Viruses and Essential Oils

A viral pandemic is rapidly sweeping the globe. People from all walks of life are affected and wondering what this is and how to protect themselves and their loved ones. Buying toilet paper is not the way… When people are educated and have a clear plan, they are empowered and calm. So don’t panic. This article will educate you about viruses and how you can support yourself with some common sense practices and essential oils.

What is a virus?

Viruses are small infectious agents that have only one type of nucleic acid and can only multiply in the living cells of animals, plants or bacteria. Their name comes from the Latin word ‘uirus’ which means ‘venom or poison’.

Viruses are classified according to their nucleic acid content (DNA or RNA), their size, the shape of their capsid and the presence of a lipoprotein envelope.

The classifications are:

Adenoviruses - responsible for upper respiratory tract infections in humans

Asfarviruses - like the one that caused African swine fever

Herpesviruses, Papillomaviruses or Poxviruses - belong to the group of DNA1 viruses

Retroviruses - including HIV or AIDS virus

Influenza Virus - responsible for epidemics and pandemics of influenza

Coronavirus, Filovirus, Reovirus or Picornavirus - belong to the group of RNA1 viruses.

What is Coronavirus?

Coronaviruses are crown-shaped virions, which is why the name corona, meaning ‘crown’ or ‘wreath’ in Latin. In the world of viruses, the virions are quite large, (approximately 120 nm in diameter) and are transmitted by body fluids exchanged by an infected person sneezing and coughing[1]. They cause respiratory symptoms and a recent study showed that almost 50% of cases present with gastrointestinal symptoms as a complaint[9].

Until recently, there have been six known strains of human coronaviruses, four of which are harmless, with mild flu-like symptoms, and two that are highly pathogenic to humans[2].

The latter two infect the upper and lower respiratory tract and have symptoms such as fever, coughs, and muscle pain. They are known as the

  1. Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus (SARS-CoV), which caused the pandemic in 2003.

  2. Middle East respiratory syndrome related coronavirus (MERS-CoV), which was identified in 2012.

Both of these strains of coronaviruses caused hundreds of deaths before they were able to be contained.

Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2)

The latest, and 7th, human coronavirus to be discovered, is the SARS-Cov-2, so named by the International Committee on the Taxonomy of Viruses as the virus has a 70% genetic similarity to the SARS-CoV[3]. It is the virus that is behind the deadly disease, Coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

This virus was first reported in Wuhan, China, in December 2019, and was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organisation (WHO) on March 11, 2020.

Why a pandemic?

Pandemic is not a word used lightly by WHO. It is a word that can cause fear and panic if used inappropriately and so, when used, caution needs to be headed.

The word itself comes from the Greek words ‘pan’ meaning all, and ‘demos’ meaning people. This virus is causing a world-wide spread of a new disease that people have no immunity over.

The spread of this disease has been said to be so effective because SARS-CoV-2 is activated by an enzyme called furin, which is found in human tissues such as the lungs, liver, and small intestines. The virus thus has the ability to attack multiple organs. It is considered a respiratory disease, but people have also died of liver failure. Furins may also aid the virus to stabilise in the body and to transmit easier[5].


The symptoms of the virus are like a flu, and can range from being asymptomatic to deadly in humans. The symptoms start in the throat, causing inflammation and a feeling of dryness. The virus then typically travels through the moisture present in the airways, goes down the trachea, and installs in the lungs. People with mild symptoms are just as contagious as people with deadly symptoms.

How is it transmitted?

Currently it is agreed that the disease is transmitted when respiratory droplets from someone with the virus, such as those released when sneezing or coughing, land on another person or a surface that is touched shortly after by someone else. There is no definitive answer as to how long the virus can survive on surfaces. It ranges from minutes to several days, depending on the surface, temperature and at what stage the virus is at in its series interval and life-cycle.

Prevention is key

At the time this article is written, there is no known cure or vaccinations for this disease. The only way to avoid contracting it and allowing it to spread is to apply strict hygiene and taking preventative measures against the infection.

