Last week, I was featured on the BetterHealthGuy, Scott Forsgren’s podcast (you can listen to it HERE) where he asked several thought-provoking questions about using essential oils to combat environmental toxins like mold and fungus and their neurotoxic byproduct, mycotoxins.
Essential oils are often touted as the best natural solution for mold, but I do not believe they are a universal magic bullet. In other words, while essential oils can be beneficial in treating minimal levels of mold on easy to clean surfaces, like countertops, glass or tile, they cannot be used to eliminate toxic mold on porous material, such as drywall, as they cannot permeate drywall.
I do not recommend using essential oils to eradicate large mold infested areas as mold spores can spread easily and there is too great a risk of spreading the very spores you are attempting to kill and making the problem worse. This is one of the concerns over diffusing essential oils in mold infested environments, that you might actually be feeding the problem. If you are living in a moldy environment, please consult with professional mold remediators, especially if you are already struggling with a compromised immune system or other health concerns.
While essential oils are not my recommended solution for large scale mold remediation, they CAN BE USED FOR THE FOLLOWING MOLD RELATED CONDITIONS:
- Address minimal or surface mold
- Modulate your body’s immune response to mold during short-term exposures, like hotel room visits.
- Help you heal from mycotoxin exposure after the source of mold has been removed.
How to Mold Impacts Your Health
Mold spores are often inhaled through your nose and throat, impacting your sinuses, eyes, throat, lungs and gut and contributing to symptoms like:
- Nasal and sinus congestion, runny nose
- Respiratory problems, such as wheezing and difficulty breathing, chest tightness
- Persistent coughing or difficulty breathing
- Throat irritation
- Red, itchy, and watery eyes
- Sneezing / Sneezing fits
- Eye irritation
- Skin irritation or rash
- Sinus inflammation
- Fatigue and lethargy
The toxic byproduct of mold, known as mycotoxins, can damage your brain and your nervous system. Mycotoxins are known neuro toxins and can alter your brain activity by disrupting or even killing neurons. Mycotoxins have been linked with several serious brain related health conditions including brain fog, learning disabilities, gastrointestinal disturbances, heart problems, Cancer, Lyme Disease, Multiple Sclerosis, Fibromyalgia, problems with thyroid regulation (both excess and deficiency),and several neurological concerns and autoimmune diseases.
Mold can mutate rapidly, affecting your immune system and even preventing it from working altogether. Once exposed, it can be challenging to eliminate the mold in your environment and detoxify the mold from your system. In fact, as many as 30% of us may have a genetic susceptibility to bio toxins like mold, where the immune system fails to recognize the mold as a toxin and cannot flag the toxins or make anti-bodies necessary to clear the mold from the body. This allows the toxins to build up in the body unchecked with symptoms that build with each exposure.
Combating Mold with Essential Oils
Since your olfactory system, the neural pathway for the sense of smell, directly communicates with your brain via your olfactory neurons can pose a health challenge in the case of toxins that you might inhale or smell, like mold. Just as toxins like mold can cross directly into your brain through the olfactory neurons, so can essential oils.
Essential oils serve as part of the plants immune system and contain therapeutic properties that protect plants from fungus, including mold, bacteria and viruses. Essential oils are comprised of different chemical structures, including aldehydes, phenolics, terpenes, making them more effective against a diverse range of pathogens. The more diverse, the more effective. This is why blends of different essential oils are the more effective for combatting mold. Blends combine the antifungal, antibacterial, anti-parasitic, antiviral, and antimicrobial properties of several individual oils and are therefore more effective than single oils used in isolation at fighting mold.
Essential Oils to Address Minimal or Surface Mold
Essential oils can be used on small areas of visible mold or help prevent mold growth. Essential oils work best on areas that are easy to clean, like glass or tile. Essential oils cannot penetrate non-porous surfaces, like dry wall or flooring. It is also questionable if essential oils can eliminate airborne mold spores.
Essential oils can be applied directly to impacted surfaces, by either spraying the essential oils directly onto the surface or applying with a cloth.
To spray essential oils on flat non-porous surfaces, simply add around ten drops to a glass spray bottle filled with water or vinegar (Vinegar is naturally antimicrobial). Do not use Bleach! (It appears to work, but the mold can quickly return). Shake the bottle and spray onto hard surfaces where mold and mildew are growing. Let it sit for a few minutes to kill and dissolve the mold or mildew, then wipe away with a cloth or sponge.
