Distantly related to other resinous oils frankincense and myrrh, elemi oil may be the more affordable option. Made from the resin of a tree found in the Philippines, elemi essential oil benefits and uses include treating wounds, especially broken bones, and for promoting a sense of calm and well-being. This lesser-known oil may be the alternative you need.

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Distantly related to other resinous oils frankincense and myrrh, elemi oil may be the more affordable option. Made from the resin of a tree found in the Philippines, elemi essential oil benefits and uses include treating wounds, especially broken bones, and for promoting a sense of calm and well-being. This lesser-known oil may be the alternative you need.

Looking for the Best Elemi Essential Oils?

Elemi Essential Oil Benefits

Elemi essential oil is created from distilling the resin, or sap, of the elemi tree, much like the beneficial oils of myrrh and frankincense. Its light citrus scent can help balance feelings of anxiety or sadness and reduce the time it takes to heal from minor wounds. Elemi essential oil benefits and uses may make it ideal for a variety of reasons.

1. Grounding and balancing

The sense of being grounded or balanced in your daily life can be interrupted by sadness or anxiety, lending towards an impression of being distracted or pulled in many directions at once. Many essential oils contain constituents that may counteract these feelings. A study of the components of valerian revealed that the constituent elemol, which it shares with elemi essential oil, plays a part in reducing stress. It can help keep serotonin from being destroyed in the brain. This is demonstrated in tests with animals showing slower reactions in stressful situations, which is indicative of the actions of an anti-depressant drug. (1)

2. Healing of minor wounds

Elemi works on healing wounds in two different ways by preventing infection and reducing inflammation, both of which delay healing as the body diverts energy to solve these issues. Elemi can be used in the prevention of infection after the skin has been broken, either by cut or abrasion. Elemi was tested against common bacteria, including those that have become resistant to popular antibiotic treatments and could cause wounds to become infected. (2) Limonene, a component found in elemi, was found to have anti-inflammatory properties in a 2010 study regarding cells that had been affected by diseases such as leukemia. (3) These two properties together may work to reduce pain and encourage accelerated healing in the body.

3. Soothing muscle

Muscle pain is a common human affliction, and this includes not only the large muscles used in physical labor but also the smooth muscles found in major organs such as the stomach and intestines. Elmicin is a component in elemi that prevents the formation of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, which is responsible for transmitting pain signals along the nerves. It also causes muscles to contract with voluntary and involuntary spasms. In a study done with the electro-stimulus of smooth muscles, the application of oil containing elemicin reduced the number of spasms throughout the muscle sample. The application of this oil may ease muscle aches caused by overuse as well as help settle digestive issues due to spasming smooth muscle in the digestive tract. (4)

4. Skin Health (rejuvenate and restore skin)

Being the largest organ of our body, the skin is subjected to exposure in the environment. This includes natural occurrences such as sunlight or human-made chemicals like cigarette smoke. In protecting our bodies from foreign chemicals, our skin can take some damage. This may lead to signs of premature aging like wrinkles on the forehead and lips as well as brown spots on the hands and cheeks. Elemi essential oil’s constituents have been found to boost cellular regeneration and protect cells from becoming damaged in the first place. This may promote healthier skin with reduced wrinkles and spots. (5)

Elemi Essential Oil Uses

Sometimes called the poor man’s frankincense, this oil offers many of the same benefits, such as lifting your mood and strong antimicrobial properties, yet also manages to be unique as well. Whether you are hoping for a pleasant scent that may boost your mood or a way to reduce some muscle pain, the many uses for elemi essential oil are sure to make it one of your favorites.

Aromatic Uses

  • Add 5-10 drops of elemi oil to 2-ounces of water or vodka. Spray around the house to freshen the air.
  • Use 3 drops each of lavender, elemi, and valerian for a nighttime diffusion that is sure to help you fall asleep easily. Add to a 2-ounce spray bottle and apply to your bed linens before laying down for the evening.
  • Using a diffuser, add 2 drops neroli, 1 drop each bergamot, blood orange, and elemi to distilled water. This mix should help to lift your mood and increase your energy. This may be especially helpful on rainy days or during the dark months of winter.

Topical Uses

  • Blend 3 drops elemi with a teaspoon of carrier oil and apply to sore muscles after a workout.
  • Add 2 drops each of elemi, lavender, and neroli to 4 teaspoons of a gentle carrier oil such as jojoba. Apply to the face and hands to prevent or diminish the signs of premature aging.
  • Add 3 drops each of elemi, lavender, tea tree, and valerian to your bath water along with a small handful of Epsom salts to create a relaxing bath soak that is perfect for caring for your skin and preparing your mind and body for bed.