Some of the actions to take are:


Drink hot beverages - warm water, tea, broth, soup etc. The virus is sensitive to heat and dies at over 57 degrees. Drinking regularly (every 20 minutes) also permits the virus to be washed down into the stomach where the gastric juices will neutralise it before it gets into the lungs or any of the other body organs.


Wash your hands regularly with foaming soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially before eating and after blowing your nose. The virus has receptors that bind with water and fats so it can easily be swept down the sink with this method. Washing the face can also prevent contracting and spreading the disease as the virus is contracted through coming into contact with receptors in the mucous membranes. So, avoid touching the “T” section of your face, and wash regularly.


The virus contained in the respiratory droplets can be carried on hair and clothes. First thing when you get in from being on the street, take a shower and wash your clothes in soap. Do not sit down or touch anything. If you cannot wash your clothes daily, hang them up in the sun as this will help to neutralise the virus.


The virus can stay viable on these surfaces for up to nine days in the optimum conditions. Be vigilant about touching hand rails, door handles etc


Just don’t. Do everything to protect your respiratory system.


When coughing or sneezing, cover your mouth, preferably with your elbow and not your hands. If you are feeling any of the symptoms, cover your mouth and nose with a mask around other people. The virus, being a large virion, cannot go through many of the masks available and will prevent you transmitting the virus.


Governments around the world are advising people to socially distance themselves as a form of infection control. If you suspect someone is infected, avoid contact with them.


Pay attention to the quality of food you are eating, keep zinc levels up, get out into the sunshine, exercise and make sure you get good sleep.

How to use Essential Oils to get ultimate protection

Studies have shown that essential oils have great antiviral properties [6] [7] [8]. They can be used to disinfect hands, clean the environment and support the immune system.

First, choose your favourite essential oils for this purpose.

RavintsaraCinnamomum camphora

Aromatic molecules : Sabinene, 1,8 cineole, α-terpineol

Distilled organ: Leaf

The name means ‘the good leaf’ in Malgache, the language of Madagascar where this tree is native. It is an essential oil that is considered as one of the most important for supporting the body in fighting viruses by Daniele Festy, a pharmacist in Paris that was one of the for-leaders in educating people on essential oils[10]. She considers it a necessary part of anybody’s ‘essential’ essential oil kit.

Ravintsara is gentle on the skin and can be used safely around children (age 6+) and the elderly.

Mandravasarotra Cinnamosma fragens

Aromatic molecules : 1,8 cineole, monoterpenes

Distilled organ : Leaf

Another native to Madagascar, this evergreen and very aromatic tree can reach up to 5m of height. In Malagasy, Mandravasarotra means ‘what keeps evil away’. This is the plant most used by the populations of the western part of the island.

Eucalyptus Radiata - Eucalyptus radiata ssp radiata

Aromatic molecules : 1,8 cineole, α-terpineol

Distilled organ : Leaf

Eucalyptus radiatas' minty scent is deeply refreshing, clearing and invigorating, setting it apart from the more dusky, camphor-like Eucalyptus globulus and the citrus-like Eucalyptus citriodora. The oil is commonly used for respiratory support and immune support.

Tea Tree - Melaleuca alternifolia

Aromatic molecules : Terpineol 1,4, γ-terpinene

Distilled organ : Leaf

Tea tree is an essential oil that no longer needs to prove itself. It is found in a very large number of washing (soap, shampoo, bath oil) and cosmetic products. In addition to these applications, it is rightly considered a reliable element of medical and family aromatherapy.

Niaouli - Melaleuca quinquenervia

Aromatic molecules : 1,8 cineole, viridiflorol

Distilled organ : Leaf

Niaouli provides an essential oil remarkable for its efficacy and tolerance, and formerly known as gomenol. It is related to the tea tree and its properties are similar. Like true lavender, it is considered a panacea because of its wide range of indications. The multiple results obtained through its use allows it to be classified among the top 10 essential oils used by the informed consumer11. Niaouli essential oil can support the immune system during flu and cold season, promote clear lungs and sinuses.

