Updated: Apr 9, 2021
With the continuing presence of COVID-19 in our communities, many people, especially those dealing with additional health conditions and health care workers, are looking to boost their immune system functioning. They are looking for natural ways to stay healthy, active, and safe from this transmittable infection.
How does the immune system work?
Our body’s basic natural defense is comprised of an army of individual white blood cells roaming our bloodstream. There are two basic categories of white blood cells; phagocytes and lymphocytes.
Phagocyte cells travel the bloodstream looking for and destroying unrecognized, foreign invaders including pathogens by engulfing and eating them. Phagocytes cells include macrophages, neutrophils, mast cells, and monocytes.
Lymphocytes cells recognize and kill known invaders from past illnesses. Lymphocyte cells include T-cells, B-cells, and natural killer (NK) cells
In supporting the immune system, we want to enhance the functioning of phagocytes and lymphocytes white blood cells by either creating more cells and/or increasing the strength and activity of the existing cells.
What Essential Oils will help people boost the immune system?
Both Eucalyptus and Ginger have shown to increase a number of immune function responses over multiple studies.
Eucalyptus Oil: A natural antiseptic, eucalyptus oil fights infections and has shown to increase both the count and strength of human macrophages cells in a BMC Immunology study.
In a rat study, eucalyptus oil was given orally to the rats for 15 days. The study showed a significant increase in the percentage of the circulating monocytes and their phagocytic activity to find and kill invading pathogens.
Eucalyptus oil is also antibacterial, antifungal, and anti-inflammatory. It helps to soothe coughing and clear mucus by opening the respiratory airways.
Ginger Oil: A natural antiseptic, ginger oil is good at fighting a wide range of infections especially respiratory illnesses as demonstrated by a study published in 2019.
The study included smokers and non-smokers to see if ginger oil could boost both sets of participants immune systems and if it could counter the negative effects of unhealthy lifestyle choices.
The benefit of ginger oil use for smokers was found to include a significantly higher lymphocyte count than they previously had.
Non-smokers benefited from ginger oil with increased levels of enhanced IgM cells. IgM cells are the first anti-body the body makes when fighting a new infection. Hence, for non-smokers, using ginger oil resulted in a stronger antibody response when coming in contact with new pathogens. Other Essential Oils Showing Antiviral Enhancing Capabilities with Immune Boosting Properties.
Clove Oil: After the H1N1 influenza pandemic in 2009, studies were conducted to see if clove oil could be potent against viral infections. As part of an oil blend, clove oil was shown to reduce the number of infected cells by as much as ninety percent. Clove oil has the highest anti-inflammatory capabilities of all the spices and herbs.
Oregano Oil: A potent antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral oil. A 2014 study showed Oregano oil’s effectiveness in breaking the MNV virus’s outer protein shell. With the protein shell penetrated, oregano oil was able to expose and kill the virus’s genetic code carrier, RNA. This effectively halted the virus’s replication.
Tea Tree Oil: A study published in 2010 concluded if tea tree oil was used within two hours of infection, it significantly inhibited viral replication. Tea tree oil can stimulate the immune system and kick in its fighting mechanisms. It also has powerful antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, and antimicrobial properties.
Thyme Oil: Thyme oil has antifungal, antiseptic, and antibacterial properties. In a study of 120 strains of bacteria, thyme oil inhibited bacteria growth in all 120 strains. Bacterial growth was even inhibited in the antibiotic-resistant strains of the various 120 studied strains.
Frankincense Oil: By increasing the white blood cell count, frankincense oil helps fight numerous types of infections. In one study, frankincense oil increased the lymphocyte activity by 90% to destroy pathogens which include harmful bacteria, fungi, viruses, and even cancer.
Cost Comparison of Oils to Support Immunity
Below these oils are ranked from the least expensive to the most expensive:
Eucalyptus Oil is the most cost-effective. It also happens to be one of the two most studied oils. Eucalyptus oil has shown many positive immune function advantages in several studies.
Tea Tree Oil.
Ginger Oil is at the mid-range cost of these seven oils. It costs about fifty percent more than eucalyptus oil. However, it is also one of the two most studied oils to show positive immune system boosting capabilities.
Thyme Oil is approximately twice as expensive as Eucalyptus Oil.
(Origin Nutraceutical’s disclaimer. Origin Nutraceutical does not intend to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent anyone from becoming infected with a contagious disease while applying this information regarding using essential oils for immunity purposes.
Nor does Origin Nutraceutical seek to advise our customers and/or consumers of the best way to use essential oils in supporting your immune system. Some of these essential oils should be not be used at high concentration levels, but instead in small quantities mixed with a carrier oil.
Origin Nutraceutical seeks only to inform our customers of the scientific promise of these oils to support the immune system’s ability to combat contagious diseases.)
Serafino, Annalucia, et al. “Stimulatory Effect of Eucalyptus Oil on Innate Cell-Mediated Immune Response.” BMC Immunology. 2008. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2374764/
Peterfalvi, Agnes, et al. “Much More Than a Pleasant Scent: A Review of Essential Oils Supporting the Immune System.” Molecules: MDPI. 2019. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6943609/
“The 10 Best Essential Oils to Support Your Immune System.” Calm w/Yoga: Yoga Beyond the Poses. 2020 https://www.calmwithyoga.com/the-top-10-best-essential-oils-to-support-your-immune-system/
Mahassni, Sawsan Hassan and Bukhari, Oroob Abid. “Beneficial Effects of an Aqueous Ginger Extract on the Immune System Cells and Antibodies, and Thyroid Hormones in Male Smokers and Non-Smokers.” Journal of Nutrition and Intermediary Metabolism. 2019. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2352385918300598
Wu, Shuhua, et al. “Protective Essential Oil Attenuates Influenza Virus: An In Vitro Study in MDCK Cells.” BMC Complementary Medicine and Therapies. 2010. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2994788/
Gilling, D. H. et al. “Antiviral Efficacy and Mechanism of Action of Oregano Essential Oil and Its Primary Component Carvacrol Against Murine Norovirus.” National Library of Medicine. 2014. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24779581/
Garozzo, A. et al. “Activity of Melaleuca Alternifolia (Tea Tree) Oil on Influenza Virus A/PR?8; Study on the Mechanism of Action. National Library of Medicine. 2010. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21095205/
Sienkiewicz, Monika, et al. “The Antimicrobial Activity of Thyme Essential Oil Against Multidrug Resistant Clinical Bacteria Strains.” National Library of Medicine. 2011. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/22103288/