Always take proper safety precautions and wear a mask, gloves, and protective eyewear when spraying essential oils.
Essential Oils to Modulate Your Immune Response
Essential oils can be used to support your immune function and aid in recovery from toxic mold exposure.
One of the reasons mold is such a powerful toxic relates to its ability to cross directly into your brain through the olfactory system. Anything you inhale, including essential oils, can travel directly into your brain via your olfactory neurons. I suspect this is one of the reasons that some of us are so sensitive to smells like perfume, cigarette smoke and gas fumes. And conversely, why topically applying or diffusing Histamine Balance™ seems to help modulate the immune response to mold so quickly.
Histamine is the chemical compound your cells release in response to injury, allergic or inflammatory reactions, causing contraction of smooth muscle and dilation of capillaries. While the release of histamine is a normal defense mechanism, an exaggerated histamine response can bind to cell receptor sites, causing irritation and chronic inflammation. This inflammatory response can cause sneezing, runny nose, watery, red, itchy eyes, rashes, breathing troubles such as wheezing, severe coughs, asthma, or hiccups.
Histamine levels are designed to be kept in balance by two enzymes that breaking down excess histamine and prevent allergic reactions. One of these enzymes lives in the lining of our intestines and must be present to maintain balanced histamine levels in the gut. A damaged gut lining compromises the production and secretion of this enzyme allowing histamine to build up and wreak havoc throughout the body.
The goal is to balance, not block, the histamine response as histamine performs critical functions in body, contributing to HCL production and neurotransmitter signals. The essential oils in the Histamine Balance™ blend are uniquely suited to help modulate excess histamine excretion, balancing histamine levels and helping to reset the immune response and reduce allergic reactions. Blue Tansy, in particular, is known for neutralizing histamine and helping to control allergic reactions.
I am in no way suggesting that diffusing a little Histamine Balance™ will cure anyone of underlying toxicity issues. If mold is an underlying issue in your environment, you should consider addressing it or moving. However, if that is not an option or you are just seeking a way to negate symptoms, I would consider diffusing Histamine Balance™ in the room for 10 – 20 minutes.
Diffusing Oils for Mold
Scott mentioned that diffusing can feed mold spores and produce more mycotoxins. I believe it is a delicate balance – diffusing essential oils for mold (which access the same olfactory neuronal pathway as mold) in moderation – 20 minutes twice a day – can help to clean the air and balance the body. Over-diffusing can potentially feed the problem.
Essential Oils for Mold
The best blends to help clean or prevent mold growth include:
Parasympathetic™ – Significant research supports using this blend of clove and lime to help eradicate or prevent surface level mold.
Clove oil is known for it’s such as antibacterial, antiseptic, antifungal, insecticidal and antioxidant properties and has been found to inhibit the growth of molds, yeasts and bacteria.
These antimicrobial properties may be attributed to high levels of eugenol, a major constituent of clove oil. Eugenol possesses a chemical structure known as a hydroxyphenyl propene, which allows it to alter the permeability of your cell membrane and inhibit bacteria and yeast from accessing your cells. This is reason that eugenol is associated with antioxidant, antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory activities. It protects your cells against fungi and bacteria.
One study found clove oil to be powerful against Aspergillus, the most dangerous form of black mold.
Citrus oils, like lime, are also known to be antifungal as they are able to break down mold spores at a molecular level. Parasympathetic blends combination of clove and lime may help eradicate surface mold and prevent mold from forming on surfaces like shower grout and bathtub caulking.
Applying Parasympathetic™ behind your ear on your mastoid bone can also help prevent constipation and ensure that you are eliminating any mold toxins.
Immune Support™, our version of Thieves blend may help eliminate mold spores in the air and on surfaces. Mold toxins tend to affect more systems in your body than do pesticides or heavy metals, partly because fungi have the ability to dodge your immune system by rapidly mutating, while at the same time producing chemicals that suppress your immune system. Supporting your immune system by diffusing or topically applying Immune Support™ can help reduce stress on the immune system.
