Aromatherapy Essential Oil Scientific Research

Scientific research proves the efficacy of therapeutic grade aromatherapy essential oils as natural, effective wellness solutions.

Limonene Effective Against Cancer Cells — Citrus oils contain large percentages of the constituent, limonene. Visit the page on orange essential oil to read the research.

November 15, 2007 HC# 040575-340, courtesy of Herb Clip by the American Botanical Council, Re: Heat, Essential Oils and Salt in Foot Bath Show Antifungal Activity for Tinea pedis. Hnouye S, Uchida K, Nishiyama Y, Hasumi Y, Yamaguchi H, Abe S. Combined effect of heat, essential oils and salt on the fungicidal activity against Trichophyton mentagrophytes in foot bath. Jpn J Med Mycol. 2007;48:27-36.

Tinea pedis, also known as athlete's foot, is a common fungal infection of the toes and feet. Trichophyton species of fungus are typically responsible for the infection. Tinea pedis is treated with topical or oral antifungal drugs. Aromatherapy practitioners suggest that a heated foot bath containing essential oils may be useful in the treatment of Tinea pedis. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of essential oils, salt, and heat on the survival of Trichophyton species in a water bath.

This laboratory study was conducted at Teikyo University Institute of Medical Mycology in Tokyo, Japan. Plates of agar being inoculated with T. mentagrophytes or T. rubrum, small sections of the agar were treated in a water bath with and without essential oils, 10% salt (sodium chloride) at temperatures ranging from 27 degrees C to 42 degrees C (80 degrees F to 117 degrees F), and the proportion of surviving fungal cells calculated.

The essential oils were cinnamon bark (Cinnamomum zeylanicum), clove (Eugenia aromatica), geranium (Geranium maculatum), lavender (Lavandula angustifolia), lemongrass (Cymbopogon citratus), oregano (Origanum vulgare), palmarosa (Cymbopogon martinii), peppermint (Mentha x piperita), tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia), and thyme (Thymus vulgaris; one oil being rich in thymol and one oil was rich in geraniol). The oils were obtained from Sanoflore Laboratoire in France and Pranarom International S.A. in Belgium.

More than 99% of the fungal cells were killed after 20 minutes in the 42 degrees C water bath without added essential oils or salt. All of the essential oils showed fungicidal activity, but increasing the temperature from 27 degrees C to 42 degrees C markedly reduced the amount of time needed to kill most of the cells and reduced the concentration of essential oil needed to kill 99.99% of the cells (referred to as the minimal fungicidal concentration). For example, the minimal fungicidal concentration of tea tree oil was 5.12% at 27 degrees C for 20 minutes but only 0.16% at 42 degrees C for 20 minutes.

The order of fungicidal activity of the essential oils was oregano, thyme (thymol), cinnamon bark, lemongrass, clove, palmarosa, peppermint, lavender, geranium, tea tree, thyme (geraniol). The addition of salt without any essential oils had no effect on survival of fungal cells, but the combination of salt plus essential oils further reduced the number of cells surviving at 42 degrees C after 20 minutes. The effect of the salt is believed to be due to enhancement of adsorption of antifungal constituents from essential oils to the surface of the fungal colony.

The authors conclude that heated foot bath therapy combined with essential oils and salt offers a promising alternative to antifungal drugs in the treatment of Tinea pedis. Additional studies are needed to evaluate the effects of foot bath therapy on other fungal species implicated in Tinea pedis and to evaluate the effectiveness, safety, and tolerability of foot bath therapy in clinical trials.

~ Heather S. Oliff, PhD

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Antibacterial Properties of Plant Essential Oils ~ In 1987, in one of the most comprehensive studies conducted, scientists in Scotland identified the most powerful antibacterial essential oils ~ thyme, cinnamon, clove, and geranium. Cinnamon, thyme and clove essential oils killed 92% of 25 different gram negative and positive bacterial strains, according to research published in the International Journal of Food Microbiology.

