Pascal Debauche, a biochemist with Pranarom International, spoke about Oregano(Origanum compactum) and Cinnamon Bark(Cinnamomum verum) essential oils and their bactericidal actions at Botanica. Right off the bat, I found it interesting he noted that one single essential oil can contain up to 250 molecules. His talk focused on two of the most powerful, natural phyto-aromatics; Oregano and Cinnamon Bark.
However, other Bactericidal Essential Oils that he mentioned are:
- Ajowan(Trachyspermum ammi)
- Thyme(Thymus vulgaris ct. thymol)
- Clove(Eugenia Caryophyllata)*
- Lemongrass(Cymbopogon citratus)
- Tea Tree(Melaleuca alternifolia)
With the exception of Lemongrass and Tea Tree in the above list, the chemical component responsible for the aggressive action against bacteria is called a phenol. Oregano, for example, is comprised of 55-60% phenols(a combination of Carvacrol & Thymol constituents).
In his clinical study, the two essential oils were tested on 65 bacteria. Oregano and Cinnamon Bark proved to have the highest effect, with a great potential to target bacteria, as well as having anti-oxidant properties. This combination makes them both possible candidates as natural food preservatives(further testings will confirm).
In summary, phenols are the most aggressive anti-infectious chemical family found in some essential oils. With that being said, they are also one group that has to be handled with the most care.
Notes of Caution:
- Phenols are used for acute conditions, for short periods of time.
- For topical blends, always dilute essential oils that contain high amounts of phenols in a carrier oil, not greater than a 1% dilution. Skin sensitization can occur, as well as mucus membrane irritation.
- It is advised, prior to application, to apply on a test patch to confirm that there is no adverse reaction.
- Phenols are not suitable for children under 5.
- *Clove is an anticoagulant and is not recommended for persons with a clotting disorder.
For more information on essential oil safety, you can consult Robert Tisserand’s book here.
Great! Let’s put it into action-
Diffuser Blend for Cold & Flu Defense(original formula)**
Sweet Orange(Citrus sinensis)-20 drops
Lavender(Lavandula angustifolia)-20 drops
Tea Tree(Melaleuca alternifolia)-10 drops
Cinnamon Bark(Cinnamomum verum)-3 drops
Blend the above essential oils in a stock bottle. Use up to 10 drops in your diffuser. Diffuse for up to 10 minute intervals, a couple of times per day.
Until next time…
Kc, Nationally Certified Aromatherapist
**Statements on this blog have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.