Below are some precautions and useful information about our essential oils.
Topical application of an essential oil or blend whether diluted or not should always be tested first on a very small area for sensitivity. If any irritation arises, discontinue use or change the dilution and test again.
Dilution of essential oils are most commonly blended as a 2% to 10% dilution in a carrier oil suitably chosen for a particular purpose.
Direct application of an essential oil, for example, on acupuncture points, may be done after testing for sensitivity on a single point first. One drop may be distributed over a 3 to 5 point prescription. Never rub or massage an undiluted essential oil on the skin. If any irritation arises, discontinue use or dilute and test again.
It is not the intention of Alchemica Botanica or the Alchemica Botanica website to provide specific information on disease processes or the healing of any disease or symptom. The information and statements regarding efficacy of products contained within this website are for informational and educational purposes only, and have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Products mentioned within this website are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease; and are not to be used as a substitute for consulting a licensed medical practitioner regarding any medical advice or treatment
The essential oil blending and acupuncture point suggestions mentioned in the following material are simply ideas meant to encourage practitioners to come up with their own prescriptions. Likewise, the descriptions of essential oil aromas and their effects are based on the experiences of the writers. Your own experiences are equally valid and you are encouraged to share them on the Alchemica Botanica website.
To learn more about using essential oils in the context of Chinese Medicine, Alchemica Botancica recommends the following Teachers: Jeffrey Yuen (jadepurityfoundation.org ) and Josephine Spilka ( essencepresence.com )
(Artemisiae argyi Folium)
Mugwort leaf, Argy wormwood leaf
Our Ai Ye essential oil with it's pungent flowery and earthy aroma generates a warm, steady hum around the ears that then fills the abdomen and continues deep to the core giving one a feeling of stability and peace.
Best quality Artemisia wormwood has thick, soft leaves which are dark green on the top, white underneath, covered with small oil producing glands and have an intensely aromatic fragrance.
Wormwood leaves are gathered on a warm dry day in spring and summer when the plant is in flower and dried in the shade. This Ai Ye essential oil is steam distilled.
Ai Ye "enters the three channels of Liver, Spleen and Kidney as yang within blood." (Ben Cao Shu Gou Xuan)
Practitioners may consider blending with Gan Jiang (zingiberis) essential oil for prolonged uterine bleeding due to cold and with Xiang Fu, Chuan Xiong and Dang Gui essential oils for abdominal pain and irregular menstruation due to cold and deficiency.
Essential oil of Ai Ye has been shown to be helpful for various respiratory disorders and allergies used orally (VERY sparingly), topically ( diluted properly) or inhaled ( see Chinese Medical Herbology and Pharmacology, Chen and Chen, pp 600-602 for details.)
TCM Category: regulating blood, stop bleeding
Major known chemical constituents: sesquiterpines, triterpenes (Bensky Materia Medica)
(Magnolia Denudate Folium, Magnolia leaf)
White Jade Leaf
The light floral, citrusy perfume of Bai Yu Lan Ye essential oil is literally mouth watering, clarifying, and euphoric. Since ancient times in China, the Magnolia denudate tree was considered to be a symbol of purity, cultivated in temple gardens. Its Chinese name, White Jade, tells us that it has an affinity with the metal element and that, like jade, it helps to bring about the completion of a transformative process. Clearing and supporting the metal element, Bai Yu Lan Ye transforms phlegm, expels wind/damp and descends Lung Qi. Regulating Qi and Blood, and calming pain, Bai Yu Lan Ye brings mental clarity and brightens the mood, transforming the fog and mist that can encumber or dampen the spirit.
Bai Yu Lan Ye oil is especially useful topically for fibromyalgia and other syndromes where hypersensitivity to pain is a factor. It's especially high linalool content gives it anti-inflammatory, antihyperalgesic, antinociceptive properties. (In psychology, the term antinociceptive refers to a unique factor that increases tolerance for or reduces sensitivity to a dangerous or harmful stimuli, such as a post traumatic stress trigger.)
Major known chemical constituent: terpene alcohol: linalool >70% (from Guangzhou extractor anaysis)
(Biotae Orientalis Semen, Platycladi Semen, Arborvitae Seed)
Our Bai Zi Ren essential oil is extracted by steam distillation from the seeds of a north western Chinese evergreen conifer commonly known as Arborvitae, meaning tree of life illustrating its enduring association with long life and vitality. The Shen Nong Ben Cao Jing Du explains, "The evergreen receives the resoluteness of heaven and earth and remains unchanging; it goes through winter retaining its green lushness and thus can pacify the Heart Spirit and contain the Heart Qi. Its steadfastness also makes it impervious to invasion by evil Qi's floating fire."
