Essential Oils For Home And Workplace Protection From Colds And Flu
Research into the medicinal actions of essential oils has consistently emphasized a few particular benefits. Some of the most important, and most clearly effective, are the uses for oils to prevent and treat infectious illness. No need to wait and catch a cold to see if aromatherapy will work for you! Using a few oils consistently throughout the cooler months can keep you and your family healthy throughout the season.
Sometimes we make a big deal about aromatherapy not just being about inhalation of essential oils — but in the case of immune system boosting and protection from viral illnesses, inhalation is the way to go. The most common way to catch a cold will be from inhaling microbes in the air. One feature of inhaling essential oils is they actually offer protection to the cells lining our sinuses, bronchial tubes and lungs. Secondarily, they course through your bloodstream and signal your immune system to be on alert.
Research using melissa and other oils for the treatment of herpes infections has shown that pre-treating cells with essential oils significantly limits viral replication in that cell. Essentially, that cell does not become infected, or spread infection, as it otherwise would. And there’s nothing special about the herpes virus, it’s simply easy to study. Other combinations of oils, directly targeting viruses which cause influenza for example, can have the same effect. This is our first line of defense.
When the oils get into our bloodstream through inhalation, research has shown this has a direct effect on our immune function. The cells in our body which consume and eliminate foreign invaders, called phagocytes, step up their action. This research was done with eucalyptus, and the result is thought to happen with with any oil containing the natural chemical “1,8-cineole” (also found in rosemary). Further, these oils reduce the inflammation caused by viral invaders (as an aside, they can be helpful for conditions of bronchitis, asthma, and rhinosinusitis).
Beyond the stimulation of the immune system and prevention of infection, oils have been shown to directly inactivate viruses and bacteria. Research involving vapors of lemongrass and geranium showed these vapors could destroy pathogens on surrounding surfaces as well as in the air — a process occurs in the body as well. This is helpful because it’s not exposure to one single virus or bacterial that can make us sick. It’s a combination of factors, one of which is the overall microbial load; how many active viruses or bacteria our body has to deal with. As vaporized oils inactivate microbes both inside and outside the body, the benefit is obvious.
So you have a range of potential applications when using oils for immune support. The most simple is the regular inhalation of one or more oils straight from the bottle, or a device such as a pocket diffuser. This is really a little vial with fibrous material in it to hold the oils. Research indicates that the use of eucalyptus radiata alone will boost immune function. If you’d like a more synergistic blend designed to inactivate microbes at the same time, use one part melissa, and 3 parts each eucalyptus, bay laurel and thyme of the linalool chemotype.
To protect your family, household or workplace, consider using a cold-air nebulizing diffuser to make a mist of essential oils which evaporate into your environment. You can combine a timer with the diffuser to conserve your oils, and run the diffuser for no more than 10 minutes every hour (it’s generally true that one needs less oil than they think to get the results they want — they are very potent medicines). You can run this throughout the hours people are in the environment. Exposure for just a few hours per day, on a daily basis, should be enough for continual immune support for most people. (Consider longer times if the users are immunocompromised).
Consider you can topically apply these oils as well. Make a ten percent dilution in any carrier oil and massage small amounts daily into the lymph areas of your neck, as well as the tops and bottoms of the balls of your feet. Reduce the concentration accordingly for children (the younger the more dilute) — these oils are not “hot”, and will be safe for use.
So if you’re wanting to not catch anyone’s cold this winter, and perhaps even prevent your entire family — school kids and all — from doing the same, get yourself set up with antiviral essential oils and a diffuser. Won’t it be a much nicer Fall and Winter with everyone staying happy and healthy!
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