Friday, February 15, 2008

The Scientific History!

Antiviral and Antimicrobial Properties of Essential Oils, by Dominique Baudoux (Excerpts)

During the 1960s, Dr Jean Valnet gave rise to the rebirth of aromatherapy, which split up into several schools, allowing thousands of doctors to get familiar with an anti-infectious technique not acknowledged by medical schools. Encouraged by hundreds of thousands of patients, a wide-ranging movement was born.

Anti-Infectious Properties

This is the most widely studied area of essential oils; this property is the only one that is really well-known and used regularly. In fact, many people associate 'aromatherapy' with 'anti-infectious therapy'.

The capacity of essential oils to neutralize germs is now irrefutable. Experimental studies were undertaken in France by Chamberland as early as 1887. In I888, Cadeac and Meunier published the results of their own research (Annales de l'Institut Pasteur). Many in-vitro confirmations were performed by pharmacists and doctors; results were conclusive. In his book, Antiseptiques Essentiels, published in 1938, René-Maurice Gattefosse described the already considerable advancement of the research.

Molecules with the highest anti-bacterial coefficient are: carvacrol, thymol and eugenol; all three are phenols. Not a phenol (but related, with a benzenic core), cinnamic aldehyde has an anti-infectious activity comparable to phenols. Thanks to these four molecules, any aromatherapy-savvy practitioner will be able to master most common infections.

Alcohols with ten carbon atoms (or monoterpenols) come immediately after: geraniol, linalool, thujanol and myrcenol, terpineol, menthol and piperitol are the most well-known. Reliable, broad-spectrum molecules, they are useful in numerous cases of bacterial infections. Aldehydes are also somewhat antibacterial; the most widely used are neral and geranial (citrals), citronnellal and cuminal.

Ketones are interesting for the treatment of mucupurulent infectious states (usually a strictly indirect action): verbenone, thujone, borneone (camphor), pinocamphone, cryptone, fenchone, menthone, piperitone and carvone.

Fungal infections are a hot topic today, due to the overuse and abuse of antibiotics by most members of the medical profession; as we all know, antibiotics are first and foremost microscopic fungi. The molecular groups with the strongest antibacterial action are also active on fungi. However, treatment must be over a longer period. Fundamental studies have also revealed the anti-fungal activity of alcohols and sesquiterpenic lactones.

The mad parasites of any and all forms of life, viruses give rise to pro-teiform pathologies, some of which medical science can do nothing to cure. Classic responses to these infections are very limited, so essential oils are a godsend in treating viral problems, from the most common to the most fearsome.

Molecules from many chemical families have shown an in-vitro antiviral activity, among them monoterpenols and monoterpenals.

Ketones, and especially rare cryptone, have shown an interesting capacity to fight naked viruses.

Aldehydes, whether used internally or in the atmosphere, are good complementary treatments for patients with viral infections.

Generally, viruses are highly sensitive to aromatic molecules, and some severe viral pathologies may show a vast improvement following their use. A fact of the highest interest, unearthed during fundamental research and clinical experiments: normal cells of patients under aromatic treatment seem to acquire a special resistance to viral penetration.

(end of article)

Other examples of published articles on essential oil research, especially those in medical journals:

Dr. Kurt Schnaubelt's book "Medical Aromatherapy" has a list of some basic research, including the following:

1960: Maruzella demonstrated antibacterial and antifungal effects of hundreds of aromatic compounds

1987: Deininger and Lembke demonstrated antiviral activity of essential oils and their isolated components

1973: Wagner and Sprinkmeyer in 1973 did research on a 170 year old blend of distilled oils still available in Germany. The effects of melissa and the other oils in Kosterfrau Melissengeist had been empirically known since Paracelsus (about 1500). They concluded that, with varying degrees of intensity, there was an inhibiting influence on all the bacteria tested, (Pneumococcus, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Staphlococcus aureus haemolyticus, Neisseria catarrhalis, Streptococcus haemolyticus, Proteus vulgaris, Hemophilus influenza, Haemophilus pertussis, Candida albicans, Escherichia coli-Aerobacter group, various Corynnebacteria, and Listeria) and stated the large spectrum of this inhibitory action is as broad as or even greater than that of wide-spectrum antibiotics.

Schnaubelt lists even earlier basic science research showing it has been known a long time that essential oils have antimicrobial effects:

1800-2002: Numerous animal and in vitro studies - evidence that all essential oils are antiseptic, some more than others and that many are effective against certain fungi, bacteria and viruses.

1881: Koch demonstrated the bactericidal action of essence of turpentine against anthrax spores

1887: Chamberland demonstrated bactericidal activity of essences of oregano, cinnamon and clove on bacillus anthracis1910: Martindale showed essential oil of oregano is the strongest plant-derived antiseptic known to date, 25 to 76 times more active than phenol on colobacillus.

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