Fight the Flu with Aromatherapy

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Aromatherapy and essential oils have been used for thousands of years to cleanse and heal both body and mind. Anthropological evidence indicates the ancient Egyptians, Romans, Greeks, Persians and Chinese all used herbal and aromatic plant properties or aromatherapy to heal disease and improve quality of life. With the advent of antibiotics and other pharmaceuticals the art of healing with natural plants, essential oils, aromatherapy and herbals became considered pseudoscience in the west. However, in France even today essential oils and aromatherapy are used as a part of the total treatment of patients and are actually prescribed along with the more standard treatments for many conditions. In addition the Chinese still use herbals, essential oils and aromatherapy as a part of their medical care system.

 The advent of modern pharmaceuticals such as antibiotics saved countless lives and was an important live saving discovery. However, the side effects of antibiotics are many. Antibiotics kill the natural flora of the bowel and cause overgrowth of yeast.  Super infections have developed due to inappropriate prescribing of antibiotics for viral conditions such as colds and flu and patient non-compliance in completing their entire course of prescribed medication. Antibiotics and other pharmaceuticals save many lives are an important part of maintaining health and should be used when your doctor feels they are needed.

Herbal and aromatic therapies such as essential oils and aromatherapy can be used to combat many conditions and do not have the negative side effects of some pharmaceuticals when used appropriately and safely. In this flu season many essential oils can be used to improve the immune systems resistance, cleanse the air in the home, and fight the microbes that cause flu and viruses. Viruses are unaffected by antibiotics. There are a few antiviral medications out there but they must be sued very early in the course of an infection in order to be of any real use.

Studies done on essential oils have found some oils to have potent antiviral effects.  The components of essential oils have been isolated in study   and include monoterpenols, monoteroenals, linalools,ketones,aldehydes,ethers and cryptones to name a few. Essential oils have been shown to have antiviral, antimicrobial, antifungal, antiparasitic and neurotoxin affects in in-vitro studies. Many oils also support the bodies on immune system.

To decrease your risk of catching the flu and decrease symptoms and length of illness if you do catch it essential oils can be used in a diffuser in the home. Ravnesara essential oil, peppermint essential oil, oregano essential oil, lemon essential oil and eucalyptus essential oils are especially effective against viral illnesses. Place a few drops of each oil in you diffuser and keep it running for at least part of the day. In children’s rooms it may be best to only run the diffuser when an adult is present and keep well out of reach of small hands. In addition Eucalyptus essential oil can be combined with lavender essential oil and used as a chest rub. Dilute several drops in a carrier oil such as sweet almond and rub on the chest several times a day.

Any essential oil, as with any prescribed medication, can cause allergic reactions in a susceptible person.  It may be best to start with single oil in the diffuser or in carrier oil used for massage to ensure no allergies exist. If all goes well with all household members you can then add oil to the diffuser or massage oil. Keep in mind that just because it’s natural doesn’t mean it isn’t also potent and capable of causing harm used inappropriately.

Special care needs to be taken with young children and pregnant women. Do your research and be sure the specific oil you use is appropriate for children or pregnant women. Also, cats seem to have some difficulties with some oils. Make sure you use only 100% pure essential oil and preferably organic to avoid contamination with pesticides.

Holistic modalities such as essential oils and aromatherapy are gentle and work more on the premise of increasing health than preventing disease. Try using these essential oils to increase your overall health and avoid catching the flu this season.

 

Sources:

http://www.aromabar.com/articles/baud55.htm

http://users.erols.com/sisakson/pages/agoindex.htm

Aromatherapy for Conditions and diseases by Shirley Price

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