Essential Oils and Combating Viruses
We are now well into the ‘cold and flu’ season in the UK. A lot of us have tried and tested ‘family remedies’ to ward off bacteria and viruses – my father was a baker and a keen “every weekend” sportsman – fit and healthy he took a pinch of baker’s yeast and ate a boiled onion every day. I do not remember him ever having a cold!
But let’s first look at what causes these nasties…….bacteria and viruses.
Bacteria: Firstly, there are two types – the good and the bad. The ‘good guys’ like the ones in our gut help us digest our food and keep us healthy.
The ‘bad guys’ emit toxins and that makes us ill….food poisoning and skin infections for starters.
Viruses on the other hand, are much smaller than bacteria and are also unable to live on their own. So, firstly, they need to invade the cells in our bodies, after which they can reproduce and multiply. Consequently, they damage our cells and that makes us sick with things such as colds, flu, sinus problems and in extreme cases HIV and more currently, the Corona virus. However, it is important to remember that there is a ‘window of opportunity’ before the virus invades our cells, when it is extremely vulnerable and, therefore, more easily eradicated than when it has inhabited a host cell.
At this time of the year most of the problems are of the cold/flu type of virus. What can we do to avoid them?
As Aromatherapists our first port of call is always our essential oil box. Common oils that will help us fight viral invasions, that we probably all have, are the ones like Tea Tree, Bergamot, Eucalyptus (radiata), Lemon and of course Lavender. Others that are more specific for viral infections include Ravensara aromatica, Cajeput, Origanum compactum, Cinnamon Leaf, Clove, Winter Savory and Thyme (ct thymol or carvacrol). Many of these latter oils have safety issues attached to them so need to be researched carefully before use.
One of the best methods of using these oils – singly or in combination – is through an aroma diffuser. Simple to use – set them up, set them off and away they go defending us for hours. The added bonus is that they make our house/flat smell absolutely wonderful – the envy of our friends and neighbours!
The moment you feel you have something brewing from a viral point of view, the old fashioned method of ‘inhalation’ is a great way to administer essential oils. In addition to this, and especially as we go out to work, shop or enjoy ourselves, it’s a good idea to carry an aroma stick with us, containing one or a combination of oils. In addition, one drop of our chosen blend can always be added to the inside of a face mask, assuming of course that we have no underlying respiratory conditions, such as asthma, etc.
Eventually, nature comes to our rescue as always – as the weather gets warmer viruses find it more difficult to survive and they tend to become weaker and to a greater extent disappear. As it gets warmer too, we open windows and doors to let ‘fresh air’ in and clear the atmosphere – we also do not huddle so close together to stay warm and so the spread of these viruses diminishes.
But always remember that a healthy body and a strong immune system is our best line of defence. So make sure you look after yourselves, keep fit, eat well, get plenty of sleep and do all the things you know will look after your health.