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  • Writer's pictureCraig Amrine L.Ac.

UV light and Essential Oils to Kill Viruses

Updated: Jun 8, 2020

After watching Trumps “musings” about the use of UV light as an antiviral treatment and the use of SURFACE disinfectants internally, I figured enough is enough. I want to talk about the science of what his rambling is centered on. Let’s talk about ultra-violet light. As of right now, there is no evidence that sunlight kills the virus. Sunlight has been proven to kill many strains of bacteria, and technically speaking the sun does indeed emit the correct wavelengths that are anti-viral, but our atmosphere filters out most of them. Specifically, UV light CAN and IS being used as a sterilization technique. It’s commonly used in water treatment to make water safe for drinking and sterilization of medical equipment. HOWEVER, ultra-violet light covers a wide range of wavelengths. For example, the UV light used in tanning (UV-B) may indeed kill some bacteria, but are not anti-viral, so don’t think this is a great excuse to hop in a tanning bed to “kill the virus”. The wavelengths used in sterilization are called “UV-C” and range from 207-280 nanometers. This range, is not healthy for the eyes or human skin. HOWEVER, a more specific range called “Far-UV-C” between 207 - 222 nm seems to be safer for skin and eyes and is also shown to kill (inactivate) corona-type viruses. Have large-scale tests been done against COVID-19? No, but based on current research against other similar viruses, 207-222 nm UV radiation could indeed kill this virus, so using UV sterilization techniques at this wavelength are possible. There are several commercial UV sterilization tools that are used in medical facilities and can most likely kill this virus... but they are used to disinfect tools, not people. Can we do a “UV light wash” on our bodies? No. UV light at this wavelength gets adsorbed very quickly and doesn’t even penetrate our skin much less penetrate into the lungs where this virus resides.

Im not going to even discuss the use of disinfectants internally as Trump suggests.... but I will discuss some natural remedies that some folks ARE discussing.

Essential Oils: I am a huge fan of essential oils to be used to be used on wounds to prevent and treat infections. A large body of research has proven that essential oils can kill several common strains of hospital thriving bacterial, fungus, and prevent growth of several strains of viruses including influenza and H1N1 viruses upon contact. Some also have potent anti-inflammatory effects too. Some are safe to ingest in dilute form while others should only be used topically. Have they been tested directly against the current Corona virus? NO. But we might be able to assume they will behave similar to other enveloped RNA viruses. There are many folks HOPING that using a quality blend of essential oils in a steam diffuser or inhaler stick can help prevent early spread of the infection in the nose, throat or lungs based on test-tube studies of these oils against similar viruses. At this time, however, no tests have proven this. This is not to say they don’t work, but no research data has yet shown either way. Hopefully some research will be done in the near future.

Manuka Honey: Raw honey and specifically manuka honey has been used as a POWERFUL anti-bacterial wound treatment for burns and other superficial wounds. Recent test-tube studies have also shown that it can a very strong effect on inhibiting viral growth for several strains including the influenza virus. It is very healthy to eat and has been recommended to ingest for “sore throats and bacterial infections in the throat. So, has it been tested specifically for this current strain of the corona virus? No. There IS a clinical trial taking place right now, however studying the effect of manuka honey against the corona virus. I don’t know when results will be available. So, there are interesting ideas about the use of natural remedies in the combat and treatment of the corona virus. Some studies using Chinese herbs have been coming out of China for the treatment and recovery of infected patients. But none these topics I’ve discussed have been proven....and perhaps future research will be done in these arenas.


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