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Essential oils – biblical roots & benefits (Part III)

Cassia known also as Cinnamomum Cassia is one of the 50 fundamental herbs used in Chinese Medicine. Egyptians imported Cassia from China and used in the embalming process. In the ancient Middle East, people so valued Cassia that it was worth its weight in gold.

Mentioned in the Bible several times Cassia was often used in anointing oils. The root work, kiddah, signifies both in Hebrew and Arabic the word “strip” and refers to the strips of bark from which the spice is made. In spiritual sense, Cassia speaks of devotion (being stripped of pride) and consecration (set apart) with a servant’s heart. The Israelites brought it with them when they left Egypt for the Promised Land. As the Israelites travelled throughout the Sinai Peninsula, they may have purchased Cassia from traders who crossed the Peninsula from Arabia to Egypt. The main therapeutic compounds of Cassia are cinnamaldehyde and cinnamyl acetate. The principal key benefits of using Cassia essential oil are:

- Can improve circulation.

- Alleviates menstrual pain.

- Works as a natural anti-depressant.

- Supports the immune system.

- Inhibits the growth and development of bacteria.

- Works as an astringent.

- Serves as a natural bug repellent.

- Balances blood sugar.

Cassia essential oil is derived by steam distillation of the plant’s bark, leaves, and twigs. It has a spicy, warm aroma – like cinnamon but much sweeter. It has been traditionally used in the treatment of leprosy, erysipelas, ulcer symptoms, cough, flatulence, dyspepsia, menstrual problems, and tuberculosis. Cassia oil is often used as a supportive aid for bronchitis, anaemia, and constipation.

Recent research studies in 2016 found that a chemical constituent present in Cassia showed a preventive effect for the formation of atherosclerotic plaque which is the plaque that builds up in arteries). Another study found that both Cassia oil and pure cinnamaldehyde (the organic compound that gives cassia oil its flavour and odour) were equally effective in inhibiting the growth of various cultures of microorganisms isolated for study, including four species of candida and moulds.

Native to Asian tropics, Sandalwood also known as East Indian Sandalwood is an evergreen tree that can grow up to 30 feet. Younger trees are not as fragrant or as high – quality as mature sandalwood trees are. Sandalwood is commercially grown in India, where every tree is numbered and protected by law. Various wild species of sandalwood can be found on many Pacific islands, including the Hawaiian chain. When early traders discovered the fragrant wood in Hawaii, they began the intricate Sandalwood trade, forcing the local Hawaiian population to turn from subsistence farming to gathering Sandalwood. The effects were devastating to the Sandalwood production although it is said that Sandalwood trees can still be found there, but their location is kept secret from the outsiders. Thousands of years ago, the scent of Sandalwood was discovered to induce spirituality and peace. Its soothing aroma calms the conscious mind and prepares it for rituals of all kinds. Legendary poet, writer and singer Rabindranath Tagore once wrote: “As if to prove that love would conquer hate, the Sandalwood perfumes the very axe that lays it low”. For thousands of years, Hindus have used sandalwood during significant religious ceremonies. Inhaling the fragrance of sandalwood or its essential oil prior to religious rituals and meditation induces the proper frame of mind. The ancient Egyptians imported the wood and used it in medicine for embalming the dead and in ritual burning to venerate their gods. Sandalwood essential oil can help one achieve inner clarity and calmness.

The wood is steam – distilled to extract the powerful essential oils that have been used throughout history to enhance meditation and support the cardiovascular system. Sandalwood is calming and balancing when used aromatically. At Ballygarvan Soap & Candles we developed several natural deodorant recipes among which one containing coconut oil, baking soda, Sandalwood, Bergamot & Black Pepper essential oils was a best-seller during the years.

Recent research studies show that Sandalwood oil could be an effective chemo-preventive agent. The results indicate that Sandalwood oil pre-treatment decreased papilloma incidence and multiplicity. Animal studies reported that Sandalwood oil and alpha-santalol, one of its active ingredients, produced anti-cancer effects without causing any of the toxic side effects.

Cypress or Cupressus Sempervirens essential oil was used by the Phoenicians and Cretans to build houses and ships, while Egyptians used it to make sarcophagi for burying their dead. The Greeks used Cypress wood to carve statues of their gods. The botanical name comes from the Greek word that means “ever living”, Cypress trees are often cited in art and literature, and they are believed to be an emblem of death. In fact, legend has it that the cross upon which Jesus was crucified was made of Cypress.

Despite its somewhat sorrowful symbolisms, Cypress is also well known for the fragrant and relaxing oil it produces. Cypress essential oil is valued because of its ability to fight infections, aid the respiratory system, help remove toxins from the body and work as a stimulant that can relieve anxiety. The young twigs, stems and needles of the Cypress tree are steam-distilled, and the essential oil has a clean and energizing aroma that is slightly woody with evergreen undertones.

Cypress contains monoterpenes, making it beneficial for oily skin conditions. Adding a few drops to a clay mask can help restore balance. In a spiritual sense, Cypress’s rather astringent scent is excellent for smoothing transitions of all kinds, particularly the loss of friends and loved ones or the endings of relationships. Inhaling the Cypress essential oil aroma will give strength and comfort. The Cypress has long been planted in cemeteries throughout the Mediterranean region. It is an ancient symbol of comfort and solace, and its essential oil bestows reassurance in time of need. It is also protective to pets, since it is an insect repellent, but it should be diluted, and a few drops placed on the animal’s bedding and not directly on its skin would deter any pests.

A research study of 2004 found that a component present in Cypress oil, called camphene, inhibited the growth of nine bacteria and all yeasts studied. The compounds in Cypress oil, including cosmosiin, caffeic acid and p-coumaric acid, have proved to have powerful liver protective properties. Some other therapeutic compounds are carene, limonene and alpha-pinene. Results indicate that Cypress essential oil contains antioxidant compounds that can detoxify the body and inhibit free radicals. The main key benefits of Cypress essential oil are:

- Eases muscle pain.

- Works as natural deodorizer.

- Helps boost mood.

- May improve carpal tunnel syndrome.

- Assists in relieving restless legs.

- Contains anti-bacterial and antiseptic properties.

- May minimize varicose veins and cellulite.

- Relieves feelings of anxiety.

All of these oils and more are what the queens and kings of ancient days used as their medicine. There were no pharmacies on every corner street instead there were simply herbs, spices and other plant parts know to promote health and healing. There is a cornucopia of ancient medicines and natural remedies based in nature, including herbs, spices, supplements, and dozens of essential oils that we can use for our wellbeing.

Most of our handmade soaps and candles at Ballygarvan Soap & Candles are made with essential oils or proprietary combinations of oils. We use essential oil in extensive ways for their medicinal properties, cleaning and purifying agents, and their anti-aging properties. Why do we rely on essential oils in our recipes? Because we aim to complete our quest for health and vibrant living and essential oils can serve innumerable functions in our life – from promoting relaxation and caring for scrapes to helping fight disease and promoting healing. Remember, essential oils were placed on this Earth to benefit our health and provide rejuvenation. In fact, they have been a vital part of our individual journeys here at Ballygarvan Soap & Candles and in the pursuit of helping other find abundant health. Allow us to share the roles essential oils play in our personal lives in order to equip and empower you to use them every day.

Stay heathy & true to yourself!

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