The essence of the small, oily, yellow seeds of Biotae Orientalis, with its spicy, bitter and grounding aroma, opens the heart, the ear orifice and hearing and rises through the nose to activate the pineal gland which the philosopher Renee Descartes called "the principal seat of the soul" and viewed as the third eye. The pineal produces melatonin which affects the modulation of sleep patterns in both seasonal and circadian rhythms. Indeed, this Bai Zi Ren essential oil has proven to be effective and fast acting in cases of insomnia. Li Shi Zhen's Ben Cao Gang Mu explains that Bai Zi Ren "nourishes Heart Qi, moistens dryness, Quiets Hun and settles Po, boosts the Zhi (will) and pacifies the Shen (spirit).”
May be blended with Wu Wei Zi oil for deficiency type night sweats and disturbed sleep or with Dang Gui oil for palpitations, dizziness and forgetfulness.
TCM Category: Nourish heart, calm spirit
Angelica dahurica Radix, Angelica Root
The full bodied, spicy, warm aroma of this Bai Zhi essential oil, when inhaled directly, rises, permeating the nasal passages and frontal sinuses, effectively opening and drying as it goes. Pressure, swelling and pain are quickly reduced.
Our Bai Zhi essential oil is CO2 extracted and very concentrated. This method assures that the essence of the plant will express it’s traditional Chinese medicine actions with the added benefit of powerful aromatherapy. Bali Zhi opens the Lung, Somach and Spleen channels. It is frequently used for Yang ming headache and toothache. Dermatologically, Bai Zhi may be applied as an aid to reduce swelling, expel pus and eliminate toxins.
Angelica dahurica grows wild in northeastern China, in damp habitats often near riverbanks and along streams. For medicinal purposes, these white colored roots are collected at the end of summered and in autumn when the leaves turn yellow.
Various components of Bai Zhi have demonstrated significant analgesic effects as well as muscle-relaxant qualities to treat muscle spasms and cramps. (Chinese Medical Herbology and Pharmacology, Chen and Chen p.61)
Note: Middle and base
TCM category: Releasing exterior wind cold
(Litsea cubeba, Fructus Litseae)
The sunny, lemon pepper aroma of Bi Cheng Qie seems to penetrate warmth from head to toe. It first rises up to the pituitary gland, bringing yang to stimulate the production of yin essences and then descends, warming and freeing the middle and lower burners, particularly the Qi of the Spleen/Stomach and Kidney/ Urinary Bladder.
Litsea Fructus is a spicy tree fruit of the pepper family. The best quality is considered to be the large,oily, and intensely aromatic fruit from Lingui in Guangxi province. Our Bi Cheng Qie oil is produced by steam distillation.
Litsea Cubeba essential oil has anti fungal and antibacterial properties. Caprylic acid, a popular ingredient in topical anti fungal preparations, is one of the fatty acids found in Litsea seeds.
TCM Category: Warming the interior
Major chemical constituents: essential oils 2-6% (citral, limonene, citronella, camphene, methylheptenone, a-pinene, methylheptylketone) cubebaol. (from Chinese Medical Herbology and Pharmacology, Chen and Chen)
Menthae haplocalysis Heba
Field Mint, peppermint
The classic fresh, pungent peppermint aroma of our steam distilled Bo He is immediately expansive, stimulating and cooling. It quickly opens the nasal passages, brighten the eyes and lifts the mood.
Practitioners may consider adding Bo He as a top note to essential oils blends for symptoms of wind heat fever and congestion or to facilitate the flow of liver Qi and relax the emotions. Bo He oil may also be helpful to relieve itching.
For headache, blending Bo He and Chuan Xiong essential oils and applying locally has been found to be quite effective and fast acting.
Dilution: 2-8% (test for sensitivity with higher dilutions)
TCM category: Releasing exterior wind heat
Major known chemical constituents: menthol (30.70%), menthone (27.08%), limonine cineol
"Red Essence" or "Black Essence"
Cang Zhu oil's fresh ,sharp, earthy aroma opens and dries the nasal passages and leaves a bitter sweet and pungent taste in the mouth. It seems to clarify thought and put one in the mood for deep reflexion. Atractilodis Lancea, the most fragrant variety, grows wild mainly in Hubei and Jiangsu provinces. The rhyzome is dug up in the spring or autumn and dried in the sun. The interior of the rhyzome, the part used in medicine, is reddish in color.
Application of Cang Zhu essential oil with it's aromatic and drying nature make it useful whenever accumulation of dampness is the cause of disfunction, illness or pain, and commonly used in the case of digestive disturbances because of it's affinity to spleen and stomach.
Note: Middle and base
TCM Category: aromatic herbs that transform Dampness
Major known chemical constituents: B-eudesmol, hinesol, atractyodin, atractylone (Chinese Medical Herbology and Pharmacology, Chen and Chen)
(Bupleuri Radix, Bupleurum Root, Chinese Thorowax Root, Hare's Ear Root)
Kindling/Twigs of the Barbarians
Chai Hu Essential Oil's woody, pungent aroma leaves a light, bitter taste at the back of the mouth while being uplifting and upward moving, it awakens the eyes, forehead and the mind. Bringing clarity of vision to what we think and clarity of thought to what we see, Chai Hu essential oil harmonizes our internal and external worlds. Chai Hu's channel affinities; Liver/Gall Bladder and Pericardium/Triple Heater further account for this Yin /Yang balancing action.
