Winter has arrived. It is getting colder. Low temperatures and increased humidity weaken our mucous membranes (nose, bronchial tubes) and they become the target of viruses and other microbes. The well-known procession of traditional colds, flues, coughs and a decline in fitness. This, however, is not necessarily our fate. It’s time to reinforce natural defences.
* EO = Essential Oil // VO = Vegetable Oil
The information provided in this post could not be considered as medical information nor engage my responsibility
or that of the Pacific Scents blog as to your usage of essential oils for yourself or anyone else.
I strongly invite you to compare the information with that of authoritative experts and the opinion of health professionals.
“Prevention is better than cure”, and what better way to achieve this than by using natural products. Just as we make sure to have warm sweaters and scarves in our wardrobe to confront winter, it might be wise to add a few well chosen EO for their use in preventing and even cure all sorts of aches. Made of hundreds of active ingredients, EO act at several levels, at the very heart of our organism. That is what makes them so precious. Known for their highly regarded anti-infectious properties, they have many other attributes: anti-inflammatory, respiratory decongestant or also anti-tussives.
If you are a little lost in which EO to choose for your wellbeing, here is a selection of oils with indispensable virtues to help you confront winter and stay in great shape.
The imperatives of winter:
* Ravintsara (Cinnamomum camphora) : Boosts your immune defences
- reduces nasal flow
- anti-viral and expectorant properties for the respiratory tract
- useful for the whole family (from the age of 7 onwards)
- Diffusion: to purify the air.
- Chest and back application, also on the wrists and soles of the feet, diluted in a VO used morning and evening during risk periods.
- In synergy by mixing equal parts of Ravintsara EO, Tea Tree EO and Eucalyptus Radiata EO, diluted in a VO.
Do not use with children younger than 6 and never in the case of a dry cough because this oil contains a drying component (useful in the treatment of a productive cough).
* Eucalyptus Radiata – Against a runny nose
- one of the best EO to fight colds
- clears the respiratory tract
- anti-infectious (anti-bacterial, antiviral), aerial antiseptic
- mucolytic, expectorant and respiratory (particularly upper respiratory tract)
- Chest rubs: 10 drops diluted in an organic VO (2 tablespoons). In synergy with Tea Tree EO, Scots Pine EO or Ravintsara.
- A few drops of EO in inhalation (see below the paragraph on diffusion)
- By diffusion to purify the air as soon as a cold is around. Its antiseptic effect is very well tolerated even by children.
* Eucalyptus Globulus – Insures respiratory wellbeing
bactericide and antiseptic
In diffusion at home to purify the air or in inhalation to help clear the respiratory tract (see below the paragraph on diffusion)
4 to 5 drops in a teaspoon of VO and rub this mixture on the chest and along the spine.
NB: the same component is found in Eucalyptus Radiata, it acts on the upper respiratory tract – ideal for blocked noses – and Eucalyptus Globulus, it acts on the lower respiratory tract – to use in the case of bronchitis.
* Scots Pine – Stop being tired and breathe well
- oxygenic and expectorant
- energy booster
- ideal for bronchitis, laryngitis and sinusitis
- combats infections and is a good antiseptic for the respiratory tract
Breathe in deeply and slowly at the top of the bottle or pour 4 drops on a handkerchief and breathe in. It will cleanse the respiratory tract. You can also rub 1 or 2 drops on the inside of your wrist. It will help you breathe more freely throughout the day.
*Peppermint (Mentha Piperita) For headaches
- very useful in winter if suddenly tired
- treats inflammation of both the respiratory tract and the mouth
- will soothe the symptoms of colds and coughs
- a very good way to soothe headaches
In the case of tiredness or headache: 1 drop on each temple and massage well (not too close to the eyes).
*Niaouli (Melaleuca Quinquenerva) Stimulates immune defences
to bring down fever, but also to free encumbered bronchial tubes, soar throats or to ward off cold sores
* Thyme – To fight infections
- boost the body’s immune system
- ideal for children from 3 years old onwards
- helps fight depression due to winter blues
2 drops on a handkerchief to breathe in and cleanse the nasal passages or 5 drops in your bath water to tone your organism
One of the most efficacious essential oils in many respiratory tract problems
Use in combination with Eucalyptus Globulus and dilute in a VO. This combination applied in massage on the thorax is very effective against all ENT infections, such as ear, throat and nose infections.
* Cinnamon (Cinnamomum zeylanicum) Fight winter blues
Air purifier ( 99.99% effect on microbes)
Positive effect on morale
In diffusion, a few drops on cinnamon bark EO can be very efficacious in purifying the air (beware of the sometimes irritating EO that should be diluted in a gentler EO). To revitalise the body, dilute 2ml maximum in 100ml of VO and massage delicately and with care on the thorax or the solar plexus.
The supplementary ones:
Just as important on the sanitizing front, they add an agreeable fragrance.
* Lemon (Citrus Limon)
To apply at the thorax level to prevent various winter woes thanks to its antiseptic and tonic properties as well as being a booster of the immune system.
* Lavender – Repair dry or cracked skin on your hands
If your skin is cracked and dry, mix 1 drop of true Lavender EO with 4 g of VO and enjoy its healing properties.
Anyhow, don’t forget, after having handled these very concentrated oils, to wash your hands in soapy water, because it is very easy to rub your eye and burn yourself.
Also, do not use these oils for more than three weeks: have breaks to avoid dependency.
Diffusion of essential oils in winter
- Where? : Ideal in winter to purify the air at home or at the office
- When? : The diffusion of EO can both be curative to eliminate microbes (neutralisation and inhibition of germ growth) and preventive by reinforcing the immune system.
- How? : By means of an electric diffuser. Preferably, choose an empty room, and use it for 15 to 20 minutes, once to three times a day. EO are very active and it is therefore recommended to use a diffuser for short periods at a time.
Good to know: The quality of the EO used has a direct effect on the results obtained given that the EO inhaled goes into the bloodstream.
Example: one of the most necessary EO is Tea Tree. If used in a diffuser it will benefit the whole family and cleanse the air helping everyone to breathe better. Alternatively, Ravintsara and/or Niaouli EO depending on what you have in your chemist cupboard.
Beware! Some EO are irritating (Cinnamon, Cloves, Oregano, Thyme, Savory) and these must not be diffused as they could induce suffocation. Prudence is also required with asthmatics and people suffering any form of respiratory problem.
Wet inhalation: an effective weapon against colds and bronchitis
How: using a bowl filled with warm water (1/2 litre), add 2 drops of Scots Pine EO, 2 drops fine Lavender EO and 1 drop of Peppermint EO (or more simple 2 or 3 drops of Ravintsara or Niaouli or Eucaplytus radiata EO). Close your eyes and cover your head with a towel. Breathe in gently but deeply the EO vapours for 5 to 10 minutes. Repeat two or three times a day, staying in a warm place in the hour following the inhalation.
Good to know: inhalations are not recommended for children under 12 and in the case of asthma as the vapour concentration could induce an asthma attack.
In order to obtain the best result, a dermal treatment can be done in parallel with the pulmonary route or the oral route.
A few extra recipes:
Prevention of viral infections of the “flu type”:
Mix 1 drop of Marjoram (Origanum majorana) EO + 1 drop of Niaouli (Melaleuca quinquenerva) EO with a little VO and massage this aromatic mix once or twice a day on the chest and back.
Reminder: respect the necessary precautions:
These suggestions are given as general information and should not be confused with a medical prescription given for a precise and specific condition. Most EO are forbidden for babies, children under the ages of 3 to 6 and to pregnant or breastfeeding women.
If in any doubt it is wise to consult your pharmacist.