Although both Tanacetum vulgare, Tansy, andTanacetum annuum, Blue Tansy, belong to the Asteraceae (Compositae) family, aromatherapists need to be very careful which one they buy as they are quite different essential oils with very different properties. Tanacetum vulgare, Tansy is an oil that has neurotoxic properties and should be avoided altogether in aromatherapy. Tanacetum annuum, Blue Tansy on the other hand has properties that can be very helpful in our practice. It is grown in the North Western parts of Morocco.
A dark blue essential oil is steam distilled from the leaves, shoots and arial parts of the plant with an average yield of 0.25 – 0.5%. Chamazulene is not present in the plant itself, however it is produced during the steam distillation process and it is responsible for the dark royal blue colour of the essential oil. This oil has quite a strong aroma, however it is pleasant with camphoraceous, herby and fruity overtones.
The major chemical components of this oil are: monoterpenes (49%), sesquiterpenes (36%), alcohols (8%), ketones (5%) oxides (2%). The essential oil has anti-inflammatory, anti-phlogistic, anti-histamine, analgesic and nervous sedative properties.
Psychologically, Blue Tansy has sedating properties and may be helpful for those suffering from excessive stress, tension, irritability, anxiety, anger, hysteria and worry.
On the physiological level, because of its high chamazulene content (can be up to 30%) it can be very helpful for soothing many different skin problems, including skin irritations, abnormal reddening and varicose veins. The anti-histamine properties of this oil may help to counter allergic reactions such as rashes, itches, coughing, breathing troubles and repetitive sneezing. It has proven helpful for sufferers of hay-fever. Its anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties can help with muscular aches and pains, as well as rheumatism and arthritis.
On a subtle level it may be helpful in reducing oversensitivity, emotional frustration and help to curb impulsive behaviour. It can help one to “go with the flow” and be more flexible when dealing with chaos or rapidly changing situations.
Contraindications: There has not been a great deal of formal testing on this oil so it is best to avoid in pregnancy and with babies and young children.