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Cypress Essential Oil

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Cypress Essential Oil - General Description

Through steam distillation, cypress essential oil is extracted from the needles and twigs of the Mediterranean or Italian cypress (Cupressus sempervirens), an evergreen coniferous species of tree indigenous to southern Europe and western Asia and characterized by flaking or scaly bark; columnar or narrowly ovoid, conic crown; and aromatic, scale-like dark gray-green leaves. [1] Approximately 2% of essential oil can be yielded from the cypress's leaves, whereas 2.5% from the wood. The wood being very sturdy, durable, and aromatic, it is valued in building construction and furniture industry, in particular because of its ability to retain its fragrance and to repel moths and its natural resistance against woodworms.



Cypress essential oil appears colorless to pale yellow with a thin consistency and exudes a fresh, medium-strength, slightly woody, evergreen aroma described to have a refreshing, calming, balancing, and soothing effect, especially on a tense or irritable mind. It works marvelously in tandem with lavender, tea tree, lemon myrtle, geranium, cedarwood, pine, orange, sandalwood, clary sage, juniper, rose, jasmine, and cardamom essential oils and has been used broadly in perfumery and soap making. [2]

Cypress Essential Oil - Uses and Reported Benefits

Cypress essential oil's medicinal utility is varied and extensive, ranging from being an effective remedy of excessive perspiration (principally of the feet), hemorrhoids, menorrhagia (and other menstrual or menopausal problems), and rheumatism [2] to being a detoxifier when used in a bath or massage, a diuretic, and a reliever of asthma, hay fever, coughs, and bronchitis. [3] When applied externally, it tightens up blood vessels, aiding varicose veins and hemorrhoids. It is also an exceptional astringent capable of promoting healthy skin circulation and has been reported to have anthelmintic, antipyretic, antiseptic, balsamic, anti-dandruff, and vasoconstrictive properties. [4]

Cypress Essential Oil - Contraindications and Safety

Cypress essential oil necessitates storage in an area unreachable by children for safety's sake. Dilution of the essential oil is recommended prior to topical and internal use, especially if it is intended to be applied on sensitive areas such as the face, neck, and genital region. Although the use of cypress essential oil at recommended physiological dose is safe and causes no documented adverse reactions, it may irritate sensitive types of skin, so caution on application is still essential. Moreover, nursing or pregnant women are advised to consult their physician as regards essential oil use. [5]

Cypress Essential Oil - Scientific Studies and Research

Cypress leaf extract as liver protective agent: A group of Egyptian researchers evaluated the ability of cypress leaf extract to prevent damage to the livers of normal and treated rats. In their study, oral administration of the cypress leaf extract to rats resulted in a significant decrease in glutamate oxaloacetate transaminase, glutamate pyruvate transaminase, cholesterol, and triglyceride levels and a significant increase in the total protein level. Free radical scavenging activity was also measured and the researchers observed a high antioxidant activity for quercetin, rutin, caffeic acid, and p-coumaric acid present in cypress leaf extract. [6] In 2010, Ali et al. published their study on the protective role of cypress extract against CCl4-induced hepatotoxicity in rats through the journal World Journal Gastrointestinal Pharmacology and Therapeutics. The findings of this study demonstrated the efficacy of Phoenician juniper and cypress extracts in enhancing liver and kidney functions and their therapeutic potential as treatment of hepatotoxicity and nephrotoxicity. Specifically, Wistar rats treated with cypress extract showed amelioration of levels of the disturbed biochemical parameters and remarkable improvement, with histopathological liver and kidney profiles close to those of the control group. Furthermore, it is explained that the powerful action of cypress extract against CCl4 toxicity may be caused by the high antioxidant activity of the flavonoids, especially rutin, that exist in cypress leaves. [7]

Cypress Essential Oil as antidiabetic and cardiovascular aid: Cypress essential oils derived from the trees' branchlets and fruits have been shown to exhibit antioxidant (as has been detailed earlier) and antiglycation properties, which may help justify the traditional medical application of cypress in preventing diabetic and cardiovascular complications. Asgary et al. (2013) investigated the antioxidant activities of cypress essential oils at different concentrations, monitoring linoleic acid peroxidation for 4 hours and assessing antiglycation effects using hemoglobin and insulin glycation assays. In their study, cypress essential oils extracted from branchlets and fruits inhibited hemoglobin glycation and red blood cell hemolysis and diminished linoleic acid peroxidation. [8]