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Groundbreaking Research from Young Living Scientist ~ Sue Chao, director of Young Living's Quality Control Laboratory, has been working with Gary Young for more than a decade studying the chemical compositions of essential oils. One of her latest experiments is studying the effects of essential oils on methicillin-resistant staphylococcus, or MRSA. MRSA is an infection caused by a bacteria often referred to as "staff." Most MRSA infections occur in healthcare settings such as hospitals and nursing homes. This general type of bacteria is resistant to many antibiotics and can be fatal to those with weakened immune symptoms. Sue's explained that there are many types of MRSA bacteria, and her study focused on Staphylococcus aureus. During her study, Sue grew these bacteria in dozens of Petri dishes. Once the bacteria were visible in the dish, Sue placed a few drops of oil on a piece of paper and placed the diffuser in the middle of the culture. Sue repeated this experiment with 91 single essential oils and 64 Young Living blends. Of the 91 single essential oils, 78 killed the bacteria all at varying degrees. Sue said lemongrass, lemon, myrtle, mountain savory, cinnamon, and melissa essential oils had the highest levels of inhibition. Of the 64 Young Living Therapeutic Grade™ blends that were tested, 52 proved effected against the bacteria with R.C.™, Motivation™, and Longevity™ having the highest level of inhibition. With so many types of MRSA bacteria and so many means of essential oil delivery (taken orally, diffusion, topical, etc.), Sue was quick to mention that her research is only the beginning in discovering what effects essential oils have on MRSA. Sue also added that this research was conducted on a specific strand of MRSA in a controlled environment; the effects on other MRSA strains are not known. Interested in reading more? Sue's article on essential oils and MRSA is published in volume 23 of the Flavour and Fragrance Journal (2008, pages 444–449).

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Antibacterial Activity of Selected Fatty Acides and Essential Oils Against Six Meat Spoilage Organisms ~ Blaise Ouattara (Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Food Research and Development Centre, 3600 Casavant Blvd. West, St. Hyacinthe, Québec, Canada), Ronald E. Simard, Gabriel J. -P. Piette and André Bégin (Département de Science et Technologie des Aliments, Faculté des Sciences de l'Agriculture et de l'Alimentation, Université Laval, Québec, Canada), Richard A. Holley (Department of Food Science, Faculty of Agricultural and Food Sciences, University of Mannitoba, Winnipeg, Mannitoba, Canada) - The antibacterial activity of selected fatty acids and essential oils was examined against two gram-negative (Pseudomonas fluorescens and Serratia liquefaciens), and four gram-positive (Brochothrix thermosphacta, Carnobacterium piscicola, Lactobacillus curvatus, and Lactobacillus sake) bacteria involved in meat spoilage. Various amounts of each preservative were added to brain heart infusion or MRS (deMan, Rogosa and Sharpe) agars, and the minimum inhibitory concentration was determined for each organism. Essential oils were analysed by gas–liquid chromatography to determine the concentration of selected components commonly found in spices. B. thermosphacta, P. fluorescens and S. liquefaciens were not affected by fatty acids, and generally overcame the inhibitory effect of essential oils after 24 h of exposure. Among the fatty acids, lauric and palmitoleic acids exhibited the greatest inhibitory effect with minimum inhibitory concentrations of 250 to 500 µg/ml, while myristic, palmitic, stearic and oleic acids were completely ineffective. For essential oils, clove, cinnamon, pimento, and rosemary were found to be the most active. The 1/100 dilution of those oils inhibited at least five of the six tested organisms. A relationship was found between the inhibitory effect of essential oils and the presence of eugenol and cinnamaldehyde.