Li Gao commented: "it focuses on blood in the Yin organs, while in the channels it focuses on Qi" making it a perfect choice where regulation of both Qi and Blood are essential as in menstrual disorders, or when Liver Qi constraint causes emotional disturbances, digestive distress or pain.
Our Chai Hu essential oil is steam distilled from the root of Bupleurum, a perennial herb which grows wild on the sunny sides of sedge thickets in central and eastern China. It's small golden flowers bloom in autumn. For medicinal use, the roots are dug up in Spring or Autumn and dried in the sun.
In pharmacological studies, Chai Hu essential oil and one of its main chemical components, saikosaponin, demonstrated analgesic and sedative effects.
Note: Middle and base
TCM category: releasing the exterior
Major known chemical constituents: Triterpene saponines (saikosaponin).
(Ligustici Wallicii Rhizoma, Sichuan Lovage Rhizome)
Chuan Xiong essential oil's rich buttery aroma, reminiscent of fresh celery and chive, refreshes the eyes, tingles the scalp, frees the neck and spreads throughout causing the body to want to move and release. Ligustici Chuanxiong is a plant native to China's Sichuan Provence. The medicinal rhizome is collected in the summer when the nodal points on the stem protrude and are light purple in color as a signal that i's blood vitalizing properties are at their height. This essential oil is extracted by CO2 in Southern China.
The name Chuan Xiong traditionally means overworked and exhausted dome or sky referring to its special ability to rise up to benefit the head and brain for treatment of all types of headache. Overall, Chuan Xiong essential oil is useful to invigorate the blood, free the movement of the Qi, expel wind and stop pain. The twelfth-century writer, Zhang Yuan-Su described its scope: "Above it moves through the head and eyes while below it moves through the sea of blood.”
For headaches caused by wind consider using with Jing Jie oil. For blood deficiency and stagnation type headaches may be combined with Dang Gui oil.
Note: Middle and base
TCM Category: Invigorating blood
Major known chemical components: oil:ligustilide >35%, sabinene (from Kaiping extractor analysis), Ethel's, methyls (from Chinese Medical Herbology and Pharmacology, Chen and Chen)
(Angelicae Sinensis Radix, Chinese Angelica Root)
Dang Gui, by name, expresses its deeply supportive and nurturing character. Dang meaning to embody and Gui meaning to enter or return to the original state, to go home in a sense. Dang Gui essential oil's sweet scent of moist fertile earth, deep in the forest, opens up in the mouth and moves down into the middle jiao. It seems to soften the eyes and the vision, warm around the ears and make the body and mind feel soft, supple and receptive.
Our Dang Gui oil is CO2 extracted from the medicinal root of Angelica Sinensis, a hardy perennial which grows wild on high ground in cool and damp areas of western and northwestern China.
The properties of Dang Gui include nourishing, invigorating, warming and harmonizing the blood, making it one the most widely used and versatile herbs for dealing with a wide range of blood patterns including deficiency, pain, dryness and cold. Dang Gui essential oil is ideal for gynecological issues, for the healing of injuries where blood is congested, as well as for a disturbed spirit due to blood deficiency. The oil can be especially useful topically for numbness or skin problems caused by blood-deficient wind.
Clinical studies have shown that Dang Gui essential oil has a relaxing effect on the smooth muscle of the uterus and is effective in reducing menstrual pain. It was also found to benefit patients with coughing and wheezing.
Note: Middle and base
TCM Category: Tonify Blood
Major known chemical constituents: ligustilide >35% (from Kaiping extractor analysis), phenols
(Angelicae pubescentis Radix)
The heavy bitter sweetness and spicy edge of this Du Huo essential oil is deeply satisfying. Its aroma brings moisture to the eyes, a warm tingling to the ears and vitality to the knees. It's name "self reliant existence" refers to the strength of the plant's stalk, which stands straight up and is not shaken by the wind. This, in turn, reflects Du Huo's action to dispel wind damp and strengthen the legs and spine.
Our Du Huo oil is Co2 extracted from the root of Angelica pubescentis, a thick, oily root with strong fragrance. The best medicinal quality called "Chuan Du Huo" grows in Sichuan and Hubei provinces and is collected either in early spring before sprouting or late autumn after stem and leaves have withered when the plant's energies are focused on the root.
May be blended and applied topically with Jing Jie oil for rash and itching, or combined with Chuan Xiong oil for aches and pain due to wind cold and dampness.
