With the cold, wind and rain of winter come colds and flu, feelings of depression, body aches and pains and/or dry skin.
Here are some key essential oils that can help you and your family and some simple ways to apply them.
- Cold –The common cold is a viral infection of the upper respiratory system, affecting the nose and throat, sinuses, eustachian tubes, wind pipe and bronchial tubes. Anyone can catch a cold, however pre and primary school children are more susceptible; repeated exposure to viruses causing colds helps partial immunity. Adolescents and adults catch colds less. Most colds resolve in less than two weeks without further complications, but time off from school or work is often needed.
- Flu –Having the flu is more severe than a cold, even though the symptoms are similar. A high fever and chills, often feelings of exhaustion or whole body aches, your head can hurt and your back often aches and muscles feel sore too. Flu viruses are stronger, more infectious and harmful than those of colds. They are highly contagious and can be caught by a sneeze, cough, or kiss.
Essential oils for Colds and Flu are Bergamot, Black Pepper, Chamomile, Eucalyptus, Fennel, Frankincense, Lavender, Lemon, May Chang, Thyme, Sandalwood, Rose, Rosemary, Sandalwood.
A healthy immune system will resist the most virulent of colds and flu, however if you are under a lot of stress and/or if your health is compromised, you will be more susceptible to recurring colds and flu.
- Depression – In winter, less light, warmth and colour can leave us feeling melancholy, irritable, tired, depressed and SAD! If you are feeling this way, it can be difficult to function during winter. If these feeling reoccur each year, you may be suffering from seasonal affective disorder (SAD). Learn more here
Essential oils for Depresssion are Basil, Cedarwood, Coriander, Jasmine, Neroli, Orange, Peppermint, Petigrain, Pine, Ravensara, Rosemary, Rosewood, Sage, Sandalwood.
- Aches and Pain – Managing muscle aches or joint pain requires using essential oils that act as pain killers or move a build up of toxic fluids. If blood or lymphatic fluid is stagnant in and around the affected areas, our metabolism needs to carry away the waste products from the tissues . Then the blood can carry/deliver oxygen and nutrients to the area once more, so optimum function can return. Warm compresses or massage work best.
Essential oils for Aches and Pain
Pain killers – Basil, Chamomile German, Coriander, Elemi, Frankincense, Ho Sho, Lavender, Marjoram, Neroli, Peppermint, Peru Balsam, Vertiver.
Warm and move stagnant fluids – Bay Laurel, Black Pepper, Clove, Cypress, Juniper, Marjoram, Oregano, Rosemary, Sage, Thyme.
- Dry Skin – Dry, inflamed or cracked skin is common during winter. If left untreated, soreness, inflamation, pain and infection can be experienced. Use essential oils in a massage oil blend or warm compress for best results.
Essential oils for Dry Skin are Cedarwood, Chamomile Roman, Frankincense, Geranium, Lavender, Rose, Sandalwood, Tea tree.
Aromatherapy Applications for the Winter
Choose essential oils with properties that support your intention/s – warming, immune boosting, moisturizing for dry skin or emotionally supportive and uplifting etc.
Aromatic baths are very therapeutic, promote relaxation and a sense of well being, especially in winter. Excellent for stress conditions and insomnia before bed. A soak in a bath can be beneficial for skin and inflammatory conditions, aches, pains, sore muscles, chills, depression and more.
Make sure when using essential oils in a bath that you use only those that don’t irritate your skin, Be aware that warm water can increase the potential for irritation to occur. Don’t use clove or cinnamon in the bath.
Mix 5 to 10 drops of essential oils in 1/3 cup of Epsom salts, a tablespoons of unscented liquid soap, or a dash of whole milk (not fat free or skim) or a carrier oil before putting into the water, this assures that they will disperse. Diluting the essential oils in a carrier makes them less concentrated. The oil will bind to the salt, soap or milk, and then mix with the bath water. Don’t add oil directly to bath water as it will float on top of the water and put you at risk of splashing the oils in your eyes.
Foot Baths Dissolve 1/2 cup epsom salts into a large stainless steel bowl. Cover your feet and ankles by immersing your feet into the bowl at a temperature ranging from 100° to 115° (43° C – 46° C). Hot foot baths increase blood flow through the feet and the entire skin surface, relieve congestion in internal organs and the brain, which promotes healing. This type of bath also elevates the body temperature, relaxing tense muscles and increasing white blood cell activity. Excellent for cold feet and chill blains.
Mix 4 to 8 drops of essential oil into the foot bath. You can also use 1/4 cup Epsom salts with a teaspoon of unscented liquid soap, or as above, a dash of whole milk or a carrier oil before putting the oils into the water to assure the oils disperse.
Shower Create a scented steam room in the comfort of your home by using essential oils in your shower. Place 3 to 6 drops of essential oil on the wall or perimeter of your shower or shake around your feet. The steam will help release the scent. This method works well for sinus congestion.
Warm compress Get a cotton face cloth to use. Place 5 drops of essential oil in 10mls of warm water and stir. Dip the folded face cloth into this solution and wring it out. Apply to the desired area. Repeat as needed. This soothing, scented compress is wonderful for cramps, headaches, muscle aches and pains.
Massage Create a soothing experience through the sense of smell and touch by using essential oils with massage. This approach is ideal for stress, tension, aches and pains and involves loving touch. Carrier oils recommended for massage includes sweet almond, grapeseed, sesame or jojoba or for a more moisturizing and soothing oil e.g. for dry, irritated skin or cracked skin, use macadamia, coconut or jojoba for best results.
Mix 10 to 15 drops of essential oil in 2 to 4 teaspoons or 10 – 15mls of carrier oil for a full body massage.
Body Oils or Creams Using body oils and creams protect your skin against the cold and wind as well as moisturize and nourish it. Choosing a carrier oil that is right for the situation can really make the difference. Avocado, carrot seed, coconut and jojoba oil all moisturize and sooth dry skin. Shea and cocoa butter are excellent emollients, while Arnica and safflower oil are good for aches and pain. Body oils, butters and balms moisturise and sooth the skin during the dry months of winter.
Mix 8-10 drops of essential oil into 30 mls cream. In a Body oil, use the same as for massage above.
Diffusers A diffuser blows air with essential oils into the air in the room. Using a diffuser to scent an entire room can remove stale winter odors, disinfect the room and brighten your mood. Citrus oils are great for getting rid of smells and many other essential oils like peppermint or spearmint can cover up unpleasant smells. Use essential oils listed above for the issue bothering you and create your own special blend by mixing different essential oils together. To create a fresh scent in a small space, place a cotton ball in a glass and add one or two drops of essential oil to scent your personal workspace
Mix 10 drops of essential oil into a diffuser. You don’t need a lot. Alternatively, place a few drops in a vaporizer, to open up congested sinuses and soothe other cold or flu symptoms. For example, peppermint eucalyptus works well to loosen and clear thick mucus.
Rest and restore by going to bed early and rising late, eat slow cooked warming and hearty foods, like soups, grains and roasted nuts, that warm your core and keep warm and rested.
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