Ravensara essential oil is a relatively rare essential oil that comes from a tree in Madagascar. Its name is Ravensara aromatica, but it is also known as Ravintsara. Ravensara essential oil has been extracted since past times on the island of Madagascar off the eastern coast of Africa in the Indian ocean. It is used by the locals as a cure all, or a panacea for almost any condition. This tree itself is quite aromatic and releases a fragrant aroma. Ravensara essential oil is a powerful antiseptic, antibacterial and antiviral. Thus it is used to treat numerous infectious skin conditions. Besides it has many applications through aromatherapy.
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The source of Ravensara essential oil is the tree called Ravensara aromatica. These are tall trees with broad leaves having a dark color. These trees exert an aroma, somewhat like eucalyptus essential oil. The local people call it Hazomanitra which literally implies the tree that releases a smell. It is also known by other names like clove nutmeg and Madagascar nutmeg, as its seed are somewhat similar to nutmeg. Ravensara essential oil is extracted from the leaves using steam distillation. This is pure, organic Ravensara aromatica essential oil. Other methods that employ chemicals and solvents to improve its oil yield are not organic essential oils.The essential oil has slight variations depending on the chemotypes of Ravensara aromatica. There are a few groups of trees in this genus which leads to the variability in the chemical composition of essential oil distilled from them. 
Ravensara essential oil boasts of a large number of powerful therapeutic properties. These properties lend the oil its capability to provide health benefits to use.
- Antiseptic – It prevents infections in wounds.
- Antibacterial – Ravensara essential oil kills some species of bacteria. 
- Antiviral – It is effective against some virus species, especially against herpes and shingls virus. 
- Anti-inflammatory – This oil is anti-inflammatory for the skin.
- Analgesic – It alleviates pain.
- Anti-allergic – Ravensara essential oil curbs allergic reactions.
- Expectorant – It aids the body in expelling the mucus.
- Antitumor – It is an agent against tumor.
- Antispasmodic – It reduces a spasm.
- Antidepressant – Ravensara essential oil stimulates the senses , brings in more positive thoughts and eliminates negative thought .
- Carminative – It aids the body in expelling intestinal gas.
- Antioxidant – It stops the damage done to our cells by free radicals.
- Antiperspirant – It calms down excessive sweating.
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Color and Aroma It is a clear white transparent essential oil.Its aroma is somewhat similar to eucalyptus essential oil. It is camphoraceous with notes of spicy and woody odor. Blends well with Ravensara essential oil blends well with essential oils of eucalyptus, tea tree and spice oils like clove, black pepper. It also blends well with the commonly used essential oils like lavender and rosemary. It is used as an ingredient in essential oil blends to improve the functioning of our immune system by combining it with other oils like clove, cinnamon, frankincense, oregano, hyssop and many others.
Ravensara essential oil is not a very popular essential oil, but it is used by people for highly specific health benefits. It is quite effective in dealing with the following health conditions. 1. Herpes and Shingles Ravensara essential oil is quite effective in getting rid of herpes and shingles lesions. It is a proven antiviral against herpes simplex virus and kills the virus. Mix a few drops of Ravensara oil with tea tree oil. Add ample amount of a base oil, like coconut oil or olive oil. Apply this oil on cold sores, genital herpes and shingles lesions. Regular application 2 times a day provides great relief from the pain. The sores start to heal and they are much less painful. Coconut oil is an ideal base because it also has activity against herpes and varicella zoster virus. One can also include lemongrass essential oil in this home remedy for herpes and shingles. 2. Get rid of Phlegm Ravensara essential oil is very helpful in conditions that lead to excess mucus or phlegm in the respiratory tract. It loosens the phlegm and helps to get it out of the body. This way, it is beneficial in cold, flu, productive cough, bronchitis, pneumonia and tuberculosis. It also relieves catarrh, a condition in which there is thick mucus and inflammation of the mucus membrane in the nose and throat. To get rid of phlegm, inhale the vapors of ravensara essential oil by putting a few drops of it in boiling water. 3. Depression Inhaling the aroma of Ravensara essential oil is uplifting for the mind. It helps to get rid of negative thoughts and it also prevents a person from spiraling down into depression and melancholy. It relieves the feelings of sunken heart, a condition in which the person feels depressed and holds himself/herself responsible for some mishap. 4. Boost the Immune System In aromatherapy, one can create wonderful oil combinations using essential oils. One can create a formula that stimulates the immune system and makes it perform better. It is among the finest immune boosting essential oils. Some of the most powerful stimulants of immune system are essential oils of bay laurel, rosemary, oregano, cinnamon, tea tree and eucalyptus. 5. Treating Bacterial Infections Ravensara essential oil is a powerful antibacterial agent. It kills the H.pylori bacteria which is found in our stomach and leads to a host of digestive problems. Ravensara essential oil has also been found to inhibit the growth of MRSA infection ( methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus ) . This group of bacterial infections are the cause of a number of dangerous infections. 6. Soothe Sore Muscles Taking a warm water bath with 10 – 15 drops of Ravensara essential oil for about 15 minutes provides relief from sore, painful and aching muscles. It relieves pain due to muscle cramps and exhaustion. Warm water bath with this essential oil also alleviates nervous tension and promotes sleep. 7. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome People who suffer from chronic fatigue syndrome often find it difficult to stay active or concentrate for longer intervals of time. Their body tires quickly. There may also be an involvement of the mind in chronic fatigue syndrome. This condition can be relieved by inhaling Ravensara essential oil right from its bottle. Inhale deeply for about 20 seconds.