Bay Laurel - Laurus nobilis

Aromatic molecules : 1,8 cineole

Distilled organ : Leaf

Much more well-known in ancient times, where wreaths crowned victors, and in cuisine, where it forms part of the bouquet garni, Bay Laurel produces a remarkable essential oil that remains too little used in aromatherapy.

Bay Laurel essential oil has a fresh, herbal and earthy scent with a spicy finish. It is extensively used in cologne, body care products, soaps, scents, and herbal remedies. Use to support a healthy immune system and emotional balance during times of illness and stress.

Thyme CT linalol - Thymus vulgaris

Aromatic molecules : Linalol

Distilled organ : Flowering top

Thyme CT linalol has a soft, sweet and herbaceous aroma. Gentler than Thyme CT Thymol and other variants that contain phenols, Thyme CT linalol is a better option for using around children (age 6+) and the elderly. Great to support the immune system and the respiratory system during flu and cold season.

Once your essential oil/s are chosen, follow these steps


  • Sanitise hands by applying 100 drops of your chosen EO to 100 ml of your favourite foaming cleansing gel. Note: dilution from 1%-5% maximum OR

  • Put 3 drops of chosen EO in a small amount of aloe-vera gel and use as a waterless hand sanitiser.


  • Strengthen the immune system by locally applying 1-2 drops of selected EO mixed into a carrier oil on the wrists, chest and bottoms of the feet 1-3 times a day during the entire risk period OR

  • If you are around infected people or where your risk of contamination is high (eg. going shopping) 3-4 drops of selected EO 3-5 times a day OR

  • If you are sick, 6-10 drops of selected EO 5-10 times a day for 48 hours. Then reduce to 3-4 drops, 3-5 times a day, until symptoms subside.


  • Clean the air by diffusing a mixture of 10-15 drops of the above EO’s for an hour in the morning and an hour in the evening OR

  • Diffuse the above mix every hour for 15 minutes.

Finally, just remember the importance of being calm and generous in this time. Follow the rules for keeping this virus at bay, not just for your health but for the health of community.

The information has not been evaluated by any food or drug authority. Statements or claims are not made as to any medicinal value of any products provided. The information presented here is for educational purposes of traditional uses and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. You are responsible for understanding the safety application of these products. Seek professional advice prior to use.

[1] "Transmission of Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) | CDC". 31 January 2020. Retrieved 1 February 2020.

[2] Corman VM, Muth D, Niemeyer D, Drosten C (2018). "Hosts and Sources of Endemic Human Coronaviruses". Advances in Virus Research. 100: 163–88. doi:10.1016/bs.aivir.2018.01.001. ISBN 978-0-12-815201-0. PMID 29551135.

[3] Hui, David S.; I Azhar, Esam; Madani, Tariq A.; Ntoumi, Francine; Kock, Richard; Dar, Osman; Ippolito, Giuseppe; Mchugh, Timothy D.; Memish, Ziad A.; Drosten, Christian; Zumla, Alimuddin; Petersen, Eskild (February 2020). "The continuing 2019-nCoV epidemic threat of novel coronaviruses to global health – The latest 2019 novel coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan, China". International Journal of Infectious Diseases. 91: 264–66. doi:10.1016/j.ijid.2020.01.009. PMID 31953166.

[5] Jaimes, J. A., André, N. M., Millet, J. K. & Whittaker, G. R. Preprint at bioRxiv (2020).

[6] Jackwood, M. W. et al. (2010). Avian coronavirus infectious bronchitis virus susceptibility to botanical oleoresins and essential oils in vitro and in vivo. Virus research, 149(1), 86-94.

[7] Wu, S. et al. (2010, April). Essential oil attenuates influenza virus infection via inhibition of membrane fusion in vitro. In journal of investigative medicine (Vol. 58, No. 4, p. 677)

[8] Wang, W. et al. (2008). Anti-virus activity of combined essential oil on infectious bronchitis virus. Indian veterinary journal, 85(11), 1147-1148

[9] Wuhan Medical Treatment Expert Group for COVID-19 “Clinical characteristics of COVID-19 patients with digestive symptoms in Hubei, China”

[10] Festy, Danièle, 2008, Ma Bible des Huiles Essentielles, Leduc editions, Paris.

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