Harshiangar Oil



Harshiangar-bannerNight-flowering Jasmine, Parijat or Harshiangar, scientifically known as Nyctanthes arbor-tristis is known as the ‘Tree of sorrow’ and the word ‘Nyctanthes’ means ‘sad tree’. This is due its flowers that appear dull during the daytime and turn bright during the night.

The entire tree including its leaves, flowers, bark, seeds and stem is known to have amazing medicinal properties for which the tree has been used in various traditional and alternative healing methodologies for more than thousands of years.

Harshiangar essential oil is extracted from the leaves by steam distillation method. These curative leaves have been used in the Ayurvedic medicine for treating arthritis, sciatica, fever, pain, constipation, anxiety and rheumatism.

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Historical importance of Harshiangar:

Harshiangar tree has a long history behind its name and its use in the traditional healing systems. The most fascinating myth behind this tree is a heartbreaking romance where an ancient princess named Parijataka fall in love with the Surya Dev, the Sun God captivated by his brilliance and masculinity.

The God of Sun was also impressed by her affection and devotion and favored her with his love as well, after which he started ignoring Parijataka due to his other interests.

This despondency made Parijataka to kill herself and the Parijat tree is said to have started from the cremated ashes of this true to life princess. Due to this, Parijat tree is not able to put up with the sight of her love, Sun God during the day and blooms only during nightfall and sheds the fragrant flowers as tears before sunrise.

Harshiangar flower is the official flower of Kanchanaburi Province, Thailand and for West Bengal, India. The leaves have been used as an insecticide and the decoction extracted from the fresh leaves have been used in Ayurvedic healing in the treatment of malaria, bilious fevers, arthritis and sciatica. The traditional Indian medicinal system used these leaves as anti-allergic, ulcerogenic, purgative, anti-histaminic and antibacterial remedies.

The tribal Indians used all the parts of this tree to treat dysentery, sores, cough, venomous bites and dysentery. The powder extracted from the seeds was used in treating alopecia and scurvy. The infusion of Parijat flowers were used by the ancient Buddhist monks of Sri Lanka as an effective sedative.

People of Malaysia and Indonesia use the Parijat flowers to promote menstruation and treat dysmennorhea and blocked menstruation.  These leaves are also used as a natural diuretic, cholagogue and laxative. Harshiangar blossoms known as Shiuli in West Bengal, India signify the arrival of Goddess Durga, which is celebrated as Durga Pooja, the greatest religious ceremony of Bengal.

Therapeutic properties and chemical constituents of Harshiangar oil:

The essential oil of Harshiangar consists of linalool, hexenyl benzoate, e-phytol, a-terpineol, methyl salicylate, geraniol, hexadecanoic acid, octadecanoic acid, eugenol and hexenol as its major chemical constituents.

The therapeutic properties of this oil are anti-arthritic, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, anti-leishmanial, anti-pyretic, immunostimulant, antinociceptive, anti-allergy, anti-plasmodial, hepatoprotective and sedative.

Ayurvedic health benefits of Harshiangar oil:

Ayurveda is by far the oldest of all healing systems on earth and is known as the mother of all healing sciences including Unani, Homeopathy, Siddha, Chiropathy, Acupressure and Aromatherapy. The most significant aspect of Ayurveda is that it aims at prevention of diseases, healthy aging and longevity through the use of essential oils and herbs and by practicing simple physical exercises, yoga, meditation, Ayurvedic routine and a balanced diet.

Ayurveda considers every human being as a part of nature and states that the wellness and illness of an individual solely depends on his/her balance with nature. This theory believes that nature is made up of five vital elements namely fire, water, air, earth and space.

Everything that is a part of nature is also made up of these elements. Human beings according to Ayurveda are a distinct part of nature with a unique individual constitution that comprises of three biological energies known as doshas, where each dosha represents a combination of the vital elements of nature.

Vata symbolizes air and space and it governs the blood circulation, movement and respiration. Pitta is a representation of fire and water and is responsible for digestion and other metabolic functions. Kapha stands for water and earth and is accountable for structure and sustenance of the system.

Balance between these doshas symbolizes perfect health and doshic imbalances lead to illnesses. Ayurvedic remedies like herbs, yoga, meditation, essential oils, balanced diet, physical exercises and Ayurvedic routine are prescribed to strike balance between these doshas.

Harshiangar essential oil is said to lessen kapha and aggravate vata and pitta doshas.

The Ayurvedic health benefits of Harshiangar essential oil are:

Harhsiangar-broucher1. Relieves pain and inflammation:

With its powerful anti-arthritic, anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties, Harshiangar essential oil is a highly recommended Ayurvedic medicine for treating pain and inflammatory conditions. It is highly effective in relieving pain and inflammation associated with arthritis, rheumatism, sore muscles, stress and muscular tension.

‘Antiarthritic studies on Nyctanthes arbor-tristis and Maharasnadi ghan’ by VES College of Pharmacy and K.M. Kundnani College of Pharmacy, Mumbai, India studied the effectiveness of Harshiangar herb on arthritis, especially Gouty arthritis which is caused due to the deposits of urate crystals in the synovial cavity. This study concluded that the use of Parijat leaves helped in controlling irritation, pain and inflammation associated with Gouty arthritis.

Mix 4 to 5 drops of Harshiangar essential oil with 2ml of coconut oil and heat it slightly. Gently massage the painful and inflamed parts with this warm blend and follow it with a hot compress.

This is a powerful medication for treating rheumatic pain, arthritis, joint pain, knee pain, headache, sciatica, muscular aches, menstrual pain, back pain and arthritic pain. Its efficiency to reduce kapha dosha helps in clearing the stagnation of excess fluids causing swelling and inflammation in case of rheumatism and other related problems.