Cypress leaf extract as cholesterol reducing agent: The cholesterol- and triglyceride-lowering effect of cypress leaf extract observed by the study mentioned earlier is supported by another study from the University of Ioannina, Greece. Karkabounas et al. (2003) explored the effect of cypress cone extract on the lipid profile of Wistar rats and found that the oral administration of the cone extract led to a substantial decrease in serum total cholesterol, even after 6 weeks of treatment, and a significant decrease in serum triglycerides, leading the researchers to conclude that the administration of cypress cone extract has an important lipid-lowering effect. [9]



Molecular Components and Chemistry

Ibrahim, El-Seedi, and Mohammed (2007) had isolated for the first time three phenolic compounds in cypress leaves, namely, cosmosiin, caffeic acid, and p-coumaric acid, along with other notable compounds such as cupressuflavone, amentoflavone, rutin, quercitrin, quercetin, and myricitrin. [6] The findings of the study of Rao et al. (2011) highlighted the immense potential of cosmosiin in alleviating diabetic complications through enhanced adiponectin secretion, tyrosine phosphorylation of insulin receptor-β, and GLUT4 translocation. [10] Caffeic acid, on the other hand, has received considerable research focus in recent years due to its inhibitory effect on cancer cell proliferation by oxidative mechanism, as well as its immunomodulatory, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory activities. [11]

More recently, El Hamrouni-Aschi, Khouja, Boussaid, Akrimi, and Toumi (2013) examined the chemical composition of cypress essential oils derived from the leaves, wood, and cones. Based on their results, monoterpenes compose the major fraction of cypress essential oil, which was demonstrated to contain α-pinene, δ-car-3-ene, limonene, carvacrol methyl ether, α-humulene, and α-amorphene. [12]

References:

[1] Cupressus sempervirens. Wikipedia. Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cupressus_sempervirens

[2] Cypress Essential Oil. 10 ml. 100% Pure, Undiluted, Therapeutic Grade. Amazon. Retrieved from http://www.amazon.com/Cypress-Essential-Undiluted-Therapeutic-Grade/dp/B005V2UIZ4

[3] Cypress 100 % Pure Essential Oil - 10 ml. Amazon. Retrieved from http://www.amazon.com/Cypress-100-Pure-Essential-Oil/dp/B00308MM28

[4] Cupressus sempervirens - L. Plants For A Future. Retrieved from http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Cupressus+sempervirens

[5] Cypress essential oil. Young Living Essential Oils. Retrieved from http://www.youngliving.com/en_US/products/essential-oils/singles/cypress-essential-oil

[6] Ibrahim N. A., El-Seedi H. R., Mohammed M. M. (2007). Phytochemical investigation and hepatoprotective activity of Cupressus sempervirens L. leaves growing in Egypt. Natural Product Research. 21(10): 857-866. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17680494

[7] Ali S. A. et al. (2010). Protective role of Juniperus phoenicea and Cupressus sempervirens against CCl(4). World Journal of Gastrointestinal Pharmacology. 1(6): 123-131. doi: 10.4292/wjgpt.v1.i6.123. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3091159/

[8] Asgary S. et al. (2013). Chemical analysis and biological activities of Cupressus sempervirens var. horizontalis essential oils. Pharmaceutical Biology. 51(2): 137-144. doi: 10.3109/13880209.2012.715168. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23167275

[9] Karkabounas S. et al. (2003). Effects of Cupressus sempervirens cone extract on lipid parameters in Wistar rats. In Vivo. 17(1): 101-103. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12655800

[10] Rao Y. K. et al. (2011). Insulin-mimetic action of rhoifolin and cosmosiin isolated from Citrus grandis (L.) Osbeck leaves: enhanced adiponectin secretion and insulin receptor phosphorylation in 3T3-L1 cells. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2011: 624375. doi: 10.1093/ecam/nep204. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20008903

[11] Caffeic acid. Wikipedia. Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Caffeic_acid

[12] El Hamrouni-Aschi K., Khouja M. L., Boussaid M., Akrimi N., Toumi L. (2013). Essential-oil composition of the Tunisian endemic cypress (Cupressus sempervirens L. var. numidica TRAB.). Chemistry & Biodiversity. 10(6): 989-1003. doi: 10.1002/cbdv.201200045. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23776018

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