Tagetes essential oil is extracted from the stalks, leaves and flowers of the tagetes minuta which is a part of a family of flowers that also includes daisies and sunflowers. These bright, fragrant flowers are also sometimes referred to as Mexican marigold or simply as marigold but the essential oil should not be confused with calendula or ‘true marigold’ essential oil.
Tagetes are believed to have originated in Africa before spreading out to Europe, Australia and parts of America. Tagetes essential oil has a strong, sweet and fruity aroma but is not among the most popular of essential oils despite its fragrance and many known therapeutic benefits.
Historically, these flowers have been hung outside of homes for their fragrant qualities and their ability to repel insects. Following the Boer war, returning Australian troops took the plants back home with them and began to appreciate their healthful benefits and they were used as a major ingredient in many foot medications.
Traditional Chinese practitioners have also made use of tagetes minuta flowers to treat cold, whooping cough and colic. The essential oil which is derived by a steam distillation process is known to contain a number of important therapeutic properties which gives the oil a variety of practical uses today. Among these properties are antibiotic, antimicrobial, antiseptic, sedative and anti-parasitic agents. The main chemical compounds of the oil include limonene, valeric acid and tagetone.
Uses of Tagetes essential oil
In spite of its pleasant fragrance and many medicinal uses, tagetes remains one of the less popular essential oils used I aromatherapy so if you would like to find out what this oil can be used for, read on….
1. Small wounds and cuts
Because tagetes essential oil has both antimicrobial and antibiotic properties, it is an effective treatment for minor open wounds, sores, cuts and ulcerated skin. Left untreated, these wounds can become home to a variety of bacteria and parasites which may lead to dangerous infections.
Tagetes essential oil when applied to these wounds and cuts prevents the growth and spread of infections and helps the skin to heal quickly and effectively. A variety of studies have demonstrated that tagetes essential oil has effective antimicrobial abilities and is effective against many forms of bacteria. (1)
There is some evidence that tagetes essential oil can even help destroy the staphylococcus aureus bacteria which has proven so harmful. Staph infections can begin by appearing fairly benign before very quickly spreading out to other areas of the body. Using tagetes essential oil on this harmful bacterium may help destroy it before it takes on its own life.
Always remember to dilute your essential oil sufficiently with an appropriate base oil before applying it directly to the skin.
2. Antimicrobial and antibiotic ability
The antimicrobial nature of tagetes essential oil makes it a suitable treatment for internal bacterial infections as well as wounds on the skin’s surface. The list of bacterial and fungal complaints that tagetes may help is large and includes food poisoning, tetanus, malaria and common fungal skin conditions like athlete’s foot and jock itch.
3. Respiratory conditions
Tagetes essential oil has a long history of use in certain Asian cultures as a remedy for a range of conditions related to respiration. Ayurvedic practitioners recommend a warm tagetes oil massage to ease congestion, stimulate mucus flow and open the bronchial channels making breathing far more comfortable.
Tagetes oil can also help fight chest infections and bronchitis. According to a study published in 2010 entitled Herbal remedies for Asthma, the chemical constituents present in tagetes essential oil could make it an effective treatment for asthma and other chronic respiratory issues.
Tagetes oil has sedative properties which make it extremely useful for a number of nervous disorders both physical and emotional. Physically, tagetes essential oil can be used to calm down digestive irritation and inflammation while also acting as a tonic for the central nervous system. Like so many essential oils, tagetes can be diffused to help you deal with stress, anxiety, panic and other common emotional conditions.
Everybody responds to aromatherapy differently and with so many essential oils purporting to help with anxiety and stress type disorders, it is difficult to know which one to choose. My advice is to try as many oils as you need to in order to find the one that is right for you. Don’t forget that essential oils usually work well in combination with each other.
The antispasmodic properties as well as its natural relaxant nature gives tagetes essential oil the ability to relax a range of conditions caused by muscular and other internal spasms. Tagetes essential oil can help soothe cramps, diarrhea and spasmodic coughs as well as a range of other complaints caused or made worse by spasms.
6. Pain and inflammation
Tagetes essential oil has anti-inflammatory properties which give it many practical applications. Whether you are suffering from an inflammatory condition like rheumatoid arthritis or your aching legs need to be soothed after a hard day’s work, tagetes oil can help. Either add a few drops to your bath water or massage the oil into the affected areas for swift relief.
7. Insect repellant
One of the traditional uses of the tagetes minuta plant was to keep unwanted insects at bay and its essential oil is known to be lethal to many annoying bugs like fleas, bed bugs and my personal pet hate, mosquitoes. If you find your kitchen overrun by cockroaches and silverfish, why not try tagetes oil to get rid of them for good. You can either make your own insect repellant spray or diffuse the oil in and around your home to keep them far away.
People often forget that essential oils have practical uses beyond treating the body and mind. Because of its antimicrobial, antiseptic and anti-parasitic qualities, tagetes essential oil can be used to clean down grimy work surfaces that are prone to invasion by unwanted microbes and bugs. Add a few drops of tagetes oil to a spray bottle and use it liberally to clean down the home. Not only will you kill off unwanted bacteria, but your home will smell great too.
How to use it
Like most essential oils, tagetes blends well with a variety of other oils and is especially effective when combined with clary sage, lavender, jasmine and myrrh.
- Massage: a warm massage with tagetes essential oil will soothe your muscles and help fight spasms and respiratory ailments. Be sure to dilute the oil first.
- Bath: Add a few drops of tagetes essential oil to your tub for an extremely relaxing and therapeutic experience.
- Diffuse: it smells great, keeps the insects away and relaxes your stressed out mind.
- Tagetes essential oil is a very strong oil that may cause irritation especially to sensitive skin. Make absolutely sure that you dilute it well with your choice of carrier oil before applying it topically and even after dilution, test it out first on a small patch of skin.
- Tagetes essential oil is phototoxic which means you should avoid exposing any skin to direct sunlight for a minimum of 24 hours after applying it.
- This oil is probably unsuitable for pregnant women and those who are feeding.