The Effects of Essential Oils on Long-Haul COVID-19

COVID-19 doesn’t make headlines like it did six months ago. Most people are mentally and physically past infections, as well as the media’s constant barrage of fear porn.

Though the infections may be more rare today, many people continue to deal with long-lasting effects, a condition called long-haul COVID-19. When this was first discovered, many believed it to be a rare condition. However, some studies now suggest that up to 73% of people who had COVID-19 develop long-term symptoms. Among the symptoms, fatigue ranks at the top.

A new study looked at how a specific blend of essential oils affected feelings of fatigue and vigor in a group of women dealing with long-haul COVID-19-related fatigue. The results were pretty impressive.

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Symptoms of Long-Haul COVID-19

SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, affects vascular and nervous system tissues, though the specific tissues it impacts varies from person to person. The virus most commonly infects respiratory vessels, but does much more than harm your lungs.

The following table outlines the more than 40 symptoms of long-haul COVID-19. I’ve listed them in the order of frequency.

Symptoms of Long-Haul COVID-19
FatigueHeadache
Attention disorderHair loss
Dyspnea (shortness of breath)Ageusia (loss of taste)
Anosmia (loss of smell)Post-activity polypnea (rapid breathing)
Joint painCough
SweatNausea or vomiting
Chest pain or discomfortWeight Loss
Cutaneous signsResting heart rate increase
PalpitationsPain
Intermittent feverSleep disorder
Reduced pulmonary capacitySleep apnea
ChillsMental health
Psychiatric illnessRed eyes
Pulmonary fibrosisDiscontinuous flushing
Diabetes mellitusSputum (thick mucus)
Limb edemaDizziness
StrokeThroat pain
Mood disordersDysphoria
OCDNew hypertension
MyocarditisRenal failure
PTSDArrhythmia (irregular heart beat)
Paranoia

Though it wasn’t on the list above, recent evidence shows that a COVID-19 infection can also lead to low testosterone in men.

For those who’ve paid attention to the COVID-19 vaccine side effects, you’ll see that many match those of actual infections. In fact, myocarditis seems to show up more often from the vaccine than from an infection, especially in healthy, young adults and children. Of course, you don’t hear much about vaccine side effects from mainstream media.

Getting back to long-haul COVID-19, 58% of people with it develop fatigue.

The fatigue is a feeling of exhaustion in spite of good sleep quality and nutrition. In some, the fatigue may be connected with other symptoms, such as shortness of breath or the development of diabetes. In others, the fatigue could be connected to nervous system issues that also lead to fatigue, such as chronic pain.

In either case, chronic fatigue compromises productivity and makes it less likely people will exercise or remain active, which can lead to additional health complications.

As the study’s authors explained:

Fatigue differs from sleepiness in that it encompasses a feeling of exhaustion and tiredness regardless of sleep quantity and quality. It is a nonspecific symptom that leads to a reduced overall capacity to accomplish routine tasks. This may involve the inability to initiate activity, inability to continue routine activities, or difficulty focusing and concentrating, with symptoms worsening after physical or mental exertion.

Hawkins J, et al.

If there was a way to reduce feelings of fatigue, even if it didn’t resolve the underlying issue, without compromising one’s health, it could significantly improve your quality-of-life. The important point here is that a natural or pharmaceutical therapy that reduces fatigue and increases energy and vigor is only valuable if it doesn’t lead to other side effects.

For example, you could certainly boost your energy by drinking a couple of Red Bulls or taking an Adderall, but you’d do so while potentially causing other health complications.

On the other hand, if you could boost your energy without sacrificing your health, that’d be pretty exciting. Essential oils have a very strong safety record and have been shown to help increase energy, which probably led a group of researchers to study whether inhalation of a specific blend of essential oils could increase energy and vigor in long-haul COVID sufferers.

The Study

Let me be clear here: The study I’ll cover below did not in any way test whether an essential oil blend cured COVID. Nor did it test whether or not it cured the cause of long-haul COVID-19 fatigue. I want to avoid anyone stretching the truth about the study to help sell the products they represent. The truth is impressive enough.

