Nature’s Defence Agencies – Thoughts on Anti-Microbial Effects of Essential Oils

The newly discovered corona-virus epidemics in China – even though largely exaggerated in its challenge by the usual media coverage – has drawn the attention of numerous persons from the “community” of natural medicine and Aromatherapy. The point is that – again and again – we are facing threats of individual and collective health and, like in this case, stand “cross-legged” in front of the problem without asking help from the first instance we should ask help from: Mother Nature.

In terms of plant medicine and Aromatherapy we have countless answers to microbial infections – it is just these 3 questions for me: Do we really want them? Why do we not want them? Who is interested not to want them?

Medicinal plants and their essential oils could and should be the major element for a “global action plan” to respond to any health problem near and far. Have we forgottten? Nature has developed over dozens of millions of years her own strategies against countless viruses, bacteria, fungi, parasytes. Without these strategies evolution, yes, even life on Earth as a whole would not have been possible.

We do not need to reinvent the wheel. We just need to deepen our knowledge of Nature and combine her age-old defense strategies and her infinite resources with our modern scientific approaches. That’s what we call “integrative” or “integrated medicine”.

Essential oils as bio-chemical defence agents

These powerful agents have developed as allies of interaction inside Nature herself in a kind of challenge and response dynamics. They have been one if not THE major answer against the growing impact of “enemies” threatening the thrust of differentiation of plant species in the endless course of evolution on Earth. So, what we see today in Nature are the “survivors” – those who have stood strong and have become strong through time. They are the “Nature warriors” – as beautiful as a Rose may look… . So then, why not ask for their assistance? They are waiting for us! As Balraj Maharishi, a very holy plant visionary from India, once said at an international conference on Ayurveda in New Delhi:

“The plant Devas invited me to a congress. They told me that they are very much aware of the human problems. They have decided to do more for humanity.”

But positioning essential oils – if at all their potential is somehow recognized – on the same level as synthetic drugs stemming from the laborataries of chemical patent – and profit driven companies is a fundamental mistake.

Essential oils are Nature herself. And they are subtle “pranic” energy forms far beyond the scope of man made allopathic medicine. As reputed aromatherapist Kurt Schnaubelt says,

“Their activity is shaped by the ambient ways of the plant world. Essential oils do not act as weapons but as agents of interaction. They are a key ingredient of life itself, strengthening its fabric and preconditions.” (Kurt Schnaubelt, The Healing Intelligence of Essential Oils)

To equate therefore essential oils with chemical (synthetic) products – which has been a recent trend – is nothing else than to put the “Medicine from Nature” into the hands of organizations and industries bound by their own principles which in many cases are in full contradiction with the laws of Nature governing evolution and the age old healing science of mankind.

Aromatherapy is a modern version of plant medicine in its most compact form. We can truly say: For the first time in history – and this also due to our global connectedness – we all can have direct access to the traditional healing treasures of the world, many of them even present in our own «home-pharmacy» for powerful preventive self-care and self-healing. So, finally we can take responsibility in many ways for our own health, become our own guardians of personal well-being.

Are they really anti-microbial?

Yes, they are!

“A clinical study presented at the march 2005 “Symposium of Aromatherapy and Medicinal Plants” in Grasse by Dr. A.M. Giraud-Robert demonstrated the efficacy of essential oils in the treatment of Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C, specifically antifibrotic and antiviral effects. The essential oils employed in the treatments were chosen on the one hand for their antiviral activity and on the other for their hepatocellular regenerative activity. Essential oils chosen for their antiviral activity were

  • Ravintsara
  • Bay Laurel
  • Niaouli
  • Thyme, chemotype thujanol-4

In this study essential oils were taken in varying dosages but averaging 3 drops 3 times a day for one week. Referring to this week as a therapeutic window patients would then remain off the essential oils for three weeks before they would again use the essential oils for another week.”

C.f. https://www.originalswissaromatics.com/Liver-Rebuild-Magic

And here a few more essential oils which have shown to be anti-viral in their effects:

  • Sandalwood: has been documented by research at Brigham Young University, USA, for its ability to inhibit even some types of cancer cells. It is also used for viral infections, especially of the skin, and acne, wrinkles, and scars.
  • Coriander: is ideal for fighting viruses that reach the ENT (ear, nose, throat) sphere or the urinary tract. Its application can be done by massage, diluted in a base of vegetable oil and also oral with honey.
  • Mountain Hyssop (Hyssopus decumbens): has shown to be interesting for the treatment of influenza, bronchitis and various ENT conditions.
  • Marjoram (Origanum majorana): efficient against viruses that affect the ENT sphere, and also for viral skin infections, such as shingles, chickenpox or psoriasis.
  • Ravintsara: Powerful anti-viral, anti-bacterial agent. Works wonders in case of flue, bronchial infections, viral skin problems, ENT infections.
  • Tea Tree: famous for its allround properties and its strong anti-infectious energy on many levels including the respiratory tract.
  • Lemon and other citrus-oils: famous for their purifying capacity as an “air cleaner”, anti-bacterial and anti-viral. Even the small viruses will not be able to resist. Very efficient to be used in a diffuser at home or in office. In hospitals it should be mandatory.
  • Eucalyptus – type radiata, smithii, globulus are all highly expectorant and clearing for the respiratory system. Good in case of rhinitis, sinusitis, otitis.

