Therapeutic Properties of Essential Oils
Essential oils have many therapeutic properties including analgesic, anticarcinogenic, antihypotensive, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antitussive and antispasmodic, among others.
I have chosen to focus on analgesic, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial as those are the properties that are sought by the population within the nursing home where I work.
Many oils have analgesic properties that help relieve pain, such oils include: Anise Pimpinella anisum, Basil (Sweet) (Ocimum basilica ct. linalol), Bergamot (Citrus bergamia), Black Pepper (Piper nigrum), Cardamom (Elettaria cardamomum), Chamomile, Roman (Chamaemelum nobile), Ginger (Zingiber officinale), Clove Bud (Eugenia caryophyllata), Coriander (Cariandrum sativum), Frankincese (Boswellia carterii), Helichrysum (Helichrysum italicum), Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia), Myrrh (Commiphora myrrha), Oregano (Origanum vulgare), Peppermint (Pogostemon cablin), Rose (Rosa damascena), Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis), and Tea Tree (Melaleuca alternifolia) to name just a few. In a study published in Molecules on the analgesic potential of essential oils, they studied the antinociceptive activity of essential oils from 31 plant species and concluded “ this review show the potential of essential oils like low cost analgesic drugs for new treatments for pain” (Saramento-Neto, et al., 2015. p. 19).
Not only are many essential oils anti-inflammatory, but they also have several other therapeutic properties as well. Some common oils that have anti-inflammatory properties are Anise (Pimpinella anisum), Basil (Sweet) (Ocimum basilica ct. linalol), Bergamot (Citrus bergamia), Cardamom (Elettaria cardamomum), Chamomile, Roman (Chamaemelum nobile), Ginger (Zingiber officinale), Coriander (Cariandrum sativum), Frankincese (Boswellia carterii), Helichrysum (Helichrysum italicum), Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia), Melissa (Melissa officinalis), Orange (Sweet) (Citrus sinensis), Rose (Rosa damascena), Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis), Tea Tree (Melaleuca alternifolia), and Ylang Ylang (Canaga odorata). In Antiinflammatory effects of essential oil from the leaves of Cinnamomum cassia and cinnamaldehyde on lipopolysaccharide-stimulated J774A.1 cells, showed that “Cinnalmaldehyde exhibited antiinflammatory activity by decreasing inflammatory enzymes and mediators and by increasing antiinflammatory mediators” (Pannee, et al., 2014. p. 170).
In one study, “essential oils of Laportea aestuans in that a methyl ester of SA, methyl salicylate, as the main compound, showed inhibitory potential especially at 200 mg/mL, against various microorganisms, including E. coli and S. aureus” (Monte, et al., 2014. p. 475). Other oils that have antimicrobial properties are Citronella (Cymbopogon winterianus), Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulus), Geranium (Pelargonium x asperum), and Lemongrass (Cymbopogon). In the study, Antibacterial and antifungal activity of ten essential oils in vitro, ten essential oils were tested against 22 different bacteria. They found “Lemongrass, eucalyptus, peppermint and orange oils were effective against all the bacterial strains” (Pattnaik, et al., 1996. p. 237). Those bacteria included “Gram-positive cocci and rods and Gram-negative rods, and twelve fungi (3 yeast-like and 9 filamentous)” (Pattnaik, et al., 1996. p. 237).
It is clear that essential oils are an important tool for those suffering from either acute or chronic pain when administered properly. The therapeutic properties of several essential oils can be an cost-effective and healthy alternative for many people.
Monte, J., Abreu, A.C., Borges, A., Simões, L.C. and Simões, M. (2014) Antimicrobial Activity of Selected Phytochemicals against Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus and Their Biofilms. Pathogens, 3, 473–498.
Pannee, C., Chandhanee, I., & Wacharee, L. (2014). Antiinflammatory effects of essential oil from the leaves of Cinnamomum cassia and cinnamaldehyde on lipopolysaccharide- stimulated J774A.1 cells. Journal Of Advanced Pharmaceutical Technology & Research, 5(4), 164-170. doi:10.4103/2231-4040.143034
Pattnaik S., Subramanyam V. R., & Kole C. R. (1996). Antibacterial and antifungal activity of ten essential oils in vitro. Microbios, 86(349). pp. 237–246.
Sarmento-Neto, J. F., do Nascimento, L. G., Felipe, C. F. B., & de Sousa, D. P. (2015). Analgesic potential of essential oils. Molecules, 21(1), 20.