Like us, you are probably asking yourself this question: Do essential oils protect against viruses? We explored the subject with doctor Sandro Provenzano, specializing in aromatherapy.
Aromatherapy, a serious alternative medicine
The effectiveness of essential oils is often questioned. Even today, we hear that aromatherapy is an alternative medicine, just like homeopathy, reiki, herbal medicine, or sophrology. However, aromatherapy is in a special category among alternative and natural medicine.
Aromatherapy refers to the science of healing (“therapy”) with aromatic plants (“aroma”). In France, only health professionals (doctors, pharmacists, dentists, etc.) can be qualified as aromatherapists. In France, by law, it is mandatory to have medical knowledge so essential oils can be prescribed safely. This shows that these natural extracts are not to be taken lightly.
Aromatherapy is the ancestor of allopathy, conventional medicine mostly practiced in the West today. Since ancient times, humans have observed that scented plants can be used to cure many ailments. But it took many centuries before we really understood how it worked.
The principles of essential oils
By distilling an aromatic plant with water vapor, we extract the essential oil naturally present in the plant. The essential oil is then analyzed by chromatography to identify the chemical compounds (or active ingredients) it contains. Each active ingredient has many properties, and each essential oil contains dozens of these ingredients!
Researchers have studied, isolated, and observed the active ingredients on the human body. When possible, scientists have reproduced these active ingredients using synthetic chemistry to make the drugs currently used in allopathy.
An essential oil is therefore a natural blend of a multitude of active ingredients. These ingredients can have many beneficial effects on health, which is why Family Self Care offers you to take care of yourself with these plant extracts. But remember that they must be used with caution: please refer to our app to avoid risk of wrong dosage.
Undeniable scientific results
One of the properties of the active ingredients in essential oils is the antiviral property. Studies on this subject are numerous and their results are undeniable. In particular, it has been proven that essential oils can have positive effects on fighting against the following viruses:
- First Coronavirus (SARS-CoV)
- Herpes Simplex
- H1N1 flu
- Avian influenza type H5N1 and subtypes H7N3 and H9N2
- Anti-infectious bronchitis
You may have been skeptical about the effectiveness of essential oils in fighting certain viruses. This is understandable, since scientific research on this topic is not yet widespread. Often only the experts hear about these positive benefits, which is a shame.
Below are the scientific articles we have used to write this article. If you’d rather save yourself some tedious reading time and have a specific question about an essential oil or virus, please reach out to us. We will forward your question to our doctor, Dr. Provenzano, so he can provide you with the best possible guidance.
Which essential oils fight against viruses?
Some essential oils are more effective than others at fighting viruses. One of the oils known for its antiviral properties is tea tree essential oil.
It’s known to slow down the replication of herpes (herpes simplex) and the H1N1 flu. In the case of influenza A or the E.coli virus, the disinfectant properties of tea tree oil are remarkable: exposure for 5 to 15 minutes of this oil deactivates the virus by more than 95%! Eucalyptus Radiata essential oil has similar properties against these viruses.
Often, antiviral essential oils also contain active immunostimulating ingredients. They help strengthen our immune system by making it more resistant to an infection (viral or otherwise).
This is the case with the Tea Tree Eucalyptus Radiata and Ravintsara essential oils. Discover the oils best suited to your profile on our SelfCare1® app. Our Natural Defense program will help you boost your immunity in a preventive way.
Remember, this article, like wellness, is worth sharing with your friends & loved ones.
Regarding the antiviral activity of the Tea Tree, Eucalyptus, Niaouli and Ravintsara essential oils:
Garozzo, A., Timpanaro, R., Bisignano, B., Furneri, P. M., Bisignano, G. Castro, A. (2009). In vitro antiviral activity of Melaleuca alternifolia essential oil. Letters in applied microbiology, 49(6), 806-808.
Reichling, J., Schnitzler, P., Suschke, U., & Saller, R. (2009). Essential oils of aromatic plants with antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, and cytotoxic properties–an overview. Complementary Medicine Research, 16(2), 79-90.
Schnitzler, P., Schon, K. and Reichling, J. (2001) Antiviral activity of Australian tea tree oil and eucalyptus oil against herpes simplex virus in cell culture. Pharmazie 56, 343–347.
Mohammad, A., & Mehmood, D. In Vivo Anti-Viral Effect of Melaleuca alternifolia (Tea Tree Oil) and Olea europaea (Olive Leaf Extract) on Vero Cell Adapted Avian Influenza Virus. Human Journals. Research Article December 2018 Vol.:14, Issue:1 Citation: Mohammad Danish Mehmood et al. Ijppr.Human, 2018; Vol. 14 (1): 7-19.
Usachev, E. V., Pyankov, O. V., Usacheva, O. V., & Agranovski, I. E. (2013). Antiviral activity of tea tree and eucalyptus oil aerosol and vapour. Journal of aerosol science, 59, 22-30.
Ankita, S., Chandra, S. S., & Arti, T. (2013). Phytochemical study and antimicrobial activities of cinnamomum camphora. World Journal of Pharmaceutical research Volume 3, Issue 2, 2287-2294
Astani, A., & Schnitzler, P. (2014). Antiviral activity of monoterpenes beta-pinene and limonene against herpes simplex virus in vitro. Iranian journal of microbiology, 6(3), 149.
