The health benefits of Thuja Essential Oil can be attributed to its properties as an anti-rheumatic, astringent, diuretic, emmenagogue, expectorant, insect repellent, rubefacient, stimulant, tonic and vermifuge substance.
Thuja is well known and is very popular as a decorative plant. This does not mean that it is in any way less popular in the world of medicines. Thuja has a significant place in herbal and Homeopathic systems of medicine. There is even a medicine simply called Thuja in Homeopathy. Thuja can be readily found in parks, domestic gardens, and in most other places where people try to decorate their surroundings with decorative plants.
The scientific name of Thuja is Thuja Occidentalis and it is basically a coniferous tree, while normally not very tall. Crushed Thuja leaves emit a pleasant smell which is somewhat like that of crushed Eucalyptus leaves, but sweeter. This smell comes from some of the components of its essential oil, predominantly some variants of thujone. The chief constituents of this oil are alpha pinene, alpha thujone, beta thujone, bornyl acetate, camphene, camphone, delta sabinene, fenchone and terpinenol. This essential oil is extracted by steam distillation of its leaves and branches.
Its smell may be very pleasant, but it is important to note that one should avoid excess inhalation of it, since it can produce irritation in the respiratory tract as well as nervous afflictions, since it is made of neurotoxic compounds. More about these effects will be covered along with the other medicinal properties of thuja in the section below.
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Health Benefits of Thuja Essential Oil
There are to two main reasons responsible for rheumatism. First, the deposition of uric acid in the muscles and joints, and second, an improper and obstructed circulation of blood and lymph. For these causes, some properties of the essential oil of Thuja may prove beneficial. First and foremost, it is a detoxifier by virtue of the diuretic properties that it possesses. Due to its diuretic property, it increases urination and thus speeds up the removal of the toxic and unwanted substances in the body such as excess water, salts and uric acid through the urine. The second contributor is its stimulant property. Being a stimulant, it stimulates the flow of blood and lymph, otherwise known as an improvement of circulation. This brings warmth to the affected places and inhibits uric acid from accumulating at those places. Combined together, these properties give relief from rheumatism, arthritis and gout.
An astringent is a substance which can make muscles (tissues), nerves and even blood vessels contract or shrink, and can sometimes have a cooling effect. Astringents that are meant for external applications induce local contractions. One such example is the fluorides and other compounds used in toothpastes. To have this effect of contraction on all the organs (internal or external) of the body, the astringent needs to be ingested so that it mixes with the blood stream and reaches all parts of the body. Most of those astringents are herbal products, just like the essential oil of Thuja. Now, what happens when it is ingested? It mixes with the blood and induces contractions in the gums, muscles, skin, and at the roots of hair which strengthens hold of gums on teeth, makes muscles firm and gives a lift to the skin, prevents hair loss and makes you feel fit and younger. Furthermore, it makes the blood vessels to contract, which can slow down or stop hemorrhaging from torn or cut vessels.
Its diuretic property makes this oil a detoxifier. It increases the frequency and quantity of urination. This helps keep the body healthy and free of diseases as it removes unwanted water, salts and toxins like uric acid, fats, pollutants and even microbes from the body. It helps cure diseases like rheumatism, arthritis, boils, moles, and acne, which are caused by the accumulation of these toxins. It also helps reduce weight by removing water and fat and helps get rid of problems like swelling and edema. Furthermore, the calcium and other depositions in the kidneys and urinary bladder are washed away with the urine. This prevents the formation of stones and renal calculi.
Acts as an Emmenagogue
This property is very helpful for women. It gives them relief from obstructed menses as well as from the abdominal pain, cramps, nausea, and fatigue associated with periods. It also makes periods regular and keeps the female reproductive organs in good health by promoting the secretion of certain hormones like estrogen and progesterone.
Clears Respiratory Tract
One needs an expectorant for expelling phlegm and catarrh deposited in the respiratory tracts and lungs. This essential oil is an expectorant. It gives you a clear, decongested chest, helps you breathe easily, clears out mucus and phlegm, and gives relief from coughs.
The toxicity of this oil can kill insects and keeps them away from households or areas where it is applied. This is as true for parasitic insects like mosquitoes, lice, ticks, fleas, and bed bugs as it is for other insects found in households like cockroaches, ants, white ants, and moths. This oil can replace those costly, synthetic chemicals in mosquito and cockroach repellant sprays, fumigants, and vaporizers.
Acts as a Rubefacient
This is another outcome of the irritant property of this oil, which again comes from its stimulating properties. This oil produces very mild irritation on the skin and stimulates the circulation of blood below the skin, which, when added together, makes the skin look red. Since it is more visible on the face, this property is called a rubefacient, meaning “Red Face”, property. Besides making you look more vibrant, this also helps in the regeneration and rejuvenation of the skin due to increased circulation of blood.
Stimulates Blood Circulation
Besides stimulating blood circulation, it stimulates the secretion of hormones, enzymes, gastric juices, acids, and bile, as well as stimulating peristaltic motion, and the nerves, heart, and brain. Furthermore, it stimulates the regeneration of growth cells, erythrocytes, leucocytes and platelets. This means that it stimulates the whole body, which leads to more activity, alertness and a faster metabolism, which results in better growth and protection against diseases.
Kills Intestinal Worms
The toxicity of Thuja essential oil, due to the presence of Thujone, kills worms that may have infected the body. It can eliminate worms like round worms, tape worms and hook worms that can result in a number of uncomfortable and dangerous health conditions.
Improves Metabolic Functions
The essential oil of Thuja tones and fortifies, therefore making it a tonic. It tones up all the functions in the body. It improves metabolic functions like anabolism and catabolism, while toning up the liver, stomach and intestines, thus helping in growth. It also tones up the excretory, endocrinal and nervous systems operating in the body and ensures proper excretion. Furthermore, it promotes the endocrinal secretions of hormones and enzymes and keeps you more alert and active. Last but not the least; it tones up the immune system, protecting you from infections. And as you well know, a toned mind can only properly live in a toned body!
It can be used to treat coughs, cystitis, warts, moles and other eruptions, abnormal cellular growths, some forms of skin cancers, and polyps.
A Few Words of Caution: This oil is toxic, abortifacient and irritating for the digestive, urinary and reproductive systems. It can also produce nervous afflictions and convulsions when taken in extreme amounts, since the component Thujone present in its essential oil is a potent neurotoxin. It should not be given to pregnant women.