Properties of the Ravintsara

Laurence LEBRUN, Doctor of Pharmacy, ethnobotanist and herbalist presents an article on the traditions and benefits of organic ravintsara essential oil. It tells the virtues, the origins, the history, and the use of ravintsara, the leaf good for everything.

Here is the full original article. http://Le Ravintsara un arbre médicinal malgache.pdf

The Ravintsara a Malagasy medicinal tree
From traditional pharmacopoeia to scientific aromatherapy

Tell us more about Madagascar?

The Ravintsara a tree malagasy medicinal. Traditional Malagasy medicine
Madagascar, nicknamed «the red island», is located in the Indian Ocean, in southern Africa. The large island has a variety of reliefs and climates which, when combined, give rise to countless ecological niches. These different ecological niches have allowed the emergence of a rich flora that counts between 12,000 and 14,000 plant species. Many are endemic and used in traditional pharmacopoeia

The population of Madagascar comes from various backgrounds (Africa, Southeast Asia (Indonesia), Middle East, Europe etc.). This country of over 24 million people is culturally diverse and has 18 distinct ethnic groups.

What place does traditional medicine occupy in Madagascar?

The majority of the Malagasy population, especially in remote and rural areas, use traditional medicine. According to the WHO, this represents 70% of the population.

Malagasy tradipraticians treat themselves with medicinal plants but also take into account dreams, divination and specific rituals to determine the causes and treatment of the disease Since 2007, Tradipraticians are recognized and approved by the Malagasy government.

To treat a disease, they make preparations from medicinal plants in different forms (infusion, decoction, aromatic baths and others). For the Malagasy, ancestral medicine is always present in their daily lives. Treating yourself with this natural method is a well-established habit.

How extensive is the traditional Malagasy pharmacopoeia

The traditional Malagasy pharmacopoeia uses more than 3000 species of medicinal plants: for some of them, chemical studies have confirmed the properties advanced by tradipraticians and for others, these studies have led to the discovery of activities up tothere unsuspected.

The most famous of these is the Madagascar periwinkle (Catharanthus roseus) which is traditionally used to treat diabetes, but also hypertension and liver problems. In the 1950s, researchers focused on demonstrating the plant’s hypoglycemic activity in search of a possible plant insulin.

However, this study proved inconclusive, but to their surprise, the extracts of Madagascar’s periwinkle showed anticancer activity, leading to the major discovery of anti tumor alkaloids that are vinblastine and vincristine.

Among the plants mentioned in the Malagasy pharmacopoeia, trees occupy a prominent place, all parts of the tree are used (leaves, fruits, bark, wood, roots).

What are the origins and history of the ravintsara?

Now let’s discover the Ravintsara (Cinnamomum camphora), (find more information about organic ravintsara essential oil). Which thanks to the medicinal properties of its essential oil has become an essential aromatic tree in our western medicine cabinet.

the origins and history
Native to Asia and especially Japan, Taiwan, China and northern Vietnam. It was introduced in the 19th century in Madagascar, then acclimatized in several parts of the world.
In Madagascar, Ravinstara is cultivated in the Highlands, in the centre of the island. It is also found in the wild in the Central-East (Anjiro and Moramanga) and in the South (Ambositra and Ambohisamosa).
The Malagasy have obviously introduced and adopted it in their traditional pharmacopoeia, and «Ravintsara» in Malagasy means «good leaf».

In his book «Histoire de la grande île Madagascar» published in 1658, the French commander Étienne de Flancourt observes a massive use of ravintsara by the Malagasy population as a traditional remedy.

Ravintsara essential oil was not extracted for the first time until a century later, in 1775, by the pharmacist and chemist Antoine Baumé. But it was not until a few years later that botanist Pierre Boiteau, at the beginning of the last century, studied and observed the therapeutic effects of the Ravintsara that we know him today.

Tell us more about the ravintsara leaf

The Ravintsara (Cinnamomum camphora) is a large tree of the family Lauracées, it is also known as camphor. It has for a long time been confused with Ravensare (Ravensara aromatica), whose biochemical properties and composition are very different.

Its leaves are covered with a waxy layer. They are persistent, alternate, tough and whole. They are 10 cm long and have an oval shape. Its flowers are white. Its ripe fruits are dark blue to black. They are spherical drupes, fleshy and carried by a thick green peduncle.

Traditionally what are the uses of ravintsara

Many works mention the traditional use of the Ravintsara.

In 1957 Pernet and Meyer in «La pharmacopée de Madagascar» mentions the use of the leaves of Cinnamomum camphora in case of fever and malaria
According to the work of Randevoson, Malala Nirina Mahandry.on «La pharmacopée malagasy» in 2005, the leaves of the plant mixed with other products like «Tavolo» (fat), «voatsitakajaza», «Ravimboafotsy» is used to treat malingre and rachitic children.

Its leaves are also used in inhalation, steam bath against infectious diseases, respiratory ailments such as flu and in infusion, they are used against headaches, cough with asthmatiform dyspnea.

In the markets of Antananarivo the leaves of Cinnamomum camphora are sold by herbalists to prepare infusions against fever, treat rheumatism and for its abortive properties.
In 2019 an ethnopharmacological study of the medicinal plants used in Mauritius published in the South journal of Botany mentions the use of the leaves of Cinnamomum camphora in the form of aromatic baths as muscle relaxant, antirhumatismal, in case of soreness, fever, boils, abortifacient and stimulant.

