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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Ayurvedic Essential Oils And Mood Blends



Mood differs from season to season, from person to person, from time to time and from odor to aroma. Sounds confusing? Let me put in more specific terms, Christmas brings in joy, New Year brings in newness, Halloween brings in adventure, Valentine’s Day brings in romance and Independence Day brings in patriotism. Each and every occasion is special on its own. Aromatic therapy or Aromatherapy is a part of Ayurveda, where aroma is used in treating illness and improving health conditions. It is based on the principle that natural fragrances, especially from pure essential oils can affect our moods, and consequently change the way we think or feel at any given time. Aroma affects our moods through the action or the start of the limbic system where the therapeutic properties of natural essential oils are slowly passed on to the entire system.

Pure essential oils support wellness and are extracted from various parts of a plant like flower, leaf, stem, resin, stalk, root, fruit, bark and seed. Ayurveda suggests the use of natural and wholesome essential oils instead of the synthetic or artificially fragranced oils because only pure essential oils will have the prana, otherwise known as the vital celestial energy to revivify your senses, enliven the mind and stimulate the key channels of the body for spreading the essential energy for strength and efficacy in an uniform manner. There are innumerable Ayurvedic essential oils, each of which can support some or the other moods of human beings. Let’s now look at the most predominant types of moods and the mood swings along with the essential oils that support such situations with their therapeutic properties.

1. Oils for depression: Depression is a deadly disorder that can literally spoil your days. The National Institute of Mental Health says that “Depression is a common but serious illness”. It causes extreme pain to you and to your near ones also. Ayurveda is the best way of treating depression as it has everything to soothe your senses and calm your mind. It suggests meditation and yoga for replenishing your mind, soul and spirit, while granting you an opportunity to realize your worth and come out of your deep mental worries. The best Ayurvedic essential oils for depression are Lavender essential oil, Rosemary essential oil, Frankincense essential oil, Jasmine essential oil and Ylang Ylang essential oil that can help one come out of depression with their calming, stimulant, antidepressant, nervine, sedative and hypotensive properties.

2. Oils for stress: We never knew that stress is the root cause for many major health disorders. Stress brings with it certain threatening symptoms like increased heart rate, high blood pressure, muscular tension, improper functioning of the digestive system, insomnia, weakened immune system and much more. Practicing an Ayurvedic routine along with the comforting and relaxing essential oils like Lemon oil, Bergamot oil, Lavender oil, Chamomile oil, Ylang Ylang oil, Patchouli oil, Peppermint oil and Orange oil.

3. Oils for loneliness: Nothing else like isolation and the feeling of loneliness can harm us, during the adverse times when we really need someone besides us. The best thing that Ayurveda, the mother of all healing sciences suggests is to speak with God through meditation and by offering a small prayer. This brings in the real difference and you will naturally inculcate the feeling that ‘You are not lonely anymore’. Few drops of Rose oil, Roman Chamomile oil, Frankincense oil, Clary Sage oil or Bergamot oil added either to your bath tub, diffuser or to your hankie will bring in the real energy to fight lonesomeness and support your mind.

4. Oils for anxiety and grief: Anxiety imparts nervousness along with an uneasy feeling, leading you to worry, stay restless, experience difficulty in sleeping, concentrating and few other health problems like nausea, headache and diarrhea. Most of the times work pressure, post-pregnancy blues, difficult terms in relationships, health problems or financial crisis may lead to anxiety disorder and would gradually make you sad. Ayurvedic essential oils like Sandalwood oil, Lavender oil, Cedarwood oil, Frankincense oil, Mandarin oil, Neroli oil, Rose oil, Ylang Ylang oil and Jasmine oil will regain the strength and confidence to face the tougher situations of life.

5. Oils for fatigue and fear: Oh! A single day with 3 important meetings, 2 conference calls, 4 reports to submit and attend to the queries of your subordinates is more than enough to make you tired, twisted and weary. This is called as fatigue. The fear of losing a job, a relationship or failing the examination, insecurity, pregnancy etc will make you panic. The best way to get out of it is to practice Pranayama, the art of breathing. Ayurveda suggests that deep breathing and meditation grants inner peace and strength, helping one to come out of fear and fatigue. A warm bath after your tiresome work with few drops of consoling essential oils like Peppermint oil, Rose oil, Lavender oil, Rosemary oil, Lemon oil, Bergamot oil, Frankincense oil, Sandalwood oil and Basil oil can grant you the warmth and energy that your mind and body demands.