A 1984 study on “Study of anti-inflammatory activity in the leaves of Nyctanthes arbor tristis Linn.–an Indian medicinal plant” proved that the use of Harshiangar leaves helped in reducing acute and chronic phases of formaldehyde induced arthritis. It was also said that these leaves were of great help in treating inflammatory conditions in Ayurveda.

2. Cures malaria and other bilious fevers:

Parijat leaves are a proven natural remedy for treating malarial fever and other bilious fever that are accompanied by nausea, strong diarrhea and increasing internal temperature mainly due to bile disorders.

Dr. Ashok B Vaidya, Research Director of ICMR Advance Centre for Reverse Pharmacology in Traditional Medicine at Kasturba Health Society, Mumbai said “Parijat leaves’ extract was being used in anti-malarial activities in western India, especially Gujarat and Maharashtra.

The Parijat leaf extract is effective against both types of known malarial parasite, but it is especially useful against even the resistant strain of Plasmodium Falciparum, and even the crude extracts of Parijat leaves kill the parasites of malaria.”

Add 2 drops of Harshiangar essential oil with 1ml Olive oil and gently massage the soles of your feet for reducing the body temperature during high fever and for arresting the growth of infectious organisms causing fever.

3. Fights against free radicals:

Free radicals are nothing but atoms or molecules that cause cellular damage precisely known as oxidative damage leading to aging and other malignant disorders. Human body requires ample amount of antioxidants to guard it against the harmful effects of free radicals that affect healthy cells in the body.

A 2010 study on the Invitro antioxidant effects of Nyctanthes arbor-tristis leaves have proved this herb as a potential source of natural antioxidants that help in combating the detrimental effects of free radicals and prevent the early symptoms of aging and the development of cancerous cells.

A refreshing Ayurvedic massage with 3 drops of Harshiangar oil with 2 ml of Jojoba oil can help you in checking the effects of these hazardous free radicals and their subsequent effects.

4. Combats virus and other micro-organisms:

Harshiangar essential oil is an effective natural remedy for fighting against harmful virus and other micro-organisms.

A 2012 study on “The chemical composition and biological activities of essential oil from leaf and bark of Nyctanthes arbor-tristis L.” by the University of Alabama, Huntsville and Tribhuvan University, Nepal screened the effectiveness of Parijat essential oil against Gram positive bacteria like Staphylococcus aureus and Gram negative bacteria like Escherichia coli, Aspergillus niger and Pseudomonas aeruginosa, proved that Harshiangar essential oil is an established traditional remedy that has potent antimicrobial activity.

Certain other studies have witnessed the effectiveness of this oil in combating viruses like Semliki Forest Virus and encephalomyocarditis virus. Gently applying 2 drops of this oil mixed with 1 ml coconut oil acts as an effective remedy in protecting wounds and injuries from getting septic as it arrests the growth of Staphylococcus aureus, which is accountable for wounds becoming septic and vulnerable to other health complexities.

This blend can also assist in treating pimples, blackheads and other skin disorders. With its anti-allergenic effect, this oil is also of great help in treating skin allergies and itches.

Other health benefits:

Apart from these major health benefits, Harshiangar essential oil is helpful in stimulating the immune power, make the body resistant against diseases, prevent illnesses that affect the liver, calms the mind with its sedative effect, clears congestion, treats constipation, asthma, dyspepsia, bronchitis and many other health conditions.

Disclaimer: This article is for educational purpose only and is not intended for treatment or for replacing any professional advice or prescribed medication. Never use essential oils internally. Ensure that you always use essential oils in a diluted manner before using it topically as organic essential oils are extremely concentrated substances and can harm the skin if used directly. Consult your Ayurvedic professional before choosing the right essential oils for your unique health condition and individual constitution.

Thought for the day:

Green is the prime color of the world, and that from which its loveliness arises.
-Pedro Calderon de la Barca

Suggested Reading:

  1. Tropical and Subtropical Trees: An Encyclopedia by Margaret Barwick
  2. Flowering Plants. Eudicots (The Families and Genera of Vascular Plants) from Springer
  3. The Modern Ayurveda: Milestones beyond the Classical Age from CRC Press
  4. The Materia Medica of the Hindus (Classic Reprint) by Udoy Chand Dutt

Reference Links:

  1. Nyctanthes arbor-tristis by Wikipedia
  2. Nyctanthes arbor-tristis Linn. (Night Jasmine): A sacred ornamental plant with immense medicinal potentials published in the Indian Journal of Traditional Knowledge
  3. Antiarthritic studies on Nyctanthes arbor tristis and Maharasnadi ghan by Abhijeet R. Bhalerao, Sandhya K. Desai, Bhavin R. Serathia, Kaustubh M. Vartak, Gaurav M. Doshi published in the Scholars Research Library
  4. Study of anti-inflammatory activity in the leaves of Nyctanthes arbor tristis Linn.–an Indian medicinal plant by Saxena RS, Gupta B, Saxena KK, Singh RC, Prasad DN published in PubMed
  5. Chemical composition and biological activities of essential Oil from leaf and bark of Nyctanthes arbor-tristis L. from Nepal by Prabodh Satyal, Prajwal Paudel, Ambika Poudel and William N. Setzer published in the Open Access Journal of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants

Lemon Essential Oil



Lemon-bannerReferred to as ‘Golden Apple’ in the Indian subcontinent, Lemon is a universal remedy for many health disorders and is often called as a panacea for its ability to heal the mind and the body in manifold ways. The essential oil of Lemon is cold pressed from the external rind or peel of the Lemon fruits.

Known as Nimbuka, Jambira and Dantashata in Ayurveda, Lemon is a popular Ayurvedic remedy that is used in medicine, food and also in the process of purification. It is used for stimulating the nervous system, improve concentration power, enhance immunity, purify blood and support digestion.

