Though the scientific name may not sound familiar, the brightly colored Tagetes minuta flowers are more commonly known as marigolds. The seemingly simple garden flower has actually been used for centuries for its medicinal properties. Various species of marigolds are used globally; and have recently been studied for their medicinal benefits. The benefits of tagetes essential oil have proven especially interesting, thanks to a handful of promising medical compounds.
History of Tagetes
Tagetes flowers appear in various cultures, and have many uses. In Nepal, tagetes flowers are strung into garlands that commonly hang in households, and are sold at nearly every local market. Ancient Mexican cultures considered the marigold the flower of the dead, and its use would symbolize respect for elders who have passed on. The symbol remains in Dia de los Muertos celebrations to this day.
In many cities in India, the tagetes species is sought after for its vibrant colors. Weddings, religious events, and various festivals in the country still seek the richness of the marigold flowers. Ukrainian marigolds have been regarded as one of the country’s national symbols. The vibrant flower has spread throughout the world now, often used for food coloring, or for its rich oil; which is added to perfumes, tobacco products, and prized for its medicinal compounds. It is brewed into teas, smashed into poultices, and of course, distilled into prized tagetes essential oil.
Tagetes Essential Oil
When the flowers of the Tagetes minuta plant are put through a steam distillation process, rich, fruity oil is produced. Many have likened the smell of tagetes essential oil to fruits such as green apple. The scent mixes well into aromatherapy blends with herbaceous or fresh notes; such as clary sage essential oil. The oil has a medium-thin consistency, and comes out a rich gold color. Tagetes essential oil readily reacts with oxygen, so the bottle should always be kept sealed to ensure maximum freshness and potency.
Composition of Tagetes Essential Oil
Tagetes essential oil contains 28 compounds, many of them medicinally active in the body. Of the compounds present, the most bioactive are listed below.
Ocimeone – Tagetes is composed of many different forms of a single monoterpene called ocimeone; which is antiseptic, antiviral and antibacterial. Aromatherapists use monoterpenes such as ocimenone as a mucus membrane tonic, as nasal and chest decongestants and to ease mucus membrane discomforts. The two most present forms within tagetes essential oil include (Z)-ocimenone and (E)-ocimenone.
(Z)-Beta-ocimene – This compound gives tagetes essential oil a pleasant odor, and is known to have antifungal properties. Ocimenes such as this are insoluble in water, but easily evaporate into the air.
(Z)-tagetone – A highly volatile compound, tagetone has found its way into the perfume industry due to the fact that its fresh, fruity scent readily mixes with air; a favorable trait for high end perfumes.
Dihydrotagetone – Another rich smelling ingredient in tagetes oil, dihydrotagetone is a potent antiviral compound found abundantly in the Indian tagetes species.
Health Benefits of Tagetes Essential Oil
Whenever you inhale the crisp, fruity scent of tagetes essential oil, these active compounds are actually making their way through the bloodstream to get right to work on healing the body. The various components of the oil act in different ways, each one as beneficial as the next.
For the Body
When tagetes essential oil enters the bloodstream, the heart can circulate it through the entire body in as little as 20 seconds. The relief felt can be almost immediate, and the benefits are long lasting when used regularly.
Tagetes oil boasts some promising anti-cancer activity. When researchers studied the effects of the oil on breast cancer cells, they found that tagetes essential oil actually helps kill these malignant tumor cells. Tagetes is a great essential oil to supplement the cancer fighting abilitites of other essential oils such as thyme essential oil.
Fights Free Radicals
Part of the potency of this oil against cancer cells is due to the fact that tagetes helps to eliminate free radicals from the blood. Oxidative damage can take its toll on the body; especially if it builds up over long periods of time. Using antioxidant essential oils such as tagetes regularily can help empower the body to eliminate environmental toxins with ease.
Chronic inflammation is one of the most widespread disorders in the western world. Inflammation is a contributing factor in many asecondary disorders as well; including:
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Heart failure
- Kidney Disease
And that’s not even half of the disorders affected by inflammation. Inflammation has a hand in nearly every avoidable disease there is. Any way to reduce inflammation naturally not only benefits people with these disorders; it benefits anyone looking to prevent them as well. Tagetes is one such essential oil which helps to reduce inflammation in the body. Researchers noted that tagetes essential oil helps to reduce inflammation by reducing the oxidative stress in the body; thus enabling the immune system to treat itself.
