Ledum Oil: Benefits, Uses, Properties, and Side Effects
The ledum oil benefits include preventing hepatitis, helping you to quit smoking, treating fever and colds, curing coughs, and so on. Recent research has demonstrated that it helps inhibit the growth of cancerous or tumor cells.
Let’s understand this essential oil in detail.
What Is Ledum Oil?
Ledum essential oil is extracted from the stems, shoots, and leaves of ledum plants. They belong to the genus Rhododendron and family Ericaceae. It has a wide range of health benefits. You will be fascinated to know the fact that “ledum tea” has been popular for ages and were consumed regularly for its therapeutic benefits.
Scientific Name Of Ledum Oil
The botanical name of ledum is Rhododendron subsect. Ledum. (1)
History Of Ledum Oil
Ledum plants are a group of evergreen shrubs that are found in soils (peaty) of Asia, North America, and Northern Europe.
Here’s the scientific classification:
- Kingdom: Plantae
- Order: Ericales
- Family: Ericaceae
- Genus: Rhododendron
Ledum is a well-admired traditional herb and a perfume plant, which is also known as:
- Ledum palustre
- Marsh tea
- Wild rosemary
- Northern Labrador tea
- Marsh rosemary
- Rhododendron tomentosum Harmaja
The stems yield 0.14-0.87% oil. Since the 18th century, the plant has been famous for healing these diseases:
- Rheumatism (An auto-immune or self-destructive disease where your body acts against its own tissues).
- Cough and cold.
- Asthma (An illness that is accompanied by cold, cough, and difficulties in breathing).
- Skin diseases.
- GIT (Gastro-Intestinal Tract) disorders.
- Insect bites (Ledum is an effective insect repellent)
- Pain or other inflammatory conditions.
- Hormonal imbalances like thyroid.
In earlier days, people consumed ledum tea to boost their general health and wellbeing. It serves as an effective tonic.
Also Read: 10 Essential oils that cure insect bites.
Color, Consistency, and Smell Of Ledum Oil
- The color of ledum oil is clear to pale yellow.
- The consistency of ledum oil is thin.
- The smell of ledum oil is peppery, smoky, herbaceous, and slightly sweet.
Properties Of Ledum Essential Oil
The medicinal properties of ledum oil include:
- Analgesic – Relieves pain
- Anti-inflammatory – Prevents swelling, redness, and any difficulty in moving
- Antimicrobial – Fights against disease-causing bacteria
- Antiviral – Fights against harmful viruses
- Antifungal – Fights against disease-causing fungi
- Insecticidal – Destroys harmful insects
- Antidiabetic – Controls the blood sugar levels
- Antioxidant – Fights against free radicals that cause diseases
- Anticancer – Prevents cancer
- Reparative – Helps in healing
- Diuretic – Flushes out excess water from your body
- Hepatoprotective – Protects the liver
- Acaricidal – Effective as a pesticide. Used in both agriculture & medicine
- Insecticidal – Kills insects
- Radioprotective – Protects from harmful radiations
- Antitoxic – Neutralizes toxins
- Expectorant – Eliminates mucus
- Antitussive – Prevents cough
- Soothing – Relaxes both mind and body
- Warming – Stimulates circulation
- Calming – Effective against anger and anxiety
Chemical Compounds In Ledum Oil
The chemical components in ledum include:
- Cumin aldehyde
Health Benefits Of Ledum Oil
Though the ledum oil benefits are abundant, the most noteworthy ones demonstrated by recent research papers are:
- Fortified with antioxidants
- Reduces inflammation
- Prevents the onset of diabetes
- Fights against scurvy
- Helps you to quit smoking
- Effective against cancerous cells
- Treats ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder)
- Balances the thyroid hormones
- Aids in detoxification
1. Fortified with antioxidants
Ledum essential oil has rich antioxidant properties. Antioxidants are substances that neutralize free radicals and keeps your body healthy.
Oxidation is a harmful process that results from pollution, chemicals, and aging. Oxidation generates free radicals, causes deadly diseases and fastens the process of aging.
In a study, researchers screened the antioxidant compounds present in ledum leaves using an online high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC)-ABTS+ screening system, and identified the presence of genistin and quercetin.
2. Reduces inflammation
Swelling, redness, pain, high-temperature, and difficulties in moving are a few signs of inflammation. However, Ledum essential oil relieves the signs of inflammation. Thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties.
Just a gentle massage with ledum essential oil (diluted with a carrier oil) on the temples helps you get rid of headaches. It relieves high blood pressure in the small blood vessels and relieves headaches.
3. Prevents the onset of diabetes
Diabetes is a condition where blood sugar levels rise above normal.
When you have food, your body starts converting it to glucose (or blood sugar). Further, your body utilizes the same sugar to carry out your day-to-day activities. Your body stores any remaining sugar as body fat and uses the same when you do not have enough food or calories.
Insulin is a hormone secreted by your body that helps you with “utilizing” sugar. When you have diabetes, either your body is not producing enough insulin or your body is not responding well to insulin (insulin resistance.)
As a result, even though sugar is available in your body or blood, your body fails to use it. However, ledum oil helps this condition and prevents the onset of diabetes. (7)
4. Fights against scurvy
Since thousands of years North Americans have used ledum essential oil to treat scurvy. Scurvy is a disease caused by a severe and long-standing deficiency of vitamin C.
The symptoms include feeling sick, extreme tiredness, loss of appetite, vomiting sensation, aching joints, painful muscles, fever, diarrhea, and small “pinpoint” bleeding around the hair follicles (which is also visible in the skin).