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Comparison of Chemical Compositions and Antimicrobial Activities of Essential Oils from Three Conifer Trees; Pinus densiflora, Cryptomeria,japonica, and Chamaecyparis obtusa ~ Korea National Aboretum, Kyonggido 487-821, Korea. The chemical compositions, and antibacterial and antifungal effects of essential oils extracted from three coniferous species, Pinus densiflora, Cryptomeria japonica, and Chamaecyparis obtusa, were investigated. Gas chromatography mass analysis of the essential oils revealed that the major components and the percentage of each essential oil were 16.66% beta-phellandrene and 14.85% alpha-pinene in P. densiflora; 31.45% kaur-16-ene and 11.06% sabinene in C. japonica; and 18.75% bicyclo [2, 2, 1] heptan-2-ol and 17.41% 2-carene in Ch. obtusa. The antimicrobial assay by agar disc diffusion method showed that 2.2 mug of Ch. obtusa oil inhibited most effectively the growth of Escherichia coli ATCC 33312 and Klebsiella oxytoca ATCC 10031, whereas the C. japonica oil gave weak antimicrobial activity. The minimal inhibitory concentration (MIC) values for bacterial strains were in the range of 5.45-21.8 mg/ml depending on essential oils, but most Gram-negative bacteria were resistant even at 21.8 mg oil/ml. P. densiflora oil showed the most effective antifungal activity and the MIC values for Cryptococcus neoformans B42419 and Candida glabrata YFCC 062CCM 11658 were as low as 0.545 and 2.18 mg/ml, respectively. Cryp. neoformans B42419 was the most sensitive to all essential oils in the range of 0.545-2.18 mg/ml. Our data clearly showed that the essential oils from the three conifers had effective antimicrobial activity, especially against fungi.

Effect of synergist piperonyl butoxide (PBO) on the toxicity of some essential oils against mosquito larvae ~ National Institute of Malaria Research, 2- Nanak Enclave, Radio Colony, Delhi-110009. Effect of a known synergist piperonyl butoxide on the toxicity of steam distillate essential oils of Jamarosa (Cymbopogan nardus), Pacholli (Pogostemon pacholli), Basil (Ocimum basilicum), and Peppermint (Mentha pipreta) plant species against Anopheles stephensi larvae were evaluated. The purpose of the present study was to identify the insecticidal potential of these oils against mosquito larvae. The Piperonyl Butoxide (PBO) was used to enhance the activity of these oils with the aim of developing essential oil based formulations. The bioassays of these oils with and without PBO were performed against late 3rd instar larvae of An. stephensi. The LC50 values against An. stephensi were 44.19 ppm for Ocimum basilicum oil, followed by, Mentha pipreta, Cymbopogan nardus, and Pogostemon pacholli oil which gave LC50 values above 250 ppm. Thus in the present study the Ocimum basilicum oil was found to be most effective, whereas Pogostemon pacholli oil was found to least effective against mosquitoes for larvicidal action. The effect of synergist PBO led to the enhancement of toxicity of oils, the LC50 value for Ocimum basilicum were reduced from 44.19 ppm to 23.87 ppm. Similarly the oil of Pogostemon pacholli showed most significant results where the LC50 value was >250 ppm it was reduced to 50 ppm with PBO.

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Antibacterial effect of essential oils from two medicinal plants against Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) ~ Department of Bacteriology, School of Medical Sciences, Tarbiat Modares University, P.O. Box: 14115-158, Tehran, Iran. Antimicrobial properties of plants essential oils (EOs) have been investigated through several observations and clinical studies which purpose them as potential tools to overcome the microbial drug resistance problem. The aim of this research is to study the antibacterial effect of two traditional plants essential oils, Thymus vulgaris and Eucalyptus globulus against clinical isolates of Methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and other standard bacterial strains through disk diffusion and agar dilution methods. Gas Chromatography (GC) and Gas Chromatography/Mass Spectrometry (GC/MS) analysis examined the chemical composition of the oils. Results revealed both of oils to possess degrees of antibacterial activity against Gram (+) and Gram (-) bacteria. T. vulgaris EO showed better inhibitory effects than E. globulus essential oil. GC analysis of T. vulgaris resulted in thymol as the oil major compound whereas GC/MS assay exhibited eucalyptol as the most abundant constitute of E. globulus EO. These results support previous studies on these oils and suggest an additional option to treat MRSA infections. Clinical and further analytical trials of these data are necessary to confirm the obtained outcomes.

In vitro efficacy of 75 essential oils against Aspergillus niger ~ In 2006, researchers identified the most power antifungal essential oils. Department of Biosciences, Saurashtra University, Rajkot, Gujarat, India. Aspergillus niger is an opportunistic human pathogen and a strong air pollutant. A study was conducted with 75 different essential oils for the inhibition of hyphal growth and spore formation in Aspergillus niger. Cinnamomum zeylanicum (bark), Cinnamomum zeylanicum (leaf), Cinnamomum cassia, Syzygium aromaticum and Cymbopogon citratus were the top five essential oils which demonstrated marked inhibitory effect against hyphal growth and spore formation of A. niger. The chemical composition of these five most active essential oils was investigated by gas chromatography-mass spectra (GC-MS). Most of the other essential oils were found challenging to combat A. niger, suggesting their use as strong aroma therapeutic agents. Essential oils of cinnamon, clove, lemongrass, geranium and thyme were equal or superior to the powerful anti-fungal drug, Hexaconazole.

