Galbanum Essential Oil for Aromatherapy

Galbanum Essential Oil for Aromatherapy

Galbanum is an ancient oil that is not frequently used in aromatherapy today; however, galbanum essential oil does hold some useful therapeutic properties.

Galbanum (Ferula galbaniflua), like myrrh (Commiphora myrrha), frankincense (Boswellia carteri), sandalwood (Santalum album)and spikenard (Nardostachys jatamansi),has been used since ancient times.

Records show that both the ancient Egyptians and Romans used galbanum oil for medicinal purposes; in addition, use of galbanum is mentioned in the Bible. However, galbanum essential oil is not as popular in aromatherapy use today as some of the other ancient oils.

Use of Galbanum Oil by Ancient Civilizations

Galbanum was used by the ancient Egyptians as an incense, embalming agent and for cosmetic purposes. The ancient Romans used galbanum oil in much the same way as the Egyptians.

Greek physician Dioscorides (40 – 90 A.D.) described some of the therapeutic properties of galbanum as diuretic, painkilling and emmenagogic. Traditional Eastern medicine used galbanum to treat skin problems, wounds, digestive problems, respiratory problems and inflammation.

Botanical Description of Galbanum

Galbanum is a member of the Umbelliferae (Apiaceae) plant family. It is a tall, perennial herb with small flowers and shiny leaves. Galbanum is native to Middle Eastern countries, such as Iran and Afghanistan. The plant exudes a gum resin which is released when the base of the stem is cut.

The Extraction of Galbanum Essential Oil

Galbanum essential oil is obtained by steam distillation of the gum resin from the stem of the plant. Levant galbanum is the only suitable species of this plant for therapeutic essential oil extraction, as it produces a soft liquid in comparison to other species which are hard. The oil is a thick, amber liquid before distillation. After distillation, galbanum essential oil is pale yellow to green in color. It has a balsamic undertone.

Therapeutic Properties of Galbanum Oil for Aromatherapy

Galbanum essential oil is analgesic, antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, diuretic, emmenagogic, expectorant, digestive, anti-microbial and an aphrodisiac. It is used in aromatherapy to treat skin inflammation, acne, cuts, wrinkles, mature skin, muscle pain, poor circulation, rheumatism, indigestion, bronchitis, asthma, stress and flatulence. Galbanum is also used extensively in the perfumery industry as a fixative.

Cautions for Using Galbanum Oil in Aromatherapy

Galbanum essential oil is not known to be sensitizing, toxic or irritating to the skin. However, individuals may experience different reactions in various circumstances.

Always apply galbanum essential oil to the skin in a carrier oil or lotion. Consult a qualified and experienced aromatherapist for further advice if unfamiliar in the use of essential oils in aromatherapy and for the treatment of specific medical conditions.