Orange Bitter Essential Oil



Orange-bitter-bannerBitter’ has been the most neglected taste all around the world and the truth is that bitter things are often better for your fitness regime. On a deeper note, most of the medicines are bitter and they pave way for the sweet fruit of health and harmony.

Unlike the sweet oranges, bitter oranges are not much favored mainly for its tart, astringent and acidic taste. Since the ancient times, bitter oranges and the essential oil cold pressed from the rind of these fruits have carried away the world of medicine with its enormous medicinal values.

Known as Narange in Sanskrit, bitter orange is used in Ayurveda in the treatment of gout, gastrointestinal problems, lack of appetite, anxiety and digestive disorders.

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Scientifically known as Citrus aurantium, bitter orange is an evergreen tree indigenous to the tropical parts of Asia and Africa. Almost all the parts of this tree are used in extracting essential oils due its healing values.

Essential oil extracted from the leaves and twigs of this tree is known as Petitgrain oil, the oil distilled from the flowers of this tree is the celebrated Neroli oil and the oil extracted from the peel of the bitter orange fruit is called as Bitter orange essential oil.

Historical importance of Bitter Orange:

The Traditional Chinese Medicine used bitter oranges as a natural carminative and tonic for treating dyspepsia. They also used dried bitter oranges in the treatment of diarrhea, ptosis of the anus and uterus, blood in feces and abdominal distention.

The rind of bitter orange fruits were used in Homeopathy for relieving abdominal pain, headache, constipation, digestive disorders, weight loss and high blood pressure. Due to the presence of the active ingredient synephrine, bitter oranges are used in herbal medicinal system as an appetite suppressant and as a stimulant.

The Brazilian folklore medicine used bitter orange and its oil in treating insomnia and anxiety. The ancient Europeans used it as a prophylactic and as a sedative for curing nervous problems, gastrointestinal disorders, insomnia, sore throat and gout.

This medicinal herb has been in use in various cultures across the globe in the treatment of cancer, anaphylactic shock, cardiac exhaustion, heartburn, fungal infections and certain other heart problems.

The native Latin Americans used it in the preparation of a tonic for treating insomnia, lessening anxiety and also as a laxative. It is also used in the United States as an effective aid in preventing colon, breast and skin cancer.

In addition, bitter orange essential oil is used in flavoring baked goods, alcoholic beverages, gelatins, candies, puddings, meat products, frozen desserts and certain other condiments. It is also used as a marinade for meat in the Haitian, Cuban, Nicaraguan and Dominican cooking.

Therapeutic properties and constituents of Bitter orange essential oil:

The remedial properties of this oil are antiseptic, carminative, sedative, stomachic, digestive, antidepressant, anti-hyper cholesterolemic, tranquilizer, anti-inflammatory, choleretic, antifungal and antibacterial. Synephrine, tyramine metabolites N-methyltyramine, pinene, carotenoids, limonene, cymene, camphene, octopamine, ocimene and few other alkaloids are its major chemical constituents.

Ayurvedic health benefits of Bitter orange essential oil:

Ayurveda is the oldest of all the healing methodologies in the world and it still flourishes due to the simplicity it preaches and practices in its remedial rule. According to this ancient science, every individual is a part of nature and his/her poor health and good health depends upon their harmony with nature.

Sickness in Ayurveda is a strong symbol that the individual’s system is out of balance with nature and needs immediate assistance with natural remedies like essential oils, herbal medications, yoga, healthy lifestyle and meditation.

Ayurvedic remedies aim at treating the actual root cause of an illness instead of treating the illness alone and suggests an Ayurvedic routine for preventing such illnesses in the future as well.

Every human being according to Ayurvedic principle is unique with an individual constitution that comprises of three energy elements known as doshas, namely vata, pitta and kapha. The predominance of any one of these doshas determines the personality and characteristics of an individual and imbalance of any of these doshas leads to diseases.

Ayurvedic treatments vary from individual to individual based upon their dosha predominance and unique constitution. Bitter orange essential oil is said to increase vata and pitta doshas and pacify kapha dosha.

The Ayurvedic health benefits of Bitter orange oil are:

1. Treats skin problems:

Bitter orange essential oil has been proved effective in treating numerous skin problems with its antiseptic, antibacterial and antifungal properties. The rind of this fruit from which its essential oil is extracted contains non-bitter flavonoids, which is known to have considerable venotonic properties.

