Keep the bugs at bay

Why not use essential oils to beat colds and flu?

Coughs and sneezes do spread viral diseases. And the culprits can be passed from person to person by touch, and from surfaced to you. With up to 200 types of virus groups circulating at this time of year, you certainly need all the protection you can get.

Feeling run down can have a bad effect on family and work life when we just don’t feel up to it. You might spend a fortune on over the counter treatments, cough medicines and lozenges that help reduce the symptoms of colds and flu. But did you know that many essential oils have proven anti-viral properties that may not only help you get over your illness faster, but also prevent you from getting sick in the first place.

Many people swear using essential oils to ease their flu symptoms and speed recovery. But did you know there are many scientific studies that show the anti-viral actions of certain essential oils? And that using them is really simple to do? And better still these essential oils will not only fight off infection-causing viruses, but they also provide support to your body, whether it be your immune system, skin, muscles, bones, cells, or emotional health while healing.

How do they work?

When you put essential oils on your skin, they pass through your skin into the bloodstream. When inhaled, essential oils penetrate the cells of your respiratory system - in the nose, sinuses, throat, bronchial tubes and lungs. The chemical constituents of essential oils easily pass into our cells and bloodstream, and make their way throughout our bodies when inhaled or rubbed into the skin.

A number of essential oils have been shown to have anti-viral activity, and these essential oils are rich in a class of molecules called 'monoterpines'. Linalool, the 'sweet' note in Lavender and a great many other oils is a monoterpine, which is effective in inactivating viruses like those that cause the flu.

Researchers have found that these substances attack viruses in one of two ways. They may prevent viruses from getting into and infecting our cells. They can also inhibit the virus’ ability to replicate. The oils act directly on the viruses themselves. One study has shown that natural essential oils are 10-times more effective in inactivating viruses than individual, isolated compounds from these oils.

Many oils have also been shown to positively support our own immune system, enhancing its ability to ward off infecting microbes.

As there is no single essential oil that is most effective against all viruses, blending several highly-active antiviral essential oils together can provide an effective 'broad-spectrum' formula.

How to use them

Essential oils can be body into the body in several ways

  • By inhaling these essential oils from a diffuser a tissue or a handkerchief (you should only add a couple of drops)

  • By dabbing a few drops of the oil on each wrist, and then rub the neck, under the chin, for absorption by our lymph nodes

  • By adding a few drops of oil to a warm relaxing bath.

Top five essential oils for colds and flu

Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree has been proven to be harmful to viruses. It packs a punch, as it also acts against bacteria. If you’re suffering from a stuffy nose, head and chest congestion, , or add a couple drops to a nice warm bath. For best results, while sitting in a warm bath, drape a towel over your head and breathe in the vapours for 5 or 10 minutes. Tea tree oil works great topically, but don’t ever swallow it.

Lavender Oil

Lavender essential oil will not only attack respiratory infections such as cold and flu, it will also stimulate your nervous system and relaxes you, helping you drift off to a peaceful sleep. Use in to a hankie, or diffuse a couple drops of lavender into your bath and have a nice soothing soak.

By inhaling lavender essential oil, you can loosen up phlegm clogging up your airways while the antiviral and antibacterial properties help fight the infection. This healing essential oil stimulates your immune system, protecting you from further infection.

Thyme Oil