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8. Aromatherapy Ravensara essential oil is used in aromatherapy to treat many conditions. One should add about 4 – 5 drops of this essential oil in a vaporizer. Its medicinal aroma fills the environment and provides many therapeutic health benefits.
- Headaches – Its mild camphor like aroma provides relief from headaches.
- Sinus and Nasal congestion – It is a tonic for the respiratory tract. It reduces congestion in the sinuses and the nose, thus allowing one to breathe better. This effect is also helpful for dogs to breathe easy.
- Anti-Stress – Its aroma acts as a relaxant for the body. It reduces the chances of spasmodic contractions and thus lowers physical stress on the muscles. It also provides relief from mental stress when used in combination with powerful stress reducing essential oils like calendula and chamomile.
Ravensara essential oil is used in perfume industry. It is also being studied to isolate anti-viral and anti-bacterial chemical compounds. There are many more applications of this essential oil as used by the native people of Madagascar, although they are yet to be proved and established.
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Side Effects, Safe Dosage and Toxicity Issues
There are no known side effects of Ravensara essential oil. However, it can easily be toxic in large concentration when inhaled. This essential oil should not be consumed internally as it can be toxic even in low concentrations.
Nutritional and Medicinal Information
Let us look at the nutrition facts of Ravensara aromatica essential oil. This essential oil has numerous chemical constituents each of which has powerful therapeutic properties. Chemical composition and nutritional profile of Ravensara essential oil ( distilled from leaves )
|Methly chavicol||7.94 %|
|α – pinene||5.55 %|
|Methly eugenol||5.00 %|
|Germacrene d||4.76 %|
|δ – 3 -Carene||3.52 %|
|α – Terpinene||2.98 %|
|β – Pinene||2.91 %|
|γ – Terpinene||3.52 %|
|α – Phellandrene||1.99 %|
|α – Thujene||1.13 %|
|1,8 – cineol||1.08 %|
|Para – cymene||0.97 %|
|α – Humulene||0.79 %|
|α – Copaene||0.69 %|
|β – elemene||0.63 %|
|δ – cadinene||0.60 %|
Source : 5 This table shows that Ravensara essential oil is composed of a wide variety of chemical constituents. Many of the compounds found in this essential oil are also found in other essential oils, like limonene, borneol, Linalool and Myrcene. They are all strongly anti-inflammatory. Antioxidant Power Ravensara essential oil is a mild antioxidant. It has an ORAC value of 890 μ TE / 100 gm. ORAC stands for oxygen radical absorbance capacity and it is a measure of how many free radicals a substance can neutralize. It is not among the powerful antioxidant oils and thus has a feeble antioxidant capacity. Buying and Storage It is not easy to find 100 % pure Ravensara essential oil. It may be adulterated with other essential oils that have a camphor like odor. It is important to make sure that the essential oil you buy is distilled only from the leaves of Ravensara aromatica. It needs to be stored properly in a dark place away from sunlight. References 1. Intraspecific chemical variability and highlighting of chemotypes of leaf essential oils from Ravensara aromatica Sonnerat, a tree endemic to Madagascar. Hanitriniaina Sahondra et. al.Flavour and Fragrance Journal 2. Antimicrobial Activity of Essential Oils against Helicobacter pylori. Tomoyuki Ohno et. al. Helicobacter 3. The Inhibitory Effect of Essential Oils on Herpes Simplex Virus Type-1 Replication In Vitro. Masato Minami et. al. Microbiology and Immunology 4. Inhibition of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) by essential oils. Sue Chao et. al. Flavour and Fragrance Journal. 5. Ravensara aromatica – Wikipedia