Lemon and its essential oil is a popular ingredient of many Ayurvedic weight loss remedies and lemon juice taken with lukewarm water in empty stomach in the morning is said to reduce fat deposits and eliminate toxins from the body.

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Historical importance of Lemon and its essential oil:

The real origin of Lemon lies as a mystery and it is said that Lemon is indigenous to India, Myanmar and China. The first historical mark of Lemon was in 90 BC where it was used to shower a high priest in a festival of Jews in Jerusalem though certain sources say that Lemon has been used since 800 BC.

It was introduced to Europe in the 1st century AD during the Roman reign and slowly spread to other parts of the world like Persia, Egypt and Iraq.  It is also said that Lemon was grown as an ornamental plant in the primordial Islamic gardens.

Affluent Victorians grew Lemon trees in their gardens as a symbol of high regard and for garlanding their estates with the naturally refreshing aroma of citrus trees. Serving Lemon wedges along with tea during their tea dances in the afternoon was a popular custom in their tradition.

It was Christopher Columbus who introduced Lemon to America by bringing Lemon seeds to the Island of Haiti during his voyages in 1493. Botanically known as Citrus limon, Lemon is a hybrid of citron and sour orange.

The most notable use of Lemon in the history was its use as a promising protection against scurvy by sailors all over the world. This was endorsed by James Lind, the celebrated Naval Surgeon in his book ‘Treatise on Scurvy’.

Chemical components or Gas Chromatography Report of Lemon essential oil:

According to the Gas chromatography report, Lemon oil constitutes of 5 major chemical components that contribute to its fresh citrusy fragrance, remedial values and distinct quality. Lemon oil is enriched with about 67.6 percent of Limonene constituent.

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For knowing more about the elite information of these top constituents of Lemon essential oil.

The table below on the Gas Chromatography report talks about the primary chemical constituents and its role in granting the therapeutic values and other attributes to Lemon essential oil.

Lemon-OilTherapeutic properties of Lemon essential oil:

The remedial properties of Lemon essential oil are antiviral, antibacterial, immune stimulant, digestive, anticancer, anti-inflammatory, calming, diuretic, expectorant, astringent, anti-anemic, detoxifying, antioxidant, tonic and antidepressant.

Ayurvedic health benefits of Lemon essential oil:

Ayurvedic healing dates back to more than 5000 years and it is the oldest of all medicinal systems on earth.  Lemon has been an important part of Ayurvedic treatments in many forms. The top ways to start a refreshing Ayurvedic life begins with the use of Lemon in lukewarm water as this therapy is said to cleanse the system, clear impurities in the blood and energize the mind and the body.

Human being is a unique creation and Ayurveda adorns the beauty of an individual constitution that differentiates each and every individual with a unique physical and mental setup. This uniqueness is determined by the combination of the three biological energies known as doshas.

They are vata, pitta and kapha. Vata dosha is responsible for blood circulation, creative thinking, metabolic functions and the process of elimination. Pitta energy governs body temperature, digestive fire, leadership skills and perfection. Kapha dosha lies behind the movement of fluids in the body, love and affection and body mass.

Predominance of any one of these doshas determines character, personality and behavioral attributes. Dosha balance contributes to good health and imbalance of doshas indicates illness.

Ayurveda sticks to nature and trusts that natural remedies are the best ways of healing human beings as they are an incredible part of nature. Ayurvedic therapies are unique for every individual and are focused towards treating dosha imbalances.

Ayurvedic remedies are often aimed at treating the five senses of human body. They are the sense of sight, sense of smell, sense of taste, sense of touch and sense of sound. Lemon is by far the best Ayurvedic remedy that has the power to retreat and recharge the four vital senses of the human body.

Lemon and its essential oil is said to pacify kapha and vata energy and aggravate pitta dosha.

Let’s have a look at the Ayurvedic health benefits of Lemon essential oil in the order of the five senses of human beings.Lemon-broucher1. Sense of sight:

The very sight of Lemon gives energy, confidence and inner strength. This is because the bright yellow color of Lemon indicates brilliance, cheerfulness, brightness and sunshine. These are the symbols of potency and real power paving way for improvement in one’s health physically and mentally. Healing through the sense of sight is known as color therapy in Ayurveda.

This holistic healing methodology states that every color has various impacts on the physiological and psychological attributes of mankind. Yellow color of Lemon and its essential oil according to Ayurveda has the power to promote clarity of mind, grants motivation, enhances the energy level, augments communication and instills the power of winning. So the next time, when you are feeling down and depressed, just look at the ‘Golden apple’ (lemon) that has the power to mend your mind to peace and prosperity.

2. Sense of smell:

Aroma plays a vital role in uplifting the body and mind. By inhaling the aroma of Lemon essential oil, the therapeutic molecules in the oil reach the limbic system of the brain through the nasal passages, where limbic system is the body’s control center that controls feelings, emotions and the corresponding behaviors.

The citrusy, fresh, energizing and enlivening aroma of Lemon essential oil spreads positive energy, calms the mind, grants mental clarity, treats anxiety, fatigue, nervous tension, dizziness, improves concentration, instills hopefulness and assists in weight loss when 2 drops of this oil is added to aromatic lamps, diffuser, air freshener, vaporizer or burner.

A 2004 study published in Brain Research stated that Lemon essential oil may contain pain-relieving and anxiety-reducing properties. When used in steam inhalation, Lemon oil aids in opening blocked nasal passages and clear chest congestion. The revivifying fragrance of Lemon oil makes it a favorite flavor in household cleaners, disinfectants, soaps, shampoos and detergents.

