Amyris oil is packed with benefits that may greatly uplift your body and mind. Although it is not considered as valuable as true sandalwood, it offers amazing health perks that will make you want more of this herbal oil. Read on to learn more about amyris oil.
Amyris (Amyris balsamifera) comes from the Rutaceae botanical family. It is also known as West Indian/Indies sandalwood, which originates from the West Indies, specifically in Haiti.1 It grows to a height of 60 feet (18 meters). The plant bears white flowers that grow into edible, black-bluish fruits.2 It is now widely cultivated in West Indies and in South and Central America.3
The bark of the fallen dried tree is steam-distilled to extract the essential oil. Though their properties are different and have no direct relation to each other, amyris oil is often used as an alternative to East Indian sandalwood oil because of its cheap price.4
Due to its high oil content, the amyris plant is also known as balsam torchwood or candlewood, as it easily ignites and can be used as a torch.5 At night, Haitian fishermen frequently use it when catching sea crabs along the shore. It is also used by farmers when traveling at night to bring their wares into the city or village.6
Amyris essential oil has broad uses in terms of skin care, and there are several published studies helping support this claim.
Research has shown that amyris essential oil can act as an insect repellent. In a study published in 2009, scientists noted that amyris oil has potent arthropod repellency and toxicity. One of the plant’s main elements, elemol, exhibited this benefit. The same study also notes that amyris oil can help repel brown dog ticks.7 In another related study, amyris essential oil has been found to help repel the blacklegged tick and the lone star tick.8
Amyris essential oil can also benefit your skin health in another way: fighting off particularly strong microbes. In a study published in the Asian Journal of Pharmaceutical and Clinical Research, researchers found that the oil contains potent antibacterial and antifungal properties. It was found to be effective against 12 strains of multidrug-resistant bacteria, such as Staphylococcus aureus and Salmonella paratyphi, as well as Candida albicans fungi.9
Amryis essential oil is also extensively added in soap perfumes, as it blends well with other oils and substances such as lavandin oil, coumarin, citronella oils and oakmoss products.10
Research published in Phytochemistry reveals that amyris essential oil is mostly composed of oxygenated sequiterpenes (82.5 percent) and the remaining amount is sesquiterpene hydrocarbons (17.5 percent). Here’s a breakdown of its major compounds:11
Amyris oil has antiseptic, sedative, decongestant and emollient properties. It is beneficial for calming your mind, and for muscle relaxation,12 as well as helping minimize stress, tension and anxiety. In addition, it can help manage an overactive digestive system, as it is known for its calming properties, which may help reduce feelings of insecurity as well.13
Amyris essential oil is made by steam-distilling the wood of the amyris balsamifera plant. Upon completing the process, the oil comes out yellow (or pale yellow) or a brownish-yellow color. The odor is described as woody, but not dry.14 Around 2.5 to 3 percent of essential oil is yielded from the wood of the amyris tree after steam distillation is complete.15
Adding a few drops of the essential oil to an oil burner or diffuser works great in relieving the mind from any anxiety or stress. It can also be added to therapeutic massage oils to provide relaxation.
It blends well with cedarwood, citronella, ginger, ho wood, lavender, oakmoss, Peru balsam and ylang ylang. The herbal oil can also be used topically as long as it is diluted with a carrier oil.
Amyris essential oil is generally safe to use. It is considered to be nontoxic, nonsensitizing and nonirritating. However, it may cause irritation for those with sensitive skin. Again, make sure you dilute it with carrier oil before applying on yourself.16
This essential oil is not intended for oral ingestion. Before using it topically, I recommend conducting a skin patch test to know if you have any irritations to it.17
Aside from the possible skin irritation in sensitive individuals, there is no known side effect from using amyris oil. If you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or have terminal illness, I suggest consulting with a medical professional before applying the oil. Keep the oil away from children’s reach.18