Most people are well aware of the potent anti-bacterial effects of several essential oils, but there are also some essential oils (and foods) that have exceptional virus-killing capabilities as well.
This doesn’t necessarily mean they have this effect within the body (some essential oils are suitable to oral consumption, some are not), but it certainly may have some valuable cleaning applications for around the house to stop viruses from living on surfaces that are touched by human hands all day long.
There are also some foods that are great against viruses in the body. One of my personal favorites that I’ve talked about before, and often incorporate into my own personal diet is garlic.
Garlic is not only effective at killing harmful bacteria, but it also has been found to have anti-viral applications as well. It may be a really good idea to get fresh garlic or aged garlic set in oil of some sort in your everyday diet during the cold and flu season so you can get through it with minimal health issues.
At first sign of a cold, sniffles, muscle aches or fatigue, I give myself and my husband a clover or two of fresh garlic, crushed by either our teeth from chewing, or from a garlic press. We hardly ever feel sick for more than a day or two when we do this. Coincidence or the mind/body link (otherwise known as the placebo effect)? I personally don’t think so, and I have a real personal conviction that garlic is a powerful antidote to keep in your refrigerator.
Anti-Viral Essential Oils
There are a great deal of essential oils, which are pressed from the plant pulp and leaves, stems and other parts of plants, that are excellent at killing viruses in addition to many bacteria. The first one that comes to mind is one that is also popularly used for its applications as an antibacterial agent in helping to disinfect surfaces and wounds topically. I’m talking about tea tree oil, which happens to also be a main ingredient in two of our top selling products, our Acne Soap and our Natural Deodorant.
Tea tree oil has a pungent smell, as most essential oils do that also happen to be powerful anti-bacterial and anti-virals. It is very effective at killing bacteria on surfaces, and since it also has some antiviral properties, some may choose to mix this with other essential oils to really help target several different nasty bugs that can inhabit the surface of their skin, scalp, and any topical surface in the home.
Another one that can kill viruses is the essential oils of cinnamon or cassia, which smell very similar, and which are so potent that they must always be diluted if they are going anywhere near the skin (in fact, topical application is discouraged). However, that doesn’t mean you can’t use it as a cleaning agent or to disseminate into the air to help purify the air and make your home smell wonderful. The smell is extremely pleasant, and it can also help to awaken the mind with its potent, “hot” scent.
One study recently showed that rosemary essential oil and clove oil had helped various respiratory illnesses. By inhaling these oils through dilution and dissemination into the environment, presumably by the lungs inhaling their antimicrobial and antiviral components and perhaps also because they help to sooth lung tissue, seemed to help heal this afflictions more quickly.
It’s not surprising to learn that clove oil is another antiviral oil. If you’ll notice, a lot of these oils are considered either very pungent to the nose, and/or are considered “hot oils” which means that if you applied them to the skin undiluted, they would produce a burning sensation and would also perhaps cause irritation to the skin. The components that likely have the highest antiviral capabilities in essential oils are also the components that make the skin burn upon touching them undiluted.
One of the exceptions may be rosemary oil, which doesn’t necessarily smell “hot” or spicy, but still has a very pungent and distinct scent when inhaled. Melissa is another oil that is a bit less “hot” and spicy smelling that also tends to have antiviral properties.
In short, it may not be a bad idea to diffuse these oils when someone in the household is ill, especially if the virus or bacteria is airborne that caused it. It can help to disinfect the air and purify it for others. There are some applications as well where you can dilute various essential oils (some you can apply without diluting, but generally you do need to add either a carrier oil or water, you would need to read about this) and apply them to the skin.
Some people add them to a drink for oral consumption (again, you need to read whether a particular oil is suitable for oral consumption before trying this), and some dilute them and rub them on the soles of their feet since you do absorb this into your blood stream.
It’s a really interesting topic to read on, there are so many different remedies out there, and lots of regular people like you and me, and even experts, have different perspectives and methods so I’d definitely encourage you to read more on the various ways you can use essential oils as an antiviral and antibacterial agent in your home and on your body.