We include products that we think are useful to our readers. If you shop via links on this page, we may earn a small commission. Here is our process.
A tiny flower known as blue tansy (Tanacetum annuum) has received many positive reviews in recent years. As a result, it has become a popular ingredient in a wide variety of products, ranging from acne creams to anti-aging solutions.
Blue tansy has also become a well-known essential oil.
Aromatherapy practitioners praise its calming effects. Some beauticians swear by its healing properties.
But how supported is the use of blue tansy oil? Can it really soothe irritated skin?
Science is scarce, but here’s what we know about this little flower’s properties.
What is blue tansy?
Originally a wild-harvested Mediterranean plant, blue tansy – which is actually yellow in color – is now grown primarily in Morocco.
As the flower’s popularity in beauty products increased, it was picked up almost out of nature. Stocks are steadily increasing today, but it is still one of the most expensive essential oils. A 2-ounce bottle can cost over $ 100.
The flowers of Tanacetum annuum are yellow. Its thin leaves are covered with a thin white “fur”. The oil has a sweet and herbaceous fragrance due to its high camphor content.
How it’s done?
The aboveground flowers and stems of the blue tansy plant are harvested and steam-distilled. In the distillation process, one of the chemical components of the oil, the chamazulene, is released.
When heated, chamazulene turns deep blue, giving the oil indigo to a cerulean hue. How much chamazulene exactly do the plants contain changes as the growing season runs from May to November.
What are the benefits of blue tansy?
While not much research has been done to examine the performance of the oil in clinical use or in real life, there is some evidence that it may be effective as a skincare remedy.
Studies have yet to be done to determine whether blue tansy essential oil helps heal irritated skin.
But some radiologists have used the oil, combined with the water in a spritz bottle, to help treat the skin for burns that can sometimes develop from radiation treatments for cancer.
Not much research has been done on how to use blue tansy oil to reduce inflammation. But there is some evidence that two of its main components have been effective against inflammation:
- Sabinene, a major component of blue tansy oil, is an effective anti-inflammatory agent, studies show.
- Camphor, another key component in blue tansy oil, has been shown to reduce inflammation in the body.
The American Chemical Society also notes that chamazulene, the chemical that brings out the blue color of the oil, is also an anti-inflammatory agent.
Healing effects on the skin
The concentration of camphor in blue tansy oil has been shown to help repair damaged skin.
In one study, mice that had been exposed to UV rays showed improvement after being treated with camphor. This has led researchers to suggest that camphor could be a powerful healing and even anti-wrinkle agent.
In traditional Chinese medicine, blue tansy has been used as an antihistamine to reduce nasal congestion.
Aromatherapists recommend using a few drops in a bowl of very hot water to create an infused vapor.
How to use blue tansy oil
To take advantage of the calming effects of blue tansy oil, try these methods:
In a cream or carrier oil
Like any essential oil, it is important to dilute blue tansy before it touches the skin.
You can put 1 to 2 drops of blue tansy oil into your moisturizer, cleanser, or body lotion to increase the skin-healing effects of the product. Alternatively, add a few drops to a carrier oil such as coconut or jojoba oil before applying it to the skin.
In a diffuser
Many people find the herbal scent of blue tansy oil relaxing. To enjoy the fragrance in your home, put a few drops in a diffuser.
A note of caution: essential oils can trigger asthma or allergy symptoms for some people. It is advisable to avoid using the oil at work or in public spaces.
In a spritz
To make a spritz for use as an anti-inflammatory, add 4 milliliters of blue tansy oil to a spray bottle containing 4 ounces of water. Shake the bottle to mix the oil and water before spraying it.
Note: If you are making this blend to treat your skin during a course of radiation treatments, avoid using aluminum spray bottles. Aluminum can interfere with radiation. Glass bottles tend to work best.
Safety and side effects
Blue tansy oil, like most essential oils, should not be ingested or applied to the skin without first diluting the oil.
When buying oil, be sure to choose blue tansy essential oil (Tanacetum annuum) and not common tansy oil (Tanacetum vulgare).
Common tansy has high concentrations of thujone, a toxic enzyme. Common tansy essential oil should not be used for aromatherapy purposes.
Some aromatherapy practitioners recommend blue tansy essential oil for asthma symptoms. While some essential oils can help with asthma symptoms, others can actually trigger an asthma episode.
Doctors at the American Academy of Asthma, Allergy, and Immunology advise people with asthma to avoid using essential oil diffusers and inhalers because of the risk of wheezing and bronchospasm.
If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, talk to your doctor before using essential oils. Their effects on children are not yet fully known.
What to look for
Since blue tansy oil is among the more expensive essential oils, read the label to make sure you’re getting the real one. That’s how:
Look for the Latin name Tanacetum annuum on the label. Make sure you don’t buy Tanacetum vulgare, the common tansy.
Make sure it’s not mixed with vegetable oil, which could lower its quality.
Make sure it is packaged in a dark glass bottle to protect the integrity of the oil over time.
Ready to try blue tansy? You can probably find it at your local health food store, as well as from these online stores:
The bottom line
Blue tansy essential oil has gained a lot of attention in recent years. Although more research is needed to confirm its properties and effects, blue tansy, or its components, have been shown to have anti-inflammatory, antihistamine, and skin-calming effects.
If you are buying the oil, be sure not to confuse it with common tansy (Tanacetum vulgare), which is toxic.
If you are unsure whether blue tansy essential oil or any other essential oil is safe for you, talk to your doctor before using the oil.