Ayurvedic Oils for Rheumatoid Arthritis

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Inflamed joints are often painful and give you a repulsive appearance. Wake up!  It is rheumatoid arthritis, when left unnoticed can dramatically affect the functioning of other organs of your body. Experts term it as a long term ailment that ends up in swelling, irritation and redness of the joints and tissues surrounding it. The ancient wonder science gifted by our ancestors has mind-blowing and natural remedies for rheumatoid arthritis.  This illness is known as Ama vata in Ayurvedic terms and most often it is said that the pain in the affected joint areas is as painful as a Scorpion’s sting. The prescribed use of Ayurvedic essential oils according to the Ayurvedic body types has proven positive effects in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis.

Causes and symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis:  The exact cause for rheumatoid arthritis is not known. Few may inherit this disease from their family and Ayurveda strongly denotes that the basic reason behind this illness is due to the toxins known as ‘Ama’ due to unevenness of body fire. This sultry toxin has the dangerous effect of jamming the function of the vital parts of the body that helps in nourishing the system.  Imbalanced vata carries this toxin and it finally reaches kapha subjugated parts of the body like stomach, joints, brain, chest and few others. Since this is an autoimmune disease, it erroneously affects the healthy tissues of the body and gradually lowers the regular functioning of the body and slows down the system.

The symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis are swelling, inflammation of the joints, loss of appetite, indigestion, pain, morning stiffness, pleurisy, burning and itchy eyes, insomnia, burning sensation in the feet and hands, loss of energy, fatigue, nodules under the skin, weakness, aversion to food and few more. This disease is common among women than men, especially in the middle ages. According to Ayurveda, there are three types of rheumatoid arthritis. They are Vataj, Pittanubandi and Kaphanubandi and each of them have the predominance of the Ayurvedic doshas, vata, pitta and kapha.

Ayurvedic remedies for rheumatoid arthritis: The greatest value to treasure about Ayurveda is that it treats a disease from the beginning by analyzing its root cause and not by looking at it just at the surface level. This is because it aims at permanent remedy as well as focused prevention of the illness in the future. By this time, you must have clearly understood that rheumatoid arthritis occurs mainly due to the uneven deposition of toxins in the body especially, the joints. So Ayurveda focuses on the process of eliminating, purifying and discharging the toxins settlement using simple yet startling essential oils and certain other natural remedies.

  • Turmeric essential oil for rheumatoid arthritis: Popularly known as the ‘Golden Goddess’ this oil has innumerable curative properties and the most highlighting among them are anti-inflammatory, analgesic and anti-bacterial properties. Turmeric essential oil eliminates the toxins that are stored in the body and cleanses the system and is perfectly called as an ‘All-purpose cleanser’ in the Ayurvedic world. It treats the kapha imbalance and is prevalently used in weight-loss treatments with its therapeutic and warming properties. A renowned research has proved that Turmeric and its extracts like Turmeric essential oil with the presence of curcuminoids are in charge for the antiarthritic effect and have been effectual in treating and preventing inflammatory disorders like rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Peppermint essential oil: Another celebrated remedy for rheumatoid arthritis is the use of peppermint essential oil that has anti-inflammatory, anesthetic and analgesic properties that help in lessening the inflammation, reducing pain and soothe the inflamed areas from within. It is also used as an excellent cleanser for mouth, which is considered as the storehouse of ‘Ama’ or the toxic substances of the body. You can dilute this oil in carrier oils like jojoba oil or olive oil and gently massage the affected areas for guaranteed relief from pain, swelling and irritation.
  • Oil Pulling: Oil pulling is a natural treatment for removing toxins from the mouth and from all over the body. The benefits of which are mentioned in Charaka Samhita, the Ayurvedic text. Regular oil pulling with sesame oil, coconut oil or sunflower oil preferably in the morning in empty stomach for about 20 minutes will help in oral hygiene, whiter teeth, stronger gums and natural alleviation of toxins from the body that cause rheumatoid arthritis and other major health disorders.
  • Other natural remedies: Apart from the use of Ayurvedic oils for treating rheumatoid arthritis, Ayurveda has few more suggested remedies like the use of Ashwagandha herb (Withania Somnifera) and Asparagus racemosus, which have been proved beneficial in the healing of rheumatoid arthritis. Ayurveda also insists on regular physical exercises that involve the movement of joints, yoga and meditation for quick remedy of rheumatoid arthritis. The Arthritis Foundation has also listed a research update by the scientists from the Baltimore John Hopkins University, stating that yoga has absolutely been helpful for treating people with rheumatoid arthritis.

