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									Aromatherapy &
 The Immune System
                                              A Students Perspective

         It is no secret that the world       on the human body: balance and
is a toxic place. Every day we are            integration. In health, all of the body’s       by Gabriella DeCastro
exposed to innumerable disease-               systems and functions are in balance
causing agents. The quality of the air        and well integrated. No process in the      primary defense against disease and a
we breathe and the water we drink is          body occurs in isolation; complex           wide variety of bacterial, viral, and
no doubt in decline. Our meat is full         processes are dependent on seemingly        fungal infections, all of which we come
of hormones and antibiotics & our             small ones, showing the body’s              in contact with simply by breathing,
produce is sprayed with harmful               extraordinary degree of integration.        eating, and the acts of everyday living.
pesticides. Bacteria have become              When physical discomfort occurs the         In addition, on a daily basis many cells
resistant to even the strongest               body reacts in ways that will bring it      are damaged or killed due to trauma,
antibiotics. Every year there’s a new flu     back to equilibrium, demonstrating its      toxins, microbial attack, and other
shot and millions of us head to the           innate desire for balance. However,         processes in the body. The immune
doctor to get vaccinated. Many find           many factors can upset this                 system is responsible for removing such
themselves sick anyway because the            equilibrium. This lack of balance sets      cells, a task it can only perform if
shot only works against last year’s           off a chain of reactions that can cause     healthy.” 1
“bug;” this year the bug has “mutated.”       disease.                                             The immune system protects
         In addition to all these factors,             Thus, the question arises: Can     us against the millions of viruses,
prolonged periods of stress have              we help our bodies maintain or achieve      bacteria, parasites and fungi to which
become the norm for many. Not only            balance and integration? The answer         we are exposed on a regular basis. In
do we have to deal with everyday              is a resounding: Yes! Disease does not      addition to this, it protects us from our
stressors (traffic jams, family problems      occur in a vacuum. There are                own unhealthy cells (free radicals) by
and demanding jobs) but we can now            environmental, nutritional, emotional,      disposing of them before they can
add a bad economy, the threat of              mental and genetic factors that play a      reproduce and become a problem.
terrorism and pending wars to that list.      role in our health. Addressing disease               So how does the immune
In the mad rush to survive we forget          as a manifestation of a dysfunction of      system accomplish this? How does it
about taking care of the emotional side       the whole person, not just of our           defend us against all these enemies?
of ourselves. In light of all these factors   physical health, is the key to a healthy    The processes involved in immunity
it’s no wonder that disease takes hold.       life. Alternative practices offer a         are so complex that researchers have
         The human body, with its             holistic view of health. Among these        just begun to understand their
intricacies, beauty and mysteries shows       is aromatherapy, an art and science         intricacies. They tell us, however, that
a remarkable ability to survive. Cells,       that seeks to enhance the body’s own        immunity begins at the cellular level.
organs, proteins and hormones, each           ability to heal and attain balance          The cells primarily responsible for
one essential to our body’s proper            through the use of essential oils.          keeping us healthy are our white blood
function, all work together in order to                Aromatherapy offers us a           cells. To understand these cells we
keep us alive and healthy. At the core        multilayered approach to health that        need to take a closer look at the
of our ability to stay alive lies our         addresses the body, mind and spirit.        composition of blood.
immune system, a system of
astonishing complexity. Researchers           What is the immune system?                  Blood Composition
discover something new about                          Alternative Medicine, The                    Often referred to as “the river
immunity virtually everyday. However,         Definitive Guide states that “the           of life,” blood is the transportation
many questions remain unanswered.             immune system is a complex network          vehicle for substances responsible for
Two concepts, nonetheless, seem to            of specialized organs, cells and            sustaining life and promoting
have withstood centuries of research          substances that acts as the body’s          wellbeing. Blood carries oxygen from

