Category: Essential Oils

Myrrh Essential Oil

Myrrh Essential Oil
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General Description

Myrrh essential oil is extracted from the aromatic oleo-gum resin of Commiphora, [1] a drought tolerant thorny tree species native to the tropical forest, desert, and woodland areas of Africa, Arabian Peninsula, India, and South America. [2] Commiphora trees, especially the species C. myrrha (or C. molmol), are deliberately wounded through the bark and into the sapwood to let the tree bleed a resin, which is the yellowish waxy myrrh gum that becomes hard and glossy post-harvest. [1]

Myrrh essential oil is distinctively appreciated for its warm, medium-strength, spicy, balsamic aroma and uplifting, revitalizing, and soothing effect. It varies in color from yellow, to amber, to greenish-brown and is used in aromatherapy as an aid in meditation or before healing, owing to its spirituality-enhancing effect. [3]

Myrrh Essential Oil – Uses and Reported Benefits

The use of myrrh for its medicinal properties dates back to biblical times. Myrrh has long been cherished for its circulatory, disinfectant, analgesic, antirheumatic, antidiabetic, and schistosomicidal properties. [4]

But the list just doesn’t stop here. Myrrh essential oil is also known for its putative antimicrobial, antifungal, astringent and healing, tonic, carminative, stomachic, anti-catarrhal, expectorant, diaphoretic, vulnerary, immune stimulant, anti-inflammatory, and antispasmodic actions. [3] More than just one of the gifts to the then-infant Jesus Christ by the biblical Three Wise Men from the east, as mentioned in the Gospel of Matthew, myrrh holds a centuries-old medical reputation in being a natural drug to treat pain, skin infections, inflammatory conditions, diarrhea, and periodontal diseases. [5] It is also perfect as treatment for indigestion, ulcers, colds, cough, asthma, lung congestion, arthritis pain, and syphilis and can be orally applied for soreness and swelling, inflamed gums, loose teeth, canker sores, bad breath, and chapped lips. It is also used as a stimulant and as an agent to increase menstrual flow. [6]

In traditional Chinese medicine, myrrh is referred to as “mo yao” and is used to invigorate the blood; reverse blood stasis; and lessen the swelling and diminish the pain from trauma, sores, carbuncles, abdominal masses, painful obstruction, and amenorrhea. By improving the circulation and promoting excellent blood flow, myrrh is said to be able to treat a variety of conditions according to Chinese beliefs. [7]

Ayurveda, the traditional medicine system of India, which holds distinction in being one of the oldest surviving comprehensive herbal medicine systems on Earth, claims myrrh to be an effective treatment for gingivitis, digestive disorders, athlete’s foot, mouth ulcers, cold sores, common cold or sore throat, ulcerative colitis, and amenorrhea. Myrrh is referred to in Ayurvedic medicine as “bola” and is described in the said herbal medicine system as “of hot temperature” with bitter, astringent, and pungent characteristics. [8]

Myrrh Essential Oil – Contraindications and Safety

The use of myrrh essential oil is generally safe for most people, particularly when used in small recommended amounts. However, incorrect doses or large doses may result in skin rash and diarrhea; in fact, amounts exceeding 2-4 g may lead to kidney irritation and abnormal alterations in heart rate. [6]

A few special group of individuals need to be cautious in using myrrh essential oil. At best, a medical practitioner or expert should be consulted prior to use for safety’s sake. Pregnant and breast-feeding women must not use myrrh essential since harmful effects have been documented during pregnancy and not much is known about the safety of myrrh application when lactating. Myrrh is thought to stimulate the uterus and hence to induce a miscarriage. Those who are on diabetes medications and warfarin (Coumadin) need to be aware that myrrh essential oil may interact with these drugs, causing undesirable consequences. On the one hand, myrrh might decrease one’s blood sugar level. The blood sugar-lowering effect of diabetes medications – such as glimepiride (Amaryl), glyburide (DiaBeta), insulin, and pioglitazone (Actos) – may be extremely potentiated by myrrh essential oil to the point that the blood sugar level may be now too low. On the other hand, myrrh essential oil might interfere with the action of warfarin (Coumadin), an anticoagulant. [6]

