Combating Flus and Blues with Aromatherapy
By Shanti Dechen, RA, CCAP, LMT, CYI
Build up the immune system naturally:
Get adequate rest and sleep
Use essential oils daily
Eat healthy foods; eliminate processed foods and increase healthy nutrients
Reduce stress levels
Use appropriate herbal supplements
Essential oils are natural immune system boosters. Their concentrated chemical components include anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-septic properties and more. Essential oils can reach and absorb into the bloodstream in as little as 20 minutes. This can assist the immune system, cleansing the cells of toxins and enhancing their ability to absorb oxygen and nutrients.
A few essential oils that are terrific immune stimulants: Ravensara (Ravensara aromatica), Everlasting (Helichrysum italicum) and Manuka (Leptospermum scoparium)
Ravensara (Ravensara aromatica)
Immune System Benefits: Ravensara is a strong antiviral oil and can be used for colds and flu, bronchitis, catarrh, colds, earache, lung infections, pneumonia, rhinitis, sinusitis, throat infections and whooping cough. Ravensara is also effective to reduce joint pain, lymph congestion, fevers, fatigue, muscular aches and pains, and as a nerve tonic.
Precautions: Non-toxic, non-irritant when used in moderation.
Manuka (Leptospermum scoparium)
Immune System Benefits: Wide spectrum anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and anti-inflammatory. Manuka helps keep infections at bay, including colds, flu, fever, and related muscle pain. It is excellent to diffuse as inhalation therapy as an expectorant for congestion in the nasal passages and respiratory infections, and for coughs, sinusitis, and whooping cough. It has disinfectant properties useful against bacteria and infectious diseases.
The Maori people used manuka as an important part of their natural medicine. It is believed that leaves of both manuka and tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia) were used by Captain Cook to make a tea drink, thus given the name Tea Tree.
Precautions: Non-toxic, non-irritant when used in moderation.
Everlasting or Immortelle (Helichrysum italicum) aka (Helichrysum angustifolium)
Family: Asteraceae (Compositae)
Immune System Benefits: Strengthens the immune system: antibacterial, anti-viral, anti-fungal, anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory and relaxes the nerves. The expectorant properties assist to relieve congestion in asthma, bronchitis, chronic cough, colds, catarrh, whooping cough, flu. It also helps with fever and antispasmodic properties help with cough, asthma, aching muscles and spasms.Everlasting is healing for physical and emotional wounds.
Precautions: Non-toxic, non-irritant when used in moderation. The anticoagulant properties of everlasting are contraindicated if one is taking blood-thinning medication. Not recommended for children under 12 or during pregnancy.
Aromatherapy Applications to Strengthen the Immune System:
Diffuser, room spritzer, bath, compress, massage or body oil.
Bath: Mix 5-7 drops of essential oils into 1 tsp. of carrier oil (organic sweet almond, sunflower, sesame or safflower oil) or vegetable glycerin or aloe vera gel, and then add to bath. (Suggested bath blend: 2 drops manuka, 2 drops ravensara and 2 drops everlasting.) Always check essential oil precautions; see link below.
Compress: Mix 3-5 drops of essential oils and 1 tsp. of carrier oil, vegetable glycerin or aloe vera gel and add to water. Soak compress, wring out and apply.
Suggested use for respiratory issues: apply 2 drops of each manuka, ravensara, and everlasting, diluted in 1 tsp. of carrier oil, to the upper back and then apply a warm towel over the area.
Massage Oil or Body Oil (1 oz.): Mix essential oils in a simple choice of carrier oil which can include sweet almond oil, sunflower, safflower or sesame. Use a 2% dilution per 1oz, up to 12 drops total for general use. Use a 1% dilution for children, elders, pregnancy and those with sensitive skin, up to 6 drops total.
Feeling SAD? Seasonal Affective Disorder, also know as winter depression, winter blues, or seasonal depression, is a mood disorder in which people that have normal mental health throughout most of the year experience depressive symptoms in the fall or winter. Common symptoms include feeling blue, lethargic, fatigued, unmotivated and depressed. One may also oversleep, gain weight and crave carbohydrates more than usual.
