Tag Archives: skin care

Elemi (Canarium luzonicum)

I first bought elemi essential oil based on her name but she has a lot of wonderful properties and is a very good oil for various skin conditions.

Family: Burseraceae

Synonyms: C commune, Manila elemi.

Aroma: Fresh, spicy, woody, balsamic.

Colour: Colourless to pale yellow.

elemiPlant: Large tropical evergreen tree that can reach up to 30 metres. It has large white or yellow flowers and produces green fruits, which in turn produce edible nuts. It exudes a pale yellowish resin when the tree sprouts leaves; the resin solidifies on contact with the air and stops flowing when the last leaf falls.

Main Growing Areas: Philippines, the Moluccas.

Major Constituents: Elemol, elemicine, alpha-phellandrene, limonene.

Interesting snippets: The ancient Egyptians used elemi resin for embalming.
Elemi has been referred to as the poor man’s frankincense as she shares many of frankincense’s properties.
She’s closely related to the trees that produce frankincense, myrrh and opopanax.

C.luzonicum is classified in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species as “Vulnerable A1cd” which means there has been a reduction of at least 80% of the species over the last 10 years or 3 generations, whichever is longer due to a decline in the area of occupancy, extent of occurance or quality of habitat and the actual levels of exploitation.

Part of Plant used /Extraction: Steam distillation of the resin.

Therapeutic actions: Helps build tissues and heal wounds, gangrene and abscesses. Respiratory conditions such as bronchitis and sinusitis especially where there is a lot of phlegm. Expectorant (helps to expel mucous from the lungs) when used in steam inhalations. Excellent for skin care especially for mature skin and is said to reduce wrinkles.

Emotional and Spiritual: She is a balancing, strengthening and centring oil. She brings the body, mind and soul into alignment. In meditation she induces a deep calm without drowsiness.
Stress that has led to exhaustion as she is both stimulating and a tonic.

Robbi Zeck writes that elemi propels you inward to look deeply into things in order to see their nature, adding a quiet touch. Elemi reflects the serenity of a soul which is shining.

Valerie Worwood writes that elemi can be used in emotional healing to encourage soothing, calm, stillness, contentment, compassion and peace.

Safety: Non-irritating, non-sensitising. Old or oxidized should be avoided. Skin sensitising if oxidized. Tends to resinify on ageing.

Note: Elemi is often adulterated with the addition of a-phellandrene and limonene.

Sources: Battaglia S, The Complete Guide to Aromatherapy. 3rd edition Volume 1.The Perfect Potion, Australia (2018)
Davis, P, Aromatherapy, An A-Z. The C.W. Daniel Company Ltd. (1996)
Fischer-Rizzi, S, Complete Aromatherapy Handbook. Essential Oils for Radiant Health Sterling Publishing Company (1990)
Smith I, Elemi. In Essence Vol.7 No.3 (2008)
Tisserand R and Young R, Essential Oil Safety Second Edition, Churchill Livingstone Elsevier, 2014
Worwood, V.A, The Fragrant Heavens. Doubleday Publishing UK (1999)
Zeck R, The Blossoming Heart. Aroma Tours (2004)

Australian Sandalwood (Santalum spicatum)


Although I have Indian and African sandalwood I prefer to use Australian sandalwood.

Family: Santalaceae.

Synonyms: West Australian sandalwood.

Aroma: Similar to Indian sandalwood but softer.

Colour: Pale yellow.

Australian sandalwoodPlant: Small evergreen tree/shrub growing up to 8 metres in the wild and 4-5 metres on plantations. It is a root parasite and requires a host tree for its first years. At 3 years it requires 2 or 3 hosts as it grows.  It appears the host trees are not harmed and in fact benefit from this arrangement.

Main Growing Areas: South Western Australia, southern South Australia.

Major Constituents: alpha santalol, beta santalol, farnesol, bergamatol, alpha-bisabolol.

Interesting snippets: Although the tree will produce essential oil at 5-10 years it will not be suitable for harvesting a high quality oil until it is 25 years old.

The west Australian aborigines used boiled sandalwood bark as a cough medicine. They also used the inside of the nuts as a rubbing medicine for colds and stiffness.

Before the release of penicillin in 1946 oral ingestible Australian sandalwood capsules were used to treat urinary tract infections and gonorrhoea.

Part of Plant used / Extraction: Heartwood and rootball by organic solvent extraction followed by co-distillation. This process yields about 3% essential oil. There is also a CO2 extraction available.

Therapeutic actions: Dry coughs, nasal and chest congestion. Dry dehydrated skin, red inflamed skin, psoriasis, eczema and MRSA.

Emotional and Spiritual: Stress, aphrodisiac. Quietens mental chatter, helping to still the mind, allowing it to move into a deep meditative state.

Audre Gutierrez writes that Australian sandalwood is for all of those who have been made to feel ‘less than’ or ‘not good enough’ because of who they are. She is about being your true, authentic, best self and letting that speak more loudly than any disparagement, any slight ever could. She is for the unseen wounds of the heart and spirit, healing them so that you can be strongly and fully in the power of who you truly are.

Safety: Non-irritating, non-sensitising, non-toxic.

Sources: Gutierrez A, https://www.shiningsunaromatherapy.com/australian-sandalwood-santalum-spicatum-the-cinderella-or-ugly-duckling-of-aromatherapy/
Kerr J, Australian Sandalwood Essential Oil Profile. Aromatherapy Today, Vol.17 (2001)
Webb M, Bush Sense – Australian Essential Oils and Aromatic Compounds. Griffin Press. (2000)