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The Aromahead Blog - Aromatherapy Education and Resources

The Genus Cinnamomum

I'm always fascinated by plants and essential oils with the same genus and different species. We find this with common oils such as Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulus, radiata and dives), Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia and latifolia), Myrrh and Opopanax (Commiphora myrrha and Commiphora guidotti).

Let's look at two amazing yet less popular essential oils: Tamala essential oil (Cinnamomum tamala) and Sugandha Kokila essential oil (Cinnamomum glaucescens).

Cinnamomum is a genus of evergreen trees and shrubs belonging to the plant family called Lauraceae. What do these oils with the same genus have in common, and how are they different from each other?

In order to more deeply understand these oils, I like to spend time with their aromas and feel into what I can learn from just the scents.

Then I look at their exact chemistries with my GC/MS reports. Next, I research them by talking to the distillers about how these plants and oils are used in their countries, in their communities and in their homes. I also look on various websites for information about other people's experiences with these oils. I read about the plants themselves--their growing environments, their behaviors, the plant parts the oil is extracted from, their flowers, size and personalities.

the Genus Cinnamomum the genus cinnamomum

Sugandha Kokila, Cinnamomum glaucescens
Main components:
13.5 % Methyl cinnamate -- antibacterial, antifungal, antioxidant
22 % 1,8 cineole (eucalyptol) -- airborne antimicrobial, analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antioxidant, antispasmodic, antiviral,  hypotensive, increases cerebral blood flow, mucolytic

Sugandha Kokila has a wonderful camphoraceous and spicy aroma. The oil is made from the dried fruit of the plants. Sugandha Kokila is pronounced:  "Su-Gan-Dha Ko-Ki-La." The oil has a nice, balanced  range of  the main components above, as well as monoterpenes, sesquiterpenes and monoterpenols. This is a great oil for dealing with respiratory infections, sinus issues, headaches and muscle pain. 


the genus cinnamomum

Tamala, Cinnamomum tamala
Main components:
61% Cinnamaldehyde -- strong anti-fungal, antibacterial
9% Linalol -- airborne antimicrobial, analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antianxiety, antibacterial, antifungal (candida) , antioxidant, antispasmodic, antiviral, hypotensive, immunostimulant, sedative

Tamala has a beautiful cinnamon aroma! Tamala is distilled from the leaves and twigs of the tree, and the chemistry is dominated by the high aldehyde content. There is a strong anti-fungal and antibacterial activity due to the high levels of cinnamaldehyde. The linalol, although only present at about 9%, helps balance this oil on the skin (aldehyde-rich oils can irritate the skin) and offers a nice range of complimentary activities, such as anti-infectious and antibacterial effects. I always dilute Tamala into nourishing skin butters and other skin protective essential oils.

Both of these oils are useful in reducing infection. Tamala is great for skin fungus and bacterial infections. Sugandha Kokila is used more for respiratory infections and muscle pain and spasm.

Can you think of another oil with the genus Cinnamomum?
Ravintsara -- Cinnamomum camphora ct. 1,8 cineole!

Founder at Aromahead Institute
Andrea Butje is an internationally-recognized Aromatherapist who has changed the educational paradigm through her inspired approach to teaching essential oils and Aromatherapy Certification. Check out her book, The Heart of Aromatherapy, at Aromatics International!

Topics: aromahead institute, aromatherapy, Aromatherapy Education, blending, blends, clinical aromatherapy, education, Essential Oils, ravintsara, Suganda Kokila, Tamala

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