There are many essential oils that have strong antiviral and antibacterial properties. Ravensara is among the few that have an appealing and pleasant scent to add to that. Because of that and its strong antiviral properties, Ravensara essential oil makes a great oil to have around during the cold season!
A strong immune system can fight off infections on a daily basis. And we all know how much of those we get during winters! Find out about the benefits of using the oil of Ravensara and how to use it too, from the first part of this post. There, you will also find a few blend recipes to draw your inspiration from when you want to use the oil.
The second part of the article is about helping you understand an important difference. I’m referring to the difference between Ravensara and Ravintsara essential oil. They are often confused one with the other.
Along with that, you’ll also learn a few more interesting things about the oil. You will also want to read that last part because I have a few safety words to share. It’s nothing to be alarmed about, but it’s necessary to know them since you’ll be dealing with a very potent essence.
Did You Know?
- In Madagascar, people use the seeds of the ravensara in the kitchen, to spice up their meals. The bark of the tree is also used in rum-making.
Uses of Ravensara Essential Oil against Viral Diseases
Botanical name: Ravensara aromatica; Agathophyllum aromaticum (old name)
Texture: thin oil.
Color and Aroma: colorless to pale yellow, with an anise-like aroma. The scent is a little spicy, fresh, and very aromatic.
The oil of Ravensara is a very potent and concentrated essence. Its main benefits make it very useful as an expectorant. But it is also good as an antiviral and antibacterial. Let’s see what exactly the chemical composition of the oil is, to understand its effects better.
Ravensara oil’s complex chemical composition:
- 15 – 17% Sabinene.
- 13 – 15% Limonene.
- 7 – 9% Delta-3-carene.
- 2 – 6% Methyl – eugenol.
- 7 – 8% Germacrene.
- 9% Beta-caryophyllene.
- Alpha and Beta-Pinene.
Germacrene and beta-caryophyllene are both sesquiterpenes. The rest of the molecules are part of the monoterpenes class. This class of molecules has the ability to balance the whole chemical composition of the oil. It can also enhance the therapeutic properties of all the constituents.
They eliminate the toxins from the body and skin and act on respiratory problems. Monoterpenes are responsible for the oil’s stimulant effects on all the vital processes.
The sesquiterpenes give the oil analgesic (pain relieving), sedative and antispasmodic effects. The methyl-eugenol has anesthetic properties, which are safe in low doses. It is also a flavoring agent, with a clove-like spiciness and aroma.
From a chemical composition point of view, Ravensara essential oil could be replaced with Tea Tree essential oil.
How to Use the Oil of Ravensara
- In Aromatherapy, the best way to use such a concentrated essence is if you mix it with carrier oils for local applications.
The role of a carrier is to help disperse all the molecules of an essential oil and cover large skin areas. This is also a good way of saving some money on the long run. It only takes 6 Ravensara EO drops in 30 ml (1 Oz) carrier oil. That’s a 1% dilution and you can use a concentration of up to 5% (30 drops of EO).
- Another efficient and effective way of using this oil is by diffusion.
You can pour in a diffuser’s water recipient 4 – 7 drops of Ravensara oil and leave it on for 10 – 30 minutes per hour. Make sure the room is well-ventilated though, to avoid headaches or nausea. You can read more about the inhalation time, and a few creative diffusion methods in this article here.
- Also, you can benefit from the properties of Ravensara oil in steam baths.
For steam baths you should not add more than 2 drops in the hot water bowl. Cover your head on top of it with a towel and inhale deeply for at least 10 minutes. To add this aromatic essence to your hot bath water, you could mix it with bath salts.
Uses of Ravensara Essential Oil as Natural Remedy
Thanks to its many health benefits and properties, the oil can successfully be used as a natural remedy. A natural remedy is a way of treating or preventing certain health conditions in a natural way.
This excludes the use of synthetic drugs, even if they’re derived from plants. This does not mean you should give up using drugs when needed. Essential oils are somewhere between plant tinctures and herbal teas and drugs as potency. Drugs certainly have their place and role in the health of billions, especially in more serious conditions.
Yet, essential oils can be used as a preventive measure against colds and flu, for instance. Let’s see how Ravensara essential oil can do that.
Colds and Flu
They are very common health conditions caused by viruses that attack a weak immune system. These conditions come with a wide range of symptoms, which I’m going to tell you more about soon.
To prevent them, the best way to do it is to diffuse Ravensara at least once a day, for 30 minutes. This practice has been well documented by scientists. They’ve had positive results with 30 minutes’ diffusions.
They used powerful antibacterial and antiviral essences that killed hundreds of bacteria strains and viruses. This is one great way to improve the quality of air you breathe and prevent flu outbursts.
- Ravensara EO: 3 drops
- Eucalyptus EO: 2 drops
Add them to your diffuser or into a tablespoon of carrier oil. Massage it onto the chest, throat, stomach, spine and sinuses. Or you can apply them in only a few key spots.
Stronger Immune System
The immune system is constantly busy trying to keep us warm, in the first place. Then it needs to fight infections, chronic stress, fatigue and other conditions. Some medicines can also weaken the immune system. Thus, it is very easy for viruses like influenza to attack the body.
Ravensara has strong antimicrobial and antiviral properties. That can help kill the viruses and the cells regenerate and strengthen their protective barrier. It also stimulates all the other vital processes to work properly, giving you more energy.
You can use Ravensara essential oil to:
- Soothe all winter blues and fatigue.
