How to act for the well-being of the respiratory tract and counteract the bacterial and fungal infections that can affect us? Medicine certainly provides important tools in the fight against respiratory infections, however, the problem is that the excessive use of antibiotics has created considerable resistance to treatments in the bacteria. Therefore, it is necessary to find complementary methods or methods that can act preventively. Here the attention is focused on essential oils, small essences that contain the power of the plants from which they are extracted and capable of disinfecting the air and protecting the airways, as shown by the study published a few days ago in the journal Antibiotics by a team from South Africa (Leigh de Rapper et al, Antibiotics, Dec 2021). Today we are talking about this, trying to understand the results of this study and to identify powerful allies for our well-being.
How essential oils act for the well-being of the airways
Essential oils can show important antimicrobial properties, useful in contrasting the proliferation of bacteria. Not only that, many essential oils are also anti-inflammatory. When we are hit by an infection, the response of our body is immediately activated in order to bring, through inflammation, white blood cells to the affected area. When the threat is removed, the inflammation must pass. However, this does not always happen and the inflammation can remain causing damage to the lungs, breathing difficulties, a reduction in gas exchange with a weakening of the body and a worsening of the respiratory infection. From here we understand the importance of the anti-inflammatory properties of essential oils. But not all essential oils are equally beneficial in fighting respiratory infections. In addition, as has been observed in the study we are talking about today, the combination of essential oils often maximizes the antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties of the single components. The South African scientists thus tested different combinations of essential oils, studying 369 synergies, in order to identify the most powerful blends against respiratory tract infections, namely those capable of presenting the highest antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory power without being toxic for the organism at the same time. And what are these combinations? Here they are.
Combinations of essential oils against bacterial infections of the airways
Among all the combinations tested, it was possible to identify 5 synergies of particularly powerful essential oils. The first combination is given by the cypress, or Cupressus sempervirens, and the tee tree, or Melaleuca alternifolia. The second combination is given by hyssop, or Hyssopus officinalis, and rosemary, Rosmarinus officinalis. The third is made up of marjoram, or Origanum marjorana, and tea tree. The fourth is given by myrtle, or Myrtus communis, and tea tree and finally the fifth by oregano, or origanum vulgare, and tea tree.
Essential oils against fungal infections
Essential oils can also act against fungal infections, such as that caused by the fungus Cryptococcus neoformans, which can affect the lungs of people with weakened immune systems. Well, in this case a help to inhibit this fungus is provided by the antifungal properties shown by the combination of lemon and sandalwood essential oils.
The blend of essential oils suitable for every occasion
We have seen the most powerful antimicrobial and antifungal blends, then there is another equally interesting combination of essential oils. This is given by the union of the essential oils of cinnamon and coriander and is characterized, among all the synergies tested, by the action with the broadest spectrum, inhibiting the highest number of pathogens.