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      Key to Natural Cold and Flu Prevention Found in the Middle Ages

       

      (ARA) During the 14th Century when the Black Death ravaged Europe, aromatic herbs and oils were an important part of the defense against the plague for those who attended to the dead and dying. In fact, some think medieval perfumers may have had an advantage in not contracting the plague due to their frequent contact with natural aromatics.
       


      The pure, concentrated essences of plants found in high quality essential oils provide alternatives to pharmaceutical drugs in avoiding the misery of colds or flu, for example. Pure essential oils can be used to prevent and relieve congestion, sore throats and other symptoms.

      Aromatherapy is a natural healing therapy that utilizes the essential oils from aromatic plants -- many of them have been used therapeutically since before the Middle Ages -- to help maintain and reestablish good health. These aromatically pleasing oils, many of which are naturally antibacterial, can be used in a number of ways, including simply diffusing them into the air. (True aromatherapy benefits can only be realized when 100 percent pure essential oils are used. Synthetic fragrances lack aromatherapy properties and can, in some cases, be harmful -- even in germ-killing sprays and air fresheners.)

      Herbalist and aromatherapy author Tim Blakley, who teaches at conferences, schools and stores around the country, uses aromatherapy and herbs to maintain his health while traveling. "Tea tree is an excellent oil for fighting colds and flu,” says Blakley. “It has antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, expectorant, and immune-stimulant properties, making it an all-around powerful ally in maintaining health."

      But Blakley doesn't suggest you rely on just one oil to help your immune system ward off its many foes. In addition to tea tree, he finds eucalyptus, peppermint, and rosemary oils especially effective during cold and flu season. To enhance therapeutic qualities and take advantage of the synergy of the oils, Blakley often blends the oils.

      He recommends the extensive selection of pure, gas chromatography-tested essential oils available in stores and online (aura.cacia.com) from Aura Cacia, the leading aromatherapy brand in the U.S. In fact, Aura Cacia offers a blend -- Medieval Mix -- based on the aromatic plague prevention used in the Middle Ages.

      An ounce of prevention ...
      Blakley notes it's always better to prevent colds and flu than to cure them and offers some ideas for staying healthy. In addition to a healthy diet that's rich in preventative nutrients such as vitamin C, he says there are several ways aromatherapy can be used to help boost the ability to fight off colds and flu.

      The natural scents of lavender, lemon, sweet orange, cinnamon or eucalyptus essential oils can be diffused into the air, providing support to the immune system. Gargling daily with one drop each of white thyme, peppermint and myrrh essential oils diluted in a half glass of water can also be helpful. (Be sure to stir the solution well before each gargle, and be careful not to swallow any of it.) And a calming lavender, sandalwood 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 along with approximately 20 drops of jojoba oil in the tub after running the bath. To maximize therapeutic benefits, keep the water comfortably hot.

      Treat yourself right
      "Sometimes," says Blakley, "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, he recommends these simple, natural remedies to get you on the road to recovery.

      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, tackle congestion with a full treatment of steam inhalation. Prepare by simply placing two drops of peppermint or eucalyptus 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. Do not open your eyes while doing this and you can always use glasses or an eye patch to eliminate the problem of getting oil into your eyes.

      If you have a sore throat or cough, mix three drops of tea tree, white thyme 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, seek medical attention.

      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. You can get more information on essential oils and their uses from Aura Cacia at www.auracacia.com or by calling (800) 669-3275.


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