Lilac Oil: Benefits, Uses, Properties, and Side Effects
Whether it is a minor cut, skin rash, or sunburn, the lilac oil benefits are abundant. The use of lilac oil dates back to the 19th century.
Traditionally, lilac was used as a vermifuge for getting rid of intestinal worms. Even today, herbalists use the lilac essential oil to various skin ailments.
It is used as a key ingredient in many beauty products like soaps, lotions, conditioners, and shampoos for its calming and aromatic effects.
Let’s understand about lilac essential oil in detail.
What Is Lilac Oil?
Lilac oil possesses a high medicinal value in the world of aromatherapy. Also known as Syringa, lilac belongs to the family of Oleaceae. The tree is beautiful and emits an incredible fragrance.
The oil is extracted from its flowers (dried), leaves, and fruits of Syringa. (1)
Though a few websites mention lavender and lilac are the same, both are different.
Lilac is Syringa whereas lavender is Lavandula angustifolia. Also, Syringa vulgaris is the most widely grown Syringa species. Often, lilac oil is sometimes referred to as Syringa vulgaris oil.
Lilac plants have deep-green leaves, oval clusters of flowers, and leathery capsule-like fruits.
Syringa flowers come in different colors – lavender, white, purple, pink, creamy yellow, and purple. Lilac plants grow from 5 to 15 feet. (2)
Syringa has more than 40 species worldwide, and are used for making ornaments, for construction purposes, oil, and nectar.
Scientific Name Of Lilac Oil
The botanical name of lilac is Syringa vulgaris.
History Of Lilac Oil
Syringa is native to temperate regions of Asia and Eastern Europe. Syringas are low-maintenance plants, which can be usually grown. Out of all the species, Syringa vulgaris is the most popular lilac, which can grow in temperate regions in any part of the world.
Since the 19th century, lilac oil has been used to treat various disorders, and its medicinal uses have been discovered long back.
Color, Consistency, and Smell Of Lilac Oil
- The color of lilac oil is pale purple.
- The consistency of lilac oil is waxy.
- The smell of lilac oil is refreshing and floral.
Properties Of Lilac Essential Oil
The therapeutic properties of lilac essential oil include:
- Antimicrobial – Kills the microbes
- Antipyretic – Reduces fever
- Antiviral – Effective against harmful viruses
- Sedative – Relaxes and induces sleep
- Tonic – Prevents diseases
- Anti-inflammatory – Reduces redness, pain, and swelling
- Antitumor – Fights tumorous cells
- Antihypertensive – Lowers high blood pressure levels
- Antioxidant – Inhibits the process of oxidation
- Antifungal – Effective against fungal infections
Chemical Compounds In Lilac oil
Lilac oil has hundreds of chemical components but the most prominent ones include:
- Furanoid terpene aldehyde/ lilac aldehyde
- Benzyl methyl ether
- 1,4-dimethoxybenzene/ hydroquinone dimethyl ether
- β-Amyrin acetate
- Oleoside 11-methyl
- (S)-(+)-2-(3, 4-dihydroxyphenyl)-2-acetoxyethanol
- (S)-(+)-2-(3, 4-dihydroxyphenyl)-2-ethoxylethanol
- Two secoiridoid glycosides
- 2-(3, 4-dihydroxy)-phenylethyl-β-D-glucopyranoside
Health Benefits Of Lilac Oil
Though the lilac oil benefits are abundant, the most important ones include:
1. Fights bacterial infections
Lilac oil has antimicrobial properties. It destroys the bacteria and prevents the body from further infections.
- β-Amyrin acetate present in Syringa essential oil inhibits the growth of Candidaspecies at the concentrations of 30–250 μg/
- Oleoside 11-methyl ester is effective against Lactobacillus pentosus.
- Guai-9-en-4β-ol present in lilac oil is active against Bacillus coagulans with an inhibition zone of 34 mm and Aspergillus niger with an inhibition zone of 13.20 mm.
- 10-dione present in Lilac essential oil is effective against Escherichia coliand Fusarium oxysporum with an inhibition zone of34 mm and 15.32 mm respectively.
- (S)-(+)-2-(3, 4-dihydroxyphenyl)-2-ethoxylethanol & (S)-(+)-2-(3, 4-dihydroxyphenyl)-2-acetoxyethanol inhibit the growth of Phytophthora capsiciafter six days of incubation period.
Lilac essential oil is an excellent sterilizing agent, which also lets you smell good (3).
2. Reduces inflammation
Pain, redness, swelling, high temperature, and loss of movement are the signs of inflammation. Iridoids, lignans, and phenylethanoids present in syringa fight inflammation.
Lilac essential oil has antipyretic or fever-reducing properties. Iridoid glycosides exerted anti-inflammatory effects on ulcerative colitis, states a study.
*Ulcerative colitis is a condition where there is an inflammation in the colon and ulcers (or erosion of the mucous lining) in the colon, leading to bleeding.