Astani, A., Reichling, J., & Schnitzler, P. (2010). Comparative study on the antiviral activity of selected monoterpenes derived from essential oils. Phytotherapy Research: An International Journal Devoted to Pharmacological and Toxicological Evaluation of Natural Product Derivatives, 24(5), 673-679.
Bisignano, B. (2009). Attività antivirale e studio del meccanismo d’azione di estratti di melaleuca alternifolia nei vonfronti del virus dell’influenza Area 06 – Scienze mediche. http://hdl.handle.net/10761/1767
Blanchard, J. M. (2007). Cinnamomum camphora à cinéole (ravintsara), une plante au service de la prévention des infections nosocomiales en milieu hospitalier ?. Phytothérapie, 5(1), 15-20.
Carson, C.F., Ashton, L., Dry, L., Smith, D.W. and Riley, T.V. (2001) Melaleuca alternifolia (tea tree) oil gel (6%) for the treatment of recurrent herpes labialis. J Antimicrob Chemother 48, 450–451. Carson, C.F., Smith, D.W., Lampacher, G.J. and Riley, T.V. (2008) Use of deception to achieve double-blinding in a clinical trial of Melaleuca alternifolia (tea tree) oil for the treatment of recurrent herpes labialis. Contemp Clin Trials 29, 9–12.
Galan, D. M., Ezeudu, N. E & Malcolm, B. J. (2020). Eucalyptol (1, 8- cineole): an underutilized ally in respiratory disorders?. Journal of Essential Oil Research, 1-8.
Garozzo, A., Timpanaro, R., Stivala, A., Bisignano, G., & Castro, A. (2011). Activity of Melaleuca alternifolia (tea tree) oil on Influenza virus A/PR/8: study on the mechanism of action. Antiviral research, 89(1), 83-88.
Hamidpour, R., Hamidpour, S., Hamidpour, M., & Shahlari, M. (2014). Chemistry, Pharmacology and Medicinal Property of Camphor (Cinnamomum Camphora) Traditional Remedy with the History of Treating Several Diseases. Global Journal of Medical Research.
Jean Michel Blanchard (2007). Cinnamomum camphora CT cineole (ravintsara), a plant to help prevent nosocomial infections in the hospital environment. International Journal of Clinical Aromatherapy Vol. 4 issue 1
Li, X., Duan, S., Chu, C., Xu, J., Zeng, G., Lam, A. K. Y., … & Gu, H. (2013). Melaleuca alternifolia concentrate inhibits in vitro entry of influenza virus into host cells. Molecules, 18(8), 9550-9566.
Li, Y., Xu, Y. L., … & Xu, P. P. (2017). Intranasal co-administration of 1, 8- cineole with influenza vaccine provide cross-protection against influenza virus infection. Phytomedicine, 34, 127-135.
Loizzo, M. R., Saab, A. M., Tundis, R., Statti, G. A., Menichini, F., Lampronti, I. &Doerr, H. W. (2008). Phytochemical analysis and in vitro antiviral activities of the essential oils of seven Lebanon species. Chemistry & biodiversity, 5(3), 461-470.
Mansard, M., Laurain-Mattar, D., & Couic-Marinier, F. (2019). Huile essentielle de Ravintsara. Actualités Pharmaceutiques, 58(585), 57-59.
Morales-Rico, C. L. & González-Camejo, I. (2012). Composición química del aceite esencial de las partes aéreas de Melaleuca quinquenervia. Revista CENIC. Ciencias Químicas, 43, 1-2.
Müller, J. et al. (2016). 1, 8-Cineole potentiates IRF3-mediated antiviral response in human stem cells and in an ex vivo model of rhinosinusitis. Clinical Science, 130(15), 1339-1352.
Riley, T. V. (2005). Antiviral Activity of Tea Tree Oil–In Vitro and In Vivo. TV Riley – 2005 – academia.edu
Siddique, S., et al. (2018). Chemical characterization, antioxidant and antimicrobial activities of essential oil from Melaleuca quinquenervia leaves. Indian Journal of Experimental Biology, 56, 686-693.
Timpanaro, R., Garozzo, A., Bisignano, B., Stivala, A., Furneri, P. M., Tempera, G., & Castro, A. (2007). Inhibitory effect of Melaleuca alternifolia (tea tree oil) on influenza A/PR/8 virus replication. International Journal of Antimicrobial Agents, (29), S202-S203.
Worth, H. & Dethlefsen, U. (2009). Concomitant therapy with Cineole (Eucalyptole) reduces exacerbations in COPD: a placebo-controlled double-blind trial. Respiratory research, 10(1), 69.
Yang, Z., Wu, N. & Efferth, T. (2010). Anti-infectious bronchitis virus (IBV) activity of 1, 8-cineole: Effect on nucleocapsid (N) protein. Journal of Biomolecular Structure and Dynamics, 28(3), 323-330.
Zamora, A. C. P. (2015). The Antiviral Properties of Melaleuca alternifolia concentrate (MAC) against West Nile virus (Doctoral dissertation, Griffith University).
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