Monday, May 18, 2009

The Use Of Essential Oils As Antiviral Treatment

Essential oils are volatile liquid plant materials which can be used for various purposes in the arenas of health and food production. One area that they are commonly used in is anti-viral treatment. These treatments target various ailments and physical problems. Some nations do not recognise the use of these essential oils (as part of aromatherapy), but others such as France, where aromatherapy began - and the United Kingdom (where the Queen herself is a big fan of the therapy) embrace these oils more.

Tea tree Oil is one very popular oil, used for its anti-sceptic properties. It is a native plant to New South Wales, Australia and although the smell is considered a very pleasant one, it is a very effective anti viral treatment. It has been used for skin problems such as acne. It is usually diluted, as pure Tea tree oil often causes bad reactions. It has been used against staphylococcus aureus and MRSA with some effect. A valuable member of the essential oils family.

Another of the most common essential oils is Lemongrass, which as well as being used a great deal in cooking (due to its fresh citrus like flavor) and in perfumes, is also used in aromatherapy. It is particularly good as an insect repellent, as it contains citronella, geraniol and citronellol - which have anti septic properties.

Sandalwood as well, has purported medicinal qualities - namely anti-viral. This essential oil is usually used in the manufacture of fragrances, but has been used by, for example, Buddhists who believe it maintains personal alertness. Sandal wood was used as an anti-septic up to the 1930s, but care had to be taken because of its strength - it has to be diluted with an appropriate carrier oil. It has been used for keeping skin clear of blackheads and spots.

Peppermint has been used to treat Irritable Bowl Syndrome - and only as recently as 2007 did Italian researchers find a way to help the condition with it successfully.

Another of the main essential oils is Ginger - or Jamaica Ginger as the medicinal form is known, has successfully been used to treat colic and dyspepsia. It is regarded as a safe medicine (on the FDA's safe list) as it does not have any negatives with any other drug, except Warfarin (used for thinning the blood). It has also been used to release bile from the gallbladder - important for those suffering with gallstones. It has also been involved in inconclusive tests related to reducing the pain caused by Arthritis. It is also effective against diarrhea - the leading cause of infant death in the developing world.

Thyme is an anti-septic too, having been used in bandages before more effective substances were found. This anti-septic quality is why it is the main ingredient in Listerine mouthwash. Tea made with thyme is effective against coughs and bronchitis. In its tea form, it can be used to reduce inflammation of the throat when gargled three times a day.

There are many essential oils which perform various antiseptic roles, some of which get placed under the heading 'aromatherapy', while others, it transpires, are used in many household medicinal products (albeit heavily processed) - such as Listerine (mentioned above). So the next time you have an ailment, why not check your garden for some essential oils.

Anna Stenning is an expert on essential oils having had many years of experience in the health sector. For more information visit

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