Essential oils – biblical roots and benefits – Part II
Today we continue our journey in the world of essential oils with Cedarwood oil, Spikenard Oil and Hyssop Oil.
Figure 1- Cedarwood Plant
Cedarwood Essential Oil is also known as Cedrus Atlantica. It has been used for its curative qualities since ancient times. The wood together with its precious oil were used in the embalming process in the Ancient Egypt. Cedarwood is very closely related to the Biblical Cedar of Lebanon which came from an enormous orchard of cedars in Lebanon used by King Solomon in building his temple. The essential oil obtained from Cedarwood is comforting, reassuring and possesses a very woodsy, pleasant scent. The most popular method of extraction of the oil from the wood is through steam distillation. The Cedarwood essential oil adds a warm tone to any blend of cosmetics, soap or oil mixtures. Here, at Ballygarvan Soap & Candles we use cedarwood essential oil in our oil blend for puppy soap and other skincare products.
Cedarwood essential oil will improve the texture of the skin, help with organ function, tighten muscles, support metabolism, and benefit the digestive system. There is no wonder that cedars were the trees most mentioned in the Bible. Cedar symbolizes a source of protection, wisdom, and abundance.
Recent research studies found that Cedarwood essential oil is a sustainable alternative to anti-bacterial agents and is an effective ingredient in controlling both bacteria and yeasts responsible for oral infections. The study shows that using Cedarwood oil on children could greatly improve their focus and learning ability. The results showed Cedarwood oil inhalation improved focus in children with ADHD by 65%.
The key benefits of Cedarwood essential oil are:
- focus support,
- promotion of hair growth,
- reduction of skin irritations,
- fighting fungal infections,
- repelling bugs, assisting in healing cough,
- relieving tension and reduction of pain.
The main therapeutic compounds of Cedarwood oil are alpha-cedrene, beta-cedrene, cedrol and thujopsene.
Figure 2- Spikenard Flower & Root
Spikenard Essential Oil – known scientifically as Nardostachys Jatamansi, was known in ancient times as “nard”. It was regarded as one of the most precious oils. Many say that Solomon prophesied a thousand years earlier of Christ’s victory over death using a reference to Spikenard. Spikenard was also used in Greed and Roman healing ceremonies, and it was even used in medieval cookery. Used in Ayurveda, it is both healing and a deep connection to spirit. For those suffering from anxiety, Spikenard can soothe nerves and quite the mind. Spikenard oil is used to treat insomnia, stress, digestive problems and infections. The roots of the plant are steam-distilled to extract the essential oil, which has a heavy sweet, woody, and spicy aroma very similar with the smell of moss.
A research study undertaken in 2008 on mice found that Spikenard extract had sedative and calming benefits. The result of the study indicate that Spikenard oil shows a positive response in hair growth promotion, showing that Spikenard may work as a hair loss remedy. At Ballygarvan Soap & Candles we use Spikenard essential oil in most of our haircare products.
The key benefits of Spikenard oil are as follows:
- Reduces inflammation,
- Fights bacteria and fungi,
- Can relax the body and mind,
- Boosts immune system,
- Helps to alleviate insomnia and
- Boosts skin and hair health.
Spikenard’s main therapeutic compounds are bornyl acetate, valeranone, alpha-patchoulene.
Figure 3- Hyssop Flowers & Oil
Hyssop Oil known also as Hyssopus officinalis is a rare oil with numerous therapeutic properties. For thousands of years, Hyssop has been used as a purifier and cleanser. The Romans revered Hyssop because they believed it helped protect them against plagues. Its reputation as a protective plant has led people to hang dried hyssop around their homes in order to keep out the “evil eye” or negativity. It has also been left at gravesites to protect the dead.
The Bible mentions Hyssop several times mostly in the Old Testament. In Leviticus, God commanded His people to use Hyssop in the ceremonial cleansing of people and houses. In one example, God tells the priests to use Hyssop together with cedarwood, scarlet yarn and the blood of a clean bird to sprinkle a person recently healed from a skin disease (likely leprosy). The essential oils are extracted from the leaves of the plant, and with its pleasing herbal, slightly minty aroma, it can lift the spirits.
A research study completed in 2002 found that Hyssop oil has muscle-relaxing benefits. The oil reduced spontaneous movements and decreased the basal or vascular tone, which is the degree of constriction experienced by a blood vessel relative to its maximally dilated state. The study concluded that Hyssop oil may be a promising treatment for herpes type 2 virus.
The key benefits of Hyssop are:
- Works as an anti-bacterial and anti-viral agent,
- Promotes emotional balance,
- May help with wound healing,
- Promotes mental alertness,
- Helps reduce anxiety,
- Helps detoxify the body,
- Fights inflammation and,
- Provides relief from respiratory conditions.
The main therapeutic compounds of Hyssop are cispino-champhone, trans-pinocamphone and beta-pinene. It is important that you do not exceed 30 drops of Hyssop oil in a day, as it is a convulsant and may increase your risk of seizure.
Next week we will discuss the benefits and uses of Cassia, Sandalwood (aloes) & Cypress Essential Oils.