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Ravensara aromatica

Ravensara aromatica

[span class=alert]In regards to the Traditional Use and Therapeutic Action sections of Essential Oils, the oils are rated as is standard practice in the French school of aromatherapy and others. The ratings ranked from one (+) to four (++++) with four indicating the highest value, indicate the oil’s therapeutic value from a practicing clinician’s point of view. The French rating system mentioned are obtained from this book reference entitle ‘Les Cahiers Pratiques D'Aromatherapie Selon L'Ecole Francaise’ (Authors: Francine Baudry, Pascal Debauche & Dominique Baudoux). However, further clarification might be required and will be updated once additional information of the rating system is obtained.[/span]

Family Name


Genus Name


Vernacular Name

Ravensara, Madagascar ravensara

Original Habitat

This evergreen tree is native to Madagascar but also grows in areas such as France, where humidity is present. Ravensara can grow up to 20 metres high with a deep rich reddish brown colour bark. The essential oil has traditionally been used as an antibacterial, antifungal and as a central nervous stimulant.  It is commonly mislabeled and misrepresented as Cinnamomum camphora known as Ravintsara.[1][2] Ravensara aromatica and Ravensara anisata are synonyms.[2]

Plant Part Used

Historically, the bark was used to distill the essential oil.


Information regarding use of this oil in food is anecdotal in nature. Due to the continuing controversy over which plant and which species is used, the available literature may be misleading. In therapeutic aromatherapy, it is used as a single oil and in more complex formulations.


This thin oil is steam-distilled. It is clear to pale yellow in colour and the aroma can resemble rosemary and eucalyptus, having a mild camphorous scent.

Chemical Constituents

Terpenic oxides (70%): 1,8 cineol
Terpenic alcohols: Alpha terpineol (10%)
Terpenes: Alpha pinene, beta pinene (20%)
Methyl chavicol

Medicinal Uses

Antiviral ++++
Energizer, nerve tonic ++++
Anti-catarrhal, expectorant +++
Antibacterial +

Antifungal: Ravensara demonstrated antifungal activity against Candida albicans and Cladosporium cucumerinum.[3] Other studies have confirmed this antifungal activity.[4]

Traditional Use

Influenza and viral infections ++++
Insomnia (sleep inducing) ++++
Cutaneous viral infections (chicken pox) +++
Viral hepatitis, viral enteritis +++

There are no reliable studies on this oil that would validate its traditional use. This could be due to the confusion over the species used and the fact that it has been confused with the oil, Ravintsara.

Contraindications and Precautions

This essential oil is non-toxic. Since it is remarkably well tolerated, it can be take in its pure form internally and externally however, this should only be done under professional supervision.

Since this oil is typically adulterated or confused with another oil, proper identification is essential and therefore the oil should be obtained from a reputable source.

Not to be used by pregnant or nursing women, or children.


[span class=alert]Keep out of reach of children as oils are highly concentrated.Essential oils are irritating to the eyes.  Avoid contact with eye area.Always dilute essential oils with carrier oil, lotion, cream or gel even when using in diffuser or bath.Essential oils are sometimes prescribed to be used internally, but should only be used internally under professional supervision.[/span]


  1. Juliani HR. Application of near-infrared spectroscopy in quality control and determination of adulteration of African essential oils. Phytochem Anal. Mar2006;17(2):121-128.
  2. Juliani  H. Searching for the real Ravensara (Ravensara aromatica Sonn.) essential oil. A case study for "NATIORA" - the Malagasy natural product label. 2005;60-65.
  3. Andrianaivoravelona JO. Two 6-substituted 5,6-dihydro-alpha-pyrones from Ravensara anisata. Phytochemistry. Sep1999;52(2):265-269.
  4. Raharivelomanana PJ. Study of the antimicrobial action of various essential oils extracted from Malagasy plants. II: Lauraceae. [Article in French] Arch Inst Pasteur Madagascar. 1989;56(1):261-271.

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