Litsea Cubeba Essential Oil is one of the more intense essential oils available to us. I mean that in the best possible way. I didn’t discover this oil’s health benefits until after I was into the “lifestyle” as it were, and because of that it came to me (personally) as a lovely surprise. I’ll explain why when I get to the part regarding the scent of this unique and amazing oil.
First, let’s get into the nitty gritty and find out some more about the origin of this oil and the tree which it comes from.
What is Litsea Cubeba Essential Oil? Where Does It Come From?
So, Litsea cubeba hails from different areas of southeast Asia. Places like China and Taiwan are known for their thriving plantations of this specimen, which is also known as “mountain pepper” in Mandarin. It is also known as May Chang. The litsea species is a part of the laurel family of flora. Over the years, it has been noted for its use in medicine, cosmetics, and even in the process of making furniture.
This next thought doesn’t apply specifically to this plant, but I am always blown away by the different ways in which plants like Litsea cubeba are used. We humans have our faults, but we are also highly innovative. It’s astounding, the amount of things you can get out of a single plant.
The tree’s essential oil is produced primarily for use in the perfume industry. The most common way of producing the oil is by steam distillation. It’s probably the safest and most trusted method there is, and it yields nice amounts of oil.
Another way to get the essential oil is by letting the plant material soak in a chemical bath of sorts. What you are left with is a substance which resembles gelatin, with the oil locked inside of its protective package. Then, alcohol is used to separate the oil from its gelatinous prison, and voila! What you are left with is the plant’s essential oil.
NOTE: there is a difference between those two methods, and if you do choose to obtain oil which was created by using the ‘chemical broth’ method, it is best used in cleaning products and for topical use, but is not recommended for ingestion. There is a difference in the quality of the two oils, so be sure to pick up the one which is best for you.
Litsea Cubeba Essential Oil Scent
The smell of the mountain pepper is reminiscent of lemongrass. I always add a drop or two to different blends which are too strong for my delicate nostrils. My palate has no problem eating anything, but my nose is a bit more sensitive (for whatever reason). It happens, on rare occasions I guess, that I require something less powerful. The scent of Litsea cubeba helps to brings a more balanced scent to mixtures which would otherwise be too strong for me to burn or inhale.
The reason why it became something of a favorite of mine is because I was introduced to the scent by someone who was special to me. I’ll spare you the unimportant details, but let’s just say it became a favorite after a time when I was homesick. That special someone came over with soup, sandwiches, and a vial of litsea oil. He explained a little bit about the oil and how it can help, and then we snuggled under a big blanket and watched The Neverending Story.
Litsea Cubeba Essential Oil For Infections
Citral is one of the main components of the Litsea Cubeba essential oil. This ingredient, along with other natural alcohols, provides litsea oil with a strong antibacterial and antiseptic presence. Because of this, litsea oil is highly suitable for treatment of external and internal infections.
Many essential oils are proving to be a match for infections. There was one experiment which was published in 2014, where the litsea cubeba essential oil was pitted against Escherichia coli, more commonly known as E.Coli.
The results showed that when the infectious cells were treated with litsea oil, cell growth was inhibited. The scientists found that most of the cells which were exposed to the oil either died or were heavily damaged in the course of the experiment’s first two hours.
By the way, I am of the opinion that since studies could always go either way – depending on who is the funding and conducting them – I always take the results of these studies with a grain of salt. Also, many times it helps to read a bit more into the abstract, since titles can be misleading.
The Chinese researchers found that the oil has a lot of promise as a natural healer, which can be used not only in alternative medicine and aromatherapy, but also as a standard, “mainstream” kind of microbacterial agent.
Bringing together different kinds of essential oils can help with infections, inside and out. When applied topically, it goes on smooth, gets absorbed pretty easily, and it doesn’t leave a greasy layer on your skin. Combining it with oils like tea tree oil or eucalyptus oil can also be beneficial, depending on the circumstances and condition at hand.
Litsea Cubeba Essential Oil For Skin
The skin, being our largest and most external organ, needs to be treated with certain attention. Our skin can keep out so many threats and hostiles, and it can help us stay safe. It does, for every minute of every hour of every day – yet it remains irrevocably sensitive. This could explain why there are so many products on the skin-care market. People want to have better and younger-looking skin. It’s an organ which covers your entire body, and in a way it can be seen as an indication of our diet, our health, and our lifestyle. There are exceptions to every rule, but we can agree that the skin is vitally important.
So, let’s see how litsea oil can work in our skin’s favor. First off, it can help with skin which is too oily. It contains natural alcohols which are effective in removing excess sebum oil. By removing excess oil from the surface of the skin, the pores can breathe easier. They open up more, they give the skin its healthy glow, and are less prone to infections.
Secondly, it can help any skincare product give off a better scent. The rich and lemony smell comes in handy when using regular cosmetics. You can add a few drops of this stuff to your body lotion, or use it as a natural deodorant. When combined properly, it can take any cosmetics product up a notch.
Whether it is being used as a preventive measure or a reactive one, litsea oil can be beneficial for skin cells.
Litsea Cubeba Essential Oil For Digestion and Weight
In traditional Chinese and Indian medicine, litsea oil is cited as an agent which can help with digestion issues. The oil has an acidic quality to it, and when ingested it can expedite the function of the digestive system. You can digest faster, and experience less food-related discomfort (gas, bloatedness, etc.).
Litsea oil can also act as a way to stimulate your appetite sensors. For those who are interested in gaining weight, yet whose appetite is not too strong, litsea can be a way to circumvent that issue and help build muscle mass.
Litsea Cubeba Essential Oil For DIY Soap
As previously mentioned, Litsea cubeba is heavily used in the cosmetics and personal hygiene industries. Because it has such natural antimicrobial and antiseptic talents – and a lovely citrusy scent to boot! – it is one of the best essential oils for DIY soap-making.
Because it’s not a classic citrus oil, the scent of the Litsea cubeba has more than just a lemony touch. This is clearly demonstrated when it’s burned in a diffuser, and the scent disintegrates into its constituents. This may not be what actually happens, but that’s how I see it anyway.
For those who are interested in making a soap using this essential oil, it’s easy to blend it with others. If you keep the soap properly stored, the smell of it can last a long while, but it also depends on the other oils which you are using.
— Southwest Soapworks (@CaliforniaSoaps) February 2, 2017
The Litsea cubeba essential oil is probably not the most recognizable oil in the catalog of close to 100 essential oils. Nevertheless, it holds its own, and is able to provide relief in certain situations. Remember, though – what is right for one person may not be right for another. Essential oils can be a very subjective matter.
Lastly, remember that these are highly concentrated substances, so you need to be extra careful. Small kids and expecting or nursing women may want to avoid using litsea oil. Speak to your physician if you are unsure. Whether you choose to use it as a cosmetics product or as a medicinal substance, this essential oil is able to provide a world of good.