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Ravintsara (Cinnamomum camphora)


Cinnamomum camphora

Ravintsara (Cinnamomum camphora) is a medium-sized tree from the Lauraceae family. It has reddish bark and its helically arranged, glabrous and coriaceous leaves are the same as those of the bay laurel (Laurus nobilis).

Native to Japan and Taiwan, it was introduced into Madagascar, where grew a related species, but with different properties (Ravensara aromatica).

The essential oil extracted from it is remarkable when it comes to fighting viral diseases.

Main aromatic molecules: Terpene oxides (1,8-cineole or eucalyptol), monoterpenols (α-terpineol), monoterpenes (α and β-pinenes).
Family: Lauraceae.
Productive organs: Leaves.
Yield: 1.5 to 2 kg of essential oil per 100 kg of leaves.
Equivalence: 1 ml → 39 drops (dosage calculated for a calibrated dropper European Pharmacopoeia).

  • Bath Bath
  • Skin application Skin application
  • Oral route Oral route
  • Respiratory route Respiratory route

Main properties

The ravintsara essential oil ravintsara is an immune stimulant and a potent antiviral and anti-infectious agent. Thanks to its very broad spectrum of action, it is recommended for preventing and treating all forms of viral infection, particularly respiratory – cold, flu, chills, pharyngitis, laryngitis, bronchitis, rhinopharyngitis – along with seasonal gastroenteritis (always viral), herpes and herpes zoster. It is also a tonic, helping relieve states of extreme fatigue and accelerating convalescence.

Find all the virtues and uses of niaouli essential oil in our dedicated article.


Fatigue and immunity
Dilute 3 drops of ravintsara essential oil in 8 drops of sweet almond vegetable oil, then spread the mixture on the sternum, upper back, wrists and elbows, 3 times a day for 10 days. From 7 years of age.

Herpes labialis
Place 1 drop of ravintsara essential oil diluted in 1 drop each of calophylla and St John's wort (or black cumin in case of sun exposure) on the lesion, 5 times a day until healed. Adults only.

Take 1 drop of ravintsara essential oil + 1 drop of clove essential oil on a neutral tablet, 4 times a day, for 3 days. Adults only.


Following a shortage period, Ravintsara production now exceeds worldwide demand. The main importers are France, the United States and Great Britain.


The fresh odour of ravintsara is reminiscent of that of eucalyptus.


Steam distillation of the leaves gives essential oil of ravintsara, with a yield of 1 to 2%, i.e. one to two kilograms from one hundred kilograms of plant.


The main active constituents of essential oil of Cinnamomum camphora are terpene oxides (1,8-cineol), terpene alcohols (alpha-terpineol) and terpenes (pinenes). Camphor is present only in very small amounts and frequently even absent from the chemical variety cineolifera, contrary to the Japanese variety, that has a high camphor content.

Precautions for use

This essential oil is remarkably well-tolerated by the whole family; it is non-irritant for the skin and completely non-toxic. Warning! Drug interactions may occur if the essential oil is used for more than a few days.

Do not use in: pregnant or breast-feeding women, children under the age of three years, persons allergic to one of the components (geraniol, linalool, limonene), subjects with asthma without the advice of an allergologist before the first use, subjects with epilepsy (or children who have had fever seizures).

Madagascar, island of perfumes, is a hub of world phytotherapy as more than six thousand of the island's plants are studied and some are used by ethnopractitioners according to the database of the Madagascan institute of applied research (IMRA). This prodigious biodiversity was revealed to Europeans during the mid-18th century by the Frenchman Etienne de Flacourt "resident governor" in his History of the island Madagascar (1658). During the 20th century, the botanist Pierre Boiteau scientifically explored this wealth and studied the therapeutic effect of ravintsara. This tree has always been, and remains to this day, the ultimate "medicine tree" of Madagascan populations, its local name meaning "leaves good for everything". The essential oil extracted from these leaves is remarkable for combating viral diseases.


Extracts from the book 'Aromatherapia - All about essential oils', by Isabelle Pacchioni, watercolors by Patrick MORIN, Aroma Thera Editions . Extracts from the book '41 essential oils essential for treating yourself differently' and '48 essential oils which every home needs to be healthy' by Isabelle Delaleu and Isabelle Pacchioni, Publications of the Mandadori France group. Botanical illustrations by Agathe Haevermans.

The properties, benefits and method of use are given for information; they cannot in any case constitute or replace medical information that only health professionals can provide. For any use of essential oils for therapeutic purposes, please consult your GP or pharmacist.
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