Aromatherapy &
    The Immune System continued

the lungs to the rest of the body, and      monocytes and lymphocytes. Each of Monocytes: These cells make up 3 to
transports carbon dioxide from body         these has its own role to play in 8 percent of all circulating leukocytes.
tissue to the lungs. It also carries        immune function.                          They are phagocytic. Although
nutrients and hormones secreted by                                                    monocytes are active in the immune
different glands throughout the body.       Polymorphonuclear granulocytes response, their most important role is
But more importantly blood transports       (polys): These cells form the first line to mature into macrophages.
disease-fighting substances throughout      of defense. They don’t have a
the body.                                   specialized function: they can attack all sMacrophages: These are very large
          Plasma contains proteins,         foreign intruders. Polys include and extremely “hungry” phagocytic
enzymes, electrolytes, sugar, glucose       neutrophils, eosinophils, basophils cells that can not only circulate in the
and fats and constitutes 55 percent of      and mast cells.                           bloodstream, but also settle in the
the blood. The other 45 percent of the                                                spleen, liver, lymph nodes, tonsils,
blood is made up of cells, including        s Neutrophils: These cells are lungs and bone marrow. There they
red blood cells (erythrocytes), white       extremely mobile. Neutrophils are can engulf aging or damaged cells and
blood cells (leukocytes) and platelets      phagocytic cells, meaning that they can microbes. They are also good defenders
(thrombocytes).                             engulf other cells, microbes and other against fungi. Along with the
          Red blood cells are               particles. Neutrophils play a major role neutrophils, macrophages are the
responsible for carrying oxygen to all      in the inflammatory response. They body’s major phagocytes.
other cells in the body. Platelets help     comprise 55-70 percent of all white                Together,neutrophils,
cuts and wounds heal. White blood           blood cells.                              monocytes and macrophages play a
cells form the army of the immune                                                     major role in the inflammatory, or
system. Although all these cells depend     s Eosinophils: These cells are nonspecific, immune response. These
on each other to keep a person healthy,     phagocytes. It is believed that they play phagocytes are able to engulf invaders
it is the work of white blood cells that    an important role in regulating the and abnormal cells and then help to
is at the core of our immune system.        severity of allergic reactions by clean up after the immunological
          Blood and lymph are the           secreting an enzyme that breaks down response. However, as we will see later,
transport mechanisms for leukocytes         histamine. They also seem to be monocytes and macrophages are also
(white blood cells), the basic units of     involved in combating parasites. involved in the more specific immune
immunity.                                   Eosinophils comprise 1-3 percent of response.
                                            the total of white blood cells.
Leukocytes                                                                            Lymphocytes: These are very
         White blood cells, or              s Basophils: These cells are not specialized leukocytes and comprise 20-
leukocytes, come in different sizes and     phagocytic; however, they are 50 percent of all leukocytes.
perform different functions.                responsible for releasing histamine, a
Leukocytes all have a nucleus, which        chemical involved in the allergic T-cells: These cells are called T-cells
contains the material for growth,           response. Basophils also release because they mature in the thymus.
nourishment and reproduction. All           heparin, an important anticoagulant. They comprise 60-70 percent of
leukocytes arise from a stem cell, or       These cells are found in small numbers lymphocytes. When humans are still
parent cell, located in the bone            in the blood, accounting for less than in the fetal stage of development,
marrow. Stem cells give rise to different   1 percent of all white blood cells.       immature stem cells migrate from the
types of blood cells, which then mature                                               bone marrow to the thymus, where
into different types of cells depending     sMast cells: These cells are similar to they become T-cell “parents.” The
on where in the body the maturation         basophils, but they do not circulate in progeny of these cells endure a
process takes place.                        the blood. Mast cells can be found selection process that weeds out T-cells
         All the body’s leukocytes fall     closer to the skin and are very active that are abnormal or have receptors
into one of three categories:               in the allergic response.                 that recognize normal body structures.
polymorphonuclear granulocytes,                                                              The cells emerging from this

