No, essential oils do not allow protect yourself from coronavirus. This is the message that two consumer associations wish to convey, UFC-What to Choose and Purchasing test in front of the many allegations on the subject which flourish in recent days. Whether on online stores or even pharmacies, claims about their powers of “protection” in relation to this particular context thanks to their antiviral effects are more and more frequent. But the Test Achats association wishes to qualify the benefits that can be attributed to them. Certainly, scientific studies have shown limited efficacy in conditions such asherpes where the flu virus.
But that’s without taking into account the fact that “it is often a question of“ in vitro ”studies, on cells cultured in the laboratory. It cannot be concluded, on the basis of these studies, that such essential oil has such utility in humans, ”say the experts. Moreover, given that there is (still) no research on the effect of essential oils on the novel coronavirus, “A potential effect on herpes simplex or influenza viruses cannot simply be extendedcurrent coronavirus», They add. It has therefore not been proven that essential oils have any usefulness in the fight against Covid-19, and this is also the conclusion of the American Health Authority (FDA) in the United States.
Beware of the “false sense of security”
The latter published a warning letter on March 6 to the company Quinessence Aromatherapy, whose website “offered essential oil products for sale in the United States intended to reduce, prevent, treat, cure or diagnose ” the Covid-19. “We call on you to take immediate action to stop the sale of these unapproved and unauthorized products for this purpose,” the agency writes. Among the examples of claims on the website in question, the sentence stating that the antiviral essential oils the most powerful in providing defense against coronaviruses are those of: basil, bergamot, lemon, niaouli… ”
The Test Achats association therefore asks the stores mentioned by name to remove these false declarations from their website.
“The problem with these claims is that consumers can have a false sense of security, which could lead to risky behavior,” she adds.
Furthermore, it should be remembered that theuse of essential oilsin all cases includes contraindications because it can be associated with side effects (appearance of skin rashes or breathing difficulties). “Do not start doing this kind of experiment yourself, ask your doctor or pharmacist for advice first,” she concludes.
Avoid sprays to purify the air
For its part, the UFC-Que Choisir warns particularly against the fact of diffusing or spraying essential oils in the home in a period of confinement. Indeed, it is better to avoid sprays intended for this purpose because, far from purifying the indoor air, they tend to load it with volatile organic compounds as shown by previous tests carried out by the association.
“The best way to clean up your interior is to ventilate the home for 10 minutes every day,” say its experts.
The latter also warn against other natural remedies currently put forward to strengthen its immune defenses such as probiotics and food supplements.
Risks of poisoning pointed out
Finally, on its website, the National Health Security Agency (ANSES) recently warned about an increase in poisoning related to COVID-19, and one of the main risk situations is self-medication by use of essential oils. The risk is the same orally to “strengthen the natural defenses” and “fight against the coronavirus”, by spraying to “clean up an enclosed space” (home, car, etc.), which can cause respiratory signs in people with chronic respiratory diseases (asthma …), or in the event of inappropriate use in a nursing woman or to disinfect a surgical mask.
Following these observations, ANSES and the Poison Control Centers also made it known that “essential oils do not constitute a means of fight against the coronavirus »And invite users to respect their conditions of use (route of administration, dose, area of application, etc.). In addition, people suffering from respiratory ailments (people with asthma) and pregnant or breastfeeding women should not use them under any circumstances. As a reminder, people withsymptoms reminiscent of COVID-19 (cough, fever, etc.) should contact a doctor (attending physician, teleconsultation) to find out what to do and stay at home and self-isolate.