All essential oils are antiseptic to some degree, and in the lists of essential oils that follow you’ll find those that are known to have an inhibiting effect on bacteria, viruses, or fungi — or all three. With these, we can create blends that are effective in doing the job of protecting health. In the world of microbes, there are two groups — the Gram-positive type and the Gram-negative type.
This is a complex subject, but put simply, the distinction is based on whether the cell wall has a single or a double layer. In the world of pharmaceutical antibiotics, whether an organism is Gram-positive or Gram-negative will very strongly determine whether a particular antibiotic will be effective against it. Also, there are a multitude of micro-organisms, and, as we know, a particular pharmaceutical drug may be effective against some, but not others. The same is true of essential oils. What this means is that although an essential oil is listed as “antibacterial,” that is not to say it will be effective against all bacteria. This is not a big concern for us because essential oils — unlike pharmaceuticals — can be used in blends.
We can use a number of essential oils with antibacterial qualities, mix them together, and attack the microbe on all fronts. The complexity of the compounds in each and every essential oil is an advantage, while a blend provides an enhanced complexity of compounds. Indeed, synergistic blends of essential oils have been tested against microbes and found to be extremely effective.
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The Self- Defense Kit provides a huge armory, and because we can modify our ingredients quickly, we can outwit most microbes. At present essential oils can be analyzed only to a certain extent. Although many chemical components can be ascertained by gas chromatography, there are always trace elements that remain a mystery. Yet, it is all the elements of an essential oil, including its trace elements, that make it so effective.
Researchers are keen to identify the effective antibacterial chemical in the particular oil they’re working on, in the hope that it will provide a step toward solving the problem of bacterial resistance and can be synthetically reproduced. But it’s not that simple. Research shows that it is the complete essential oil — rather than any of its isolated chemicals — that is more effective, and it’s also less toxic to the rodents this research is usually carried out on.
Trace elements are important in the human body too. We have only about 0.000002% of cobalt and chromium in our bodies, but without them we may have trouble forming proteins and regulating DNA and insulin. Nobody denies that trace elements are important in humans, and I maintain they’re important in
essential oils too.
In an ideal world, we would all know the precise name of the microbe that’s causing us or our family harm. Sometimes our health professional will do a test and determine that for us, but most of the time that exact information simply isn’t available. And when someone at work has an infection, we certainly are not privy to their medical records. If you have a bacterial infection, use blends of essential oils with antibacterial properties, or if you think it’s a virus, use a blend of essential oils with antiviral action. If you have no idea whatever, use one of the “broad spectrum” blends I suggest later in this chapter. Above all, be prepared to move as quickly as our little microbe enemies do. We can evolve too, and with essential oils on hand, we have a choice in how to approach the problem of unwelcome bacteria, viruses, and fungi.