May Chang Essential Oil aka Litsea cubeba Essential Oil – Restricted
May Chang Essential Oil aka Litsea cubeba essential oil from China is produced by cold expression of the fruit. Although May Chang essential oil has many beneficial uses, studies have shown that it is also slightly toxic. Therefore, it is on our restricted list of oils and only available to practitioners properly trained in the use of essential oil.
Genus Litsea can be found in tropical and subtropical regions of India, China, Taiwan, and Japan. Litsea cubeba possesses medicinal properties and has been traditionally used for curing various gastro-intestinal ailments (e.g., diarrhea, stomachache, indigestion, and gastroenteritis) along with diabetes, edema, cold, arthritis, asthma, and traumatic injury. Traditionally, Litsea cubeba essential oil has been know for it’s protective action against several bacteria, possesses antioxidant and antiparasitic properties, exerts acute and genetic toxicity as well as cytotoxicity.
Litsea cubeba Pers., Lauraceae, consists of more than 400 species and is predominant in tropical and subtropical regions of India, Southeast Asia, southern China, Taiwan, and Japan. Litsea is evergreen, fast growing, and a rare deciduous tree or shrub that attains a height of about 8 m, growing spontaneously in the eastern Himalayas, Assam, Manipur, and Arunachal Pradesh up to an altitude of 2700 m from sea level. In the Assam state of India, the tree is known as “mejankari”, while it is commonly called “May Chang” or “Chinese pepper” in China.
The essential oil is comprised of secondary metabolites present in different parts of the plant, i.e. root, stem, leaf, flower, and fruit. The oils are extracted by steam distillation process and by expression. The different types of extraction depending on the part of the Litsea cubeba being used. The extracted essential oils are chemically a complex mixture of monoterpenes, phenols, and sesquiterpenes.