Antimicrobial Activity of Essential Oils

IMG_3553Many essential oils possess anti-microbial properties, due to the naturally occurring constituents that result from the distillation process.

However this does not mean that humans should consume essential oils in order to treat or prevent bacterial infections.

Essential oils are extremely strong substances and they need to be used with caution, with respect to inhalation and topical skin use.

If an adult were to receive an entire body massage with a massage oil and that individual does not have a medical condition nor is taking a medication, the massage oil blend should not exceed six (6-10%) percent of added essential oils in a base oil such as coconut.

Pregnant or nursing mothers, the elderly, children under the age of 12 years, those with a medical condition, those persons taking medication or receiving treatment such as chemotherapy, persons with respiratory conditions or those who have allergies or skin sensitivities should use milder dilutions at one (1%) to two (2%). Some essential oils should be completely avoided by persons who fall into any of the above scenarios and it is imperative to consult with your physician.

Essential oils are commonly being used in cold water vapour machines known as ultrasonic misters.  Many folks are turning to this method in order to naturally scent their homes and personal spaces. Since many essential oils contain naturally occurring substances that have antimicrobial properties it is believed that this practice may help to improve air quality. According to Robert Tisserand & Rodney Young (2014):

A few drops of essential oil in a burner, vaporizer or in a steam inhalation is virtually risk-free.  However, prolonged inhalation (more than about 30 minutes) of concentrated essential oil vapors (eg., steam inhalation, or direct from a bottle) can lead to headaches, vertigo, nausea and lethargy.  In certain instances more serious symptoms might be experienced, such incoherence and double vision.

For children 5 years old or less, direct inhalation should be avoided.

At Bespoke Aromatics we carry over 100 different varieties of pure essential oils and we teach classes about how to use essential oils safely and effectively.

Many of our customers ask us if we make our essential oils, and often folks tell as that ‘such and such’ a company or that ‘this person I know’ makes their own essential oils.  In order to make an essential oil, expensive and complicated machinery is required.  Essential oils are most often extracted or distilled on-site at the location where the plant material is grown and harvested. Oh for sure there are many companies, manufacturers, aromatherapists, practitioners and even back-yard do-it-yourselfers who blend essentials into various concoctions and mediums but this does not equate to ‘making’ an essential oil.  Nearly all of the essential oils on the market are purchased in bulk (25 kg +) from just a handful of multi-national distributors of essential oils and raw material handlers.  Then the essential oils are re-bottled into smaller bottles and are re-labeled and branded.

It doesn’t take rocket-science to create a synergistic blend of essential oils that help to combat environmental germs, and you don’t have to pay an exorbitant amount of money (or be ‘thieves’) to create your own blend.  At Bespoke we carry all the individual essential oils to create your own ‘thieves blend’ : Lemon, Eucalyptus radiata, Rosemary, Cinnamon Bark and Clove Bud.

There is substantial research pointing to the fact that many essential oils have anti-microbial properties. Below we provide a list of valuable online resources:

Antibacterial activity of essential oils and their major constituents against respiratory tract pathogens by gaseous contact.

Antimicrobial activities of eucalyptus leaf extracts and flavonoids from Eucalyptus maculata.

Antimicrobial activity of clove and rosemary essential oils alone and in combination.

In vitro antibacterial activity of some plant essential oils.

Aromatherapy: Guidelines For Using Essential Oils And Herbs

Other Sources:

Lis-Balchin, M. (1995). Aroma science: The chemistry and bioactivity of essential oils. United Kingdom: Amberwood Publishing.

Tisserand, R., Young, R., Williamson, E. M., Balacs, T., & Tisser, R. (2013). Essential oil safety: A guide for health care professionals (2nd ed.). Edinburgh, United Kingdom: Churchill Livingstone.

Note:  Aromatherapy, like any other natural therapy, is intended to complement not replace traditional medicine.  When in doubt about any medical condition, always seek medical advice.  See legal

TinyFlowerSandra Topper, Professional Aromatherapist & Aromachologist
www.bespokearomatics.com

 

 

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