Reduces Cold and Flu
Both the common cold and flu are caused by viruses which try to take over the body. In response, the body produces the symptoms we experience to help eliminate these microbes. Perhaps the most notable benefit of tagetes essential oil is its antimicrobial activities. Tagetes oil shows antimicrobial activity against many microscopic invaders; including many different viruses, bacteria, and fungi. Diffusing a few drops of tagetes oil in the room of someone sick with the cold or flu can help speed their healing time. There are also plenty more essential oils for the cold and flu out there, tagetes oil is just one!
In the Brain
As the anti-inflammatory compounds in tagetes oil enter the bloodstream, they are quickly carried to the brain. Here they can reduce tension and promote a stillness in the mind.
Because of the relaxing and anti-inflammatory nature of tagetes essential oil, it has a calming, slightly sedating effect on the mind. The oil is said to relax the muscles in the body, and when inhaled, can relieve the tension headache often associated with stress. Add the essential oil to a diluted blend of other stress reducing essential oils and apply to the temples for a moment of calm. Alternatively, add a few drops of tagetes essential oil to an aromatherapy diffuser and diffuse for 30 minutes each day for stress relief.
On the Skin
Traditionally, tagetes flowers are used on the skin, either crushed or juiced, to protect and heal woulds, cuts, scrapes, and burns of all sorts. Many natural medicinal practices revere the tagetes flowers for their protective abilities. When the essential oil is studied, it is not surprising to find that tagetes can protect the skin in many ways.
Marigolds are often planted alongside plants such as tomatoes and eggplants, as they are believed to be natural antimicrobial agents. Upon studying the oil, researchers have found that indeed tagetes oil is a potent antimicrobial agent; and is effective against most known microbes. Viruses, bacteria, fungi, and even protozoa are all kept in check by tagetes essential oil. The study noted that for this reason, tagetes should be further studied as a remedy for food poisoning.
When applied topically, this makes tagetes oil an antiseptic; protecting small wounds from infection. In fact, researchers have noted that tagetes oil is even effective at eliminating antibiotic resistant bacterial strains such as MRSA.
It is interesting to note that for all of its wide range of antimicrobial benefits, tagetes essential oil still plays favorites. For instance, the essential oil is remarkably fond of certain fungi. Luckily for humans, one such fungal strain is the Candida albicans. Researchers were surprised at how well tagetes oil eliminates candida; which shows promise for anyone looking for additional antifungal essential oils.
Because of its wide range of effectiveness against various microbes, tagetes essential oil makes a great natural disinfectant. From countertops to shared toilets; tagetes essential oil can help you naturally protect yourself from a host of different microbial invaders.
Tagetes essential oil also makes for a ingredient to add to bug repellants; especially if you live in an area where ticks are present. A team of researchers aiming to find beneficial natural products to keep ticks off of livestock noted that tagetes essential oil repels ticks with ease due to the volatile compounds present in the oil. The research indicated that oils made from the Tagetes minuta species were the most favorable.
Tagetes Essential Oil Recipes
There are many uses for such potent oil, and the opportunities for healing are multiplied when other oils are added to the mix. Many essential oils produce synergistic results thanks to the complimentary compounds within the oils. Here are a couple examples; feel free to explore more and share them with us.
Aromatherapy Blend for Cold and Flu
- 2 drops tagetes essential oil
- 2 drops rosemary essential oil
- 2 drops lemon myrtle essential oil
- Add to an aromatherapy diffuser; running the diffuser constantly in the room of a sick person. For children, use only tagetes essential oil.
Topical Blend for Cuts and Scrapes
- 10 drops tagetes essential oil
- 10 drops tea tree essential oil
- 10 drops helichrysum essential oil
- 4 oz of coconut oil
- Add ingredients to a 4oz jar with a lid. Apply to small cuts and scrapes as needed. The tagetes and tea tree oil will keep the wound clean, while the tea tree oil and helychrysum essential oil will help prevent scar tissue from forming.
A Final Word on Tagetes
As with basically any pure essential oil, you should dilute tagetes essential oil before applying to the skin, as allergic reactions can occur. That said, pay attention to any reactions your body may have to oils when applied on the skin, and should start by applying them to a small area before moving onto a large area of the body. Use any new essential oil under the guidance of a qualified healthcare practitioner.
The most important thing to consider when purchasing your essential oils is the quality of the product. Always look for pure, undiluted, essential oils with no fillers. Pure oils provide the most beneficial compounds; and they are also the safest.
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