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4 Essential Oils for Biofilms

by Jodi Cohen

essential oils for biofilms, photo of viruses

Biofilms are protective shields that “bad bugs” or pathogens, like bacteria, fungus or parasites, create to hide themselves from your immune system.  Biofilms protect these bad bugs from antibiotic treatment and contribute to persistent infections that can lead to chronic health conditions.

For example, biofilms in your gut are can be created when the “bad bugs” (i.e. dysbiotic or pathogenic gastrointestinal flora) adhere to your gut lining and colonize, surrounding themselves with a protective glue-like film that literally creates a protective physical barrier around them.  This barrier can also impede your nutrient absorption.

Once a pathogen colonizes and begins to form a biofilm, it becomes incredibly difficult to detect and treat, and gets more so the longer it is present. Not only do biofilms shield the bad bugs from your immune system, they also accelerate the growth and dispersion of these pathogens throughout your gut while providing an environment for new pathogens to attach and grow.  Consequently, biofilm-producing microorganisms are now estimated to be involved with 80% of all GI infections.

How Biofilms Impact Your Health

Biofilms allow viruses and fungus, like Lyme and Candida, to hide in your body, cloaking them from both your immune system and conventional testing.  For example, Lyme disease can be challenging to pinpoint when biofilms are protecting bacteria like Borrelia. Biofilms can also impede detoxification efforts, as they contribute to heavy metal accumulation and retention, trapping toxins along with pathogens in the biofilm covering.

Biofilms can form anywhere in your body, but are usually attracted to warm and moist surfaces, like your mouth, gut, nasal passageways, lungs, ear canals,vaginal mucous membrane, or chronic wounds and ulcers, as these surfaces offer an ideal breeding ground for next-generation bacteria. Bio films are suspected to play a role in most antibacterial-resistant infections, including:

  • Strep throat – Research found that all strep throat-causing bacteria formed biofilms.

  • Lyme disease – Biofilms can be at play in cases of prolonged symptoms, possibly due to antibiotic resistance.  Biofilms can also mask Lyme’s presence in medical tests.

  • Lupus – Research reveals that biofilms may stimulate auto immunity and contribute to underlying infections know to trigger lupus flare ups.

  • Sinusitis – Bacterial and fungal biofilms are consistently found in the nasal passageways of patients with sinus issues.

  • Digestive Dysfunction – Biofilms have been linked to Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis and may contribute to irritable bowel disease (IBD), acid reflux, SIBO, IBS, Parasites and Candida

Biofilms have also been suspected in relation to Chronic Illness associated with Mold and Mycotoxins, chronic ear infections, chronic fatigue syndrome, Pneumonia and other respiratory issues, periodontal disease and certain autoimmune conditions.

Why Antibiotics Don’t Work for Biofilms

essential oils for biofilms, photo of virusesBiofilms are difficult to eliminate with standard antimicrobial treatments due to their high antibiotic resistance.  Biofilms require less oxygen and fewer nutrients and alter the pH at the core, making them a hostile community for most antibiotics. Research shows that illnesses associated with biofilms may initially appear to respond to antibiotics, only to be followed by a “rebound,” where the symptoms again flare up, presumably due to bacteria evading the antibiotic within a biofilm.

Biofilms may also make the body increasingly resistant to antibiotics.  For example, one study found that anti-fungal drugs given to treat Candida were ineffective when biofilms were present.  What’s more, that study discovered that 72 hours after the biofilm development, the Candida cells became increasingly resistant to drugs and that resistance becomes more significant over time.

This could be attributed to the fact that stress, like the presence of antibiotics in your body, acts as a message of danger to the bacteria, triggering a protective mechanism where the biofilm creates more microfilms. Some scientists believe that antibiotics actually feed the biofilm problem, with each antibiotic treatment making the biofilm stronger, as it allows the microbes within to adapt and become resistant over times.

4 Essential Oils for Biofilms

Research shows that essential oils, with their antimicrobial, antifungal, antiviral, antiparasitic, and antibacterial qualities, have proven highly effective at eradicating bacteria within biofilms even when antibiotic resistance was in place.