TCM category: Dispelling wind-damp and relieving pain
Curcuma Rhizoma, Curcuma zedoaria
E Zhu essential oil is strong, sharp and penetrating. It is a warrior on a search and destroy mission to root out and break up serious, chronic Blood and Qi stasis, palpable masses and hardnenings. This oil means business. Its pungent and bitter warmth reaches deep into the blood level to disperse, unblock and drain while its aroma promotes the flow of Qi. Our E Zhu essential oil is produced by steam distillation.
In traditional Chinese medicine E Zhu enters the Liver and Spleen channels indicating that it works on Qi, Blood, Phlem and food stagnation. Recently, Curcuma Rhizome has become an important herb in the treatment of solid cancers, and reported to be especially effective in cervical cancer.
Practitioners may consider blending the essential oils of E Zhu, Dang Gui, Chuan Xiong and Xiang Fu for dysmenorrhea and amenorrhea with fixed abdominal mass, emotional depression and a wirey pulse. In the case of distention and hardness of the right ribs area, consider combining E Zhu with Chai Hu.
Research has shown that the essential oil of Curcuma Rhizome prolongs the aggregation of platelets and prevents the formation of thrombi. (Chinese Medical Herbology and Pharmacology, Chen and Chen p.667)
TCM category: Invigorating Blood and Removing Stasis.
(Zingiberis Rhyzome, Dried Ginger Rhyzome)
Our Gan Jiang essential oil with its fresh, sharp, spicy aroma is CO2 extracted from the tough, old "mother" Zingiberis Rhizomes collected in the winter when their energy to generate yang and counteract cold and damp is strongest. The yellowish white color of the root at this time affirms its affinity with the earth and metal elements and its beneficial effects on digestion and respiration.
Gan Jiang oil is an excellent choice whenever there is a need to restore the Yang and as an addition to oil blends when cold and damp conditions need to be addressed.
TCM Category: warm the interior and expel cold
Major Chemical Constituents: gingerol >15% ( from Kaiping extractor analysis). Sesquterpenes: gingerin. Monoterpenes: cineol, borneol (from Yuen Materia Medica). Zingberol,zingiberene,bisabolene, a-curcumene, a-farnesesne,b-farnesene,linalool,cineole (essential oil analysis from Chinese Medical Herbology and Pharmacology, Chen and Chen).
(Semen Trigonellae, Trigonella foenum- graecum)
Hu Lu Ba essential oil has a mild nutty aroma which leaves a bitter taste in the mouth and stimulates saliva. It’s nourishing warmth descends and spreads throughout the lower body. Our Hu Lu Ba essential oil is CO2 extracted.
According to Li Shi Zhen’s Grand Materia Medica Hu Lu Ba, “is an herb of the right Kidney and the gate of vitality”, and it “augments the right Kidney and warms the cinnabar field.”
Practitioners may consider combining Hu Lu Ba and Xiao Hui Xiang (fennel) essential oils, which are often used together in classical Chinese medicine for bulging, pain and cold in the lower abdomen, genitals, lower back and legs.
In clinical studies and research Hu Lu Ba and one of its chemical components, Galactomannan,has been found to lower blood glucose levels in cases of Diabetes mellitus. Hu Lu Ba also has shown beneficial effects on the thyroid gland by elevating T3 and T4 and balancing the Adrenals.
Taking Hu Lu Ba essential oil with Pomegranate seed oil internally may help to lower cholesterol, and applied topically to reduce cellulite, fatty deposits and cysts.
TCM category: Tonifying Yang
Major known chemical components: Saponins, Alkaloids, trigonelline
(Dalbergiae Odiferae Lignum, Scented Rosewood, Heart Wood)
The smooth, pungent, resinous wood aroma of Jiang Xiang essential oil opens the sinuses, stimulates the eyes and forehead and gives one the feeing of being refreshed and soothed at the same time. The fragrant wood of Dalbergiae Odiferae, native only to Hinan Island, China's southernmost and only tropical island, is highly prized and in limited supply. It is known in Chinese carpentry as yellow flower pear (Huang Hua Li) and was favored for most of the finest Ming- period furniture. Our Jiang Xiang oil is steam distilled in Southern China.
Best known for its application in benefiting all types of traumatic injuries, it both disperses blood stasis and stops bleeding as well as helping to generate flesh.
Pharmacological effects include anti-inflammatory, hemostatic and analgesic.
TCM Category: Regulating blood
Major known chemical constituents: Myrrhene & Farnesene > 35%. (from Guangzhou extractor analysis)
Our Jing Jie essential oil is steam distilled at a small, old fashioned, family run distillery in the country side near Ji'an China where Jing Jie grows wild by the water. A fresh and powerful aroma, its distinct, peppery, green earth fragrance opens the nose, raises the skin hair, homes to the chest and quickens the heart. The old name for Herba Schizonepetae, Jiang Jie, means ginger mustard, describing its pungent nature and the plant is of the mint family.
