Create and Use A Potent Anti-Viral Essential Oil Formula

Posted on Wednesday 30 September 2009

Scientific proof regarding the effectiveness of natural essential oils against a wide variety of viruses continues to grow. In the 1970′s, German researchers tested extracts of more than 90 species of the Lamiaceae plant family to have anti-viral actions. This discovery prompted great interest in the examination of essential oils in Europe for the treatment of viral infections. In more recent research, the essential oils distilled from these plants have demonstrated potent anti-viral properties. These concentrated forms of the plant medicine are easy-to-use, readily available, and can be highly effective in both supporting the immune system AND eradicating viruses with which they come in contact. In fact, many of the world’s leading aroma-medicine therapists believe the treatment and prevention of infectious illness to be the most important and efficacious use of essential oils. Here’s a look at which oils may be most effective for the professional and home practitioner to utilize for this purpose.

Research Is In: The Anti-Viral and Immune-Supportive Activity of Essential Oils

Essential oils can be utilized for two important effects: both direct anti-viral action and immuno-supportive properties. Research in these areas has been sigificant in the past decade, with the body of data available through Pub Med (the research database maintained by the National Institute of Health) containing on the order of 200 papers published in peer-reviewed journals on these subjects alone. A look into the research shows that certain essential oils can directly eradicate viruses, and at the same time boost the ability of the immune system to defend itself. As immune boosters, the oils have been reported to increase the ability of white blood cells to consume foreign invaders, as well as increase the rate and volume of production of antibodies and defensive cells when one has been in contact with a viral pathogen.

The direct eradication of viruses is also a feature many essential oils display, in addition to their immune-stimulating effects. This makes complete sense to practitioners of plant medicine, as plants themselves also must defend from viral infections. While the transmission methods these viruses use are different, their primary structure is not all that different from viruses infecting mammals. Essential oils have been shown to destroy the SARS virus, and prevent the cell-to-cell transmission of the Herpes Simplex variants. These same oils should also be effective at eradicating other ‘pandemic’ viruses we’re facing today. And not only do these oils eradicate viruses, but also demonstrate protective effects such that cells acquire resistance to viral penetration. For these effects, essential oils can be used topically (diluted in ‘base’ or ‘carrier’ oils) or even better, they can be dispersed in the air in your home or office by a nebulizing diffuser (we’ll explain this more toward the end of this article).

Essential Oils for Both Immune Support and Eradication of Viruses

For these applications, essential oils can be characterized by the desired effect. Certain oils are considered especially effective as immunostimulants — when looking for any sort of support of the immune system, it is always crucial to take into account the vitality of one’s overall health. Obviously a person in poor health, or even in a very poor emotional state, will be more susceptible to infection than those in tip-top health. Those individuals reporting lower levels of stress will also have the best immune system function. In this regard, Frankincense essential oil, particularly Boswellia carteri species produced by carbon dioxide extraction, is considered one of the most highly effective oils. Other oils to consider to bolster one’s overall vitality (with a stronger immune system as a result) are Bergamot (highly regarded as an anti-depressant), Rosemary (for assisting detoxification, thereby lessening the load on the immune system), and Lavender (an anti-stress agent, as well as a broad-spectrum antimicrobial). These oils can be used via any classic aromatherapy method — topical massage on the feet surprisingly may be the most effective, as the feet are highly receptive both energetically and biochemically to essential oils. Diffusing these oils, again singly or in combination in a nebulizing diffuser (which makes a fine, easily evaporated mist of the oils in the air) is a simple way of protecting your entire household (the directly anti-vial oils can be used in this way as well).

The Anti-Viral Essential Oils: Melissa

The collection of scientifically validated research of the ability of essential oils to act directly against viruses has exploded in the last several years, with more interest in this field growing dramatically in 2009. Many oils have shown to be effective not only in petri dishes, but in living subjects as well. Melissa, also known as ‘Lemon Balm’ is an essential oil distilled from an herb with a long history of use in natural medicine. It is one of the only oils thought to be able to completely eradicate the Herpes Simplex virus in humans, and prevents the virus from transmitting from cell to cell. While somewhat costly (if the oil is found at a price that seems to good to be true, it is more than likely not ‘true’ Melissa), the oil is only needed in very small amounts to be effective (Dr Schnaubelt, in ‘Advanced Aromatherapy’ considers a 1:100 dilution to still retain the efficacy of the pure oil). Melissa is safe for human ingestion and direct topical application.

