You may be familiar with elemi essential oil as a popular ingredient in skincare products. Though it is often used as a way to maintain skin health, that’s not all it can do. Elemi essential oil is also known to promote healthy immune system function, reduce muscle pain, and promote a general sense of well-being.
This essential oil is a highly versatile essential oil that is a perfect addition to your daily routine. Whether you’re using it aromatically or topically, it can provide a wide variety of benefits.
The History of Elemi
Elemi essential oil comes from Canarium luzonicum , also known as the elemi tree. Though this tree originated in the Philippines, nowadays, Brazil and other countries in Central America now cultivate it. The elemi tree is closely related to the plants that produce frankincense and myrrh. It has similar properties to both frankincense and myrrh but is a more cost-effective alternative. 1
Elemi essential oil is steam distilled from the resin of the tree. The resin is naturally released when the tree is "wounded." This is triggered by "tapping" the tree as the leaves are budding—meaning a small incision is made in the bark. The resulting essential oil is a clear or pale yellow color and has a fresh and spicy citrus scent.
In 1521, Magellan's discovery of the Philippines led to the introduction of elemi resin to the Middle East and Europe. It was during this time period that the plant got its name. " Elemi" means “above and below” in Arabic, meaning that the resin is beneficial both spiritually and physically. 2
Ancient Arabs and Turks used elemi in incense for a deeper meditative state. Similarly, ancient Egyptians used it in embalming practices due to its preservative properties. In the 15th century, Europeans used this essential oil in liniments, medicinal balms, and unguents. Elemi was also added to cosmetics and skin care products due to its healing and restorative properties. 3
Nowadays, elemi essential oil is used in incense, as a perfume fixative for soaps and cosmetics, and occasionally to flavor foods and beverages.
The main chemical constituents found in elemi essential oil include:
Uses for Elemi Essential Oil
Elemi essential oil can be used both topically and aromatically to provide a wide variety of benefits, some of which are highlighted below. 5
Supports Respiratory Health
By diffusing elemi essential oil throughout the home, you can support respiratory health when paired with other healthy lifestyle habits. Alternatively, add a few drops of elemi essential oil to a bowl of steaming water, and cover your head with a towel while inhaling the vapors for five minutes.
Maintains Skin Health
Elemi essential oil is also widely used in skincare products. It is especially good at rejuvenating skin by toning and firming. This essential oil helps to balance the production of sebum, normalizing skin that may be too dry or too oily.
For imperfections on the skin, mix a few drops of elemi essential oil with a carrier oil and apply to the affected areas. To rejuvenate the skin, add a couple of drops of this oil into your daily face wash or moisturizer.
Elemi essential oil helps reduce feelings of stress and promotes feelings of well-being.
Reduces Mild Muscle Aches
If you’re suffering from mild muscle aches, such as from working out, using elemi essential oil in a massage blend can help alleviate discomfort. Simply mix a few drops of elemi essential oil with a carrier oil and gently massage onto affected areas. Alternatively, add elemi essential oil to a relaxing bath for a soothing experience.
How To Use Elemi Essential Oil
To maintain healthy skin, mix elemi, lavender, and rose essential oils with a carrier oil or unscented cream. Apply to the face and leave overnight for a nourishing treatment.
Safety and Precautions
Elemi essential oil can be used both topically and aromatically, but it is not recommended for internal use.
When using this essential oil topically, you should always conduct a patch skin test to ensure there is no allergic reaction. Elemi essential oil can be irritating to those with sensitive skin, so it is recommended to dilute the essential oil in a carrier oil before applying it. Avoid contact with the eyes or mucous membranes.
If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, it is recommended to avoid the use of all essential oils unless directed by your doctor.
When stored correctly in a cool, dark place, this essential oil should last for approximately three years. If you suspect the oil has oxidized, discontinue use immediately. You can tell if your oil has oxidized if you notice a change in the aroma or begin to experience adverse reactions. 6
Elemi essential oil is a great oil to add to your collection. It can be used aromatically to alleviate stress and can be used topically to reduce minor aches keep your skin looking healthy. Additionally, this oil has a wide range of uses: in a relaxing bath, diffused through the home, used in a personal essential oil diffuser, or added to beauty products such as lotions, massage oils, or face washes.
Whether you’re looking for a quick boost well-being booster or a new addition to your skincare routine, elemi essential oil is the perfect addition.