Myrrh Essential Oil – Scientific Studies And Research

To date, several current studies have provided supporting evidence on the significant antiseptic, anesthetic, and antitumor properties of myrrh, and more clinical trials are yet to validate the role of myrrh as an antineoplastic and antiparasitic agent and as an adjunct to wound healing. [5]

Wanner et al. (2010) demonstrated the antibacterial and inhibitory effect of myrrh essential oil against eleven different strains of Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria using agar diffusion and agar serial dilution methods. [9] Myrrh essential oil alone possesses promising antimicrobial activity, but when used in combination with frankincense essential oil, such activity is dramatically enhanced, as illustrated by the study of de Rapper et al. (2012). In this study, frankincense and myrrh essential oils separately were efficacious against Cryptococcus neoformans and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. In combination however, Bacillus cereus had become most susceptible to the synergistic action of the oils studied. [10] Trichomoniasis vaginalis, the anaerobic, flagellated protozoan responsible for trichomoniasis, is susceptible as well to myrrh extracts (in vivo). [11]

At a dose of 500 mg/kg body weight, a petroleum ether extract of myrrh from the species Commiphora molmol has been found to exert inhibitory actions against carrageenan-induced inflammation and cotton pellet granuloma, not to mention significant antipyretic activity in mice. [12]

The antibacterial and anti-inflammatory potential of myrrh in sepsis has been explored to some extent.

The results from the study of Kim et al. (2012) reveal the effect of myrrh on peritoneal macrophages and clinically relevant models of septic shock, such as cecal ligation and puncture (CLP). Lipopolysaccharide induces the production of inflammatory mediators such as nitric oxide, prostaglandin E2, and tumor necrosis factor-α, but myrrh appears to suppress such production as well as the activation of c-jun NH2-terminal kinase. In their study, Kim et al. (2012) used CLP as the septic shock model to induce mortality and liver damage. Myrrh treatment was able to decrease the mortality and bacterial counts and to ameliorate the liver damage, as evidenced by decreased infiltration of leukocytes and aspartate aminotransferase/alanine aminotransferase level. [13]

What also interests the medical profession to date about myrrh essential oil is its potential use in cancer therapy as a nonmutagenic, antioxidative, and cytotoxic agent. A Saudi Arabian study once had determined that myrrh from C. molmol has pronounced cytotoxic and antitumor activities in Ehrlich ascites carcinoma cell-bearing mice – activities that were identified as equivalent to that of cyclophosphamide, a standard cytotoxic drug. [14]

Myrrh Essential Oil – Molecular Components and Chemistry

The chief components of myrrh essential oil, as determined and quantified through gas chromatography-mass spectrometry conducted in the study of Marongiu, Piras, Porcedda, and Scorciapino (2005), are as follows: furanoeudesma-1,3-diene (34.9%), lindestrene (12.9%), curzerene (8.5%), and germacrone (5.8%). [15]

References:

[1] Myrrh. Wikipedia. Retrieved 6 May 2013 from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Myrrh

[2] Daly D. C., Harley M. M., Mart”nez-Habibe M. C., & Weeks A. (2011). Burseraceae. In K. Kubitzki (Eds.), The families and genera of vascular plants (Vol. 10, pp. 76-104). New York: SpringerVerlag. Retrieved 6 May 2013 from http://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007%2F978-3-642-14397-7_7#page-2

[3] Myrrh 100% Pure Therapeutic Grade Essential Oil- 5 ml. Edens Garden. Retrieved 6 May 2013
from http://www.amazon.com/Myrrh-100-Therapeutic-Grade-Essential/dp/B005CD2A08

[4] Etman M., Amin M., Nada A. H., Shams-Eldin M., & Salama O. (2011). Emulsions and rectal formulations containing myrrh essential oil for better patient compliance. Drug Discoveries &
Therapeutics
, 5(3): 150-156. Retrieved 6 May 2013 from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22466245

