Keep Calm & Boost Immunity 22: Mouthwashes

Since the start of the pandemic, I have been inhaling essential oils and using an essential oil mouthwash to rinse morning and night – just in case it had any effect on anything lurking in my nose, mouth or throat. It seems I’m not daft.

Experts have been researching whether various types of mouthwash could help deter COVID-19 spread. There needs to be a lot more research, but one of the experts has it right when he says:

“The bottom line is, you’ve got nothing to lose and potentially a lot to gain,…. So just get on with it.”

I would agree with that. It seems there is existing research that suggests some lipid-envelope viruses, like the coronavirus, can be killed by a mix of ethanol and essential oils:

In 1995, researchers tested 26.9% ethanol plus essential oils against herpes, influenzarotavirus, and adenovirus in vitro. Both herpes and influenza (which are enveloped) were significantly affected, whereas adenovirus and rotavirus (which are not enveloped) were not. This led the investigators to speculate that the oral rinse may alter the viral lipid envelope.


A 2010 unpublished follow-up study by the same group showed that a 30-second in vitro exposure to 21.6% ethanol with essential oils led to a more than 99.99% reduction of infectivity of H1N1 influenza.

That is huge! Of course, it doesn’t mean it can affect COVID-19, but I’d say odds-on that it will end up being proven to do so.

I can’t personally do the alcohol – it is derived from corn, my nemesis, but I can do the essential oils. I have put recommended ones in the Purehealth Covid Guidance Document for you – which I am updating still frequently, so do please keep checking in with it. I’ve put it as a sticky post so you can always find it easily.

Other possibilities mentioned by the researchers include povidone-iodine (remember the iodine inhalations Dr Myhill recommended right at the start…?! – details are in the Guidance doc for you), chlorhexadine and hydrogen peroxide:

Commenting for Medscape Medical News, Stephen J. Challacombe, PhD, King’s College London, United Kingdom, was more definitive in his assessment of certain oral rinses and their role in curbing the spread of COVID-19.

In a review published earlier this year, Challacombe and colleagues assessed current evidence and concluded that povidone-iodine stands the best chance of reducing cross-infection.

“Although we haven’t the evidence to absolutely prove that, the risk to healthcare workers is so high that there’s every justification for going ahead and using it,” Challacombe told Medscape Medical News.

He also recommends 1.5% hydrogen peroxide ― even though it is not known whether it is inactivated in the presence of other organic matter. “Furthermore, it hasn’t been tried in vivo against a coronavirus,” he noted.

Chlorhexidine has been subject to less research, though its virucidal properties make it an attractive possibility in this context.

“It was tried against a coronavirus some years ago, and it wasn’t terribly effective against them. But that doesn’t mean it wouldn’t be effective if you couldn’t get hold of anything else. It’s just that you’ve got far less of an evidence base than with povidone-iodine or hydrogen peroxide,” Challacombe said.

Research notwithstanding, he sees little downside to using oral rinses in the fight against the spread of COVID-19.

So, my message for you today is to get a mouthwash going if you haven’t already, even if it is just filtered water with some essential oils – especially teatree.

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