                                                                                        Aromatherapy &
                                                                             The Immune System continued

process are programmed to respond to      very specific; each one can bind to only     leukocytes to perform their duties,
a single enemy. They then migrate to      one specific antigen. This binding           there has to be an effective
the spleen and the lymph nodes and        helps destroy that particular antigen.       communication system in place. How
await an attack. These cells now          Antibodies come in five different types:     do these cells “speak” to each other?
compose what is called cell-mediated      IgM, IgG, IgA, IgE and IgD. Ig stands        Through proteins called cytokines.
immunity. T-cell receptors are made       for immunoglobulin.                          Manufactured by monocytes,
of proteins and they specialize in                                                     macrophages and lymphocytes, these
identifying viruses and other             s IgM: is the first antibody to appear       proteins regulate cell growth and
organisms that invade a cell.             in response to an invader. It attaches       function during inflammatory and
                                          to the intruder and marks it for             specific immune responses. Among
There are three basic types of T-cells:   destruction by phagocytic cells. It          these proteins are interferons,
                                          remains in the blood stream and it is        interleukins, tumor necrosis factor,
sHelper T-cells: Most abundant T-         very effective against bacteria.             colony-stimulating factor, and
cells. They stimulate the growth of       However, its effects are very short-lived.   erythropoietin. Cytokines can enhance
cytotoxic and suppressor T-cells. They                                                 inflammatory and immune responses,
also stimulate macrophages to perform     s IgG is the most abundant antibody          and can inhibit these responses in the
their engulfing duties and B-cells to     and it provides lifelong immunity            fight or flight response. (see section on
produce antibodies.                       against a specific antigen. It can enter     Stress and Immunity).
                                          tissue spaces and is the only antibody
sCytotoxic T-cells (killer cells): These able to pass through the placenta, The Immune System at Work
cells attach to specific antigens and giving the fetus its immunity.                       When a macrophage attacks
secrete enzymes to puncture the shells                                             an antigen, it takes fragments of it to
of the invaders.                          s IgA is found in wet surfaces such as helper and suppressor T-cells. In turn,
                                          saliva, tears, nasal and vaginal these orchestrate a response. Helper T-
s Suppressor T-cells: These cells secretions. It fights off invaders at the cells always want to send too many
suppress the active immune response. sites of entrance.                            cytotoxic T-cells to fight, while the
They keep the immune system from                                                   suppressor T-cells never want to send
becoming overactive.                      s IgE is able to adhere to mast cells enough. Together they arrive at a
                                          and basophils to release histamines balance. The cytotoxic T-cells are sent
B-Cells: These cells comprise 10-20 responsible for allergic reactions. It is to fight armed with enzymes, when
percent of all lymphocytes. Once a also involved in the fight against they find the invader, they can use
stem cell produces a descendant, the parasites.                                    these enzymes to drill holes on its shell
stromal cells of the bone marrow                                                   causing its insides to pour out.
decide whether this cell will become a s IgD almost exclusively found inserted Phagocytes arrive and clean-up debris.
B-cell or another cell type. Once a cell into the membrane of B-cells, it seems This is cell-mediated immunity.
is designated as a B-cell, a specialized to regulate the cell’s activation.                Humoral or antibody-
structure called the surrogate complex                                             mediated immunity involves B-cells
determines which cells will survive and s Natural killer (NK) cells: These are and T-cells. It is a highly sophisticated
be allowed to circulate throughout the lymphocytes that are granular in response. When the macrophages
body. The B-cells that survive migrate appearance. Their role is nonspecific. cannot handle a foreign invader, they
to the lymph nodes and spleen to await They can destroy invaders, specifically surround the entire antigen, dissolve
action. B-cells are especially adept at cancer and virus-infected cells, without most of it, and carry back molecular
catching intruders like bacteria. B-cells assistance from other cells.             fragments of the antigen to the helper
fight intruders by manufacturing                                                   and suppressor T-cells for examination.
antibodies. This type of immunity is The Communication System                      If antibodies are needed, antigen
known as humoral or antibody-                      As expected, in order for all fragments are presented to B-cells. A
mediated immunity. Antibodies are these specific and non-specific portion of B-cells transform themselves

