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Oakmoss Essential Oil

Updated on August 23, 2014

An introduction to oakmoss essential oil

The name Oakmoss is slightly misleading, as this is actually not a moss, but lichen. The difference between a moss and lichen is actually quite simple. A moss it a very simple type of plant, while a lichen is in fact a type of fungus (yes, very much like a mushroom). They are therefore not actually plants at all.

Oakmoss, or, to be more precise, Evernia prunastri, grows, as the name suggests, mainly on Oak trees, although it is also found on other deciduous trees as well as on conifers. If you see them growing somewhere, it is a means of reassuring you that the air is clean, as they are not able to grow well in a polluted area.

Oakmoss Essential Oil Come From


What oakmoss looks like

Oakmoss is usually a minty green in color, but can turn to white when dry or a dark olive green when wet, and is found in the mountainous, temperate forest regions in the Northern Hemisphere, in especially countries such as France, Spain, some Central European countries and North America. It tends to have a very strong, earthy/woodsy smell which is reminiscent of a wet forest floor.

Oakmoss essential oil uses

The essential oil that is derived from Oakmoss, has antiseptic qualities and can be used to prevent septic conditions from developing because it eliminates existing microbes.

It is good for soothing inflammation. It is a demulcent and soothes the skin, keeps it smooth and soft maintaining the skin’s moisture and oil balance.

Oakmoss essential oil can also be used as an expectorant (consult a physician first) as it can loosen the hard phlegm in one’s respiratory system and gives relief during asthma attacks.

It is also an excellent restorative in the sense that it diminishes the effects brought on by aging as well as the daily wear and tear our bodies are subjected to.


Oakmoss, however, despite its wonderful medicinal properties, is an essential oil that should be used with extreme caution due to the fact that it has been known to cause strong dermatological reactions.

Because people have been known to have reactions to Oakmoss, the IFRA (International Fragrance Association) has set up some stringent rules and regulations regarding its use in the perfume industry. Any perfume may not contain more than 0.01% Oakmoss extract.

This has, of course, created challenges within the perfume industry (it is also one of the most commonly used ingredients in the perfume industry), but they have mostly overcome them, mostly without having to change the fragrance of the different perfumes too much.

Oakmoss essential oil perfume


Oakmoss essential oil blends well with other fragrances

You may want to know, 'what does oakmoss essential oil smell like?"- but you probably already know.

Some of the perfumes in which Oakmoss is to be found are: Chloé, Bond No. 9 Eau de New York, Christian Dior Diorella, Elizabeth Arden Green Tea, Jil Sander Woman Pure, Ava Luxe Madame X, Chanel No. 19, Calvin Klein Obsession for ladies, and for men there is: Ralph Lauren Polo, Adidas Eau Fraîche, Adidas Moves, Bulgari pour Homme Extreme.

This is mainly because it improves the longevity of the perfume and at the same time it also gives a rich, earthy aroma to it. Oakmoss essential oil blends well with other fragrances like neroli, lavender, cypress, and patchouli.

Most of the commercially grown Oakmoss is exported to Grasse, which is in France, and is the home of the world’s perfume industry, as this is where most of the perfume houses are to be found.

As Oakmoss is prized for its fragrance, it is not only a sought after ingredient in the perfume industry, but it is also added to soaps and different skincare products. The essential oil itself, due to its woodsy smell, is wonderful for use in air fresheners, aromatherapy and in incense.

Would you use oakmoss essential oil in homemade perfume?

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How is oakmoss essential oil made?

Oakmoss essential oil is extracted in two ways: solvent extraction, or vacuum distillation.

The solvent extraction method gives one a dark green oil, whereas vacuum distillation supplies an oil which has more of a pale yellow color.

Make your own essential oil at home

Other oakmoss essential oil uses

Besides its use in perfumes, cosmetics and other beauty related products, which includes soap and shampoo, Oakmoss can also be used as a leavening agent for the making of bread, as it used to be in previous times, and it can replace hops when brewing beer.

Besides this, it was also extensively used in potpourri, in sachets which were added to cupboards to make clothes and linen smell nice, and at times it was used to powder wigs (this must have itched if you had an adverse reaction as many people have).

North American Indians routinely used Oakmoss to help with the healing process, and the ancient Egyptians even used it as one of their embalming ingredients.

Always use caution when using essential oils


Oakmoss essential oil should be used with caution

This is something that man has used widely for an extremely long time. Oakmoss and its extract or essential oil, however, is not something to be handled lightly. It is better to stay away from it if you have a sensitive skin, are pregnant or suffer from any nervous disorders. It is especially not recommended that you take it internally in any way.

Before embarking on any form of self-medication or healing, it is recommended that you consult a medical practitioner.


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