[5] Nomicos E. Y. (2007). Myrrh: medical marvel or myth of the Magi? Holistic Nursing Practice, 21(6): 308-323. Retrieved 6 May 2013 from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17978635

[6] Find a vitamin or supplement: Myrrh. WebMD, LLC. Retrieved 6 May 2013 from http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-570-myrrh.aspx?activeIngredientId=570&activeIngredientName=
myrrh&source=1

[7] Mo Yao (Myrrh) – Chinese Herbal Medicine. Yin Yang House. Retrieved 6 May 2013 from http://www.yinyanghouse.com/theory/herbalmedicine/mo_yao_tcm_herbal_database

[8] Khalsa K. P. S. & Tierra M. (2008). Myrrh. In The way of Ayurvedic herbs: The most complete guide to natural healing and health with traditional Ayurvedic herbalism (p. 161). WI, USA: Lotus Press. Retrieved 6 May 2013 from http://books.google.com.ph/books?id=fOK33vv_29UC&pg=PA161

[9] Wanner J. et al. (2010). Chemical composition and antibacterial activity of selected essential oils and some of their main compounds. Natural Product Communications, 5(9): 1359-1364.
Retrieved 6 May 2013 from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20922991

[10] de Rapper S., Van Vuuren S. F., Kamatou G. P., Viljoen A. M., & Dagne E. (2012). The additive and synergistic antimicrobial effects of select frankincense and myrrh oils–a combination from the pharaonic pharmacopoeia. Letters in Applied Microbiology, 54(4): 352-358. doi:
10.1111/j.1472-765X.2012.03216.x. Retrieved 6 May 2013 from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22288378

[11] El-Sherbiny G. M. & el Sherbiny E. T. (2011). The effect of Commiphora molmol (myrrh) in treatment of Trichomoniasis vaginalis infection. Iranian Red Crescent Medical Journal, 13(7): 480-486. Retrieved 6 May 2013 from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3371981/

[12] Tariq M. et al. (1986). Anti-inflammatory activity of Commiphora molmol. Agents and Actions, 17(3-4): 381-382. Retrieved 6 May 2013 from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3485893/

[13] Kim M. et al. (2012). Myrrh inhibits LPS-induced inflammatory response and protects from cecal ligation and puncture-induced sepsis. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 2012: 278718. Retrieved 6 May 2013 from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3151005/

[14] Qureshi S. et al. (1993). Evaluation of the genotoxic, cytotoxic, and antitumor properties of Commiphora molmol using normal and Ehrlich ascites carcinoma cell-bearing Swiss albino mice. Cancer Chemotherapy and Pharmacology, 33(2): 130-138. Retrieved 6 May 2013 from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8261571

[15] Marongiu B., Piras A., Porcedda S., & Scorciapino A. (2005). Chemical composition of the essential oil and supercritical CO2 extract of Commiphora myrrha (Nees) Engl. and of Acorus calamus L. Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, 53(20): 7939-7943. Retrieved 6
May 2013 from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16190653

Neroli Essential Oil

neroli essential oil
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Background image – © Antonio Gravante – Fotolia.com #22789213
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Neroli – General Information

Neroli Essential Oil – also known as Orange blossom essential oil is an essential oil made from the flowers of a variety of Bitter Orange Tree – Citrus aurantium var. amara (also known as Citrus vulgaris or Citrus bigardia). It has a similar scent to bergamot, another citrus used in food flavoring. Neroli is produced by water distillation as opposed to steam distillation – as the fragrance is too delicate and would be denatured by the higher temperatures of steam. [1]

Also, do not confuse neroli with niaouli. Niaouli is something completely different and is nothing to do with citrus –
but is an oil extracted from Melaleuca viridiflora, a large evergreen tree.

Neroli Essential Oil – Uses And Scientific Research

Neroli as anxiolytic: Neroli is widely used in aromatherapy – being indicated to ease tension, relax and increase circulation.
It is considered very relaxing and its use as an anxiolytic is well established. [2][3] Neroli is also listed as an ingredient in essential oil blends given for shock or grief. It is suggested for several conditions related to nervousness – insomnia, headaches, palpitations, fear, depression, neuralgia and vertigo. [2][4]

Neroli for stomach conditions: Neroli has also been suggested for colitis, stomach upsets and diarrhea (as part of an massage oil blend or in a bath.) [4]

Neroli as beverage ingredient: Neroli is also used as a beverage flavoring. It is rumored to be one of the ingredients in the “secret” Coca-cola recipe, and is used in Grand Marnier, a brand of alcoholic drink.

