The short answer is yes, but within limitations, and if used properly.
I am blogging today because something(s) I am very passionate about seem to be under attack lately in the media. Specifically natural health, essential oils, and individuals abilities to determine their own plans for protecting themselves and promoting their own immune systems. I realize some people believe in essential oils and some do not. If you google the subject, half of what you read will claim it is all “witchdoctery”, while the other half praises their efficacy. This article, as with anything I write, is based on scientific research, classes I have taken, personal testimony, and books I have read.
I’m sure you all read about the recent post made by a social media influencer, and beauty guru where she wrote that essential oils being diffused into the air would kill the coronavirus because they were anti viral. Then later a famous western medicine dermatologist claimed “Sorry, anti viral essential oils don’t exist.” while publicly shaming the original poster who was trying to help others. It saddened me and made me a bit angry that the doctor was so close minded to something she clearly did not want to understand. First let me define the word antiviral.
Antiviral as defined in the book Essential Aromatherapy means it prevents viral growth.
The facts are:
- Antiviral essential oils do exist.
- There is plenty of scientific research to support their efficacy.
- Diffusing antiviral essential oils into the air can prevent further growth of viruses, preventing their spread when used properly.
I will preface this by saying that my resources for this article are:
- The Complete Book of Essential Oils & Aromatherapy, By Valerie Ann Worwood, PhD
- Essential Aromatherapy, By Valerie Ann Worwood, PhD
- The Aromatherapy Bible, By Gill Farrer- Halls
About the authors of the aforementioned books:
Valerie Ann Worwood
Valerie Ann Worwood is one of the world’s most well known experts on aromatherapy and essential oils. She is a consultant clinical aromatherapist with a doctorate in complementary medicine, as well as the author of ten books on the therapeutic use of aromatherapy. She has been Chairperson and Chair of Research for the International Federation of Aromatherapists, and she has acted as a consultant and expert on the clinical use of essential oils internationally. She is a reflexologist, and member of the London and counties society of Physiologists. She runs her own clinic in Romford, England, conducts research on aromatherapy and its effects on endometriosis and infertility, and is a consultant to several natural beauty and health clinics. In addition, she lectures all over the world on the benefits of aromatherapy and essential oils.
Gill Farrer- Halls
Gill is a Tibetan traditional Buddhist. She has spent extensive time in India and Nepal and has worked with the Dalai Lama. She is a writer and freelance producer based in London. She is considered an expert in Eastern Medicine, and specializes in the healing power of plants.
I apologize for the very long introduction, however I wanted to make the point that I was typing fact and not simply my own opinion.
Now let’s get to it! Let’s start with which essential oils have proven effective as antivirals.
- Cinnamon Essential Oil:
Cinnamon is native to Sri Lanka, India, Madagascar, and Jamaica. Cinnamon essential oil is effective at treating influenza, warts, coughs, colds, viral infections, arthritis, aches, and pains. Quote from The Aromatherapy Bible page 350; “Cinnamon is used less in aromatherapy than most of the other spices, but it is excellent in a burner to ward off colds, flu, and ALL other airborne infections and contagious diseases.” Cinnamon is warm, and comforting, and makes me think of being little and the smells in my great grandmothers kitchen after she would pick the peaches off the tree and make cobbler. Do not use cinnamon essential oil: during pregnancy, on persons under 18 years of age, on people with sensitive skin, in baths.
- Clove Essential Oil:
Cloves are native to Indonesia, Madagascar, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, West Indies, and Zanzibar. Clove essential oil is effective in treating warts, toothache (because of its analgesic properties) , fungal infections, tummy troubles, viral infections, and stress. Clove is utilized in the kitchen as a traditional mulling spice. I adore it in the elderberry syrup we retail at the spa, it makes the immune powerhouse syrup taste like an apple pie! In ancient Egypt, clove was utilized in “mood perfumes” for its aroma, but also to create a pleasant mood. Do not use clove essential oil: during pregnancy, on persons under 12 years of age, on people with sensitive skin, in baths.
- Eucalyptus (Radiata) Essential Oil:
Eucalyptus is native to Australia, Tasmania, America, Brazil, China, Portugal, Russia, and Spain. Eucalyptus is effective in treating viral infections, headaches, cough, sinus infections, colds, bug bites, and stings. The tree has been called “White Top Peppermint, and was first distilled in 1788 by doctors John White and Dennis Cossiden. Please note there are quite a few different types of Eucalyptus essential oil, the only one that is anti viral is “radiata”, the others “globulus”, “smithi”, and “polybractea”, etc do not have anti viral properties. Eucalyptus has a menthol-like smell that is very crisp, cool, and clean. There are no known contraindications for eucalyptus essential oil.
