The wonders of Litsea Cubeba (May Chang) essential oil

Exploring the uses and benefits of this essential oil with a fresh lemon-like scent

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By Alex

The Litsea Cubeba essential oil is a fresh and intense essence with multiple properties. It is often used in aromatherapy and natural health practices. This oil is credited with numerous properties useful in improving a variety of very common ailments. It serves, for example, to aid digestion, regulate sebum production in oily skin, as well as also to raise mood, drive away states of anxiety, stress and nervousness, and promote a good, restful sleep. But its benefits are not limited to what we just mentioned. So let’s look together at all the beneficial properties of this fantastic essential oil.

Where does Litsea Cubeba essential oil come from?

As the name suggests, this oil is extracted from the fresh fruits of Litsea Cubeba, a plant widespread in China, India, Vietnam and Sri Lanka. It’s an evergreen tree in the family Lauracea that is also called ‘Chinese pepper’ or ‘mountain pepper’ in the langages spoken in the Far East, referring to its small fruits, which are very similar to peppercorns.

Litsea Cubeba in the Far East is also referred to as May Chang, which means “angel caller”. In fact, it was believed that the intense scent it gives off could create a connection with angels. The scent of this plant is reminiscent of lemon and lemongrass, but slightly sweeter.

What is Litsea Cubeba essential oil?

The essential oil is a fresh essence obtained, like many essential oils, by steam distillation from Litsea Cubeba fruits. Litsea Cubeba essential oil has a lemony, citrusy aroma with notes of lemongrass and is predominantly used in aromatherapy and natural health practices.

Properties of Litsea essential oil

Ths oil has numerous properties. Here are some of the most appreciated properties:

  • Antibacterial and antiviral: This oil counteracts cold diseases and relieves respiratory difficulties
  • Antifungal and astringent: It’s ideal in cases of oily skin, as well as for treating fungal infections of the nails and skin
  • Anti-inflammatory: Litsea oil relieves pain caused by arthritis and tendonitis
  • Digestive and also useful for stimulating appetite in cases of lack of appetite
  • Relaxing: It relieves states of distress. It is used in aromatherapy because it facilitates relaxation and helps regain calm and serenity. In traditional Chinese medicine, Litsea oil has been used to soothe muscular aches and pains.
  • Insect Repellent: Some people use Litsea oil as a natural insect repellent.

What Litsea essential oil is used for?

Considering all its properties, let’s look more specifically at what it is used for:

  • Relaxeing mind and nerves both used in aromatherapy and added to massage oil
  • Improving mood, since it helps restore optimism and focus, warding off anger, irritability and negative energies
  • Calming states of stress and anxiety
  • Facilitating sleep and helping resolve sleep disorders
  • Improving digestion, especially in cases of bloating and flatulence
  • Giving relief to various skin problems such as acne
  • Eliminating bad odors, especially of sweat but also in the bathroom and kitchen
  • Disinfecting surfaces and bathroom fixtures, when used together with and a few drops of tea tree oil
  • Keeping insects out of your home
  • Enriching a room fragrance

As you can see, its uses are many and of very different types.

What Litsea essential oil smells like

The scent of this oil is fresh and citrusy. It is reminiscent of the fragrances of lemon, orange, and lemongrass. Due to these enveloping yet crisp notes, it acts positively on mood.

For this very reason, there is a popular belief in the East that this essence can establish a connection with heavenly forces and our guardian angels.

How to use Litsea Cubeba essential oil

It has numerous properties and solves a variety of problems. So let’s see how to use it to solve various problems.

litsea essential oil
How the small fruits of Litsea cubeba look.

Lithsea Cubeba essential oil for health

It is used both locally and internally:

  • In cases of inflammatory pain, dilute 3-4 drops of oil in 1 tablespoon of sunflower and use it to massage the affected areas
  • For abdominal bloating, massage some of the oil at the stomach level by making circular movements
  • In case of poor appetite or digestive problems, take a drop on a sugar cube or in a teaspoon of honey or in 100 ml of cow’s or vegetable milk
  • To treat mycoses on the skin and/or nails, apply massage oil or gel obtained from aloe vera

Lithsea Cubeba essential oil for beauty (external use only)

Its most popular uses include:

    • Massage oil, diluted in creams or vegetable oils such as almond or jojoba oil
    • To combat acne, pimples and oily skin, apply a gel made by mixing 5 drops of lithsea essential oil for every 10 grams of aloe vera gel
    • To balance impure skin and reabsorb excess sebum, prepare a mask with a tablespoon of lavender and 2 drops of litsea essential oil. Apply the resulting mask 1-2 times a week and leave on for about a quarter of an hour

Lithsea Cubeba essential oil for mood and psyche

It is used pure on an aromatherapy diffuser:

  • To promote relaxation and cure states of anxiety and agitation, and again to promote good sleep, spread 4 or 5 drops of oil in the rooms together with 3 drops of lavender essential oil
  • To improve mood and concentration, spread a few drops, together with a few drops of lemon or mandarin essence.

Lithsea Cubeba essential oil for the home

It also finds its use in the home as an ambient scent:

  • Prepare a spray by diluting 10-15 drops of essential oil in 100 ml of distilled water. Spray on various fabrics, such as curtains, clothing and sofas to scent and sanitize. Shake well and before use. The spray will keep in the refrigerator for 7 to 8 days.
litsea essential oil
The plant and fruits from which litsea cubeba essential oil is made.

Cooking use of Litsea Cubeba essential oil

One can use it for flavoring for hot or cold drinks: in this case, use very sparingly. One drop is enough for every 100 ml of food.

Recommended dosages of Litsea Cubeba essential oil

  • massage: 3-4 drops in a tablespoon of oil
  • foods: 1 drop per 100 g or 100 ml
  • environments: 8-10 drops in the diffuser to diffuse the aroma in the room

Contraindications of Litsea Cubeba essential oil

Do not use on children, nor on pregnant or lactating women.

After topical application to the skin, avoid sun exposure for at least 24 hours as it may have a photo-sensitizing effect.

Of course, also avoid use if you have an allergy to the plant itself.

More on this topic

If you want to learn about the properties of other essential oils, find more articles here: