ACTIVE Body Oil - our pre- and post- exercise blend -combines several powerful essential oils that act as rubefacients, but what exactly are rubefacients? And how can they benefit us?
The action of a rubefacient is to stimulate local circulation and produce a warmth and redness when applied the skin. Application of rubefacient oils will cause local capillaries to widen, increasing the amount of blood flow passing through them, and delivering oxygen to the specific area, which is healing and restorative.
Rubefacient essential oils are effective tonics for the nervous system and can alleviate nervous exhaustion and general debility. They tend on the whole to be stimulating, although careful selection of other essential oils when formulating a blend can impact upon this, for example, when Marjoram is blended with Lavender and Clarysage (the 3 star ingredients in our award-winning DREAM Body Oil) it produces a deeply relaxing, warming oil which is incredibly soothing to the body, mind and emotions
Some of the essential oils that fall into the category of rubefacient are Black Pepper, Eucalyptus, Juniper, Marjoram, Rosemary and Camphor, but their rubefacient properties are not the sole action of these oils, rather one of a myriad of other therapeutic effects specific to the particular oil.
There are many conditions and states which can be eased and assisted by the use of essential oils with rubefacient properties, here I give a brief outline of just a few:
In skincare we find that rubefacient oils are of great benefit to congested and oily skin types, helping to detoxify the skin and improving dull and tired complexions.
The effect of rubefacient oils on the digestive system is marked; they can stimulate the appetite, act as digestives, ease colic, heartburn, flatulence, constipation and also diarrhoea
Circulatory-related disorders, such as poor circulation, arthritis and gout, can benefit from the action of a rubefacient, as they boost local circulation and in turn help to speed up the elimination of uric acid crystals which often build up around the joints. Muscular aches and sprains, rheumatic symptoms, stiffness and poor muscle tone can also benefit from rubefacient oils.
Respiratory problems - such as catarrh, congestion, coughs, colds and chills – all benefit from rubefacient oils, which also provide a great tonic when feeling ‘under the weather’ or convalescing.
Rubefacient oils can be irritating to the skin and should therefore be used with care and in small amounts, in line with recommended aromatherapy dilutions (around 3% maximum for adult use which equates to approximately 5 drops total of essential oil to every 10ml of carrier oil). Always err on the side of caution
Author: Lisa Basso
© L Basso, 2019
PLEASE NOTE: Several essential oils classed as rubefacients have contraindications which result on them being unsuitable and unsafe for use in certain circumstances. Included amongst these are Rosemary which is unsuitable for individuals with Epilepsy or High B.P (Hypertension) and Marjoram which is unsuitable for use in pregnancy. ALWAYS CHECK THE CONTRAINDICATIONS FOR EACH ESSENTIAL OIL PRIOR TO USE AND IF IN DOUBT SEEK THE ADVICE OF A QUALIFIED AROMATHERAPIST