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 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. Aromatherapy is not a substitute for proper medical care and cannot replace your doctor/medical professional/medications when needed.
Regular diffusion of essential oils, especially those that are antibacterial and anti-viral can naturally help to rid your environment of the microbes that can make you and your family sick.
When you are sick, diffusing essential oils that are expectorants and decongestants can be especially helpful.
Room mists are a good substitute for use of a diffuser when you are traveling or don't have the time to setup 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 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.
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.
An easy, portable, natural hand gel or oil can be made using the following recipe:
- 2/3 oz. Aloe Vera Gel
2/3 oz. Jojoba
- 4 drops Ravensara
- 4 drops Tea Tree
- Several Drops of Vitamin E Oil (optional)
Ravensara and Tea Tree essential oils offer a synergistic anti-viral/anti-bacterial combo that can help to kill germs when incorporated into a diluted topical recipe and applied to hands. Because this is a natural recipe that has not been tested in a lab, it will not be as effective as chemically-based anti-bacterial hand sanitizer products. One advantage to using a natural recipe like this, however, is that it shouldn't gradually weaken your resistance like anti-bacterial hand sanitizers can. This recipe was formulated with healthy adults in mind. If you are using this with children or have sensitive skin, I recommend reducing the ratio of essential oils by at least half. If the combo of Ravensara and Tea Tree is too medicinal for you, you can substitute all or a portion of the Tea Tree for Lavender or use the more earthy smelling Manuka (New Zealand Tea Tree).
I recommend storing your portable gel in a 1 oz. bottle with a treatment pump style top available through many of the packaging suppliers listed within the Bottles & Packaging category of AromaWeb's Global Business Plaza. I love the idea of using skin-soothing aloe vera gel, but the shelf life for pure aloe vera gel is severely limited. To prolong the shelf life of your hand gel, add some Vitamin E oil. Jojoba is amongst the most stable of lipids, and is offered as an alternative to Aloe Vera Gel in this recipe. Other stable vegetable oils include Meadowfoam, Watermelon Seed and Fractionated Coconut Oil.
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.
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 Are Especially 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.