Blue Essential Oils
BLUE ESSENTIAL OILS & THEIR AZULENE DERIVATIVES
Azulene is a natural compound found in some plants and some invertebrates. Its name is derived form the Spanish ‘azul’ meaning dark blue.
Two of its derivatives are found in essential oils commonly used in Aromatherapy.
The deep blue compound, Chamazulene has a long history of being an effective anti-inflammatory. Although it is not necessarily present in very high degree in any of the essential oils, it so rich in colour that it transfers its dark blue tones as if it was dominating the whole chemical make up of the plant. It is present in German Chamomile, Yarrow, Wormwood, Blue Tansy and to a lesser extent in Roman Chamomile.
Chamazulene does not exist in the fresh plant materials. It is biosynthetised through the process of steam-distillation from the sesquiterpene matricarin which is crystalline in colour. Its properties were first discovered and studied by the Germans and in France by Caujolle in 1950s as an effective anti-inflammatory agent.
German Chamomile - Also known as chamomile recutita or matricaria chamomile
Compositae or Asteraceae family
The plant is native to Central and northern Europe.
It is now cultivated all over Europe
The essential oil is steam-distilled from the flowering tops and is dark blue in colour. Its aroma is of an herbaceous nature with a softer honey like undertone.
The oil is typically made up Béta farnesène (15,00 à 55,00%) Alpha Bisabolol Oxyde (1,00 à 45,00%) Trans trans alpha farnesène (<= 18,00%) Alpha bisabolol (<= 12,00%) Béta bisabolol oxyde (1,00 à 10,00%) and chamazulene.
The oil is mostly known for its anti-inflammatory properties which was believed to be due until recently to its chamazulene content only. Jean Valent describes the oil as being effective to treat inflamed conditions such as eczema, ulcers, but also infections of the digestive tract, colitis, cystitis and even certain types of asthma. He also reports that azulene has been proven effective in concentration of 1/2000 against aureus staphylococcus, streptococcus hemolyticus and proteus vulgaris.
More recent studies have demonstrated that another compound in the oil alpha bisabolol, a monoterpenol, has also got effective anti-inflammatory properties. It would be the combination of alpha bisabolol and chamzaulene that gives German chamomile its healing and anti-inflammatory potency.
A SKIN OIL
The oil has primarily been reknown throughout civilisations as a skin oil, able to heal and soothe any skin conditions, from deeply irritated to sensitive. It can be combined with lavender and geranium in a soothing balm. Useful in cases of eczema, dermatitis, itchy and red skin. It is also a vaso constrictor and can help reduce the appearance of enlarged capillaries on the cheeks- rosaceae)
A FEMININE OIL
Matricaria comes from the word matrix or womb and was known in the ancient civilisations as the herb to soothe painful periods. For PMS, use in combination with clary sage, lavender, geranium, cypress.
It relieves heat and reduces inflammation in cases of gastritis, neuritis, cystitis (use with sandalwood and eucalyptus citriadora), rheumatoid arthritis.
Yarrow - Achille millefolium
Compositae or Asteraceae family
Is a perennial herb that grows wild in Europe, Asia and the United States.
the oil is steam-distilled from the flowers and is deep, greenish blue in colour. Its chemical make-up is completely different to that of German Chamomiile and is typically shows Chamazulène (4,00 à 28,00%) Sabinène (3,00 à 23,00%) Béta pinène (<= 18,00%) Trans cis alpha farnesène (4,00 à 17,00%) Béta caryophyllène (3,00 à 13,00%)
A WOUND OIL
Yarrow has been renowned through civilisations as a great wound healing plant. This earned it its association with the great warrior Achilles who used it to heal his battle wounds who gave it its botanical name of Achillea millefolium. Yarrow is also known as the ‘Soldier’s wound wort’ and has been used for centuries to heal wounds and prevent infections.
The essential oil is effective to stop bleeding along with cistus. It is also valued to reduce inflamed and irritated skin in the presence of eczema, infections, allergic skin reactions.
It is beneficial for treating variscose veins
Along with German chamomiile, it is useful for PMS and regulates hormonal imbalance during the menopause.
Blue Tansy - Tanacetum annum
Compositae or Asteraceae family
The oil is not to be confused with tansy essential oil - Tanacetum vulgare - which is a potential neurotoxic and should not be used in Aromatherapy. Tanacetum annum is also know as Blue Moroccan Chamomile.
The oil is steam-distilled from the flowering tops, is deep blue in colour and has a strong herbaceous aroma, even more so than German Chamomile or Yarrow.
Its main constituents are as follows:
Sabinène (6,00 à 26,00%) Myrcène (4,00 à 16,00%) Camphre (7,00 à 15,00%) Chamazulène (2,00 à 11,00%) Béta pinène (<= 10,00%) Alpha phellandrène (4,00 à 10,00%)
It is recommended by Dr Kurt Shnaubelt and other aromatherapy experts for its use as a powerful anti-inflammatory and for its anti-histamiine, anti-allergen and anti fungal properties.
As an anti-histamine, it can be useful along with frankincense, bergamot to alleviate signs of asthmas.
As an anti-inflammatory, use also for muscular ache, sciatic nerve along with cypress and marjoram.
Similarly to German Chamomile, it is a very good skin oil, useful in case of eczema, inflamed and irritated skin. Use in combination with calendula, rosehip, camelia and sea-buckthorne
Australian blue cypress
Guaiazulene is another azulene derivative which is present in the essential oil obtained from distilling the wood and bark of Callistris intratropica, commonly known as Asutralian blue cypress. The oil is a beautiful sky blue and has a fairly thick consistency. Its aroma is woody, resinous with a light smoky undertone.
Its chemical make up is mostly sesquiterpene based and contains as well as guaiazulene, guaiol (20 to 30%) along with guaienes, selinenes, eudesmols, beta elemene and several furanones.
The oil of Australian blue cypress has been a major ingredient of the indigenous people pharmacopeia.
There does not seem to have been many research done on the oil and the results seem to be based on anecdotal data. The oil has proven effective as an anti-inflammatory, an analgesic combined with anti-viral properties.
It has been traditionally used to repel insects and to soothe their bites. It has proven effective to heal wounds caused by insects, accidents or burns and relieve pain.
It was also traditionally used to alleviate swelling and pain due to rheumatoid arthritis, general joint pain and swelling.
It has shown to have anti-viral properties and useful in the treatment of warts, shingles and cold sores (herpes simplex).