Which essential oils supporting the immune system?
The COVID-19 era is a time of uncertainty where consumers are looking ways to hack their well-being for improving their chances to resist the virus.
This covers many aspects of Well-being including food supplements, diet, exercise and any other ways to support their immune system including Aromatherapy.
In order to blend relevant essential oils, which could be used for air diffusion or massage oils, I turned to our library and then internet and to my surprise, I did find very little verified information on these properties. Anti-inflammatory properties of Essential oils are researched extensively but scientific research about Essential oils immune system benefits are scarce. Most of the time, on commercial websites, vague claims are based on food supplement, themselves more or less supported by rigorous data. We also have to take into account that the composition of an essential oil is very different than the composition of the original material as chemical reaction happens during extraction especially during steam or hydro distillations.
After extensive research, I came across a meta research (see reference below) published in December 2019 summarizing the immune supporting properties of essential oils run across several Departments of the University of Pecs (Hungary), namely Laboratory medicine, Neurology, Microbiology and Immunology, Immunology & Biotechnology.
These independent studies run across multi-discipline departments and cover in vitro, in vivo and human researches of various essential oils.
These researches are not connected but some essential oils are common to these studies therefore helping us to select a group of essential oils stimulating the Immune system supported by multiple relevant researches.
I believe it is interesting because before reading this study, it did not seem to me there was a consensus on immune system supporting essential oils, like there is for example, on Lavender oil relaxing properties. Many sources would cite many different essential oils, drawing an unclear picture of which oils were most likely to achieve the result we were aiming for.
Based on scientific measurements of immunomodulatory markers, the in vivo studies helped us to shortlist the essential oils which are positively affecting and stimulating the immune system in their own specific way. Beside the in vitro/in vivo studies, research were also conducted with aromatherapy massage oils, both on healthy participants (Orange, Lavender, Marjoram) and in early stage colorectal cancer patients (Ginger) and breast cancer patients (orange, lavender, sandalwood). These research were not conducted in any ways to see if the essential oils had any effects on the sickness itself but purely if the essential oils were improving functions of the immune system which itself can improve the body response.In all these studies, patients immuno-system was positively stimulated.
The essential oils listed in these researches and easily available in Thailand are:
Black pepper, Clove, Cypress, Eucalyptus, Frankincense, Ginger, Grapefruit, Juniper, Lavender, Marjoram , Patchouli, Orange, Sage, Thyme.
Considering their aromatherapy profile, we divided them in 2 groups to create a Relaxing blend and an Energizing blend which usually are the most looked after type of treatments.
Spa customers are going to Spa primarily for Relaxation and Revitalisation, based in this observation, we divided the essential oils used in these researches in a Relaxing and an Energizing group. We then used oils for these groups to create blends relevant to Spa treaments and every day use.
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