My introduction to essential oils came many years ago from an old roommate from Australia who swore by tea tree oil as the ultimate cure-all. Her method was to pour 3 -4 drops on the shower floor, get in and inhale. She was a film editor who worked LONG hours and never got sick. Never. Sold! From then on, I copied her method. When I felt an ache or fatigue coming on I knew what to reach for.
Along the way, I’ve definitely expanded my “go-to list” for avoiding colds and flu but I always come back to essential oils. They smell amazing, work on our mood, help with our breathing, the quality of our sleep — to name just a few functions! I’ll stick to the immune system in this post, but look out for more uses in a future post.
For your immune booster toolkit, I recommend the following oils:
Tea Tree – immune stimulant, anti-fungal, anti-virus, antibacterial, helps with sinus infections, and other cold symptoms
Lavender – immune stimulant, anti-inflammatory, reduces stress, promotes sleep
Eucalyptus – fights cold and flu symptoms, helps with respiratory system, anti-viral, helps to suppress coughing
Frankincense – enhances immune system, reduces stress, anti-bacterial, helps to suppress coughing
Lemon – mood booster, antibacterial, helps with symptoms of flu, throat infections, and asthma
Bergamot – mood booster, helps to relieve symptoms of depression, aids in reducing stress.
My suggestion is to mix and match different blends. I typically use a simple carrier oil like jojoba (grapeseed is nice as well) in an 8oz. bottle and add 6-8 drops each of of 2-3 oils I like for the season. Currently, I’ve got eucalyptus, tea tree, and lavender in the rotation.
Here are some other easy ways to use oils:
- Direct Bottle Inhalation (can also use a cotton ball). For cotton balls: add a few drops and simply breathe in 2-3 times per day. (Don’t get too close.) With bottles: choose dark blue or amber bottles (great for shielding oils from light and air as oils are volatile substances), and breathe in 3-4 times; 2-3 times per day.
- Room Mist: using a spray bottle (6-8 oz.) add 10 drops each of 3-4 different oils into 4 oz. of purified water. Shake and spray.
- Steam Inhalation: can use the shower method I mentioned above or put 3-4 drops into 2-3 cups of hot water in a bowl, place a towel over your head and breathe in. CAUTION: please do not get too close! I have first hand experience of getting a burn on my chin because I wasn’t paying attention. Ah, youth! Did I mention it was the week before I moved into my first apartment in NYC at 22 years old? With a band-aid on my chin? Cool, huh? Again, enjoy but pay attention.
- Palm Inhalation: pour 2-3 drops of oil on a tissue, then take tissue into the palm of your hand and inhale 2-3 times. Do this twice per day.
Some things to consider:
*Essential oils are not meant to replace a diagnosis or treatment by a physician.
*Avoid direct skin contact unless essential oils are diluted.
*Store them in a cool, dry place and make sure that bottles are tightly sealed to avoid oxidation.
There are many brands out there, but I like the organic essential oils from Florame, an Australian company. Another company that I think is great is Kneipp, a German company world-renowned for fantastic essential oils (and many other products!), and a great place to learn more about different oils and how to treat specific conditions.