Since the disease is long-term, the symptoms can also include swollen & bleeding gums, loose teeth, severe bruising, scaly & dry skin, brownish skin, dry hair, and wounds take time to heal.
5. Protects the liver
Ledum has hepaprotective properties, which means that it can protect your liver from damage and other liver ailments like fatty liver & hepatitis.
Hepatitis is a liver infection, which is caused either by a virus or unhealthy habits such as alcohol addiction. Your liver processes nutrients and fights infections but hepatitis hampers the liver’s abilities.
Fatty liver, on the other hand, is a condition where there is excess fat accumulated in the liver cells. It leads to inflammation and may progress to irreversible scarring and damage of the liver.
During the initial stage of this disease, the patient may experience symptoms like extreme tiredness (fatigue) and pain. As the condition worsens, there can be jaundice (where the skin and nails turn yellow), swelling of the abdomen, swelling of blood vessels, etc.
6. Helps you to quit smoking
A majority of the global population is addicted to alcohol, nicotine, and even drugs. Quitting any addictve habit including smoking is challenging.
However, ledum oil can come to rescue. Inhaling its aroma helps you tame such cravings. While a few use ledum diffuser throughout the day to control their urges, others prefer inhaling the oil when they crave.
Research says that the source of negative emotions (dissatisfaction, obsession, anger, and hatred) are the root cause of addictions residing in your liver. By boosting your liver health, ledum oil helps you let go of all the negative memories and helps you live in the moment. (13)
7. Effective against cancerous cells
Ledum oil has anticancer properties. Cancer is the abnormal growth of cells, which spread to various parts of your body, threatening your life in return.
Your body is made up of building units called cells. Every cell has a designated function and timeline. It lives for a particular time, and then dies.Sometimes, a few cells turn abnormal and do not die but only keep multiplying and form a lump which can make it deadly. This condition is called cancer.
Quebec university studied the anticancer & antitumoral activities of ledum and found that its effective against lung and colon cancer cells. Also, it is more powerful than frankincense oil, which is also a cancer-fighting essential oil. (14, 15)
8. Treats ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder)
ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder)/ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) is a condition which usually begins in childhood, teenage, and sometimes, is carried to adulthood.
The affected child finds it difficult to pay attention. Often, it is noticed during the child’s early school years where the child turns hyperactive, doesn’t pay attention to what is told, and doesn’t like to do things which are done while sitting down.
9. Balances the thyroid hormones
Ledum oil helps in balancing one of the crucial hormones in your body, which is the thyroid hormone.
Hypothyroidism is a condition where your body produces less thyroid hormones than what it needs. The symptoms are excessive tiredness, gaining excess weight, dry skin, being sensitive to cold, hoarse voice, excess cholesterol, aching joints, irregular and heavier periods, memory issues, low mood, and thinning of hair.
10. Aids in detoxification
Ledum essential oil detoxifies your body. Thanks to the sequiterpenoid compounds in it. These components help in detoxifying both kidney and liver.
Toxins enter your body through polluted air, water, and food; and can cause various diseases. Ledum EO helps you to flush out accumulated toxins and neutralizes them (22).
What Blends With Ledum Oil?
Ledum oil blends the best with:
- Cedarwood oil
- Lavender oil
- Rosemary oil
- Bergamot oil
- Lemon oil
- Orange oil
- Frankincense oil
- Fenugreek seed oil
How To Use Ledum Oil?
- Ingestion: Never ingest ledum oil. Ingestion can cause stomach upset and other serious effects. However, the tea made from dried leaves of ledum is beneficial as well as safe.
- Diffuser: You can add a few drops of the oil to your diffuser. It can clean your whole house from airborne pathogens and leaves a subtle and pleasant aroma. A few people use the oil in a diffuser to tackle ADD and other forms of hyperactivity. Instead, of taking ledum oil as regular medicine, they use it in the form of a diffuser. A unique property of ledum oil is that it calms you down without making you drowsy.
- Aromatherapy: Ledum EO relaxes your mind while boosting your focus. It also relieves anxiety and stress. Anxiety is a state where you over-worry about things, so much that they interfere with your day-to-day lives.
- Topical application: You can use ledum as a chest rub. Add a few drops of ledum essential oil to your chest rub and apply before going to sleep. It relieves congestion, cough, and breathing difficulties. Do not apply the essential oil directly to the skin, as it is potent and harmful.
- Massage: You can massage the inflamed areas with the diluted ledum oil. It reduces the muscle tension and improves your skin texture. This is due to its stimulant and warming properties. When you are suffering from infections such as cold, you can massage the diluted oil over your throat and chest to boost your immunity. Likewise, you can massage the affected areas such as abdomen/kidney with diluted oil for relief.
- Inhalation: Regularly inhaling the oil helps you tame your cravings for alcohol, tobacco, and drugs. You can also directly inhale the oil from the bottle.
Side Effects Of Ledum Oil
- Rhododendron can be toxic if not used correctly. Thus, caution while using this oil is recommended. The toxicity is due to grayanotoxins, which can lead to gastrointestinal, heart-related, and nerve related symptoms.
- Allergic reactions such as skin irritation. Try a patch test to avoid the reactions. Apply a little portion of the diluted oil over your forearm with the tip of a cotton bud. Observe for 10 to 15 minutes. If you do not see any signs of allergy such as redness/swelling/irritation, you are not allergic to the oil.
- It can cause skin inflammation.
- Never use ledum oil during pregnancy.
- This oil is not recommended for kids.
- The oil does not suit your pets too.