Aromatherapy &
    The Immune System continued

into plasma cells and start                 toxic chemicals, excess alcohol              the parasympathetic nervous systems.
manufacturing antibodies, mostly of         consumption, overuse of antibiotics,
the IgM type. Antibodies are displayed      drugs like aspirin, ibuprofen,               The sympathetic nervous system has
on the surface of B-cells like antennas,    acetaminophen and corticosteroids,           nerve projections that start in the brain
ready to lock on to invaders. Once the      frequent exposure to infectious agents       and extend to the rest of the body. It
B-cells label the invaders with antibody,   like viruses, bacteria, parasites and        responds in cases of real or perceived
a signal is sent to phagocytic cells to     fungi, and the list goes on. At some         danger. In these types of situations the
devour the intruder.                        point in our lives, we all have been         system responds by releasing
          The remaining B-cells become      exposed to at least some of these factors    adrenaline from its nerve endings in
memory B-cells, which remember a            and/or engaged in some of these              the adrenal glands and noradrenaline
particular antigen and remain on alert      behaviors.                                   from nerve endings throughout the
for future invasion. The next time                   Remaining healthy and               body. These two hormones prepare our
memory cells are presented with the         improving our quality of life is a choice.   bodies to “fight or flight,” diverting
same antigen, they will be able to          We can look at the list above and see a      blood flow from the heart to the
respond more efficiently to the attack      few items on which we have direct            muscles.
by quickly becoming plasma cells and        control. We can definitely make good                  The parasympathetic nervous
secreting antibodies (mostly of the IgG     nutritional choices and reduce our           system acts in opposition to the
type).                                      consumption of alcohol. There are            sympathetic nervous system. Where
                                            many natural alternatives to aspirin,        the sympathetic system speeds up our
Disorders of the Immune System              steroids and antibiotics. One of the         heart rate, the parasympathetic slows
         Many things can go wrong           most important things you can do for         it down.
with our immune system. An                  yourself is to learn how to manage                    Another hormone that plays
underactive immune system is not able       stress.                                      an essential role in the stress response
to successfully combat the many                                                          are glucocorticoids. In stressful
bacteria, viruses, parasites and fungi      Stress and Immunity                          situations, the hypothalamus secretes
that we come in contact with in our                    So what does stress have to do    a set of hormones into the pituitary,
daily lives. An overactive immune           with immunity? Robert M. Sapolski in         among these is CRF (corticotrophin
system may react to harmless foreign        his book Why Zebras Don’t Get                releasing factor). CRF then triggers the
substances, causing allergies.              Ulcers argues that “a period of stress       pituitary to release ACTH or
         The immune system can also         will disrupt a wide variety of immune        corticotropin. When ACTH reaches
mistake normal body tissue for a            functions—the formation of new               the adrenals it causes them to secrete
foreign antigen and attack it, as is the    lymphocytes and their release into the       glucocorticoids, which act similarly to
case in auto-immune diseases, such as       circulation, the time preexisting            adrenaline but can be active for
AIDS and lupus. In cancer, abnormal         lymphocytes stay in circulation, the         minutes or hours.
cells reproduce uncontrollably. This        manufacture of antibodies in response                 In addition to the hormones
can happen in any organ in the body,        to an infectious agent, and                  discussed above, in stressful times the
including the immune system.                communication among lymphocytes              pancreas secretes glucagons, which in
Leukemia is an example of abnormal          through the release of relevant              combination with glucocorticoids,
cell reproduction in the immune             messengers, to name just a few of these      adrenaline and noradrenaline are
system.                                     actions.”2                                   responsible for mobilizing energy to
         In his book Total Wellness,                   To better understand how          the muscles in the form of glucose.
Dr. Joseph Pizzorno lists a number of       stress has such impact on immunity, it       Stress also triggers the release of
factors that have a detrimental effect      is vital to understand the basics of the     prolactin and vasopressin by the
on our immune system. Among these           stress response. At the heart of the         pituitary. The first suppresses
are stress, obesity, excessive sugar and    stress response lies the autonomic           reproduction and the second displays
concentrated             carbohydrate       nervous system. This system consists         antidiuretic effects. Both the pituitary
consumption, nutritional deficiencies,      of two branches: the sympathetic and         and the brain secrete endorphins and