Whatever illness you may have, Ayurveda has the right protective shield for you and it is rightly called as the ‘Science of Life’.

Thought for the day:

Health is the soul that animates all the enjoyments of life, which fade and are tasteless without it.                       – By Lucius Annaeus Seneca

Suggested reading:

  1. Oil Pulling Therapy: Detoxifying and Healing the Body Through Oral Cleansing by Bruce Fife.
  2. Ayurvedic Yoga Therapy by Mukunda Stiles
  3. Yoga & Ayurveda: Self-Healing and Self-Realization by Dr. David Frawley

Reference Links:

  1. Rheumatoid Arthritis by PubMed Health
  2. Ama Vata by Podar Ayurved Medical College
  3. Yoga helpful for Rheumatoid Arthritis by Arthritis Foundation
  4. Turmeric extracts containing curcuminoids prevent experimental rheumatoid arthritis by The National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI)
  5. The benefit of Ayurvedic diagnostics in treatment strategies for rheumatoid arthritis by European Journal of Integrative Medicine.

Mustard Essential Oil

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‘Sarson ka tel’ or Mustard essential oil is a vital part of Ayurveda, the ancient Indian therapy where it is used for cleansing, stimulating and revitalizing the body. Besides all the controversies across the world, Mustard oil is popular and extensively used in India, Bangladesh and few other Western countries.

Though extracted from the same Mustard seeds, Mustard edible oil is totally different from Mustard essential oil by the method of extraction where the vegetable oil is extracted by cold compressing the seeds and the essential oil of Mustard is extracted by steam distillation of seeds that are soaked in water.

Mustard oil is to Asian countries just like Olive oil is to Mediterranean countries. Besides the myth of being banned in certain countries for internal use, Mustard is a legendary oil used for more than thousands of years in the world’s oldest mythologies like India, Rome and Greece.

Historical importance of Mustard and its oil:

Used as a spice, condiment, herb, cooking oil and medicinal agent, Mustard and its oil are said to have been found since the Stone Age settlements. Among the 40 species of Mustard plants, the most popular and the ones used for extracting essential and edible oils are Brassica nigra (Black mustard), Brassica hirta (White mustard) and Brassica juncea (Brown mustard).

It is still trusted that Mustard was grown in the Indian subcontinent around 3000 B.C.E. Hippocrates used mustard seeds in the preparation of many poultices and medicines. The ancient Romans mixed ground mustard seeds to wine for its unique flavor and remedial values.  It was also used as a natural remedy to treat scorpion stings in the 6th century B.C. by Pythagoras, the renowned Greek scientist.

Mustard was used as a condiment in Greece and Rome for fermenting fish sauce known as garum. The love for mustard made Pope John XXII of Avignon create the post of ‘Grand Moutardier du Pape’ (Grand Mustard-Maker to the Pope). Mustard oil has been a part of North Indian cooking for more than 4000 years and this oil has been the secret behind healthy and lustrous hair growth of Indian women.

Chemical constituents and therapeutic properties of Mustard essential oil:

The essential oil of Mustard has Allyl isothiocyanate, oleic acid, omega-6 linoleic acid, omega-3 alpha-linolenic acid and erucic acid. These constituents contribute to the remedial properties including cordial, tonic, anti-rheumatic, stimulant, appetizer, antifungal, antimicrobial, diaphoretic, hair vitalizer, insect repellant and irritant.

Ayurvedic health benefits of Mustard essential oil: Mustard oil has been used in Ayurvedic healing as a promising body massage oil for improving blood circulation, enhancing the texture of the skin, muscular development and to lessen the dryness of skin. Ayurveda meaning the knowledge of life skillfully explains the vibrant relationship between one’s mind, body and spirit and the way it relates to the world around.

The Ayurvedic approach of healing starts with an Ayurvedic consultation where your unique individual constitution, likes and dislikes, food habits and your medical history is thoroughly analyzed.

Your treatment starts with the tridosha concept as the guiding principle where Ayurveda believes that every individual is unique and is born with a unique fundamental constitution knows as prakriti. It is built up with 3 major biological energies known as doshas namely vata, pitta and kapha.

