COVID-19 and Essential Oils: Resources for Practitioners | Essential Oil Academy

COVID-19 and Essential Oils
Resources for Practitioners

COVID-19 is top of mind for everyone in the world today. Because you use essential oils to support your own health and possibly that of others, it's crucial that you know as much as possible about COVID-19 and essential oils. Your need for information and mine inspired this article.

As I began research to create this post about COVID-19 and essential oils for you, I soon realized there are many different points of view and lots of resources scattered throughout the web.  Because of this, I decided to create a post with highlights and links to a number of websites with incredibly in-depth articles and facts to help guide you.

First I'll give you some legal and cautionary points of view, some science about the virus and then some hope from research that has been performed as well as recommendations.

The first and most striking of the resources is an article that warns the public about scams associated to the virus.  Most of these have to do with companies that are posting either well-meaning and erroneous or blatantly fraudulent claims about treatments and cures. Consumer beware.

Here is a link to this article from the Texas Medical Center:

https://www.tmc.edu/news/2020/03/coronavirus-scams-consumers-warned-about-fake-treatments-and-cures/

Along with this cautionary article from Texas Medical Center, I found another article that claimed the FDA had sent warning letters to a number of MLM Essential Oil companies and listed them. At first I was surprised and then after more research I realized the article was full of false allegations and listed companies that had nothing to do with FDA actions. I only connected the dots after I found the actual FDA letter.  

My conclusion was that the author may have heard rumors and then created an article based on hear-say information. Check and double check to verify the facts.

So here is what actually happened:

“The Food and Drug Administration in the US has sent warning letters to companies selling essential oils that “are misleadingly presented as safe or effective for the treatment or prevention of COVID-19.” These claims have now been removed from websites but posts still circulate about the benefits of eucalyptus oil vapors offering protection against viral infection,“ stated an article from McGill University in Montreal, Quebec.

The McGill University article continued, “There is no evidence for this, but that does not mean that a proper controlled trial is not worth pursuing. After all, that is the only way to separate anecdote from reputable science. “

"While claims that essential oils will help protect you from, or treat COVID-19 are not based on evidence, this does not mean you cannot or should not make use of essential oils for respiratory and psychological support.”   ~ Shannon Becker, PhD, RA

Let’s take a look at what the FDA has posted on its website:

"Today, the FDA and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued warning letters to three companies for selling fraudulent COVID-19 products, as part of the agency’s effort to protect consumers. With these warning letters, the FDA is exercising its authority to protect consumers from companies selling unapproved products and making false or misleading claims during the COVID-19 pandemic.

One of the companies warned, Gaia’s Whole Healing Essentials LLC., sells unapproved and misbranded colloidal silver products with misleading claims the products can build immunity for the treatment or prevention of COVID-19.

Another company warned, Homeomart Indibuy, offers homeopathic drug products for sale in the U.S. that are unapproved and misbranded with misleading claims the products are safe and/or effective for the treatment or prevention of COVID-19.

The third company warned, Health Mastery Systems DBA Pure Plant Essentials, sells essential oils with misleading claims that the products are safe and/or effective for the treatment or prevention of COVID-19."

You can read the entire article at: https://www.fda.gov/news-events/press-announcements/coronavirus-covid-19-update-daily-roundup-april-2-2020

FDA International Warnings 

But the US Government’s Food and Drug Administration’s efforts to stop false and misleading claims do not stop at US borders.  It also posted a letter on its website to Quinessence Aromatherapy LTD a company located in the United Kingdom.

They state that because their advertisements on the internet also reach US consumers, they are told to comply with US standards.  In a very thorough letter posted on the internet, the company is told why they must comply.

You can read their entire letter at:  https://www.fda.gov/inspections-compliance-enforcement-and-criminal-investigations/warning-letters/quinessence-aromatherapy-ltd-605013-03062020

What Should Concern Us About COVID-19 And Essential Oils?

If you are a student or graduate Certified Essential Oil Practitioner, Aromatherapist or related professional, you will also be aware that many essential oils have antiviral properties.  But we should not conclude that an essential oil that is antiviral is capable of destroying all viruses. This has not been proven and we should particularly at this time, refrain from stating that essential oils can have an effect on COVID-19.

Medical News Today has an article on the benefits of essential oils for the flu and other viruses that you may be interested in. You can find it at:  https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/321401

If you are an essential oil professional, you understand how essential oils work in our physiology and specifically in our cells. So let's also take a look at how the Coronavirus acts in the human cells.

How Coronavirus Hijacks Cells

I found an informative infographic entitled, “How The Coronavirus Hijacks Your Cells” on the New York Times website for you at:   https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/03/11/science/how-coronavirus-hijacks-your-cells.html?action=click&module=Spotlight&pgtype=Homepage.

This will give you a basic understanding of this virus and why the recommended safety protocols are thought to be so effective.

How To Manage Physical and Psychological Symptoms

Shannon Becker, PhD, RA wrote a very thorough research and science-based article on the website of Robert Tisserand, a contemporary essential oil thought leader.  There she discusses the intersection of COVID-19 and essential oils as well as possibilities. Below is an excerpt:

“Symptom management and psychological wellbeing

Because there is no known cure for COVID-19, medical interventions focus on symptom management, and in severe cases necessitate respiratory support via ventilators. Under no circumstances should you try to address a severe case of the disease, and once shortness of breath occurs, you must seek medical help immediately.

If only mild symptoms are present, you could use essential oils to assist in their alleviation – chest rubs containing pinene or cineole rich essential oils such as Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulus) or Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis), steam inhalation with the same oils, etc.

You could also use inhalation to combat the inevitable stress and anxiety. The use of lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) essential oil with citrus essential oils, often sweet orange (Citrus sinensis) or lemon (Citrus limon), has been effective in reducing situational anxiety, as well as chronic anxiety (Lehrner et al 2005, Perry and Perry 2006, Goes et al 2012).

By far the best thing you can do to mitigate the pandemic is to follow the recommendations of the WHO and other public health authorities – social distancing and hand hygiene.

Summary

Viruses depend on the host cells that they infect in order to reproduce, and there are several stages to host cell viral infection. SARS-CoV-2 is an enveloped virus, like influenza A virus (IAV) and there is promising in vitro research on some essential oils and how they interfere with the mechanisms used by the IAV to infect cells.

However, while some of these “antiviral” mechanisms may possibly translate to SARS-CoV-2, we don’t yet know if the essential oils are clinically effective for influenza, nor do we have a clear idea on route of administration, dosage, safety, delivery systems and so on. And, we do know there are some fundamental differences between IAV and SARS-CoV-2.

Therefore, making any assumptions at this point would be a massive stretch. While claims that essential oils will help protect you from, or treat COVID-19 are not based on evidence, this does not mean you cannot or should not make use of essential oils for respiratory and psychological support,” added Shannon Becker, PhD, RA.

Read the entire article at https://tisserandinstitute.org/essential-oils-coronavirus/

Official Academy Position: Remember, we as Certified Essential Oil Practitioners, are complimentary practitioners, not alternative healthcare. This means we support traditional healthcare rather than attempt to replace it.  So if someone has symptoms, they should be referred to their doctor and if approved by their medical practitioner, we can advise them in the use of essential oils as well.  Essential oil practitioners are not qualified to diagnose symptoms and should always refer to medical professionals. Be cautious to avoid any contraindications if the person is on other medication.

I hope the information you gained here gives you broad and deep knowledge on this topic. I encourage you to bookmark this page so that you can refer to these resources whenever needed.

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