What is Allspice Oil?
When I hear the name ‘allspice’, it reminds me of a fragrant cologne my father wore when I was a child. However, it is not a mixture of spices as the name would suggest, rather it is a large evergreen tree. This tree is commonly known by various other names including pimenta, Jamaica pimenta and myrtle pepper or by its botanical names ‘Pimenta oficianalis’ and Pimenta dioica’.
The tree from which this oil is derived is a native of the Caribbean islands and parts of South America. It certainly deserves its name as its delightful aroma smells like a combination of cloves, cinnamon, pepper and cardamom. The common name ‘allspice’ was coined by the English way back in the seventeenth century because of its spicy scent.
The allspice trees are classified as evergreen shrubs but they are relatively large and can reach heights of around 15 to 18 meters though not all trees grow anywhere near that height. It is sometimes grown by coffee farmers to provide a shaded area for coffee trees to thrive beneath.
The allspice tree also produces a small berry type fruit similar in shape and size to peppercorns. These fruits are traditionally dried under the sun before being used in the kitchen. Allspice is actually one of the major ingredients used in traditional Caribbean cuisine. The dried fruit is used as an ingredient in jerk seasoning while it is also used to make curry powders and, pickles and stews.
A Little History
According to historical records, Christopher Columbus was the first European to discover allspice while in Jamaica during his second great voyage. It was taken back to Europe and was quickly introduced as an ingredient in European cuisine during the 16th century. These days, the trees and fruits are still mostly cultivated in Jamaica where Columbus first discovered it.
Allspice Essential Oil
Allspice essential oil is derived from the tree’s leaves and fruit by a process of steam distillation. It may not be the best known or most popular of oils but it packs a very respectable health punch.
Its medicinal properties include antioxidant, analgesic, antiseptic, relaxant, carminative and stimulant actions. The major chemical constituents of allspice essential oil include cineol, eugenol, caryophyllene, phellandrene and methyl eugenol.
If you have never heard of allspice essential oil and would like to discover more about how to use it for your health, then you have come to the right place.
Unfortunately, not a great deal of research has been done into the health benefits of allspice essential oil but that does not mean it has no value. Hopefully, we will see research in the coming years to confirm many of its traditional uses.
Allspice Essential Oil Health Benefits
1) Pain Relief
Because of its eugenol content, allspice essential oil has mild analgesic and anaesthetic properties that can help ease pain from many sources.
People suffering from rheumatism or arthritis may benefit from massaging the oil into their sore joints and aching bones. It may also help relieve pain and tension in your muscles after a long day on your feet or a period of exercise. Allspice essential oil can also be applied to your temples to help relieve a headache or sinus congestion.
Before applying allspice essential oil to your skin, it is important that you dilute it well with a suitable carrier oil like coconut oil, olive oil or jojoba.
2) Bites and Stings
Apply some diluted allspice essential oil to your insect bites or bee stings to help kill the pain and ease any irritation that it may be causing. As well as its analgesic properties, allspice oil has antiseptic properties that can help cleanse the bites and protect against infection.
3) For Minor Wounds and Cuts
The antiseptic properties of allspice essential oil make it suitable for treating scrapes and grazes as well as minor wounds and cuts. Of course, any major injury will require medical care but even minor injuries can get infected if they are no properly cleaned. According to proponents of this oil, allspice can help cleanse your wounds by preventing the growth of harmful bacteria.
Allspice has long been used to help treat digestive complaints especially bloating and gas. The essential oil has carminative properties that can help relieve bouts of wind. It may also help relieve stomach cramping, indigestion and nausea.
You should not take this essential oil internally but you can dilute it with a carrier oil and gently massage it into your stomach to help ease your discomfort.
5) For Stress and Anxiety
Like many essential oils, allspice oil can induce a positive emotional response in those who use it. If you suffer from some type of emotional issue such as anxiety, stress or minor depression, there is certainly no harm in giving it a go. Essential oils like allspice are well known for their abilities to calm down a troubled mind and unlike so many pharmaceutical remedies, the risk of adverse side effects or dependence is minimal.
Try inhaling the oil directly or diffusing it throughout the home and it may well have a positive impact on your emotional health. Unfortunately, there are no studies to confirm its effects on the mind and what works for one person may not be as effective for another.
6) For Better Sleep
People who suffer from insomnia or have trouble getting good quality sleep will be fully aware of the debilitating effects it can have. Thankfully, there is plenty of help in nature to rival more conventional forms of treatment.
Diffusing allspice essential oil near your bed at night may help as part of an overall sleep plan. It can also help calm the mind and relieve anxiety which are common conditions in people with sleep complaints.
7) For Colds and Coughs
Inhaling the vapors of this essential oil may be an effective remedy in relieving many of the symptoms of the cold or even a sinus infection. The best way to use the oil for congestion is to add a few drops to a bowl or sink full of hot water. Lean over the sink with your head covered by a towel then inhale the soothing vapors for as long as you can tolerate it.
How to Use Allspice Essential Oil
There are several ways to use allspice essential oil.
- Topically : As a massage oil combined with a carrier oil to relieve muscle pain and joint soreness.
- Inhalation : Inhale the oil directly from the bottle or added to a steam bath.
- Diffuse : Diffusing the oil around the home is a great tonic for the mind. It can help relieve stresses and anxiety and may help you to get a good night of rest.
Allspice essential oil is regarded as a safe oil as long as it is used properly. However, essential oils are extremely potent and should never be taken internally unless under an expert’s supervision. Essential oils must be treated with respect and there are several safety points worth noting.
- Do not take allspice essential oil internally.
- Women who are pregnant should avoid using the oil. There is no data regarding its safety for the unborn child. The same caution applies to breast feeding mothers.
- It is important to dilute your allspice essential oil with a suitable carrier oil before you apply it topically to the skin. There are many good carrier oils to choose from but some of the most popular are sweet almond, jojoba and virgin coconut oil.
- Even after you have diluted your oil, it is good practice to perform a patch test on a small, discrete area of skin. This ensures that you are not sensitive to the oil before applying a larger dose.
- Do not use allspice essential oil on young children as it may not be safe.