If you’ve never heard of galbanum oil, you’re not alone. It’s been used for thousands of years since Roman times for a diverse group of applications, from incense to embalming. But despite its history and its fresh, green “forest” aroma, galbanum is an under-the-radar essential oil.
Taken from the Ferula galbaniflua plant, galbanum oil is made by steam distillation of the plant. Galbanum is native to northern Europe and northern Africa, and originated in Iran. The Levant, or “soft” variety, is used to make most of the oil, since it yields more during the extraction process. Mentioned in the book of Exodus, galbanum also was used by the Egyptians for skin preparations and cosmetics. The oil’s main components are cadinene, cadinol, myrcene and pinene.
What can galbanum oil do for you? Its medicinal properties are numerous:
- Wounds: heals skin, including scars, boils, blisters and acne.
- Relieves chest congestion due to bronchitis and other upper-respiratory ills.
- Increases circulation in the body, helping with arthritis, rheumatism and circulation-related issues.
- Stimulates the circulation of lymph in the body.
- Increases growth of new tissues and cells.
- Skin: tightens and firms, eradicates wrinkles (in mature skin), helps with stretch marks and other aging-related skin problems.
- Relaxes muscles prone to spasms, and relieves associated pain.
- Promotes better sleep.
- Supports immune system functioning.
- Calming: helps with recovery from depression, shock and trauma (via aromatherapy, including PTSD).
Used topically, you should dilute it with a carrier oil and apply it wherever needed. Never use it undiluted on your skin. Carrot seed, geranium, lavender, spruce and rose otto are great carrier oils. For inhalation, add three to four drops into an essential oil diffuser, or dilute it with essential water to inhale.
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Galbanum also can help keep bugs out of your house. It’s particularly good at deterring ants, roaches, mosquitoes, flies, fleas, lice and bed bugs.
Galbanum is FDA-approved as safe for food flavorings and additives. The best types to use are either food-grade or therapeutic-grade to avoid petrochemical additives. Galbanum also can be blended with other essential oils to make perfumes.
But as with any essential oil, you must carefully follow prescribed doses and not exceed them—more is not always better. Keep this and all essential oils out of your eyes, and away from mucous membranes or other sensitive skin. You should not take galbanum internally, unless you are working with a healthcare practitioner who prescribes it. No adverse reactions are known, but an allergen skin test is a good idea before you use it the first time.
While balbanum isn’t the most popular essential oil, its many benefits can replace a host of more expensive products and pharmaceuticals. Used with care, you may find you can’t live without galbanum in your medicine cabinet.
Have you ever used galbanum oil? Share your thoughts on this oil in the section below: