In these more difficult times, we are all trying to look after ourselves better. Taking care of our health, and those dear to us, has probably become our number one focus this year. The subject of protection from winter colds and chills is one, that working as a clinical aromatherapist, I have been asked about by clients for many, many years. So it is a good time to revisit this topic in depth. In this article we will be looking at using organic essential oil by way of inhalation – in an oil burner or diffuser, or as a steam inhalation.
However, for use on the body, in the shower or in your bath, I do have a ready blended oil – the Aching Limbs Bath & Body Oil. This enlivening but also soothing blend, has rosemary, lavender and basil in it. These can offer a great protective element from colds and chills as well as soothing sore, aching bodies.
To provide protection from winter chills and colds – not to mention infections, there are some essential oils that I personally would always reach for and recommend for you – Lemon, Tea tree, Eucalyptus, Lavender, Cypress, Thyme & Bergamot
Some protective oil blends
You can use these oils individually in a burner of diffuser – or blend two or more together for a stronger synergy. A pleasant blend, I think, to the nose, is 1 drop cypress 2 drops lemon and 2 drops bergamot. This blend is not only air cleaning, but hugely uplifting too.
A few drops are all you need to clear a room in your burner or diffuser, don’t be tempted to use more, or else it will become overpowering. Start with a small amount of drops, I always recommend three to four should be enough, unless your room is very large. If a smaller flat or room start with two and if you need it is easy to add one or two more. A more medicinal blend would be 2 drops tea tree, 1 drop eucalyptus, 1 drop thyme and 1 drop lemon. This is a brilliant combination, really helpful with immune health, but good for respiratory protection or issues.
From very young I remember watching Mum using oils in a bowl with hot water on the table, while she was bent over the bowl with a towel over her head and the bowl, when she had a cold. This method is a little risky with the hot water, and not recommended for the young, elderly or vulnerable. I would say it would now be better to simply use a cup of hot water, not full of course, so that you can hold on to it while steaming. We are also lucky now, as we can use this treatment, but not in such a risky way with the possibility of the hot water tipping over . There are now facial steamers/inhalers on the market that you can buy so you can use the essential oils in them much more safely, and get the good effect that they can give with this method of inhalation.
For a completely different essential oil blend that is helpful in clearing the air, one that is often only used for its decorative scent, is my Spicy Heaven blend. This has a very festive, Christmassy smell, but the cinnamon, clove & frankincense (sweet orange is the other ingredient) can be a powerful help to banish unwanted airborne infections. Just perfect at this time of year to add a uplifting Christmas feel into the home as well as give you that extra element of protection. Another oil that helps clear the air is Lemon Scented Tea Tree (note a different botanical ‘family’ to the better known Tea Tree)
It may not be possible to use an oil burner or diffuser when at work, but you can still have an essential oil or blend on a tissue so that you can inhale when possible during the day.
For extra protection from winter colds and chills – Tea tree, eucalyptus, thyme & bergamot are also believed to be immunostimulants. They are again helpful to lift your immune system when the stress of the what we have all been through this year depletes it, or everyone has the cold or flu around you.
- All these blends are for inhalation use only. For use on the body, contact a qualified aromatherapist who will do a full consultation (medical and lifestyle) with you, and can provide you with treatment blends made for your individual health needs.
- Take care with the hot water to avoid any scalds or burns. Do not use with or with very small children present. Older children or the elderly to be supervised at all times while using inhalations.
- If you are using a bowl/cup of water, place it on a mat or towel to that it doesn’t slip or mark any surfaces
- If you feel during inhalation, that the aromatherapy steam is too much, lift the towel or take your face from the steamer and have some fresh air before continuing. Stop entirely if you feel uncomfortable.
- Take medical advice before using inhalations if you suffer from asthma, hay fever or other allergies.
- A good recommendation is hen first trying an inhalation, inhale the steam for 30 seconds, see if you have any reaction. If there are no adverse reactions, repeat a few hours later, increasing the time to 1 minute. Then gradually increase the inhalation time up to 5 minutes maximum.
- Do not use steam inhalations if you have broken veins / thread veins on the face.
- If you have a complex medical history/medications always check with your GP before using essential oils, or ask a qualified aromatherapist