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5 min read / 26 January 2022 / Caitlin Devlin

Benefits and Uses of May Chang Oil

May chang essential oil's soothing properties can benefit our hearts and minds.

May chang plant with white flowers.

Although something of a newcomer to aromatherapy, having only been distilled into oil form in the last century, may chang has been used in Chinese medicine for hundreds of years.

Traditional Chinese medicine lauded it as a natural digestive aid and pain reliever, but these days we tend to use the oil for its cleansing, calming, and health-promoting qualities.

If you're thinking of adding may chang essential oil to your wellness collection, here are all the facts you need to know surrounding its benefits, uses, and history.

What is May Chang Essential Oil?

Also known as litsea cubeba, this cheering oil is native to Southern Asia and is sometimes coined as ‘mountain pepper’ due to its small, peppercorn-shaped berries.

Despite this notable characteristic, may chang oil can sometimes be extracted via steam distillation from the root and stem of the plant, as opposed to the berries.

Once extracted, it produces a sweet, gentle aroma with a faint lemony scent. While it's often compared to lemongrass oil for its similar citrus body, the scent of may chang is actually considered to be much sweeter with a greater sense of fruitiness.

May chang oil is pale yellow in colour and is a well-known ingredient in many cosmetics.

What are the health benefits of May Chang Essential Oil?

May chang oil has many varied benefits for the body and mind, and is a refreshing choice for diffusing around the home if you're not a fan of lemongrass' distinctive grass notes.

Some benefits of may chang essential oil include:

  • Displaying antimicrobial properties
  • Aiding heart health
  • Soothing stress
  • Promoting sleep
  • Treating common skin conditions
  • Masking personal odour
  • Combatting digestive issues

Person running in the park during a sunny day.

Is may chang essential oil an effective antimicrobial?

Many studies have explored the extensive antimicrobial effects of may chang oil.

For example, one of the more recent studies discovered that may chang displayed high antibacterial activity against cariogenic bacteria – microorganisms that cause tooth decay.

The oil has also been found to have antifungal abilities, with another study discovering that may chang essential oil was effective at combatting four different fungi.

These abilities are widely attributed to the presence of the component citral in the oil.

Is may chang oil good for the heart?

Research has shown that may chang oil is able to increase blood flow in the heart. This can lower blood pressure and improve overall health.

An animal study investigated may chang oil’s cardiovascular-boosting effects and found that the oil was able to improve the ECG profile of subjects with cardiac arrhythmia – another benefit that is attributed to the presence of citral.

Does may change essential oil soothe stress and promote sleep?

In the Indian system of Ayurvedic medicine, may chang is said to pacify excess negative energy, rebalancing spirituality.

Some studies have shown that this reputation is not undeserved, as may chang can have a positive impact on anxiety and insomnia.

An found that not only was may chang able to increase the amount of time subjects slept for, but it also managed to reduce their anxiety levels during a stressful task.

Is may chang oil good for the skin?

May chang oil makes a great skin cleanser, and not just because of its strong antibacterial and antifungal properties.

The oil is recommended as an all-natural treatment for oily skin and acne, thanks to its gentle nature and its remarkable pore-clearing benefits.

Some sources also claim that diluted may chang can be able to tackle common skin conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, and cellulitis.

Can I use may chang essential oil as a natural deodorant?

May chang oil is said by many to have the ability to reduce excess perspiration, eliminating the negative effects this can have on the skin.

This also means that it's an effective choice as a natural deodorant, as its lemony scent can mask unpleasant bodily aromas and facilitate a sense of cleanliness in the body.

Try using diluted may chang oil on your face or under your arms to experience these benefits.

Can may chang oil combat digestive issues?

The digestive benefits of may chang oil pertain to one of its oldest uses, having first been coined by ancient Chinese and Ayurvedic societies to treat stomach-related issues.

The powerful acidic properties of may chang oil can help to stimulate reactions in the digestive system and improve its general function. Its scent has also been said to tackle symptoms of nausea and indigestion.

As we never recommend the internal consumption of essential oils, try diluting a few drops of may chang with a carrier oil and applying it externally to the abdomen.

How to use May Chang Essential Oil

May chang essential oil is easy to implement into your wellness routine with the right tools in place. Here are just a few of our favourite ways to use it.


The sweet, lemony aromas of may chang oil are perfect for achieving an air of cleanliness and comfort around your home.

With its powerful effects against stress, anxiety, and sleep loss, adding a few drops of may chang oil to your electric diffuser just before bed could be the ideal way to keep your emotions balanced for a sound night of rest.

You can also try adding some may chang oil to your bathtub for an additional atmosphere of calm.


If you're suffering from digestive issues, a restorative abdominal massage using may chang oil may be just the thing to ease your discomfort.

Try combining a few drops with your favourite plant-based carrier oil and rubbing the mixture gently into your stomach and abdomen area.


The antimicrobial properties of may chang oil are perfect for creating your own all-natural skin cleanser. This is especially true if you suffer from acne or skin conditions like eczema.

Mix some may chang oil in with a non-comedogenic carrier oil and apply daily. Remember to always perform a patch test before applying any essential oils to your skin.

Natural deodorant

Looking for a natural alternative to commercial deodorants? May chang oil is ideal for tackling personal odour and perspiration. Try diluting some with a carrier oil and applying it to the body as needed.

History of May Chang Essential Oil

Despite not being steam distilled until the 1950s, may chang's properties have been widely respected in ancient Chinese and Ayurvedic cultures for centuries.

Traditionally, the plant was used to treat stomach pain, lower back pain, headaches, and muscular aches among other conditions. The fruits of the oil were also used to help treat asthma as well as cases of high blood pressure.

    May chang may be a young oil, but its many benefits and its positive scent have allowed it to gain a significant amount of popularity.

    Research surrounding this oil is still limited, but it's likely we’ll see an increase in studies in the next few years as the use of may chang oil rises.

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