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The Aromahead Blog - Aromatherapy Education and Resources

Saro Essential Oil: A healing profile

by Andrea Butje on October 06, 2014

Saro Essential Oil A healing profileThe Republic of Madagascar is a series of islands off the southeastern coast of Africa.  

The islands are rich with animal and plant life. Many plants in Madagascar are found nowhere else in the world. Cinnamosma fragrans, commonly known as Saro, is one of the healing plants native only to the island nation of Madagascar.

Saro essential oil, along with Ravintsara and Niaouli essential oils, is harvested in the wild, and distilled in Madagascar.

In the past when friends have had upper respiratory infections, I have made them blends with Saro and they have really appreciated the relief and the support.  Consider the therapeutic properties of 1,8 cineole (eucalyptole):

  • airborne antimicrobial (9)
  • analgesic (anesthetic) (2,3)
  • antibacterial (1,2,3)
  • antifungal (5)
  • anti-inflammatory (1,2,3)
  • antispasmodic (1,2,3)
  • antiviral (1)
  • expectorant (1,2,3)
  • increases cerebral blood flow (1)
  • mucolytic (1,2,3)
  • reduces tension headaches (1)
  • skin penetration enhancer (1,8)
  • smooth muscle antispasmodic (6)
  • suppresses coughing (1,2,3)

It’s easy to see from this research why this 1,8 cineole rich essential oil is one we choose for head colds, sinus infections and respiratory illnesses.

How should Saro essential oil be used? Try a steam for a direct approach. Always be sure to use only one drop in steaming water—any more can be overwhelming.

To support the effects of the steam, create a topical application. Blend Saro with a gentle essential oil such as Lavender or Frankincense in a carrier oil at a 2% or 3% dilution. Organic Jojoba is a great carrier.

The blend can be applied liberally to the chest and back of neck and in my experience it can be very helpful to relieve coughing spasms and act as an expectorant.

I also like to use a blend of Saro, Ravintsara and Niaouli in an electric diffuser. As these oils can be somewhat awakening, switch to a gentle, relaxing blend in the nighttime hours to encourage rest.

The use of Saro essential oil is not without cautions. Because Saro essential oil is a strong oil with a camphoraceous aroma and contains 1,8 cineole, it is not recommended for use with children under the age of five. You can diffuse Saro essential oil for young children, as long as it's diffused away from their faces. Another option is to replace the Saro with Cedarwood essential oil (Juniperus virginiana).

Additional care should be taken with those suffering from asthma. With asthmatics, introduce the oil slowly and be sure the aroma relaxes breathing and does not cause any sense of constriction.

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Research References:

  1. Harris, B. (2007) 1,8 cineole-a component of choice for respiratory pathologies. The International Journal of Clinical Aromatherapy 4 (1): 3-8
  2. Bowles, J (2000) The basic chemistry of aromatherapeutic essential oils. 2nd Ed. Sydney: Bowles, J
  3. Juergens U R, Dethlefsen U, Steinkamp G, et al. (2003) anti-inflammatory activity of 1,8 cineole (eucalpytol) in bronchial asthma: a double blind, placebo controlled trial. Resp Med 97 250-256
  4. Baudoux, D., Zhiri, A. (2005) Aromatherapy alternatives for gynaecological pathologies: recurrent vaginal Candida and infection caused by the human papilloma virus (HPV). The International Journal of Clinical Aromatherapy 2 (1): 34-39
  5. Battaglia, S., (2003) The Complete Guide to Aromatherapy 2nd Ed Australia, The International Centre of Aromatherapy
  6. Hof S, Ammon T (1989) Negative inotropic action of rosemary oil, 1,8-cineole, and bornyl acetate. Planta Medica, 55 (1): 106-107 Essential Oil Research Database #265
  7. Astani, A (2009) Comparitive study on the antiviral activity of selected Monoterpenes derived from essential oils. Phytother Res, Aug 3rd
  8. Almirall M, et al (1996) Effect of d-limonene, a-pinene and cineole on the in vitro transdermal human skin penetration of chlorpromazine and haloperidol.Arzneimittel-forschung 46 (7): 676-680 Essential Oil Research Database # 625
  9. Kei Sato, Sabine Krist, Gerhard Buchbauer (2007) Antimicrobial effect of vapours of geraniol, (R)-(-)-linalool, terpineol, -terpinene and 1,8-cineole on airborne microbes using an airwasher, Department of Clinical Pharmacy and Diagnostics, University of Vienna, Althanstrasse 14, A-1090 Vienna, Austria
  10. Russin WA, Hoesly JD, Elson CE, Tanner MA, Gould MN. Inhibition of rat mammary carcinogenesis by monoterpenoids. Carcinogenesis. 1989 Nov;10(11):2161-4.
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: Essential Oils

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