3. Sense of taste:

The best way to take Lemon internally is to drink the fresh juice. Ayurvedic therapies like Chardi Nivarana and Kaphotlesha suggests drinking lemon juice during nausea, vomiting, excessive salivation, gastritis, heaviness in the stomach and sluggish bowel movements. This helps in eliminating the excess deposits of kapha in the stomach.

Lemon is also called as Amadoshahara where ama is the toxic substances in the body. Drinking lemon juice is a proven Ayurvedic remedy for eliminating ama, which is a result of indigestion and improper absorption of nutrients.

Drinking lemon juice mixed with warm water and honey in the morning in empty stomach is said to treat obesity by stimulating the bowel movements and burning the excess fat deposits in the body. Lime has diuretic properties and it helps in expelling the excess fluids in the body causing obesity through urine and sweat.

4. Sense of touch:

Ayurvedic massaging or Abhyanga is an important therapy in Ayurveda for healing numerous illnesses and for eliminating the toxic substances from the body. Abhyanga is the art of maneuvering the body with hands, legs, elbows and certain other massaging equipments. The success of an Ayurvedic massage therapy lies in choosing the right massaging technique along with right essential oils that suits your health condition and unique individual constitution.

Treating through the sense of touch means using essential oils and herbal medications on the skin as skin is the best organ through which the therapeutic properties of these natural remedies penetrate deeply into the bloodstream.

(i) As topical application:

Lemon oil is an excellent remedy for treating skin problems like acne, rough skin, dull skin, oily skin, wounds, pigmentation, cold sores, cellulites, warts, varicose veins and sun tan. The antiseptic, disinfectant, astringent, antiviral and soothing properties of this oil assist in rejuvenating and toning the skin naturally by improving blood circulation. Skin care specialist Lia Schorr says that using Lemon oil mixed with glycerin can assist in treating rough patches on the knee, feet, hands and elbows.

Blend 2 drops of Lemon oil with 15 drops of Jojoba oil and apply it topically on pimples, boils, pustules, blackheads and whiteheads. It helps in removing excess oil, eliminate impurities in the skin and clears acne on regular use. You can also apply this blend on cold sores, tanned skin, dull skin and rough skin.

(ii) As Ayurvedic massage oil: Gently massaging your abdomen with 3 drops of Lemon oil mixed with 20 to 25 drops of coconut can help in treating dysentery, intestinal parasites, gas, flatulence, nausea, food poisoning, stomach upset, acidity, cramps and heartburn.

Massaging your chest, throat, foot soles and back with this blend can assist in treating throat infections, tonsillitis, fever, flu, cough and cold. The disinfectant, antiviral and expectorant properties of Lemon oil aid in controlling the growth of viruses responsible for cold, arrests infections and helps expel phlegm and mucous deposits in the body. This is due to the kapha pacifying property of Lemon essential oil.

Gently massaging your scalp with 3 drops of Lemon oil blended with Almond oil can help in controlling dandruff, moisturize the scalp, and augment the strength, volume and shine of your hair with its tonic and stimulating properties.

(iii) As bath oil: 3 to 4 drops of Lemon essential oil added to warm bathing water helps in relaxing your muscles, alleviate stress, lessen depression, promote good sleep, induce peace of mind, wipe away negative feelings, enhance skin health, detoxify the body, cleanse the digestive system and treat respiratory ailments.

(iv) As cold or warm compress: Few drops of Lemon essential oil added to cold or warm compress can help treating acne scars, pain, inflammation, headache, fever, congestion and stomach ache.

5. Partnering with the sense of sound:

Healing through the sense of sound means listening to appeasing music and reciting mantras and slogans that would enrich one’s spiritual values. Add 2 drops of Lemon essential oil to your vaporizer, burner or diffuser during your meditation time or while practicing yoga with the background of soothing instrumental music. This is a simple and an effective remedy for staying refreshed, uplifted and re-energized throughout the day.

Inhaling the invigorating aroma of Lemon essential oil during prayers, chanting mantras or reciting holy books can augment your oneness with the Divine power and pacify your mind and aura simultaneously. Feeling down? Then it’s not a bad idea to listen to motivational tapes with the company of the magical Lemon aroma around you. Add 1 drop of Lemon essential oil to your hanky or wear it on your wrist and you’ll be amazed to see the energy flow from within along with the motivational speech.

Disclaimer:

Never use essential oils internally as pure essential oils are highly concentrated in nature. Dilute it in suitable carrier oils before using them externally. Do not go out in sun as soon as using Lemon oil because this oil has phototoxic effect just like other citrus essential oils and can harm your skin due to the exposure to ultra violet rays.

This article is for educational purpose only and is not intended to replace any expert advice or prescribed medicines. Consult your Ayurvedic practitioner before using the appropriate essential oils for your unique constitution and health condition.

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

Gas Chromatography Report of Lemon essential oil.

Lemon Essential Oil – Possible Skin Issues:

lemon-new

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

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

Lemon essential oil is witnessed as one among the photosensitizing citrus oils that may cause burning sensation, irritation, hyperpigmentation (discoloration of the skin surface) and other changes due to its effect of stimulating the photosensitivity of the skin, when exposed to visible light from the sun up to 12 hours of use. The primary reason is the reaction of the photoactive chemical components that absorbs light and leads to toxicity via molecular alterations in the skin.

The chief chemical component accountable for the skin sensitizing and other dermal effects of Lemon oil is Limonene and few other furanocoumarins.

Certain studies (like the 1994 study on the ‘Occupation Contact Dermatitis from Citrus fruits’ and a 2006 study on ‘Skin Diseases in Workers at a Perfume factory’) on the adverse skin reactions of using the essential oil of Citrus limon reports few cases, including the incidence of allergic contact dermatitis with the use of Lemon rind oil in the workers of the perfume industry. Patch testing also witnessed certain allergic effects on using Lemon rind oil.