Neroli as antimicrobial: Neroli has been found to have antimicrobial activities in lab tests against Gram-positive and Gram-negative bacteria. It was also found to have “very strong” antifungal activity (stronger than the standard antibiotic Nystatin) against the fungus types Aspergillus parasiticus, Mucor ramannianus and Fusarium culmorum [5]

Neroli as antioxidant: Neroli has been found to be an antioxidant with free radical-scavening capability. [5]

Neroli as perfume ingredient:The oil and its derivatives are among the most widely used floral oils in perfume manufacture, often being used as a primary ingredients. Neroli has been used by in perfumery for hundreds of years and is a very agreeable and popular scent. [1]

Neroli as acne treatment: Some citrus oils are used (highly diluted) in topical acne treatments. Limonene, a primary component, has been found antibacterial and also dissolves sebum, therefore assisting with pore cleansing. However in this regard it might be more appropriate to consider lemon or orange essential oil due to the reduced cost. [6]

Neroli as aphrodisiac: Modern literature lists neroli as one of the “aphrodisiac” essential oils. In old times, neroli was recommended by the Arabs as a cure for impotence [7] and various other traditions associate it with marriage, fertility and even seduction. In the 19th century, orange flowers were carried by brides on their wedding day or attached to their hair or veils. [8] There is however no specific mention whatsoever in literature (Google Books search) of neroli being aphrodisiac prior to 1998. This is slightly unusual: Almost without exception, herbal and plant based aphrodisiacs and aphrodisiac essential oils have an ancient legacy as such. Then, it starts to appear. Better Nutrition magazine of March 1999 has a feature article on Neroli, which states that Neroli is said to possess aphrodisiac qualities. Now, thousands of popular web sites now cheerfully include Neroli in their lists of “top aphrodisiac essential oils” – in many cases without reference or apparent verification of sources. A search of Pubmed shows that no scientific research appears on the subject of whether Neroli is an aphrodisiac. The closest thing I could find to a scientific article investigating the scent of Neroli in this regard (and this is really not all that close) was a 2003 paper from the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Connecticut, USA;
which found that the crested auklet (Aethia cristatella), a seabird, exhibits a distinctive tangerine-like scent closely associated with courtship. [9] It might be an interesting study for the research chemist to investigate whether there is some form of connection.

Citrus aurantium is listed in the AHPA’s “Herbs of Commerce”, p.40 – and Neroli essential oil is available from usual sources.
Please use care, follow safe practices and safety precautions when using essential oils. [10]

Citrus Oils Chart

Several essential oils are made from the various types (and parts) of citrus trees – and it is easy to get confused: Here is a handy chart of some of the most common citrus oils:

English name: Latin name extraction method
Orange essential oil Citrus sinensis (“sweet orange”) cold pressed from orange peel
Tangerine essential oil Citrus tangerina cold pressed (?) from tangerine peel
Sweet lime essential oil Citrus Limetta Var. Mitha steam distilled from peel [11]
Mandarin orange essential oil Citrus reticulata cold pressed from mandarin peel
Neroli essential oil Citrus aurantium var. amara water distilled from the flowers
Petitgrain essential oil Citrus aurantium var. amara steam distilled from the leaves and twigs [12]
Bergamot Citrus bergamia Cold pressed (best) or steam distilled from peel

Aditional safety note – it is specifically advised not to use citrus essential oils on the skin (especially bergamot) – as they may trigger sensitization reactions.

