There’s been so much written about both Ravensara and Ravintsara over the years, and it is clear that even the most renown of therapists and writers have been writing about one oil, yet calling it another. Ravintsara essential oil is more akin to Eucalyptus oils due to its high 1,8-Cineol content. Ravintsara can be used safely in place of, or accompanying Eucalyptus oils in all their applications. Eucalyptus oils are generally utilized for their pleasing, lively aroma, as well as for their positive effects for cold and flu care, and respiratory ailments specifically. Ravintsara has its own unique aroma relative to other ‘Eucalyptol’ (1,8-cineol) containing essential oils: its scent is that of both Eucalyptus with a touch of cinnamon-spiciness.
Ravintsara is not indigenous to Madagascar (where the majority of it is now sourced), but instead to Taiwan & China. The Ravintsara grown in Madagascar differs from these, as they are generally much higher in camphor (its botanical name being Cinnamomum camphora). The Ravintsara essential oil distilled from the leaves of the trees grown in Madagascar is considered the safer cousin of all these oils, and is very well tolerated by the majority of the population, are the Eucalyptus varieties.
This essential oil is wonderful for use in all the ways Eucalyptus varieties are – for an uplifting note in your diffuser blends (with the antiseptic properties associated with Eucalyptus species), as a breathing/respiratory support essential oil unto itself, and for inclusion in invigorating massage blends. Ravintsara essential oil is noted to be antibacterial, anticatarrhal, antifungal, anti-infectious, anti-rheumatic, antiviral, a decongestant, cicatrisant (wound healer), expectorant, and general immune and neurotonic.
Dr. Kurt Schnaubelt notes about Ravintsara: “it is the essence of choice for the treatment of influenza”…and calls its natural chemistry (of cineol and alpha-terpinol – also, by the way, why evergreen tree needle oils are included in anti-viral blends) a “cold-and-flu” synergy.
Essential oils also noted for similar properties include Bay Laurel, Eucalyptus Radiata, Niaouli, Tea Tree and Spike Lavender (to this list, we would add Benchmark Thyme as well). Treatment with these oils may inhibit viruses by altering the pH and electrical resistance of humorous fluids in a way that is disadvantageous for viral replication.
The best way to use this oil for this application would be in a nebulizing diffuser, or inhaled from a steaming bowl of water several times per day. It can also be used in a diffuser as a prophylactic, perhaps preventing illness in those that are well, when coming into contact with ‘sick’ individuals. It can also be includedin blends for joint massage, due to its potential anti-rheumatic action.
Ravensara, on the other hand, is low in 1,8-cineol, though higher in methyl eugenol. It is the preferred oil to be blended with the carrier oil Tamanu for support of healing of Shingles. BOTH oils can be used for HSV in general, but it is the specific chemistry of Ravensara that appears to give it the advantage when treating shingles in its 50/50 blend with Tamanu (we include this blend, along with a dash of a few other highly-regarded anti-hsv essential oils in our TheraSkin formula).