                                                                                         Aromatherapy &
                                                                              The Immune System continued

enkephalins, which are responsible for      Alexander, in his paper entitled           and depression, as well as the
an analgesic effect at the site of pain.    “Aromatherapy and Immunity”, refers to     physiological ones like increased heart
         In addition to all this            one study that shows that fluctuations     rate, elevated blood pressure, etc. We
hormone activation and suppression,         in mood can affect the amount of IgA       choose oils that are sedative,
hormones related to growth are              in the subject’s saliva. IgA, as           antispasmodic, uplifting and deemed
inhibited in stressful times, as are        mentioned earlier, is the type of          appropriate for the individual client.
testosterone,        estrogen        and    antibody that is found in the body’s                 We choose the appropriate
progesterone. It makes perfect sense        wet surfaces (saliva, tears, vaginal       essential oils, methods of application
from a survival point of view. When         secretions). IgA levels are higher when    and dosages based on the unique
we are in real or perceived danger, our     the subject is in a good mood.             chemical constitution of each oil and
bodies have evolved to divert energy                   In the same paper, the author   its known effect on the psyche and the
to those parts that can get us out of       adds “Investigators have revealed many     body. Contrary to popular belief,
the mess we’re in—our muscles.              immunological changes associated           aromatherapists don’t just choose oils
         The stress response is a great     with depression. Among the more            because they smell good. As
mechanism to get one out of a               prevalent of these changes are             professionals, we guide ourselves by the
dangerous situation. So what is so          reduction in natural killer (NK) cell      body of evidence and by experience.
wrong about being stressed out? Why         activity, lymphocyte responsiveness (T-              Research and experience show
is it harmful to our immune system?         and B-cells) and immune control over,      that essential oils can be effective in
The problem arises when we go               for instance, latent herpes viruses.”      achieving and maintaining a healthy
through periods of prolonged stress.                                                   immune system in three ways:
Robert Sapolski argues that                 Aromatherapy and Immunity                    · They can be used as tools to de-stress
glucocorticoids play an active role in               Now that we understand the        and uplift.
immune suppression. These hormones          basics of our immune system and have          · The antiviral, antibacterial,
inhibit the production of new               an idea of how stress can have a           antifungal and antiparasitic properties
lymphocytes in the thymus and the           negative impact on it, we’re ready to      of essential oils are well-documented.
release of messengers like interleukins     discuss how aromatherapy can help us       Essential oils can attack antigens at the
and interferons. They cause                 fight disease.                             cellular level.
lymphocytes to be pulled out of                      Aromatherapy is both a             · Certain essential oils can strengthen
circulation and can actually enter          psychological and physical healer. It is   aspects of our immune system, thereby
lymphocytes and cause them to               a discipline that treats the individual    by making the body a less friendly place
manufacture a suicide protein that          as a whole. When it comes to our           for foreign invaders.
disintegrates their DNA.                    immunity, aromatherapy can help us
         As a result, in long periods of    by working on both the psychological       Essential Oils Working Against Stress
glucocorticoid secretion we’re left with    and physical level. It can improve our     Through the Psyche
fewer lymphocytes and, in the absence       emotional health as well as support our             To work on a psychological
of cytokines, the few that are left can’t   bodies against microbes.                   level, essential oils must act on the
even communicate with each other!                    As aromatherapists we begin       central nervous system. According to
Ironically, a mechanism set in place to     the process of addressing a client’s       Robert Tisserand, essential oils can
save our lives can actually kill us.        issues with a consultation. We become      have an effect on our central nervous
         As we can see glucocorticoids      familiar with the client’s symptoms,       system in two ways. The first would
are major players in suppressing the        lifestyle, level of stress and other       occur via our olfactory nerve.
immune system; however, they do not         matters of consideration. We then          Stimulation of this nerve would cause
act alone. Adrenaline and                   create a program, which addresses the      “aromatic” messages to reach the
noradrenaline, CRF and beta-                client as a whole. For example, for a      limbic area of the brain, comprised of
endorphines are also involved.              stressed client we choose oils that        the pituitary, the thalamus, the
         Depression is another enemy        address both the psychological             hypothalamus, the hippocampus, the
of the immune system. Michael               symptoms like fear, anxiety, withdrawal    amygdala and the pineal glands.

