Reducing the Risk of Contracting Flus and Colds With Aromatherapy
Ever since I began my journey into aromatherapy over 12 years ago, I have experienced far less colds and flus than I previously had. And when I get ill, I seem to recover faster. The use of essential oils can help to make recovery a little more pleasant (or should I say a little less unpleasant).
In simplistic terms, the regular but safely implemente use of essential oils has kept my immune system healthy and has helped to ward off the bacteria, viruses and microbes that can lead to illnesses.
After you read this article, I recommend that you also read the article that I originally wrote when the H1N1 Virus was causing a lot of fear: Steps to Minimize the Risk of Contracting the Flu.
Flu and Cold Fighting Methods Using Essential Oils
Below is a quick list of ways that you can use aromatherapy to help with your efforts to stay as cold and flu-free as possible. Look to the end of this article for a list of antibacterial, anti-viral, expectorant and decongestant essential oils.
If you are new to aromatherapy and the use of essential oils, read about Essential Oil Safety, and learn as much as you can about essential oils by reading through AromaWeb's Article Archive area. Essential oils should not be used as a substitute for proper medical attention and medications when needed. Essential oils should also not be relied upon as a way to stay completely illness free. There is no gurantee that any of these methods mentioned here will prevent you from getting sick.
Regular diffusion of essential oils, especially those that are antibacterial and anti-viral can naturally help to reduce the number of microbes in your household that can make you and your family sick.
When you are sick, diffusing essential oils that are expectorants and decongestants can be helpful.
Room mists are a good substitute for use of a diffuser when you are traveling or don't have the time to set up or operate your diffuser. You can create or purchase aromatherapy room mists that are specially created to help combat germs yet still offer a pleasant aroma. Natural room mists, however, aren't typically formally tested for effectiveness and are probably not as effective as commercial sprays that have been formally tested.
Natural and nearly all-natural surface sprays made with essential oils help to keep the surfaces that you and your family touch free of germs. You can make them yourself inexpensively or purchase them ready made.
Handcrafted surface sprays, however, are probably not as effective, for example, as commercial products that have been formally tested to kill 99.9% of bacteria and viruses.
Be sure not to spray room mists or surface sprays where pets, furniture, open beverages, collectibles or other objects can become damaged or harmed by the mist.
Personal inhalers are about the size of a tube of lip balm and allow you to conveniently inhale your chosen essential oils anytime that you wish. Aromatherapy vendors sell them pre-filled with anti-viral and/or expectorant oils, or you can buy the mechanisms to make your own.
Chest rubs containing decongestant essential oils can be purchased from aromatherapy retailers or you can make them yourself to keep on hand if you become sick. An especially luxurious chest rub could even be made by using AromaWeb's Whipped Shea Butter recipe as the base.
An Important Note About Hand Sanitizers and Gels
The CDC recommends hand sanitizers with a minimum 60% alcohol concentration. Many natural hand gel and oil recipes can be found online, however, their effectiveness is usually quite limited. Beware that handcrafted gels are not usually as effective as commercial products that have been tested for their ability to kill viruses and bacteria. For more information, read The Dirty Truth About DIY Hand Sanitizer Recipes by professional cosmetic formulator Kayla Fioravanti.
Pneumonia and Bronchitis
Essential oils that offer expectorant and decongestant properties may assist with recovery from bronchitis and pneumonia. However, remember that aromatherapy and the use of essential oils is not a substitute for seeking proper medical treatment as necessary.
Essential Oils That May Be Helpful for Colds and the Flu
Antibacterial / Anti-viral
Expectorant / Decongestant
Sources: Valerie Ann Worwood, The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy, 25th Anniversary Edition (Novato, CA: New World Library, 2016. Neryls Purchon and Lora Cantele, Complete Aromatherapy & Essential Oils Handbook for Everyday Wellness (Toronto ON: Robert Rose, 2014). Julia Lawless, The Encyclopedia of Essential Oils (Updated Edition) (London: Harper Thorsons, 2014).
Before choosing to use any essential oil, read about Essential Oil Safety, and be sure that you learn the safety information and contraindications that apply to the oil(s) you are considering. Aromatherapy is not a substitute for proper medical care and cannot replace your doctor/medical professional/medications when needed.