Ravensara & Calophyllum

Two aromatic products used in Aromatherapy
by Jeanne Rose


            In the course of writing The Aromatherapy Book: Applications & Inhalations, (1992) I was introduced to two new aromatic ingredients, the essential oil of Ravensara aromatica and the infused vegetable oil from Calophyllum Inophyllum.  Since that time I have used these aromatic products intensively and found them to have much value.  During aromatherapy classes and in the ‘Aromatherapy Studies Course’ to teach the use of the essential oils, these two products are part of the core of the classes. Here  is one use.

            Ravensara, which my student Susan Chavis in North Carolina calls "ravin' sara" in a lovely Southern accent, is native to Madagascar .  It is an evergreen, laurel type of tree that is also cultivated in France . The aromatic oil is steam-distilled from the leathery, clove-scented leaves and fragrant fruit and sometimes the bark as well.  It contains a number of components, including 1,8-Cineol and terpene alcohols, especially alpha and beta Pinene.  This essential oil, when taken internally, is strongly anti-viral, antibacterial and anti-infectious.  When inhaled, it is considered an expectorant and a tonic to the nervous system.  While studying the uses of this oil, I found that it was indicated internally for Epstein Barr, chronic fatigue syndrome, whooping cough, and could be applied externally as a relief for shingles, or tired muscles. We have this useful oil in our Colds & Flu Kit as listed at

            Calophyllum, on the other hand, is not an essential oil but a vegetable oil that is cold-pressed from the fruit and seed together.  Calophyllum  inophyllum is also called Kamani tree or Alexandria laurel.  The tree is native to India and has naturalized to Hawaii .  The vegetable oil that is obtained is grayish black in color and very thick.  It contains stigmasterol and about 7% wax.  Calophyllum  is used as a treatment for various problems of the hair and scalp, for eczema, psoriasis and facial neuralgia as well.

            The essential oil of Ravensara and the vegetable oil of Calophyllum have been studied together by Dr. D. Penoël and mentioned in Phytomedicine, 1981 as a treatment for shingles (zona) and has been shown to have pronounced amelioration of the problem. We have also discussed them at length in 375 Essential Oils and Hydrosols and in many of my Certification courses as well.

            In March of 1994, I gave a class in San Juan Capistrano and mentioned these two substances together as a treatment for shingles (blisters along nerve pathways that result from the chicken pox virus) and gave a simple formula.  I recently received a letter from Lise Kimball who mentioned the use of this treatment.

Dear Jeanne Rose,  "… My grandmother writes that after two weeks of using Ravensara and Calophyllum inophyllum in olive oil and one week of Basil in olive oil on my grandfather's shingles, that the skin on his head is healing.  He has been battling this [problem] for five years.  I now use Ravensara whenever I feel a cold coming on and thus have stayed well.  Thank you very much for all your efforts and I am trying other things from your book."… 18 April, 1994

            A good mixture would be 25% Calophyllum vegetable oil, 25% Walnut oil, 40% Jojoba unrefined oil and 10% Ravensara essential oil.  Mix these together, label your container, and apply to the scalp (or skin problem) night and morning.  You could also use 50% Calophyllum, 40% olive oil and 10% Ravensara.

            A combination of Rosemary and Basil oil can also be used for normal hair for great shine and for a person with dandruff as an alternative treatment to the Ravensara/Calophyllum.  This mixture would be 25% Rosemary verbenone, 25% Basil oil, and 50% Olive or Jojoba oil.

            These oils are available from Jeanne Rose Aromatherapy and other sources that are listed in Chapter VI of The Aromatherapy Book: Applications & Inhalations.

Sources: Includes the 3 books listed and Jeanne Rose Aromatherapy.  The hydrosol of Rosemary Verbenone and Helichrysum can also be added to these formulas.

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© Jeanne Rose, all right reserved, 1994, 2001; original 1994, December 3, 2003  

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