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“Essential fragrance oils fight viruses” – myth or practical effect?

Vegetable mixtures of many substances, the so-called essential oils, not only smell good and beneficial, but can also have a direct influence on the infectivity of viruses. This is indicated by some studies, the main research interest of which was to investigate the inhibitory effect of vegetable mixtures of many substances on the infectivity of selected virus types.

Especially in the pandemic times of Covid-19, this is an interesting approach that is now being revitalized in scientific discourses.

But what is true about this thesis and what does it mean for our everyday life?
We dare to take a look around …

Yes, essential oils have an effect on viruses

Lemon balm oil, peppermint oil and other extracts have been shown to have an effect on HSV1 plaque formation. Or to put it a little more simply:

Essential oils reduce the infectiousness of the herpes virus .

This anticipates the conclusion of the remarks that now follow. But let’s go a little further to shed light on the importance of essential oils in the context of any new pandemics and diseases that have been known for some time in relation to the risk of infection:

The HSV1 virus is probably one of the most common viruses in today’s modern society – the symptoms are popularly known as herpes . Carson et. Al already showed in 2001: Selected essential oils reduce the infectivity of herpes viruses.

The composition of the oil is decisive: Each substance contributes to the desired effect in a different way based on its own relative proportion or its individual properties. On the basis of these and other studies, Prof. Dr. Jürgen Reichling from the Institute of Pharmacy and Molecular Biotechnology in Heidelberg in 2010 as part of the Swiss Phytotherapy Conference in Baden: Viruses that were treated with a non-cytotoxic, i.e. non-cell-damaging concentration of essential oils before the host cell was infected, were no longer there as infectious as untreated viruses. A breakthrough that seemed promising even then!

However, the herpes virus is one that is mainly transmitted via smear infections through, for example, contaminated glasses. 

However, these findings are always reason enough for a hypothesis that could be that essential oils can also prevent or at least minimize the risk of infection with the Sars-CoV-2 virus .

Essential oils: bioaerosol transmission demonstrably stopped!

Viruses under the microscope

According to the findings of Carlson et al. (2001) Ehrhardt et al. in 2007 the effect of essential oils on the infectivity of influenza viruses under the microscope. The influenza virus is a type of virus that – like the corona virus, if applicable – can spread through bioaerosols and thus through the air.

In an in vitro study by the above-mentioned scientists with extract containing polyphenols (rockrose extract) it was shown that the viral infectivity of avian and human influenza viruses (H5N1, H7N7 and H1N1) is 90 to 100 percent – almost completely –  eliminated can . But what about the risk of infection? An in vivo experiment, i.e. an experiment on living organisms, was then carried out for this purpose.

In a second study by Droebner et al. (2007), in which Erhardt also participated, mice were exposed to avian influenza viruses. While a control group of mice came into contact with the viruses in the form of water aerosols, other mice received the same dose of virus via a CYSTUS052 extract (cistus extract), also in microfine aerosol form .

The result is astonishing: 53 percent of the animals that received the virus through water aerosols died. In the group of animals exposed to aerosols enriched with essential oils , only two animals developed symptoms of the disease.

Exciting: The oral administration of the oil extract had no effect. But now to believe that only rockrose extract has this apparent miracle effect on virus infectivity is rash: Prof. Reichling expressly points out (25th Swiss Conference for Phytotherapy, Baden) that this effect has already been carried out in similar studies with other essential oils (phenol-containing Plant extracts) could be detected.

Essential oil enrichment in the air –
a promising approach in combating viruses

Antibacterial fragrance oils

The studies from 2001 and 2007 already showed: an antiviral effect of essential oils is obvious and is undisputed. Ultimately, it remains to be seen whether the findings presented here can also be adopted for the transmission of the new type of corona virus .

Nevertheless: A similar effect can be assumed, if not very likely, given the current status of the corona virus being transmitted in almost the same way as the influenza viruses, which are dangerous to humans.

What do we learn from it? Anyone who is already using the benefits of essential oils is not doing anything wrong! That the result is a health-promoting and infection-inhibiting effect for humans is a hypothesis that has not yet been officially confirmed, but is nevertheless likely, which enables new options for action in infection prevention! 

Conclusion:

HIGH QUALITY essential oils (counterfeits from industrial production, which are manufactured with cheap odor substitutes, are to be viewed critically with regard to the mode of action) can be used as a supplement to the 2 most important preventive measures against viruses:

ELFI 150

1. Reduce the activity / aggressiveness of viruses through optimal room humidity:

The selection of suitable air optimization systems requires a needs analysis.
There are hundreds of models of humidifiers – but only a few work without negative side effects.
Most produce visible water vapor aerosols, and aerosols are suspected of providing a convenient means of transport for viruses.

2. Circulating air filtration of the room air to eliminate aerosols and viruses. Mobile devices with at least the HEPA13 standard and CADR certification have proven themselves – e. B. the “Air Protector” series.

3. Optional use of essential oils – ideally as a direct addition to humidifiers or as a scent pad attachment on circulating air filtration systems.

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