It is for this reason; bitter orange essential oil is used in cosmetics for preventing capillary fragility. Bitter orange extracts are also used in the treatment of cellulite as it has the potent to normalize the affected parts and stimulate the cutaneous tone of the skin.

The effects and unique properties of bitter orange essential oil in the Aromatherapy Workbook by Shirley Price states bitter orange essential oil “help restore an acne skin to normal and is prophylactic against the signs of ageing”. When applied to the affected area after blending 2 drops of bitter orange oil with coconut oil, the antifungal properties of this oil help in treating fungal infections like athlete’s foot and ringworm.

Bitter orange oil also acts as a natural antiseptic and aids in clearing acne, cold sores, wounds, psoriasis, eczema and certain other skin problems due to excessive stagnation of oil. You can add 2 drops of bitter orange oil with refreshing carrier oil like jojoba oil or to your skin care creams and lotions and gently massage onto the affected parts for quicker effects.

2. Enhances the digestive mechanism:

For more than thousands of years, bitter orange has been used in the world of Complementary medicine for treating digestive problems like flatulence, dyspepsia, constipation, sluggish digestion, loss of appetite, intestinal gas, nausea and indigestion.

Gently massaging your stomach with 2 drops of bitter orange oil blended with sesame oil can help you enhance the entire process of digestion. You can also add 2 drops of this oil to your bath tub to help with digestive disorders.

3. Assists in weight-loss:

Weight loss supplements with bitter orange formula are the most popular and the recent use of bitter oranges in the therapeutic world. Numerous researches have proved the effectiveness of bitter orange supplements in treating obesity.

“At present, Citrus aurantium may be the best thermogenic substitute for Ephedra” reveals the Georgetown University Medical Center study on ‘Citrus aurantium as a thermogenic, weight-reduction replacement for Ephedra’.

A recent research on ‘The safety of Citrus aurantium (bitter orange) and its primary protoalkaloid p-synephrine’ states “The data indicate that based on current knowledge, the use of bitter orange extract and p-synephrine appears to be exceedingly safe with no serious adverse effects being directly attributable to these ingredients”.

It also notes that bitter orange extract and its principal protoalkaloidal constituent p-synephrine are extensively used in weight management, weight loss and products promoting sports performance.

A 2006 study on ‘Citrus aurantium and synephrine alkaloids in the treatment of overweight and obesity’ by Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, MD, USA states that there are certain promising evidences that Citrus aurantium containing several compounds including synephrine alkaloids is a safe alternative to Ephedra, which is a weight-loss supplement banned in US for its adverse health effects.

To boost your metabolism and lessen energy absorption, you can massage your body with 2 to 3 drops of bitter orange oil blended with coconut oil or add 3 drops of this oil to your bath tub.

4. Alleviates stress and reduces anxiety:

Bitter orange oil has a much similar aroma to that of fresh tangy oranges. Inhaling the energizing and enlivening fragrance of this oil especially during the early hours of the day promises a serene atmosphere and instills complete calmness in your mind.

This is why Ayurvedic healing suggests the use of bitter orange oil during your meditation practice. Add 1 drop of bitter orange oil to your diffuser or air freshener and start your deep meditation after which you will feel a never before freshness and increase in your confidence level.

The Aromatherapy expert, Dr. Vivian Lunny recommends an invigorating bath blend with 2 drops of bitter orange oil, 1 drop of neroli oil and 2 drops of petitgrain oil for reducing anxiety, lethargy and tiredness.

When added to your warm bathing water especially after a tiring and stressful day, this blend is said to give a new lease of life, augment stress relief, promote relaxation and stimulate positive feelings. You can also add 1 drop of bitter orange oil to your handkerchief or to your pulse points to renew yourself throughout the day.

Other benefits:

Bitter orange essential oil is also used in treating chronic fatigue syndrome, intestinal ulcers, lowering blood sugar level in diabetic patients, sleep disorders, joint pain, muscular aches, bruises, cold and certain other liver and gall bladder problems.

It is also used in making soaps, cleaning products, disinfectants, cosmetics, perfumes, pharmaceuticals, eau de colognes and certain other household cleaners. Bitter orange oil is also used as a commercial flavoring agent in foods and beverages in many countries.

Disclaimer:

Pure and organic essential oils are highly concentrated liquids so always use it after diluting in suitable carrier oils. Never use essential oils internally. Citrus oils in general have a photo-toxic effect so avoid going out in the sun immediately after using it on your skin.

