AAA | How Do Antiviral Essential Oils Work?

by Annie Mascia January 08, 2024

AAA | How Do Antiviral Essential Oils Work?

Have you ever wondered how many times you touch your face per day? It's a habit most of us have without being aware of it and trying to stop ourselves from doing so takes a lot of perseverance. In a recent study using 26 medical students, observations were made about how many times the students touched their faces.[1] Results showed that on average, the number reached an eye-popping 23 times per hour. It's an astounding number and shows the ease at which viruses from our hands easily reach the mucosal areas of the nose and mouth.

While we go about our mid-winter days, viruses are all around us in the air and on surfaces. Currently, variants[2] of COVID-19, RSV, Flu, Rhinovirus, Croup, Whooping Cough, Coxacki and others are waiting for the chance to make you their next meal. What can we do about it? For starters, we can be sure to wash our hands often and we can utilize dynamic antiviral essential oils.

‌Understanding Antiviral Properties

Essential oils are made up of phytochemicals. These phytochemicals from medicinal plants help to protect the plants themselves from the nature of insects and microbes as well as UV rays and so it's no surprise that their essential qualities are useful to us, especially with antiviral activity. These same phytochemicals not only give them their stunning and sublime aromatics, the power to modulate mood and the effectiveness to act as antivirals and antimicrobials.[3] According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), there are a few suggested pathways by which antiviral essential oils can combat viruses.

In the case of SARS-CoV-2, the fatty (lipophilic) nature of some essential oil components have the potential to penetrate and disrupt the membrane of a virus, disintegrating it.[4] Certain components that make up essential oils may also disrupt and inhibit key proteins of viruses by “docking” into their membrane structure[5] - like how a key fits into a lock to open it. Other oils can block the replication cycle during a viral infection.[6] While many studies conducted to date use in vitro or mice for testing, essential oils continue to show promise and induce positive effects during multiple stages of viral infection.

The even better news is that there are a multitude of essential oils to choose from that have an antiviral effect. The important step, however, is figuring out which oils to use for a particular virus since they are not one-size-fits-all.[7] Several components of antiviral essential oils are inclined to demonstrate the dexterity of inhibiting one or two types of viruses, rather than a slew of them. 

Studies have noted constituents such as Limonene and Citronellol as effective against viral replication of SARS-CoV-2/COVID-19,[4] noting the use of Lemon and Geranium. Other oils that contain these same constituents include Lemongrass and other Citrus oils such as Grapefruit, Lime and Sweet Orange. Other components with antiviral activity that contain a gentler nature and aromatic are terpinen-4-ol, γ-terpinene found in Tea Tree, d-Limonene found abundantly in citrus oils which also boost the immune system and Linalool found in Basil, Bergamot Mint, Geranium, Lavender, Clary Sage, Ho Wood and Rosalina.

Some constituents recommended for ages 10+ include, 1,8 cineole,[8] found in Eucalyptus- Globulus,[9] Laurel Leaf, Ravintsara, Rosalina and Rosemary is also anti-inflammatory and assist in expanding the breath and opening up the bronchial tubes when congested from a viral infection. Moreover, antimicrobial and antiviral components best used sparingly in a blend due to their potency include thymol, carvacol, eucalyptol, menthol and eugenol found in Thyme, Oregano, Eucalyptus oil, Peppermint and Clove respectively.[5]

Choosing The Right Essential Oils

Online research studies are a valuable resource when searching for a particular virus and the compounds that are effective against it. Concerning whichever virus that one is battling or warding off, blends can be adjusted accordingly. For example, essential oils of Cinnamon, Bergamot, Lemongrass, Thyme and Lavender exhibit antiviral properties against Influenza type A.[3] When making a blend for this virus, you may want to include all of these oils keeping Cinnamon at a 1% dilution in the blend. 

For blends to clean the home from a Covid Infection or other viruses that may be airborne and lurk on surfaces, you may consider making yourself a DIY cleaning spray with a few of the following antiviral oils such as Tea Tree,[10] Citrus oils, Clary Sage, Copaiba, Eucalyptus, Laurel Leaf, Lemongrass, Sweet Marjoram, Peppermint, Ravintsara, Rosemary and Spruce oils are also known antivirals.

