Antiviral Activities of Essential Oils

Antiviral Activities of Essential Oils

“The immune system is a highly complex system that contributes both to the maintenance of a healthy body and defence against harmful pathogens. Certain existing health factors and mental states can make it difficult for the immune system to be fully effective.  Natural remedies such as essential oils can support the body’s immune response and, more generally, can offer support to the ‘whole person’ as well.

Essential oils have a long list of therapeutic properties, but not all essential oils act in the same way. For example, some essential oils work in a wide-ranging way, while others work on more specific areas. Some essential oils can produce a quick response, while others may have a much slower cumulative action. These differences are determined by the constituents present in an essential oil, the dosage used and the method of application. Many essential oils can work in synergy with each other and can address more than one aspect of health at the same time. During a serious infection such as Covid19, to obtain maximum benefits from essential oils, it is important to choose a small number of essential oils that offer both holistic benefits and physiological benefits, in order to increase physical and mental wellbeing which in turn may stimulate immunological stamina. 

The contribution of essential oils as natural antivirals is promising, as some essential oil constituents have been found to inhibit virus replication in clinical studies, but the mechanisms by which essential oils can undermine viruses is still not clear. In contrast, there are a number of verified antimicrobial and antibacterial essential oils to choose from. So far, most essential oils tested for antiviral properties have mainly been tested against herpes viruses, so it cannot be assumed that those essential oils labeled as antivirals will automatically help in the fight against Covid19, but they can offer some indirect support to the immune system.  Other essential oils with therapeutic properties that can ease different symptoms and potentially help during a Covid19 infection should also be considered: respiratory antiseptics, anti-inflammatories, mucolytics, febrifuges, antitussives, expectorants, decongestants, cytophylactics, antioxidants and prophylactics. All essential oils with these properties can help make the ‘terrain' in the body less welcoming to infectious organisms and can decrease the acuteness of symptoms.

For example, respiratory oils like Peppermint, Eucalyptus, Pine needle and Juniper berry can help keep respiratory passages open and improve breathing capacity but they can also work as mucous expectorants, as antivirals and antimicrobials, and help ‘sanitize’ the ambient air in confined spaces, thus offering general support to the body or to any other treatments in a number of ways. While it certainly cannot be claimed that essential oils are a cure for this current serious illness, nonetheless, they can be useful for people who have milder symptoms of Covid19 and who have not needed to be hospitalized.

Finally, one more good reason for using essential oils in the fight against pathogens is that pathogens are adversely affected by aromatic molecules. Also, viruses have been observed to  only be able to resist one type of aromatic molecule at a time, and essential oils offer such an array of aromatic molecules that can damage  viruses. So again, although, essential oils are not a cure, certain essential oils can interfere with the cycle of infection/replication of pathogens. After all, plants produce essential oils as part of their arsenal of defensive weapons against the myriads of microorganisms and parasites that inhabit the environment."