With affinities to Lung and Liver, Jing Jie essential oil affects Wei and Ying Qi, venting wind, moving the blood and relaxing the sinews. The oil can be applied topically (diluted in a carrier oil) for rashes and itching, muscle spasms, bronchospasms, beginning stage measles, pruritic itchy skin eruptions, carbuncles, or furuncles and abscesses (contraindicated in cases of fully erupted measles or open sores).
Combine with Dang Gui and Chuan Xiong Oils for itching due to blood deficiency.
Note: Top to middle
TCM Category: Releasing the Exterior
Major known chemical constituents: menthone, pulegone, isomenthone, isopulegone, limonene, schizomedol, schizonepetoside A-E, etc. Flavenoids, monoterpene glycosides, phenolic acids.
(Borneolum, Dryobalanops Aromatica)
The enlivening, piercing, resinous and acrid aroma of this Long Nao essential oil rises to the top of the head leaving a long lasting concentrated feeling around Bai Hui (Du 20). Our organic Long Nao oil is steam distilled from the sap of dryobalanops aromatica trees growing on the distiller's land in Jiangxi China. This variety of Bing Pian is considered superior and is completely natural unlike most Borneol available on the market today which is synthetic .
Ascending, dispersing and mobilizing, Long Nao Bing Pian opens the sensory orifices and awakens the spirit. Applied topically, it may also be useful for heat, pain, swelling of the eyes, ears, nose, mouth and throat as well as for various types of hot skin sores.
TCM Category: Aromatic substances that open the orifices
Major known chemical constituents: sesquiterpines, triterpines (Bensky)
(Aucklandiae Radix, Saussurea Root)
Fragrant Wood, Wood Aroma
The spicy and bitter aroma of our CO2 extracted Mu Xiang essential oil immediately sends an excited reverberation throughout the body, awakening the senses in the mouth, stimulating abundant saliva and calming the stomach. The Stomach enjoys fragrant aromas and indeed Mu Xiang oil unblocks and harmonizes the functions of the digestive organs and alleviates all kinds of digestive dysfunction and discomfort whether the causes are physical or emotional. Due to its affinity with the Triple Burner, it helps to normalize the upward and downward movement of the Qi and open the three jiao.
Ni Zhu Mo in his Ming Dynasty Ben Cao Hui Yan praised the wide scope of Mu Xiang’s Qi regulating action, "Auklandia harmonizes the stomach, frees the Heart Qi, downbears the Lung Qi, dredges the Liver Qi, quickens the spleen Qi, warms the Kidney Qi, disperses accumulated Qi, warms cold Qi, normalizes counterflow Qi, reaches exterior Qi, and frees interior Qi. In sum, it governs various Qi throughout the body."
In modern research, its effects on the smooth muscle of the intestines include both regulating peristalsis and relaxing spasm, demonstrating its regulating qi functions. The essential oil of Mu Xiang has an inhibitory effect on strep, staph, and E coli bacterias.
Note: Middle and base
TCM Category: Regulating Qi
Major known chemical constituents: costunoldie & woody lactone dehydrogenase > 60%. (from Guangzhou extractor analysis)
(Artemisiae annuae Herba)
The clean, sharply bitter and sweet aroma of our steam distilled Qing Hao essential oil clears and cools the eyes, the forehead and the mind. It vibrates strongly into the blood level bringing about a refreshing feeling of renewal.
Artemisia annua has dark green fern like leaves, a yellow-green stem and intense fragrance. For optimal medicinal properties, this fast growing plant is cut before it's bright yellow flowers bloom in the spring. The best quality grows in Beijing, Chongching, Chengdu, and Suzhou.
"It's sprout appears very early so that it receives the Qi of the spring and thus it enters both the Liver and Gallbladder channels to clear heat from the blood." ..."and treats heat remaining within the bones and joints..." (Ben Cao Zheng Yi)
The use of artemisinin, a major constituent of Qing Hao, in treatment of malaria is well-established. Essential oil of Qing Hao has been shown to have powerful anti viral properties an well as expectorant, antitussive and anti asthmatic effects. (Chen Materia Medica)
Practitioners may consider a 10% dilution of Qing Hao essential oil in coconut oil as a topical salve for herpes.
Note: top to middle
TCM Category: Deficiency Heat Clearing
Major known chemical constituents: artemisinin (a sesquiterpine lactone).
(Citri reticulatae viride Pericarpium)
green Mandarin tangerine peel, unripe tangerine peel
The fresh, fruity top note of our Qing Pi essential oil first delights the senses freeing up feelings of constraint and anger, then its bitter and sour undertones sink deep and get to work, fiercely breaking up stagnation.