Research reveals that Lemon oil has furocoumarin derivatives like oxypeucedanin and bergapten; however the phototoxic effect of oxypeucedanin was just 1 quarter of that of bergapten. It is also stated that these components are the major cause of concern behind the phototoxicity of Lemon essential oil. This study also states that oxypeucedanin educes photo pigmentation on the skin of colored-guinea-pig prior to visible erythema.

It is also stated that the quantity of these 2 phototoxic components in Lemon oils from various countries differed by about a factor greater than 20 (bergapten, 4-87 ppm; oxypeucedanin, 26-728 ppm (parts per million), with a wavering ratio.

The safe dilution use level of Lemon oil, a potential phototoxic essential oil is 2%, which is about 12 drops per ounce of any carrier oils, according to the International Fragrance Association (IFRA). This applies only for products employed for dermal use to prevent phototoxicity and is not valid for wash-off items like shampoos, soaps and other bath products.

Lemon oil has ‘Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS)’authorization by the FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration). As per the European decree, essential oils containing furanocoumarins can be used provided the aggregate level of bergapten does not exceed 15 ppm in cosmetic products that are ready-to-use on the skin, which is prone to be exposed to direct sunlight sans wash-away items and 1 ppm in bronzing and sunscreen products.

On a lighter note, Furocoumarins are also used in remedial practices along with the long-wave ultraviolet light therapy for curing psoriasis, mycosis fungoides and vitiligo.

Reference Links Substantiating the Possible Skin Issues of Lemon Oil:

  1. A study of the phototoxicity of lemon oil by Naganuma M, Hirose S and Nakayama Y, Nakajima K and Someya T, published in the Archives of Dermatological Research and PubMed
  2. Essential Oil Safety: A Guide for Health Care Professionals By Robert Tisserand, Rodney Young
  3. Leung’s Encyclopedia of Common Natural Ingredients, used in Food, Drugs and Cosmetics by Ikhlas A. Khan and Ehab A. Abourashed.
  4. Citrus limon, American Herbal Products Association’s Botanical Safety Handbook, Second Edition by Zoe Gardner, Michael McGuffin
  5. Lemon oil side effects by WebMD
  6. Safety Information on Essential Oils by the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy

Thought for the day:

When fate hands you a lemon, make lemonade.

– Dale Carnegie

Suggested Reading:

  1. HEALING POWERS OF LEMON OIL (The Aromatherapy Professional: Healing with Essential Oils) by KG Stiles
  2. Lemon: 50 Plus Recipes for Skin Care, Hair Care, Home and Laundry Cleaning along with Lemonade, Vegan, Curd, Chicken, Cookies, Cakes and Desserts by Pamesh Y
  3. How to Use Lemon Essential Oil (Aromatherapy) by Miriam Kinai
  4. Ayurveda & Aromatherapy: The Earth Essential Guide to Ancient Wisdom and Modern Healing by Dr. Light Miller, Dr. Bryan Miller

Reference Links:

  1. 35 Health Benefits of Lemon – Ayurveda Details by Dr JV Hebbar MD (Ayu) in Easy Ayurveda
  2. Lemon by Wikipedia
  3. Health Benefits of Lemon Essential Oil by Alternative Medicine, About.Com
  4. The Benefits of Lemon Oil on Skin by Livestrong.Com


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Cassia Oil



Cassia-banner“Cassia does everything Cinnamon does, but better!” say many Doctors. Cassia owns the glory of being born in the heart of China and has been in use for more than 4,000 years for culinary and medicinal purposes. This ancient herb has been trusted to enhance energy, life force, vitality and blood circulation.

Ayurveda prescribes Cassia for the treatment of menstrual problems, nausea, respiratory infections, gastro-intestinal problems, depression, loss of libido, rheumatism, diabetes and indigestion. Cassia is botanically called as Cinnamomum cassia and is a member of the Lauraceae plant family.

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Historical uses and importance of Cassia oil:

Cinnamomum cassia, also known as Chinese cinnamon or Chinese cassia finds its origin in South China. This tree serves several purposes and is hence widely cultivated in India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam. With its celebrated use in the Traditional Chinese Medicine, Cassia is regarded as one among the 50 fundamental herbs of China.

Cassia finds its importance in the United States too, and is marketed under the name of “Cinnamon” for culinary purposes. The Indians take a liking to the buds on the tree as well and also use it in their food; this is an ancient ingredient for soul food used by the Romans as well.

This tree grows to a height of 10–15 m, which has a grayish bark with leaves that are hard and elongated and a warping of 10-15 cms in length with a pretty red color when young.

The bark of the tree finds its uses in the kitchen, while the leaves and the twigs of this tree are sometimes used in the production of Cassia oil. The oil extracted from the Cassia tree, finds immense importance in the field of Complementary and Alternative medicine including Ayurveda.

It is useful as a medicine, for beauty care, for cooking, as a health tonic and also as a stimulant. Cassia oil is brownish to yellowish in color, and the refined oil is colorless with a pale yellow tint when held up to the sunlight.

The aromatic bark of Cassia has been in use as a medicinal spice in various traditions across the world.  In traditional Chinese medicine, Cassia cinnamon has been used for treating diarrhea, cold, nausea, painful menstruation and flatulence.

It was also used to boost immunity, treat fever, rheumatoid arthritis, kidney infections, candida, nail fungus, atherosclerosis, cataract and even cancer, with its natural antioxidant properties.

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

According to the Gas chromatography report, Cassia oil constitutes of 12 chemical components that contribute to its fragrance, therapeutic attributes, consistency and quality of this super aromatic oil. Of which, (E)-Cinnamaldehyde contributes to the highest proportion of Cassia oil constituents with about 81.3% of its total composition.

