Unusual Oils

When I see a new research paper on an essential oil more often than not it is one I have at least heard of. However there are vast numbers of essential oil bearing plants that I know nothing of. I have heard of the fruit, Mangosteen but never seen it. I had never heard of the essential oil before today.

Garcinia mangostana is an oil that I have not used and will almost certainly never use! However my interest was piqued by a research paper I saw yesterday. It makes two points about why the research was carried out.

  1. 80 % of people in developing countries rely on plant medicine for most of their treatment of health problems.
  2. In all countries, not just developing ones, there is an increase in resistance to antibiotics.

The research was looking at the antimicrobial properties of the oil but the oil also contains a chemical compound that has been shown to be useful as a cytotoxic drug with some cancers. It was a very effective antimicrobial.

This along with one of the tests carried out means that the oil is quite toxic and so not suitable for aromatherapy use. The fruit from this tree is used in traditional medicine for dysentery and other gastric problems.

Looking at the same test for toxicity when used with the essential oils of Nutmeg, (Myristica fragrans) this oil is more than a thousand times more toxic so while the essential oil may have properties that make it useful in medical applications it is unlikely that it will ever make it into the aromatherapists repertoire.

This will not stop me looking at research papers on new oils as there are several being used today that were not commonly used when I first trained.