Qing Pi’s unripe green color, plus sour flavor and fragrance indicate its particular affinity to the wood element - Liver and Gallbladder. It’s youthful immaturity accounts for its fierce, energetic character. Qing Pi’s classical Chinese medicine channel affinities also include the Triple Burner and Stomach where it’s bitterness descends counterflow.
Practitioners may consider a compress blending Qing Pi with Chai Hu or Xiang Fu essential oils for clumping and pain associated with liver Qi stasis and adding E Zhu essential oil if complicated with blood stasis as in the case of fixed, palpable breast lumps for example.
Qing Pi in combination with Mu Xiang essential oil may reinforce its stomach harmonizing action.
TCM category: regulating Qi
Major known chemical constituents: flavonoids (hesperidin, tangeretin), limonene, esters (methyl anthranilate)
(Cinnamon Bark, Cinnamomi Cortex, Cinnamomum Cassia)
The delicious spicy sharp aroma of our CO2 extracted Rou Gui essential oil is deeply heating and pleasantly stimulating.
Cinnamon Bark is from the Cassia tree which grows in China's Guangdong, Guangxi and Hainan provinces. The best quality bark used for medicinal grade Rou Gui is thick, smooth and oily from the lower part of the tree indicating its energetic reach to warm the middle and lower jiao along with its action to fortify the Kidney Yang. Its purple-crimson color illustrates that it tonifies the Heart Yang and warmly unblocks the vessels.
Rou Gui essential oil may be considered in a blend with Dang Gui and Chuan Xiong oils to promote menstruation and relieve cramps when cold is a causative factor. Rou Gui oil may also be a helpful addition to blends for various types of pain due to cold obstruction. Topically, Rou Gui essential oil should be used sparingly and always with a carrier oil.
TCM Category: warming the interior.
Major known chemical constituents: Cinnamaldehyde > 80% ( from Kaiping extractor analysis). Aldehydes 65-75%, Eugenol 5-10% ( from Yuen Materia Medica)
(Olibanum, Boswellia carterii)
Fragrant Breast, Fragrant Milk
Frankincense from the French "franc encens" (ie: true, high quality incense)
Ru Xiang Essential oil has a rich, balsamic aroma whose effect is simultaneously soothing and invigorating. It gives one an overall sense of being relieved and released. It relaxes the diaphragm and deepens the breath.
Frankincense is tapped from the scraggly but hardy Boswellia trees by slashing the bark, which is called striping, and allowing the exuded resin to bleed out and harden. These hardened resins are called tears. Our Ru Xiang essential oil is extracted by CO2.
Frankincense has a long and fascinating history. For example it is mentioned in the Hebrew Bible book of Exodus where it is named levonah meaning "white". It was one of the ingredients in the perfume of the sanctuary. Its fragrant odor was a symbol of the Divine name and an emblem of prayer.
Ru Xiang oil's characteristic abilities to invigorate the blood, relax the sinews, smooth the movement of blood and Qi and ease pain extend beyond the physical to calm the emotions and lift the spirit.
Topically Ru Xiang essential oil may be applied to reduce swelling, relieve pain, and enhance the healing of wounds, ulcers and scars. According to Li Shi Zhen's Ben Cao Gang Mu, Ru Xiang, "eliminates the toxicity of sores and deep-seated toxic boils, supporting the interior and protecting the Heart."
Frankincense essential oil is strongly anti-oxidant and may be used as a fixative to prevent rancidity.
TCM Category: Regulating blood.
Major known chemical constituents: Monoterpenes (pinene,dipentene~40% from Yuen Materia Medica), D- camphene 80% ( from Guangzhou extractor analysis
(Cnidii Fructus, Cnidium Fruit)
Snake's Bed Seed
She Chuang Zi essential oil's aroma of warm peety earth, salty sweat, and bitter antiseptic overtones, vibrates at the bridge of the nose and eyes, warms in the lower abdomen and stimulates the genital region. The translation of She Chuang Zi, "Snake's Bed Seeds," refers to the observation that snakes often hibernate under the plant and eat its seeds which symbolically illustrates its benefits to sexual and reproductive function by fortifying the Kidney yang.
Traditionally, She Chuang Zi is categorized as a topical application herb. The CO2 extracted essential oil adapts well to topical treatment for external indications such as weeping, itchy skin lesions, parasites, scabies, ringworm, tinea, trichomonas, fungal infections, chronic eczema, rashes or swelling and pain of the groin and genital region and hemorrhoids.
Combine She Chuang Zi oil with Wu Wei Zi or Rou Gui essential oils for Kidney yang deficiency with wind, damp and cold leading to low back pain, leg and knee pain, infertility or impotence.
TCM category: Substances for topical application
Major known active chemical constituent: Osthole 10.42% (from GuangZhou extractor analysis).
