency of urination and helps in cleansing the system.

Adding 2 drops of Cubeb oil in warm bathing water or in an Ayurvedic massage blend with 2 drops of peppermint oil, 2 drops of Cubeb oil along with 5 ml sesame oil assists in excreting toxic substances in the body, thus treating urinary infections, obesity, inflammatory conditions and other genito-urinary problems.

5. Assists in proper digestion and bowel movements:

Just like Pepper, Cubeb also has hot, spicy and pungent flavor. It’s potent to increase pitta energy is of great value in dealing with digestive problems like tastelessness, loss of appetite, indigestion, constipation, flatulence, intestinal worms etc., where Pitta dosha represents fire and water and is in charge of the metabolic functions. Massage your abdomen with 2 drops of Cubeb oil mixed with 2 ml of coconut oil for effective relief from digestive disorders.

A 2012 study on ‘In vitro efficacy of the essential oil of Piper cubeba L. (Piperaceae) against Schistosoma mansoni by Universidade de Franca published in Pubmed’ suggests that, “Piper cubeba essential oil possesses an effect against cercariae, schistosomula, and adult worms of the S. mansoni.” Schistosoma mansoni are adult worms that cause intestinal schistosomiasis (combined name for parasitic diseases).

Other uses:

Cubeb oil is also used as an important ingredient in lozenges, spirits, chewing gum, oral cleansers, toothpastes, cough drops, cigarettes for hay fever, asthma and chronic pharyngitis. It is also used in Ayurvedic healing for treating joint and bone problems.

Disclaimer:

This article is meant only for the purpose of education and information. Using it as a substitute for prescribed medicines or professional medical advice is not recommended. Always use essential oils for topical application in a diluted form only as organic essential oils are highly concentrated liquids and can cause allergic reactions.

Cubeb oil is a possible skin irritant and it is good to be avoided during pregnancy and nursing. Always consult your Ayurvedic expert before making the right choice of essential oils that suit your medical condition and unique individual constitution.

Thought for the day:

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

Suggested Reading:

  1. ISO 3756:1976, Oil of Cubeb by ISO TC 54
  2. The Master Book of Herbalism by Paul Beyerl
  3. Ayurveda & Aromatherapy: The Earth Essential Guide to Ancient Wisdom and Modern Healing by Dr. Light Miller, Dr. Bryan Miller
  4. All About Spices: Pepper, Cubebs, Nutmegs, Cloves, Ginger, Vanilla, Pimento, Cinnamon (1889) by Alastair Mackenzie Ferguson, John Ferguson
  5. The Encyclopedia of Essential Oils: The Complete Guide to the Use of Aromatic Oils In Aromatherapy, Herbalism, Health, and Well Being by Julia Lawless

Reference Links:

  1. Cubeb by Wikipedia
  2. Piper cubeba by Ayushveda
  3. Cubeb published in Aromatherapy Bible by Daniele Ryman
  4. Essential Oil Constituents of Piper cubeba L. fils. From Indonesia by Rein Bos, Herman J. Woerdenbag, Oliver Kayser, Wim J. Quax, Komar Ruslan & Elfami
  5. In vitro efficacy of the essential oil of Piper cubeba L. (Piperaceae) against Schistosoma mansoni by Universidade de Franca published in Pubmed