by Stephanie Chambers and Dr. Christoph Streicher
As snow is starting to fall in many parts of the country, many of us are starting to reach for our hot herbal teas in an effort to avoid the nasty side of winter – colds and flus. But how can essential oils help us strengthen our immunity and avoid infection?
Some essential oils that you can use to help you be strong this winter (not in order of importance):
- Juniper Berry – This oil is known for its purifying and detoxifying qualities. Hospitals in France used to burn sprigs of juniper berry in hallways to clear the air and prevent infections from spreading.
- Ravintsara – This is a gentle, anti-viral oil. It is said to open and clear the respiratory channels, and thus has similar uses to Eucalyptus Radiata. However, it is milder and more potent.
- Niaouli – This is related to Tea Tree, but its effects are more similar to Cajuput, so it is good for fighting infections. It is said to be an immune booster and decongestant.
- Siberian Fir – This oil isknown for its ability to kill airborne germs.
- Myrrh – This ancient oil is said to have anti-bacterial qualities which can help us fight germs.
- Thyme – Research has shown that this essential oil is both anti-bacterial and anti-fungal. During WWI, Thyme was used as a disinfectant in hospitals. Its name “thyme” is thought to have either been derived from the Greek word “thymon” which means to fumigate or from “thumon,” meaning courage. Red Thyme is extremely pungent and needs to be handled with extreme care. Thyme Borneol is milder than Red Thyme, yet not as mild as Thyme Linalol. Thyme Linalol is the mildest form of thyme and the least irritating.
- Bay Laurel – This oil is said to have antiseptic and mucus-clearing abilities. It helps support the lymph system. It is also said to enliven courage.
- Eucalyptus – Eucalyptus Globulus is known for healing and easing symptoms of infectious illnesses. Eucalyptus Radiata is known for its ability to prevent colds and congestion. It is said to be anti-viral, antiseptic and warming. Unlike other forms of eucalyptus, it is mild enough to use around small children.
- Oregano – This oil has a history in terms of being used for immunity. For example, it was used to guard against the plague. It was used in French hospitals to clear the air. It was used by Native Americans for purification and healing.
- Tea Tree – This oil is said to help ward off all three infectious organisms – bacterial, viral and fungal – and to be a powerful immune stimulant.
The last five of these essential oils are part of Amrita’s Invincible Immunity Synergy blend. To prevent colds, you can diffuse it or dilute it to 2% in any carrier oil (10 drops per tablespoon) and use it in a whole body massage. To remove congestion, you can use it in a steam inhalation. Do not ingest it. You should not use it if you have epilepsy or are pregnant.
You can also use Respiration synergy to help prevent colds. It contains Eucalyptus Globulus (Partially Rectified), Siberian Fir and Niaouli Essential Oils. Diffuse Respiration and if you get a cold, you can also use it in a steam inhalation or dilute 2% in a carrier oil (10 drops per tablespoon) and place in each nostril. Steam Inhalation is particularly effective with this synergy.
Massaging yourself regularly with Muscle Tension & Cold Relief body oil can also help boost your immunity. It contains Eucalyptus Radiata, Lemongrass and Birch essential oils in a base of Apricot Kernel, Almond and Hazelnut oils and Vitamin E. Lemongrass is said to warm and relax tense muscles, whereas Birch is said to help reduce pain.
Golden Shield Tri-Essence Power Blend is a mixture of high potency herbs and essential oils which can also help to fortify your immune system.
Colds and flu are viral infections, so that’s why antibiotics are of no use in fighting them. When your respiratory system is chronically infected (e.g. more than 10-14 days), it is no longer a virus: bacteria has settled in. Eucalyptus has very little anti-bacterial effect. However, Thyme (see above) has been shown by research to have anti-bacterial effects.
So keep some of these oils and blends handy to strengthen your immunity in the coming months. And enjoy the winter wonderland.
Disclaimer: The statements made on this page have not been evaluated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). They are not intended to diagnose, cure or prevent any disease. If a condition persists, please contact your physician or healthcare provider. The information provided is not a substitute for a face-to-face consultation with a healthcare provider, and should not be construed as medical advice.