Litsea essential oilEssential Oils for skincare

About Litsea Cubeba

INCI name
Essential oil name
Litsea essential oil
Part used
Sweet citrus, Heavy, Spicy, Fresh
Extraction method
Steam distillation
Between 3 and 8 ML of Litsea essential oil with 1 KG of plant*
*Franchomme, P. La science des huiles essentielles médicinales. (Guy Trédaniel, 2015).

About the plant

Common names
Aromatic litsea, May chang
Latin name
Litsea cubeba, Litsea citrata
Botanical family
Plant detail
Litsea is an evergreen shrub native to Southern Asia that can reach 10 meters high with small berries resembling peppers, hence the name “Mountain pepper”. Despite its lemon-scented leaves and flowers, it doesn’t belong to the citrus fruits family but is related to the Laurel and Cinnamon.
Native region
Southern Asia

Our expert Dr Françoise Couic Marinier tells you all about essential oils.

Litsea Cubeba Essential Oil, otherwise known as May Chang Oil, has been used in ancient Chinese medicine for centuries. Traditionally it has treated pain and digestive problems, but today we know that Litsea Cubeba Oil hosts a whole multitude of benefits.

Here’s all you need to know about May Chang Essential Oil in aromatherapy and how it can be used to rejuvenate your skin, health and mind.

Benefits of Litsea Cubeba Essential Oil

1. Antibacterial

Litsea Cubeba Oil has potent antibacterial properties, with citric elements accounting for over 70% of its phytonutrient content.

Whether used internally or externally, Litsea Cubeba Essential Oil is highly effective in inhibiting and preventing infection, even against E. Coli.

2. Boost mood

Studies have found that May Chang Essential Oil can help to control the nervous system. To this end, mood is boosted and relaxation is induced to ease symptoms of anxiety and depression.

3. Improve digestion

For years, Litsea Cubeba Essential Oil has been used in ancient Chinese and Indian medicine to treat digestion-related issues.

The powerful acidic properties of Litsea Cubeba Oil help to stimulate reactions in the digestive system and improve its functioning.

4. Anti-inflammatory

May Chang Oil is known to possess strong anti-inflammatory elements. It can help to relieve pain in joints and muscles and even have long-term benefits on these areas.

5. Improve heart health

Litsea Cubeba Essential Oil is highly effective at regulating and normalising cardiac arrhythmia.

Furthermore, alongside Neroli Oil and Rose Oil, May Chang Essential Oil has been shown to reduce blood pressure.

What is Litsea Cubeba Essential Oil used for ?


Litsea Cubeba Oil is packed full of potent antioxidants. When used on your complexion, it has a powerful re-energising effect.

These active compounds in May Chang Oil work deep down within your epidermis, repairing and renewing skin cells to help rejuvenate your complexion. Stronger, your skin will be able to protect itself from free radicals to prevent premature ageing and maintain a youthful glow.


Thanks to its citric composition, May Chang Essential Oil is a great ingredient to purify the skin.

Along with Black Pepper Oil, Litsea Cubeba Essential Oil works to penetrate pores and cleanse them from stubborn impurities and toxins, leaving your complexion purified.


Litsea Cubeba Essential Oil can work wonders for oily, acne-prone skin. It helps to balance sebum production as well as tone the epidermis and reduce the appearance of pores.

If acne is your primary concern, also look to other Essential Oils such as Tea Tree Oil and Lavender Oil.

Where does Litsea Cubeba Essential Oil come from ?

Litsea Cubeba is an evergreen shrub that can grow up to 26 feet high. Native to the southern region of China, it has beautifully delicate white or pale-yellow flowers.

May Chang Essential Oil is produced through a process of steam distillation. The oil is taken from the tree’s flowers, branches, roots and leaves.

History of Litsea Cubeba Essential Oil

A spicy fruit

The Taiwanese aborigines used Litsea Cubeba in culinary preparation thanks to its hot and spicy taste.

On the other end of the spectrum, May Chang flowers were also used in medicinal tea.

An ancient medicine

Centuries ago, Chinese herbalists used Litsea Cubeba Oil for treating digestive ailments, chills, back pain and muscular aches.

A spiritual oil

In Ayurvedic medicine, Litsea Cubeba Essential Oil is said to pacify excess negative energy and rebalance spirituality.

Facts about Litsea Cubeba Essential Oil


An intoxicating aroma

The scent of Litsea Cubeba Essential Oil is fairly similar to Lemongrass, except it is finer and sweeter.


A natural repellent

Litsea Cubeba Oil is ranked the most effective mosquito repellent out of all the Essential Oils.


Be zen

Often referred to by aromatherapists as the ‘Oil of Tranquility’, the fragrance of May Chang Essential Oil is well known for its ability to promote physical relaxation and mental calm.

Adopt the power of Litsea Cubeba Essential Oil and reap the numerous rewards for your body, mind and skin.