It's that time of year...
The time of year when we all more likely to succumb to a snuffle or sneeze, despite our best intentions. Post Xmas our immune systems tend to be low - usually a combination of too much sugar and rich food, combined with alcohol and stress and under these conditions it's easy for a viral or bacterial infection to take hold.
How to use essential oils to ward off infection...
There are several essential oils that are key to offering immune support. One of the best ways to use these oils is to infuse them into the atmosphere around you as soon as possible ie. when you first feel a little run down, or as though you're 'coming down with something'. It's always best to try and get in there with some supportive oil treatment before you get to the 'full blown' stage.
I'm a massive advocate of infusing essential oils into the atmosphere around me, so that I can inhale their healing properties directly into my lungs. This method of inhalation works particularly well for some of the better known anti-microbial oils like Eucalyptus Globulus and Melaleuca alternifolia (Tea Tree) oil. If you have an atomiser or aroma burner, great - get them on, adding up to 8 drops (intense but worth it) of each oil and set them burning or vaporising near to you during the day. If you are already feeling snotty then the Eucalyptus has the added bonus of being an excellent expectorant and mucolytic (that means helping get rid of the 'gunk' in everyday terms). These oils are really commonly available now, and if you are near any kind of health food shop they are likely to have them on their essential oil shelf.
A lesser known oil that I always keep in the medicine cabinet is Ravensara (Ravensara aromatica). This potent anti-viral and anti-microbial is native to Madagasca and has a similar nutty scent to Clove essential oil (another great antibacterial oil but one to be avoided applying directly to the skin unless blended by a qualified aromatherapist)
In addition to vaporising the air around me as I work, I also aim for a steam inhalation in that early stage of illness. I generally apply 2 drops of eucalyptus, 2 of tea tree, 1 ravensara, 1 of thymus vulgaris to a bowl of just-boiled water then do the towel over the head trick and hold it there for a minute or two. The energising and cleansing effect of this action is instantaneous. Fingers crossed that with all this steaming and vaporising I can manage to avoid another full-blown cold this year!