C.f. https://www.doctissimo.fr/sante/aromatherapie/proprietes-des- huiles-essentielles/huiles-essentielles-antiseptiques-antivirales

A study from the reputed Department of Virology, Hygiene Institute, University of Heidelberg, Germany, explained that 

“Essential oils are complex natural mixtures, their main constituents, e.g. terpenes and phenylpropanoids, being responsible for their biological properties. Essential oils from Eucalyptus, Tea tree and Thyme and their major monoterpene compounds…were able to reduce viral infectivity by >96%.”

C.f. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19653195

What do they have so “extra”?

The reason why essential oils have come “under the microscope” of research scientists and medical doctors over the last few decades is because of their immensely powerful action – as we have seen – against various pathogenic germs, including viruses, fungi – and bacteria which by standard means of modern allopathic approaches have proven to become resistant against a large variety of anti-biotics. So, in a sense it is the “crisis of anti-biotics” which has – at least to some degree – accelerated our return to Nature’s pharmacy. 

More and more of the modern scientists, medical doctors, naturpaths have compared in their publications the utility of what they call the “eu-biotic” approach of medical Aromatherapy versus the allopathic anti-biotic approach. And they have pointed out the complex action of an aromatic molecule on the germ, the milieu and the immune system in general versus the extremely limited anti-bacterial properties of chemical weapons with their numerous unwanted side effects. 

A recent British report commissioned by the Government has estimated that by the year 2050 drug resistant bacteria may cause in excess of 10 million deaths each year as well as costing the world’s economy an astronomical figure of $100 trillion.

C.f. https://healthyfocus.org/8-powerful-antibacterial-essential-oils/

And a survey on behalf of the Longitude Prize revealed that 49% of  medical doctors prescribe antibiotics every week  without knowing whether they are needed. And even better: 72% of medical doctors – in case of doubt whether they have to treat a viral or bacterial infection – prescribe an anti-biotic.  Anti-biotics against a virus… that is shooting an arrow at a meteorite.

A simple investigation on numerous ailments can derive thousands of scientific data today on ongoing or achieved clinical research with regards to essential oils. Why are we still so hesitant to incorporate Aromatherapy into our mainstream health-giving strategies? Countless personal testimonials of essential oils users together with the ethno-botanical herbal medicine data of many centuries should be the basis for a new «corpus» of a most amazing  new natural science of healing. 

And then read this here from a consortium of over 40 University professors, medical doctors, and research scientists from France, the home country of modern Aromatherapy: 

“Thanks to their many active molecules, almost all essential oils are found to be anti-infectious to varying degrees. Their antibacterial, antiviral and anti-fungal properties are widely described and published. If used well, the most powerful of them offer a wide field of action in the event of infections…

Even more than their “anti-biotic ”properties, the scientific interest is in knowing how to use their selective and regulatory “eu-biotic” virtues.  Most of the essential oils indeed respect the natural intestinal flora….. In addition, certain essential oils containing monoterpenes or aldehydes prove to be excellent atmospheric sanitizers, capable of cleaning the air and fighting against the proliferation of pathogenic germs, whether in the operating room, in the intensive care units, places of life or sick rooms. Pathogenic germs to date having very little or no resistance to essential oils can be used, under certain conditions, in the fight against nosocomial infections as well as in addition to antibiotic therapy in case of multi-drug resistant bacteria. 

https://afedi.com/Documentation/Article/108

And here we are with a few more representatives of Nature’s Pharmacy

The essential oils mentioned by this team of experts from France and recognized as the most anti-infectious are those containing:

  • phenolic molecules (carvacrol, thymol, eugenol…) – i.e. Oregano, Savory, Thyme, Clove, holy Basil…
  • cinnamic aldehyde – i.e. Cinnamon, Cassia
  • terpene alcohols (geraniol, thujanol, linalool, terpineol, menthol …) – i.e. Geranium, Thyme thuyanol-4, Thyme linalool, Rosewood, Peppermint, Lavender
  • certain aliphatic aldehydes (geranial, citronellal …) – Lemon Balm, Citronella, Eucalyptus citriodora
  • ketones (verbenone, cryptone, menthone…) – i.e. Lemon Verbena, Eucalyptus polybractea kryptone type, Pennrroyal, Mountain Mint

And here what researchers at the University of Vienna/Austria write: 

“Many in vitro studies confirm the antiviral activity of essential oils and their ingredients. Most essential oils and individual substances were evaluated against Herpes Simplex Virus Type 1 and Type 2 and show a high antiviral activity:

Essential oils from:

  • Artemisia arborescens
  • Eucalyptus globulus
  • Leptospermum scoparum
  • Melaleuca alternifolia
  • Melissa officinalis
  • Mentha piperita
  • Salvia officinalis 

And some essential oils from:

  • Allium cepa
  • Allium sativum
  • Corriandrum sativum
  • Ocimum basilicum
  • Oreganum vulgare
  • Petroselinum sativum

which are mainly used as a spice, show a strong activity against Herpes Simplex Virus Type 1. 