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(E)-Cinnamaldehyde

o-Methoxy-Cinnamaldehyde

Cinnamyl acetate

I believe that this must surely help you in learning about the major chemical constituents of Cassia oil.

The table crafted below clearly depicts the unique nature and contributions of these biochemical constituents to the healing brilliance of Cassia essential oil.

cassia-oil

Therapeutic properties of Cassia essential oil:

The remedial properties of Cassia oil are fungicidal, antimutagen, stimulant, anticoagulant, antiviral, antibacterial, circulatory, anti-diarrhea, anti-arthritic, antioxidant, carminative, anti-galactogogue, anti-rheumatic, emmenagogue, anti-depressant, febrifuge, anti-diabetic, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and anti-emetic.

Ayurvedic health benefits of Cassia essential oil:

Ayurveda is a righteous remedial practice that indicates that everything on earth should follow a disciplined order of living for leading a healthy and progressive life.

Every human being is a part of nature according to Ayurveda and one’s illness and wellness depends upon an individual’s balance with nature. Ayurvedic healing trusts and depends upon Mother Nature and its natural remedies for treating humanity.

This 5,000 year oldest healing methodology is the pioneer for all other medicinal practices including Homeopathy, Siddha, Unani, Chiropractic, Acupressure, Allopathy, the Traditional Chinese Medicine and much more. The first Ayurvedic record refers to Atharvaveda, one of the 4 sacred books of the Indian mythology with 114 verses talking about numerous diseases and the corresponding traditional remedies of Ayurveda.

This was further enhanced by the 3 most important Ayurvedic encyclopedias namely Charaka Samhita (Charaka – the father of medicine), Sushruta Samhita (Sushruta – the father of surgery) and Ashtanga Hridaya Samhita. These books have talked on all the fundamental principles of Ayurveda, various kinds of illnesses and their comprehensive medicinal practices. This includes Ayurvedic remedies for almost all kinds of diseases including the chronic cancer.

According to Ayurveda, health is a combination of physical, mental and spiritual wellness and Charaka Samhita quotes this as, “The three – body, psyche, and soul – act as a tripod. The world stands upon them, and within them, the world abides.”

The distinctiveness of Ayurveda lies in its holistic approach that treats the root cause of an illness instead of its symptoms. This paves way for treating the sickness as well as preventing it in future.

Instead of prescribing the same medicines for everyone, Ayurveda recommends unique remedies for every individual according to their unique individual constitution, even if it is for the same illness. This is because Ayurveda identifies every individual as a distinctive part of nature and considers that their illnesses should also be treated with accordance to it.

The unique individual constitution or prakriti is an arrangement of three biological energies called as doshas, namely vata, pitta and kapha. These doshas are a combination of the five elements of nature including fire, earth, space, air and water.

Vata (air and space) controls the functions of the nervous system, circulatory system and the respiratory system. Pitta (fire and water) governs the metabolic functions and body temperature. Kapha (earth and water) is in charge for the movement of fluids in the system and the functions of the reproductive system.

Every person has a dominance of any one these doshas and it determines the physical appearance, personality, behavioral patterns and mental makeup. Absolute balance between these doshic elements symbolizes healthiness and disparities of these biological factors lead to diseases.

Ayurveda prescribes natural remedies like plant essential oils, herbs, meditation, yoga, simple physical exercises, Pranayama, Ayurvedic routine, prayers and certain Ayurvedic techniques like Panchakarma or the detox therapy, Abhyanga or the skill of Ayurvedic massaging using Ayurvedic oils and much more.

With its warming and stimulating properties, Cassia essential oil has been used in Ayurvedic healing for increasing pitta dosha and decreasing kapha and vata dosha.

Let’s take a look at the Ayurvedic health benefits of Cassia oil and its use in the treatment of various health conditions:

cassia-broucher-info1. Treats psychological problems:

Cassia oil has been used in the treatment of depression. This is mainly attributed to the presence of its constituent known as Cinnamaldehyde, which helps in uplifting the mood, inducing positive thoughts and combating depression. It helps in relieving one from negative feelings.

Ayurveda recommends Cassia oil especially during meditation, yoga and Pranayama for supporting the perfect harmony of the mind, body and the soul. Adding 2 drops of this oil in vaporizer, burner or diffuser particularly during prayers, meditation, Pranayama or the art of balanced breathing and yoga practices can help in augmenting mental clarity, boost self-confidence, enhance memory skills and to face the challenges of life with original sense of improved independence.

A 2011 study proved that an isolated substance (CEppt) in the cinnamon plant that inhibits development of Alzheimer’s disease in mice. CEppt, an extract of the cinnamon bark, was used to resolve the mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease.

A 2013 study by Dr. Mercola on ‘Vitamins offer hope for Alzheimer’s’ brings out the results of a study published in the ‘Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease’, which states “Cinnamaldehyde and epicatechin, two compounds found in cinnamon, have an inhibitory effect on the aggregation of a particular protein called tau. Tau plays a large role in the structure and function of neurons. Both compounds were found to protect tau from oxidative damage that can lead to dysfunction.”

It is also said that Alzheimer’s disease is a form of brain diabetes and is also explored that there is a connection between Type 2 diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease.

This is because “Insulin and insulin receptors in your brain are crucial for learning and memory, and it’s known that these components are lower in people with Alzheimer’s disease”, says Donald Graves, professor in UCSB’s Department of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology. Cassia cinnamon proves effective in treating Alzheimer’s disease mainly with its potent to control blood glucose level in patients with Type 2 diabetes.

2. Checks diabetes:

Diabetes is one among the most common health condition that about 60% of the earth’s population battles everyday and it is often regarded as a bane to humanity.

