Staying Healthy During the Cold and Flu Season
Updated: Sep 18, 2020
During the winter months, when we spend more time indoors, exposure to cold and influenza viruses is common. Viruses are present all year but heighten in winter when cold air keeps them stable, and low humidity allows them to remain in the air. Close contact with others, busy schedules and stress are contributing factors to the efficacy of our immune system. Maintaining good hygiene by washing our hands often, eating a nutritious diet, staying hydrated, and getting regular exercise can help us prevent viral infections.
If we do find ourselves with a cold or the flu, there are many natural things we can do to promote recovery. Essential oils offer a natural way to fight colds and ‘flu and have been used for centuries to fight infection and strengthen the immune system. Direct inhalation is the most direct way to obtain therapeutic benefits from essential oils: using a diffuser or room spray are the fastest ways to distribute essential oil molecules into the room where their healing benefits are inhaled. Another excellent inhalation method is the nasal inhaler, which can be carried with you and used 3-6 times day.
Here are some excellent options for helping prevent or recover from a cold or flu infection:
Clove Bud (Syzygium aromaticum) – Useful for bronchitis, colds and flu due to its potent antiviral and expectorant properties. Use only in low dilution: .5% or less as it may cause skin irritation. (Not for the bath, children under 5, and is contraindication with certain medications.)
Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus radiata) – Especially useful for respiratory ailments and fever complaints, this essential oil is helpful with bronchitis, catarrh, colds, coughs, flu, sinusitis and throat infections. (Not to be taken internally, not for use in the bath, and not for children under 5.)
Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) – Regarded as the most therapeutically versatile essence, Lavender is very relaxing to the nervous system and can help with a headache and insomnia. It is also useful for bronchitis, catarrh, laryngitis, throat infections, whooping cough and the flu. Lavender is an excellent choice for use in the bath.
Peppermint (Mentha piperita) – A familiar aroma to many, Peppermint has anti-inflammatory, antiviral, expectorant, and febrifuge properties. It is helpful for asthma, bronchitis, fevers, flu, sinusitis, spasmodic cough, and provides relief from head colds. (Not for use in the bath, not for children under 5, contraindicated for use with certain medications, not for sensitive skin: dermal maximum 5.5%.)
Ravensara Leaf (Ravensara aromatica) – Traditionally referred to as the “oil that heals,” Ravensara helps with colds, congestion, flu, sinusitis, throat and lung infections, whooping cough and viral infections. A maximum 1% dilution is recommended for dermal application, because of the high level of estragole. Can be used in the bath in low dilution.
Tea Tree (Melaleuca alternifolia) – A potent immune stimulant, Tea Tree has anti-infectious, antiviral, bactericidal, and expectorant properties. This oil is useful for asthma, bronchitis, catarrh, coughs, sinusitis, whooping coug