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Cypress essential oil properties and uses

Cypress essential oil properties and uses

The Cupressaceae are arboreal or shrubby plants, conical, resinous, with resiniferous ducts / channels in the phloem and the xylem inducible, almost always monoecious, more rarely dioecious.
Commonly evergreen plants, with ribbed, needle-like or multi-year leaves (with rare exceptions) that fall with twigs.
Unisexual flowers, simple, scaly, staminated cones (pollen producers); most also carry ovulated cones (seed producers).
Fruits: galbuli, pseudo-fruits with tightly pressed woody scales that enclose the seeds, or, in the case of Juniperus, a pseudo-fruit with seeds covered with bracts or fleshy scales.
They are typical plants of the northern hemisphere, more rarely present in the southern-themed regions, also cultured in north-eastern Africa.
The order includes 29-30 genera and 133-140 species. The four most common genera are Juniperus (50-70 spp.), Callitropsis (18 spp.), Callitris (14. spp.) and Cupressus (12 spp.).

For P. Shelley, aromatherapist and author of the "Treatise on Aromatherapy", the main characteristics common to essential oils derived from the Cupressaceae (eg cypress, juniper), of the order of Conifers, are the remarkable general hygienic properties, especially for the air and skin. The cypress, in particular, is also effective in urinary tract infections and diseases of the circulatory and scalp systems (Rouviere and Meyer 1983). It has a truly remarkable astringent action, much superior to that of hazelnut oil (Durraffourd). Here we will talk about Cypress essential oil and in the next post of Juniper essential oil.

The cypress

The name "cypress" derives from the ancient French cipres (cypres) which derives from the late Latin cypressus (and cupressus), which in turn derives from the Greek kyparissos (or kuparissos). Evergreen tree, can reach a height of up to 30 m. Fragrant, monoecious flowers. According to the ancients the etymology of this last term refers to the Semitic word kyros, meaning Cyprus, where the tree abounds. This would support the idea that cypress is one of the most ancient medicinal plants known.

Cypress is originally from Greece and Crete, but present throughout the Mediterranean (in particular Italy, France, Spain and Morocco).

The essential oil of common cypress: characteristics

For the production of Cypress essential oil (scientifically known as Cupressus sempervirens L. var. Stricta Aiton) the parts that can be used: the branches, rarely cones ("galbuli"), more rarely wood.

Essential wood oil is practically non-existent on the market; the chemical composition is quite different from the essential oil of the twigs, with high percentages of carvacrol and various sesquiterpenes and sesquiterpenols. With the Cypress essential oil they are also produced absolute and concrete.

Extraction method: steam distillation, with an average distillation time ranging from 2 to 5 hours. Yield 0.5-1% twigs; 0.2-1% galbuli.

Color: colorless to pale yellow.

General notes: spicy, reminiscent smell of juniper and pine. Woody and green character.

Main constituents:

Fruits: 0.5% essential oil: α-pinene (> 55%), delta-carene (> 30%), cedar; proantocianidoli; diterpene acids; tannins.

Sprigs: bisflavones; 0.3-0.8% essential oil (monoterpene, sesquiterpene, diterpene hydrocarbons).

Possible Adulterations: cypress essential oils are often coarsely cut with mixtures of Δ3-hulls and pinenes. Deca-2- (E), 4- (Z) -dienyl isovalerate is used to reinforce the odor of "elongated" cypress OE, and small amounts of deca-2- (E), 4- (Z) - dienyl isovalerate to bring the smell back to normal, otherwise too coarse.

Gadoi cypress essential oil

Here is the essential oil of common cypress that Erboristeria Como has selected for you, pure,  sure of its high quality (and distilled personally by Prof. Valussi):

Scientific name: Cupressus sempervirens L. Galbuli
Family: Cupressaceae
Part used for distillation: galbuli (fruits)
Harvesting method: from spontaneous collection
Harvest altitude: 500 slm
Origin: Veneto
Format: 5ml

Few people distil this precious cypress cones ("galbuli") essential oil. Unlike other essential coniferous oils, the cypress essential oil of the galbuli has warmer and woody notes that derive from the high rate of resin inside the fruit (the cleaning of the distiller was very hard!).

Cypress essential oil: properties and use

On this essential oil the data in literature are really scarce. For Valussi, in "In the great manual of aromatherapy", from inferences concerning the content of chemical compounds and generalizations from clinical cases, he supposes that this essential oil is antiseptic, deodorant, decongestant, mucolytic and expectorant.

La Campanini, in his "Dictionary of Herbal Medicine and Medicinal Plants" as the main activities of the cypress cones indicates: astringents, vasoconstrictors; as therapeutic use: varicose veins, phlebitis; menopausal vascular disorders, hemorrhoids, spasmodic cough. Cones, he explains, are traditionally used in the treatment of subjective manifestations of venous insufficiency, in haemorrhoids and in menopausal disorders. The drug is in fact considered an excellent vasoconstrictor in diseases of the venous system: proantocianidols inhibit the angiotensin I conversion enzyme in vitro (in vivo, prolonged administration leads to a decrease in vasoconstriction in the presence of this enzyme). The essential oil is recommended for inhalation in the whooping cough or in the post-flu irrepressible cough due to the antispasmodic and antiseptic action (Gattefossé).

For P. Shelley the Cypress essential oil is: antibacterial, anti diaphoretic (excessive transpiration), anti-infective (bronchitis, flu), astringent (capillary rupture), calming (regulates the sympathetic nervous system, irritability), deodorant (transpiration of the feet ), draining (edema, rheumatic swelling), phlebotonic (bad venous circulation, capillary circulation protection), neurotonic (asthenia).

Possible indications of Cypress essential oil:

- in topical applications: as a rubefacient for muscle cramps, poor circulation, rheumatic pains; for oily and acneic skin (we find among other things the cypress in the form of an extract in many products of the Sebolift line of our eco-organic cosmeceuticals), slightly perfused skins, superficial wounds. In pomades use it at 5-10%.

- used as inhalations or environmental fragrance due to tiredness, stress, nervousness, lack of concentration. Also by inhalation, for laryngitis and pharyngitis, sinusitis, asthma, bronchitis, spasmodic cough, pertussis.

For anxiety, for example, for Shelley useful is the combination of Cypress essential oil with lemon essential oilmandarin, officinal lavendergeranium, while for irritability it is useful to combine Cypress essential oil with incense essential oil, mandarinjuniper, officinal lavendergeranium and / or bergamot.

Cypress essential oil is useful for hydrolipid retention, that is cellulite, as well as lemon essential oil and officinal lavender.

Cypress essential oil: warnings and cautions

- Non-toxic in low doses, but not approved by the FDA for internal use
- Not irritating
- Not sensitizing

- Average dose allowed in cosmetic creams = 0.03%
- Average dose allowed in perfumes = 1.0% (cypress essential oil is a classic for men's fragrances).

Dr. Laura Comollo

Visit our aromatherapy department for any clarification or for more information.