Pregnant women, nursing mothers, children and people suffering from hypertension and glaucoma should avoid using bitter orange oil. Always consult your Ayurvedic practitioner before choosing the right essential oils for your unique individual constitution.

Bitter Orange Essential Oil – Possible Skin Issues:

bitter-orange-new

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Bitter orange oil exhibits mild photosensitivity effects if the oil is oxidized, which might cause irritation and hyper-pigmentation of the skin and this happens when visible sunlight gets in touch with the skin for up to 12 hours of usage. The major cause being the response of the chemical components that are photoactive in nature attracts light and ends up in toxicity via molecular alterations.

The safe dermal use level of Bitter orange oil by the International Fragrance Association (IFRA) is 1.25%, specifically to thwart phototoxicity in the products used for topical application and not for soaps, shampoos and other bath preparations. This No-observed-adverse-effect-level (NOAEL) is based on various studies with Bitter orange oil on mice and swine, where the No-observed-effects-level (NOEL) was proved as 6.25%.

Besides, Bitter orange oil is Generally Recognized As Safe (GRAS) by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration). “There are no contraindications but that photosensitization may occur in fair-skinned individuals”, quotes The German Commission E monograph for Bitter orange peel.

The major chemical constituent responsible for the skin sensitization and mild irritation of Bitter orange oil is Limonene, which accounts to about 90% of this oil and certain other furanocoumarins.

According to European regulations, essential oils with furanocoumarins should be used in such a way that the overall level of bergapten does not surpass 15 ppm (parts per million) in ready-to-use cosmetic products meant for use on the skin surface that are exposed to sunlight (other than wash-away products) and 1 ppm in sunscreen and bronzing items.

Use Bitter orange oil only for external use and ingestion of this oil should be avoided strictly, as internal use of this oil has adverse effects according to various reports. Medical research studies state that the presence of stimulants like octopamine, amines synephrine (an alkaloid with almost the related chemical structure to ephedrine in Ephedra – Ma-Huang) and N-methyltyramine are responsible for the cardiovascular toxicity of Bitter orange and this is also reported to cause increase in blood pressure and vasoconstriction.

It is recommended to avoid the use of Bitter orange in patients with tachyarrhythmia, hypertension and narrow-angle glaucoma, mainly due its potent to cause additive effects. Overdose of synephrine in children overdose ended up in tachycardia, nausea, quick increase in blood pressure and irritation. Certain researches witness the effect of Bitter orange in restraining human cytochrome P450 3A (CYP3A) in the test tube studies.

Just like Grapefruit, Bitter orange is said to hold back a vital enzyme in the small intestine, and this may possibly have an effect on the levels of blood, when taking certain medications like antiviral, anti-anxiety, antidepressant drugs, statins and calcium channel blockers and along with the intake of caffeine.

Care should be taken if Bitter orange oil is used in massage in the abdominal area, as essential oils penetrate quickly through the skin, reach the bloodstream and may cause adverse effects. It is not recommended to take Bitter orange products when using other prescribed medications, except under strict medical supervision.

Furocoumarins are also used in various remedies on par with the long-wave ultraviolet light therapy for the healing of mycosis fungoides, vitiligo and psoriasis.

Reference Links Substantiating Possible Skin Issues of Bitter Orange Oil:

  1. Bitter Orange by University of Michigan Health System
  2. Bitter Orange, Sour News by University of California, Berkeley Wellness
  3. Bitter Orange Peel and Synephrine by American Botanical Council
  4. Bitter Orange, American Herbal Products Association’s Botanical Safety Handbook, Second Edition by Zoe Gardner, Michael McGuffin
  5. Bitter Orange by Drugs.com
  6. Essential Oil Safety: A Guide for Health Care Professionals By Robert Tisserand, Rodney Young

Thought for the day:

The trees that are slow to grow bear the best fruit. -Moliere

Suggested Reading:

  1. Citrus Essential Oils: Flavor and Fragrance from Wiley
  2. Citrus Oils: Composition, Advanced Analytical Techniques, Contaminants, and Biological Activity (Medicinal and Aromatic Plants – Industrial Profiles) from CRC Press
  3. Aromatherapy Workbook: A Complete Guide to Understanding and Using Essential Oils by Shirley Price
  4. Ayurveda & Aromatherapy: The Earth Essential Guide to Ancient Wisdom and Modern Healing by Dr. Light Miller, Dr. Bryan Miller