What Is the Best Elemi Essential Oil?

Elemi is often thought of as the poor man’s frankincense, but it touts its own benefits. We tested dozens of oils, from a variety of companies, to make your choice of the best elemi essential oil an easy one. We’ve listed the top three picks below.

Plant Therapy Elemi Essential Oil

This oil is made as naturally as possible, with no added dyes or chemicals, and is free from GMOs. It is also tested to ensure that it meets a quality standard of 100% therapeutic grade essential oil.

Best for: Diffusing Throughout Your Home


Young Living Elemi Essential Oil

This oil is guaranteed to have been processed by the company from seed to the sealing of the bottle for sale. This means that the oils are made from the organic plant material and sourced directly from company-owned farms. This stringent quality control makes this oil perfect for topical applications such as massage oils and muscle rubs.

Best for: Promoting Healthy Skin


Edens Garden Elemi Essential Oil

Sourced from many organic farms, the plant material used to make this oil is guaranteed to be free from synthetic chemicals and GMOs and undergo testing to assure freedom from any possible contamination of pesticides or herbicides. This quality makes it ideal for massaging into tense muscles.

Best for: A Relaxing Massage


My Favorite Uses For Elemi Essential Oil

As I continue to age, I find that I was not given the gift of incredible genetics when it comes to preventing wrinkles. It seems the crow’s feet were determined to appear before I’d even hit my 30’s and the forehead wrinkles followed soon after. (Though I think they were due to having children, not just aging skin.)

I’ve often made my own cleansers and moisturizers with frankincense, lavender, and tea tree oil if just to help control the adult acne that plagues me when my stress levels rise. Though it is an incredible essential oil, I’m always on the lookout for cheaper alternatives. Elemi often came up in searches as a replacement for when you don’t have the costlier frankincense on hand.

I began adding equal amounts of frankincense and elemi to my facial cleanser. Along with castile soap and a foaming soap dispenser and I had an easy to use a daily cleanser that has never over-dried my skin. The tea tree is there as well, helping to control breakouts before they occur.

The scent has changed a little, as elemi is a bit more citrusy than frankincense, but both still blend well with the tea tree and lavender. My skin looks just as healthy as it did before the addition of the elemi essential oil, and now I’m able to stretch my frankincense even further.

Recommended Elemi Oil-Based Products

1. Way Of Will 01 All Natural Deodorant Spray (Bergamot + Elemi)

01 Natural Deodorant Spray, Aluminum Free Deodorant Spray, Organic Deodorant Spray for Men and...
  • Feel Refreshed Even On Your Busiest Day: You love staying active....
  • Invigorating & Gentle Scents: There is something special about...
  • Fight Odor With All Natural Elements: You can feel confident as you...

This spray could be a more natural alternative to stick deodorants. Not only does it not use aluminum as an ingredient, but a spray also does not leave behind marks on your clothes or thick residue on your skin. Essential oils like bergamot and elemi help to kill the germs that can cause odor as well as keeping the skin healthy.


2. AROMATICA Essential Hand Nail Cream Mandarin and Elemi

AROMATICA Essential Hand&Nail Cream, Mandarin&Elemi 1.69oz / 50ml | Intense Moisture to Hydrate and...
  • A 100% natural multi-fragrance : the synthetic fragrance-free premium...
  • Hand & nail cream that improves skin moisture and elasticity of your...
  • Keep your hands moisturized with an attractive scent by carrying and...

Made from natural ingredients, this hand crème may be gentler on your skin than other moisturizers with chemicals that sit on the surface of your skin but are not absorbed. Essential oils of mandarin and elemi will help your skin cells stay healthy while keeping your hands germ free. You will also enjoy the uplifting citrus scents all day long.


Caution of Elemi Essential Oil

  • Store in a dark, airtight container to prevent oxidation of elemi essential oil. Tisserand and Young (2013) state that skin sensitization may occur as the oil ages and oxidizes with environmental exposure.
  • Always dilute elemi essential oil in a carrier oil to prevent possible skin interactions. Test a patch of skin on the underarm before applying to larger areas.
  • Always choose quality elemi essential oil from reputable suppliers.
  • Do not ingest elemi as its limonene content can cause irritation of the digestive tract.


I hope you enjoyed learning about elemi essential oil, the oil that can get lost in the shadow of its more famous cousins frankincense and myrrh. Please be sure to share this information with anyone who is looking for a cheaper alternative to the more expensive resins and an oil that can contribute to the health of your skin. Be sure to comment below, especially if elemi has become part of your essential oil collection.