Saro or Cinnamosma fragrans is a unique plant that grows only in Madagascar. The evergreen plant is highly aromatic. It belongs to the Canellaceae botanical family. [1]

An ethnobotanical study conducted in 2010, lists saro plant as one of the 8 native plants of Madagascar, widely used for medicinal purposes. [2]

Indeed saro is locally called Mandravasarotra in Malagasy which translates to ‘the plant that keeps illness away.

Every part of saro plant—leaves, bark, flower, fruit, and root have therapeutic values. Saro essential oil comes from the glossy leaves of the plant through steam distillation. The pale-yellow oil has a camphorous or lemony aroma.

Recent clinical data and anecdotal reports suggest that the oil is a potential remedy for respiratory disorders, headaches, parasitic infections, wounds, and staph abscess. Moreover saro oil is an immune stimulant and mosquito repellent. [1] [3]

Read on to learn more about the benefits and uses of saro essential oil and its therapeutic properties; all supported by science.

Therapeutic Properties of Saro Essential Oil

The major medicinal compounds of saro oil includes limonene (about 15%), monoterpenes,1-8 cineole, and linalool.

These potent natural components are responsible for the oil’s bactericidal, antiviral, anti-parasitic, antifungal, expectorant, antitussive, immunomodulator, nervous system re-equilibrating, and antispasmodic effects. [4]

Saro Essential Oil—6 Potential Health Benefits and Uses

1. Saro Essential Oil May Treat and Prevent Malaria.

Malaria is a parasitic disease that is spread by infected Anopheles mosquito. According to WHO (World Health Organization) in 2018, an estimated of 219 million cases of malaria infection was reported in 87 countries worldwide.  Malaria thrives in tropical and subtropical countries. [5]

The traditional healers of Andasibe (rainforest area in eastern Madagascar) claim that saro plant (Cinnamosma fragrans) has antimalarial properties. A decoction of saro leaves and bark work as an effective treatment to treat and prevent malaria symptoms such as muscle aches, fatigue, etc. [6]

Research suggests that the potent limonene in saro oil is capable of inhibiting the parasite development. [7] Saro essential oil may also prove to be effective in treating malaria symptoms as a complementary treatment option.

2. Saro Essential Oil May Treat Indigestion or Dyspepsia.

 Saro Essential Oil Benefits

Indigestion is related to bad digestion, stomach pain, excessive gas (flatulence), and constipation. The condition is often a sign of acid reflux (GERD), gallbladder problems, and ulcers. Acute dyspepsia may cause you bilious vomiting, bitter mouth, nausea, and headache. [8]

Anecdotal reports suggest the efficacy of saro extracts in killing parasites and treating gastrointestinal infections. Saro leaves are traditional medicine for biliousness or indigestion. The therapeutic effects of the plant can calm stomach aches and work as a diuretic to relieving indigestion. [9] [10]

Saro essential oil is an essence of saro leaves and may be effective in treating dyspepsia symptoms.

READ ALSO: How to Get Rid of Indigestion Fast: 19 Home Remedies

3. Saro Essential Oil Can Treat Respiratory Disorders.

Both chronic (CRDs) and mild respiratory diseases affect millions of people worldwide. Respiratory disorders are pathogenic conditions of the respiratory system.

Some of the common respiratory illnesses are cold, cough, bacterial pneumonia, asthma, bronchitis, obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), tuberculosis, sleep apnea syndrome, etc. [11]

Clinical research published in Food Chemistry journal (2009), confirms the strong antibacterial effects of saro essential oil against various mild respiratory disorders and other infectious otorhinolaryngology diseases. [12] [13]

READ ALSO: 13 Essential Oils For Sleep Disorders: Insomnia, Apnea, Snoring, Paralysis

4. Saro Essential Oil Can Inhibit Staph Infections.

Staph or Staphylococcus aureus is one of the staphylococcal bacteria that cause various skin, bone, and heart valve infections.

The bacteria spreads through direct contact with an affected person, coughing, sneezing, and touching of contaminated objects.

Staph bacteria causes skin infections with symptoms such as abscesses (pus-filled boils and furuncles), rashes, blisters, cellulitis, etc.  [14]

Clinical data reports the therapeutic compounds 8-cineole and linalool in saro essential oil posses the most potent bactericidal effects against Staphylococcus aureus skin infections. [15]

READ ALSO: How to Get Rid of Staph Infections: 16 Sure Natural Ways

5. Saro Essential Oil May Fight Syphilis.


Syphilis is a contagious sexual disease. It can spread through oral sex, anal sex, and prolonged kissing with a person infected with reponema pallidum bacteria.

Some of the primary signs of syphilis are painless ulcers or sores in the genitals and mouth. Moreover, you may experience rashes, swollen lymph glands, fever, etc. [16]

The folk healers of Madagascar use Saro essential oil as a remedy for syphilis and its symptoms. [17] There are no clinical evidence to prove the efficacy of the oil against reponema pallidum bacteria.

6. Saro Essential Oil Can Repel Mosquito.

Saro Essential Oil Potential Health Benefits and Uses
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Medical experiments claim that saro bark contains natural antifeedant and toxic effects against various insect and mosquito vectors.

Research conducted at the Department of Medicinal Chemistry and Pharmacognosy, The Ohio State University, shows the compound drimane sesquiterpenes in saro bark is a potent Aedes aegypti mosquito repellent. [18]

The oil may treat yellow fever, dengue, chikungunya, and zika viruses caused by Aedes. The researchers also suggest that the plant extract such as its essential oil may be used as commercial insecticidal and repellent product for controlling Aedes mosquito vector.

READ ALSO: 9 Best Essential Oils for Ants and Spiders Repellent

7. Saro Essential Oil May Be Effective Against Leukemia.

Leukemia is a type of cancer that occurs in the bone marrow due to abnormal growth of white blood cells or leukemia cells.

A recent clinical report published in March 2018 reports that Cinnamosma fragrans exhibits antiproliferative and cytotoxic activity against human leukemia cells.

The efficacy of Capsicodendrin compound in saro plant was analysed in diminishing human myeloid leukemia cells. [19]

How to Use Saro Essential Oil

Here are some of the easy methods of using saro essential oil for respiratory disorders.

Steam Therapy: you may combine 1-2 drops of saro oil with steamy hot water in a bowl. Drape a towel around your head and breathe in the therapeutic aroma for 3-5 minutes to relieve cough, common cold, etc.

Respiratory Massage Blend: combine 2 drops of saro oil and lavender oil each and dilute it with 2 tablespoons of carrier oil. You can massage this essential oil blend on your chest, neck, forehead, and back area to relieve congestion, cough, respiratory tightness, etc.

Diffusing Oil: pour 8-10 drops of saro oil in a diffuser to spread the therapeutic aroma over your living environment. Diffusing saro oil may help to relieve respiratory problems and provide a fresh feel to the air in your living room.

Safety and Precautions

Saro oil does not have toxic effects while used topically or consumed in recommended dosage. However, the oil may have side effects for pregnant women especially in the first three months of pregnancy.

Always consult an aromatherapist before using saro oil for children, epileptic, liver and cancer patients.

Bottom Line

Saro plant extracts are important part of folk medicines among the traditional healers of Madagascar. Saro essential oil retains all the therapeutic properties of the medicinal plant. Various anecdotal reports claim the efficacy of the essential oil in relieving different ailments.

Recent clinical research confirms the positive therapeutic effects of the oil against various bacterial viral and parasitic infections.

Recommended use of the aromatic oil may boost your immune defense against diseases causing pathogens too.

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