Ayurveda considers that unhealthy or problematic relationships are the fundamental reason behind most of the problems mentioned above. This vitalizing science also grants incredible ways to maintain healthy relationships for your well-being.

Caution: Do not apply essential oils directly to your skin as pure essential oils are highly concentrated and may harm your skin or cause other allergic reactions. Consult your Ayurvedic Practitioner before using the right essential oils for your individual body type.

Thought for the day:

Nothing helps a bad mood like spreading it around.  –Bill Watterson

Suggested Reading:

  1. The Fragrant Mind: Aromatherapy for Personality, Mind, Mood and Emotion by Valerie Ann Worwood
  2. Change Your Mood with Aromatherapy (Teach Yourself) by Denise Whichello Brown
  3. The Interrelationship between the Body, Mind and Spirit in Ayurveda and Ayurvedic Medicine by C. Scott Ryan

Reference Links:

  1. What is Aromatherapy? The Theory Behind Aromatherapy by Medical News Today
  2. Mood Swings-Mental Health and Behavior Overview by Better Medicine
  3. What is depression by National Institute of Mental Health
  4. Pranayama (From Hatha Yoga and Ashtanga Yoga) by Yoga Point

Wormwood Essential Oil



wormwood-bannerWormwood is botanically known as Artemisia absinthium. It is widely known as an effective remedy for treating worms like tape worms, round worms, hook worms etc in the human body. With its narcotic effects, Wormwood was an important part of the popular alcoholic beverages like Absinthe, which is prohibited now.

Wormwood essential oil is extracted from the flowering tops, twigs and leaves through steam distillation process. Ginger is an incredible part of numerous Ayurvedic remedies and with an alternative name as Green Ginger, wormwood herb and its therapeutic oil has been used for more than thousands of years in Ayurveda, the ancient wisdom of healing humanity.

Historical uses of Wormwood and its essential oil:

The spectacular fact about Wormwood is that it was used by Hippocrates, the ancient Greek Physician and the father of western medicine. Many ancient monks and nuns used this bitter herb in the form of an elixir for its detoxifying properties.

The prehistoric use of Wormwood has been mentioned in Bible and the first century writings of Greece and Rome, where the herb was said to be placed in the sandals of Roman warriors to pacify their sore feet.

Saint Hildegard of Bingen, known as the Doctor of the Church and Sibyl of the Rhine was highly celebrated for her brilliance in medicinal and botanical writings, philosophy, music and much more. She used Wormwood herb to treat melancholy, digestive disorders, elimination process, improper functioning of lungs and heart.

She advised her patients to consume the fresh juice of wormwood leaves mixed with honey and warm wine on empty stomach on every third day from the month of May to October. Hildegard trusted that the use of wormwood herb helped in promoting the functioning of the entire system by effectively eliminating the toxins from the arteries through kidneys and preventing the accumulation of black bile, which is the melancholic humor.

Health benefits of Wormwood essential oil:

Wormwood was used for spiritual and psychic work in the primordial times and the essential oil of Wormwood is trusted to treat numerous health disorders ranging from fever to flatulence.

The predominant health benefits of Wormwood essential oil are:

wormwood-broucher1. Effective against worms and parasites:

Worms and parasites in the body are often the main reason for curtailing the normal growth, especially in children. This is mainly because these foreign bodies absorb the nutrients from the food and restrict the system from gaining the required nourishment.

With its Vermifuge property and high toxic effects, wormwood herb and its essential oil is considered as the most powerful natural remedy in killing worms and parasites. In certain cases this oil is given as an enema in treating worms in the rectum and intestines.

2. Supports the digestive system:

Wormwood essential oil nurtures the digestive system and effectively helps in removing the toxic substances known as ama from the body. According to Ayurveda, improper digestion is the root cause for all kinds of illnesses as the undigested food particles turn as toxins and curb the normal functioning of the body. Wormwood essential oil strengthens the entire digestive system with its carminative, stomachic, cholagogue, anthelmintic, tonic and stimulant properties.

