Normally toward the October I'd say to my readers, "we're coming into cold and flu season and it's time to protect yourself from the bacteria and viruses that attack your respiratory system." However, this year is different. Cold and flu season seems to be already afoot. Not only has the H1N1 virus heavily attacked my own community here in central Pennsylvania, but folks seem to be hit with the general crud associated with winter: colds, coughs and snotty flu. Therefore, start right now to protect yourself and your family from invaders.
I've been working with essential oils for nearly 19 years and can honestly say that I rarely fall ill with either cold or flu. I attribute this to a combination of my joie de vivre, frequent hand washing and daily use of essential oils. The use of pure essential oils for health is called Aromatherapy, and it's a safe, natural and proven way to protect and even heal your body from attackers.
Our immune system is consist of a group of cells and organs that act together to defend the body against foreign invaders that may cause disease such as bacteria, viruses and fungi. The health of the body is depend on the immune system's ability to recognize and repel or destroy these invading micro-organism. Unfortunately, the current American lifestyle doesn't lend itself to blooming health. We have some of the poorest eating habits on the planet, our environmental pollution is growing and as nation we're overextended and very stressed out. Stress is a major contributor to a weakened immune system and research has shown that depression can seriously deplete one's immunity. If our immune system is weak it cannot fight bacteria or viruses and can lead to allergies and infectious disease.
So what's a body to do? Rest, play more, slow down, eat better, exercise daily, wash your hands often and Use essential oils! Use many and use them often!
List #1: Heavy Hitters.
This is a list of some pretty big guns in the world of aromatherapy. They are powerful antiseptic essential oils that are good warriors against skin and lung infections including staph, strep and pneumonia. Thyme oil alone has been proven as potent as standard antibiotic drugs! They are very irritating to the skin. Please follow the directions for use at the end of this post.
Cinnamon (Hot. Use with caution)
Thyme ct. thymol (Very harsh oil. Use with caution)
List #2: Middleweights
Good bacteria fighters that are effective but not quite as strong as the warriors in List #1. They are, nevertheless, effective protectors and healers and still need to be used with respect and caution.
List #3: The Antivirals
These oils help with viral infections.
Oregano (use with caution)
Thyme ct. linalol
Methods of Use
Room Spray: 10 drops of essential oil to one ounce of water. Shake and spray. Best to use glass bottle. You can find them here.
Chest Rub: Essential oils that have a specific clearing effect are eucalyptus radiata, rosemary and spike lavender. Prepare a blend of 10-20 drops of essential oil in 30ml of vegetable oil such as canola oil and rub on the chest and upper back.
Diffusion: There are many ways to diffuse essential oils into the atmosphere to kill airborn bacteria. I wrote a long, detailed post on the subject here.
Steam Inhalation: Add 3-5 drops of essential oil to a sinkful or bowl of steaming water. Cover your head with a large towel, close your eyes, put your face above the water and inhale deeply.
Direct Application: Only Lavender and Tea Tree can be applied directly to the skin.
Massage: Essential oils should always be diluted in a good quality carrier oil before applying to skin. The normal dilution is about 10-20 drops of essential oil to 1 ounce of carrier oil.
Sauna: To refresh the sauna and to enjoy the therapeutic effects of the essential oil, mix five drops of your chosen essential oil in one cup of water and pour over the hot rocks. Always dilute them in water because they can be flammable.
Pillow One or two drops of an essential oil on a pillowcase or tissue inside the pillow case is a wonderful way to enjoy the soothing and therapeutic effect of the essential oils. Take care not to get the oil in your eyes!
Liz Fulcher has been using essential oils since 1991 and is Director of Aromatherapy Studies at the Mt. Nittany Institute of Natural Health in State College, PA. She is a massage therapist, teaches art journaling, soulcollage and pretty much spends her day playing. Her blog is www.thefragrantmuse.blogspot.