Essential Oils and COVID-19 is there any there, there???

Bottles with rosemary essential oil on light background, top view

There’s no secret that this virus has been a mystery to even the most astute scientists. In the beginning, no one really knew how it impacts people across the spectrum. As time progressed and more and more people caught this thing, we all saw how it impacted many areas of the body, from no smell to COVID toes in children, literally impacting people from head to toe.

Thanks to science, researchers, and healthcare workers’ investigation, we are more aware of many of the symptoms. One thing we know for sure is that the respiratory system is attacked viciously by this virus. Some scientists at the National Institute of Health are looking into essential oils, like eucalyptus, to address this virus. Read the full article to find out more. 

The coronavirus disease of 2019 (COVID-19) has emerged as a global health threat. There are minimal approved drugs available with established efficacy against the SARs-CoV-2 virus and its inflammatory complications. Vaccine development is now becoming available to the general public. For example, certain medications, such as dexamethasone, antimalarials (chloroquine/hydroxychloroquine), and antiviral (remdesivir), are used in various combinations as off-label medications to treat COVID-19. Essential oils have long been known to have anti-inflammatory, immunomodulatory, bronchodilatory, and antiviral properties. They are being proposed to have activity against SARS-CoV-2 virus. Based on the current knowledge, a chemo-herbal (EOs) combination of the drugs could be a more feasible and effective approach to combat this viral pandemic.

Eucalyptus oil

Essential oils obtained from eucalyptus are traditionally used to treat various respiratory ailments, including sore throat, bronchitis, and sinusitis. Eucalyptus oil and its active constituent, shown to exhibit muscle relaxant effects by decreasing smooth muscle contractions of airways induced by different agents. Moreover, clinical studies have indicated that the inhalation of extracts from eucalyptus has anti-inflammatory effects.

A study conducted by Merad and colleagues showed that almost all COVID-19 positive patients have lung abnormalities. Abnormal and overactive inflammatory responses to SARS-CoV-2 are proposed to be the major causes of disease severity and death in COVID-19 patients.

Data of these studies demonstrate the immune response or the functioning of the immune system properties of both eucalyptus oil and its active ingredient, i.e. eucalyptol, both treatments reduced the release of pro-inflammatory cytokines from white blood cells, but cells that protect the body properties were not halted (Juergens et al. 2020; Sadlon and Lamson 2010). Interestingly, eucalyptus oil has also been shown to have disinfection properties and inhibited viruses’ growth on various utensils and filter devices (Usachev et al., 2013). Taken together, data from both preclinical and clinical trials point towards the promising therapeutic potential that resides in eucalyptus oil and its active constituent, i.e., eucalyptol, in the prevention and treatment of COVID-19. Therefore, further studies are urgently warranted in this regard.

Although this study addresses dealing with COVID-19 and in the months to come, we are hoping the vaccine helps eradicate this virus. We still have time to go before we reach the 80 percent vaccinated population for herd immunity. We still are learning more about more variants, their impact, along with long-hauler symptoms from those who have had the virus.

I believe with all this, with your doctor’s guidance, that incorporating an essential oil into your daily life would not hurt. The effects, according to the studies, are clear; they help. There’s light ahead of us!

Ways to use Eucalyptus Oils:

  1. Mix in a saline wash
  2. To make a eucalyptus inhalant, add a few drops of eucalyptus oil or a handful of leaves to hot water or a vaporizer and deeply inhale the steam vapor for five to 10 minutes (take care not to burn yourself).
  3. You can also use eucalyptus oil in a warm bath or shower.

Also, keep in mind that essential oils are powerful, according to Healthline, medically reviewed articles. It says, When they’re inhaled in small doses for brief periods, most are generally considered safe. If you inhale them in high doses or for long periods, you may experience dizziness, headaches, and nausea. You shouldn’t ingest essential oils. They contain strong compounds that may cause toxic side effects. Some side effects may not be noticeable right away. Essential oils may also interact with prescription and OTC medications. These oils shouldn’t be administered to children. Women who are pregnant shouldn’t use them.

Research for this article: Asif, Muhammad et al. “COVID-19 and therapy with essential oils having antiviral, anti-inflammatory, and immunomodulatory properties.” Inflammopharmacology vol. 28,5 (2020): 1153-1161. doi:10.1007/s10787-020-00744-0

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