Chemical Composition Of Neroli Oil

In a 2011 study, 86 molecular components were determined. Composition of the oils was found to be somewhat variable depending on the time of year that they were produced. [13]

A 2012 study reported that the main components of Tunisian neroli oil were as follows:

Limonene (27.5%)
(E)-nerolidol (17.5%)
α-terpineol (14.0%)
α-terpinyl acetate (11.7%)
(E, E)-farnesol (8.0%)
(E)-β-ocimene (4.3%)
γ-elemene (3.4%)
δ-3-carene (2.4%)
β-terpinyl acetate (1.7%) [18]

The predominance of limonene was found to be at variance with other studies [14][15][16][17], which have found predominance of linalool (37.5-74%). [18]

One of the major components of neroli is nerol – a component with extensive use in the perfume industry. It is often used in the preparation of synthetic rose scents. [19]

Production of Neroli

Around 90% of the world’s production of Neroli comes from Tunisia and Morocco – at around 1500 Kg. A small amount of neroli (up to 150kg) is also produced in Egypt, Spain and Morocco, France and Spain. The Tunisian oil is reported to have always been considered to be the finest – and is the most expensive. [13][18]

History Of Neroli

Neroli has an intriguing history of use spaning many centuries. The essential oil Neroli is said to gain its name from the fact that it was used by Anne Marie Orsini, the princess of Nerola, Italy – who is believed to have introduced the fragrance to fashionable use. She added it to her bath and used it to perfume her gloves. [1] Anne Marie Orsini, also known as Madame de Orsins, was an influential and ambitious political figure in the French and Spanish royal courts and lived from 1642 to 1722. [20]

By 1750 Neroli appears in various encyclopedias and scientific books, particularly in French. It is described as having a pleasing fragrance. In the 1755 Chimie Médicinale of Paul Jacques Malouin, neroli is described as being the essential oil of orange flowers, good for conditions of the nerves; however no specific mention is made of bitter orange, Citrus Aurantium. [21]

This is typical of the writers of the period; and even in the 19th century we find no mention of Bitter Orange – although some writers mention Seville Orange (another name for bitter orange). Similarly, the 1735 Histoire générale des drogues simples et composeés of Pierre Pomet, makes no mention of which variety of orange blossom was used to make the oil:

“Those who distil the Orange Blossom, draw a clear and extremely fragrant oil, which perfumers gave the name Neroli, of which the most perfect is made in Rome, and after that in Provence.”

It seems that the use of Citrus aurantium, as opposed to orange flowers in general, may be a more modern invention or simply that there was more ambiguity as to the species used in old time. The text speaks of Neroli as if it is no modern invention – and gives no indication of the origins of the oil in perfumery.

Digging deeper… Gilles Menage’s 1694 work Dictionnaire etymologique ou Origines de la langue françoise (Etymological dictionary of the origins of the French language) states that Gloves of Neroli are “a type of perfumed glove, named after the Princess of Neroli, also known as the Duchess of Bracciano, who was the first to so perfume them.” This work copies the entry on Neroli from Menage’s Italian etymological dictionary of 1685.

Both these editions borrow from an earlier work of Menage: the 1672 Observations sur la langue françoise, which has an entry amusingly entitled Whether one should say ‘Gloves of Neroli’ or ‘Gloves of Nerola’. It goes on to state (translated from the French):

“One should say ‘Gloves of Neroli’. This is what the gloves are called in France; whereas in Italy, from whence they originated, one calls them guanti de Nerola after the Princess of Nerola, now the Duchesse de Braciane, who invented the perfume.
The Italians have similarly named ‘gloves of Frangipani’ the gloves of which the perfume was invented by the Marquis of Frangipane.”

The practice of adding perfume to gloves itself, clearly was not invented by Orsini, but the naming of the essential oil of orange flowers “Neroli” in her honour appears to be validated. Gilles Ménage had already described Gands de Frangipani – gloves perfumed with Frangipani – in his 1650 Les Origines de la Langue Françoise.

The use of orange flowers in perfumery and medicine, however, is older. Eau de fleurs d’orange (orange flower water) is mentioned at least as far back as 1648 – being one of several floral waters in use in those days. [22] Many of the earlier texts being in Latin, it is not too much of a stretch to imagine that similar creations were used by the Ancient Romans, Arabs, Greeks or even Egyptians.

