Essential oils are growing ever more popular to help combat cold and flu. We've put together this article to explain why they may be good additions to your household, which ones are best, and how to use them!
Because of their chemical composition, essential oils are proving to be useful in the fight against viruses and bacteria. How does this work? As you probably know, many manufactured medications are formulated from components originally found in nature (think penicillin). However, manufacturers typically refine their product to focus on a single medicinal component. This means viruses and bacteria only have to learn how to overcome a single component to become resistant to this medication.
Essential oils, however, are each comprised of 50 to 160 (or more) chemical components. Many of these components have recognized medicinal value. Because essential oils have not been refined and processed to focus on a single, medicinal component, bacteria and viruses are faced with a barrage. They find it much more difficult to adapt to this many components, leaving essential oils as a strong candidate for the fight against them.
Inhalers: Inhalation is one of the most beneficial ways to use essential oils for a flu. Use an inhaler for best results - sniffing from an essential oil bottle with a tiny orifice will only yield the top notes. Inhalers have 4-5 small holes allowing all of the essential oils in a blend to be inhaled. They fit in a pocket or purse making them easy to carry anywhere including public places like planes, offices, hospitals, schools and shopping centres. This can help clear your nasal passages so you can breathe easier. Add a single oil or blends from the list above to help get you through the day. You may even sleep better and de-stress!
Diffusers: diffusers and humidifiers are also another great way to reap the benefits of essential oil inhalation. It has been found that viruses prefer dry air, so adding humidity can help eliminate viruses. Diffusers come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Depending on the size, they can run for up to 18 hours. They can be transported easily to offices, schools, rooms, and hotel rooms. Adding specific blends of essential oils can also help kill viruses on surfaces and in the air (e.g., tea tree, cinnamon, and lavender). For best results, diffuse in an enclosed, empty space for 30-60 minutes (door closed, no people). Letting the diffused oils work their magic in an closed environment will make it most effective. You can then let in some fresh air to reduce the possibility of reactions due to scent-sensitivity or allergies.
A hot bath when you have chills may help raise your body temperature which may help fight the viruses. Adding essential oils for cold and flu can help with pathogens on the skin and in the respiratory tract as well as help with congestion (depending on the oils you choose). Plus, if you have Epsom salts, the magnesium, can help with aches and relaxation!
*DO NOT add pure essential oils directly to bath water. The undiluted essential oils will float on the surface, rather than dissolving into the bath water. Using full strength, pure essential oils on the skin and mucus membranes is not safe.
A blend of essential oils in a massage oil or carrier oil can help with congestion, sore muscles and fight potential bacteria / viruses lurking on skin. A general recipe for most pure essential oils is 5-10 drops in 30mL massage oil, but always be sure to check the safety information on our site for proper dilution rates.
by Joann Rosso
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