Osthole has been used in treatments for inflamation, osteoperosis and tumors for many years. It has been the subject of numerous recent research studies that have found that Osthole: Inhibits alcohol or fat induced fatty liver disease, is a good candidate in treatment of Liver cancer because of its unique chemical structure, suppresses inflammatory responses, is as effective as 17 beta-estradiol to suppress bone loss and benefit those with osteoporosis, lowers blood pressure, inhibits platelet aggregation and inhibits smooth muscle contraction.
Pine joint / Pine needle
Our Song Zhen Essential oil with its true and fresh pine resin aroma is steam distilled from pine needles. Song Jie or pine node is the part of the tree more commonly referred to in traditional Chinese materia medicas. Pine needle essential oil, when applied topically, shares the nodes traditional benefit to ease painful Bi syndromes. As aroma therapy, especially when diffused, the needle brings the added benefit of its Lung /Kidney affinity, helping to descend the Lung Qi to the Kidneys. The bitter quality of its aroma descends and anchors while its sharpness clears the respiratory passages.
Practitioners may consider creating a liniment of Pine together with Du Huo and Dang Gui essential oils for fixed, deep pain in the joints or combining Pine with Ru Xiang and Jiang Xiang for pain from traumatic injuries.
Pine is considered to have disinfectant properties and may be diffused as an aid for upper respiratory infections.
TCM category: Dispelling wind damp and relieving pain
Dilution: 8% to 10%
Major known chemical constituents: Monoterpenes (pinene ~60-70%)
(Styrax, Liquidambar Orientalis, Resin of Rose Maloes, Oriental Sweetgum)
Revive and Join Fragrance
Sweet Smelling Exudate, from the Arabic word assitirax
Su He Xiang's intense, long lasting fragrance is complex, penetrating and heady; resinous, with balsamic, leathery sweetness and sharp, terpenic notes. It vibrates and awakens all of the upper orifices (sense organs) and concentrates in the forehead. Our Su He Xiang essential oil is CO2 extracted from the resin of the bark of the Liqudamber Orientalis, a deciduous tree native to the eastern Mediterranean region. The penetrating and warm qualities of Su He Xiang strongly clear away turbidity and phlegm.
The classic text, Ben Jing Feng Yuan, describes it this way: Su He Xiang "is created by the accumulation of the Qi of various fragrances; it ventilates every yin organ and orifice and clears away every type of abnormal Qi. Whenever phlegm accumulates and Qi collapses, this must first be used to open and guide." And, "For the miasmic damp Qi of mountain mists which invades the channels and collaterals causing intermittent cramps and spasms, Styrax is imperative."
As an aid to revive consciousness and awaken the spirit in the in the case of coma, wind stroke or phlegm collapse, and for childhood convulsions or seizures, Su He Xiang oil can be applied directly to acupoints such as jing well points, using one drop for several points.
Pharmacological research has shown that the essential oil of Su He Xiang has strong antifungal properties.
TCM Category: Aromatic substances that open the orifices
Major known chemical constituents: cinnamyl aldehyde.
(Cyperi Rhizoma, Cyperus Rotundus Rhizome, Nutgrass Rhizome)
Xiang Fu essential oil has a rich, piercing, aroma, which expands the eyes, vibrates around the ears and fills the abdomen, homing in on blockages. Cyperus Rotundus has a vast growing range and is especially prevalent in southern India where its essential oil is used in perfumery. The plant is invasive and hardy. It is able to grow in sandy soil as well as in loamy moist fields and tropical rainforests. In China, the underground portion is collected in autumn for medicinal use, the rhizomes sliced in half and dried in the sun. Our Xiang Fu essential oil is CO2 extracted in southern China.
Traditionally, Xiang Fu is prized as one of the most commonly used Qi rectifying, depression opening herbal medicines, able to free the Qi aspect of the 12 channels and 8 vessels and an immortal herb for women. Consider blending Xiang Fu essential oil with Dang Gui, Chuan Xiong and/or Chai Hu oils for all types of irregular menstruation or pre-menstrual syndrome.
TCM Category: Regulating Qi
Major known chemical constituents: Sesquiterpines: a-cyperolone >9% (Guang Zhou extractor analysis), B-selinene, cyperine, patchoulenone, sugeonol. Monoterpines: Pinene, camphene, cineole, limonene
(Perillae Fructescens Folium)
Purple Revival Leaf
Zi Su Ye essential oil has a pungent, distinctive aroma combining the sweetness of fresh leaves and the spice of fresh mint. Its effect concentrates the eyes, tingles the scalp, spreads along the front of the ears and the jaw and warms through the throat to the stomach. Perilla grows wild in abundance in the hills and mountains of East Asia and is a plant of the mint family. While its pungent quality enters the Qi level, the purple color of the leaf signals that it enters the blood level. Both leaf and stem are extracted to make this essential oil.
Although Zi Su Ye is traditionally useful to warm and release the exterior, our CO2 extracted essential oil, like the herb in decoction, also harmonizes the middle jiao, expands the chest, and is famous for its ability to stop nausea and vomiting, including morning sickness and to calm a restless fetus. It is also known for its special function to resolve the effects of seafood poisoning.
