New research has shown that the Moldavian dragonhead, also known botanically as Dracocephalum moldavica, can be seen as a new unpolished diamond amongst essential oils due to the variety of possible applications.
The content of essential oil in fresh plants is about 0.25%. It is a pale yellow liquid with a pronounced honey-lemon fragrance. The main constituents of Moldavian dragonhead essential oil are geraniol, geranyl acetate, and citral. Their ratio varies depending on the corresponding phenological phase of plant development. The chemical composition of the oil during storage remains virtually unchanged.
Unique is the essential oil mainly due to its very high content of geranyl acetate and its painkilling attributes and positive effect on problems in the gastrointestinal tract.
Oxygenated derivatives of monoterpenoids convince with an exceptionally high antimicrobial activity. The most active components in the essential oil of the Moldavian dragonhead are also citral and geraniol, which have high fungistatic activity against a number of phytopathogenic fungi – e.g. Tichophyton rubrum and T. mentagraphytes. With prolonged regular use, microorganisms develop virtually no resistance to essential oils.
The anti-inflammatory activity of Moldavian dragonhead essential oil is the sum of the biological effects of individual fractions and is due to the antioxidant activity, the ability to stabilize the lysosomal and cytoplasmic membranes, to actively affect vascular permeability. Promising is the use of essential oil as immunomodulators. Recent studies and a series of tests have also shown that the biologically active complex of this plant has an antitumor activity of monoterpenes and an antispasmodic action in asthma.
The constituents of the essential oil of the Moldavian dragonhead have strong antibacterial, antifungal and antioxidant properties. There are studies showing its high activity against bacteria (Bacillus cereus, Micrococcus luteus, Bacillus subtilis, Serratia marcescens, Staphylococcus aureus, Klebsiella pneumoniae) and against 4 species of pathogenic fungi (Aspergillus niger, Fusarium oxysporum, Rhizopus stolonifer, Mucor hiemalis).
Studies have shown also that this essential oil has a calming, antispasmodic, adaptogenic, antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, estrogen-like action that stimulates the adrenal cortex activity (this characteristic is mainly due to citral). The dragonhead oil has a positive influence on mental stress and increased excitability of the autonomic nervous system, disorders of ovarian function, and metabolic disorders. It is also considered to be digestive, stomach-calming, and supportive for indigestion, choleretic, and diuretic.
Furthermore, the true dragonhead oil is attributed to cardioprotective properties.
A pharmacological study of the antispasmodic action of essential oils on the trachea and the longitudinal muscle compared to papaverine has been carried out, showing that the use of the most active components – cis and trans-citral – is promising in the treatment of acute bronchitis and tracheobronchitis.
Citral, which is contained in the essential oil of the Moldavian dragonhead, is effective against tuberculous bacilli. Its positive effect is exhibited in a number of inflammatory diseases of the female reproductive system.
The essential oil of this wonderful plant helps the organism to deal with unavoidable stress and to recover from colds and infectious diseases. It should be noted that the stimulation of the central nervous system and the increase in blood pressure, as with the intake of classical adaptogens from the Aralia family (ginseng, Aralia), has not been observed.
Research laboratories have carried out a perfumery evaluation of essential oils, with the essential oil of the Moldavian dragonhead receiving 4.0-4.5 points (out of 5 possible) and therefore it was recommended as an ingredient for fragrances in the perfumery and cosmetics industry, in the production of soaps, crèmes, and perfumes of high quality.
The Moldavian dragonhead resembles medicinal melissa in its healing properties. It also has a calming, analgesic, antispasmodic action, it helps to stimulate the appetite and it promotes the activity of the digestive organs. In some European countries (Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary, Germany) it is grown as a medicinal plant.
Delve into the world of essential oils with certified aromatherapist Helen Nagle-Smith.
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