Essential oil of orange flowers, too, appears to have been in use before acquiring the name Neroli: Madeleine de Scudery’s 1663 Almahide, ou l’esclave reine (p.512-3) provides a glorious list of perfumes, of which essential oil of orange flowers is one.

The solution seems obvious: Anne Marie Orsini most likely did not “invent” the Neroli oil, but popularized its used among the European aristocracy. Its use may even go back to ancient times.

References:

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neroli
[2] Kurt Schnaubelt – “The Healing Intelligence Of Essential Oils”, Healing Arts Press
[3] http://www.degruyter.com/view/j/jcim.2008.5.1/jcim.2008.5.1.1143/jcim.2008.5.1.1143.xml
[4] http://www.essentialoils.co.za/essential-oils/neroli.htm
[5] A. Haj Ammar, J. Bouajila, A. Lebrihi, F. Mathieu, M. Romdhane and F. Zagrouba, 2012. Chemical Composition and in vitro Antimicrobial and [22] http://books.google.com/books?id=GP49AAAAcAAJ (p.282)
[6] http://scienceofacne.com/in-depth-citrus-essential-oils-lemon-lime-and-orange-in-acne-treatment/
[7] http://aromaticamedica.tripod.com/id23.html
[8] http://www.angelfire.com/journal2/flowers/o.html
[9] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12965022
[10] “Herbs of Commerce” (AHPA) (2000 edition) – Michael McGuffin, John T. Kartesz, Albert Y Leung, Arthur O. Tucker p.40
[11] http://www.amazon.com/Phytochemical-Investigation-Citrus-limetta-Peel/dp/3848497891
[12] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Petitgrain
[13] http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21834247
[14] Anonis, D.P., 1985. Neroli in perfumery. Perfum. Flav., 9: 7-10.
[15] http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ffj.2730040313/abstract
[16] Lin, Z.K., Y.E. Hua and Y.H. Gu, 1986. Chemical constituents of the essential oil from the flowers, leaves and peel of Citrus aurantium (Chin.). Acta Botanica Sinica, 28: 635-640.
[17] Zhu, L.L., L. Yonghua, L. Li Boaling, L. Biyao and N. Xia, 1993. Aromatic Plants and Essential Constituents (Bitter Orange Flower Oil). South China Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Hai Feng Publishing Co., Hong Kong, China.
[18] Antioxidant Activities of Citrus aurantium L. Flowers Essential Oil (Neroli Oil). Pakistan Journal of Biological Sciences, 15:
1034-1040. http://www.scialert.net/fulltext/?doi=pjbs.2012.1034.1040

[19] Pharos University – PHR343/lec.3%20clinical%20V.O%20hala%202012.pdf
[20] Encyclopedia Britannica, 11th Edition; “Ursins, Marie Anne de la Tremoille”
[21] http://books.google.com/books?id=L9oUAAAAQAAJ (p.181-3)

Niaouli Essential Oil

Niaouli Essential Oil
Niaouli Essential Oil – Uses And Benefits – image to repin / share
Background pic – Wikipedia – lic. under CC 4.0
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Niaouli Essential Oil – General Description

Niaouli essential oil is a clear, thin, pale yellow essential oil derived from the leaves and twigs of niaouli (Melaleuca quinquenervia) through steam distillation process. Note that Melaleuca quinquenervia should not be confused with Melaleuca alternifolia aka.
Tea Tree.

Niaouli, often referred to as broad-leaved paperbark tree or paper bark tea tree, is a small- to medium-sized spreading tree of the allspice or Myrtaceae family, characterized by its thick white and beige papery bark; leathery dull- or grey-green ovate leaves; and white bottlebrush-like flowers. The tree flourishes in seasonally flooded silty or swampy soil, particularly in the plains, swamps, and savannas of New Caledonia, Papua New Guinea, and coastal eastern Australia where they are native. [1]