Treatment of diabetes through Allopathic medicine has not gone a very long way. Studies show that Cassia oil can be used in the treatment of diabetes especially in type2 diabetes where patients suffer with malfunctioning of insulin in the body.

Cinnamon oil helps lower the level of blood glucose in people with type 2 diabetes; this is made possible through the abundant presence of a Polyphenol compound in Cinnamon that is soluble in water. A 2003 study published in the Diabetes Care journal states that Cassia Cinnamon helped in reducing blood glucose levels, a blood lipid known as triglycerides and bad cholesterol levels (LDL).

Relax your system by adding 2 drops of Cassia oil to warm bathing water in the morning and you can also add 1 drop of this oil to your handkerchief and stay refreshed throughout the day.

In addition to that you can invigorate yourself by an Ayurvedic massage in the weekend with 5 drops of Cassia oil blended with 5 drops of Nutmeg oil, 5 drops of Fennel oil and 10 ml of coconut oil, followed by a warm bath can aid in controlling your blood glucose levels and bad cholesterol levels by penetrating through the skin and passing commands to the bloodstream.

3. Boosts circulation and alleviates rheumatic problems:

Rheumatism is an auto-immune disorder that occurs mainly due to the buildup of toxins or ama in the body caused due to the inequality of digestive fire in the body.

Ayurveda states that ama or the toxic substances in the body has the hazardous power to obstruct the functions of the vital organs in the system. These substances reach the kapha subjugated parts of the body including joints, chest, stomach, fingers, brain and certain other parts.

The symptoms being improper blood circulation, swelling of joints, inflammation, loss of energy, fatigue, inflammation, insomnia, burning and itchy eyes, indigestion, redness, morning stiffness and much more.

Being a circulatory, anti-rheumatic, analgesic oil and controller of excess kapha dosha proves Cassia as an excellent natural remedy for treating rheumatism, arthritis and its associated symptoms.

Massaging the affected parts with 2 drops of Cassia oil mixed with 2 drops of Cardamom oil, 2 drops of Nutmeg oil and 3 ml of sesame oil can help in enhancing blood circulation, augmenting warmth feelings to the joints, alleviating pain, reducing inflammation, promoting frequent urination through which toxins are eliminated and relieving from other related symptoms as well.

Along with this, yoga and Pranayama can help in relieving rheumatism and arthritis quicker than you think. A research by the scientists of the Baltimore John Hopkins University published in the Arthritis Foundation website states that “yoga has absolutely been helpful for treating people with rheumatoid arthritis.”

4. Relieves digestive and respiratory disorders:

The carminative and stomachic properties of Cassia oil help in treating gastro-intestinal problems and other digestive problems including gas, indigestion, diarrhea, flatulence, nausea, vomiting, and infections in the stomach and intestines. For treating digestive problems, you can massage your abdomen with 2 drops of Cassia oil mixed with 2 drops of Nutmeg oil along with 2 ml of avocado oil.

Respiratory infections like cold, cough, influenza and congestion occur due to vitiated kapha dosha causing excess fluid deposits leading to accumulation of phlegm, mucus and other microbes in the nasal, respiratory and bronchial passages.

Cassia essential oil has anti-microbial, anti-viral and expectorant properties along with its potent to regularize the functions of kapha dosha. Adding 2 drops of Cassia oil in steam inhalation along with a gentle massaging of your throat, chest and back with 1 drop of this oil mixed with your vaporizing ointment can grant quicker relief from all kinds of respiratory problems. You can also practice Pranayama (Ayurvedic breathing exercises) for relieving from chronic respiratory problems like asthma, bronchitis etc.

5. Benefits to the female reproductive system:

Cassia oil is a proven natural medicine for treating menstrual pain, spasms, irregular periods, and blocked menstruation. This oil has emmenagogue properties that induce menses and is a boon to women suffering from blocked or irregular menstruation. The analgesic or pain-relieving properties of Cassia oil help in reducing menstrual pain or dysmennorhea.

Massaging your lower abdomen and thighs with 2 drops of Cassia oil mixed with 1 ml of sesame oil can help in alleviating painful menstruation, delayed periods and menstrual spasms. Adding 2 drops of this oil in warm bathing water can help in reducing anxiety, fatigue, nausea, restlessness and loss of energy associated with menstruation.

Cassia and its oil have been used since the ancient Chinese tradition for preventing childbirth and for controlling milk in breastfeeding mothers with its anti-galactogogue properties.

6. Benefits to hair and skin:

Cassia oil finds its uses in cosmetic and hair care products as well. When used with Chamomile tea, Cassia oil can act as a hair dye, and when mixed with lemon juice in right proportions it gives a good strawberry blonde hue for your hair. Shampoos and conditioners that contain Cassia oil can help in the nourishment of your hair from within.

Cassia obovata when made into a mixture with hot water can be used as a hair mask. Adding 2 drops of Cassia oil to 10 ml of your mild shampoo can help in fostering hair growth, treating damaged hair, strengthening hair follicles and aid in retaining the natural moisture in the scalp.

When it comes to skin care, powdered Cassia and its essential oil are used since the primeval times for treating a wide range of skin problems including acne. This oil works well as an anti-viral and anti-fungal agent and highly helps in treating fungal and viral infections of the skin.

Mixing 2 drops of Cassia oil with 1 drop of Orange oil and 1.5 ml of olive oil and applying it gently on the affected parts can assist in treating pimples, blackheads, ringworm, athlete’s foot, itching, wounds and other skin infections. Massaging your facial skin with this blend can also help in eliminating dead skin cells and controlling excessive secretion of oil causing acne.

