There is a lot of hype in the last decade or so on how essential oils and/or Aromatherapy can ‘boost’ the immune system. This is simply not at all how essential oils or the body works.
Yes, essential oils can fight bacteria, viruses, fungi and microbes but they cannot fortify your system so that you don’t get sick in the first place. (1)
A healthy immune system is specifically tuned to differentiate between pathogens and the body’s healthy tissue. When this equilibrium is lost, an overactive immune system starts attacking its own body, the consequence being perhaps chronic inflammation and even autoimmune diseases. When the immune system is fragile or compromised on the other hand, we succumb to diseases.
Anti-inflammatory substances suppress the immune system and harm repair system, and immunostimulants stimulate inflammation, perhaps even helping the repair system
Evidence that small organic compounds of plant origin can specifically fortify a normally functioning immune system is weak (1) (Gertsch et al. 2011, Anastasiou and Buchbauer 2017).
Many, even most, essential oils are anti-inflammatory, meaning that they inhibit one area of immune response. Sometimes it’s thought that these oils might be useful in autoimmune disease, but this is highly speculative.
Many, MANY websites give lists of “immune boosting essential oils or aromatherapy blends”. If you read close enough you will see that they have pretty much copied and pasted information off other websites- most times it is verbatim. They want clicks- they do not care of the information is true and if they honestly believe this, then they do not have a proper education about essential oils and the body.
Now if you are suspecting you have been exposed to something and that it is currently worming its way through your body, essential oils CAN help here.
Taking a hot bath (soak for 20mins) with some olive oil or coconut oil (essential oils needs fats to disperse properly) and 20 drops of either frankincense, lavender , tea tree or cajeput (or any combo of 20 drops total) can help fight off the invading microbes and keeping you from getting sick-er. Obviously if have a fever you do not want to make yourself worse by taking a hot bath. Use common sense.
In conclusion, using essential oils will NOT keep you from getting sick by boosting your immune system.