Melaleuca Oils from Australia

Tea Tree, because we’ve all been using for so long, slips our mind when considering oils for more ‘serious’ applications. The naturally occurring terpines in Tea Tree are among the most potent anti-viral constituents found in essential oils. Yet not all of us are very fond of Tea Tree’s aroma; what’s important to know that Tea Tree actually has a wonderful ‘nutmeggy’ aroma when it’s fresh ? and Tea Tree happens to be one of the essential oils that is better tolerated when it’s fresh (if the smell is unpleasant, it’s likely old or not of good quality). The research backing the antiviral action is probably more comprehensive than any other essential oil. While aromatherapists do not consider Tea Tree the first line of defense for influenza, it could certainly be a helpful component in blends with other appropriate oils for this purpose. Also in the Melaluca family is Rosalina, or ‘Lavender Tea Tree’. This relatively new oil seems to have an exceptional balance of properties, acting as both an anti-stress agent and a potent antimicrobial. Some therapists consider this oil may be the better choice for anti-viral protection.

Essential Oils Specific for Influenza

Case studies by professional aromatherapists have been presented where oils have been matched to the symptoms of the viral infection. Oils from plants of the Myrtaceae family (Eucalyptus Radiata, Tea Tree and Ravensara) have helped in cases of respiratory tract infections. For the lower respiratory tract, Hyssop decumbens has been successfully used. Bay Laurel essential oil has been specifically noted for its ability to destroy the virus causing SARS. All these oils are excellent in combination: Eucalyptus Radiata, Ravensara aromatica, Tea Tree, Hyssop and Bay Laurel would make an absolutely wonderful, highly-potent blend for diffusion. Additional oils from the herbs of Oregano and Thyme could be added if the formula were to be used topically (Note: these oils are so strong as to possibly cause irritation of the mucus membranes if inhaled in significant quantities. They are best used along with carrier oils on the reflex points of the feet associated with the respiratory system: the bottom of the foot from the ball to the pinky toe, and directly above this on the top of the foot).

Make Your Own Powerful Blends

Making your own formulas for home use, whether in a diffuser or for topical application is exceptionally easy to do. Don’t be wary of mixing your own ? once you do it, you’ll find it fun and educating, likely even giving you more personal ownership and understanding of the use of oils. Diffusing the oils in your environment is considered by some practitioners is considered by some therapists to be THE MOST EFFECTIVE way to use their protective effects. For this use, an example formula may be equal parts of Bay Laurel, Eucalyptus Radiata, Tea Tree, Hyssop decumbens, and Ravensara. If you find any of the aromas overwhelming, just reduce the portion of the blend of that oil. So you could just pipette 1 milliliter of each oil into a separate bottle, then use this formula in a nebulizing diffuser. The same formula can be mixed for topical application by blending 1 part of this recipe into 9 parts of a carrier oil (such as gently melted virgin Coconut oil ? which is considered to have antiviral properties itself) and used as a daily foot massage. Melissa oil can be included if you wish to enhance the formula. Rubbing this blend into the areas of the body where the lymph nodes are close to the surface is also recommended: the sternum, armpits and neck are receptive areas. If you choose to use the blend in a diffuser, remember that the carrier oil should then NOT be used (it will not evaporate properly!).

These same essential oils can be made into a spray by diluting them in spring water at a 1 to 10 ration. Simply add the oils to a small spray bottle with the water and shake vigorously. This is an excellent way to treat yourself and your family when traveling! Do, of course keep this blend away from the eyes and out of the reach of children. The formulas should be further diluted if they are to be used with young ones (dilute half again in water or carrier oil); there are a number of fine texts available describing essential oil use with kids — be sure to understand all precautions by consulting these manuals or discussing the use of essential oils with a knowledgeable practitioner.

Conclusion: The Case for Natural Solutions for Anti-Viral Health Support

Essential oils are simply the concentrated volatile natural chemicals of plants. Plant medicine has a long, effective history, and the use of essential oils is no exception. Studies around the world support their use in treating infectious illness, and specifically in preventing and treating viral diseases. If you can, follow your intuition with their use, frequency and dosage. Be careful not to overdo it, as the potency of these medicines implies that only small amounts are needed to produce the desired effects. The formulas described here are not meant to supplant other means of preventing and curing illnesses, but to complement them. Remember that many aromatherapists consider this the most effective use essential oils may have for us, why not give it a try!

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1 Comment for 'Create and Use A Potent Anti-Viral Essential Oil Formula'

    January 13, 2010 | 3:22 pm

    Hi Samantha

    Great article with some good information. Aromatherapy can be very helpful for colds and flu, I have my diffuser on now with some marjoram, pine and eucalyptus. It really helps me when I get congested.

    Thank you, Susan Pipes

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