Essential oils are natural, highly concentrated organic compounds in plants that give them a strong fragrance. They are found in all parts of the plant, including roots, stems, twigs, bark, wood, leaves, buds, flowers, fruits, and seeds. Scientific study has found many uses for essential oils including many healthhy effects you can benefit from.
Essential oils were the original drugs used as cures for various diseases. By the 13th century they were being made by pharmacies in the East and their effects were well documented. By the 16th century they were plentiful in Europe and England. In the 17th century, pharmacies in France were stocking 15 to 20 different oils.
Essential oils are currently used most extensively in the fragrance and flavor industry. Aromatherapy is now a minor use, amounting to just a few percent of the total essential oil market.
Plants use essential oils to further their propagation by attracting pollinators and to protect their life by repelling harmful insects and warding off mold, fungi and bacteria. Each plant has a unique blend of approximately 20 to 60 compounds in its essential oil. The specific compounds and the concentrations of those compounds define the effects of the oil.
Scientific Testing of Essential OilsCredit is given to De la Croix who in 1881 performed the first experiments on the antibacterial properties of essential oils. Scientific studies have subsequently proven their effectiveness in fighting bacteria, viruses, and fungal infections. They have been used in the preservation of foods, to fight inflammation, relieve muscle spasms, promote sleep, as well as repelling and killing insect pests.
Testing essential oils typically involves using diluted oils on various bacteria or other agents. The minimum concentration at which growth stops is termed the Minimum Inhibitory Concentration or MIC. When trials in vitro (in glass) have been successful, trials can begin in vivo (in living organisms–starting usually with rats or mice).
Because of over prescribing of antimicrobial agents, a number of drug-resistant bacteria, fungi and viruses have developed and are causing unnecessary sickness. The traditional plant-based medicines have become a viable source of effective antimicrobial agents.
For example, helicobacter pylori is a Gram-negative bacterium that causes both acute and chronic gastritis. Now, several isolated plant substances as well as plant extracts have been success in treating H. pylori. One study showed that the most active agent for H. pylori was carrot seed oil with a MIC of 20 µg/ml. This effectiveness has been tested in both rats and mice.
Essential Oils for Herpes Viral Infections
One of the most difficult viruses to deal with are the herpes viruses HSV-1 ans HSV-2. A number of oils have been tested with herbes viruses. In one study dwarf-pine oil and citrus oil reduced plaque formation for HSV-1 and HSV-2 by nearly 80% when applied during absorption of the virus to host cells. Another study demonstrated virucidal effects of the essential oil of Artemisia arborescens (a flowering plant native to the Mediterranean region) against both HSV-1 and HSV-2.
A human trial of tea tree essential oil applied topically to herpes labialis showed faster healing. The mean time to re-epithelialization was 9 days for tea tree oil treatment compared to 12.5 days for the placebo group.
Testing has shown that certain essential oils (cumin, anise, oregano and eucalyptus) were effective fumigants against two common greenhouse pests, the cotton aphis and the carmine spider mite. In addition, some oils affect the insect’s octopaminergic nervous system and are lethal on contact. Humans and other vertebrates do not have this type of nervous system and remain unaffected.
Ongoing Scientific Study of Essential Oils
Numerous clinical trials are taking place to verify the effectiveness of essential oils for various health benefits. While no funding comes from big pharmaceutical companies for many large trials, smaller trials are still taking place. Among these are:
- Essential Oils With and Without Alcohol: Substantivity and Antiplaque Effect: Study to compare the oral antibacterial effect of the oils with and without alcohol.
- Treatment of Acute Rhino-Sinusitis With Essential Oils of Aromatic Plants: Chronic sinusitis affects over 12% of the population. This study compared the efficacy of a spray containing essential oils against a placebo.
- Treatment of Acute Pharyngo-Tonsillitis With Essential Oils of Aromatic Plants: This study compared the effects of a spray containing essential oils against a placebo in patients with acute viral Pharyngo-tonsillitis.
- Essential Oils on Anxiety of Patients Suffering From Cancer: Testing the effects of essential oils massages on anxiety of cancer patients at a metastasis stage.
Essential Oils As Medicine: Essential Oils Guide
In this video, Jordan Rubin and Dr. Josh Axe discuss several different essential oils — including frankincense, turmeric, lavender, oregano, clove, tea tree, ylang ylang and so many more — and how to use each one to help combat common illnesses. Watch to learn the power of essential oils as medicine.
Try Essential Oils for Yourself
Essential oils can make a difference in your life. But, you have to try them yourself. Here is a great starter kit that contains the most useful oils. Check out the low price and order today.
Learn more about essential oils from the scientific research results. Here are some places to start.
Essential Oils of Aromatic Plants with Antibacterial, Antifungal, Antiviral, and Cytotoxic Properties – an Overview as ppublished in the International Journal of Food Microbiology in 2009
Plant essential oils for pest and disease management published in the journal Crop Protection in 2000.
Essential oils: their antibacterial properties and potential applications in foods—a review published in 2004 in the journal International Journal of Food Microbiology