The Ben Cao Qiu Zen describes Zi Su Ye this way, "Its aroma can vent wind outward, its warmth can warm the middle, facilitating the comfort of the whole body. Thus it is named revive (Su)."
May be blended with Mu Xiang oil for nausea and vomiting due to spleen and stomach Qi stagnation or for morning sickness.
TCM category: releasing the exterior
Major known chemical constituents: Essential oil: Monoterpines: perillaldehyde >32% ( from GuangZhou extractor analysis), elsholtziaketone, perilla ketone
(Schisandrae chinensis fructus, schizandra fruit)
"Five flavor seed"
The subtle, balanced aroma of this Wu Wei ZI essential oil seems to spread out to all of the sensory orifices. It warms the ears, concentrates the eyes, opens the nose and leaves two tastes on the tongue; salty at the back, pungent at the tip. It's effect warms and vibrates the lower abdomen, excites the breath, quiets the heart and elicits a gentle satisfied purr throughout the trunk of the body. Our Wu Wei ZI essential oil is grown and CO2 extracted in southern China from the small, red, clustered schizandrae fruit whose Chinese name, "Five Flavor Seed" signifies that it can "tonify the yin of all five yin organs." The fruit skin is sweet, the fleshy part is sour, the seed core is bitter and pungent while all parts have a salty taste. The denseness of the dried fruit with its predominantly sour, and salty nature reflects its actions to astringe and nourish the Jing essence and Kidney.
Wu Wei Zi essential oil can be applied to contain the leakage of Lung Qi for wheezing and cough when lung and kidney Qi are insufficient and the kidney is not grasping the lung Qi. Wu Wei Zi's affinity with the Heart is born out in it's ability to contain and calm the heart and spirit. The sour nature of Wu Wei Zi guides it to the Liver, benefiting the Liver yin and it's orifice, the eyes. It also benefits the Spleen and Kidney Qi, helping to bind deficiency diarrhea. It helps to generate fluids and stop sweating. It's binding quality also helps with leakages such as nocturnal emissions, frequent urination and bleeding.
May combine with Bai Zi Ren Oil for palpitations, insomnia, dream disturbed sleep. Apply for night sweats, and spontaneous sweating due to deficiency.
Research has shown that Wu Wei Zi stimulates the body to produce antioxidants to eliminate oxygen free radicals, strengthens recovery from radiation, delays aging and repairs liver damage. It increases respiratory rate and depth and has a tranquilizing effect on the central nervous system.
TCM Category: Astringent stabilizing binding
Major known chemical constituents: Essential oil (from Kaiping extractor analysis): Schisandrin B, schizandrin, deoxy schisandrin
Fennel fruit, Fennel seed
“small return fragrance”
The strong, rich, anise-like aroma of Xiao Hui Xiang essential oil seems to concentrate across the bridge of the nose and eyes, inward, vibrating deep into the brain. Its pungent heat travels downward through the throat, warming the whole abdomen and back.
Fennel has a wide growing range throughout Europe, North Africa and Asia and in many cultures its fruit has traditionally been valued as a digestive aid. Its light green, feathery foliage and aromatic seeds are used to flavor foods and medicines. Its bright yellow flowers signify its affinity to he earth element. Modern pharmacology has shown that fennel fruit inhibits excess stomach acid and increases peristalsis.
Xiao Hui Xiang and Hu Lu Ba (fenugreek) are a traditional TCM combination for all sorts of bulging disorders. For example, a warm compress of these two oils with Rou Gui might be used for hernia due to cold in the liver channel. The combination may also be considered for low back pain due to cold Kidney deficiency, especially if combined with She Chuang Zi and Du Huo oils.
Practitioners may find that combining Xiao Hui Xiang with Gan Jiang and Mu Xiang essential oils may be helpful to promote digestion in cases of abdominal pain or digestive disharmonies from cold.
Fennel essential oil is considered to be naturally estrogenic and therefore contraindicated in pregnancy or when there is need to block or reduce estrogen.
TCM category: Warming the interior
Dilution: 4% (a little goes a long way and too much can irritate the skin)
Major known chemical constituents: anethole (72%) (extractor analysis), phenolic ethers 50-90%, ketones (Yuen material medica)
Deep gratitude goes to the people and sources who contributed to the information contained in these TCM herb oil descriptions including: Dr. Jeffrey Yuen, Josephine Spilka, Andrew Ellis, the Materia Medica 3rd Edition by Bensky, Clavey & Stoger, Chinese Medical Herbology and Pharmacology by Chen&Chen, The Materia Medica of Essential Oils by Yuen, The Divine Farmer's Materia Medica translation by Yang Shou-Zhong, and various research articles and papers.
* All photos are sources labeled for reuse unless otherwise noted.