- Ward off epidemics.
- Prevent or soothe respiratory infections.
- Ravensara EO: 5 drops
- Oregano EO: 3 drops
- Sweet Almond oil: 2 tablespoons (1 Oz)
Mix all the ingredients together and shake well before use. Apply a moderate amount of this blend on the spine, solar plexus and soles. This will help strengthen your immune system throughout the cold season.
Headaches and Migraines
Unfortunately, these two are common cold and flu symptoms. The oil of Ravensara has pain relieving, sedative and antispasmodic effects. They can help calm down and soothe headaches or migraines.
You can pour a drop or two in your cupped hands and inhale deeply for 5 minutes. You can also diffuse up to 7 drops in a well-ventilated room. That will boost your mood and relieve your headache quite fast.
Make sure you don’t forget to stop the diffusion after 30 minutes! Why? Because you will continue to inhale the essential oil molecules for a good while afterwards. And for positive results, you need to inhale continuously for less than 60 minutes.
They are other well-known symptoms of a weak immune system. Ravensara essential oil has expectorant qualities. This means it can help clear the phlegm and mucus in the lungs, throat and sinuses. They usually obstruct the normal breathing rate and cause coughs and sometimes fever.
Sinusitis and bronchitis are just two of the respiratory conditions that you can soothe and prevent with Ravensara.
- Ravensara EO: 12 drops
- Cajeput EO: 10 drops
- Tamanu oil: 2 tablespoons
Apply this blend on your chest, solar plexus and sinuses a few times a day. Keep the area warm and don’t go out for at least 2 hours. Cajeput oil is also a very strong anti-inflammatory and antiviral natural ingredient.
Tense or Sore Muscles
These are the clearest signs that there is fever and an infection inside your body. When the muscles and joints hurt you with every move you make and you feel weak, you know you suffer from flu. Rub your arms, legs, soles, back and neck with a Ravensara blend and stay in a warm environment. This may require several applications a day.
Extra benefits of Ravensara essential oil:
- It can uplift your mood.
- Promote relaxation.
- Chase away dark feelings of depression or anxiety.
- Purify the air.
Did You Know?
- Ravensara was first discovered in 1782 by French explorer, Pierre Sonnerat. The locals call this plant Hazomanitra. The essential oil extracted from the bark is called Havozo. Both names mean “tree that smells”.
The Difference between Ravensara and Ravintsara, and Safety Concerns
I’ve explained to you the chemical composition of the oil of Ravensara. That was for all who want to understand the working mechanisms of the oil.
I’ve also given you ideas and recipes on how to use it as a natural remedy against colds, flu and their associated symptoms. But the pool of knowledge is way deeper than that. I will start with a few general facts.
The oil is extracted by steam distillation from the leaves and the bark of the ravensara tree. This tree grows in Madagascar, so that’s where the oils come from too. In Aromatherapy, the best Ravensara oil to use is the one extracted from the leaves.
The oil extracted from the bark is very high in methyl chavicol also known as estragole. This substance can be very dangerous in high doses because of its psychedelic effects. It also considered to have potential carcinogenic effects.
I kept telling you that Ravensara essential oil is very concentrated. Well, it takes about 100 kilos of leaves to get 1 liter of oil. That is why you need to dilute (mix) it with a carrier oil first and use small doses.
Ravensara has been and it often still is confused with Ravintsara essential oil. The confusion comes from their names, first of all. Secondly, they’re both trees that grow in Madagascar. Over the years, there wasn’t much known about ravensara. That’s why some specialists actually wrote ravintsara’s properties and characteristics under the name of ravensara.
The difference between the two oils
The most obvious difference is their botanical name, which is always unique.
Ravensara is named Ravensara aromatica, while Ravintsara is called Cinnamomum camphora. Their chemical composition is also very different, which means their properties are not the same either.
- Ravensara contains limonene, sabinene and less than 4% eucalyptol (1, 8 – cineole).
- Ravintsara contains more than 50% eucalyptol and alpha-terpineol. Of course, there will always be certain shared molecules, but their quantity is too small to count. They will however, add to the complexity and synergy of the oils.
Another curios and fun fact about this oil would be its naming. If you ever come across Ravensara anisata, know that it is the same as Ravensara aromatica. It was first named “aromatica” in 1782 and then, in 1950 it was also named anisata. You can guess why the last name.
Safety Words for a Safe Use of Ravensara Essential Oil
- Always dilute the oil before any skin applications and test it for allergic reactions. Pour a diluted drop on a small part of the skin and leave it on for a few good hours, or 48 hours. If you’re allergic, skin reactions will start showing up in the meantime.
- Avoid all contact with the eyes, nose, mouth and ears.
- Do not use on children younger than 8 or on elderly people without medical advice.
- Pregnant or nursing women should also avoid using it in the first three months, and afterwards with medical consent.
- Do not take it internally without the advice of a professional or medic.
As you can see, Ravensara can successfully be used as a natural remedy against many conditions. It can be most useful during the cold season to help protect against colds and flu. At the same time, it can also strengthen the immune system among others.
Remember that Ravensara essential oil is a totally different oil than Ravintsara, no matter what you hear. There are clear differences, but if ever in doubt, know that their botanical (Latin) names are always unique. That’s the only way to distinguish each plant and tree species, and there are millions out there!
What is your opinion on this aromatic oil? Have you ever used it and if so, in which way? What were the results? I am always open to dialogue so don’t be shy and use the comments section to chat with me.