Crowded shopping malls, holiday parties, grocery store carts, sniffling children, public transportation, theaters – things we all fear during cold and flu season! Germs lurking everywhere! Fortunately, you can create your own arsenal of natural, organic, and safe essential oil blends to help keep you healthy this holiday season.
One of the most effective blends to keep on hand is a stock blend to use as a steam. Just one or two drops (no more!) of blend in a steaming pot of hot water, with head tented with towel, can really help to nip a cold or flu in the beginning or greatly lessen severity and duration. Some good essential oil choices are Douglas Fir, Saro, Eucalyptus (Globulus) or Eucalyptus (Dives), Rosemary, and White Spruce. (If you are asthmatic, smell a drop of Eucalyptus before adding it to blend – in some asthmatics it can really help to open airways, but in others can cause an asthma attack. If you feel like you are beginning to tighten, do not use this essential oil.) Steam for 5 to 10 minutes – this will cause a lot of mucous to be expelled, so keep tissues nearby! Repeat 3 to 4 times per day until symptoms have diminished.
Using a diffuser with a stock blend is a great way to kill airborne germs and contaminants. There are so many oils to choose from, but some to consider are Hemlock, Cedarwood, Black Spruce, Lemon, and Ghandi Root. I generally recommend starting with 5 to 7 drops in diffuser, depending on type of diffuser and size of room. Increase or decrease as necessary. If diffusing around pets, small children, or elderly, use extra caution and make sure room is well ventilated. When using a diffuser, do not run the diffuser continuously throughout day. This is not only wasteful, but it is a lot for our bodies to process. A good rule is to diffuse for 20 minutes, turn off for an hour, and then repeat if desired.
Personal inhalers, one of my favorite delivery methods for many intentions, are another great addition to your winter “survival kit”. Inhalers are portable, discrete, long-lasting and inexpensive. Essential oils are always chosen for each individual client, but some good ones to try are Fragonia, Rosalina, Sitka Spruce, and my favorite, Ravintsara. Inhalers used during cold and flu season should contain oils which are anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, anti-microbial, analgesic, strengthening to the immune system, and, if necessary, opening for nasal passages. If your nose is stuffy, Ravintsara is an “essential” essential oil to add to blend! Ravintsara, however, should not be used with children under 5 years of age, and in very small percentages with children under 10, due to high 1,8 cineole content.
Most of us are aware of the dangers from repeated use of anti-bacterial commercial hand sanitizers, but did you know that you can make your own? Aloe vera gel makes an excellent base, and many essential oils are anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and/or anti-microbial. In 2 ounces of organic aloe vera gel, I suggest adding a blend of 20 drops of appropriate essential oils (for 5 years of age and older). Some effective choices are Laurel Leaf, Lavender, Tea Tree, Peppermint, and or Orange (sweet or blood).
One of the wonderful benefits of using essential oils blends, is they do not (if used properly) have negative side effects or dependency issues like many OTC cold and flu preparations. Always check with your certified aromatherapist if you have any questions or concerns, especially regarding dilution ratio and proper oils for children.
I’m wishing everyone a happy, healthy, and safe holiday season!