Do Essential Oils Work for COVID-19?
If you’re having COVID-19 symptoms, there’s a good chance you want to feel like yourself as soon as possible. Perhaps you’ve used essential oils in the past for mild headaches or to clear a stuffy nose. But, will they work for coronavirus?
Are essential oils just a trendy fad or can these natural herbs actually be used for medicinal purposes?
There is currently no clinical research looking at any relationship between essential oils and coronavirus, so we cannot say with medical certainty that any essential oil prevents or treats COVID-19. Essential oils have been used for other illnesses with overlapping symptoms to alleviate discomforts while bypassing the common negative side effects of modern medicine. People often use them successfully for mild congestion, headache, stomach ache, and more.
Essential oils can have anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, anti-infectious, and antiviral properties. They have been shown to destroy many harmful bacteria and viruses while providing immune system support. Since essential oils contain small molecules, they can affect your cells within twenty minutes and then be metabolized like other nutrients. So, we can assume that yes, essential oils do have an effect on the body.
Why turn to essential oils at a time like this? Studies show that essential oils can be helpful for a lot of the common symptoms of COVID-19, including:
- Shortness breath
- Digestive upset
For severe symptoms, follow the CDC guidelines and seek medical help immediately. For mild symptoms, you can use essential oils to assist in alleviation for yourself or for someone with COVID.
We all hear about lavender and lemon, but there are other traditional and effective oils that could offer you some relief from COVID symptoms.
6 Essential oils that may help with COVID-19 symptoms
The top essential oils to consider during COVID-19 include:
Helichrysum essential oil can help promote healing, fight infection, and reduce inflammation.
It comes from the distillation of flowers generally found in the Mediterranean and southern Europe and is known for its anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and antiviral properties.
Inflammation is beneficial in fighting disease, but too much can shift you into reverse. Colds and coughs can cause inflammation in your airways and inside your nose. Helichrysum can be used to alleviate these symptoms and others like headaches.
Besides supporting your body’s inflammation response, helichrysum has been used to fight bacteria and viruses. Studies show helichrysum could stop the growth of bacteria and infections.
Copaiba oil comes from the extraction of the trunk of copaiba trees and has been used as early as the 16th century in traditional health practices. Indians from Brazil used it as an anti-inflammatory and anti-septic, as well as for healing wounds.
Copaiba essential oil supports a healthy inflammatory response and has even been reported to reduce acute inflammatory response in mice. When ingested, this oil may support cardiovascular, immune, digestive, and nervous system health. As always, consult a qualified practitioner before ingesting anything for medicinal purposes.
Clove, commonly used to spice up your holiday meals, can also support your respiratory system. This oil is produced by distilling dry flower buds from clove trees native to southeast Asia.
It has traditionally been used to relieve respiratory conditions, like sore throat, cough, and asthma. It can also relieve muscle pains and aches. Since coronavirus often affects the respiratory tract, clove essential oil is a great option during this time.
Thyme and cinnamon bark can also be effective against respiratory pathogens.
Ginger, distilled from the same ginger root you use in cooking, is recognized for its ability to calm digestive upset. Ginger has long been used in Indian teas to soothe stomach aches, in Chinese tonics to relieve head congestion, and in Hawaiian cooking to address indigestion. A common symptom for coronavirus is digestive upset, so ginger is worth a try.
Ginger also contains compounds that combat inflammation. Researchers found that high doses of ginger extract prevented weight gain and decreased inflammation.
Fennel is known as a powerful ingredient for good digestive health and a healthy respiratory system. This aromatic oil smells like sweet licorice and comes from an evergreen perennial native to the Mediterranean. In ancient Rome, warriors were said to have eaten fennel to increase their strength and prepare themselves for war. It has also been used for years in the culinary world to add savor and spice to a variety of dishes.
Ingesting fennel oil may help to promote healthy metabolism, liver function, circulation, and respiratory tract. You can add the recommended amount to your cooking for digestive benefits as well.
For fever, you can try cooling oils like peppermint. This oil comes from a hybrid mint leaf – a cross between watermint and spearmint found in North America and Europe. Records of the use of mint plants for medicinal purposes go back to the times of Ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome.
Chances are, you’ve had peppermint in foods, especially desserts or candies. You probably know peppermint’s cooling and refreshing properties well. For centuries, it has been used to soothe headaches, relieve digestive difficulties, and to calm heartburn and indigestion.
Other cooling oils include lemon and eucalyptus.
In addition to alleviating the physical symptoms of COVID-19, essential oils can also be used to help with some of the common emotional ups and downs that come with a worldwide pandemic – many people experience stress, anxiety, and insomnia, and oils like Roman Chamomile, lavender, and rosemary can be a fragrant part of your stress management routine.
How to buy essential oils
The effectiveness of these oils depends on the quality of the essential oil. The cheaper oil may smell just as strong, but will lack most, if not all, the chemical constituents necessary for therapeutic results.
This is due to the fact that manufacturers heat the oils to high temperatures to extract the oil faster and more cheaply, which can inactivate many of the most important compounds in the oil. On top of that, cheaper oils are often cut with lower-quality oils that have no active ingredients, so the oil might not be what it says it is on the bottle.
So, in order to get the most benefits from your essential oils, it is important to spend a little more money and purchase therapeutic grade essential oils. Look for companies that are willing to share GC/MS testing reports. These tests show that the oils are what they say they are.