The dynamic balance between these three doshas determine one’s health and predominance of any one of these doshas is the deciding factor for one’s personality, behavior and attributes.

Ayurvedic remedies are always based on your individual constitution and to balance any one or all the three doshas that are out of rhythm. With its warming properties, Mustard essential oil is said to increase pitta dosha and pacify kapha and vata doshas. It’s time to have a look at the Ayurvedic health benefits of Mustard essential oil:

1. Benefits to the hair:

Ayurvedic Mustard oil is extremely good for hair. The essential fatty acids like linoleic acid (an omega-6 fatty acid) and certain other components present in this oil makes it an effective natural remedy for treating hair loss, premature graying, dull and lifeless hair. Using Mustard essential oil on your scalp augments natural pigmentation and vitalizes your hair follicles by acting on the roots.

This way it prevents early graying and helps you in maintaining a natural dark hair even in your late 40s or early 50s. Indeed Ayurvedic Mustard oil is a long time secret of many grandmothers in India who still have healthy black hair.

Slightly heat 3 to 4 drops of Mustard essential oil blended with sesame oil and gently massage it on your scalp. Leave this blend for about an hour and wash your hair with a mild herbal shampoo or shikakai for nourishing your scalp health, reducing hair fall, enhancing blood circulation, conditioning your hair, strengthening the roots, augmenting its natural shine and to lessen the more salt than pepper on your head.

2. Benefits to the respiratory system:

Mustard essential oil is generally used as a mucolytic in many parts of the world. Herbs and vegetables like wasabi, horseradish and nasturtium along with essential oils that are used as traditional mucolytics and are proved effective in breaking up mucous deposits and help sinus drainage in chronic sinusitis.

The antimicrobial property of Mustard essential oil assists in combating numerous pathogenic organisms and microbes that worsen sinusitis and certain other respiratory problems like bronchitis, asthma and tuberculosis.

A 2009 study on ‘Antimicrobial activity of Mustard essential oil against Escherichia coli O157:H7 and Salmonella typhi’ by the Department of Food Science and Biotechnology, Korea states “Mustard essential oil affected the cell membrane of Escherichia coli O157:H7 and Salmonella typhi. It affected cell membrane integrity, resulting in a loss of cell homeostasis”.

On an Ayurvedic perspective respiratory problems like cold, cough, sinusitis, bronchitis and asthma are caused due to imbalance or increased kapha dosha responsible for fluid retention, congestion, phlegm and mucous deposits. Mustard essential oil is known to pacify and reduce kapha energy and it is used as an excellent Ayurvedic remedy for treating such respiratory problems.

Blend 2 drops of Mustard essential oil with little coconut oil and heat it. Massage this herbal blend on your chest, back and throat for loosening mucous deposits, removing phlegm from lungs and respiratory tract and to help trouble-free breathing. You can also add 2 to 3 drops of Mustard essential oil in hot bathing water that can work wonders on respiratory ailments and certain other pulmonary problems.

3. Benefits to the skin:

Mustard essential oil is an effective antifungal, anti-parasitic, antibacterial, disinfecting and antimicrobial oil that protects the skin from infections, wounds from getting septic and heals minor skin problems like cuts, athlete’s foot, ringworm, insect bites, small lacerations, abrasions etc. Mustard essential oil has been in use for massaging for many centuries.

When gently massaged onto the skin after mixing 2 drops of Mustard essential oil with jojoba oil, it aids in increasing blood circulation with its warming properties, helps open the pores and supports in eliminating the toxins in the body through sweat. This essential oil has high level of vitamin E that promotes healthy skin, moisten the skin, protect the skin from harmful ultra-violet rays, and effectively treat blemishes, wrinkles and fine lines as well.

4. Benefits to the entire system:

The essential oil extracted from Mustard seeds is beneficial to the entire system with its tonic and stimulating properties that foster trouble-free functioning of the body. The pungent aroma of this oil increases hunger by stimulating the digestive juices and by increasing the appetite.

Massaging your tummy and abdomen with 2 drops of Mustard oil mixed with sesame oil can help in burning the excess fat, promotes quicker digestion by encouraging the secretion of digestive juices and assists in treating constipation, flatulence and intestinal gas.

