May Chang - Learning Essential Oils

May Chang - Learning Essential Oils

In the realm of aromatherapy, the vibrant and citrusy aroma of May Chang essential oil, derived from the Litsea cubeba plant, holds immense therapeutic potential. Litsea cubeba, also known as May Chang or Chinese Pepper, is a versatile essential oil derived from the steam distillation of its fruit. Its aroma is akin to lemon but with spicy and fruity undertones. In blending, it harmonises well with a range of other oils, including Rose, Orange, Geranium, Neroli, and Lemon, among others. Its top note placement adds a bright and invigorating touch to blends. Interestingly, it's part of the Laurel family and shares traits with cinnamon. The oil is known for its warming, uplifting, and soothing properties, making it beneficial in various physical, emotional, and spiritual applications.

The history of May Chang essential oil, derived from Litsea cubeba, is rooted in traditional Chinese medicine and folklore, where it has been used for centuries. Unfortunately, despite its rich history, there is a scarcity of scholarly resources specifically dedicated to the historical use of May Chang essential oil. However, we can infer its historical applications from broader studies of traditional Chinese medicine, aromatherapy, and ethnobotany.

On an emotional level, Litsea cubeba is prized for its mood-lifting and stress-relieving effects. It can help with clarity, concentration, and combating feelings of fatigue or anxiety. One of the standout qualities of May Chang essential oil is its ability to uplift the mood. Its bright and refreshing scent has a naturally invigorating effect, making it an excellent choice for combating feelings of melancholy or low spirits. Aromatherapists often diffuse May Chang oil to create an uplifting atmosphere, helping to elevate mood and promote a sense of optimism and joy. Its calming and soothing properties work to alleviate tension and promote relaxation, offering a welcome reprieve from the pressures of daily life. Incorporating May Chang oil into relaxation rituals or diffusing it during moments of stress can help to create a tranquil environment conducive to inner peace and serenity.

The refreshing aroma of May Chang essential oil has a revitalising effect on both the body and mind. Aromatherapists often recommend this oil as a pick-me-up during periods of fatigue or lethargy. Its invigorating scent helps to awaken the senses, promoting a renewed sense of energy and vitality. Whether used in a revitalizing massage blend or diffused to combat afternoon drowsiness, May Chang oil offers a natural and refreshing solution to combat fatigue. Its uplifting properties can help to lift the spirits and provide a sense of emotional buoyancy during difficult times. Additionally, the calming influence of May Chang oil can help to soothe anxious thoughts and promote a sense of inner peace and tranquillity. Aromatherapists often incorporate this oil into personalized blends aimed at providing holistic support for those navigating emotional challenges.

For individuals seeking to enhance cognitive function and mental clarity, May Chang essential oil proves to be a valuable ally. Its bright and citrusy aroma has a clarifying effect on the mind, helping to promote constructive thinking and mental focus. Aromatherapists often recommend diffusing May Chang oil during study sessions or creative endeavours to enhance concentration and stimulate mental clarity. Its refreshing scent can help to dispel mental fog and promote a sense of alertness and mental agility.

In moments of physical or mental fatigue, May Chang essential oil offers a natural solution to reinvigorate the body and mind. Its energizing aroma helps to combat feelings of tiredness and lethargy, providing a much-needed boost of vitality. Aromatherapists may suggest incorporating May Chang oil into massage blends or diffusing it in the workspace to combat fatigue and promote a renewed sense of energy and motivation.

Historically, Litsea cubeba has been valued for its ability to promote skin health and treat skin conditions. Its antiseptic, astringent, and toning properties made it a popular ingredient in skincare preparations, particularly for acne-prone or oily skin. Additionally, it was used to alleviate muscular aches and pains, stimulate circulation, and soothe tired muscles. It has gained attention among aromatherapists for its diverse range of therapeutic benefits on the physical body.  In skincare, it's valued for its ability to balance and tone the skin, making it useful for conditions like acne. It also possesses antiseptic and astringent properties, aiding in cleansing and soothing the skin.

May Chang essential oil is renowned for its digestive benefits. When used in aromatherapy, its uplifting aroma can help alleviate feelings of nausea and discomfort. Additionally, May Chang oil has carminative properties, meaning it can aid in relieving digestive issues such as bloating and indigestion when used in massage blends or diffused in the air. The stimulating fragrance of May Chang essential oil can help invigorate the senses and stimulate appetite. Its toning and astringent properties help to strengthen and tighten the digestive tissues, promoting healthy function and reducing the likelihood of issues such as bloating or indigestion. Additionally, its soothing and warming nature can help alleviate discomfort and inflammation within the digestive tract, providing relief from digestive disturbances. It also acts as a circulatory stimulant, enhancing blood flow to the digestive organs and facilitating the efficient digestion and absorption of nutrients. Overall, its anti-inflammatory actions help to calm and soothe any inflammation or irritation, fostering a balanced and harmonious digestive system. Aromatherapists may recommend diffusing May Chang oil or using it in a personal inhaler to enhance appetite and promote a healthy eating routine.

