Essential Oils for Illness Prevention: A Review of the Science

Posted on Friday 19 March 2010

Why Disease is Prevalent

Humans have been given an incredible immune system – able to ward off some of the nastiest of microscopic invaders. Yet, if this defense system is compromised due to an overload of toxins (from the environment, our diet or our stress level), cells tissues become exhausted and susceptible to attack. Since environmental toxins are on the rise and pathogens seemingly on every nook and cranny, it is important to maintain a healthy immune system. If the immune system is compromised, a breech in wellness occurs. This can lead to a vicious cycle of sickness leading to more sickness and eventually disease.

Supporting Directly

In these modern times, many are familiar with the stress-relieving qualities of essential oils as well as their antimicrobial properties. Such characteristics of essential oils are helpful in supporting a fully functional immune system; stress and microbes are known to weaken its army of defenses. Few are aware that essential oils can actually strengthen the capacity of the immune system directly to fight off foreign invaders.

Fighting off Disease

Using essential oils to affect the immune system directly is gaining ground in research arenas. For the past two decades, research has pointed to the potent anti-inflammatory properties of essential oils. Science literature has alerted and concluded that many diseases stem from persistent inflammation response. In the past few years, growing medical research has identified specific components of the immune system that are enhanced by essential oils.

Melaleuca Gives a Boost

At the Laboratoire de Botanique in France (2006) researchers were able to identify that Melaleuca alternifolia was able to regulate the amount of inflammatory-causing secretions found in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs). In so doing, natural anti-inflammatory agents, known as cytokines, were still able to be created and thus boosting the body’s ability to protect and restore itself. This in itself is quite a finding, especially for individuals suffering from conditions associated with chronic inflammation.

Engulfing Pathogens with Niaouli

Once a pathogen gets into the cells, it is looking to replicate and destroy tissue, often resulting in painful infections. A branch of the immune system is designated to engulf cellular invaders and send lymphocytes (T cells) to destroy these foreign bodies. At Jeonju University, Korea (2008), researchers found that niaouli essential oil (from an Australian evergreen) was able to enhance the effect of cell-mediated immunity (one of two major branches of the immune system). Researchers support clinical use of niaouli essential oil to control infectious diseases.

Ginger EO Controls Immune

At Zhejiang University Medical School in China (2006), scientists looked at the ability of ginger essential oil to regulate immune system functions. Using mice (bless them for their sacrifice), these researchers were able to identify that ginger essential oil can exert suppression of T lymphocytes (a component of the cell-mediated immune response) in cases where such a response is actually harmful to the body, such as with chronic inflammation and autoimmune diseases (like Crohn’s disease).


Our remarkable immune system is highly complex and important to our well-being. A strong and balanced immune system is required in order for life to exist on an enjoyable and sustainable level. Results of very recent studies indicate that essential oils could be a new branch of medical treatments for those with compromised immune systems. As conventional pharmaceuticals decline in their effectiveness, it is helpful that science has identified qualities in essential oils that are effective against disease-causing pathogens.

The author has made available much information about aromatherapy, such as using lavender and other essential oil.

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1 Comment for 'Essential Oils for Illness Prevention: A Review of the Science'

    April 12, 2010 | 2:14 pm

    Thanks for the great tips on these essential oils.

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