(ARA) - The arrival of cold and flu season doesn’t mean you have to choose between pharmaceutical drugs and the misery of colds or flu. With aromatherapy, you can use totally natural essential oils to relieve congestion, sore throats and other symptoms.
Aromatherapy is a natural healing therapy that utilizes essential oils from aromatic plants to help you literally smell your way to good health. Essential oils, which are antibacterial by nature, can be used in a number of ways during cold and flu season, including simply diffusing them into the air and inhaling their aromas.
Herbalist and aromatherapist Tim Blakley recommends tea tree, eucalyptus, peppermint, and rosemary. He has written extensively about aromatherapy and taught at conferences, schools and stores around the country -- using aromatherapy and herbs to maintain his health while traveling.
“Tea tree has anti-infectious, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, expectorant and immune-stimulant properties, making it one of my key essential oils for fighting colds and flu,” he said. Here are some strategies Blakley recommends to ward off the flu bug.
An Ounce of Prevention . . .
You can use a diffuser to fill the air around you with natural scents that stimulate the immune system, such as scents of lavender, lemon, tea tree, cinnamon or eucalyptus essential oils. Also, gargling daily with one drop each of lemon and tea tree essential oils diluted in a half glass of water can be helpful. Be sure to stir the solution well before each gargle, and be careful not to swallow any of it. A calming lavender and marjoram evening bath promotes immunity through both its aromatherapy effects and by relieving stress that can weaken your body's defenses. Simply place four drops of each oil in the tub after running the bath. To maximize therapeutic benefits, keep the water comfortably hot.
Treat Yourself Right
Sometimes -- despite your best efforts to prevent catching a cold or the flu -- you may find yourself feeling under the weather. At the first signs of symptoms, try these simple, natural remedies to get yourself on the road to recovery.
You can relieve congestion while on the go by placing a drop or two of peppermint or eucalyptus essential oils on a tissue and inhaling throughout the day. When you're at home with enough time, give yourself a full treatment of steam inhalation. Prepare by simply placing five drops of peppermint, eucalyptus or other essential oil in three cups of simmering water. Remove the water from heat, and place your face over the steam with a towel draped over your head. Inhale the steam through your nose for at least five minutes, taking breaks as necessary to break up your head and chest congestion.
If you have a sore throat or cough, mix three drops of tea tree, eucalyptus or ginger essential oil into a glass of cold water. Gargle with this solution several times a day, without swallowing it. Repeat as often as necessary. As with any illness, if symptoms continue after a few days of home treatment or you begin to feel worse, you should seek medical attention.
Effective Essential Oils
To be effective therapeutically, essential oils should be of the highest quality and cultivated in the best conditions. When buying essential oils, your best bet is to choose an established company with a reputation for quality. Aura Cacia, which sells essential oils online, uses sophisticated testing like gas chromatography to ensure quality and offers a guarantee that their essential oils are 100 percent pure and authentic. You can get more information on essential oils and their uses at www.auracacia.com or by calling (800) 669-3275.