More specifically, to effectively treat the microbes that are hiding beneath biofilms, remedies need to break through the biofilm, destroy the pathogens within the biofilm and detoxify the bio toxin waste products.  Certain essential oils for biofilms are able to do exactly this – penetrate and break down the cell walls of the biofilms and effectively degrade biofilms and kill bacteria.

Plaque on teeth is an example of a biofilm and the success of ‘essential oil’ mouthwashes such as Listerine, which contains four essential oil constituents: thymol, menthol, 1,8-cineole and methyl salicylate,  compared to others is partly due to their ability to break down and inhibit plaque formation.

The following 4 essential oils for biofilm contain properties that have shown promise as powerful biofilm combatants.

1. Parasympathetic™

Clove Oil, one of the key ingredients in the Parasympathetic™ blend, may have an impressive inhibitory effect on biofilm formation. Research suggests that the chemical compound eugenol, found in clove oil, exhibits powerful anti-biofilm effects, possibly inhibiting specific bacterial genes necessary for biofilm formation and attachment. One study examined the effect of 83 essential oils and found that of those tested, clove oil was one of the most effective biofilm inhibitors.  Another study found that clove essential oil exhibited anti-adhesion and biofilm disruption activities.

Parasympathetic™, applied behind the earlobe on the mastoid bone, can help improve gut motility and combat biofilms.  Similarly, applying the oils on the small intestine point located in the right hand at the heel of your palm, straight across the bottom.  Applying Parasympathetic™ here helps prevent biofilm construction and supports elimination of already established biofilms.

2. Immune Support™

Studies show that several of the oils in the Immune Support™ blend, including oregano, thyme and Eucalyptus, have antimicrobial, antifungal and antibacterial properties. These attributes help protect the gastrointestinal system, which houses the majority of the immune system.   For example, studies show that thymol, an active component found in thyme oil, provides exceptional protection against bacteria associated with biofilms. Thymol is believed to disrupt biofilm formation and reduce infection intensity by limiting chemical communication between specific microorganisms in a large collection of biofilms. A study also found that thymol can bind with a key gene that supports the strength and resiliency of biofilms, helping to reduce the virulence of biofilms.

Similarly, Oregano oil, which contains carvacrol, which significantly inhibits biofilm formation without inhibiting immune function.  Carvacrol has been shown to inhibit antibiotic resistant bacteria, viruses, parasites, and fungi and may help reduce the strength and mobility of biofilm-related substances, helping to prevent the spread of biofilms. This research has inspired patients to consume oregano essential oil internally.  I do not advise taking essential oils internally (more HERE), unless you are under the care of an experienced practitioner.

Immune Support™, when applied on the bottom of the feet or diluted over the small intestine may help alleviate biofilms and support your immune system in healing from recurrent and difficult to treat infections.

3. Intestinal Mucosa™

Your gut is an ideal breeding ground for biofilms due to its large surface area and access to moisture and nutrients.

Your mucosal lining is designed to protect healthy your gut flora  — the “good bugs” like probiotic bacteria and fungal species that help keep the “bad” pathogenic bugs in balance and prevent them from breaching the protective mucous layers to reach the underlying epithelial cells.  Excessive inflammation and leaky gut can damage and alter your mucosal lining, creating an opportunity for the bad bugs to attach to the surface of your gut  and begin their biofilm construction. Topically applying Intestinal Mucosa™ around the gut can help regenerate and repair your mucosal lining to help restore the balance of “good bugs” in the gut.  Can be used in combination with Anti-Inflammatory™ to both anti-inflame and heal gut lining.

4. Peppermint™

Research touts the antibacterial and anti-biofilm properties of Peppermint™ essential oil, noting that Peppermint™ essential oil “significantly inhibited the formation of biofilm, and inactivated mature biofilm.”  Most interestingly, Peppermint™ seems to prevent microbial growth by affecting the permeability and integrity of the cell membrane which allow Peppermint™ essential oil to break down biofilms.


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About The Author

Jodi Sternoff Cohen is the founder of Vibrant Blue Oils. An author, speaker, nutritional therapist, and a leading international authority on essential oils, Jodi has helped over 50,000 individuals support their health with essential oils.

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* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

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