Saturday, September 5, 2015

Aussie Oils 3 - Ironbark Euc

Third in this series by Sandy Barrett, and one of my favorites:

Eucalyptus staigeriana F. Muell, or  Lemon-Scented Ironbark, is a tree or of the Myrtaceae family,
with rough bark and highly lemon-scented leaves.  It grows in sandy or shallow soil in hilly areas of woods or open forest in the Eastern side of Cape York Peninsula, Queensland.   The aerial parts of the tree are used in steam distillation to collect an oil less known, but with a well- rounded lemony scent.  Mark Webb says it has an almost perfumed quality, unlike any other Australian “lemon scented” oils.  (1)

The major constituents of this oil are methyl geranate (11-18%), geranyl acetate (4-14%), beta-phellandrene (12-34%), limonene (1-14%), neral (8-12%), and geraniol (9-18%).   There are over 30 monoterpene constituents noted in this oil with amounts greater than 0.01%.  (1)

In the past the oil had been used primarily in perfumery, toiletry preparations as well as for flavoring.  None of the constituents are considered toxic or irritating.  The citral content is said to be anti-infectious, anti-viral, antiseptic, expectorant, anti-inflammatory and a digestive stimulant.
Image Courtesy of the Paperbark Company

Lemon Scented Ironbark is recommended to be used in place of other lemon-scented oils, particularly for air-freshening.  Webb states that it is, to a large extent, self-quenching, as it contains limonene as part of its constituents.  None the less, one should exert normal cautionary measures, using normal aldehyde precautions.  Patch testing is recommended as well. 

   Len and Shirley Price noted that of all the eucalyptus family, staigeriana seems to be the one that has the most up-lifting effect on emotions.  It was noted that the Prices commented that Melissa Officianalis contains 70% aldehydes, citing that Schnaubelt maintains that aldehydes are essential for psychological health and well-being. Based on this theory, at roughly 30% aldehydes in Eucalyptus staigeriana, one can understand the joy of diffusing it. (2)

Tisserand recognizes it also by the common name Australian Lemon Balm.  He advises a dermal level no more than 3.4%, commenting that drug interactions, teratogenicity, and skin sensitization are low risks.  However, drugs metabolized by CYP2B6, which includes some opiod analgesics, antidepressants, antineoplastics, and anesthetics, as well as others, may cause interactions.  IFRA recommends a maximum dermal use for citral of 0.6% for body oils and lotions, in order to avoid sensitization.  As well, IFRA recommends that oils rich in limonene should be used only when the level of peroxides is kept to the lowest level possible, such as by adding antioxidants at the time of production (IFRA 2009).  

(1)Mark Webb.  Bush Sense,  Australian Essential Oils and Aromatic Compounds,  Adelaide, Australia:  Griffin Press, 2000. 
(2)Len Price, Shirley Price, Fourth Edition, Aromatherapy for Health Professionals:Churchill Livingstone, 2011
(3)  Robert Tisserand/Rodney Young.  Second Edition, Essential Oil Safety:  Churchill Livingstone, 2013.

My comments: 

I love this delightful oil!  I am not fond of most of the high citral oils..Lemon Myrtle, Lemon Verbena, Melissa, etc.  This unusual Eucalyptus specimen is lower in Citral, and more balanced,aromatically.  When I open a bottle I think of Champagne.  If ever an essential oils aroma was effervescent, this is the one.  I diffuse it to change the atmosphere in a room, to lift my spirits, and sometimes while spending too many hours at the computer. (Time to diffuse some while I work on this series!)  

I love Len and Shirley Price's comments on it.  The oil is a sheer delight. Most of the Eucalyptus species we buy and use for various physical benefits. Ironbark is for joy.  Any physical benefits are just a hidden advantage.  A bonus!

One after thought.  I have sampled specimens of Euc. Staigeriana from various South American countries. Aromatically they were..blah!, flat, uninteresting. There is a huge difference, so when shopping make sure you select an Australian oil. 

You may order your own bottle of this delightful Eucalyptus Ironbark here.

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