Ocotea Essential Oil- Benefits & Side Effects

by John Staughton (BASc, BFA) last updated -

Ocotea essential oil has a range of unique abilities, such as lowering blood sugar, eliminating fungal infections, healing the skin, boosting the immune system, relieving stress, protecting the heart, soothing inflammation, optimizing digestion, aiding weight loss efforts and strengthening the hair. There are some potential side effects, as well, such as irritation, stomach upset, hypoglycemia, hypotension, and complications in pregnancy, but a moderate and responsible use of this oil should prevent any of these unwanted side effects.

Ocotea essential oil is not the most widely known oil for natural health, but it is highly effective and versatile in its uses. Derived from the leaves and branches of a genus of trees that is native to Ecuador, also called Ocotea, there are over 200 species of this tree, most of which have similar chemical compositions. Although species vary between trees and shrubs, all of them are praised for their potential health benefits. In fact, this genus of the tree is related to the cinnamon plant and contains trace amounts of cinnamaldehyde, a powerful antioxidant.  The most important active ingredients in ocotea essential oil are alpha-humulene and beta-caryophyllene, as well as camphor and safrole, which provide the majority of the health benefits outlined below. [1]

Benefits of Ocotea Essential Oil

Ocotea branch and fruit on a white background

Ocotea is a type of tree that is found in the Amazon basin and is a cousin of the cinnamon tree. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Using ocotea essential oil is very effective for medical conditions like indigestion, hair loss, obesity, arthritis, headaches, gout, anxiety, stress, depression, high blood pressure, diabetes, Athlete’s foot, psoriasis, eczema, acne, weak immunity, diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting, among others.

Controls Diabetes

Although most essential oils are not recommended for consumption, a good deal of anecdotal research has shown that 2-3 drops of this oil under the tongue can help to moderate blood sugar levels. For diabetic patients, this is extremely important, as it can help prevent the spikes and drops in glucose levels, and increase insulin resistance. However, if you are also taking blood sugar-lowering medication, use this oil with caution. [2]

Boosts Heart Health

The antioxidant and soothing properties of ocotea essential oil can also help protect your cardiovascular health by lowering blood pressure. This can further prevent the development of atherosclerosis, heart attacks, strokes and irregular heart palpitations. That being said, use of this oil in combination with medication for hypertension can cause dangerously low blood pressure, so speak to your doctor before adding this oil to your health regimen. [3]

Prevents Fungal Infections

It is very common to experience fungal infections on the feet and other commonly exposed parts of the body, but the anti-fungal properties of ocotea essential oil can protect you from these irritating and unsightly conditions, such as Athlete’s foot. [4]

Improves Digestive Health

Anti-inflammatory and anti-spasmodic qualities of ocotea essential oil can help to ensure that your digestive processes are normal and smooth. For people who regularly experience diarrhea, cramps, bloating and constipation, and the nutrient deficiencies that often accompany these problems, use of this oil in a diffuser is highly recommended. [5]

Lowers Anxiety & Stress

Ocotea essential oil in aromatherapy practices is quite common, as it can help to soothe the nervous system and lower stress hormone levels in the body. Applying a few drops of this oil to the temples, neck or chest can allow the aromatic compounds to effectively relax your mood and promote feelings of peace and calm. Diffusing this oil throughout your home is also a great way to enjoy these benefits all day long. [6]

Hair Care

Massaging small amounts of this essential oil into the scalp, in combination with other carrier oils, can help to stimulate blood flow to the scalp and protect against fungal and bacterial infections. This can improve follicle health, lowering your risk of hair loss, while also improving the appearance and texture of your locks. [7]

Weight Loss

Again, most essential oils are not meant for internal consumption, but anecdotal evidence suggests that drinking a glass of water with a few drops of ocotea essential oil can help to curb cravings and promote feelings of fullness. For individuals trying to lose weight in a healthy way, preventing overeating and snacking between meals is an excellent way to prevent obesity. [8]

Reduces Inflammation

From itchy skin inflammation to stomach upset, joint disorders and muscle pain, ocotea essential oil can help to soothe inflammation in tissues and organ systems, when applied topically and when inhaled through a steam inhaler or room diffuser. For the skin, topical applications can help reduce bacterial and fungal infections, and eliminate red, swollen or inflamed patches on your body’s largest organ! [9]

Reduces Headaches

Applying a few drops of ocotea essential oil to the temples is an excellent way to reduce headaches, both through its anti-inflammatory effects and aromatic compounds that induce calmness and lower stress. If you regularly have to deal with debilitating migraines, using this oil in a room diffuser can provide the relief you’ve been searching for. [10]

Side Effects of Ocotea Essential Oil

Use of ocotea essential oil comes along with certain side effects, including inflammation, gastrointestinal issues, and complications with certain medical conditions, including pregnancy, high blood pressure, and diabetes.

  • Skin Irritation – When applying any essential oil to the skin, it is important to test the strength versus the sensitivity of your skin. Put a small amount (a few drops) on a patch of your skin and wait 3-4 hours to see whether a negative reaction (e.g., redness, itching, swelling) to occur. Allergies to ocotea are rare, but they do exist.
  • Hypoglycemia – The blood sugar-lowering properties of this oil are well known, but if you are a diabetic who is already on medication to keep your blood sugar low, additional use of this oil can drop your glucose levels to a dangerous point, resulting in fainting, cognitive confusion and fatigue.
  • Hypotension – Similarly, ocotea essential oil can help to keep high blood pressure under control, but if you are already on blood pressure medication, you can experience dangerous hypotension if you also use ocotea essential oil. Speak to your doctor about potential interactions with prescribed medications before adding this essential oil to your daily or weekly health routine.
  • Pregnancy – As with most essential oils, use when pregnant is not recommended, unless expressly permitted by your doctor. The potent concentrations of chemicals can pose a threat to your fetus (or infant, if breast-feeding), and should also not be used as a remedy for children.
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About the Author

John Staughton is a traveling writer, editor, publisher and photographer with English and Integrative Biology degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana (USA). He co-founded the literary journal, Sheriff Nottingham, and now serves as the Content Director for Stain’d Arts, a non-profit based in Denver, Colorado. On a perpetual journey towards the idea of home, he uses words to educate, inspire, uplift and evolve.

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