Questions & Answers on Essential Oils COVID-19 by Dr. Frank Gigon
"Which essential oils should be avoided during this COVID-19 pandemic?"
Health authorities have recently asked that taking oral anti-inflammatory drugs should be no longer authorized when suffering from COVID-19 symptoms. It could be a factor in aggravating the infection and tends to diminish the response of the body’s immune system. Aromatherapy, that is to say, the use of essential oils for well-being and health can provide us with a multitude of benefits during any viral epidemic. However, one essential oil, in particular, will require close attention during this pandemic period.
This is particularly the case for the pure wintergreen essential oil used in a single unit bottle (to be diluted). Indeed, this pure essential oil mainly contains – in a concentrated form – a natural aromatic molecule which is similar to synthetic aspirin. Consequently, when locally applied on the skin, it will provide a pain relief and anti-inflammatory effect, as desired in cases of tendinitis for instance. Aspirin, which has a high dosage of anti-inflammatory active ingredients, is one of the drugs on the hot seat and should be avoided in the event of COVID-19 infection.
It is therefore quite natural that the use of wintergreen essential oil with its singular concentration of methyl salicylate, a cousin of aspirin so to speak, question the event of infection with COVID-19. In this case, the precautionary principle prevails and will be applied, even if it is known that a local application allows only a low diffusion of the essential oil in the organism (well below blood concentrations of anti-inflammatory drugs). Therefore, we recommend refraining from applying locally pure wintergreen essential oil in the event of confirmed or suspected COVID-19 infection.
Puressentiel's ready-to-use essential oil-based products (Muscles & Joints) are not concerned by this precaution of use because the wintergreen is already diluted and mixed with other essential oils in these preparations ... with, in this case, a systemic diffusion judged by experts as anecdotal.
There are also many other essential oils known for their local anti-inflammatory properties. However, only wintergreen essential oil in a pure form should be temporarily excluded in the event of confirmed COVID-19 infection or even suspected by extension of the precautionary principle. Why? Because wintergreen essential oil has up to 99% methyl salicylate in a single bottle, a unique concentration level of an aromatic molecule never equalled in the world of essential oils.
In a nutshell, if we want to be scientific and reasonable, the legitimate apprehension of no longer using essential oils known to be anti-inflammatory, only concerns, as a very broad precautionary principle, the wintergreen essential oil in a unitary bottle.
- Other essential oils are not concerned given that their active ingredients are much less concentrated (and which remain to be diluted before use, I remind you, in conventional practice),
- Neither so-called pre-diluted, safe, ready-to-use products, containing only a low concentration of wintergreen essential oil, among others.
"Which essential oils can help us avoid COVID-19?"
During an epidemic, the first thing to do is respecting the barrier gestures, which considerably reduce contamination and the spread of the virus (strict confinement, regular hand washing, systematically wearing a mask when going outside treatment of contact surfaces, flushing with the cover down ... etc.). Essential oils can first optimize the barrier effect, if they are added to the hand sanitizers, and if they are regularly misted in the ambient air with a purifying air spray or by cold diffuser/nebuliser. That being said, it must be recognised that there are no studies to date, demonstrating the effectiveness of essential oils precisely on COVID-19. On the other hand, many publications confirm the anti-viral properties of essential oils on other coronaviruses, including the SARS, those of many different bad flu (H1N1, H5N1, H7N3, H9N2) and the bronchitis virus for example. Then, some essential oils have shown their action to enhance our natural defence capabilities, scientifically called the immune system. And when the guardian of our health is robust, we are better able to defend ourselves against various aggressors, including pathogenic viruses. Before being contaminated, certain essential oils should be chosen for prevention. Among them, essential oils with oxides and monoterpenes, such as eucalyptus, tea tree, and ravintsara, for example, are good candidates. Indeed, these essential oils are increasing the activity of specific white blood cells (monocytes, lymphocytes ...), which allow them to be more prepared when the virus comes to approach us. Essential oils can be applied locally, diluted in vegetable oil on the wrists, soles of the feet, on the throat. It is also possible to breathe them regularly in wet or dry inhalation.
"Which essential oil should I use to de-stress & create a Zen atmosphere at home?"
The most effective essential oils to unwind are the lavender, sweet orange, or Roman chamomile. When diffused into the air, airborne molecules stimulate and interact with the olfactory organs and, almost immediately, the brain. These essential oils promote inner calm and relaxation.
"What do you think of diffusing lemon essential oil to purify your home these days? Which other essential oils would you recommend for diffusion?"
Lemon essential oil is an excellent antimicrobial for purifying ambient air and surfaces (floor, handles, etc.) and even inside the dishwasher. For aerial diffusion, the essential oils of sweet orange, globular eucalyptus, scots pine, or tea tree are ideal, either alone or in combination. The precaution of use is always to leave the product to act in an empty room and air afterwards. After diffusion, the sanitizing properties of essential oils are effective after half an hour and will remain in the air to perfume the atmosphere.
"Which advice would you recommend to help soothe a sore throat without temperature? "
When the throat starts to sore, nothing could be simpler than preparing an astringent infusion of honey, fresh ginger, and lemon, topped with peppermint and tea tree essential oils for example (1 drop of each to melt on half a sugar cube. Regular massages over a few days of sensitive areas of the throat and painful glands with a mixture of 2 drops of ravintsara or eucalyptus radiata essential oil could be even more beneficial. Finally, for those who prefer natural ready-to-use solutions, there is Puressentiel throat syrup and throat spray, which both combine appropriate plants and essential oils.
"Is the Puressentiel Purifying Air Spray effective against viruses?"
Thanks to its formula, the Puressentiel Purifying Air Spray with 41 essential oils is effective on many viruses. Its virucidal activity, meaning its capacity to kill viruses, has been tested in vitro in particular on influenza A (H1N1), adenovirus, and poliovirus with efficacy proven only after only 1 to 5 minutes of contact time. It should be repeated that there is no efficacy study yet on the new coronavirus COVID-19 global pandemic that started in China in 2019. In the meantime, using Puressentiel Purifying Air Spray can only boost the purification of your ambient air in during this quarantine.
Doctor Franck Gigon is an independent expert.