Mustard essential oil penetrates deeply into the skin and is a powerful Ayurvedic remedy for treating excess vata based nervous problems and kapha based problems like inflammation and retention of fluids. Mix 2 drops of Mustard oil with coconut oil and gently massage in circular movements on the affected areas to treat rheumatism, lumbago, back pain, headaches and inflammation.  Adding 1 drop of this oil to a cup of warm water can serve as an exceptional gargle for protecting your teeth and gums from germs.

This is an excellent massaging oil especially during winter to keep the body warm, trigger the functioning of the muscles and to treat numbness with its irritant properties. This oil is also said to slow down the process of aging naturally and aids in preventing cancer.

Disclaimer:

Never take essential oils internally. Pure and organic essential oils are highly concentrated liquids and might cause adverse effects on the skin and system. Always remember to use it after diluting in baths or suitable carrier oils. Ensure that you do a patch test on the skin before using essential oils for massage. Consult your Ayurvedic practitioner for choosing the right essential oil that is apposite for your individual constitution and health condition.

Mustard Essential Oil Possible Skin Issues:

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

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Mustard oil is regarded as one of the most unsafe essential oils mainly due to the presence of Allyl isothiocyanate and erucic acid (a toxic monounsaturated omega-9 fatty acid). According to the U.S. National Center for Biotechnology Information (PubChem), Allyl isothiocyanate compound is poisonous by skin penetration and ingestion. It is also known to emit toxic fumes when exposed to high temperature.

The European Union has prohibited Mustard oil as a cosmetic ingredient and the International Fragrance Association (IFRA) has forbid the use of this oil in fragrances. Allyl isothiocyanate in Mustard oil is not recommended for therapeutic use, primarily due to its toxicity, irritating nature and rigorous lachrymatory effect (potent to produce tears) that draw a question mark on the safe use of this oil in the healthcare industry.

Generally, essential oils are listed with possible safe levels for therapeutic purposes but there is no viable information on the safe levels for the use of Mustard oil.

The immune system of mammals reacts excessively to allergens thus generating antibodies known as IgE (Immunoglobulin). Allergic reactions are further caused when these antibodies move to cells that discharge chemicals.

The most prominent adverse skin effects of Mustard oil are allergic reactions due to IgE, itchiness, redness, severe skin irritation, followed by blistering and irritation of the mucous membranes as well.

Prolonged use of Mustard oil on skin might interfere the function of the skin, thus augment the loss of water of epidermis and subsequently modifying the epidermal keratinocytes structure.

Few sources also state that inhaling of Mustard oil might end up in irritation of the eyes, nose, mucous membrane, respiratory system along with an obnoxious sensation in the head.

Certain studies state that the topical use of Mustard oil can cause irritant contact dermatitis and other allergic reactions. It is also evidenced that this oil is linked to the development of pityriasis rosea-like skin eruption (cutaneous lesions), which was proved by patch testing.

Tests on Chinese hamster cells proved the genotoxic effects of Allyl isothiocyanate and is also said to cause transitional cell papillomas and hyperplasia, when tested on male rats.

Mustard oil should be strictly avoided by pregnant women as it has the potent to induce uterine contractions and may lead to unusual bleeding and miscarriage and safety measures for using this oil during nursing is also not witnessed.

Mustard oil has the tendency to lower the levels of blood sugar and might interfere with your regular medications for diabetes and low blood sugar may obstruct surgical procedures, thus it is recommended to avoid Mustard oil for about 2 weeks before and after your scheduled surgery.

Reference Links Substantiating the Possible Skin Issues of Mustard Oil:

  1. Essential Oil Safety: A Guide for Health Care Professionals By Robert Tisserand, Rodney Young
  2. Pityriasis rosea-like eruptions due to mustard oil application by Zawar V, Nashik, India, published in the Indian Journal of Dermatology, Venereology and Leprology
  3. Dermatoses Due to Indian Cultural Practices by Divya Gupta and Devinder Mohan Thappa, published in the Indian Journal of Dermatology and PubMed
  4. Black Mustard Side Effects and Safety by WebMD
  5. Allyl Isothiocyanate by U.S. National Center for Biotechnology Information (PubChem)
  6. Leung’s Encyclopedia of Common Natural Ingredients, used in Food, Drugs and Cosmetics by Ikhlas A. Khan and Ehab A. Abourashed