Niaouli essential oil has a strong, fresh, earthy, musty aroma with a note of camphor and blends well with basil, cajeput, eucalyptus, fennel, juniper, lavender, lemon, lime, myrtle, orange, pine, rosemary, peppermint, tea tree, and thyme essential oils. This essential oil is widely utilized in the perfume and fragrance industry and is incorporated in a broad array of cosmetic products and pharmaceutical preparations such as gargles, cough drops, toothpastes, and mouth sprays. [2]

Niaouli Essential Oil – Uses and Reported Benefits

Niaouli essential oil is considered in traditional medicine and herbalism as a natural antiseptic and antibacterial agent capable of effectively eliminating skin conditions such as acne and boils, bladder infections, and respiratory ailments, including asthma, bronchitis, catarrh, cough, and sore throat. Its efficient ability to deter microbial growth makes it an exceptional remedy to burns, cuts, and insect bites as well. [2] Furthermore, external application of niaouli essential oil extracted from the niaouli leaves of the cineole chemotype has been reported to induce relief from neuralgia and rheumatism. [1] Aside the previously mentioned, niaouli essential oil possesses other beneficial properties including analgesic, antispasmodic, balsamic, stimulant, and anthelmintic activities. [3]

Niaouli Essential Oil – Scientific Studies And Research

Niaouli and immune function: Niaouli essential oil has been reported to boost one’s immunity and potentiate the body’s capacity to fight against infection. A 2008 Korean study conducted by researchers from Jeonju University had demonstrated that in vivo treatment of niaouli essential oil potentiates T cell-mediated cellular immunity and macrophage activity, evidencing the possible clinical application of niaouli essential oil in thwarting and controlling infectious diseases caused by intracellular pathogens. In this study, mouse models that were immunized with keyhole limpet hemocyanin (KLH) and intraperitoneally administered niaouli essential oil (less than 500 μl/kg body weight) were studied to determine the in vivo immunomodulatory effect of niaouli essential oil. Considerably higher expression of an activation marker, CD25, on freshly isolated draining lymph node T cells proved the in vivo efficacy of niaouli essential oil for immunity potentiation. Moreover, higher proliferative response, IFN-gamma production in lymph node T cells, and noticeably higher production of TNF-alpha and IL-12 by splenic macrophages were observed in the mouse group treated with niaouli essential oil. [4]

Niaouli as antibacterial: An earlier French study examined the antimicrobial activity of eight essential oils yielded from aromatic plants against enteropathogenic and spoilage bacteria strains and found that niaouli essential oil exerted a high inhibitory effect on Gram-positive bacterial strains tested. [5] In 2006, Donoyama and Ichiman from Tsukuba University of Technology, Japan, published their study concerning which essential oil is better for hygienic massage practice through the journal International Journal of Aromatherapy. The study tested for the antibacterial inhibitory effect of six essential oils against colony-forming units of Staphylococcus aureus strains using a disc method to measure the inhibition zones. The test findings revealed that eucalyptus and niaouli essential oils exhibited higher growth inhibitory effects than the other essential oils evaluated. Both essential oils were then diluted to 1%, 3%, or 6% v/v with jojoba oil base, and their antibacterial effects were correlated in vitro with their concentrations. Massage sessions with niaouli essential oil were found to be more hygienic than those with eucalyptus essential oil. [6]

Niaouli as transdermal drug delivery enhancer: Several studies point out too the ability of numerous essential oils to improve the penetration of different drugs through membranes, especially the skin, and niaouli essential oil has been reported to be among them. Monti et al. (2002) investigated six terpene-containing essential oils for their capacity to promote permeation of estradiol through hairless mouse skin in vitro. Estradiol is a form of estrogen, a female sex hormone produced by the ovaries, and is used to relieve menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes and vaginal dryness, prevent postmenopausal osteoporosis, and remedy estrogen deficiency among women with ovarian failure. Results from tests on essential oils at a concentration of 10% w/w in propylene glycol concretely proved niaouli essential oil as the best permeation promoter of estradiol. Tests on the terpene components of niaouli essential oil, namely, 1,8 cineole, alpha-pinene, alpha-terpineol, and D-limonene, confirmed the better promoting activity of the whole essential oil too, authenticating the potential of niaouli essential oil as a transdermal penetration enhancer for moderately lipophilic drugs such as estradiol. [7]