Application Methods For Antiviral Benefits

Essential oils are especially versatile and can be used in any number of ways to support health during cold and flu season. As mucolytics, bronchial dilators, immune modulators and to improve immune function, essential oils are a great resource during colder months. 


  • Disinfectant: Make a household surface cleaning spray by blending a superpower combination of 15 drops of Essential Oils per ounce using your favorite antimicrobial and antivirals. Choose from oils such as Black Spruce, Cinnamon, Eucalyptus Lemon, Lemongrass, Rosemary, Tea Tree or Thyme with Grain Alcohol into a repurposed Spray Bottle. Once the oils have melded for a few hours, add 1 tablespoon of Castile Soap per cup of Distilled Water and shake the blend. Spritz onto surfaces such as countertops and high-touch household places such as door knobs. 
  • Diffusion: Control airborne microbes with essential oils and blends such as Natural Cleaning while making use of at-home, in-the-car and on-the-go diffusers every step of the way. 
  • Topical (hand sanitizer): Hand sanitizers are simple to make and you will enjoy them triple-fold by making your own. In a 1 oz Amber Glass Bottle, fill it one-third of the way with Grain Alcohol (such as Everclear) and mix in a combo of 12 - 15 Essential Oil drops of your choice. These can include Lemongrass and Lime or Tea Tree, Lavender, Cinnamon and 1 drop of Clove. After a few hours and once the Alcohol and oils have joined forces, fill the bottle the rest of the way with Aloe Vera Gel and shake well. Tuck it into a pocket, purse or backpack and spritz it on hands when needed.
  • Room Spray: Clear the air of microbes and odors with your choice of antiviral essential oils into a 4 oz Bottle fitted with a Mister. Pour a small amount of Grain Alcohol into the Bottle and mix in the oils of your choice. As with the hand sanitizer and the disinfectant, let the oils mix with the Alcohol for a few hours. When ready, fill the Bottle the rest of the way with Distilled Water, shake and use when needed. 


    • Steam Distillation: When sick, diffusing is a great way to get oils into your system to open up the bronchial tubes and nasal cavities to ease breathing difficulties. Add 1-2 drops of an Essential Oil blend to a Large Glass or Ceramic Bowl filled with Steaming Water. Drape a towel over your head and close your eyes, place your face about 12 inches above the Bowl, and breathe in deeply for several minutes. This method is not recommended for children under the age of 5. For children between 5-12 use only one drop of a child-safe oil such as Frankincense, Lavender or Tea Tree oil. 
    • Chest Rub: Blending essential oils into an Unscented Cream or Carrier Oil can make all the difference when you need to get through your day or ease cough and chest colds. Using a 2-3% dilution of oils blend 12-18 drops of essential oils such as Black Spruce, Frankincense, Lavender and Tea Tree and for those ages 10+ consider adding somewhat stronger oils such as Eucalyptus globulus, Peppermint, Ravintsara and Rosemary in the blend.

      Safety Considerations and Precautions

      • Essential oils that are listed above are considered extremely potent and have a hot nature including Cinnamon, Clove, Oregano and Thyme ct Thymol. These oils are harsh in nature and should never be used on children under the age of 10. When using the oils topically, it is recommended to keep their dilution at 1% maximum. You can easily use the Edens Garden dilution chart for guidance. 
      • When using essential oil products topically, always skin patch test new oils on the skin for sensitivity on the inner arm and wait 24 hours before using in a larger area. 
      • With children under the age of 10, please refer to our guide for using essential oils safely with them. 
      • If you are unsure how to approach antiviral essential oils, reach out to a trained aromatherapist. 

      Personalized Recommendations For Wellness

      In a seemingly endless sea of essential oil misinformation, it is the goal of Edens Garden to provide dependable, accurate information so that you can get the most out of the natural, healing abilities that essential oils offer. If you are unsure how to make the best blend for yourself to satisfy your particular needs you can Ask An Aromatherapist® via email ( for personalized answers to specific questions. Please note that we will be answering questions on personalized ways to use the essential oils on a case-by-case basis.

