Essential Oils and Covid-19
I want to say a few words about essential oils and COVID-19 novel coronavirus. I held off voicing my opinion for a long time because there was, and still is, much we don’t know about this virus. One thing I can be sure of is that there is no scientific evidence that any essential oil will keep you from getting COVID-19.
Now before the haters start throwing stones let me explain. First of all, this virus is so new we don’t even have a vaccine that works on it. Don’t you suppose the first priority for scientists would be developing a vaccine? Wouldn’t you think that would be a slightly more pressing concern than putting COVID-19 in a petri dish and putting essential oils on it to see if it would kill it? Although the studies might be interesting they aren’t a priority with the current state of affairs.
Speaking of the current state of affairs, the US FDA had to send out letters to some unscrupulous essential oil sellers who were making claims that essential oils were “safe and effective for the treatment or prevention of COVID-19”. This is the reason I hate the large MLM companies that have untrained people hawking essential oils. These claims are both dangerous and against the law.
I know we are all a little crazy when life gets disrupted like this. This is where I think the use of essential oils can be beneficial. They can be used for scientifically proven uses and they can be an additional layer on top of the advice you are getting from the medical professionals. Social distancing, good hand washing, and avoiding touching your face are effective tools to reduce the spread.
Where essential oils and COVID-19 can intersect is for such things as adding to your soap for handwashing. Adding antimicrobial essential oils to your hand soap can give it an extra boost. Besides, they just plain smell amazing in addition to killing germs on your hands. Just like the infection control nurse pounded into our heads when I was a health care practitioner for 34 years, good handwashing is the key to preventing infections. This is just as true at home as it is in the hospital setting. I’ve used this hand soap for 3 cold and flu seasons now and I haven’t caught either one. Anecdotal evidence for sure. But I’ll take it and call that a win.
Essential oils like lemon or orange oils are great for cleaning surfaces in your home. You can add tea tree oil for a one-two cleaning punch. And the citrus oils also have a refreshing and uplifting scent.
Another use for essential oils and COVID-19 is to deal with all the stress the disruptions are causing. Let’s face it, with the shutdowns and stay-at-home orders many people are facing serious stress. Using some calming lavender or chamomile essential oil in a diffuser could help you relax and deal with the constant stress. Need to concentrate because you are working at home? Diffuse some rosemary essential oil to help you mentally remain clear and focused.
Finally, I would like to address the posts I have seen online regarding diffusing eucalyptus or basil into the air to clear the air of coronavirus. I will repeat that there is no scientific study that shows that to be the case. The people who are posting these things may be just re-posting something they read that sounds plausible. But spreading misinformation like this can have deadly consequences. This article sheds some really good light on why you shouldn’t be taken in by such claims.
As usual, the claims sound plausible. A study by doctors at a university in another country have proven that this or that can cure or kill this or that. Then they throw out some scientific sounding words that don’t mean anything. This gains the confidence of those who don’t do any research on whether the claims are true. But all it really does is put cash in the pockets of the scammer and can honestly put your life or health at risk.
My advice is to find someone you trust if you aren’t trained in essential oils. Someone who will tell you the truth about what they can and can’t do. Be a good consumer and research the effects and hazards for yourself. Then decide if using essential oils for what they are intended is something you want to do.
The next step is to find a reputable seller of pure essential oils. If you don’t know why that is important you can read this article on the adulteration of essential oils. Then you can read this article on essential oil quality.
So please don’t believe the claims that eucalyptus or basil will clean the air in your home of COVID-19. There is no evidence to support this claim, and I would be willing to bet that study will be a long time coming in the future. Use essential oils for what they have been proven to work for. Most importantly, follow the advice of the medical community for keeping yourself and those around you safe. These are trying time, but we will get through this.