Brrr it is definitely feeling like winter out there now, but fear not, Louise from Vitality Aromatherapy is here with some top tips to help us get through.
Winter can be tough on the immune system and our general health. Coughs, colds, flu are common and not easily avoided. Short days, inclement weather and the busy festive season often leave us feeling tired and below par. Using essential oils in spritzers, diffusers, steams, aroma-inhalers and baths can really help keep unwanted germs at bay, ease symptoms of colds and flu and boost our whole system.
Tea Tree (Melaleuca alternifolia)
Tea Tree is well known for its anti-bacterial properties. It is also anti-viral and a powerful immune tonic. You can add some to an un-fragranced liquid soap to use as a hand-wash or some spring water in a room- spritzer as soon as colds or flu strike your house. Add 30 drops to 100ml of soap or 100ml of water or Lavender Hydrolat.
Lemon (Citrus limonum)
Lemon is another very good anti-bacterial immune tonic which is an excellent aerial antiseptic. Most people love the smell of lemon as it is so refreshing; especially if you are feeling lethargic and poorly. It is an excellent cooling decongestant and very useful in steam inhalation for sinus pain and headaches.
Lavender (Lavandula angustofolia)
Many people keep Lavender in their homes for its calming properties and it makes a useful addition to any first aid kit. It is anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, anti-spasmodic and also analgesic so helps relieve pain, alleviate many of the symptoms of colds and coughs and aids rest and sleep. It is such a flexible oil it blends happily with most essential oils and is excellent in steams, baths, diffusers and aroma-inhalers.
Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulus)
Eucalyptus is an excellent Winter all-rounder. It is a very good expectorant, helping to clear blocked airways and improve breathing. It really opens the chest. A couple of drops in a facial steam will provide relief when your head feels bunged up and heavy. 6 drops in a bath will not only help your breathing but also help alleviate aching muscles and joints.
Myrtle (Myrtus communis)
Myrtle is not a well known oil, but invaluable if you have childen. It is a very gentle and safe oil. It is anti-bacterial, balsamic, expectorant and anti-catarrhal. It also has a mildly sedative affect which can be useful when used in the evenings. Many children are given a lot of antibiotics during the winter which affects their natural levels of good bacteria that help us to fight bugs. Using an oil like Myrtle during times of illness and medication will help provide protection and boost the immune system naturally. I often use Myrtle with Lavender, Pine and Thyme linalol in an effective old fashioned childrens’ chest rub. You can make a balm or use a plain cream – 9 drops of essential oil to 30ml of base cream/oil/balm.
Sweet Marjoram (Origanum marjorana)
Marjoram is warming and soothing. It is excellent for tense muscles due to its anti-spasmodic properties and is often used in massage. It is also very beneficial to the chest when coughs and catarrh are present. It aids sleep and eases stress and tension and provides a feeling of comfort when you don’t feel well. Up to 6 drops in a bath (or 3 Marjoram and 3 Lavender) before bed will help you feel better.
Ginger (Zingiber officinalis)
Ginger is a good oil to use if you feel particularly cold and shivery as it is very warming to the system. It is a powerful oil and best blended with other immune tonic and warming oils such as Eucalyptus and Tea Tree. Ginger improves the medicinal aroma of these oils and provides a welcome hit of energy when you are feeling low. Ginger helps alleviate pain and stiffness in the joints and improves blood circulation. You can add a few drops to a spoonful of un-fragranced oil or cream and massage into the feet to warm the body.
Peppermint (Mentha x piperita)
(Not suitable if pregnant/breastfeeding or for children under 5)
Peppermint is cooling, refreshing and an extremely effective decongestant. It is an oil to turn to if you feel hot and feverish and is very effective for blocked sinuses and frontal headaches. Peppermint Hydrolat can be kept in the fridge and applied to the forehead as a compress regularly or you can dilute 1 drop Peppermint and 2 drops Lavender in 10ml of aloe gel and apply to the temples and the forehead as required.
Pine (Pinus sylvestris)
No essential oil should be used regularly on a long term basis due to the possibility of sensitization but an oil such as Pine is a great prophylactic used perhaps once or twice a week in baths, steams, room spray of your diffuser in the winter months. Pine is a gentle, warming, general tonic. Like Myrtle it is a protective oil, helping keep bugs at bay and alleviating problematic symptoms when they do strike. It is very restorative and helps counteract pessimism and melancholy which can be easily experienced in the often gloomy dark days of a British winter.
For more information on Aromatherapy or how to use essential oils safely and effectively please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Therapeutic Aroma-inhalers, Room Spritzers, Balms and Bath Preparations can be made for you through the Apothecary section of Louise’s website:
Essential oils may not be suitable for children and the elderly, during pregnancy and breastfeeding or if you have sensitive skin or allergies. Please consult Louise or a qualified Aromatherapist for advice if you are un-sure whether essential oils are suitable for you.