Or this here:

A study (72) carried out on 60 patients (women and men between 12 and 75 years old) comprising 50 carriers of chronic hepatitis C (HCV) and 10 carriers of chronic hepatitis B (HBV) evaluated the antiviral activity of different essential oils, such as 

  • Ravintsara
  • Greenlandish moss
  • Carrot
  • Thyme thujanol
  • Bay leaf
  • Niaouli
  • Helichrysum

These essential oils have been used either as monotherapy or in addition to allopathic treatment.

C.f. Mylene Combalot. L’Immortelle d’Italie (Helichrysum italicum) et son huile essentielle. Sciences pharmaceutiques. 2013

Mono versus poly

We know today with all this that even the most deadly microbes cannot resist the powerful impact of essential oils when used with knowledge and the right methods. Essential oils could kill the deadly MRSA hospital ‘superbug’”, scientists have claimed not so long ago. At the University of Manchester three essential oils were analyzed by researcher which destroy the famous MRSA bacteria (methicillin-resistant staphylococcus aureus) and the Escherichia coli bacteria within two minutes. Their suggestion was to use these oils blended into soaps and shampoos to be used in hospitals. Hospital-acquired infections, such as MRSA, kill an estimated 5,000 a year…..

“Dr Warn, who carried out the research, says that the essential oils could be used to create much more pleasant inhalation therapies – which he said “were likely to have a much higher success rate than the current treatment…”

C.f. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/4116053.stm

And decades ago already Professor Griffon in France studied the anti-septic properties of certain essential oil blends, among which Lemon oil played a major role. Already scientist like Morel and Rochaix had proved that the evaporated particles of Lemon oil are capable of neutralizing 

  • the meningococcus (Meningitis – blood infection) within 15 minutes 
  • the Ebert bacteria (Typhus) in hardly 1 hour
  • the Pneumococcus (Pneumonia etc.) in 1 – 3 hours 
  • the Staphylococcus aureus (skin- and respiratory infections, food poisoning) in 2 hours 
  • the hemolytic Streptococci (breaks down red blood cells  – pneumonia, blood poisoning (septiceia), inflammation of the lining of the brain and spinal cord (meningitis) etc….. within 3 – 12 hours

Cf. http://www.fourwinds10.com/siterun_data/health/holistic_alternative_m edicine/news.php?q=1196612274

The promise of allopathic medicine has not been kept. We count today more than 30% of people hospitalized to be victims of iatrogenic diseases, which means: victims of medication. Not to forget: In France alone modern allopathic medicine causes every year more than 10 000 deaths – that means 3 times more than fatal car accidents in the whole country. And more than 130 000 hospitalizations are due to the same kind of medicine every year only in France. 

It is clear that the four best “horses in the stable” of modern medicine, namely painkillers, anti-rheumatics, psycho-drugs and anti-biotics are all in crisis, creating devastating side effects, sneakingly poisoning the population, leading to increasing dramatic health care costs. It is the same fight “not to win” as in modern agriculture. We bombard the body – the soil – with isolated chemicals which do not contain the holistic intelligence of Nature. And then…?

At first, everything looks fine, the unwanted guests are destroyed, the micro-bes, bacteria, fungi, pests, viruses, parasytes etc. are gone. But then we see that the terrain, the matrix has been damaged too.  And the unwanted guests come back – empowered with new attack weapons against a weakened body or soil. 

On the other hand, with essential oils, as we have seen, we have the poly-molecular structures so that we can avoid the many negative side effects of the mono-molecular allopathic approach. Due to their rich bio-chemical profile essential oils are multifunctional. It is this aspect of Aromatherapy which makes essential oils so powerful. It makes it impossible for bacteria and viruses to become resistant to the impact of such an unpredictable, always changing molecular diversity.

This is also the reason why Peppermint oil for example helps simultaneously against nervous, hepatic, skin, circulatory, immunological, intestinal and psychological disorders etc. Sorry, that may sound fancy or even horrible for an allopathically trained physician… .

So, to conclude on this short overview 

Aromatherapy works in a very holistic way. Most of its amazing healing effects can often not be traced back to simple scientific investigations, bio-chemical analyses etc. but necessitate a broader spectrum of vision. This vision has to include the subtle energy part of the medicinal plant world and its essential oils as well as the very individual and unique situation of each patient – and of his “energy body” as well.  

This area – beyond scientific proof in the strict sense – is not less scientific in a larger sense and involves psycho-emotional and psycho-spiritual data, experiences, testimonials etc. which will lead in the nearer future to a new era of holistic medicine – based on a very much needed ground-breaking understanding of real healing, where matter (mainly food and medicine), behaviour, energy, consciousness, individual and collective, and Spirit all work together in ONE direction: EVOLUTION OF MAN AND HUMAN SOCIETY.

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