What is Elemi Essential Oil
Elemi essential oil is not one of the most popular essential oils but it does have certain health benefits especially for the skin and respiratory system. Elemi essential oil is derived by a process of steam distillation from the Pili tree native to South East Asia. The tree which is mostly found growing in the tropical forest areas of the Philippines is known botanically as Canarium luzonicum.
Most of the oil is derived from the country’s Bicol region. The tree’s resin is harvested by tapping which led to concerns over the potential damage done to the trees and the loss of the very popular pili nut. Fortunately, advances in technology and tapping methods have allowed for a sustainable commercial tapping industry which protects the trees and benefits the local population of Bicol.
The beautiful pili tree from which the oil is derived is a member of the same Burseraceae family as those popular resin oils – myrrh and frankincense and elemi oil is believed to have similar uses in aromatherapy as frankincense oil. It is regarded as a great oil for the spirit and the body and has traditionally been used in the Philippines to treat body aches and the skin.
The essential oil produced from the tree is a thin, yellow oil with a pleasing woodsy aroma. It blends very well with citrus oils like bergamot, grapefruit and lemon and also with other resin essential oils such as frankincense or myrrh. It also blends beautifully with popular floral oils like lavender, clary sage, geranium and neroli.
Elemi oil is mostly use in the cosmetic and soap industry as well as in paint manufacturing but it does have a number of uses for your health as we are about to discover.
Chemical Constituents and Medicinal Properties
Elemi essential oil contains various compounds that are beneficial to your health including dipentene, limonene, elemol, elemicine, terpineopl and phellandrene. These chemical constituents provide the essential oil with various therapeutic properties including antiseptic, expectorant, analgesic, tonic and stimulant properties.
Elemi Essential Oil Health Benefits
While elemi essential oil is not as well known by the public or as popular in aromatherapy as some of the other resin oils, it does come with a decent array of health benefits. These are some of the most popular uses of this underrated oil.
1) Antiseptic and Antimicrobial Uses
Elemi essential oil has antiseptic properties that can help protect the body from foreign microbes, viruses, bacteria and fungus.
You can apply elemi essential oil topically to treat cuts, grazes and minor wounds and it will help cleanse the injury while preventing infection from taking a hold. Elemi oil may also be effective against internal infections including urinary tract, bladder, kidney and stomach infections.
2) For Pain
Elemi essential oil has excellent analgesic properties making it a safe, natural alternative to more powerful pain killing medications. It can be used to treat pain without the risk of adverse side effects that come with more powerful pharmaceutical drugs.
Its analgesic properties make it a suitable, natural treatment for headaches and migraine but you can also massage it into the body to treat muscle and joint pain.
3) For Respiratory Health
Elemi oil has been used traditionally in South East Asia to treat congestion and breathing difficulties whatever their cause. It has natural expectorant properties meaning that it can clear the build-up of mucus and phlegm from the lungs and the nasal passages.
Inhaling elemi essential oil whenever you have a cough, cold or sinus infection can help ease your breathing by clearing out any blockages while its antimicrobial properties can help treat the viral or bacterial infection that caused your illness.
4) Digestive Health
Elemi essential oil has natural stimulant effects which can benefit the entire body. It can help stimulate circulation and hormone secretion while it also promotes the secretion of bile and gastric juices. Its ability to stimulate the digestive system helps us to absorb and digest our food more easily. It can also prevent many of the common symptoms of poor digestive health including stomach pain, indigestion and bloating.
5) Immune System Health
A strong immune system is absolutely essential for a healthy body. If your immune system is weak, you are more prone to developing common illnesses like the cold or the flu and you will have a much harder time fighting them off.
Elemi essential oil provides you with an excellent, natural immune system boost which may be invaluable for people whose immune system is compromised by illness or medication.
6) Skin Health
We have already mentioned that elemi essential oil can help treat skin damaged by injury bit it can also be used as part of your skin beauty regime. Simply add a few drops of elemi essential oil to your regular skin care lotion or cream and apply it as usual. This oil can help add luster and clarity to your skin while also improving its tone.
How to Use Elemi Essential Oil
- Massage : Dilute a few drops of your elemi oil with a carrier oil like coconut or jojoba and massage it into your sore muscles and joints. You can also massage it into your temples t treat a headache or into your abdomen to help your digestive health.
- Inhale : To treat congestion, a cold or a sinus issue, inhalation works a treat. The best way to inhale the oil is by adding a few drops to a bowl or sink of hot water to make a steam inhaler. Cover the top part of your body in a towel, lean your head over the sink and inhale the vapors for 5 or so minutes.
- Compress : Add several drops of elemi essential oil to a warm or cold cloth to make a soothing compress.
Precautions and Side Effects
- Elemi essential oil is generally regarded as safe and non toxic for external use.
- Do not take elemi essential oil internally.
- Always dilute your elemi oil with a carrier oil before applying it topically to ensure against skin irritation.