May Chang essential oil offers a holistic approach to supporting the musculoskeletal system by effectively managing aches, pains, and tired muscles. Through its warming, refreshing, and soothing properties, May Chang oil helps to alleviate discomfort and promote relaxation in overworked or strained muscles. Additionally, its anti-inflammatory actions provide relief from inflammation, further aiding in the relief of pain and discomfort. Whether applied topically in massage blends or incorporated into poultices, May Chang essential oil offers gentle yet effective support for maintaining musculoskeletal wellness.

May Chang essential oil offers multifaceted support to the cardiovascular system through its toning, astringent, soothing, warming, and anti-inflammatory actions. By toning the blood vessels, it helps maintain their elasticity and integrity, promoting healthy circulation and blood flow. Its astringent properties assist in regulating blood pressure by constricting blood vessels when necessary. The oil's soothing nature can help calm palpitations and ease tension in the heart muscle, fostering a sense of relaxation and well-being. Additionally, its warming effects may aid in improving circulation, while its anti-inflammatory properties can reduce inflammation within the cardiovascular system, potentially lowering the risk of heart disease and supporting overall heart health.

In aromatherapy, May Chang essential oil is valued for its calming and soothing effects on the nervous system. Its gentle sedative properties can help reduce feelings of anxiety and tension, which may contribute to rapid heartbeat or palpitations. While more research is needed, some aromatherapists believe that this may also contribute to maintaining healthy blood pressure levels as well as indirectly support cardiovascular health. This wonderful essential oil is cherished for its analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties, which make it beneficial for relieving aches, pains, and tired muscles. When applied topically in massage oils or bath blends, May Chang oil can help soothe sore muscles, reduce inflammation, and promote relaxation.

May Chang essential oil is celebrated for its ability to balance and tone the skin. Its astringent properties help to tighten pores and regulate sebum production, making it a valuable addition to skincare formulations. By promoting skin balance, this oil can assist in achieving a clearer, more radiant complexion. Its antiseptic and antibacterial properties make it effective in combatting acne-causing bacteria, while its astringent nature helps to reduce excess oiliness. Aromatherapists often recommend incorporating May Chang oil into topical blends or facial cleansers to address acne concerns effectively.

May Chang essential oil also possesses natural deodorising properties, making it an excellent choice for combating excessive perspiration and body odour. Its fresh citrus scent helps to neutralize unpleasant odours while imparting a subtle, refreshing fragrance. Aromatherapists often include May Chang oil in natural deodorant formulations or body sprays for its odour-fighting abilities.

May Chang essential oil offers a multitude of therapeutic benefits for the physical body in aromatherapy practice. From promoting skin balance and relieving acne to aiding digestion and soothing tired muscles, this versatile oil has earned its place as a valuable tool in promoting holistic wellness and vitality. As with any essential oil, it's essential to consult with a qualified aromatherapist or healthcare professional before using May Chang oil, especially if you have specific health concerns or medical conditions. One example of cautions is diabetes medications, as it is thought the two may interact!


Spiritually, May Chang transcends mere aromatic indulgence; it carries within it a rich tapestry of history, tradition, and folklore. Revered for centuries, this oil has been an integral part of spiritual and magical practices across cultures, symbolizing rejuvenation, renewal, and the harmonization of energies. In Chinese folklore, Litsea cubeba  was used in rituals and ceremonies aimed at welcoming the spring season, symbolising renewal and growth.

In various mystical traditions, May Chang essential oil is associated with the awakening of pubescent energy, signifying the transition from childhood to adolescence. Its invigorating and uplifting aroma serves as a catalyst for inner growth and transformation, guiding individuals through this pivotal stage of development with clarity and vitality. Rituals incorporating May Chang oil may involve anointing ceremonies or aromatic diffusions to celebrate and honour this sacred passage into adulthood. At the heart of May Chang's mystical allure lies its association with renewal and regeneration. In spiritual practices focused on personal growth and transformation, May Chang essential oil serves as a potent ally for shedding old patterns and embracing new beginnings. Rituals cantered around renewal may involve meditation, visualisation, or energy work, with May Chang oil acting as a catalyst for inner alchemy and self-discovery.

Throughout history, May Chang essential oil has been revered for its rejuvenating properties, both on a physical and spiritual level. In rituals focused on rejuvenation, practitioners harness the revitalising energy of May Chang oil to cleanse and purify the body, mind, and spirit. Bathing rituals infused with May Chang oil or anointing practices may be employed to shed old energies and embrace a renewed sense of vitality and vigour. In many cultures, the arrival of spring is celebrated with joyous festivals and rituals, symbolizing renewal, fertility, and abundance. May Chang essential oil, with its bright and citrusy aroma, is often incorporated into springtime ceremonies to invoke the spirit of rebirth and growth. Whether diffused in the air during festive gatherings or used in ceremonial baths and anointing oils, May Chang oil infuses these celebrations with a sense of freshness and optimism, heralding the arrival of a new season.

