Essential Oils do work for Viral Issues, but if one is new to oils one should be guided by some commonsense cautionary considerations.
First the question, how meaningful are the in vitro studies that show efficacy of oils against viruses. A meaningful answer is again guided by commonsense. If it is easy to apply the oil to the site of infection then we are more likely to see quick results. If, however, the virus is hiding out deep inside the tissue it is more difficult to bring the oil to the site and hence results are less forthcoming. The examples most of us can relate to easily are cold sores and the flu. Cold sores can be treated very easily as we can apply the oil directly on to the site. The influenza virus, however, proliferates in the lung tissue. As a result conventional oil application does not or only marginally reach the site of infection and hence treatments results of the flu with essential oils are less immediate. The Common Cold takes somewhat of an intermediate position as the infection site often is on the mucous and bronchial membranes and it is somewhat easier to apply EO to the airways, i.e. by diffusing the essential oils or by inhalation.
Another consideration is that in vitro studies often focus on EO components which are predictably found effective, such as thymol or carvacrol. What these in vitro studies do not address is that these components and the oils in which they occur abundantly are often quite irritant. The aromatherapy community has responded by designing ways of applications, in which these oils are integrated in a blend that harnesses the anti bacterial or antiviral strength and minimizes the irritant potential of the otherwise very strong oils.
Finally there is the necessity for individual awareness. There are thousands of individuals in the aromatherapy community who will simply use their essential oils liberally and derive benefits, some more and some less obvious. But there can always be the individual, who, because of specific individual disposition, will strongly react to essential oils. In this case it is important not be heroic and to barrel through, but to discontinue the essential oils use and rather explore what the reason for the unexpected sensitivity is?
To derive an impression about how familiar the aromatherapy community has become with using oils to prevent viral conditions we suggest to visit Jimm Harrison’s blog.