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Activity of thymol, carvacrol, cinnamaldehyde and eugenol on oral bacteria ~ Laboratoire de Matière médicale, Faculté des Sciences Pharmaceutiques et Biologiques, Lille, France. The antimicrobial activity of thymol, carvacrol, cinnamaldehyde and eugenol alone or combined was tested by micromethods on eight oral bacteria. The compounds showed an inhibitory activity on seven microorganisms and a synergistic effect was observed with certain combinations. The four compounds can be used alone or combined, as eugenol and thymol, eugenol and carvacrol, thymol and carvacrol, during the treatment of oral infectious diseases. A 1999 Journal of Clinical Periodontology study found that a mouthrinse with the essential oils of thyme, peppermint, wintergreen, and eucalyptus oils was more effective in improving oral health than a flouride-based antiseptic.

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The Journal of Essential Oil Research ~ Diffusing a blend of clove, cinnamon, lemon, eucalyptus, and rosemary oils killed over 99% of bacteria in 12 minutes. The longer the essential oi lblend was diffused, the greater the reduction in microbes, according to lead scientist Diane Horne, Weber State University.

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Suppression of azoxymethane-induced colon carcinogenesis in male F344 rats by mandarin juices rich in beta-cryptoxanthin and hesperidin, Ministry of Health and Welfare of Japan ~ We have reported protective effects of dietary administration of a powder CHRP containing high amounts of -cryptoxanthin and hesperidin prepared from a Satsuma mandarin (Citrus unshiu Marc.) juice on azoxymethane (AOM)-induced rat aberrant crypt foci through suppression of crypt cell proliferation and/or induction of detoxifying enzymes. In the present study, we investigated the modifying effects of a commercial Satsuma mandarin (Citrus unshiu Marc.) juice (MJ) and those of MJ2 and MJ5, which were prepared from MJ and are richer in -cryptoxanthin and hesperidin than MJ, on the occurrence of colonic tumors induced by AOM in male F344 rats. Rats were given 2 weekly s.c. injections of AOM (20 mg/kg body weight) to induce colonic neoplasms. They also received MJ, MJ2, or MJ5 as a drinking water at night for 36 weeks, starting 1 week after the last dosing of AOM. AOM exposure produced colonic adenocarcinoma with an incidence of 69% and a multiplicity of 0.76 ± 0.57/rat at week 38. MJ, MJ2, and MJ5 administration significantly reduced the frequency of colonic carcinoma [MJ: 35% (49% reduction), p < 0.02; MJ2: 20% (64% reduction), p = 0.0028; and MJ5: 15% (78% reduction), p < 0.00021] and multiplicity [MJ: 0.40 ± 0.58 (47% reduction), p < 0.05; MJ2: 0.25 ± 0.43 (67% reduction), p < 0.005; and MJ5: 0.15 ± 0.36 (80% reduction), p < 0.001]. Also, the numbers of cancer cells positive for proliferative cell nuclear antigen (PCNA) and cyclin D1 in colonic tumors were lowered by these treatments. In addition, treatment with MJ, MJ2, or MJ5 significantly increased apoptotic index in colonic adenocarcinoma. These findings might suggest effective chemopreventive ability of MJs, especially MJ5, in colon tumorigenesis. Int. J. Cancer 88:146-150, 2000. © 2000 Wiley-Liss, Inc. The Ningxia Wolfberry is the highest known nutritive source of beta cryptoxanthin and zeaxanthin.