Reference Link:

  1. Bitter orange by Wikipedia
  2. Citrus aurantium and synephrine alkaloids in the treatment of overweight and obesity by Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, MD, USA published in PubMed
  3. Bitter Orange by Drugs.com
  4. The safety of Citrus aurantium (bitter orange) and its primary protoalkaloid p-synephrine by Creighton University Medical Center, NE, USA published in PubMed


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Ayurveda And The Importance Of Meditation



Ayurveda, the mother of all healing sciences is a combination of holistic principles that stays intact with nature. One unique principle of Ayurveda that makes it matchless is its impressive healing methodology that is a perfect blend of natural Ayurvedic medications & mind healing skills of mental disciplines like Yoga and Meditation. This ancient natural curator that deliberates on the mind, body, spirit rapport, recognizes meditation as a balancing aid for the mind, which acts as a super natural spirit governing the human soul.

Meditation – The Master of Mind: ‘Inhale!!!…………Exhale!!!………’ are the key words of a popular mind soothing process known as Meditation, which aims at mental wellness by making the human mind inhale its authentic purpose of life & exhale the toxin that torments the psyche. It is a spiritual practice that demands the internal effort of the individual to self-regulate the mind and train it in a fruitful way. Meditation encompasses a wide range of techniques with infinite number of goals, the prime one being self-realization. A serene place free from disturbances and a standard time that suits you best is always opted for meditation, which should be performed on a daily basis for excellent results. A rhythmic breathing pattern is then followed which relaxes your mind & body thus helping you to develop your deep mental insight.

Ayurveda and Meditation: The prime philosophy of Ayurveda lies in maintaining a healthy relationship between the mind, body & spirit without reaching extremes in any cases thus connecting with the spiritual part of oneself. A healthy mind leads to a healthy body. That is why medical practitioners always recommend their patients to develop a positive attitude towards any type of treatment before commencing it. One who is mentally fit is certainly physically fit! One who develops a positive state of mind in the course of suffering from an ailment is half cured!!! Having this as the basis of all healing procedures, Ayurveda suggests Meditation for its immeasurable positive effects on human wellness which are listed below.

  • Meditation and Longevity: Ayurveda portrays longevity as increase in life expectancy with a sturdy ‘mind, body and spirit’ balance so that one enjoys permanent peace & happiness till the end of life. According to the study of NCCAM (National center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine), Meditation is practiced by people for various health issues ranging from anxiety, depression, stress, insomnia, high blood pressure & even to deal with the physical or emotional symptoms associated with deadly diseases like Cancer, HIV/AIDS etc. Meditation serves its intention of mentoring the mind, thus freeing it from all worldly worries and to attain the sole purpose of a long life.
  • Meditation and Mental Wellness: ‘Face is the index of mind’ is a well known adage. According to Ayurveda ‘Body is the index of mind’. Even a physically fit person can soon fall prey for diseases if his mind is deemed with worries!!! Meditation plays a main role in strengthening one’s mind by greatly reducing mental stress, anxiety, fear, depression and by inducing positive thoughts, self esteem, self control and empathy. It deeply relaxes the mind & the body by developing positive energy due to the changes in the brain wave patterns.
  • Meditation and Self-Realization: Meditation helps an individual to lead a disciplined life focusing on Self-realization, which is one of the greatest treasures to be acquired by every human being and is often difficult to pursue. Once an individual starts to realize who he/she really is and become conscious of one’s own purpose of life, self correction comes into effect and one can certainly feel heaven on earth!!! In addition to focusing on curing the ailments and preventing them, the individualized healing approach of Ayurveda helps an individual to lead a systematic, well-disciplined and self-realized life on par with nature with the help of a powerful tool called Meditation.
  • Meditation and You! : In this mechanical world it becomes very difficult for you to spend time for yourself! Strange but true!!! The time that you spend on meditation gives you the self-satisfaction of spending some quality time for YOU that helps you to lead an energetic life full of spirit, to meet the upcoming world of challenges. Meditation grants you power from within to lead a meaningful life full of values.

Meditation is a self trainer that trains your mind to lead a serene life. Meditation can be made more effective with the usage of few drops of aromatic Ayurvedic essential oils to your room freshener or diffuser, which will spread the aroma to your mind, soul, spirit and the environment. The medicinal properties of these essential oils not only spread the divine fragrance but also penetrate deep into your mind, making you divine and diligent. It aids in soothing your senses and providing you with peace and tranquility.

