Plants belonging to the cypress family called Cupressaceae are denoted as cypress. The term cypress has been derived from the old French word 'cipres' that was imported from Latin 'cyparissus'. While most species of cypress are trees, some are also shrubs. These plants are conifer of the northern temperate regions. The essential oil enclosed in the cypress plants is extracted from their leaves, flowers and occasionally from the small branches by distillation. The cypress essential oil extracted mainly in France and Germany is similar to witch hazel and horse-chestnut as far as its effects are concerned. In fact, cypress essential oil is said to be better than witch hazel (botanical name Hamamelis). Cypress essential oil is also prepared in Spain and Kenya by extracting the oil content of the species Cupressus lusitanica and this oil also possesses numerous therapeutic properties. This oil has a somewhat yellowish hue.
The essential oil obtained from cypress plants has been used over centuries as it offers several benefits for our health. In aromatherapy, cypress essential oil is primarily used in instances when there is an extreme loss of body fluids owing to conditions, such as chronic diarrhea, heavy perspiration or menstrual loss. This oil is also used in spas as an ingredient for effectively treating fluid retention, cellulites and insufficient blood circulation. Cypress essential oil is also an important element in the Chinese traditional medicine where it is used to diminish the effects of hyperhydrosis (excessive sweating). In addition, use of this essential oil is also believed to be advantageous for the health of the liver as well as treating disorders of the complete respiratory system, including asthma, bronchitis and coughing.
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The therapeutic properties possessed by cypress essential oil are responsible for the health benefits it provides us. To be precise, this oil is antiseptic, anti-spasmodic, astringent, haemostatic (any medication that inhibits or stops hemorrhage), diuretic, deodorant, hepatic (a medication that acts on the liver), sedative, tonic for the respiratory system, styptic (any medication that helps to bind or contract tissues), sudorific (a medication that causes sweating) and vasoconstrictor (a drug that results in the constriction of the blood vessels).
Cypress essential oil is obtained by a process known as steam distillation of the plant's tender branches, needles, and stems. The cypress plants are coniferous and produce needles. These plants are generally found growing in the coniferous and deciduous regions and have a scientific name - Cupressus Sempervirens. Cypress essential oil encloses chemicals, such as alpha pinene, alpha terpinene, beta pinene, bornyl acetate, cedrol, carene, cadinene, camphene, linalool, myrcene, sabinene and terpinolene. The therapeutic properties of the cypress plant are attributed to these chemical substances enclosed by the plant. Ironically enough, often cypress trees are related to deaths as they are found growing in large numbers around cemeteries, the essential oil obtained from these trees are actually life saving, as they have the aptitude to protect from as well treat some of the malevolent diseases.
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As mentioned before, cypress essential oil possesses numerous medicinal properties and is useful in treating several ailments, many of them malevolent. Here we present a brief discussion regarding the ailment-specific use of this essential oil.
- The astringent properties of cypress essential oil help to constrict muscles and, therefore, are helpful in strengthening the gums as well as the abdominal muscles. Cypress essential oil is useful in making the gums, muscles, skin as well as hair follicles contract. This, in turn, prevents the teeth and hair from falling and the skin and muscles from slackening.
- The anti-spasmodic properties of cypress essential oil facilitate healing almost all kinds of spasms and associated problems. This oil helps to effectively provide relief from spasms in the respiratory system, intestines as well as muscular spasms in the limbs. In addition, this oil also facilitates in healing convulsions, cramps, muscle pulls, spasmodic cholera that are a result of spasms.
- The anti-septic properties of cypress essential oil make the oil an excellent remedy for topical application on external and internal injuries. This property of the oil makes it an important ingredient in numerous antiseptic creams and lotions. The antiseptic property of cypress essential oil is attributed to the presence of camphene in it.
- Cypress essential oil possesses diuretic properties which promote the outflow of urine - in quantity as well as frequency. This aspect of the oil is significantly beneficial for our health, as with increased urination, the body is able to get rid of excessive fluids and fat and also eliminate waste and toxic products. This process actually helps you to lose weight as well as reduces swellings. At the same time, increased urination also promotes the digestive system and does not allow the formation of gas in the intestines. More importantly, by promoting urination cypress essential oil helps to lower high blood pressure and also keep the kidneys clean. In fact, majority of the medications for lowering high blood pressure are founded on the theory of enhancing urination.
- Cypress essential oil possesses a peppery and masculine aroma that has the aptitude to simply substitute for the synthetic deodorants that contain loads of chemicals. In fact, the synthetic deodorants that claim to have a spicy and masculine fragrance are harmful for our body, especially the skin. While external application of this oil removes foul body odour, taking it internally also helps to get rid of foul breath as well as body smell because the volatile and potent elements present in this cypress essential oil has a tendency to break out from all the possible openings, including the mouth and the skin pores. This helps to get rid of the foul body smell. Using this essential oil is safe as it does not result in any adverse after-effects.
- Cypress essential oil is also beneficial for the liver and it promotes the health of the liver by preserving the appropriate discharge of bile. In addition, this essential oil is also effective in protecting the liver from various contagions.
- Cypress essential oil is haemostatic as well as styptic. While both these properties are more or less the same, they also vary to some extent. Haemostatic denotes any medication or agent that has the ability to reduce or stop hemorrhage or aid in formation of blood clots. On the other hand, styptic basically denotes an astringent substance. In this case, the agent not only possesses all the properties of an astringent, but, at the same time, helps in stopping blood outflow by constricting the blood vessels. In fact, these two properties are important in their respective areas of application. In case someone is enduring profuse blood flow, you need to administer a haemostatic to expedite formation of blood clots and stop hemorrhage to save his or her life. Likewise, an astringent too helps, but in a somewhat different manner. It supports the contraction or tightening of gums, muscles, blood vessels and hair follicles, which, in turn, put off slackening and falling of teeth, hair as well as flow of blood from the blood vessels. Both these properties are important since they are able to save the life of an individual.
- As mentioned earlier, cypress essential oil possesses astringent properties and, hence, it helps in the contraction of blood vessels. This is vital in stopping profuse bleeding or hemorrhage.
- Cypress essential oil is also sudorific - a property that helps a substance to induce perspiration or sweating. Several people dislike sweating as it not only emits foul body odour, but also causes discomfort. However, one should not be irritated over sweating for this is beneficial for our body. Sweating normally helps to keep one agile, feel lighter as well as get rid of the body toxins and surplus salt and water from the body. At the same time, sweating helps to keep the skin pores and the openings of the sweat and sebum glands clean, while preventing skin ailments, such as acne, pimples.
- Application of cypress essential oil brings about relaxation, soothes the tired body and has a tranquilizing effect on the mind as well as the body. This oil helps to get relief from nervous tension and anxiety. In addition, cypress essential oil is uplifting and its use helps to induce a feeling of happiness and well being when an individual is angry or gloomy. This particular property of this essential oil is especially beneficial for individuals who have suffered any setback or shock in his or her life.
- Cypress essential oil also has other medicinal properties. It helps in toning up the respiratory system and, at the same time, enhances the effectiveness of the lungs. This oil also possesses expectorant properties and facilitates the removal of phlegm amassed in the respiratory tracts and the lungs, thereby clearing congestions and making it easier to breathe. Use of this essential oil is especially beneficial for this purpose when one is enduring cough and cold.
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The health benefits of cypress essential oil notwithstanding, caution needs to be exercised while using this oil. For instance, this essential oil should not be used by women during the initial four months of pregnancy.