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
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
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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