What Is Lilac Oil?
Lilac (Syringa) can refer to any of about 25 species of fragrant and beautiful garden shrubs and trees from the family Oleaceae. This plant is native to eastern Europe and the temperate regions of Asia, and are known to be hardy, easy-to-grow, and low maintenance plants.
The common lilac, S. vulgaris, is the most popular and grows in temperate regions all over the world.1
The lilac plant has deep green leaves, leathery capsule-like fruits, and oval clusters of colorful blooms. These flowers can come in different colors, such as purple, lavender, red, pink, creamy yellow, and white. The plant can grow between five to 15 feet tall.
Lilac oil is usually pale purple, with a refreshing floral scent. A word of caution: some lilac oils have synthetic fragrances that imitate the fragrance of lilacs, as the flowers actually cannot be distilled to make an essential oil.
Uses of Lilac Oil
The medicinal uses of lilac oil began in the 19th century. In America, it was used as a vermifuge to help eliminate intestinal worms, as well as a tonic anti-periodic (prevents diseases from occurring again and again).
Lilac oil also worked well as a febrifuge that effectively reduced the symptoms of fever, allowing for quicker recovery.2 However, its rate of success was so erratic that doctors stopped using it.
Today, modern herbalists still use the essential oil of lilac to treat rashes, sunburn, minor cuts and scrapes, and other skin ailments. It’s also well-known for its aromatherapeutic uses.3
Lilac oil is a valuable addition to beauty products like lotions, soaps, shampoos, and conditioners for its fragrance and calming effects. It is also added to cleaning products, as it adds a refreshing scent throughout your home.
Composition of Lilac Oil
(E)-ocimene is the major component of lilac, however, furanoid terpene aldehyde (lilac aldehyde) and the corresponding alcohol, benzyl methyl ether, 1,4-dimethoxybenzene (hydroquinone dimethyl ether), and indole, were found to be the most characteristic components.
The compound benzyl methyl ether is said to influence the diffusive aura of lilacs, especially in full bloom. It has an intense fruity-etheral odor, reminiscent of the top note in ylang-ylang oil.4
Benefits of Lilac Oil
Lilac oil has been praised for its many health benefits. As an aromatherapeutic oil, it’s said to ward off symptoms of depression and anxiety, as its soothing fragrance takes the mind to a relaxed state. Lilac oil may also help in:5,6
Preventing stomach-related disorders and killing intestinal worms
Fighting bacterial and fungal infections
Helping reduce age lines, wrinkles, and sagging skin
Preventing and treating malaria
How to Make Lilac Oil
Lilac oil is made by steam distilling the fruits and dried leaves of the lilac tree. If you want to make your own lilac oil at home, you can make lilac infusion oil. Here’s what to do:
Harvest a bunch of fresh lilac flowers.
Line a bowl with cheesecloth, and then place the blossoms on top.
Add two cups of water, making sure that all the lilacs are fully submerged. Cover the bowl and let it sit overnight.
The next day, draw the edges of the cheesecloth together and twist into a packet, with the flowers in the middle. Tie with a string.
Transfer the lilac water to a vessel and allow to boil. Put the sachet in the simmering water and let boil for an hour. Let it cool.
Pour into a bottle and add 5 drops of glycerin. Shake well.
How Does Lilac Oil Work?
Lilac oil’s benefits can be attributed to its healing properties, namely sedative, febrifuge, tonic, and antiseptic. You can use it in different ways, particularly:
Diffused or inhaled. Adding a few drops in a burner will help relieve the symptoms of depression and anxiety.
As a topical agent. Mix it with a safe carrier oil and apply to sunburn, rashes, and wrinkles, or use as a mild massage oil.
Mixed in bath or beauty products. Add it to your favorite lotion or cream.
Is Lilac Oil Safe?
Lilac oil is safe as long as it’s used properly and in moderation. As much as possible, dilute it in a safe carrier oil. I also recommend consulting a healthcare practitioner before using this oil, especially if you’re dealing with any health problem.
If using this oil topically, do a skin patch test (using a diluted version) first to see if you have any allergic response to the oil.
If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, do not use lilac oil without your doctor’s approval. Young children are also ill-advised to use this oil.
Side Effects of Lilac Oil
Lilac oil may trigger skin infections if you have hypersensitive skin. It can turn red, become very itchy, or even cause hives or rashes to develop. If you experience any of these symptoms, stop using the oil and seek medical attention immediately.