Study Finds Essential Oils “Clean” Liver And Lungs Of Pollutants

shutterstock_287436257 lungs, oils, liver

organifi-web2 lungs, oils, liver

Written by: Lindsay Sibson

I’m about 99% certain that I was a police dog in a former life.

Why, you ask?

Because my nose’s ability to pick up certain scents is seriously top notch… especially when it comes to cigarette smoke and mold.

I can go from calm and collected to Hulk level anger after one inhalation of cigarette smoke. What can I say… I  prefer to breathe clean air!

The thing is that air pollutants are all around you. It goes way beyond cigarette smoke and also includes household cleaners, exhaust from cars and emissions from factories. The problem is that the particles that are common in hazy, polluted air cause inflammation and are known to be carcinogenic.

To naturally help this inflammation, it has been found that certain ingredients in essential oils could serve as effective remedies for lung and liver conditions caused by air pollution.

A Natural Remedy For Lung And Liver Conditions

Essential oils made from the following plants could serve as a natural remedies for air pollution-related lung and liver conditions:

  • Cloves
  • Anise
  • Fennel
  • Ylang-ylang 

A study published in Environmental Chemistry Letters is the first of its kind to assess the value of using certain essential oil compounds to help the inflammation caused by polluted air (led by Miriana Kfoury of the Unité de Chimie Environnementale et Interactions sur le Vivant, Université du Littoral Côte d’Opale in France and the Lebanese University in Lebanon).

What Makes Essential Oils Powerful?

Alright, so this is about to get a bit science-y with the terminology and all, but let’s break it down together.

First of all, plants naturally contain a variety of essential oils that are composed of different compounds, which have been found to:

1. Have antioxidant value

2. Be able to fight inflammation

More specifically on the anti-inflammatory front, there is a group of organic compounds called phenylpropanoids that are found in the essential oils of some plants:

  • A flavor component of anise and fennel
  • Found in basil
  • Occurs in clove bud oil
  • Contained in ylang ylang

The Study

Kfoury, the lead author in the study and her collaborators conducted the study by a series of tests:


1. Collected air pollutant samples containing fine particles in Beirut, Lebanon.

2. Introduced the samples to human cell cultures in laboratory tests.

      • Normal bronchial epithelial cells (BEAS-2B) and cancer derived hepatic cells (HepG2) were used. 

3. Result: the fine particle matter from the air pollutant samples was found to induce inflammation in the cells.

      • The cells started to secrete the pro-inflammatory cytokines IL-6 and IL-8 (substances secreted during tissue damage and infections).
      • NOTE: cytokine levels normally increase when your immune systems is fighting an infection. 

4. Next step: the researchers established that the essential oil compounds trans-anethole, estragole, eugenol and isoeugenol ALL have cytotoxicity.

    • Cytotoxicity means that these compounds could cause cell death at relatively high concentrations.
    • The researchers were able to determine the level of cytotoxicity of these specific oil compounds.
      • Important in order to establish the maximum dose to assess for anti-inflammatory properties. 


1. The 4 compounds were introduced to the combinations of air pollutants and cell lines.

      • Could they protect the liver and lung cells damaged by fine particle air pollutants? 

2. Findings: the essential oil compounds tested decreased the levels of the 2 types of cytokines in the samples.

    • Cytokine IL-6 levels decreased up to 96%.
    • Cytokine IL-8 levels decreased by 87%. 

Kfoury stated that, “The findings provide the first evidence that natural essential oil components counteract the inflammatory effects of particulate matter, such as that contained in polluted air.”

Additional reading:

1. Using essential oils to clean your home

2. 9 Herbs Cleaning Your Lungs and Help Breathing

3. 7 Food To Detox Your Lungs NOW

What are your thoughts and experiences with essential oils? Share with us in the comments below!


organifi-web2 lungs, oils, liver

Lindsay Sibson

Lindsay Sibson

Lindsay Sibson turned her lifelong dream of traveling the world into a reality when she first stepped on a plan in April of 2014. With the simple intention of learning more about this beautiful world, she stepped away from corporate America to explore an alternative lifestyle of long term international travel, volunteering, blogging and pursuing a blissfully happy and fulfilling way of life.

Lindsay documents her journey in hopes of empowering others to find their passion, reignite their spark and freshen their outlook on life. Connect with her on her website and follow her travels on Instagram (

Through her blog, Lindsay documents her journey in hopes of empowering others to find their passion, reignite their spark and freshen their outlook on life.
Lindsay Sibson

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