The double-blind, placebo controlled study was designed to test the effects of inhaling a specific blend of essential oils in women experiencing chronic fatigue at least five months after COVID-19 infection. To eliminate the chance that vaccination could compromise the study results, women who’d just gotten, or planned to get the vaccine or a booster were excluded from the trial.

In addition, women with severe long-haul symptoms, chronic fatigue, fatigue prior to getting COIVD, hypothyroidism, or pregnant or planning to become pregnant were also excluded.

The treatment group received an unmarked 15ml bottle of Longevity™ essential oil blend from Young Living. The blend includes thyme, orange peel, clove bud, and frankincense essential oils at specific individual concentrations. The placebo group received an unmarked bottle odorless, fractionated coconut oil.

Each morning and evening, study participants dropped four drops of their oil onto a testing strip, held it near their noses, and inhaled for 15 minutes. They followed this protocol for 14 days.

The research team measured feelings of fatigue and vigor with the Multidimensional Fatigue Symptom Inventory at the beginning and end of the study.

Findings

This simple “treatment” had a significant impact on energy levels and overall vigor. Based on the study results, the research group concluded:

This study provides evidence that the inhalation of Longevity™ essential oil blend twice daily
for 14 days provides substantial improvements to energy levels. These improvements are
specifically useful for energy levels related to global fatigue, behavioral fatigue, general fatigue,
and mental fatigue. Vigor was also improved in this population, and exploratory analysis
identified a substantial improvement to quality of life after the use of the essential oil blend, as
measured by the PHQ-9.

Hawkins J, et al.

My Comments

This clinical trial assessed the impact of a specific essential oil blend on energy and vigor in women with long-haul COVID-related fatigue. It did not assess the impact of the essential oils on COVID-19 itself, nor on underlying health conditions related to COVID-19 infection.

This is an important distinction because many people are seeking solutions to feel better after dealing with the effects of COVID-19 for months. If research supports it, you can certainly share the news that a natural product improves energy levels and feelings of vigor without crossing a line with the FDA related to drug claims.

I grabbed a bottle of Longevity™ and put a drop on the back of my hand as I’m writing this, just to reacquaint myself with the smell. It isn’t the best-smelling blend, so I assume the research group knew a thing or two about how those specific oils affect your energy before doing the study.

Then again, it doesn’t matter if it smells as good as rose, lavender, or tangerine essential oils if it can help boost your energy and enhance vigor. And that’s what the study shows it’ll do, specifically in women dealing with long-haul COVID-19-related fatigue.

Would other oils or oil blends have a similar impact? Perhaps. But, being that research supports it, you might want to get your hands on a bottle. Who knows…maybe it’ll help with fatigue from other causes as well.

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Hawkins, Jessie, et al. “Aromatherapy Blend of Thyme, Orange, Clove Bud, and Frankincense Boosts Energy Levels in Post-COVID-19 Female Patients: A Randomized, Double-Blinded, Placebo Controlled Clinical Trial.” Complementary Therapies in Medicine, Mar. 2022, p. 102823. PubMed, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ctim.2022.102823.

Huang, Yong, et al. “COVID Symptoms, Symptom Clusters, and Predictors for Becoming a Long-Hauler: Looking for Clarity in the Haze of the Pandemic.” MedRxiv, 2021. scholarworks.iupui.edu, https://scholarworks.iupui.edu/handle/1805/25711.

Lopez-Leon, Sandra, et al. “More than 50 Long-Term Effects of COVID-19: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.” Scientific Reports, vol. 11, Aug. 2021, p. 16144. PubMed Central, https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-021-95565-8.

Nasserie, Tahmina, et al. “Assessment of the Frequency and Variety of Persistent Symptoms Among Patients With COVID-19: A Systematic Review.” JAMA Network Open, vol. 4, no. 5, May 2021, p. e2111417. PubMed, https://doi.org/10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2021.11417.