Cinnamomum camphora – Ravintsara is a large evergreen tree that grows up to 20–30 metres tall. The leaves have a glossy, waxy appearance. The foliage is bright green with masses of small white flowers that come out in spring. It produces clusters of black berry-like fruit. It has a pale bark that is very rough and fissured vertically.
The ravintsara tree is not indigenous to Madagascar and was introduced to the island in the early 19th century from China. It is a chemotype of the Cinnamonum camphora tree which has lost its ability to produce any trace of camphor in the Madagascan climate.
Ravintsara means ‘the good leaf’ and the Malagasy people have come to recognise and highly appreciate the therapeutic value of the leaves and the essential oil. Both have been used intensively in folk medicine to treat stomach aches and headaches, colds and chest infections. Afrika Botanicals highly recommends this oil.
Ravintsara oil is antibacterial, anticatarrhal, antifungal, anti-infectious, anti-rheumatic, antiviral, decongestant, cicatrisant, expectorant, immune tonic and neurotonic.