Did you know eucalyptus can help ward off the common cold?
Or that patchouli can calm an upset stomach?
How about using niaouli to prevent allergies?
Like herbs, essential oils embody the healing properties of plants that can be used to treat numerous health conditions. Fast-acting, readily accessible and effective, they make an excellent home first aid kit to care for yourself and your family.
As we enter cold and flu season, it is an opportune time to explore these user-friendly remedies.
Eucalyptus is the first line of defense against the common cold.
This warming oil opens up the lungs and expels phlegm to help your body expel a virus. It is an excellent oil to use when you come into contact with sick people or when you are feeling a little rundown and vulnerable to illness.
How to use eucalyptus to protect yourself from getting sick?
Hold the open bottle beneath your nose and take several big inhales. Put a few drops on your fingers and rub it on the back of your neck and over your chest, making sure to get to the outer part of your chest. Apply once or twice an hour when you feel susceptible to getting sick or daily as a preventative measure.
Eucalyptus Globulus is the form most commonly sold as eucalyptus. Use it for what Chinese Medicine calls wind-cold: a common cold that comes on gradually—sniffles, clear runny nose or congestion, slight fever or chills and slight sore throat.
Eucalyptus has antiviral, antibacterial, anti-fungal, antipyretic (brings down a fever) and decongestant properties.
Bonus tip: as a preventative measure, add pine essential oil to eucalyptus to strengthen your immune system.
Tea tree oil is commonly used in foot soaks because of its strong antibacterial and anti-fungal properties. It is also a great addition to eucalyptus in fighting the common cold and preventing the flu. Tea tree oil can be combined with Eucalyptus Globulus as a preventative measure when lots of people around you are getting sick. Its cooling nature makes it more appropriate for what is termed wind-heat in Chinese Medicine—this refers to stronger or more epidemic viruses.
When to use tea tree—a cold or flu that comes on suddenly, severe fever or chills, severe sore throat and bright yellow or green nasal discharge.
Bonus tip: add peppermint essential oil to tea tree oil to help open your nasal passages (adults only).
Bonus tip: use a drop of german chamomile on the soles of children’s feet to help bring down a high fever.
Closely related to tea tree oil, niaouli strengthens your immune system and reduces histamines to prevent seasonal allergies. Use it in the month preceding allergy season to ward off allergy attacks. You can also use it during allergy season—though you do not want to use it during an acute attack—as it can worsen an attack.
Bonus tip: niaouli also balances your hormones and strengthens your adrenals. For pregnant women and children, use tea tree oil instead.
Many people have an aversion to patchouli because of associations with perfume versions of it. The essential oil, however, has a much softer, comforting aroma, which makes it calming and settling for an upset digestive system. Patchouli is the go-to oil for nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.
It is also called for when someone comes down with cold or flu symptoms accompanied by digestive upset.
Bonus tip: use patchouli for first trimester morning sickness.
Vetiver has a grounding scent that is great for relieving tension and stress. It is wonderful for easing tension headaches and neck and shoulder tightness.
Bonus tip: combine vetiver with lavender or neroli to amplify its calming effect. These oils are also helpful for insomnia.
Do you have joint or muscle pain that is worse in cold or rainy weather? Apply a 4% dilution of ginger essential oil to those aches and pains. (Or put a quarter-size dollop of a carrier oil—such as almond or jojoba—in your palm and add a couple drops of ginger). Ginger is also a very comforting oil for the digestive system and can alleviate nausea, gas and abdominal pain—especially pain that is worse after eating cold food.
Bonus tip: Make a blend of ginger, cinnamon, juniper and rosemary (dilute to 6% in a carrier oil) and massage into those muscles and joints that hurt during cold, damp weather.
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Editor: Ashleigh Hitchcock