Galbanum Oil: Benefits, Uses, Properties, and Side Effects
Galbanum essential oil is used widely in both medicine and perfume industries. From treating various skin problems such as boils, wounds, pimples and even pox to adding a unique flavor in dishes, the galbanum oil benefits are abundant.
Galbanum oil is well-admired for its aroma, effectiveness, benefits, and value for money. The importance of galbanum’s aroma and its rich medicinal properties are even illustrated in the Hebrew Bible. The gum obtained from the roots of the resin have celery-like flavor and used as a flavoring or garnishing agent in several dishes.
So, let’s understand about this essential oil in detail.
What Is Galbanum Oil?
People use galbanum for treating digestion problems, poor appetite, intestinal gas (or flatulence), spasms, and coughs. It is great for healing different skin problems. In beverages & foods, both galbanum resin & oil used as a flavoring agent. It is a well-known ingredient in the cosmetics and perfume industry.
About the plant:
Galbanum (Ferula gummosa) is the member of the Apiaceae or Umbelliferae family. It is a perennial herb that grows to a height of 3 feet. The stem is hard, hollow, and succulent.
While the leaves of galbanum are tripinnate, the flowers bloom from May to June. The flowers are pinnate and grow in the shape of a large umbel. The term “umbel” is named after its family name – Umbelliferae.
The seeds ripen from June to August. The plants of gummosa species are hermaphrodite and pollinate with the help of flies. The plant grows well in sandy, medium and heavy soil but the most preferable is well-drained soil.
The soil can have acidic, neutral, and alkaline soil texture. The galbanum plant thrives the best in shade and prefers dry to moist soil.
Scientific Name Of Galbanum Oil
The botanical name of galbanum is Ferula gummosa.
History Of Galbanum Oil
Galbanum is an indigenous plant of Iran or ancient Persia. It is found in Iran found about 1000-3000 meters above the sea level. The common names of galbanum are:
- Galbanum gum resin
- Galbanum Oleoresin
- Galbanum resin
- Resine de Galbanum
- Galbanum Oleogum resin
Galbanum is a plant of great historical importance. The evidence of its use is even found in the Hebrew Bible. It is mentioned in Exodus for being used in the preparation of Ketoret – which was used as an incense. It is clearly described in the Hebrew Bible as well as in Talmud. (3)
The evidence from the same source of literature is also seen when the tabernacle was located in Jerusalem first and second temples.
Ketoret was used as an important component for Temples in Jerusalem. It is also mentioned from the 12th century by Rashi, that galbanum was randomly used in temples for its bitter taste and was included in incense.
It works as a reminder for unrepentant sinners.
It is believed that galbanum use as a modern perfume originated from the green family of scents. It has been a part of the perfume industry for a very long time. Its first use in perfumes was launched by Balmain in the year 1945. (4)
The Hippocrates was the first to use galbanum in medicines and later, Pliny the Elder explored the amazing healing powers of galbanum.
He even claimed that “The very touch of it mixed with oil of spondylium is sufficient to kill a serpent.”
Galbanum is given as a drug and the described dose is of 5 to 15 grains. It consists of resin and volatile oils.
Ferula is a Latin word and was used as a stick or flat piece of wood to punish children. According to ancient Greek mythology, galbanum was used as a torch to bring light.
The use of galbanum as a weapon is also mentioned in scripture. It was used by Bacchae as a weapon.
You will be fascinated to read the fact that the stem of galbanum was used as a walking stick, stir the boiling liquid, and splints.
Color, Consistency, and Smell Of Galbanum Oil
- The color of galbanum oil is clear or transparent.
- The consistency of galbanum oil is thin.
- The smell of galbanum oil is earthy, fresh, and woody.
Properties Of Galbanum Essential Oil
The medicinal properties of galbanum oil include: (5)
- Anti-arthritic – Helps in the treatment of arthritis
- Anti-rheumatic – Prevents rheumatoid arthritis
- Anti-spasmodic – Relaxes muscular pain and sprain
- Cicatrisant – increase regeneration power of skin
- Circulatory – Improves blood circulation
- Decongestant – Gets rid of congestion
- Aphrodisiac – Increases sexual power
- Antibacterial – Kills bacterial infection
- Balsamic – Useful in the preparation of balsamic vinegar
- Antiseptic – Cures sepsis
- Diuretic – Removes excess salt from urine
- Emmenagogue – Treats menstrual problems
- Detoxifier – Removes toxins from the blood
- Emollient – Makes the skin moist and reduces itching
- Insecticide – Kills insects
- Anti-parasitic – Removes parasites
- Vulnerary – A wound healing medicine
Chemical Compounds In Galbanum Oil
The main components in galbanum oil are:
Thiophene, verbenone (Z)-β- ocimene, sabinene, and β-pinene. Among which sabinene is present in the largest amount. The monoterpene alcohols present are menthe 1-8, diene-7-ol, myrtenol, menthe 1,5-diene-8-on, and two pinocarveol. Few other components are isoledene, epizonaren, (α)- lepidozene, α-thujene, β-phellandrene epi- bicyclosesquiphellandrene, δ-3-carene, trans-dauca-4 (11), 7-diene, cryptomeridiol, nonterpene hydrocarbons such as eudes-7 (11)-en-4-ol acetate, selina-3,7(11)-diene, and α-terpinreoveyl acetate (73.3 %). (6, 7, 8)
Health Benefits Of Galbanum Oil
Galbanum essential oil helps in the soothing the respiratory tract and clearing the cough, cold, bronchitis, asthma and other lungs problems. It is also found effective for wound healing and is widely used in the preparation of vinegar.