Other Uses:

Cassia also finds its use as anti-emetic oil by preventing nauseating sensations and also relieves one from vomiting. You can wear 1 drop of Cassia oil on your wrist or add it to your handkerchief or a tissue and inhale the medicated aroma to help you prevent from vomiting and enhance your appetite, especially during travelling. Cassia oil seems to speed up the functioning of the kidneys and is also known for affecting the libido due to its aphrodisiac qualities.

In food, Cassia oil is used for its wonderful aroma and its sweet flavor that gives the dish an additional taste. The delicate scent of Cassia essential oil plays a major role in reducing drowsiness, irritability, pain, frequency of headaches, and more. So adding 1 to 2 drops of this oil to your diffuser or air freshener and inhaling the light scent of this oil in your room can gift you an amusing atmosphere. Cassia oil also helps in relaxing tight muscles and spasms.

Disclaimer:

This article is completely for the purpose of information and education.  It is not meant to cure, diagnose or put a stop to any medical condition or substitute any prescription medicines or expert medical advice. We are not medical professionals and this information is published only with the concern of sharing the conventional principles and therapeutic uses of Ayurveda, the oldest of all healing sciences in the universe.

Do not take essential oils internally and always keep in mind that you dilute essential oils before using it for topical application. This is because organic and pure essential oils are greatly concentrated liquids and may cause allergic reactions if used on the skin directly. Make certain that you consult your Ayurvedic expert/healthcare practitioner prior to choosing the right essential oil for your unique individual constitution and medical condition. Avoid Cassia oil if you are pregnant or nursing your baby.

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

Gas Chromatography Report (GC analysis) of Cassia oil.

Cassia Essential Oil – Possible Skin Issues:

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The adverse skin reactions of Cassia or the Chinese Cinnamon oil are dermal irritation, mild to severe skin sensitization, irritation of the mucous membrane and dermatitis. Cassia oil is said to exhibit no phototoxic effects but is emmenagogue in nature and might cause contraction of the uterine muscles, which is hazardous to the wellness of the fetus and the pregnant women.

The key chemical constituents that are responsible for the possible skin and other undesirable health issues of Cassia oil are Cinnamaldehyde, cinnamyl acetate, cinnamic acid and cinnamyl alcohol. These components have been studied for causing acute and subchronic toxicity.

Studies state that Cinnamaldehyde, cinnamic acid and cinnamyl alcohol may cause allergic reactions, irritation, sensitization and dermatitis when the skin is in contact with products like liniments, mouthwashes, toothpastes and creams.

It may provoke debility, itching, irritation, insomnia, and depression in some people. This mainly occurs when the use of Cinnamaldehyde exceeds the maximum safe level of usage. The highest recommended level by the International Fragrance Association (IFRA) for Cinnamaldehyde is 0.05% for most of the products.

When used in vapor therapy and topical application beyond the recommended usage level, Cinnamaldehyde, cinnamyl acetate, cinnamic acid and cinnamyl alcohol are said to contribute to the irritation of mucous membrane and are accounted for hepatotoxicity (toxic, irritant and might cause damage to the liver), mutagenic (alteration in the structure of DNA), reproductive toxicity (research supporting significant fall in the number of nuclei and changes in the allotment of embryos in pregnant mice) and restrain platelet aggregation, a vital part of the blotting clotting process.

Undiluted or concentrated Cassia oil have been proved to cause severe irritation in rabbits in certain studies and few other studies involving consecutive patients with dermatitis, few people were sensitive to 2% Cassia oil on patch testing.

Always ensure to dilute Cassia oil in appropriate carrier oils before topical use and never ingest essential oil as they may be toxic to the system.

Reference Links Substantiating Possible Skin Issues of Cassia Oil:

  1. Essential Oil Safety: A Guide for Health Care Professionals By Robert Tisserand, Rodney Young
  2. Leung’s Encyclopedia of Common Natural Ingredients, used in Food, Drugs and Cosmetics by Ikhlas A. Khan and Ehab A. Abourashed.
  3. A toxicologic and dermatologic assessment of cinnamyl alcohol, cinnamaldehyde and cinnamic acid when used as fragrance ingredients by The RIFM expert panel, published in the Food and Chemical Toxicology
  4. Cassia bark oil: The Chinese Cinnamon oil by Mercola.com
  5. Fragrance material review on cinnamyl acetate by S.P. Bhatia, G.A. Wellington, J. Cocchiara, J. Lalko, C.S. Letizia, A.M. Api, Research Institute for Fragrance Materials, Inc., Manheimer Fragrances, Teterboro NJ, USA, published in Food and Chemical Toxicology Review and Science Direct

Thought for the day:

The art of healing comes from nature, not from the physician. Therefore the physician must start from nature, with an open mind.  -Paracelsus

Suggested Reading:

  1. Cinnamon and Cassia: The Genus Cinnamomum (Medicinal and Aromatic Plants – Industrial Profiles) from CRC Press
  2. Ayurveda: Life, Health, and Longevity by Robert E. Svoboda B.A.M.S.
  3. The Complete Guide to Natural Cures: Effective Holistic Treatments for Everything from Allergies to Wrinkles (Lynn Sonberg Books) by Debora Yost
  4. The Encyclopedia of Aphrodisiacs: Psychoactive Substances for Use in Sexual Practices by Christian Rätsch, Claudia Müller-Ebeling
  5. Herbal Medicine From the Heart of the Earth by Sharol Marie Tilgner

Reference Links:

  1. Cinnamomum cassia by Wikipedia
  2. Vitamins offer hope for Alzheimer’s by Dr. Mercola
  3. Can Cinnamon help you control your diabetes by Amy Campbell published in Diabetes Self-Management.com
  4. Antimicrobial activities of cinnamon oil and Cinnamaldehyde from the Chinese medicinal herb Cinnamomum cassia Blume by Ooi LS, Li Y, Kam SL, Wang H, Wong EY, Ooi VE published in PubMed


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