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Observation of the effects of LAK/IL-2 therapy combining with Lycium barbarum polysaccharides in the treatment of 75 cancer patients ~ Second Military Medical University, Department of Microbiology, Shanghai. Seventy nine advanced cancer patients in a clinical trial were treated with LAK/IL-2 combining with Lycium Barbarum (ningxia red wolfberry) polysaccharides (LBP). Initial results of the treatment from 75 evaluable patients indicated that objective regression of cancer was achieved in patients with malignant melanoma, renal cell carcinoma, colorectal carcinoma, lung cancer, nasopharyngeal carcinoma, malignant hydrothorax. The response rate of patients treated with LAK/IL-2 plus LBP was 40.9% while that of patients treated with LAK/IL-2 was 16.1% (P < 0.05). The mean remission in patients treated with LAK/IL-2 plus LBP also lasted significantly longer. LAK/IL-2 plus LBP treatment led to more marked increase in NK and LAK cell activity than LAK/IL-2 without LBP. The results indicate that LBP can be used as an adjuvant in the biotherapy of cancer.

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Inhibition the growth of human leukemia cells by Lycium barbarum polysaccharide ~ School of Life Science and Technology, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, Wuhan 430074, China. The effect and the mechanism of Lycium barbarum polysaccharide (LBP-X) on inhibiting the growth of human leukemia HL-60 cells were examined. LBP-X(20, 100, 500, 1000 mg/L) could inhibit the growth of HL-60 cells in dose-dependent manner and decrease the membrane fluidity of the cell. Agarose gel electrophoresis of DNA from the cells treated with LBP-X revealed a "DNA ladder" and positive TUNEL test. The results showed that the apoptosis of HL-60 cells induced by LBP-X maybe its important mechanism on anti-tumorgenesis. (Wolfberry extract exerted an 88.4% inhibition against human gastric cancers and 73.75% inhibition against cervical carcinomas.)

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Cytostatic and apoptosis-inducing activity of boswellic acids toward malignant cell lines in vitro. ~ Anticancer research 2002;22(5):2853-62. Boswellic acids from frankincense were indentified as the active compounds which inhibit leukotriene biosynthesis, 5-lipoxygenase and exert antiproliferative activity toward a variety of malignant cells. Because of the relevance for the clinical application, we tested the ethanolic extract of Boswellia serrata gum resin containing a defined amount of boswellic acids for its cytotoxic, cytostatic and apoptotic activity on five leukemia (HL-60, K 562, U937, MOLT-4, THP-1) and two brain tumor (LN-18, LN-229) cell lines by WST-1 assay and flow cytometry. The Boswellia serrata extract induced dose-dependent antiproliferative effects on all human malignant cells tested with GI50 values (extract concentration producing 50% cell growth inhibition) between 57.0 and 124.1 micrograms/ml. In three haematological cell lines (K562, U937, MOLT-4) the effect of total extract expressed in GI50 was 2.8-, 3.3- and 2.3-times more potent (p < 0.05) than pure 3-O-acetyl-11-keto-beta-boswellic acid (AKBA). Morphological changes after 24-27 hours and the detection of apoptotic cells by AnnexinV-binding and/or by the detection of propidium iodide-labelled DNA with flow cytometry, confirmed the apoptotic cell death. The results of this study suggest the effectiveness of Boswellia serrata extract with defined content of boswellic acids.

Boswellic acids from frankincense exert antiproliferative activity toward a variety of malignant cells. ~ Katarina Hostanska, PhD, University Hospital, Zurich
Boswellic acids from frankincense gum exhibit potent cytotoxic activity against central nervous system tumors. ~ YS Park, PhD, Department of Neurosurgery, Cleveland Clinic Foundation

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I am available to teach classes locally in the Central Florida area and am a former Nationally Certified Massage Therapist with over 12 years of experience, trained in Aromatherapy Massage, Raindrop Technique and Emotional Release with Young Living Aromatherapy Essential Oils through C.A.R.E. as well as workshops with Gary Young and Cherie Ross. I work out of my home in Winter Park, FL and am available by appointment, so please call now: 407.399.8562.

I highly suggest educating yourself about the truth of essential oils by purchasing the Essential Oil Desk Reference book which contains a wealth of information on all of our products including details on each oil and what oils to use for specific situations.

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. Don't expect the same results unless you are using Young Living Therapeutic Grade™ Essential Oils and supplements. Also each person is unique and different in chemistry and toxicity levels, as well as emotionally and spiritually, so an oil that is suggested for an issue may not work as well as another. If a change is not apparent within three minutes, try another oil.