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uncompromising purity in essential oils

Ravensara or Ravintsara?

Ravensara (Ravensara aromatica)

Ravensara (Ravensara aromatica) and Ravintsara (Cinnamomum camphora) essential oils are both from Madagascar and are often confused due to their similar names and origins. However, they come from different plants and have unique properties. Let’s explore their differences to help you understand them better.

Origins

Ravensara essential oil is derived from the leaves of the Ravensara aromatica tree, native to the rainforests of Madagascar. This tree, sometimes called the “clove nutmeg” tree, can grow up to 20 meters tall and has glossy, dark green leaves and small flowers.

Ravintsara essential oil comes from the Cinnamomum camphora tree. While native to China and Japan, this tree is now also found in Madagascar. It can grow up to 30 meters tall and has a wide canopy with shiny, green leaves.

Originally, the Cinnamomum camphora tree was used to produce two different oils from its wood and bark: Ho-Wood, which is very high in linalool (around 98%), and Camphor. These oils were produced from trees grown in China and Japan.

In the early 1800s, Cinnamomum camphora was introduced to Madagascar, where the trees yielded an oil with a different chemical composition—low in camphor and high in cineol. This oil became known as “Ravintsara,” which has caused some confusion due to the existence of the native species already known as “Ravensara.”

Some aromatherapists suggest that Ravintsara should be considered a chemotype of the original Chinese oil and should be called “Ho Leaf (cineol chemotype).”

Chemistry and aroma

When comparing the Madagascan oils of Ravensara and Ravintsara, it’s clear they are not the same.

Ravensara essential oil is not dominated by any single component, resulting in a balanced, complex aroma that favours middle and base notes. Its scent includes limonene, sabinene, carene, and caryophyllene, with a spicy note from methyl chavicol (estragole). The content of 1,8-cineol is low. The top notes are bright and sharp like Eucalyptus, but in Oshadhi’s oil, they are subtle. The middle notes are spicy and herbal, while the base notes are gentle and sweet.

In contrast, Ravintsara is dominated by 1,8-cineol, giving it a fresh, clean, and sharp aroma. α-Terpineol adds a mild floral note, enhancing the oil’s calming and soothing effects. α-Pinene and β-Pinene provide crisp, pine-like scents, complementing the oil’s respiratory benefits. Overall, the aroma is similar to eucalyptus but more medicinal.

Therapeutic use

Ravintsara (Cinnamomum camphora)

While both oils support respiratory health, Ravensara is more versatile for skin and muscle applications, whereas Ravintsara excels in promoting relaxation and easing stress. Here are some common ways to use these popular essential oils:

Diffusion: Both oils can be diffused to cleanse the air and support respiratory health, creating a fresh and clean atmosphere. They can also be used in a personal inhaler stick for quick relief on the go.

Topical application: Ravensara can be diluted with a carrier oil and applied to sore muscles or joints (dilute at no more than 1% in a carrier oil). Ravintsara can be applied to the chest and back to support respiratory health (can be diluted up to a maximum of 11%, although 3% is generally considered suitable for most people).

Read our full articles and learn all about these beautiful Madagascan oils:

All about Ravensara (Ravensara aromatica) essential oil

All about Ravintsara (Cinnamomum camphora) essential oil