During a study, 0.2–0.4 g of S. vulgaris extract was given both orally and via injection to rats as well as rabbits. The extracts reduced fever, and the effects were equivalent to the effect of 0.1–0.3 g of a drug named aminopyrine administered orally or via injection.
Another study assessed the extracts derived from Syringa vulgaris on the mediators of inflammation. Though it concluded a lot of compounds that helped, it highlighted mainly on neooleuropein. It tames the inflammatory mediators (4, 5).
3. Prevents clotting
One of the best health benefits of lilac oil is that it helps prevent clotting. This property is beneficial, especially in heart patients, as it decreases the chances of heart attacks and stroke.
*Heart attack is a condition where the blood clots block the blood vessels and further prevents blood supply to heart muscles. Both heart attack and stroke are deadly, unless and until they are given immediate attention.
*Stroke is a disease where a blood vessel in the brain ruptures and forms a clot.
Extracts of Syringa aramaticum significantly inhibited platelets aggregation, confirmed a study. Another study confirmed that the essential oil extracted from Syringa Pinnatifolia var. alashanensis (SPEO) prevented deaths due to a heart attack in rats when they were treated with 5, 2.5 and 1.25 μg/mL doses of SPEO.
S. pinnatifolia var. alashanensis is the major component of a traditional formula called “Ba Wei Chenxiang” powder, which is used for the treatment of heart disorders, particularly chest pain.
It is also popular in Mongolia for treating heart-related diseases (6).
4. Useful in aromatherapy
Lilac oil relaxes your mind and wards off the symptoms of depression and anxiety.
*Depression is a state where a person carries a low mood. He or she will no longer find pleasure in things that he or she used to enjoy. Depression needs immediate attention, as there can also be suicidal tendencies.
*Anxiety is a state of constant worry. The person tends to worry so much that it has an obvious interference in his or her day-to-day activities. For instance, if you have social anxiety, you avoid social gatherings.
Aromatherapy with Syringa essential oil helps you relieve the symptoms of anxiety as well as depression. (7)
5. Soothes skin problems
The essential oil derived from lilac plants soothes rashes, sunburn, scrapes, cuts, and other skin ailments. It gives you glowing and healthy skin. (8)
6. Fortified with antiviral compounds
Syringa essential oil has antiviral properties. Aqueous extract from the flowers of Syringa pubescens inhibits the growth of Hepatitis B virus at a value of 78 μg/ml.
*Hepatitis B virus causes a deadly infection. It causes infection, scarring, cancer, or even death if not treated on time.
A study demonstrated that the extracts of S. aramaticum were effective against Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV) at the concentrations of 1.25% – 2.5%. The extracts had no harmful side effects in spite of being very effective against HSV. (9, 10)
Herpes is a Sexually Transmitted Disease (STD), which is caused by HSV.
HSV 2 infection causes the following symptoms:
- Itching around genitals
- Painful blisters that ooze and bleed
- Flu-like symptoms: fever and headache
HSV 1 causes diseases such as infection of lips or primary herpetic gingivostomatitis (infection in the mouth).
7. Fights malaria
8. Effective vermifuge
Lilac essential oil eliminates the intestinal worms. When an herbal tea prepared from Syringa flowers is consumed two to three times a day, it is proven effective against helminthiasis or stomach worm infections.
9. Cures digestive issues
Syringa extracts help in relieving the digestive problems such as dyspepsia, flatulence (excess gas), and diarrhea.
*Dyspepsia is a condition where there is a persistent and recurrent pain in your upper abdomen.
Note: Do not use Syringa without consulting your doctor, especially if you are on certain medications already. It can interact with the medicines and can sabotage your health greatly.
10. Treats hemorrhoids
Hemorrhoids are also known as piles. They are blood vessels which swell, stretch, and pain especially while passing stools.
What Blends With Lilac Oil?
Lilac essential oil blends the best with:
- Freesia oil
- Lily oil
- Lavender oil
How To Use Lilac Oil?
- To apply on your skin: Mix a few drops of lilac oil with a carrier oil and massage it over your wrinkles, sunburns, and rashes. You can also add it to your favorite lotion or cream, and massage it.
- For inhalation: Add a few drops of Lilac oil to a pot containing hot water. Cover your head with a towel and inhale the vapors. This helps you relieve stress, depression, and anxiety.
Side Effects Of Lilac Oil
- As long as you use it in appropriate quantities and diluted, lilac oil is safe. It’s best to speak to your doctor before you start using the oil, especially if you have any health issues.
- Avoid Lilac oil in pregnancy, breastfeeding, as well as in young children unless and until your doctor approves.
- In case you have hypersensitive skin, it may trigger skin infections. To be sure, you may try a patch test. Apply diluted oil with a tip of a cotton bud over inside of your forearm.
- If you see rashes, redness, or itchiness, you have an allergy. Speak to your doctor for more details.