No, you shouldn’t be using essential oils as a coronavirus cure

do essential oils work on coronavirus
Photo via Crystal Ann/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Hawkers of essential oils have been around for decades, but the last few years have seen a notable rise in acceptance for such natural remedies. Social media influencers have contributed to this shift, lending legitimacy to essential oils as genuine cure-alls, including the possibility they will work on the coronavirus. But here’s the question you should ask: Do essential oils work to cure COVID-19?

The question’s answer is simple: There is no evidence suggesting that essential oils combat coronavirus.

Some members of a particular marketing company, Young Living, have been pushing the idea that essential oils are an effective treatment for coronaviruses, according to Business Insider. Research thus far shows the statement is false.

Young Living is not the only culprit of attempting to capitalize on the coronavirus pandemic. A number of influencers and social media pages have been flagged for promoting unconfirmed cures or treatments. A rise in such posts even spurred the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to issue a warning. A number of letters went out, instructing several multi-level marketing companies (though not Young Living) “to report within 48 hours what actions they’ve taken to stop their distributors from claiming their products can treat or prevent coronavirus disease.”

The claims made by such companies and influencers, according to the FTC, are “unsubstantiated and therefore violate truth-in-advertising laws. The products at issue are not scientifically proven to treat or prevent COVID-19.”

Some studies do point to positive outcomes from tests of various essential oils, but no evidence shows success in using them to combat a respiratory virus. An academic article on the National Center for Biotechnology’s website states that some essential oils “possess demonstrated potential as antimicrobial agents.” These oils could potentially be used to treat a bacterial infection. But COVID-19 is viral, not bacterial. 

Pseudoscience cures can present a very real risk to the public, especially those myths and hoaxes that surround the coronavirus. But in the case of whether essential oils work to cure the coronavirus, it’s certainly not something that has been proven to work. 

Sources: Business Insider, NCBI, John Hopkins University, NY Mag, FTC

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