Ayurveda offers mankind with some of the most precious Ayurvedic practices like Meditation, which when followed makes life skillful, meaningful, successful and peaceful!!!

Thought for the day:

I mean the whole thing about meditation and yoga is about connecting to the higher part of yourself, and then seeing that every living thing is connected in some way.                 -Gillian Anderson

Suggested Reading:

  1. Healing Depression the Mind-Body Way: Creating Happiness with Meditation, Yoga, and Ayurveda By Nancy Liebler, Sandra Moss
  2. Self-Recovery: Treating Addictions Using Transcendental Meditation and Maharishi Ayur-Veda By David F O’Connell, Charles N Alexander
  3. Ayurveda: The Divine Science of Life, 1e By Todd Caldecott CIH AHG

Reference Links:

  1. Meditation by Wikipedia
  2. Overview of Meditation by National center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine
  3. How Does Meditation Work by Ayushveda

Calamus Oil



Calamus-bannerOften acclaimed as an ideal herb for meditation and introspection, Calamus is recommended by saints, yogis and Ayurvedic philosophers for enhancing the functions of the brain, improving memory power, increasing intellectual capacity and for stimulating proper circulation to the brain.

The essential oil of Calamus is extracted from the root of the Calamus plant, scientifically known as Acorus Calamus or Sweet flag by steam distillation method.

The Sanskrit name of Calamus is Vacha, which means ‘speech’ and the primordial sages and religious Gurus have believed Calamus to facilitate human beings to articulate from their highest inner consciousness.

Ayurveda recommends Calamus herb for its power to fortify the adrenal gland and for its effectiveness in treating neuralgia, dysmennorhea or painful periods, memory loss, epilepsy, gingivitis, lack of stamina, lymphatic drainage, asthma, hysteria, deafness, sinusitis, lack of consciousness and trauma.

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Historical uses and importance of Calamus root and its essential oil:

Calamus is native to Asia and Europe and has been found growing across Australia, South Africa, North America, New Guinea and Reunion. It has its name mentioned in the Old Testament and was talked about in Exodus as an element of the sacred anointing oil of the Bible.

It was also denoted in the Chester Beatty papyrus VI, which approximately dates back to 1300 BC and Papyrus used Calamus with various other ingredients in preparing a bandage to appease stomach ailments.

Calamus has been a vital part of the traditional healing system of various countries for more than thousands of years in the treatment of numerous medical conditions.

The primeval Egyptians trusted Calamus root as a potent aphrodisiac for its effectiveness in augmenting the health of the reproductive system. Calamus was added to wine in Europe and it also forms a part of absinthe.

The Penobscot people believed that Calamus root helped in healing prolonged sickness that was plaguing the people for a long time. They also steamed all through the homes to ward off illnesses and the dried roots were strung together for preservation.

The people of the Potawatomi community used the dried Calamus root powder for treating catarrh. Indonesians use this aromatic root as a flavoring agent in the preparation of meat, sea foods and other vegetarian cuisines.

The warriors of Teton-Dakota applied the root paste on their faces for alleviating fear in the warfront. Calamus essential oil is also used in making perfumes mainly because of its therapeutic properties.

The traditional Turks used this herb for all kinds of infections and it is used in preparing cough drops. It is also been used in the Traditional Chinese medicine, Siddha and Ayurvedic healing systems for its carminative, laxative, sedative and diuretic properties.

Chemical constituents and healing properties of Calamus essential oil:

The primary chemical components of this oil are beta asarone, eugenol, calamusenone, corenone, alpha aselinene, camphone, alpha calacorene, shyobunone, beta gurjunene, calamendiol and iso shyobunine.

The therapeutic properties of Calamus oil are rejuvenative, circulatory, anti-spasmodic, anti-arthritic, cephalic, nervine, tranquilizing, stimulant, decongestant, anti-rheumatic, emetic, anti-periodic, memory boosting, carminative, stomachic, bactericidal and expectorant properties.

Calamus in Ayurvedic Preparations:

Numerous research reports have proved that Calamus is one the most commonly employed ingredient in plenty of Ayurvedic preparations, mainly because of the presence of essential oils in its rhizomes. Ayurvedic medications like kashayam, choornam, ghritham and tailam contain Calamus and are prepared by following the preparation methods mentioned in Sahasrayoga.