Use natural methods to feel more like yourself again:
Upon inhalation, essential oils can affect the limbic system in the brain in as little as 20 seconds. This can assist in becoming more alert, centered and grounded.
Let's look at a few essential oils that are mentally and emotionally uplifting:
Orange (Citrus sinensis), Rose Geranium (Pelargonium graveolens) and Cypress (Cupressus sempervirens).
Orange (Citrus sinensis)
Emotional/Mental Benefits: Can reduce anxiety, stress, nervous exhaustion; boosts self-esteem, confidence, hope and mental strength, and uplifts spirits. The happy oil!
Precautions: May irritate sensitive skin; do not use without diluting first in carrier oil or in the bath. Orange is safe for entire pregnancy but use in moderation at a 1% dilution or less. Use mandarin (Citrus reticulata var. mandarin) instead for children under 6 years of age.
Rose Geranium (Pelargonium graveolens)
Emotional/Mental Benefits: Balancing effect on the nervous system; relieves anxiety and depression, lifts spirits, improves mental clarity.
Precautions: Not for long-term use with history of estrogen dependent cancer (not more than 10 days); not ideal for children under 14; can be used in moderation during the third trimester of pregnancy;
Cypress (Cupressus sempervirens)
Emotional/Mental Benefits: Strengthens and restores overburdened system, calms nervous tension, alleviates stress related conditions, assists with grounding and wellbeing.
Precautions: Avoid with history of estrogen dependent cancer; avoid during pregnancy.
Essential Oil Applications for Emotional Uplifting
Uses: Inhalation through nasal inhaler, diffusion, room spritzer, bath, massage or body oil.
Tissue or Cotton Ball: Add 2-3 drops of essential oil onto a tissue or cotton ball and inhale.
Nasal Inhaler: Saturate the felt wick with essential oils and load into capsule; inhale as needed.
Room Spritzer (2 oz.): In 1 TBSP of vegetable glycerin, add 10-15 drops of essential oils, shake well and then add water or geranium hydrosol. Try the essential oil formulation of 8 drops orange, 4 drops rose geranium and 6 drops cypress.
Nebulizing Diffuser: Add 15-20 drops of essential oils into glass nebulizer, run for 10-20 minutes to increase immune stimulation. Benefits the respiratory system and uplifts the emotions.
With proper use, aromatherapy can be used to boost the immune system and also uplift the mind and emotions. Aromatherapy is a fantastic therapy to include in a healthy lifestyle.
Shanti Dechen is a Nationally Certified Massage Therapist, Certified Clinical Aromatherapy Practitioner and Instructor, Certified Chi Nei Tsang Practitioner and Instructor, Body Mind Clearing Practitioner, and a Certified Yoga Instructor with over 15,000 hours of training in holistic modalities. Shanti has been a holistic health practitioner since 1979. She specializes in aligning health and balance in daily life by using the modalities of Clinical Aromatherapy, Herbology, Massage, Chi Nei Tsang: Internal Organ Rejuvenation, Reflexology, Nutrition, Bodymind Clearing, Cranio-sacral therapy, Energy Medicine, Qigong and Acupressure.
Shanti's love and enthusiasm for aromatherapy, plant medicine, herbology, and holistic healing lead her to establish Aroma Apothecary Healing Arts Academy in 2002. Shanti and her husband Jampa Stewart, an acupuncturist, tai chi and qi gong instructor, live in a beautiful small mountain community in Crestone, Colorado and teach in many areas around the world. Shanti has been a Professional Member of NAHA and an NCBTMB CE provider for ten years. She joined NAHA to be part of a growing profession in the US and is the NAHA Regional Director for Colorado.
To learn more about Shanti visit her website at www.learnaroma.com
Visit the NAHA website to purchase Shanti's NAHA Teleconference recordings on Five Element Aromatherapy and Subtle Essence Alchemy.
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