Today, Malagasy households still use it to treat colds and flu. The leaves are boiled in water, then inhaled in a blanket. This is called “hevoka”.

What are the properties and composition of Ravinstara essential oil?

In Europe, especially in France, Ravintsara essential oil is increasingly popular, especially in winter. Health professionals recognize the virtues of this oil and recommend its use.
There are monographs and technical data sheets that describe the physico-chemical characteristics of this oil. These parameters are important to know to obtain a quality essential oil and guarantee its therapeutic effectiveness.
Do not hesitate as a user to ask for test certificates for each batch of essential oil purchased, it will allow you to verify its botanical and chemical traceability.

A few numbers

The HE of Ravintsara corresponds to the kineole chemotype of the medium composition camphor tree:
1. Oxydes (50 à 65 %) : 1,8 cinéole
2. Monoterpenes ( 30%): sabinene (15%), α and β-pinenes
3. Monoterpénols (±10%) : α terpinéol 10 %, linalol, thuyanol
4. Esters : acétate de terpényle, de linalyle

The actions of 1.8 cineole: if 30% gives HE «cleansing» because mucolytic, expectorant, tensio-active preventing the mucus plates to stay stuck in the alveoli (not ciliated). In addition, these HE fight against inflammation of the bronchial mucosa.
Also considered as heating, hyperemic, skin softening. It acts on the mind by increasing psychological resistance, stimulating brain metabolism and increasing concentration.
It will be used orally, dermally, and by air.
The main contraindications are the first trimester of pregnancy and people with asthma.
Its therapeutic properties and main uses in scientific aromatherapy

Powerful antiviral, antibacterial by joint actions of 1.8 cineole and terpenes, Immunostimulant, expectorant fluidifier, antiinflammatory, neurotonic, stimulant, muscle relaxant, sleep inducer

1. ENT infections (oral, dermal, diffusion, inhalation)
2. Influenza (oral, dermal, diffusion, inhalation)
3. Herpes labial (dermal)
4. Nervous and physical fatigue, convalescence (diffusion, inhalation)
5. Muscle cramp (dermal)
6. Immunostimulation (dermal)

Laurence LEBRUN
Doctor of Pharmacy, ethnobotanist and herbalist

Here is the entire original article on the traditions and benefits of organic ravintsara essential oil. http://Le Ravintsara un arbre médicinal malgache.pdf

bibliographic sources

bibliographic sources

Pernet Robert, Meyer G. «Pharmacopée de Madagascar.» Tananarive: Institut de Recherche Scientifique Tananarive-Tsimbazaza, 86 p. (1957).

http://Pharmacopée de Madagascar Pernet.pdf

Randevoson, Malala Nirina Mahandry. «Contribution to the realization of the pharmacopoeia ma- lagasy monograph of: Calophyllum inophyllum, Cedrelopsis greveï, Cinnamomum cam- phora and Ravensara aromatica.» 2005.

Boiteau Pierre, «Précis de matière médicale malagache» ACCT (Agence de Coopération Cultu- relle et technique, 1986)

http://Pharmacopée de Malagasy monographies.pdf

Randriamiharisoa, M.N., Kuhlman, A.R., Jeannoda, al. «Medicinal plants sold in the markets of Antananarivo, Madagascar”. J Ethnobiology Ethnomedicine 11, 60 (2015)

http://Medicinal plants sold in the markets of Antananarivo, Madagascar.pdf.

Rasoanaivo.P, Petitjean.A, Ratsimamanga-Urverg.S, Rakoto-Ratsimamanga.A “Medicinal
plants used to treat malaria in Madagascar”, Journal of Ethnopharmacology, Volume 37, Issue 2, (1992), Pages 117-127,

http://medicinal plants used to treat malaria.pdf

Riondato I Donno.D, Roman.A, Razafintsalama.V E, Petit.T, Mellano. MG, Torti.V, De Biaggi.M, Naivonirina Rakotoniaina.E, Giacoma.C, Beccaro G.L, “First ethnobotanical inventory and phytochemical analysis of plant species used by indigenous people living in the Maromizaha forest, Madagascar,” Journal of Ethnopharmacology,Volume 232,(2019),Pages 73-89,

Suroowan,.S , Pynee, K.B. ,. Mahomoodally M.F, “A comprehensive review of ethnopharmacologically important medicinal plant species from Mauritius”, South African Journal of Botany,Volume 122,2019,Pages 189-213,

http://Plantes médicinales MAURITIUS.pdf

Mansard Michaël, Laurain-Mattar Dominique, Couic-Marinier Françoise, «Huile essentielle de Ravintsara».Actualités Pharmaceutiques, Elsevier, 2019, 58 (585), pp.57-59.

http://HE Ravintsara Mansard 2019.pdf

Blanchard, J.M.«Cinnamomum camphora à cinéole (ravintsara), a plant for the prevention of hospital-acquired infections?». Phytotherapy 5, 15–20 (2007).

http://Cinnamomum camphora et infections nosocomiales.pdf

Bourry Claudie, Lebrun Laurence «Aromatherapy and its natural allies», Terran 2020 edition
Michel Falcon «Scientific and medical aromatherapy treatise, foundations and prescription aid», Blood of the earth, 2012

Franchomme Pierre Penoel Daniel -Jollois Roger «L’Aromathérapie exactement», R.Jolois, 2002

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