The presence of artabsin and absinthin in Wormwood oil are responsible for the bitter taste, which acts as a stimulant in enlivening the taste buds and improving the secretion of saliva and perking up the natural appetite of an individual.

It promotes proper discharge of bile secretion from the liver to the stomach and effectively counterbalances the excess acid substance while assisting the complete process of metabolism. All these healing properties of Wormwood essential oil make it a promising remedy in the treatment of acidosis, ulcer, liver and gall bladder problems and numerous other digestive disorders.

3. Alleviates stress and depression:

Disturbed sleep, insomnia, convulsions, fatigue, nervous afflictions, epileptic attacks and certain other mental disturbances often end up in unwanted stress and deep depression. Wormwood essential oil has a natural narcotic effect that helps in calming your nerves and grants complete relaxation by pacifying the entire system.

A well-known research on ‘The Debate About Wormwood and Thujone Psycho-activity‘ proved that the presence of α-thujone (alpha thujone) and β-thujone (beta thujone) in Artemisia absinthium are responsible for Psycho-activity and the higher-potency α-thujone is considered as the primary psychoactive agent. Adding 2 drops of Wormwood essential oil to a tissue and placing it near your pillow can give you great relief for a peaceful night’s sleep.

4. Womanly essential oil:

Being a promising emmenagogue, wormwood essential oil is extremely beneficial in treating womanly problems like irregular menstruation, obstructed periods, uterine fibroids, menopausal problems, dysmennorhea and all other symptoms that accompany menstruation.

The emmenagogue property in this oil enhances the blood circulation in the uterus and pelvic region while strengthening the pelvic floor muscles. This oil is also used as a pain reliever during labor.

Ayurveda recommends Abhyanga or the art of massaging in an Ayurvedic manner for treating problems related to menstruation and menopause. Gently massaging 2 to 3 drops of wormwood essential oil along with sesame oil or coconut oil can grant significant relief and support the health of the female reproductive system.

5. Keeps away fever and infections:

Wormwood essential oil is effectual in treating fever due to bacterial and viral infections and this healing property is attributed to the presence of the toxic components like α-thujone and β-thujone, which act as a shield to the body and protects it from microbes and other harmful infections.

A research by the Cancer institute on the effectiveness of Complementary and alternative medicine in 2004 witnessed that Wormwood is powerful in treating fever and was used in Malaria treatment. The ancient Africans and Asians used Wormwood to combat malaria and to treat few other mosquito-borne diseases.

6. Fights against cancer:

The chemical properties of Wormwood have been proved as a potent cancer treatment by the Bioengineering researchers of the University of Washington. It has been witnessed that this derivative killed almost all the human breast cancer cells exposed to it within a time span of 16 hours. They also said that this wormwood derivative is “highly toxic to the cancer cells, but has a marginal impact on normal breast cells”.

7. Enriches the human body:

The great news is that Wormwood essential oil acts as a tonic to the entire system by stimulating the digestive system, improving the functioning of the circulatory system, strengthening the immune system, acting as a cardiac tonic, fortifying the nervous system and supporting the working of the excretory system, enabling the body to expel the unwanted toxic substances and stay vigilant at all times.

The natural and strong aroma of Wormwood essential oil makes it an important component of certain deodorants. This oil can also be used as a powerful insect repellant with its poisonous effects. Adding few drops of Wormwood oil to your vaporizers, sprays and fumigants can help you keep the harmful insects at bay.

Disclaimer:

Wormwood essential oil is a neurotoxin and has narcotic effects so never ingest this essential oil as it may harm the system. Essential oils are highly concentrated and do not apply this oil directly to your skin and always remember to blend it with carrier oils. Consult your medical practitioner before using the right essential oil for your health and your constitution.

Wormwood Essential Oil – Possible Skin Issues:

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Wormwood oil is considered as a narcotic oil when used in higher doses. The adverse effects of Wormwood oil is attributed to the presence of chemical constituent thujone, which contributes to about 50 percent of the oil. Thujone containing oils are restricted prevalently, mainly due to the concern of its psychotropic, nephrotoxic and neurotoxic effects. It may cause skin irritation, redness, eruptions in sensitive skin and dermatitis.

