Chemical Feature: Rich in the oxide 1,8 cineole syn eucalyptol and monoterpenes
RESEARCH ON 1,8 CINEOLE AND EUCALYPTUS
1,8 cineole syn. eucalyptol or cajeputol is an oxide and an ether. The name 1,8 refers to the fact that the oxygen atom is bonded to the first and eighth carbon atoms. 1,8 cineole is found in high concentrations in such essential oils as: Eucalyptus species, Laurus nobilis, Lavandula latifolia, Melaleuca quinquenervia, Myrtus communis, Rosmarinus officinalis ct. cineole and Elettaria cardamomum.
1,8 cineole possesses noted antiviral activity, antitussive effects (relieves coughs), bronchodilator effects (help open the bronchial tubes (airways) of the lungs, allowing more air to flow through them), mucolytic and mucociliary effects (mucolytics break down or dissolve mucus and thus facilitate the easier removal of these secretions from the respiratory tract by the ciliated epithelium, a process known as mucociliary clearance) and anti-inflammatory activity. 1,8 cineole also has positive effects on lung function parameters whether for the common cold or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. (Harris, 2007)
1,8 cineole has been used in traditional medicine as a secretolytic remedy for bronchitis, sinusitis, and colds. (Juergens, et al. 2003)
1,8 cineole acts as an anti-inflammatory agent. (Bastos, et al. 2010 and Juergens, et al 2003)
1,8 cineole has clinically relevant anti-inflammatory activity in the treatment of bronchial asthma. This study had patients receiving 200mg t.i.d. orally. (Juergens, et al. 2003)
Concomitant therapy with 1,8 cineole reduces exacerbations in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). In a placebo-controlled double-blind trial, patients receiving 200mg of cineole internally 3 times a day experienced a reduced frequency, duration and severity of exacerbatioins associated with COPD. Secondary outcomes included: improved lung function, reduced dyspnea (shortness of breath) and increased quality of life. (Worth, et al. 2009)
1,8 cineole showed bacteriostatic and bactericidal activity. (Sokovic, et al.) **Note: A bacteriostatic agent is a biological or chemical agent that stops bacteria from reproducing, while not necessarily harming them otherwise. A bactericidal, on the other hand, actually kills the bacteria.
Eucalyptus globulus has growth inhibiting activity against bacterial strains which have been isolated from respiratory infections such as: Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus pyogenes, S. pneumoniae and Haemophilus influenzae, H. parainfluenzae, Stenotrophomonas maltophilia. (Cermelli, et al. 2008)
Eucalyptol oil used in respiratory diseases has strong bactericidal activity and also anti-inflammatory, expectorant and stimulating secretions of bronchial challenge properties. (Sienkiewicz, et al. 2011)
Eucalyptus essential oil, due to its highly antibacterial activity, is used in combination with tea tree and grapefruit essential oils to treat the malodor of necrotic ulcers. (Warnke et al. 2004)
Eucalyptus oil is thought to increase the motility of the ciliated epithelium in the bronchia, thus explaining the expectorant effect of this oil. (Grassmann and Elstner, 2003)
Eucalyptus globulus is able to implement the innate cell-mediated immune response and may serve as a new class of immuno-regulatory agents useful as adjuvant in immuno-suppressive pathologies, in infectious disease as well as in tumor chemotherapy. (Serafino, et al. 2008)
Eucalyptus citriodora and Eucalyptus globulus demonstrated analgesic and anti-inflammatory activity. (Silva, et al. 2003)
Eucalyptus globulus leaves taken internally showed a considerable inhibitory effect on the growth of Candia albicans in both normal and diabetic rats. (Bokaeian, et al. 2010)
Eucalyptus globulus essential oil showed anti-candidal activity and inhibited filamentation of these fungi. (Noumi, et al. 2010)
Study Confirms Antiviral Effect of Whole Essential Oils
A study just released in the Journal of Phytotherapy research affirms the antiviral action of essential oils of Eucalyptus, Tea Tree and Thyme. The study brings up two important points:
Essential oils are effective in destroying the Herpes Simplex Virus. The effects of essential oils such Melissa, Tea Tree, Geranium and Hyssop have a significant body of research describing the effect against this particular virus.
The Herpes Virus is far and away the most studied, likely as so many folks are in need of treatment. At the same time, it would be very interesting to see more studies on essential oils for treatment of Influenza types. There's no reason the same effects wouldn't be found -- it would be helpful to have scientific backing as to which oils work best for which viruses. (Though Aroma-Medicine doctors have a pretty good idea -- you will find descriptions of antiviral activity for many essential oils on the web).
The final line of the abstract indicates the power of the natural synergy of essential oils. It is noted that the whole Tea Tree oil is ten times more effective than any of the single isolated compounds, with lower toxicity. Proponents of natural medicine have always held this to be the case of pure essential oils, and other plant-based medicines.
Study: Comparative study on the antiviral activity of selected monoterpenes derived from essential oils.
Astani A, Reichling J, Schnitzler P. Department of Virology, Hygiene Institute, University of Heidelberg, Im Neuenheimer Feld 324, 69120 Heidelberg, Germany.
Essential oils are complex natural mixtures, their main constituents, e.g. terpenes and phenylpropanoids, being responsible for their biological properties. Essential oils from eucalyptus, tea tree and thyme and their major monoterpene compounds alpha-terpinene, gamma-terpinene, alpha-pinene, p-cymene, terpinen-4-ol, alpha-terpineol, thymol, citral and 1,8-cineole were examined for their antiviral activity against herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) in vitro.
These essential oils were able to reduce viral infectivity by >96%, the monoterpenes inhibited HSV by about >80%. The mode of antiviral action has been determined, only moderate antiviral effects were revealed by essential oils and monoterpenes when these drugs were added to host cells prior to infection or after entry of HSV into cells. However, both essential oils and monoterpenes exhibited high anti-HSV-1 activity by direct inactivation of free virus particles.
All tested drugs interacted in a dose-dependent manner with herpesvirus particles thereby inactivating viral infection. Among the analysed compounds, monoterpene hydrocarbons were slightly superior to monoterpene alcohols in their antiviral activity, alpha-pinene and alpha-terpineol revealed the highest selectivity index. However, mixtures of different monoterpenes present in natural tea tree essential oil revealed a ten-fold higher selectivity index and a lower toxicity than its isolated single monoterpenes.