Tag Archives: antiviral essential oil

Niaouli Oil for Respiratory Infections, Congestion, and Inflammation

"Paperbark"  Niaouli treeAmong the array of healing Australian oils offered at Essential Oil Exchange, there is a little-known oil steam disilled from the leaves of Melaleuca quinquenervia. Niaouli essential oil doesn’t get much press, yet its antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties rank up there with tea tree and eucalyptus oil, two of its more famous relatives. Niaouli oil is a clear to pale yellow-green mobile liquid with a fresh, camphoraceous odor reminiscent of eucalyptus. In aromatherapy it is most often used as an antiseptic and expectorant [1], especially in a blend with eucalyptus, tea tree, peppermint, pine, myrrh, and ravensara oils, all of which have phenomenal disinfectant and expectorant properties of their own and synergize powerfully with niaouli oil.

Niaouli (nee-AH-oo-LEE) is an evergreen tree related to the tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia), and is native to the former French Pacific Islands, New Caledonia, and Australia. The tree itself has a flexible trunk, spongy bark, and shiny pointed leaves that indigenous Australians used to make wound poultices, reduce fevers, and disinfect water holes by scattering the leaves into them. In fact, niaouli leaves are such an effective antiseptic that the leaves and oil were later used to disinfect obstetric wards in French hospitals [2].

Botanists on Captain Cook’s 1788 voyage to the Pacific were the first to give niaouli its Latin name and classify it alongside the tea tree. Today, niaouli essential oil is still added to toothpastes and mouth sprays as a disinfectant, and its list of uses in aromatherapy is also growing apace. Because of its similar therapeutic properties, aromatherapists will sometimes substitute the gentler-scented niaouli oil for tea tree oil when working with clients who object to the medicinal odor of tea tree oil [2]. Like eucalyptus, niaouli oil has anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties, and is often used in massage to treat rheumatism and arthritis [1]. A topical niaouli oil blend can also be beneficial in fighting acne, boils, decongesting oily skin, and disinfecting minor cuts and wounds [3].

However, where niaouli essential oil really shines is in treating respiratory infections and congestion. Niaouli oil works as an expectorant when it is inhaled from a diffuser or in a steam bath, and the oil’s antiviral, antiseptic, and decongestant properties have been used to treat the common cold, bronchitis, whooping cough, sinusitis, chest cough, and even tuberculosis [2]. The cooling minty quality of niaouli oil can soothe a respiratory tract that has become irritated, while the aroma lifts fatigue and gives a much-needed boost to the immune system, especially in these trying winter months.


1. Duke, James A. 1983. “Melaleuca quinquenervia (Cav) ST Blake” in Handbook of Energy Crops. Purdue University. https://www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/duke_energy/Melaleuca_quinquenervia.html.

2. “Niaouli – Aromatherapy (Melaleuca viridiflora)”. Herbs2000. Accessed May 8th, 2014. http://www.herbs2000.com/aromatherapy/a_niaouli.htm.

3. “Niaouli Essential Oil Profile, Benefits and Uses.” AromaWeb. Accessed May 8th, 2014. http://www.aromaweb.com/essential-oils/niaouli-oil.asp.

Hyssop Oil and Its Ancient Use in Ritual Purification

Blooming HyssopThe warming, slightly camphoraceous scent of hyssop oil has been associated with rites of purification, cleansing and sanctification since Biblical times. In aromatherapy, hyssop essential oil has antiseptic, expectorant, and cough suppressant properties [1], and is often included in diffusion blends to chase away winter colds, sinus congestion, and feelings of melancholy. Hyssop essential oil is a colorless to pale yellow-green liquid that blend well with other herbaceous and floral oils such as angelica, clary sage, geranium, melissa, and rosemary.

Hyssopus officinalis is a shrub native to the Middle East, Southern Europe, and Eastern Europe in the region around the Caspian Sea. It has lance-shaped leaves and produces bundles of blue, pink or white flowers during the summer. Hyssop was known to the Greeks in Classical Antiquity, and some scholars have suggested the word hyssop derives from the related Hebrew word esov or esob, which refers to a plant used in the Old Testament to purify temples and other sacred places. Hyssop also appears in the Bible as a treatment for leprosy. However, some scholars have argued that the hyssop of the Bible is actually a kind of thyme or marjoram, two other aromatic plants with similar antiseptic and cleansing properties.

Whatever the ancient truth, hyssop remained popular as a strewing herb in medieval European churches because it drove away fleas, which carried plague, as well as lice and other pests. Inspired by this use, some Roman Catholic sects still interpret Hyssopus officinalis as the hyssop of the Bible and use the flowers and leaves to scent the water used in purifying rituals called aspersions[1].

