Research on Treating Herpes with Essential Oils
Treating herpes simplex and zoster (shingles) is a great challenge. The virus is very difficult (and many would say 'impossible') to eradicate from the body. Essential oils have shown anti-viral activity again and again in the laboratory. MANY oils are effective, and seem to interfere with the viral envelope. The two most popular oils for topical treatment are Melissa for herpes simplex and Ravensara for shingles. These are often blended with carrier oils, and particularly Tamanu - an exceptionally healing oil for the skin. A 50/50 blend of Ravensara and Tamanu is described in the aromatherapy literature. We know folks whom use Melissa 'neat', and others whom dilute it depending on the tolerance of their skin. Many other oils can work as well, as they share certain chemical properties. Here are a couple of studies regarding aromatherapy's efficacy in this treatment:
Antiviral activity of Australian tea tree oil and eucalyptus oil against herpes simplex virus in cell culture.
Schnitzler P, Schön K, Reichling J.
Department of Virology, Hygiene Institute, University of Heidelberg, Germany.
The antiviral effect of Australian tea tree oil (TTO) and eucalyptus oil (EUO) against herpes simplex virus was examined. Cytotoxicity of TTO and EUO was evaluated in a standard neutral red dye uptake assay. Toxicity of TTO and EUO was moderate for RC-37 cells and approached 50% (TC50) at concentrations of 0.006% and 0.03%, respectively. Antiviral activity of TTO and EUO against herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) and herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2) was tested in vitro on RC-37 cells using a plaque reduction assay. The 50% inhibitory concentration (IC50) of TTO for herpes simplex virus plaque formation was 0.0009% and 0.0008% and the IC50 of EUO was determined at 0.009% and 0.008% for HSV-1 and HSV-2, respectively. Australian tea tree oil exhibited high levels of virucidal activity against HSV-1 and HSV-2 in viral suspension tests. At noncytotoxic concentrations of TTO plaque formation was reduced by 98.2% and 93.0% for HSV-1 and HSV-2, respectively. Noncytotoxic concentrations of EUO reduced virus titers by 57.9% for HSV-1 and 75.4% for HSV-2. Virus titers were reduced significantly with TTO, whereas EUO exhibited distinct but less antiviral activity. In order to determine the mode of antiviral action of both essential oils, either cells were pretreated before viral infection or viruses were incubated with TTO or EUO before infection, during adsorption or after penetration into the host cells. Plaque formation was clearly reduced, when herpes simplex virus was pretreated with the essential oils prior to adsorption. These results indicate that TTO and EUO affect the virus before or during adsorption, but not after penetration into the host cell. Thus TTO and EUO are capable to exert a direct antiviral effect on HSV. Although the active antiherpes components of Australian tea tree and eucalyptus oil are not yet known, their possible application as antiviral agents in recurrent herpes infection is promising.
Virucidal effect of peppermint oil on the enveloped viruses herpes simplex virus type 1 and type 2 in vitro.
Schuhmacher A, Reichling J, Schnitzler P.
Department of Virology, Hygiene Institute, Faculty of Medicine, University of Heidelberg, Heidelberg, Germany.
The virucidal effect of peppermint oil, the essential oil of Mentha piperita, against herpes simplex virus was examined. The inhibitory activity against herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) and herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2) was tested in vitro on RC-37 cells using a plaque reduction assay. The 50% inhibitory concentration (IC50) of peppermint oil for herpes simplex virus plaque formation was determined at 0.002% and 0.0008% for HSV-1 and HSV-2, respectively. Peppermint oil exhibited high levels of virucidal activity against HSV-1 and HSV-2 in viral suspension tests. At noncytotoxic concentrations of the oil, plaque formation was significantly reduced by 82% and 92% for HSV-1 and HSV-2, respectively. Higher concentrations of peppermint oil reduced viral titers of both herpesviruses by more than 90%. A clearly time-dependent activity could be demonstrated, after 3 h of incubation of herpes simplex virus with peppermint oil an antiviral activity of about 99% could be demonstrated. In order to determine the mode of antiviral action of the essential oil, peppermint oil was added at different times to the cells or viruses during infection. Both herpesviruses were significantly inhibited when herpes simplex virus was pretreated with the essential oil prior to adsorption. These results indicate that peppermint oil affected the virus before adsorption, but not after penetration into the host cell. Thus this essential oil is capable to exert a direct virucidal effect on HSV. Peppermint oil is also active against an acyclovir resistant strain of HSV-1 (HSV-1-ACV(res)), plaque formation was significantly reduced by 99%. Considering the lipophilic nature of the oil which enables it to penetrate the skin, peppermint oil might be suitable for topical therapeutic use as virucidal agent in recurrent herpes infection.
Inhibitory effect of essential oils against herpes simplex virus type 2.
Koch C, Reichling J, Schneele J, Schnitzler P.
Department of Virology, Hygiene Institute, University of Heidelberg, Heidelberg, Germany.
Essential oils from anise, hyssop, thyme, ginger, camomile and sandalwood were screened for their inhibitory effect against herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2) in vitro on RC-37 cells using a plaque reduction assay. Genital herpes is a chronic, persistent infection spreading efficiently and silently as sexually transmitted disease through the population. Antiviral agents currently applied for the treatment of herpesvirus infections include acyclovir and its derivatives. The inhibitory concentrations (IC50) were determined at 0.016%, 0.0075%, 0.007%, 0.004%, 0.003% and 0.0015% for anise oil, hyssop oil, thyme oil, ginger oil, camomile oil and sandalwood oil, respectively. A clearly dose-dependent virucidal activity against HSV-2 could be demonstrated for all essential oils tested. In order to determine the mode of the inhibitory effect, essential oils were added at different stages during the viral infection cycle. At maximum noncytotoxic concentrations of the essential oils, plaque formation was significantly reduced by more than 90% when HSV-2 was preincubated with hyssop oil, thyme oil or ginger oil. However, no inhibitory effect could be observed when the essential oils were added to the cells prior to infection with HSV-2 or after the adsorption period. These results indicate that essential oils affected HSV-2 mainly before adsorption probably by interacting with the viral envelope. Camomile oil exhibited a high selectivity index and seems to be a promising candidate for topical therapeutic application as virucidal agents for treatment of herpes genitalis.
*The FDA has not evaluated the statements on this website. The information presented here is for educational purposes of traditional uses and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any diseases.