Aromatherapy &
    The Immune System continued

          The second mechanism in          to significantly reduce a stress-induced    stress management and thus help us
which essential oils could have an         rise in blood pressure, indicating a        to maintain a healthy and balanced
effect on the central nervous system       stress-countering effect. These include     immune system.
would be by being absorbed into the        neroli, nutmeg and valerian (Warren
bloodstream via the olfactory              et al., 1987).”                             Essential Oils Working at the Cellular
membranes. Robert Tisserand argues         s In another paper entitled “Success        Level Against Microbes
that it could be possible that essential   with Stress”, Tisserand refers to a study   Much has been written about the
oils act in both ways. This seems to be    that shows that menthol can lower           antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal and
the consensus in the aromatherapy          blood pressure through vasodilation.        antiparasitic properties of essential oils.
community.                                 He also cites other studies that show       It is speculated that these oils are
                                           calamus, carrot seed, melissa and           effective against microbes because they
Here’s what some authors have tagetes lower blood pressure.                            possess the ability to penetrate their
concluded about the effect of essential s Shibata et al. (1990) showed that            cell membrane and influence cellular
oils on the psyche:                        labdanum, oak moss and tuberose can         metabolism.
                                           block the activation of the
s In his book Advanced Aromatherapy, hypothalamus in response to acute                 s In the antibacterial aspect of oils, one
Kurt Schnaubelt states that “The stressors after four days of treatment.               of the most significant advances was
citronellal of melissa and Eucalyptus s Peter Holmes, in his paper “Uplifting          made by Paul Belaiche in his 1979 work
citriodora and the linalol found in Oils”, argues that the oils of rose, ylang-        Traité       de    Phytothérapie        et
lavender are among the components ylang, clary sage, atlas cedarwood,                  d’Aromathérapie. By using the
with the strongest sedative effects. Also, sandalwood, myrrh and valerian have         aromatogram method, he was able to
the limonene of lemon has a a sedative yet euphoric effect. This is                    prove the effectiveness of individual
significant calming effect. Oils derived achieved by the oils working through          oils on specific bacteria. He not only
from melissa, Eucalyptus citriodora, the raphe nucleus and thalamus to                 did this in a lab, he actually treated
lemon, verbena, citronella, and other release serotonin and GABA, and                  individuals with infectious illnesses.
oils with a high aldehyde content also enkephalins. These oils would work for          He concluded that oils could be
have a sedative effect.” The author later an individual who is suffering from          grouped in three categories. He
states that “The phenylpropane ethers, depression involving nervous                    referred to oregano, savory, thyme and
especially estragole (methyl chavicol) hyperactivity and restlessness.                 clove as the oils with the broadest
stabilize an overactive sympathetic sIn the same paper, Peter Holmes lists             spectrum of efficacy (in later studies
nervous system (sympatholytic effect) fir, tea tree, niaouli, cypress, lemon,          Belaiche added tea tree oil to this list).
and restore a healthy balance between rosemary and holy basil as restorative           Pine, cajeput, Eucalyptus globulus,
the sympathetic and parasympathetic oils. Working through the locus                    lavender, myrtle, geranium, petitgrain,
nervous systems.”                          ceruleus, hippocampus and amygdala,         tarragon, niaouli and Thymus
s In the same book, Schnaubelt adds these oils can influence the release of            serpyllium, were grouped as oils effective
that “For their effects on the central noradrenaline, dopamine and other               against a certain types of bacteria. With
nervous system and stress-related hormones. These oils would be useful                 the final group having a strengthening
symptoms, oils with a high-ester for cases of depression which are                     effect on the immune response but not
content, such as clary sage and Roman accompanied by low energy, fatigue,              directly active against bacteria.
chamomile, are equally effective and despair.                                          s Extracts from plants belonging to
antispasmodics. They reduce tension                  One could go on and on            the Lamiaceae family have shown
in stressful situations or with pre- presenting research. The truth is that            antiviral properties. Among these are
menstrual discomfort.”                     these are a few examples of the research    rosemary, clary sage, lavender and
s In his paper entitled “Aromatherapy that has been taking place in the last           melissa. Extract of melissa is used in
as Mind-Body Medicine”, Robert few decades. There’s plenty of evidence                 Germany as the active ingredient in a
Tisserand states that “The vapours of that leads us to believe that
several essential oils have been found aromatherapy can help immensely in