Ayurvedic health benefits of Calamus essential oil:

Calamus essential oil is habitually called as a tonic for the brain in Ayurveda. It has been mentioned in Vedas, the holy books as one of the exceptional medicines and Ayurvedic philosophers explored numerous healing benefits of Calamus apart from supporting the functions of the nervous system and brain, for which Calamus still exists as a vital part of various Ayurvedic medicines since 4,000 years.

Perfect health according to Ayurveda is a triangular structure with body, mind and soul as its edges. It is the oldest of all healing systems on earth and is the pioneer to other traditional and modern medicinal methodologies like Homeopathy, Siddha, Traditional Chinese medicine, Unani, Acupressure and Chiropractic.

The greatest thing about this ancient medicinal science is that its healing techniques are documented systematically since its first recordings in Atharvaveda, one among the 4 Vedas or the major sacred books of the Hindu mythology.

This ancient citation was followed by Charaka Samhita and Sushruta Samhita, known as Ayurvedic encyclopedias written by the most respected Ayurvedic philosophers Charaka and Sushruta respectively.

“The three – body, psyche, and soul – act as a tripod. The world stands upon them, and within them, the world abides”, says Charaka Samhita. Ayurveda rightly means ‘the knowledge of life’ and this time-honored remedial method assists in providing the consciousness about life and health in every individual.

Ayurveda states that nature is made up of five fundamental elements namely water, earth, fire, air and space and it is also said that everything in nature is also built up with these five energies. When a person’s health is in balance with nature, absolute health prevails and imbalance with nature owing to food, climatic conditions and lifestyle changes causes illnesses.

Being a holistic curative system, where every person is regarded as a special part of nature with a unique individual constitution just like the fingerprints and it consists of three imperative dynamic energies called as doshas. They are vata, pitta and kapha and are nothing but a representation of any two elements of nature.

Vata dosha is a combination of air and space, and is responsible for respiration, circulation and for the functions of the nervous system. Kapha signifies earth and water, and is in charge for sustenance, physical structure, movement of fluids in the system and the reproductive health.

Pitta symbolizes fire and water and is accountable for body temperature and metabolic functions like digestion, absorption and excretion. Stability between these three doshas signifies perfect health and inequality causes sickness.

Ayurveda recommends natural remedies including herbs, essential oils, simple physical exercises, yoga, prayers, meditation, Pranayama, Ayurvedic routine, Panchakarma (Ayurvedic techniques for detoxification) and Ayurvedic massaging with natural essential oils.

These remedies are prescribed in such a way to correct the unevenness between the doshas. Calamus essential oil is known to aggravate pitta and pacify kapha and vata dosha.

The Ayurvedic health benefits of Calamus oil are:

Calamus-broucher1. Triggers the mind and promotes positive thoughts:

Calamus herb and its essential oil have been witnessed by numerous herbalists and Ayurvedic physicians as an endlessly safe and useful natural remedy for activating the mind and improving the power of thinking.

It is popularly known as a boosting herb for meditating Yogis and Saints, where Calamus is said to help them stay focused and concentrated in their long lasting meditation known as yagna.

Calamus was used in the preparation of tea in the ancient period and was also used in neti pot as a powerful remedy for treating brain conditions. Adding 1 to 2 drops of Calamus essential oil in diffuser, vaporizer, burner or a tissue paper and inhaling the uplifting aroma of this oil can aid in opening the mind, promoting clarity, enhancing the concentration power, mental stability, attention, and the power of positive thinking along with organization of speech.

Learned Ayurvedic research scientist Karta Purkh Singh Khalsa says, “The yogic name, Vacha, means “speech” and refers to its action on the fifth chakra and its propensity to help you speak from your highest consciousness. The complementary energetics makes the combination suitable for a wide variety of people.”

Swami Thirtha calls Calamus as “one of the best mind herbs”, mainly for its effectiveness in fostering sadhaka pitta through which it fortifies the mind’s ability to obtain information and evoke from the memory. The essential oil of Calamus has an invigorating effect on the brain with its warm, woody and medicinal aroma with increasingly sweet after-tones.

Inhaling the therapeutic fragrance of this oil helps in activating the neural pathways and has also been proved powerful in treating neurotic problems. You can also add 2 drops of this oil to warm bathing water for refreshing your mind. Ayurvedic practitioners recommend Vacha oil to persuade positive thoughts.

