Olive and Eucalyptus Oils Help Wounds Heal

Researchers concluded that olive oil’s higher levels of monounsaturated oleic and palmitoleic acids accounted for its advantages in wound treatment.

Jan. 16, 2018
By Teresa Bergen

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A syn­ergy between olive oil and euca­lyp­tus oil enhances the heal­ing process of wounds and burns, accord­ing to a recent study by researchers at the University of Pavia, Italy. The study tried sev­eral dif­fer­ent com­bi­na­tions of lipid and essen­tial oils to treat burns on rats. Olive oil came out a clear win­ner.

Chronic wounds and severe burns are dis­eases respon­si­ble for severe mor­bid­ity and even death,” researchers explained in the study. Wound repair is a cru­cial process and tis­sue regen­er­a­tion enhance­ment and infec­tion pre­ven­tion are key fac­tors to min­i­mize pain, dis­com­fort, and scar for­ma­tion.”
See Also:Olive Oil Health Benefits

Published in the December 2017 vol­ume of the International Journal of Nanomedicine, the study tested both solid and liq­uid fats — cocoa but­ter, olive oil, and sesame oil — as car­ri­ers for rose­mary and euca­lyp­tus essen­tial oils.

Essential oils are parts of plants extracted from their seeds, leaves, roots, flow­ers or fruits. They are com­monly used as per­fume, for aro­mather­apy or in bak­ing, but also have med­i­c­i­nal uses. Essential oils are volatile com­pounds that eas­ily degrade when exposed to light, heat and air. The addi­tion of a fat such as olive oil helped sta­bi­lize the essen­tial oils.

In the Italian study, researchers treated rats for 18 days, then biop­sied their wounds. Olive oil showed sig­nif­i­cantly higher bioad­he­sion prop­er­ties than sesame oil, mean­ing it was able to stick to the bio­log­i­cal tis­sue and suc­cess­fully deliver the essen­tial oil. Researchers con­cluded that olive oil’s much higher per­cent­age of unsat­u­rated fatty acids, espe­cially monoun­sat­u­rated oleic and palmi­toleic acids, accounted for its advan­tage over sesame oil.


Eucalyptus oil has a long his­tory of med­i­c­i­nal use, from clean­ing catheters in 19th cen­tury English hos­pi­tals to a pop­u­lar ingre­di­ent in herbal cough drops. Its antimi­cro­bial and anti­sep­tic qual­i­ties pro­mote heal­ing and pre­vent against infec­tion. In 2016, Serbian researchers con­cluded that the antimi­cro­bial prop­er­ties of euca­lyp­tus could work on antibi­otic-resis­tant bac­te­ria, and per­haps decrease people’s depen­dence on antibi­otics. Rosemary, a native of the Mediterranean, is used med­i­c­i­nally as an anti-inflam­ma­tory, to pro­mote nerve growth and improve cir­cu­la­tion.

The lead researcher on the study, Sandri Giuseppina, is an asso­ciate pro­fes­sor in the Department of Drug Sciences at the University of Pavia. She researches in the fields of bio­phar­ma­ceu­tics and phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal tech­nol­ogy and is espe­cially inter­ested in ways to deliver drugs other than orally. She has pub­lished sev­eral stud­ies on meth­ods for heal­ing wounds.

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