1. Treats hysteria
Galbanum essential oil is an effective drug for several kinds of nervous problems. Hysteria is a mental and neuronal disorder that occurs in women, which causes hallucination, improper or unstable mental state, increased sex desire or excess sexual thoughts.
It is a condition where the uterus muscles keep contracting. However, galbanum oil and its aroma are highly effective in the treatment of hysteria. It soothes the mind and helps to overcome the condition of hallucinations. The aromatherapy is also found effective for this problem. It is often used by psychiatrists for treating hallucinations, hysteria, and other psychological problems. (9)
2. A competent drug for colic
One of the best galbanum oil benefits is its potential to treat colic. Colic is a condition that occurs in infants.
It is a sudden attack of crying and happens due to abdominal pain during infancy. It is very common and can affect 1 in 5 infants in the initial months. If a child has recurring episodes of crying and is inconsolable but still seems to be healthy, he or she might have colic.
This crying can be anywhere from 3 hours a day to 3 days a week or even more.
Galbanum essential oil is often used in the treatment for colic pain. The oil can work as an effective decongestant and help in clearing constipation as well as stomach pain – both in adult and infants.
This is mainly due to the presence of sesquiterpenes in galbanum. (10)
3. Powerful diuretic agent
Galbanum oil works as an effective diuretic drug. It increases the urination and helps in excreting the excess salt from the urine. The high amounts of salt in the blood can be risky for hypertension patients. However, galbanum can do great help. (11, 12)
4. Heals scars & pimples
Galbanum serves as a natural cure for a plethora of skin problems. It is especially found effective in treating scars. Being a potent cicatrisant, it helps in diminishing the scars.
It heals the wounds and helps in the process of skin regeneration. It rejuvenates the skin, diminishes the wrinkles, and gets rid of saggy skin. The oil can also get rid of fat cracks and stretch marks. It makes the skin smooth, infection less, clean, and shiny. (13, 14)
5. Effective anti-parasite agent
Galbanum is an insecticide and anti-parasitic agent, which can kill insects as well as inhibit the growth of parasites. When galbanum sticks are burnt or diffused, it kills flies, mosquitoes, ants, and cockroaches.
It repels other insects too. The powerful scents of galbanum can even kill cockroaches.
When galbanum oil is mixed with the shampoo and applied to the hair, it can kill the lice. This is due to the presence of terpenes in them. They have anti-parasitic and insecticidal properties. (15, 16)
6. Cures menstrual problems
Galbanum oil is found effective in the treatment of various menstrual problems such as spasms, pain, and irregular menstruation. This healing effect is mainly due to the presence of sabinene and terpenes in it. Together, they regulate the secretion of progesterone.
When diluted galbanum oil is massaged on the lower abdomen, it helps in reducing the spasms and pain during menstrual flow.
7. Acts as a relaxant
Galbanum has great mythological importance. Its scents are well admired to soothe both mind and body. It stimulates the secretion of dopamine and keeps the body relaxed.
It is also found helpful for people trying to practice meditation. No wonder galbanum incense sticks are burnt in temples as well as rehabilitation centers. (19)
8. Prevents constipation & flatulence
Galbanum oil is also a proven remedy to treat constipation and flatulence. It makes sure that the digestion and absorption of food in the small intestine function properly. In fact, regular intake of galbanum keeps your intestine and gut clean. (20, 21)
9. Increases blood circulation
Another amazing benefit of galbanum oil is its ability to increase blood flow in the body. It is well known that when there is increased circulation, most problems are decreased, especially the issues associated with arthritis, gout, and rheumatism.
Whenever there is improper circulation of blood, the uric acid is clogged in the joints, causing intense pain and swelling in the joints. However, massaging the joints with diluted galbanum oil mixture can help in enhancing the blood flow, boosting the filtration rate, and further, excreting the uric acid via urine. (22)
10. Increases sexual power
Galbanum is a well-known aphrodisiac. It helps in the treatment of sexual problems too. The sticks, when burnt, create a soothing environment for both body and mind.
It calms the distorted mental peace, stimulates proper secretion of male hormones, uplifts the mood. (23)
What Blends With Galbanum Oil?
Galbanum oil blends the best with:
How To Use Galbanum Oil?
- Though galbanum oil (diluted in a glass of warm water or using it in a dish) is safe to consume orally, it still requires the guidance of a physician.
- Diluted galbanum essential oil (mixed with a carrier oil) can be applied directly on wounds, sepsis, pimples, and scars.
- Formulation of galbanum essential oil in the form of creams is also available in the market.
- The essential oil must not be left open, as it can oxidize fast and cause harm.
- The oil can be diffused or sprayed in a room.
Side Effects Of Galbanum Oil
Galbanum essential oil is considered a safe drug. Though most herbs are safer than chemical drugs or synthetic drug, yet few precautions have to taken when using essential oils.
- Avoid using galbanum oil that is oxidized because it is dangerous and can cause serious skin problems.
- The oil must not be applied to the skin without diluting it with a carrier oil. For pregnant women, cancerous patients, patients with weak liver and lactating mothers, galbanum oil is not recommended.
- Considerable precautions must be taken before its use of toddlers and infants. It can be very harsh on their soft skin.