The pollution generated by the exhaust gases of cars, industrial fumes and combustion is considered carcinogenic. But, as research published a few years ago suggests, some essential oils can help counteract the damage particulates can cause to the lungs and liver. The article appeared in the journal Environmental Chemistry Letters thanks to the work of a French and Lebanese team (Kfoury et al, Environmental Chemistry Letters, 2016).
The power of essential oils
Essential oils capture the heart of the plant from which they are extracted. They are powerful, they can improve mood, increase concentration, promote wound healing and even help in case of insomnia or hair loss. But some essential oils can also counteract the inflammation and damage induced by air pollution in which we live. Although the subject is very fascinating, no one, until the study we are talking about today, had ever tested these properties. But let's understand better.
Some essential oils protect lungs and liver from pollution damage
Scientists have developed an experiment in the laboratory. In particular, bronchial and hepatic epithelial cells were brought into contact with particulate matter collected in the air in Beirut. Immediately, the cells began releasing pro-inflammatory substances such as the cytokines interleukin 6 and interleukin 8, which are substances that are produced during infections and tissue damage.
Then, the researchers put the cells, in the middle of the inflammatory process, in contact with some active ingredients of essential oils. In particular, they tested the trans anethole, found in the essential oils of anise and fennel, the estragole of basil, the eugenol of clove essential oil and the isoeugenol of ylang ylang. What emerged was that, following contact with these compounds, the levels of pro-inflammatory substances decreased. In particular, interleukin 6 dropped by 96% and interleukin 8 by 87%.
Therefore, this is proof that the active ingredients contained in some essential oils, such as basil, ylang ylang, cloves, anise and fennel, are able to counteract the damage at the cellular level that air pollution can cause on the liver and lungs.