Greek herbs are great for adding flavor to any food.
However, did you know that Greek herbs may also have health benefits? A new study shows that herbs can protect against SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) and reduce mild symptoms from the virus .
Researchers in Greece have found that essential oils from certain Greek herbs may help protect against the deadly COVID-19 disease. As this pandemic continues to afflict the world, many are looking to preventive and holistic medicine, such as herbs, to complement traditional medicine and vaccines.
A Greek Essential Oil Blend from Herbs
The essential oil combination in this Greek study comes from three different aromatic plants: Mediterranean thyme (Thymbra capitata L. Cav.), Cretan dittany (Origanum dictamnus L.), and Greek sage (Salvia fruticosa Mill).
The Greeks have used these herbs in cuisine for millennia. However, scientists have only recently started to study their effects on viruses, like COVID-19.
It’s ‘thyme’ to look at how to use these herbs in modern medicine.
Initial Research: Effective Against Flu and Cold
According to a 2019 study, a similar essential oil blend was shown to protect against viruses causing infections of the upper respiratory tract, such as the flu and common cold .
This initial study led scientists to wonder whether the herbal essential oils could work against similar respiratory viruses like COVID-19.
New Research: Effective Against COVID-19, Reduces Symptoms
The Greek scientists were correct in their assumptions. The results from their most recent study may help uncover new solutions to tackle the pandemic.
First, the same essential oil blend was tested on COVID-19 virus molecules in a lab. It was effective against the virus.
Then, they decided to test this essential oil blend on people who tested positive for COVID-19. These participants had mild symptoms and didn’t require hospitalization. Some symptoms that they experienced at the time included headache, fatigue, and fever.
After taking this combination of essential oils for 14 days, individuals in the study saw notable improvements.
Overall, they experienced fewer and less frequent symptoms. And, for any symptoms they still had, they were less severe.
Further research in the form of clinical trials is needed to confirm whether this formula can serve as a viable treatment for COVID-19. The paper is also currently under peer review, which means that other researchers in the field evaluate the work before it can be published.
What Does This Mean?
While you can’t buy this essential oil blend as a treatment or preventive remedy for COVID-19, you can easily add more authentic Greek herbs to your diet.
For example, try using some Greek sage to season chicken or some thyme to marinate lamb.
Your food will taste delicious, and you can count on the many health benefits of the herbs, too.
The Bottom Line
Essential oils from Greek herbs are effective against the common cold and flu. New research now shows that this same blend may be helpful for COVID-19.
If approved in further research and trials, this blend could prove to be a low-cost and accessible treatment for people with mild symptoms of COVID-19 and perhaps even protect against the virus.
To reap the health benefits, try incorporating some traditional Greek herbs into your eating pattern as part of a Mediterranean diet.
 Lionis C, Karakasiliotis I, Petelos E, Linardakis M, Diamantakis A, Symvoulakis E, Panopoulou M, Kampa M, Pirintsos SA, Sourvinos G, Castanas E. A mixture of essential oils from three Cretan Aromatic Plants (thyme, Greek sage and Cretan dittany, CAPeo) inhibits SASR-CoV-2 proliferation: in vitro evidence and a Proof-of-Concept intervention study in mild ambulatory COVID-19-positive patients. medRxiv. 2021 Jan 1.
 Tseliou M, Pirintsos SA, Lionis C, Castanas E, Sourvinos G. Antiviral effect of an essential oil combination derived from three aromatic plants (Coridothymus capitatus (L.) Rchb. f., Origanum dictamnus L. and Salvia fruticosa Mill.) against viruses causing infections of the upper respiratory tract. Journal of Herbal Medicine. 2019 Sep 1;17:100288.
About the author
Chrissy Arsenault, MBA, RDN, LD, is a registered dietitian nutritionist and licensed dietitian based in Indianapolis. She obtained her bachelor of science in nutritional science at Cornell University and her MBA at Indiana University Kelley School of Business. She is the founder and CEO of a nutrition communications firm called Pink Pamplemousse LLC, where she creates engaging nutrition and wellness content for clients. She has also coached clients on various health conditions including heart disease, obesity, digestive issues and diabetes over the last seven years. Follow Chrissy on Instagram (@thepinkpamplemousse).
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