December 30, 2013
Essential Oil Science: Antibactierial, Anti-inflammatory and Antioxidant Essential Oils for Acne and Psoriasis Care
Essential Oil Research Supports a New Combination for Acne Care
We have it so Ananda receives email reports when new research papers are published regarding therapeutic activities of essential oils, so we can share the most interesting and useful ones with you. And we think it's just fantastic that laboratory research continues to support the medicinal value of what once was simply "aromatherapy" in many folks minds...
The oils studied here give a new idea as to what might work best for acne care, as well as some forms of psoriasis - or any inflammatory, bacterial-mediated skin condition. We give some recipe suggestions in the "short Version"...
The Short Version
This gets a little technical in the end, so if you'd like the short version, here ya go: Essential oils of 5 types were analyzed. The relevant information for us is that Palmarosa was found to be the most effective broad-spectrum antimicrobial, and Thyme essential oil with a high level of Thymol (as found in "Benchmark Thyme) PLUS Palmarosa was found to have strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, particularly examined against the bacterium which causes acne and its inflammatory effects. The same pro-inflammatory molecules suppressed by these oils are also present in psoriasis.
The take home message there was that a blend of Palmarosa and Benchmark Thyme in a carrier such as Fractionated Coconut, Hazelunt, Taman, or Grapeseed, each essential oil at a 5% concentration, should offer an excellent synergy of effects for acne care (reducing inflammation and eliminating the bacteria). These oils are also worthwhile in blends for psoriasis, though should be used at a lower concentration (as these formulas are generally used in larger amounts over larger areas of skin).
The Long Version
Here's the report from the Department of Cosmetic Science at the Chia Nan University in Taiwan (Biosci Biotechnol Biochem. 2011 Oct 7). "Antimicrobial, Antioxidant, and Anti-Inflammatory Activities of Essential Oils from Five Selected Herbs". The five selected herbs were Eucalyptus bridgesiana (Apple Box Eucalyptus), Cymbopogon Martinii (Palmarosa), Thymus vulgaris (Thyme - and while they do not specify the chemotype, they do discuss a high level of Thymol, of which our Benchmark Thyme contains a significant quantity at -- 28.4% -- see GC ananlysis here), Lindernia anagallis (for which we couldn't find a common name, but found it somwhat funny that information on the plant was most readily available in the "Global Compendium of Weeds"), and Pelargonium fragrans (Nutmeg geranium).
While only two of these oils are commonly available in the US, the report was very interesting as it addressed these two in particular: Palmarosa and Thyme. Here is a portion of the abstract: "The results of our study indicated that, except for the essential oil of P. fragrans (Nutmeg Geranium), all of the essential oils demonstrated obvious antimicrobial activity against a broad range of microorganisms. The C. martinii (Palmarosa) essential oil, which is rich in geraniol, was the most effective antimicrobial additive. All of the essential oils demonstrated antioxidant activities (in a variety of free-radical scavenging assays)." (Ed. note: interestingly enough, we know Benchmark Thyme to he highly antimicrobial itself, likely more so than the the variety use in this test, as it, unlike other Thyme varieties, contains Terpinene-4-0l, the "most active" constituent of Tea Tree).
"Furthermore, the (Thyme) essential oil, which possesses plentiful thymol, exhibited the highest antioxidant activity. For P. acnes-induced secretion of pro-inflammatory cytokines, the essential oils of (Palmarosa and Thyme) reduced TNF-α (Tumer Nerosis Factor-alpha, which promotes the inflammatory response, which, in turn, causes many of the clinical problems associated with autoimmune disorders), secretion levels of THP-1 cells (a human acute monocytic leukemia cell line), IL-1β (Interlukin 1, responsible for the production of inflammation, as well as the promotion of fever and sepsis), and IL-8"
IL-8 is "Interleukin 8", of which Wikipedia has this to say about it: "Interleukin-8 is often associated with inflammation. As an example, it has been cited as a proinflammatory mediator in gingivitis and psoriasis. The fact that Interleukin-8 secretion is increased by oxidant stress and conversely, Interleukin-8, by causing recruitment of inflammatory cells induces a further increase in oxidant stress mediators, makes it a key parameter in localized inflammation.