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Many of you have had questions regarding how to use essential oils therapeutically, as described in this article. We've added updated information to the article here.
Essential oils smell beautiful. But did you also know that many essential oils can support health and fight infection?
Last year, the Journal of Ethnopharmacology published a study highlighting the strength of certain essential oils in controlling overgrowth of the yeast Candida albicans.
Candida is a yeast that naturally lives in the body.
A strong immune system and a healthy inner ecology keep the yeast Candida in check and prevent it from taking over its surrounding environment.
Unfortunately, overuse of antibiotics and a diet full of processed foods, sugar, and gluten limit the body’s ability to keep Candida in check. Because Candida is an opportunistic microorganism, it will multiply when it has the chance and cause issues like thrush, vaginal yeast infections, and systemic candidiasis.
The soothing essential oil clove can provide medicinal benefits to relieve pain and kill parasites in the body. In Chinese herbal medicine, clove is also used to alleviate morning sickness in pregnant women.
Common symptoms of systemic Candida overgrowth include:
- Chronic fatigue
- Swollen joints
- Abdominal cramps and bloating
- Depression and foggy thinking
- Mood swings
- Bad breath
Candida Protects Itself with Biofilm
Candida is especially good at constructing a strong, slimy substance around itself called biofilm.
Like green sludge stuck to the surface of a rock or plaque clinging to teeth, biofilm is a tough slime that can house Candida, parasites, and other disease-causing microbes. As colonies of Candida form and lay down more biofilm, this sticky goo protects the yeast and supports its growth.
Last year, a study published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology demonstrated that the essential oils of lemongrass (Cymbopogon citratus) and clove (Syzygium aromaticum) are especially effective at busting through the tough biofilm that Candida hides behind. (1)
In addition to lemongrass and clove, previous studies have found that the essential oils of thyme, patchouli, and cedarwood can also inhibit the growth of Candida. (2)
Inside the human body, Candida biofilms can limit the reach of powerful prescription antifungal drugs, making candidiasis difficult to treat.
In a hospital setting, Candida biofilms are a serious health hazard. Patients that receive implants—such as catheters or prosthetic heart valves—end up with hospital-acquired Candida. (3) As it turns out, Candida biofilms are incredibly resistant to common antifungal drugs, like amphotericin B and fluconazole. (1)(3)
The Benefits of Lemongrass and Clove
The “problem” with essential oils is that they are made by nature.
In other words, you cannot standardize them, and you cannot patent them. However, like other antifungal and antibacterial herbs, essential oils do not harm the beneficial inner ecology of the body. And, just as important, bacteria and yeast do not develop a resistance to herbs and their oils.
Lemongrass and clove have been used as spices in traditional cooking for centuries. The medicinal value of these herbs (and their oils) is still strong in traditional cultures.
In Brazilian folk medicine, lemongrass has a hypnotic and anticonvulsant effect. Besides helping to break up Candida biofilm, studies also show that lemongrass can lower blood pressure. This may have something to do with the fact that lemongrass is a powerful antioxidant and can help to stop inflammation.
Clove, most notable for its mouth-numbing effect, is popular in Asian, African, and Mexican cuisine.
In Indian Ayurvedic medicine, clove is used to dull pain (especially toothaches), to enhance digestion, and to kill parasites. And likewise, in Chinese herbal medicine, clove warms the digestive fire. It is also used to soothe morning sickness in pregnant women.
Western studies have found that clove is an antioxidant and that it can help to reduce blood sugar levels, as well as ease dental pain.
Consuming essential oils should only take place under the direct supervision of a healthcare professional.
Both lemongrass and clove essential oils are Generally Regarded As Safe (GRAS) and are certified as Food Additives by the FDA. They may be safely taken internally as a dietary supplement.
Before taking an essential oil, always dilute it in a healthy fat, such as 1 teaspoon of coconut oil or ghee. Usually, no more than 2 drops should be consumed at any one time in a 4-8 hour period. Children under 6 years old should never consume essential oils.
You can also use oils on the skin (topically) if there are skin disorders or diffuse them in the case of a lung infection. When it comes to lemongrass and clove, these oils can be diluted in a carrier oil—15 to 30 drops per 1 ounce of carrier oil—and applied to the skin. We suggest coconut oil because it is a highly stable saturated fat, soothing, and extremely therapeutic for infection.
Candida overgrowth can show up as a vaginal yeast infection. In this case, we recommend 25 drops of oil blended with 2 tablespoons of carrier oil. This can be applied to a tampon and retained for up to 8 hours or placed on a sanitary pad for external signs of overgrowth.
If you decide that you would like to use essential oils, it is important to choose a high-quality therapeutic grade oil. John Steele at LifeTree Aromatix is a connoisseur of scents and has been in the business of essential oils for decades. Many of his oils are organic or wild-crafted and sustainably harvested.
If you would like to learn more about the essential oils offered at LifeTree Aromatix, you can contact John at 818-986-0594 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What To Remember Most About This Article:
While essential oils may smell wonderful, you might be completely unaware that they can also fight infection in the body. Certain essential oils have been proven to control Candida yeast overgrowth, alleviating symptoms like chronic fatigue, insomnia, and depression.
Candida is difficult to attack since it protects itself with a slimy biofilm that further supports its growth. Fortunately, essential oils like lemongrass, clove, thyme, patchouli, and cedarwood have been proven to inhibit the growth of systemic Candida.
Natural essential oils have been used in cooking and as medicinal herbs for centuries. Lemongrass can lower blood pressure as it works as a powerful antioxidant in the body. Clove can be used as a natural pain reliever to dull toothaches, improve digestion, kill parasites, and even ease morning sickness in pregnant women.
- Mohd Sajjad Ahmad Khan, Iqbal Ahmad. Biofilm inhibition by Cymbopogon citratus and Syzygium aromaticum essential oils in the strains of Candida albicans. Journal of Ethnopharmacology. 27 Mar 2012; 140 (2): 416-423. DOI: 10.1016/j.jep.2012.01.045.
- Abe S, et al. [Anti-Candida albicans activity of essential oils including Lemongrass (Cymbopogon citratus) oil and its component, citral].Japanese Journal of Medical Mycology. 2003; 44 (4): 285-291.PMID:14615795
- L. Julia Douglas. Candida biofilms and their role in infection. Trends in Microbiology. Jan 2003; 11 (1): 30-36. DOI: 10.1016/S0966-842X(02)00002-1.