Back to School with Essential Oils: Immune Support
Like it or not, school is just around the corner. Here in Temecula, CA registration begins in early August and the kids start classes mid-August. So yep it's just around the corner. There are many ways I like to use essential oils to support my kids during the school year. One way is to support their immune systems and help them fight colds and flu. Being around other teens or kids means being around more germs. Supporting their vital energy and providing ways to fight germs using essential oils can help. I use aromatic and topical applications to help them navigate their way through the school year germs and feel better faster if they do get sick.
Clear the air: Diffusing germ-fighting essential oils can help the entire family. One of my favorites blends is:
2-5 drops Tea -tree
2-5 drops eucalyptus radiata or globulus
3-6 drops of orange
add oils to a diffuser to clear the air and support immune health. The orange does an amazing job of hiding the less pleasing tea tree oil. You can also add these oils to an aromatherapy inhaler to use at work, bedside, on the go, or at school. Another great option would be Thieves oil or other immune blend. Essential oils also work great in an inhaler.
Clean your hands: According to the CDC, hand washing with plain old soap and water is one of the best ways to avoid catching a cold or flu. When you don't have a sink available a hand cleaner can stand in. Alcohol based cleaners can be drying. Using an aloe based essential oil cleaner is a fragrant way to clean the hands and support the immune system. Oils such as lavender and orange smell great and are good germ fighters. Or oils like tea tree, rosemary, fir, or pine oils are great for cleaners as well. A simple recipe is:
In a flip top PET plastic bottle add
1 oz organic aloe gel
5-6 drops lavender essential oil
5-6 drops orange essential oil
shake gently to mix. Apply to hands and rub to distribute aloe. Since there is no preservative added you'll need to make this fresh every two week. Other combinations might include lemon, eucalyptus, and fir (about 10-12 drops total per ounce) or rosemary, lavender, and orange.
Steam it up: An essential oil steam tent is a great way to fight off germs when you feel a bit off. It's also an effective way to open up stuffy airways and feel better. Boil some water, pour into a bowl, and add a drop or essential oil or stock blend. Close your eyes and cover you head with a towel. A good blend to try:
10 drops Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulus or radiata)
10 drops Siberian Fir (Abies siberica)
10 drops Tea Tree
Add all oils to a clean bottle or vial. This undiluted combination of oils becomes your "stock bottle." Use 1 drop total from the stock bottle in a bowl of steaming water. Or you can use peppermint, eucalyptus alone, or a respiratory blend created by a company (Breathe® for example) or an aromatherapist.. Keep tissues close by! Click here to see a video on how to steam from Andrea Butje
Of course these aren't the only oils that fight germs. Many essential oils contain aromatic compounds that have anti-microbial properties. Some of the biggest germ fighting guns include melaleuca or tea-tree (melaleuca alternafolia), clove bud (Eugenia caryophyllata), cinnamon bark (Cinnamomum zeylanicum), thyme ct. thymol (Thymus vulgaris ct. thymol), and oregano (Origanum vulgare). However these oils (aside from tea tree) are quite irritating and must be used with care and diluted appropriately to avoid skin irritation and sensitization.
Other oils such as lavender (Lavendula angustafolia), eucalyptus globulus and radiata, orange (Citrus sinensis), cedarwood (Juniperus virginiana), rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis), fir oils, and frankincense (Boswellia carterii) are gentler and surprisingly effective germ fighters or help support respiratory health. And I could list many other less common oils. Researchers have tested the effectiveness of a variety of essential oils again microbes (viruses and bacteria) and discovered many essential oils can fight germs and some are more effective than others. We can put the germ fighting power of essential oils to work when going back to school to help clear the air, keep our hands clean, fight off colds at the first sign, or to feel better faster when we do get sick. You can use these oils to create your own unique diffuser and inhaler blends (just be careful to use lesser amounts of the big guns -- they can be irritating).
In my next back to school post we'll look at additionally ways to use essential oils topicallyfor immune support. And of course if you have any questions or want to know more about essential oils or aromatherapy products,