Studies witness the excitation of the autonomic nervous system due to convulsions and binding of the GABA receptors caused due to α and β-thujone. It is also a known fact that high amount of thujone and its metabolites can induce convulsions, unconsciousness, seizures, gastrointestinal cramps, insomnia, tremors, dizziness, hallucinations, vomiting, headaches, retention of urine, renal lesions, congestive heart failure and rhabdomyolysis (collapse of muscular fibers).

Wormwood should never be used internally as there are numerous studies witnessing the severe toxic effects of ingesting this oil and few cases include absinthism and the acute renal failure due to rhabdomyolysis in a person who drank about 10 ml of Wormwood oil; In an another case, the intake of 60 ml of Wormwood oil ended up in seizure, altered mental faculty, attention disability, rhabdomyolysis and hyperthermia.

Blend Wormwood oil in mild carrier oils like Coconut oil or Avocado oil before topical use as pure and organic essential oils are highly concentrated substances and can harm the skin surface if used in a concentrated form. The safe level of dermal use for this oil is 0.4% by IFRA (International Fragrance Association).

Dr. William Smith in a Medico-Chirurgical transaction study talks about the case of poisoning by Wormwood oil. It is stated that this oil has narcotic influence that may have negative impact on the nervous system, causing headache, convulsions, giddiness, vomiting, tremors and paralysis.

The PanAfrican Medical Journal study talks about the burning effects of Wormwood herb, where a 50 year old woman reported a severe pain in the facial skin with a dry and delicate erythema in the cheeks and forehead classified as an initial degree burn.

It was concluded that the presence of toxic agents, like thujone and malic acid were responsible for the adverse effects like redness, skin sensitivity and chemical burns. It was termed as a phytodermatose, which are lesions on the skin due to the frequent contact with certain herbs. Research reports also state that thujone is porphyrogenic in nature and can be hazardous for patients with defective hepatic heme synthesis.

With thujone being the toxic component, using Wormwood oil can act as a threat to pregnancy as it may affect the health of the uterus with its emmenagogue and abortifacient effects and is good to continue avoiding this oil during lactation as well.

It is advisable to restrict the use of this oil on children as they have a sensitive skin. Wormwood oil can also cause allergic reactions on the skin for those who are susceptible to plants of the Compositae/Asteraceae family like the Marigold, Ragweed, Chrysanthemum etc.,

Reference Links Substantiating the Possible Skin Issues of Wormwood Oil:

  1. Artemisia absinthium: burning plant! By Najia Ilham El Makrini, Badredine Hassam, Department of Dermatology, Ibn Sina Hospital, Rabat, Morocco published in the PanAfrican Medical Journal
  2. Case of Poisoning by Oil of Wormwood (Artemisia absinthium) by Dr. William Smith, Surgeon Chesterfield and North Derbyshire Hospital, published in Medico-Chirurgical Transactions, Royal Society of Medicine
  3. Wormwood by Essential Oil Safety: A Guide for Health Care Professionals By Robert Tisserand, Rodney Young
  4. Wormwood Toxicology by Leung’s Encyclopedia of Common Natural Ingredients, used in Food, Drugs and Cosmetics by Ikhlas A. Khan and Ehab A. Abourashed
  5. Adverse events and side effects of Artemisia absinthium by American Herbal Products Association’s Botanical Safety Handbook, Second Edition by Zoe Gardner, Michael McGuffin
  6. Toxicology and adverse reactions of Wormwood by Drugs.com
  7. Side effects of Wormwood by University of Michigan Health System

Thought for the day:

Life is not living, but living in health. 

– Martial, Roman poet

Suggested Reading:

  1. Artemisia (Medicinal and Aromatic Plants – Industrial Profiles) by Colin W. Wright
  2. Complete Aromatherapy Handbook: Essential Oils for Radiant Health by Susanne Fischer-Rizzi
  3. Aromatherapy for the Soul: Healing the Spirit with Fragrance and Essential Oils by Valerie Ann Worwood

Reference Links:

  1. Wormwood by Ingrid Naiman
  2. Health Benefits of Wormwood Essential Oil by Organic Facts
  3. Wormwood by Cancer.Org
  4. Wormwood Ancient Chinese Folk Remedy May Hold Key to Non-Toxic Cancer Treatment by Dr. Clark Information Center