Can aromatherapy really fight a virus? The quick answer is, Yes! However, the research in this area has largely been done in Europe and so, is not well known or understood in the U.S.
The traditional American medical community has, for the most part, ignored such research. There seems to be a much greater interest in Europe in the development of natural alternatives to synthetic drugs, or medications, and a number of patents have been filed there for the antiviral preparations that are based on essential oils.
Indeed, commercial products based on essential oils have been available in the European markets for decades.
It’s “essential” that oils meant for therapeutic uses be obtained in pure form in order for the active components to be present. Poor grade oils, such as those mass produced simply to achieve certain aromas, are probably completely ineffective against any viral or bacterial organisms. Thus, it’s important, if one wishes to achieve therapeutic benefits, to insure a high quality oil is purchased.
Some of the conditions for which essential oils have been reported to be effective include Herpes Simplex I (cold sores), Herpes Zoster (shingles), human rhinovirus Type II (a “common” cold), viral hepatitis, Newcastle disease, mumps, some strains of the flu, viral enteritis, enterocolitis, neuritis, cowpox, polio, and even HIV-1, according to some sources.
Fighting disease with essential oils is not a new concept. In fact, throughout the world, and throughout the ages, people depended solely on such preparations to do so. Practitioners, now known as aromatherapists, were considered the doctors of the times, and because these therapies worked, were regarded more highly than any other health professions or methods that existed at the time.
As recently as 1980, Dr. Jean Valnet, a French surgeon, is reported to have successfully treated cases of shingles and flu, using a blend of certain essential oils that included pine, thyme and lemon oils. These oils are still in use today in clinical aromatherapy for the purpose of fighting certain viruses.
While aromatherapy and its clinical applications are still largely criticized by mainstream medicine, the European scientific community has enthusiastically embraced the pursuit of research into the qualities and uses of the essential oils.