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Friday, March 12, 2010

Essential Oils Positively Effect Immune Response

Why Disease is Prevalent

Humans have been given an incredible immune system ? able to ward off some of the nastiest of microscopic invaders. Yet, if this defense system is compromised due to an overload of toxins (from the environment, our diet or our stress level), cells tissues become exhausted and susceptible to attack. Since environmental toxins are on the rise and pathogens seemingly on every nook and cranny, it is important to maintain a healthy immune system. If the immune system is compromised, a breech in wellness occurs. This can lead to a vicious cycle of sickness leading to more sickness and eventually disease.

Supporting Our Health by Strenghtening Immune Response

In these modern times, many are familiar with the stress-relieving qualities of essential oils as well as their antimicrobial properties. Such characteristics of essential oils are helpful in supporting a fully functional immune system; stress and microbes are known to weaken its army of defenses. Few are aware that essential oils can actually strengthen the capacity of the immune system directly to fight off foreign invaders.

Essential Oils for Fighting off Disease

When we bang our leg, get a sliver in our hand or cross paths with infectious entities the immune system is recruited and responds with inflammation ? a tool to heal damaged cells and tissue. This initial inflammatory response is vital to restoring the injured area, yet prolonged inflammation can lead to a number of debilitating and often painful diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and even cancer. Research has established that essential oils have the ability to inhibit detrimental inflammatory processes that contribute to disease. Scientists are now investigating the actually mechanisms by which essential oils can enhance the immune system directly.

Melaleuca Eseential Oil Helps Out

At the Laboratoire de Botanique in France (2006) researchers were able to identify that Melaleuca alternifolia was able to regulate the amount of inflammatory-causing secretions found in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs). In so doing, natural anti-inflammatory agents, known as cytokines, were still able to be created and thus boosting the body's ability to protect and restore itself. This in itself is quite a finding, especially for individuals suffering from conditions associated with chronic inflammation.

Inducing Natural Killer Cells

In our magnificently crafted bodies, we have what is called natural killer cells, or NKs. Their job is to kill viruses and diseased cells such as cancer cells. At Nippon Medical School in Tokyo, Japan (2006), scientists found that phytoncides (essential oils from wood) increased NK activity and restored activity when cell lines were damaged (purposely induced). Researchers proposed that the reason for this effect is that phytoncides induce immune cells that destroy unwanted cells and microbes - perforin, granzyme A, and granulysin respectively.

Ginger Essential Oil Controls Immune Response

At Zhejiang University Medical School in China (2006), scientists looked at the ability of ginger essential oil to regulate immune system functions. Using mice (bless them for their sacrifice), these researchers were able to identify that ginger essential oil can exert suppression of T lymphocytes (a component of the cell-mediated immune response) in cases where such a response is actually harmful to the body, such as with chronic inflammation and autoimmune diseases (like Crohn's disease).

Concluding Thoughts

The level of complexity of our immune system is astounding. This collective network composed of organs, cells and proteins seeks to protect the body from bacteria, parasites, funguses and viruses, as well growth of tumor cells. Those designated with such a task need to remain healthy and fully capable. When the well-being of this system is compromised, recent research suggests that essential oils are capable of stimulating the immune response or redirect its energies when necessary.

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