by Dr. Christoph Streicher

Elemi resinElemi essential oil is steam-distilled from the resin of a very tall tropical tree that grows up to one hundred feet tall. It is native to the Philippine Islands and the Moluccas (a group of islands in Indonesia), where it is also cultivated.

Elemi has a light, garden-fresh, citrusy scent. Its bright top note is reminiscent of lemon, while its spicy and sweet bottom note evokes a cooling and soothing walk through the woods.

Its name “Elemi” is Arabic and means “above and below”. This is a spiritual reference to its undertones. Elemi was used in Ancient Turkey in incense. The Egyptians used it for embalming due to its antiseptic properties. In the 15th century, elemi gum was used by Europeans to boost the immune system, soothe respiratory conditions and stomachaches and to lessen fatigue. Elemi was also used to heal soldiers’ broken bones painlessly and more quickly.

The five ways in which Elemi has traditionally been used:

  1. Spiritual: It is diffused to accompany a meditation practice because it encourages calmness, peace, compassion and strength. It’s wonderful for centering and bringing peace to the body.

  2. Skin Care: To use it for aged skin, wrinkles, acne or eczema, dilute it to 2% maximum (10 drops per tablespoon of carrier oil) and add it to skin care products. To use it for wounds, cuts or inflammation, dilute it to 2% and use as a cold compress.

  3. Nervous system: It is diffused or diluted and used in a bath to reduce anxiety, stress and nervous exhaustion.

  4. Respiratory system: It is used diffused (or diluted as described below and massaged into the chest) to reduce congestion, and for bronchitis and coughs.

  5. Musculoskeletal System: It is diluted (as described below) and massaged in to reduce muscle and nerve pain. Or it can be diluted and used in a bath.

Although it is generally considered nontoxic, non-irritating and non-sensitizing to use it on the skin, you still need to dilute it to 3-5% in any carrier oil (i.e. add 15-25 drops per tablespoon). However, if you are going to use it for a whole body massage, you should dilute it to 2% maximum (10 drops per tablespoon of carrier oil).

If you haven’t already tried Elemi, maybe you should. If you have already used it, please let us know your experiences with it by commenting below so that all can benefit.

Disclaimer: The statements made on this page have not been evaluated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). They are not intended to diagnose, cure or prevent any disease. If a condition persists, please contact your physician or healthcare provider. The information provided is not a substitute for a face-to-face consultation with a healthcare provider, and should not be construed as medical advice.