Labdanum Essential oil
Unlike many of the essential oils that we have covered here, labdanum essential oil is primarily used as a fragrance in the perfume industry where it helps balance and ground competing scents. It is not as well known for its therapeutic benefits though in aromatherapy.
Labdanum oil is used for its ability to deal with a range of emotional and mental issues and is known to relieve stress and to exert calm and tranquility on the mind. That being said, labdanum does consist of a number of therapeutic properties and it is possible that its medicinal potential has yet to be discovered.
Labdanum or rock rose is a relatively small evergreen bush native to mountainous Mediterranean regions especially Spain, France, Morocco and Cyprus. Its oil has been utilized for centuries for its aromatic qualities in perfumery while the gum is used for several therapeutic purposes including catarrh, diarrhea and dysentery.
There are some interesting facts regarding its discovery; by all accounts Mediterranean shepherds and goat herders collected labdanum gum resin from the beards of their goats that grazed on the labdanum shrubs. The amber colored resin was sold and used for incense.
Historical evidence suggests that the Pharaohs were among the earliest people to use labdanum on their bodies. They attached goat hair beards onto their faces with labdanum resin which was also used in the treatment of colds, rheumatism and female menstrual problems.
Labdanum essential oil which is used today in aromatherapy is derived from the leaves and twigs of the shrub by steam distillation. Its scent is sweet, woody with musky undertones and is highly valued in the perfume industry today for its ability to enhance multiple scents.
Labdanum essential oil is often confused with cistus absolute oil because they are both derived from the same plant (cistus ladanifer). However cistus absolute is distilled in a different manner and from different parts of the plant and is considered of far less therapeutic value than real labdanum essential oil which is derived from the crude gum prepared by boiling the leaves and the twigs.
Properties of Labdanum Essential oil
While the biggest use of labdanum essential oil is in the perfume industry, it is considered to possess a number of properties that offer some therapeutic benefit including antimicrobial, astringent, antiseptic, expectorant and emmenagogue properties. It is also used in aromatherapy to help uplift the mood and relieve anxiety, stress and depression.
Uses of Labdanum Essential oil
1. To relieve stress and calm the mind
A large number of essential oils can be used to calm the mind and to alleviate stress and anxiety symptoms and labdanum oil is no exception. Countless millions of people around the world suffer often alone with their symptoms.
There have been many periods during my own lifetime where life’s stresses have taken a hold of me; I have suffered panic attacks, anxiety and insomnia. There is no guarantee that any particular essential oil will help but unlike commonly prescribed anti-anxiety and anti-depression medication, they are safe and do not come with the host of side effects and the dangers of addiction.
Labdanum essential oil may not be that widely used but there is plenty of anecdotal evidence that suggests it can help with a range of emotional issues and quiet the mind in your time of need. Labdanum essential oil can be diffused at home or inhaled directly whenever you feel the need to lift your mood or control your anxiety. According to many people, it is also used to effectively deal with anger and mood swings.
2. Skin conditions
If your skin is starting to look a bit pallid, fatigued and generally lifeless, then essential oils have a huge part to play and are a great alternative to high priced skin care products. Labdanum essential oil has antimicrobial and astringent properties that give it plenty of applications for the skin. It is used to rejuvenate tired and aging skin, reduce signs of aging such as wrinkles and tighten loose muscles and skin which is especially good news for those of a certain age…like me.
Labdanum essential oil can also help to effectively treat inflamed and irritated skin. This essential oil is generally regarded as safe but before you apply it topically it is always best to dilute it with a suitable carrier oil for massage purposes or by adding a few drops to your body washes and cleansers.
3. Coughs and colds
Because of its expectorant properties, labdanum essential oil is one of many oils that can be used to treat some of the common symptoms of coughs and colds such as congestion.
- If you need to clear your airwaves and get rid of any mucous build up then add 4 or 5 drops of labdanum essential oil to a sink filled with hot water, cover your neck, head and your shoulders with a towel and breathe in the vapors for at least 5 minutes. This should provide some significant relief but be careful not to burn yourself.
Millions of people suffer from painful and swollen joints caused by rheumatism and other forms of arthritis and one of the best documented and traditional uses of labdanum essential oil is in its treatment of rheumatism. There are several ways that you can use labdanum oil to soothe your painful joints.
- Dilute the oil with your favorite carrier oil to make a luxurious massage mixture or just add 5 or 6 drops to your bathtub; lower yourself into the water and let your body soak up the benefits.
- Whenever you add essential oils to the bath, make sure that you have finished running the water first or you risk losing the therapeutic properties of your oil through evaporation.
Of course, it is not only sufferers of arthritis that can benefit- many people experience aching and painful joints and muscles from their daily activities or from sports. A nice massage or a bath infused with labdanum essential oil should provide much needed relief.
5. Menstrual Problems
Labdanum essential oil has been traditionally used by women to treat a variety of complaints associated with menstruation. It can help decrease the severity of menstrual cramps, bloating and feelings of nausea as well as regulating the frequency of menstruation.
6. Other uses
Labdanum essential oil is also said to support some of the body’s essential systems. It can help promote circulation and promote the delivery of oxygen to the brain and other vital organs. It is also said to stimulate the nervous, respiratory and digestive system though specific details are difficult to come by.
- Given that labdanum’s most significant benefit relates to emotional well-being and stress relief, the best way to use it is by inhaling its vapors. It can be safely diffused throughout the day or at night or simply inhaled whenever you feel the need.
- To ease any aches and pains and to help deal with menstrual cramp, then you can massage labdanum essential oil into your body but make sure that you dilute it properly with a carrier oil before applying it.
- Give your skin an extra treat by putting a few drops of labdanum oil into your facial cleanser or body wash product.
- For congestion, inhale it form the palms of your hands or make a steam bath in your bathroom sink.
Labdanum Essential Oil Side Effects
There are no side effects known related to labdanum essential oil but as with most other essential oils it is important that pregnant women and breast feeding parents consult their doctor before using it.