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Last night around 7.30pm I sat down to write my blog on research into essential oils and viruses, when the church bells in our square started ringing for 15 minutes. My sister told me all over France every church rang its bells at 7.30 pm and everyone lit a candle to show their solidarity and unity ……

Today we launch our ila protection line the beginning of many powerfully curated products offering support, care, protection and kindness .

For me its like a circle completing- I started this journey in my clinic in the 90’s. I worked and researched with other complimentary practitioners on whether essential oils had the power to ‘disrupt’ or ‘disable’ viruses. And here I am 27 years later sharing this with you. We have had this range ready for sometime but now is the right time.

I want to share with you some of the research in to our 3 hero’s; Oregano, Thyme and Tea Tree.

Oregano oil

In addition to fighting off bacteria, test-tube studies found that oregano and its components may also protect against viruses. In particular, carvacrol and thymol are two compounds in oregano that have been associated with antiviral properties.

A 2017 study found that oregano essential oil, especially from the leaves of the oregano plant, has strong antioxidant properties. The researchers noted the traditional use of oregano oil in treating fevers and respiratory symptoms, which are both associated with the flu.

Research conducted in 2011 found that oregano essential oil can inhibit both human and animal viruses in vitro. 

The researchers noted that this action is likely due to carvacrol, one of the main compounds in oregano oil. While carvacrol was more effective against certain viruses on its own, oregano oil was more effective against respiratory viruses, such as flu viruses.

People with upper respiratory infections participating in the 2011 study used a throat spray containing oregano oil as well as diluted eucalyptus, peppermint, and rosemary essential oils. They used it 5 times a day for 3 days.


Antiviral properties

Research continues to prove that Thyme (Thymus vulgaris) and its constituents can inhibit viruses such as herpes and other potent viruses.

Increasing research has determined that plants provide some of the most promising opportunities to prevent the outbreak of these viruses, because not only are they easily cultivated and distributed, but they provide a source of resistance to viral outbreaks.

Thyme provides an alternative. Thyme contains multiple antiviral constituents, including thymol, camphor, borneol, carvacrol, terpinenes, pinenes, cymene, terpinenols, citral and cineoles. These and others have been found to be specifically antiviral, but more importantly, in combination, the plant and its essential oils provide significant antiviral protection.

And the mechanism of this antiviral protection appears to be related to the same properties found among other studies – of interfering with the glycoprotein molecule lined envelope that surrounds many of the most virulent viruses.

Research from Iran’s University of Ahvaz (2008)has found that extracts from the plant Thymus vulgaris – Thyme – provide protection from the potential outbreak of viruses particular the Newcastle virus .

The Newcastle virus has primarily propagated among birds around the world. The virus was first discovered in Java and Newcastle, UK in 1926 and 1927. The virus can cause acute illness and frequent death among birds, and it is also transmissible to humans – though so far human infections have been slight.

The researchers tested Thyme against the Newcastle virus using eggs. The researchers inoculated seven hen eggs with the virus using some as controls, along with uninoculated eggs.

The researchers found that the antiviral activity of Thyme oil was attributed to its volatile biochemical content, which includes sesquiterpenes, monoterpenes, and phenylpropanoids – such as those mentioned earlier.

Because the Newcastle virus is an glycoprotein-enveloped virus, the researchers suggested that Thyme’s compounds “interfere” with the envelope over the virus. The researchers also found Thyme was able to also block attachment of the virus onto cell membranes, as well as block the entry of viruses into the cell.

Tea Tree Oil

Antiviral properties

Tea tree oil contains a number of compounds, including terpinen-4-ol, that have been shown to kill certain bacteria, viruses and fungi  These germ-fighting properties make tea tree oil a valued natural remedy for treating  viral conditions, preventing infection and promoting healing.

The antiviral activity of Tea Tree oil (TTO)was first shown using tobacco mosaic virus and tobacco plants . In field trials with Nicotiniana glutinosa, plants were sprayed with 100, 250, or 500 ppm TTO or control solutions and were then experimentally infected with tobacco mosaic virus. After 10 days, there were significantly fewer lesions per square centimeter of leaf in plants treated with TTO than in controls (18). Next, Schnitzler et al. (132) examined the activity of TTO and eucalyptus oil against herpes simplex virus (HSV). The effects of TTO were investigated by incubating viruses with various concentrations of TTO and then using these treated viruses to infect cell monolayers.

After 4 days, the numbers of plaques formed by TTO-treated virus and untreated control virus were determined and compared. The concentration of TTO inhibiting 50% of plaque formation was 0.0009% for HSV type 1 (HSV-1) and 0.0008% for HSV-2, relative to controls. These studies also showed that at the higher concentration of 0.003%, TTO reduced HSV-1 titers by 98.2% and HSV-2 titers by 93.0%. In addition, by applying TTO at different stages in the virus replicative cycle, TTO was shown to have the greatest effect on free virus (prior to infection of cells), although when TTO was applied during the adsorption period, a slight reduction in plaque formation was also seen (132). Another study evaluated the activities of 12 essential oils, including TTO, for activity against HSV-1 in Vero cells .

Again, TTO was found to exert most of its antiviral activity on free virus, with 1% oil inhibiting plaque formation completely and 0.1% TTO reducing plaque formation by approximately 10%. Pretreatment of the Vero cells prior to virus addition or posttreatment with 0.1% TTO after viral absorption did not significantly alter plaque formation.

Some activity against bacteriophages has also been reported, with exposure to 50% TTO at 4°C for 24 h reducing the number of SA and T7 plaques formed on lawns of S. aureus and E. coli, respectively (41).

The results of these studies indicate that TTO may act against enveloped and nonenveloped viruses, although the range of viruses tested to date is very limited.

References :

The Oregano research :

Antiviral efficacy and mechanisms of action of oregano essential oil and its primary component carvacrol against murine norovirus’s

Journal of applied micro biology  : Research carried out by Hokkaido University ,The University of Arizona , The Center for Biological defense, École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne Switzerland


Research from Iran’s University of Ahvaz : found that extracts from the plant Thymus vulgaris – Thyme – provided protection from the potential outbreak of viruses particular the Newcastle virus .

T tree 

2012 American Association for Aerosol Research: Inactivation of Airborne Influenza Virus by Tea Tree and Eucalyptus Oils

1.       Agranovski, I. E., Safatov, A., Borodulin, A., Pyankov, O., Petrishchenko, V.Sergeev, A.2005. New Personal Sampler for Viable Airborne Viruses: Feasibility Study. J. Aerosol. Sci., 36: 609–617

2.       Agranovski, I., Safatov, A., Sergeev, A. A., Pyankov, O., Petrishchenko, V.Mikheev, M.2006. Rapid Detection of Airborne Viruses by Personal Bioaerosol Sampler Combined with the PCR Device. Atmos. Environ., 40: 3924–3929.  

3.       Air, G. M., Webster, R. G., Colman, P. M. and Laver, W. G. 1987. Distribution of Sequence Differences in Influenza N9 Neuraminidase of Tern and Whale Viruses and Crystallization of the Whale Neuraminidase Complexed with Antibodies. Virology, 160: 346–354.

4.       Boskovic, L., Agranovski, I. E. and Braddock, R. D. 2007. Filtration of Nanosized Particles with Different Shape on Oil Coated Fibres. J. Aerosol. Sci., 38(12): 1220–1229.  

5.       Carson, C. F., Hammer, K. A. and Riley, T. V. 2006. Melaleuca alternifolia (Tea Tree) Oil: A Review of Antimicrobial and Other Medicinal Properties. Clin. Microbiol. Rev., 19: 50–62

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