2. Stimulates the nervous system:

Calamus falls under the ‘sattvic herb’ category in the Ayurvedic medicinal system. All the sattvic varieties are known to enhance and empower the ‘kundalini’ energy or the ‘vital life force’. By this way, Calamus and its essential oil acts as a revitalizing nerve tonic that augments the functioning of the brain.

Massaging your system with 5 drops of Calamus oil mixed with 2 drops of Lavender oil, 2 drops of Lemon oil, 2 drops of Yarrow oil, 2 drops of Cinnamon oil and 2 drops of Patchouli oil along with 10 ml of Virgin Olive oil can aid in rejuvenating your brain and the entire nervous system. This assists in stimulating the cerebral functions, support self-expression and overall nervous health. This massage also assists in promoting peaceful sleep and treating insomnia.

Ayurvedic healing system describes this oil as a nervine tonic and a psychotropic remedy, mainly for its positive effects on learning, boosting memory, recovering from shock and treating depression and anxiety. Calamus herb and its essential oil are recommended by Ayurvedic physicians for confiscating the negative effects and toxic residues of drugs (including the heavy use of marijuana) from the fatty tissues left within brain, liver and the nervous system.

By strengthening the nervous system, this oil is also used in recovering from trauma, post-surgery effects, hysteric attacks, epileptics and certain other nervous problems. Due to its potential to contract the blood vessels and decrease pressure on the Ninth cranial nerve, Calamus oil is used in treating neuralgia.

3. Treats memory loss and augments the intellect:

For its memory-enhancing properties, Ayurveda prescribes Calamus oil as an effective psycho-pharmacological agent and the as one of the best natural remedies for treating epilepsy, mental retardation, syncope and stupor, while augmenting memory power and for retrieving people from traumatic problems.

Calamus is used in Ayurveda to counteract the side effects of hallucinogens. This essential oil has been proved to enhance blood circulation, stimulate neurons and nerves, aiding the body to attain steadiness and attentiveness.

4. Alleviates arthritic and rheumatic pain: According to the Ayurvedic philosophy, excess of kapha dosha is responsible for stagnation of toxic substances known as ama, water deposits, salt, uric acid and other fluids in the body, especially in the joints causing pain and inflammation associated with rheumatism. Calamus essential oil is a known Ayurvedic remedy for reducing excess kapha dosha and helps in lessening pain, inflammation and redness by eliminating stagnated fluids and toxic remains through urine and sweat.

Mix 2 drops of Calamus oil with 2 drops of Ginger oil and 2 drops of Eucalyptus oil along with 3 ml of coconut oil and massaging it gently on the painful area helps in promoting blood circulation, alleviating pain, strengthening the muscles, stimulating the nerves and reducing swelling and other symptoms of rheumatism and arthritis.

Few other notable health benefits:

With its pungent and bitter taste, Calamus oil is said to have excellent benefits to the respiratory system, nervous system and the digestive system. This oil strengthens the digestive system and treats intestinal worms, abdominal pain, flatulence, loss of appetite, chronic gas trouble and loss of taste. Vacha is used in many Indian homes to treat colic in newborn babies since the primeval times. Calamus essential oil effectively treats sinusitis, cold and bronchitis.

Disclaimer:

This information is only for the purpose of education and is not intended to cure, prevent or diagnose any medical condition. It is not directed as a substitute for any prescribed medication or expert medical advice. We are not medical professionals and this data is shared only for the purpose of throwing light on the ancient healing wisdom or the knowledge of life known as Ayurveda.

Never use essential oils internally and ensure that you use them in a diluted form for external use, as pure and organic essential oils are highly concentrated liquids. Keep essential oils out of reach of children and it is always recommended to do a small patch test on your skin with the diluted essential oil. Speak with your healthcare expert or your Ayurvedic physician before choosing the appropriate essential oils for your unique individual constitution or prakriti and health condition.

Calamus Essential Oil – Possible Skin Issues:

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

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

The essential oil of Calamus should be strictly avoided during pregnancy as it has the potent to stimulate contractions in the uterine cavity and induce menstruation, being an emmenagogue and might lead to miscarriage or abortion. It is also advisable to restrict the use of Calamus oil during breastfeeding.

Many studies suggest that Calamus oil may have carcinogenic or cancer causing effects and might be toxic when used in excess. The prime chemical constituents responsible for its adverse effects are β-asarone (about 78.4%), α-asarone (about 6.8%) and methyleugenol (about 2%) in Acorus Calamus oil, which is of Indian origin. Various in vivo and in vitro studies have witnessed the negative potent of β-asarone in inducing the growth of malignant tumors.