Aromatherapy &
    The Immune System continued

cream to treat herpes.                         nutmeg, lemongrass, lemon and               unique individuals who are never
s In a 2000 study, an Argentinean              orange stimulate the phagocytic             static. This results in care plans that
team of researchers (Benencia &                activity of leukocytes.                     are customized to our specific needs
Courreges, 2000), after conducting a           s In a very exciting 1999 study, a team     in a specific time.
study to examine the antiviral activity        of researchers conducted an                          Aromatherapy empowers us to
of eugenol (a constituent of clove oil),       experiment in –vitro, the results of        take charge of our own health. More
concluded that eugenol was indeed              which showed that tea tree oil and          often than not, orthodox practitioners
effective against the herpes simplex           terpinen-4-ol “can markedly increase        take a “disease just happens” approach.
virus, the oil seems to act by dissolving      the ability of certain white blood cells    This is disempowering. It leaves us
the viral lipidic envelope.                    in the immune system to destroy             feeling victimized and at the mercy of
s Essential oils of Thymus vulgaris and        microbial cells that have been attacked     invasive treatments that often result in
Origanum vulgaris exhibit anthelmintic         by antibodies”                              a weakened immune system. Essential
properties, meaning that they destroy          s Kurt Schnaubelt states that thyme         oils, when administered properly have
or expel intestinal parasites. This is due     ct thujanol “stimulates the immune          no harmful side effects.
to their carvacrol content. The 1,8            response as well as the regeneration of
cineole found in the different                 liver cells.”                               The truth is that health is a conscious
eucalyptus species and in cajeput, for         s Schnaubelt offers that studies suggest    choice. As we just learned, there are
example, is also known to exhibit              that immunoglobulin levels in the           many factors that can impact our
anthelmintic properties.                       blood can be raised or lowered by the       health. Many of these are factors over
s The fungicidal activity of essential         use of essential oils. He argues that in    which we have control. To attain and
oils can be seen in oils rich in esters        conditions that show a depressed            maintain health, we must choose to use
like lavender and geranium. However,           gamma-globulin level, savory, thyme         healing tools that honor all the parts
strong antifungals also include oils           (linalol type), spike lavender, and         of ourselves. Aromatherapy is one of
lacking in esters such as tea tree,            Eucalyptus globulus have the ability to     those tools.
melissa, myrrh and patchouli.                  restore the antibody to a proper level.
                                               In cases of immune suppression,             Our bodies have the capacity to heal;
Essential Oils Strengthening Our               Borneol, abundant in Moroccan               our immune system and its complex
Immune System                                  Thyme, is very effective in normalizing     processes are a perfect example of that.
         Rosalind Blackwell and                high levels of immunoglobulin.              Aromatherapy offers us a natural and
Michael Smith make an interesting                                                          safe way to support the body’s innate
argument in their paper entitled               Conclusion                                  power to heal itself.
“Aromatograms”. They argue that while                    As we have seen essential oils
conventional antibiotics act by slowing        offer us a holistic way of looking at       **Bibliography available upon request.
down or stopping bacterial growth or           health. Where orthodox medicine has
by directly killing bacteria, essential oils   failed to treat us as multifaceted beings
have the added benefit of acting on            by simply targeting symptoms,               About Gabriella DeCastro
the environment in which bacteria              aromatherapy succeeds at maintaining        Gabriella has been pursuing a life long
grow. In other words, essential oils           and promoting our psychological, as         interest in natural health care
somehow strengthen the immune                  well as physical and emotional              remedies. She is a graduate of the
system so that it can battle antigens          wellbeing.                                  Institute of dynamic Aromatherapy
better.                                                  Orthodox medicine tends to        with Jade Shutes. Gabriella is currently
                                               take a “one size fits all” approach,        developing her aromatherapy practice
Here is some of the research that              where there is one remedy for a             in Seattle, WA You can contact her
supports this idea:                            symptom. The remedy prescribed is the       at: 206.856.1013.
                                               same for everyone, regardless of the
s Robert Tisserand states that the oils        cause of the symptom. In contrast,
of cardamom, eucalyptus, ginger, dill,         aromatherapy treats each of us as


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