In times of spiritual discord or imbalance, May Chang essential oil is called upon to pacify and dispel excess negative energy. Its purifying and uplifting properties help to cleanse the energetic body and restore harmony and equilibrium. Rituals designed to banish negativity and promote inner peace may incorporate May Chang oil through smudging, anointing, or energetic cleansing techniques, allowing individuals to release stagnant energies and invite in a sense of serenity and clarity. For those seeking to realign with their spiritual essence and reconnect with the divine, May Chang essential oil offers a pathway to rebalancing and harmonising the spiritual self. Rituals focused on spiritual realignment may involve meditation, prayer, or sacred ceremonies, with May Chang oil serving as a conduit for divine energy and insight. Through its uplifting and clarifying aroma, May Chang oil facilitates a deeper connection to one's inner wisdom and the spiritual realms, fostering a sense of unity and wholeness.

Today, its popularity has spread beyond China, with Litsea cubeba essential oil being used in aromatherapy, natural skincare, and perfumery worldwide, continuing a legacy of botanical wisdom and healing that spans centuries. May Chang oil continues to enchant and inspire practitioners on their journey of self-discovery and transformation. As we honour the ancient wisdom encoded within this mystical oil, may we awaken to the infinite possibilities that lie within and embrace the magic of the present moment.

Name: Litsea cubeba

Synonyms: May Chang, Litsea, Mountain Pepper, Chinese Pepper, Pheasant Pepper

Extraction Method: Steam distilled from the fruit

Main places of production: China

Key constituents:

  • Beta-caryophyllene,
  • Citral,
  • Citronellal,
  • Citronellol,
  • Geraniol
  • Geranial
  • Methyl Heptenone
  • b-Myrcene
  • Linalool
  • Sabinene
  • Linalyl Acetate
  • a-Pinene
  • b-Pinene
  • Neral
  • (þ)-Limonene

    Interesting facts: 

    • The berries resemble peppercorns
    • All parts contain oil, but best quality comes from hard berries
    • It is a relative of cinnamon
    • A member of the Laurel family


    • warming
    • refreshing
    • soothing
    • uplifting
    • antiseptic
    • skin balancing
    • toning
    • astringent
    • anti-inflammatory
    • deodorising
    • circulatory stimulant

    Historic, Traditional, and Folklore Physical Uses:
    • balancing skin
    • toning skin
    • acne
    • digestion
    • nausea
    • poor appetite
    • excessive perspiration
    • body odour
    • rapid heartbeat
    • aches and pains
    • tired muscles
    • blood pressure

    Historic, Traditional, and Folklore Emotional and Psychological Uses:

    • mood lifting
    • stress
    • refreshing
    • depression
    • anxiety
    • constructive thinking
    • clarity
    • concentration
    • fatigue

    Historic, Traditional, and Folklore Spiritual and Energetic Uses:

    • pubescent energy
    • rejuvenation
    • spring festivals
    • renewal
    • pacify excess negative energy
    • rebalance spirituality

    Oil descriptive:  A yellow oil with an intense lemon fragrance that is refreshing with spicy and fruity undertones. Sweeter than Lemongrass.

    Scent note: Top

    Blends well with: Rose, Orange, Geranium, Neroli, Jasmin, Lemon, Ylang Ylang, Grapefruit

    Cats and dogs: No current specified warnings due to being a relatively new oil in the west. Please check with your vet

    Warnings, cautions and contraindications:

    • Use at less that 0.5% dilution
    • Not suitable for children under 7 years old
    • Not suitable for hypersensitive skin
    • Not suitable for those taking Antidiabetic medication
    • Not suitable for those taking CYP2B6 pathway medications 
    • Do not use during pregnancy
    • Do not use internally
    • May be more sensitising if used in bath
    • If you have any other diagnosed health condition, or take other medications or supplements, please speak to a professional before use.(Feel free to contact us via webchat - we are qualified and insured to advise you)


    *Applications and properties are based on traditional folklore and provided for entertainment purposes only. They are not necessarily proven health claims and are not intended to treat or cure any illness or disease. Always see your doctor! 

    Please seek advice from a holistic vet or qualified veterinary aromatherapist if planning to use essential oils on animals as their safe and effective use is different on animals. We are only qualified and insured to advise on human use where animals may be present within the environment, not the use of essential oils on the animal itself.

    Sources: HIPPIE Essential Oil Supplier safety and certification sheets, "Essential Oils" by Neal's Yard Remedies, "Essential Oil Safety" - Robert Tisserand and RodneyYoung,,


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