The European Council files β-asarone as “substances which are suspected to be genotoxic carcinogens and therefore no MDI can be set”. According to the 1988 European Community Council, both the European Union and the United Kingdom ‘Standard Permitted Proportion’ of beta-asarone in food flavorings must be 0.1mg/kg.

IFRA (International Fragrance Association) suggests that beta-asarone and alpha-asarone should not be used as fragrance ingredients and the safe level of use of Calamus oil in consumer products should not exceed 0.01%. It also recommends that the highest concentration of methyleugenol in leave-on products like body lotion should not exceed 0.00004%.

Essential oils are highly concentrated substances and must be used in a diluted condition with safe carrier oils like coconut oil. It is meant only for topical application and it is not recommended to take essential oils internally.

Ingestion of Calamus oil may end up in creating hallucinations, convulsions and potent toxicity. Acorus Calamus is one among the 30 unsafe herbs listed by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration).

According to the studies conducted in 1976 and 1977, Calamus oil is non-phototoxic and non-sensitizing when tested (patch testing with 2% Calamus oil) on 200 consecutive patients with dermatitis.

This warning is relevant to leave-on skin care products like creams, body lotions, massage oils and balms and not for wash-off items like shampoos and soaps.

Reference Links Substantiating the Possible Skin Issues of Calamus Oil:

  1. Acorus Calamus: Scientific Validation of Ayurvedic Tradition from Natural Resources Pulok Kumar Mukherjee, Venkatesan Kumar, Mainak Mal & Peter J. Houghton, published in the Journal of Pharmaceutical Biology
  2. MEDICINAL PROPERTIES OF ACORUS CALAMUS Kumar Amit, Vandana, Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences, published in the Journal of Drug Delivery & Therapeutics
  3. Acorus Calamus by Examine.com
  4. Effects of asarone and β-asarone on conditioned responses, fighting behaviour and convulsions by P. C. Dandiya and M. K. Menon, published in the British Journal of Pharmacology and Chemotherapy
  5. Calamus by Drugs.com
  6. Toxicity of Acorus calamus rhizome powder from Eastern Nepal to Sitophilus granarius (L.) and Sitophilus oryzae (L.) (Coleoptera, Curculionidae) by R.B. Paneru , G.N.J. le Patourel , S.H. Kennedy published in Science Direct
  7. Acorus Calamus: An overview R. Balakumbahan*, K. Rajamani and K. Kumanan, Horticultural Research Station, Tamilnadu Agricultural University, Pechiparai, TN,  India, published in the Journal of Medicinal Plants Research
  8. Essential Oil Safety: A Guide for Health Care Professionals By Robert Tisserand, Rodney Young

Thought for the day:

Every particular in nature, a leaf, a drop, a crystal, a moment of time is related to the whole, and partakes of the perfection of the whole.  

-Ralph Waldo Emerson

Suggested Reading:

  1. Yoga & Ayurveda: Self-Healing and Self-Realization by Dr. David Frawley
  2. Herbal Vade Mecum: 800 Herbs, Spices, Essential Oils, Lipids, Etc.-Constituents, Properties, Uses, and Caution by Gazmend Skenderi
  3. The Encyclopedia of Psychoactive Plants: Ethnopharmacology and Its Applications
    by Christian Ratsch, Albert Hofmann
  4. The Way of Ayurvedic Herbs: A Contemporary Introduction and Useful Manual for the World’s Oldest Healing System by Karta Purkh Singh Khalsa, Michael Tierra
  5. New Choices in Natural Healing: Over 1,800 of the Best Self-Help Remedies from the World of Alternative Medicine by Doug Dollemore

Reference Links:

  1. Acorus Calamus by Wikipedia
  2. Detection of Acorus Calamus in Ayurvedic preparations by Europe PubMed Central
  3. Vacha: Brain Tonic by Dr. R. Vatsyayan, Ayurvedacharya
  4. Clarify Your Communication with Calamus by Karta Purkh Singh Khalsa published in 3HO
  5. Herb of the season, Vacha (Calamus, Acorus calamus) by Sai Ayurvedic College
  6. Vacha (Acorus Calamus Linn.): A Valuable Medicinal Plant, published in the International Journal of Ayurveda and Pharma Research


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