Going (Anti) Viral: Essential Oils and Ways To Use Them


Recently, the media have inundated us with information on Coronavirus and it can be very difficult to separate the fear and panic from the facts. I'm not a Virologist so I can't give you the facts but I do know that specialists are stating that Coronavirus as an 'enveloped virus'. This means that the virus exists with a lipid-protein layer - is surrounded with a fatty 'envelope' - which is broken down with degreasers, like soap. This is one of the reasons medical professionals and virologists are recommending regular and thorough handwashing.


As a professional in the field of holistic medicine, all I can do is recommend approaches to the virus from this point of experience. The little bottle above is packed full of anti-viral essential oils. Essential oils are concentrated extracts from the leaves, flowers, bark and roots of plants and can be highly effective in their anti-viral action. It is important to make the distinction between anti-bacterial and anti-viral. Coronavirus is not bacterial. Anti-bacterial oils will make no difference to a virus but they are still useful - and lovely - to use. While Lavender is lovely and has been shown to be an effective anti-bacterial oil against clinical strains of respiratory pathogens, only anti-viral oils like Tea Tree will have any impact. Tea Tree essential oil has been shown to have an inhibitory effect on the replication of the influenza virus.


My blend contains more than 10 anti-viral essential oils and I have been using this around my home, practices and on and around myself. You don't need 10 oils - I can assure you that you don't - because essential oils are powerhouse elixirs and it is quality and type of oil over quantity and number that matter. I have made a bottle of numerous anti-viral oils because, well, it's just what I do. I concoct, I experiment, it's part of my job. I would say that a mix of 3 oils is a good choice but if you only have Tea Tree and Eucalyptus to hand, this is good. If you only have Tea Tree, this is also good. Something is better than nothing.


Here are some general recommendations of essential oils with anti-viral properties, recommended doses for their use and some suggestions on how to use them around your home.


Important: Please check with your GP and a qualified Aromatherapist before using any essential oils as many are contra-indicated (not to be used) with existing conditions and some affect the efficacy of certain medications. Animals are also highly sensitive to essential oils - please check with your veterinary surgeon before using around the home. Essential oils should never be applied to animals.

My rule of thumb when I share general information on essential oil use is never to use essential oils with babies, during pregnancy or if breast feeding. If you are using to diffuse, one or two drops only in a well ventilated room. Please consult a qualified, experienced Aromatherapist on their use.


8 Essential Oils With Anti-Viral Properties (in no particular order)


1. Tea Tree

2. Eucalyptus

3. Cinnamon*

4. Clary Sage

5. Marjoram

6. Anise

7. Clove*

8. Oregano


I have listed oils with anti-viral properties that have been based on clinical studies with similar properties as Coronavirus, in so far as that they have been tested on enveloped viruses and have been found to inhibit viral activity, either used singularly or together.


*Do not use Cinnamon and Clove EO on skin, not even in a dilution - they are highly irritant.

All essential oils must be diluted before use, no more than 2 drops in 10ml for adults in a suitable carrier - liquid soap, water, almond, grapeseed or sunflower oil. For essential oils, I have found that greater quantities do not necessarily make them more effective - they are holistic medicine and have subtleties of healing.


Surface Spray


In an empty, clean large spray bottle (similar in size to those that contain commercial/supermarket Shower Sprays, etc) fill 1/3 of it with white vinegar, add 1 tablespoon of washing up liquid, 10 drops of essential oil and top up with cold water. Use to wipe and clean down kitchen surfaces, taps, door handles. You can also use this to wash your hands or decant a little in a small travel spray bottle and wipe down areas in public spaces.


Room Diffusing

If you don't have an oil burner or diffuser, don't worry. Just place a little bowl or saucer of water with a couple of drops of essential oil on top of your central heating radiator. The heat from the radiator will gently evaporate the water and oil mix into the room. You can also use a clean flannel or face cloth soaked in water, wringing out excess water and adding a couple of drops of the oil on the flannel and draped over the radiator. (obviously this is for central heating radiators not on top of electric radiators or gas fires, that's just silly).


I have avoided adding a room spray here as most room sprays contain a certain amount of alcohol as it helps prevent the oils and water in the product from immediately 'dropping out' of the air. But Coronavirus, according to medical professionals, will only respond to alcohol of 70% and over. That vodka or gin in the cupboard will not cut it. 70% and above is medical grade Isopropyl alcohol and this removes oil and moisture from the skin (this is why hand sanitiser also contains aloe vera gel, to replace the 'moisture' that the alcohol has stripped from the skin). Spraying 70% alcohol in the air is NOT a good idea. It is highly flammable and irritant to lungs. Stick with diffusing oils.


Dishes and Cutlery

Add a few drops of the essential oil into your washing up liquid bottle (remember, no more than 2 drops per 10ml) and give it a shake. If you are using a dishwasher, add a couple of drops to the rinse aid liquid. I always use white vinegar and essential oils as my rinse aid. (I have no idea whether this is any good for the dishwasher. I haven't had any problems but I'm not a mechanic so please be your own judge.)


Clothes, Bedding and Laundry

Add a few drops of essential oil into the conditioner/rinse compartment of the washing machine or add a few drops in with the washing powder or to the ball/lid thingy for liquid that goes directly into the front of the machine. It's also useful to add some white vinegar to the rinse cycle (Again, I have no idea whether this is any good for the machine. I've been doing this for years with no problems but I'm not a mechanic so please be your own judge.)


Face and Hands

If you are not allergic or sensitive to any of the oils you are using, add a couple of drops to your hand and face moisturisers/creams and mix it in thoroughly. Remember, no more than 2 drops per 10ml, and keep away from your eyes.


Shower and Bath

Add a few drops to your bath, liquid soap, bubble bath, shower gel and shampoo and mix it in thoroughly too.


Steam Inhalation

Add 1 drop of essential oil to a heatproof bowl and add hot water. Wait until the steam from the water is not too hot to lean over and is comfortable enough to inhale. Lean over the bowl with your eyes closed, place a large towel over your head to keep the steam in and gently breathe.


Out and About

Open a fresh handypack of travel tissues and add one drop only of essential oil to the top of the tissues (where they are all folded at the top). Reseal them and keep them in your pocket or bag. Take one out and gently dab the tissue around your nose and mouth, inhaling from the tissue, when you need to be out in public spaces. You can also keep one tucked into your bra or up your sleeve.


Bedtime

Add one drop only of essential oil to one piece of kitchen roll or toilet tissue and place these inside your pillowcases, under the bed sheet and inside the duvet cover.


Disclaimer: This is not medical advice and these methods are not guaranteed to kill Coronavirus or guaranteed to prevent infection. If you have any concerns about using essential oils with existing conditions or medications, or have any questions about Coronavirus, please consult your GP or a medical professional.


Copyright 2020 © Andrea Doran, Flourish and contributors. Date of post Friday 13th March 2020.

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