Thought for the day:

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

Suggested Reading:

  1. Mustard Seeds: The Tiny Seed That May Save Your Life! (Plant & Seed Legacy Series) by Mary Jo Montanye
  2. The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Essential Oils: The Complete Guide to the Use of Oils in Aromatherapy & Herbalism by Julia Lawless
  3. The Ayurvedic Cookbook by Amadea Morningstar, Urmila Desai
  4. Traditional Systems of Medicine by M. Z. Abdin

Reference Links:

  1. The History of Mustard – From Prehistory to Modern Times by The Nibble.Com
  2. Mustard Oil by Wikipedia
  3. Antimicrobial activity of Mustard essential oil against Escherichia coli O157:H7 and Salmonella typhi by the Department of Food Science and Biotechnology, Korea published in Science Direct.com
  4. What are the benefits of Mustard oil for Sinusitis? By Livestrong.Com

Your resource for quality Essential Oils. Every batch is GC tested to ensure purity and authenticity.

Methyl Salicylate

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Methyl salicylate is an organic compound present mainly in Wintergreen oil obtained from Gaultheria procumbens. It is also found in the essential oils of Cassie absolute, Betula, Tea tree and all plant species belonging to the Genera spiraea, Polygala, etc.

It is an ester of menthol and salicylic acid with the chemical formula C8H8O3. It is also known by other names such as Wintergreen oil, Betula oil, Sweet Birch oil, Gaultheria oil, Tea berry oil and so on.

Attributes of Methyl Salicylate:

Methyl salicylate appears as a colorless to yellowish or reddish liquid, which is clear and viscous in nature. It is characterised by the refreshing sweet wintergreen minty aroma. It possesses the similar taste as that of Wintergreen.

Flavoring agent:

According to FEMA (Flavor & Extracts Manufactures Association), the flavor of Methyl salicylate is described as “Almond, Caramel, Peppermint, Sharp” flavor. It is used for its flavor in foods, chewing gums and beverages.

Perfumery:

Methyl salicylate is used for its distinctive and appealing fragrance in perfumery.

Cosmetic uses:

It is used in manufacturing extensive range of cosmetics as Denaturants, Masking agents, comforting agents and aromatising ingredient, attributes to its aroma.

Therapeutic attributes of Methyl Salicylate:

The most significant qualities of Methyl Salicylate are as follows:

Analgesic:

Methyl salicylate serves as an analgesic to relieve pain in joint and muscles.  According to the study ‘Involvement of Transient Receptor Potential Vanilloid Subtype 1 in Analgesic Action of Methyl salicylate’, it was found that Methyl salicylate inhibits human transient receptor potential vanilloid subtype1 (TRVP1) and this inhibitory property of methyl salicylate may partly contribute to the analgesic effect of Methyl salicylate.

It is a counterirritant that relieves the pain by first cooling and then warming the skin. These alternate feelings divert the feeling of pain in muscles, joints and bones.

Rubefacient:

Methyl Salicylate used in the topical application is one of the medicinal rubefacient that redden the skin by dilating the blood capillaries and thus increasing the blood circulation naturally. It is used in the treatment of acute or chronic pain in joints and muscles, osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.

Antiseptic:

Methyl Salicylate exhibits excellent antiseptic property. It is one of the active ingredients in the drugs used in the prevention and reduction of bad breath, gingivitis and plaque, particularly in Listerine.

Anti-inflammatory:

Methyl salicylate shows anti-inflammatory activity. This is witnessed by the book ‘Aspirin and the salicylates’. When methyl salicylate cataplasm is tied to the rat paws, it produces anti-inflammatory activity existing for 72 hours after its topical application.

Antifungal:

Methyl salicylate obtained from tea tree leaf oil exhibited antifungal activity towards Colletorichum camelliae Massea. This is evident from the study ‘Antifungal activities of major tea leaf volatile constituents toward Colletorichum camelliae Massea.’

Reference Links:

  1. Methyl Salicylate by Wikipedia
  2. Methyl Salicylate by PubChem
  3. Involvement of Transient Receptor Potential Vanilloid Subtype 1 in Analgesic Action of Methyl salicylate
  4. Aspirin and the salicylates by K.D. Rainsford-Page. No-78
  5. Antifungal activities of major tea leaf volatile constituents toward Colletorichum camelliae Massea.