      For specific medical questions and individual recommendations, please consult with your doctor or you can find an aromatherapy consultant near you through NAHA. The latter will include a  private consultation with a Certified Aromatherapist and take place in person or over a video call. To formulate a specific blend for wellness purposes, the therapist and client discuss personal needs taking into account age, medical history, allergies, aromatic preferences and if possible an exact viral diagnosis to overcome sickness and achieve homeostasis. 

      When making a blend, an aromatherapist will consider essential oils that will be beneficial for the client for their specific health concerns. During the intake session, an aromatherapist can choose individual and blended oils for the client to smell to gauge their reaction to the oils, especially for those with asthma. Numerous blends can be made for a plethora of reasons including anxiety and panic attacks, as well as improving mood, focus and energy.  


      1. Face Touching: A Frequent Habit that Has Implications for Hand Hygiene
      2. 6 Contagious Illnesses for Parents to Watch Out for This School Year
      3. An Updated and Comprehensive Review of the Antiviral Potential of Essential Oils and Their Chemical Constituents with Special Focus on their Mechanism of Action Against Various Influenza and Coronaviruses
      4. Essential Oils and Covid-19
      5. Antiviral Essential Oils Against SARS-CoV-2 in Pre-procedural Mouth Rinses for Dental Settings During COVID-19: A Computational Study
      6. Antiviral and Virucidal Properties fo Essential Oils and Isolated Compounds – A Scientific Approach
      7. Essential Oils and Coronaviruses
      8. 1,8-cineole (eucalyptol): A versatile phytochemical with therapeutic applications across multiple diseases
      9. A systematic and comprehensive review on current understanding of the pharmacological actions, molecular mechanisms, and clinical implications of the genus Eucalyptus
      10. Potential Use of Tea Tree Oil as a Disinfectant Agent against Coronaviruses: A Combined Experimental and Simulation Study

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      February 2, 2024 at 10:31 am

      Great article.

      Edens Garden

      January 11, 2024 at 12:42 pm

      Hi Marily! You can read up on how to use essential oils for neuropathy here:

      For further suggestions, reach out to our aromatherapists at

      Edens Garden

      January 11, 2024 at 12:42 pm

      Hi April! Frankincense, Sage, Cedarwood and Lavender have been used throughout history for spiritual cleansing, promoting clarity, positive energy and purification in various traditions.

      Marilyn Ducos

      January 11, 2024 at 12:32 pm

      I have peripheral neuropathy in my legs from past chemo treatments.
      I have purchased Helichrysum for this.
      How do i use it?
      Will it repair the nerves?


      January 11, 2024 at 12:32 pm

      My mother wants to do a spiritual cleansing of her house. Are there oils that can added into this event? trying to find the right words for this situation. All suggestions will be taken out into consideration. Thank in advance

      Michele Thurmond

      January 11, 2024 at 12:32 pm

      Thank you so much for this article. As an essential oil user and an aromatheraphist myself, I found this to be true, and right on point. Very helpful article. Thank you to Annie, your Aromatheraphist, for taking the time to do much needed research on this topic and thanks to Eden’s Garden for providing great quality oils and for posting on such a helpful topic as well. Keep up the good work all!


      January 11, 2024 at 12:32 pm

      Thanks for this article. Following an answer to prayer, we used a more aggressive approach thru the plannedemic. We had a 100% success rate using EG Fighting Five to treat countless cases of the vrs. We used the steam inhale method, w/ 10 drops per quart of boiled water, 3x per day until symptoms were gone. I used this again last week w/ a flu case to prevent all secondary flu symptoms & shorten the illness to just 2 days!

      In addition, we used the steam inhale method to heal 6 cases of double pneumonia during the plannedemic. For those, we substitute 3-4 drops of red thyme or thyme EO in the 10 drops. Again, 100% success w/ the 6 cases treated. Bay laurel is another EO to consider using for virus or pneumonia if you want to strengthen the blend.

      Very thankful for Eden’s Garden!