Effect of Isolated components of Niaouli on blood glucose and more: Moharram et al. (2003) isolated four polyphenolic acid derivatives and three ellagitannins from the leaves of niaouli, namely, gallic acid, ellagic acid, 3-O-methylellagic acid, 3,4,3′-tri-O-methylellagic acid, 2,3-O-hexahydroxydiphenoyl-(α/β)-D-4C1-glucopyranose, castalin, and grandinin. Grandinin, established to be the principal component of niaouli leaves in this study, displayed free radical scavenging properties and a noteworthy dose-dependent hypoglycemic effect, decreasing the blood glucose level in basal condition and after heavy glucose load in normal mice. The test results had further revealed that in streptozotocin-induced diabetic mice, grandinin reduced their elevated levels of blood glucose, blood urea nitrogen, and serum lipid peroxides. [8]

Niaouli Essential Oil – Molecular Components and Chemistry

Trilles et al. (2006) investigated the chemical composition of the essential oil derived from niaouli leaves collected from seven harvesting locations. Through gas chromatography-mass spectrometry analysis, forty-two components were identified, the chief ones being 1,8-cineole (0.1-76%), viridiflorol (0-67%), ρ-cymene (0-40%), γ-terpinene (0-33%), α-pinene (0-30%), α-terpineol (0-24%), terpinolene (0-19%), limonene (0.1-16%), and ledol (0-21%). [9]

Niaouli Essential Oil – Contraindications and Safety

As with other essential oils, Niaouli EO should not be taken internally. When used diluted, it is generally regarded as nontoxic and nonsensitizing for skin use, but its use by pregnant and nursing women is contraindicated. Use this essential oil with care, keeping contact away from mucous membranes and the eyes. Dilute this essential oil with a carrier oil such as foraha (aka. Tamanu), jojoba, grapeseed, almond, or olive oil, prior to use.

References:

[1] Melaleuca quinquenervia: Overview. Encyclopedia of Life. Retrieved from http://eol.org/pages/2508582/hierarchy_entries/57304275/overview

[2] Niaouli 100% Pure Therapeutic Grade Essential Oil- 10 ml. Amazon. Retrieved from http://www.amazon.com/Niaouli-100-Therapeutic-Grade-Essential/dp/B005CD33ZO

[3] Nature’s Kiss Niaouli 10ml Essential Oil, 0.34-Ounce. Amazon. Retrieved from http://www.amazon.com/Natures-Kiss-Niaouli-Essential-0-34-Ounce/dp/B00757DT0O

[4] Nam S. Y., Chang M. H., Do J. S., Seo H. J., Oh H. K. (2008). Essential oil of niaouli preferentially potentiates antigen-specific cellular immunity and cytokine production by macrophages. Immunopharmacology and Immunotoxicology. 30(3): 459-474. doi:
10.1080/08923970802135187. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18668393

[5] Ramanoelina A. R., Terrom G. P., Bianchini J. P., Coulanges P. (1987). Antibacterial action of essential oils extracted from Madagascar plants. Archives de l’Institut Pasteur de Madagascar. 53(1): 217-226. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3451708

[6] Donoyama N., Ichiman Y. (2006). Which essential oil is better for hygienic massage practice? International Journal of Aromatherapy. 16(3-4): 175-179. Retrieved from http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0962456205000652

[7] Monti D. et al. (2002). Effect of different terpene-containing essential oils on permeation of estradiol through hairless mouse skin. International Journal of Pharmaceutics. 237(1-2): 209-214. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11955818

[8] Moharram F. A. et al. (2003). Polyphenols of Melaleuca quinquenervia leaves–pharmacological studies of grandinin. Phytotherapy Research. 17(7): 767-773. Retrieved from http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ptr.1214/abstract

[9] Trilles B. L. et al. (2006). Occurrence of various chemotypes in niaouli [Melaleuca quinquenervia (Cav.) S. T. Blake] essential oil from New Caledonia. Flavour and Fragrance Journal. 21(4): 677-682. Retrieved from http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ffj.1649/abstract