Immune Support™ is comprised of several powerful oils to both help combat surface mold and modulate your immune response to airborne mold toxins. For example, Oregano essential oil has been used for centuries for cleansing and immune-enhancing benefits. Oregano essential oil, along with cinnamon, thyme, and cumin oils inhibited the production of aflatoxin by aspergillus fungus. Oregano oil is a wonderful purifying agent and immune booster.
Thyme essential oil is one of the primary oils suggested for mold. Thyme has been used for everything from Candida albicans to people struggling with mold infections. Thyme is a powerhouse of an oil. This oil can also have a cleansing and purifying effect for the skin.
Cinnamon oil has been shown to be one of the strongest oils for use in battling mold. In a test done on four essential oils, cinnamon showed the best inhibitory effect against mold growing on food. Wax papers with a 6% solution of cinnamon oil used on breads constrained mold growth by 96%. Another study by the International Journal of Food Microbiology showed that a combination of essential oils, including cinnamon oil, suppressed bacterial growth for 60 days. The study suggests that cinnamon oil could be considered an alternative to other food preservatives.
This essential oil contains strong cleansing and immune enhancing properties as well. Please use caution as many of these oils are skin irritants and should always be diluted and used with care. Do not get them near your eyes.
Purification™ – Designed to neutralize mildew, mold, fungus, airborne bacteria and viruses when diffused into a room. This blend combines six powerful essential oils known for their antibacterial, antimicrobial, antiseptic, fungicidal, antiviral properties. The synergy of Citronella, Lavender, Lemongrass, Rosemary, Myrtle, and Tea Tree helps clean the air and neutralize airborne toxins.
The best blends to help your body heal from mold exposure include:
Histamine Balance™ – may help modulate the immune response to mold. As you may know, Histamine is a chemical compound released by the cells in response to injury, allergic or inflammatory reactions, causing contraction of smooth muscle and dilation of capillaries. While the release of histamine is a normal defense mechanism, an exaggerated histamine response can bind to cell receptor sites, causing irritation and chronic inflammation. This inflammatory response can cause sneezing, runny nose, watery, red, itchy eyes, rashes, breathing troubles such as wheezing, severe coughs, asthma, or hiccups. The goal is to balance, not block, the histamine response as histamine performs critical functions in body. The essential oils in the Histamine Balance™ blend are uniquely suited to help modulate excess histamine excretion, balancing histamine levels and helping to reset the immune response and reduce allergic reactions. To learn more about balancing the Histamine Reaction to mold, CLICK HERE.
Sinus Support™ – Mold is often a root cause of chronic sinus issues. When mold enters the sinus cavity, a suppressed immune system is likely to have a strong adverse reaction, the result being fungal sinusitis. Since fungi love damp, dark conditions, the sinus cavity is a perfect growing place, making it difficult to eliminate them once they are in place.
Your sinuses are a connected system of hollow cavities in the skull drain into your nose. When your sinuses are inflamed from exposure to mold, thick mucus fills the nasal cavity causing your tissue to swell and blocking drainage openings into your nose so fluid can no longer escape. This then leads to the common symptoms of sinusitis: headaches, facial pressure and even toothaches form surrounding nerve impingement.
Essentials oils can easily travel into the small holes to loosen mucous and promote drainage. Sinus Support™ works as local decongestants that break up mucus, stimulate drainage of the nose and sinuses and relieve head pressure. Essential oils are also antimicrobial, to help resolve infectious organisms such as bacteria, viruses and fungus in the sinuses and nasal cavity.
Sinus Support™ is designed for aromatic and topical use. If using topically, we recommend apply 2 – 3 drops to a Q-tip and swabbing the inside of the nasal passages 2 – 6 times daily. For optimal effectiveness, you can leave the Q-tip in the nasal passage for up to 20 minutes. Try to relax and focus on breathing through the nose.
Support your organs of Detoxification – One of the biggest challenges of mold is that it poses a constant strain on the immune system and overtaxes the organs of detoxification. If you are mobilizing mold toxins, you want to ensure that they are leaving your body. Be sure to support your organs of detoxification (more HERE) and take binders (more HERE) to ensure the mold and mycotoxins are leaving your body.
Ready to get started? Click the links below to order today:
- Histamine Balance™ available here
- Immune Support™ available here
- Parasympathetic™ available here
- Purification™ available here
- Sinus Support™ available here