- Melissa Essential Oil:
Melissa is native to The Mediterranean, and Europe. Melissa essential oil is effective for calming anxiety, relieving stomach cramps, treating herpes, treating yeast infections, and viral infections. Melissa is a bit rare, and it takes a lot of the plant to produce essential oil, so melissa is one of the more expensive essential oils. The smell is similar to lemon balm. Bees tend to be drawn to the melissa plant. Melissa is one of the best essential oils for mental health as it is calming but also uplifting and reduces feelings of depression, and anger. There are no known contraindications for melissa essential oil.
- Oregano Essential Oil:
Oregano is native to Morocco, Spain, France, USA, and Italy. Oregano is effective at treating respiratory infections, bronchitis, rheumatism, arthritis, general debility, muscular pain, viral infections, and bacterial infections. Oregano is one of my favorites, the smell is so potent it seems to purify and overpower any other scent in the air, and it grows so abundantly that the oil is super affordable for all. The crisp smell always makes me think of a zesty pizza sauce. Oregano is another one that bees seem to favor. Do not use oregano essential oil: on children under 18 years of age, during pregnancy, or in baths.
- Ravensara Essential Oil:
Ravensara is native to Australia and Madagascar. Ravensara is effective at treating viral infections, liver infections, lung infections, respiratory ailments, chicken pox, diarrhea, reducing fever, and wounds. It smells woodsy and camphor like. The seeds are used in cooking as “Madagascan Nutmeg”. Ravensara has also been used to make rum. There are no known contraindications for ravensara.
- Tea Tree Oil:
Tea tree oil is native to Australia and Tasmania. Tea tree is the most powerful disinfectant essential oil ever discovered as it is antiviral, anti-fungal, and antibacterial. Tea tree oil has effectively treated athletes’ foot, yeast infections, thrush, herpes, but bites, acne, shingles, and warts. It is also used to boost the immune system. Tea tree oil is 100X more powerful than carbolic acid (AKA phenol) and yet it is safe for humans! There are no known contraindications to tea tree oil, and it is one of the very few oils that can be used on the skin neat (without dilution).
- Thyme Essential Oil:
Thyme is native to Algeria, USA, France, Germany, Greece, Morocco, and Spain. Thyme is a versatile, necessary tool in your tool kit because it treats a huge variety of conditions. Historically it has been proven effective for treating viral infections, bacterial infections, fluid in the lungs, poor circulation, respiratory infections, gout, acne, anorexia, warts, lethargy, ADD, and much more. What is unique about thyme as an essential oil is that it is also a lymphatic stimulant, so it increases the removal of waste and toxins from the body, at the same time as it prevents infections. Thyme is also a natural bug deterrent. Quote from Essential Aromatherapy; “Red Thyme is one of the best anti- infectious agents when diffused in the atmosphere”. However it is recommended that it be used sparingly. Do not use thyme essential oil: on children under 18 years of age, during pregnancy or breastfeeding, on persons with hyperthyroidism, heavily dilute for use on skin, and avoid prolonged use.
To diffuse any of the above oils please remember less is more. Do not overdo it, too much of a good thing can be toxic. Fill your diffuser with cold or cool tap water before adding oils, and always clean your diffuser before and after each use to prevent cross contamination. I suggest cleaning by just wiping out with white vinegar. Below are a few virus annihilating blends using the aforementioned oils. A good rule of thumb for diffusing essential oils is 4 to 6 drops per ounce of water so it is important to know how much water your diffuser holds. For example, below recipe #1 contains 5 drops total will work well in 1 ounce of water, double the recipe for 2 ounces of water, OR recipe #4 contains 12 drops total so you need 2 to 3 ounces of water. So please take this into consideration when purchasing the correct diffuser for your needs.
- 2 drops melissa, 2 drops eucalyptus, 1 drop tea tree
- 3 drops clove, 3 drops tea tree, 1 drop cinnamon
- 3 drops oregano, 3 drops eucalyptus, 3 drops ravensara, 1 drop clove, 1 drop cinnamon
- 4 drops eucalyptus, 3 drops melissa, 3 drops tea tree, 2 drops thyme.
- 5 drops oregano, 4 drops eucalyptus, 3 drops thyme
- 2 drops melissa, 2 drops clove, 2 drops ravensara
Or just try a few drops of a single oil you really enjoy, such as 4 drops of oregano (my personal go to).
If you’re not keen on playing chemist in your kitchen you can always purchase a blend already put together by professionals such as on guard, or breathe. On guard contains wild orange, clove, cinnamon, eucalyptus, and rosemary essential oils Breathe blend contains laurel, eucalyptus, peppermint, melaleuca (tea tree), lemon, cardamom, ravintsara, and ravensara essential oils.
Happy redolence friends!