As we draw closer to the end of the summer and fall allergy season, cold and flu season is just around the corner. Fortunately, using essential oils can help prevent or alleviate the symptoms and discomfort of hay fever or even a viral “bug”.
Essential oils are the concentrated liquid compounds from plants, which are usually produced by distillation from the leaves or flowers. They have a wide range of therapeutic uses for the average household: from bolstering the immune system to relieving cough, congestion and fever.
One of the most versatile essential oils is peppermint. With its invigorating menthol effect, inhaling this oil directly from the bottle, or from a drop or two rubbed into the palm, can provide almost instant relief from sinus congestion, headache and itchy nose or throat. Rub it onto the back and chest to help ease breathing and to expel mucous from the lungs, or use anywhere on an aching body for soothing pain relief.
You can even rub a drop or two of peppermint on the forehead or temples to relieve sinus pressure or headache, or apply liberally to the back of the neck when quick cooling of the body is needed. Be careful not to get the oil, or even its vapors, into the eyes, as it will produce a burning sensation.
Eucalyptus is a good essential oil to use in conjunction with peppermint, as it is a powerful decongestant, expectorant and disinfectant for use with asthma, allergies, coughs and respiratory infection. To get highly therapeutic relief for your head and chest, bring four to five cups of water almost to a boil in a pot, then add two drops of eucalyptus and one drop of peppermint.
Cover your head and pot with a towel “tent style” and deeply inhale the steam vapors for at least five to ten minutes, or longer if you are able. At first you may become more congested as the mucous in your sinuses is being expelled, but the lasting relief and comfort can promote quicker recovery so you can get back to your normal routine.
To help prevent allergy outbreaks and cold or flu from taking hold in the first place, use lemon essential oil daily to detoxify the body. Adding a drop or two of lemon oil to foods, as well as all your drinking water, can help resist illness and enhance the digestive system.
With its balancing effect on the gastrointestinal tract, lemon is very effective in maintaining a strong immune system. You can also diffuse lemon and eucalyptus together for a highly purifying, uplifting and therapeutic cleansing of the air in your home or workplace. Lemon and peppermint oil also combine well together; add one drop each to transform your herbal tea into a calming, healing elixir.
For year-round immune support to make your body more resistant and resilient to allergies and viruses, put two drops each of peppermint and lemon into a vegetable capsule and take internally. If you use any of the oils directly on the skin, then start by diluting at least two drops of olive oil with each drop of essential oil to reduce irritation.
Reduce the amount of olive oil gradually if no irritation occurs. Be sure to buy therapeutic grade oils, as only these are pure enough to safely apply topically or take internally.
As with all approaches to health and wellness , we should not expect any one remedy to be a cure-all. Although conventional medications certainly do have their place in treating acute, short-term illness, it is possible to accelerate healing and stay healthier longer when you use essential oils as a part of your personal wellness regimen.