Fresh hyssop herb is also used in cooking, although sparingly because it has a strong minty taste with a slightly bitter edge due to the presence of tannins. Along with coriander seed, hyssop leaves are also a part of the complex and closely guarded recipe for Chartreuse liqueur, which makes use of over one hundred different aromatic plants! Bee keepers also sometimes raise bees on hyssop nectar to produce a richly aromatic honey [1].

As a medicine, hyssop essential oil may be diffused to ease respiratory complaints such as congestion, cough, and asthma [2]; it is currently listed in the British Pharmacopoeia for addressing colds and bronchitis [2]. In a massage, hyssop oil acts as a circulatory stimulant, making it helpful for reducing menstrual discomfort, healing bruises and sores, and managing the pain of rheumatism [3]. The oil may also ease digestive complaints when applied to the abdomen [2].

Hyssop essential oil should be avoided during pregnancy, and should not be given to children or people with epilepsy, kidney or liver disease [4], or high blood pressure [2], as hyssop oil can induce a mild increase in blood pressure. Use hyssop essential oil in dilution on the skin, or simply inhale the oil from a diffuser to quickly access its gentle, clarifying benefits.


1. “Hyssopus officinalis“. Wikipedia. Accessed May 10th, 2014. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hyssopus_officinalis.

2. Lawless, Julia. 2013. “Hyssopus officinalis” In: The Encyclopedia of Essential Oils: The Complete Guide to the Use of Aromatic Oils in Aromatherapy, Herbalism, Health, and Well-Being. Conari Press.

3 Grieve, M. “A Modern Herbal: Hyssop (Hyssopus officinalis)” Accessed May 14th, 2014. http://www.botanical.com/botanical/mgmh/h/hyssop48.html.

4. Millet Y, P Tognetti, M Lavaire-Perlovisi et al. 1979. “Experimental study of the toxic convulsant properties of commercial preparations of essences of sage and hyssop.” Rev. Electroencephalogr. Neurophysiol. Clin. 9: 8-12.

Oregano Oil and Its Powerful Antiviral Properties

Oregano Oil and Its Powerful Antiviral PropertiesThe Greeks called it “joy of the mountain,” and the Italians called it “flavor enhancer”, and it eventually became a signature ingredient in Italian recipes. Oregano has been used by tribal healers for over 5,000 years. Ancient medicine men believed oregano could eliminate dangerous fungi and bacteria as well as eliminate pain and inflammation. The Greek goddess Aphrodite reputedly created oregano as a symbol of happiness, so bridal couples were crowned with garlands of oregano, and the plants were placed on tombs so the departed could find peace in the next life.

Modern researchers have discovered numerous benefits when oregano oil is used in food recipes because it has the ability to stop the growth of microbes, which can cause several gastrointestinal issues. That ability has made it one of nature’s finest preservatives. The mineral and vitamin content of oregano oil is impressive, with iron, potassium, calcium, zinc, boron, magnesium, copper, and manganese being the main minerals, and vitamins C, A (beta carotene) and niacin enhancing the mineral content.

It’s not just the minerals and vitamins that make oregano oil such an important antiviral, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory substance – the compounds within the oil produce some amazing qualities, too. The carvacrol in oregano oil is effective against salmonella, Escherichia coli, and Listeria monocytogenes. The thymol has antiseptic properties, and the terpenes in essential oils are found in several plants and flowers, and these oils also have antibacterial properties.

The rosmarinic acid in the essential oil has antihistamine and antioxidant properties, plus it can reduce free radical cell damage, which lowers the risk of cancer and atherosclerosis. The naringin in oregano oil is a powerful antioxidant. It can inhibit cancer cell growth, and the tocopherols like vitamin E found in the oil are incredible antioxidants as well.

All of the chemical compounds in oregano oil help it produce amazing aromatherapy results. This ancient oil helps the internal as well as the external cells function normally. According to Heinerman’s Encyclopedia of Fruits, Vegetables and Herbs, oregano oil can help reduce fevers, bronchitis, cramps, childhood diseases like the mumps and measles, and it also helps regulate irregular menstruation. One of the most important uses for oregano oil is to prevent cell damage caused by free radicals, which are unstable oxygen molecules that steal electrons from other molecules.

The antiviral properties of oregano oil go hand-in-hand with free radical control. Viruses attack damaged cells and take control and destroy them. The essential oil helps the immune system destroy the viruses so the cells can regenerate and begin to function normally. Using oregano oil to fight viral, bacterial and fungal infections is as easy as inhaling it in a steam bath or straight from the bottle. Oregano oil also exhibits a powerful synergy when blended with other antimicrobial and antiseptic oils such as lavender, camphor, thyme, and peppermint.