Each year around winter time our bodies come under threat, mainly from airborne pathogens and viruses that proliferate in cold climates.
Whether it be the discomfort of a cold, flu, sore throat or some type of respiratory or breathing congestion, the goods news is that mother nature provides a selection of pure plant extracts that can ease and remedy common winter health complaints.
Here, we reveal 5 of our favourite pure essential oils, derived only from plants, that can help strengthen your immunity, clear your breathing pathways and help to ward off unwanted illnesses which can otherwise stop you in your tracks during the winter season.
What Are Essential Oils?
Essential oils are the nerve intelligence extracts of plants.
They are complex, potent compounds that have incredible therapeutic and medicinal powers for the human body and can be used aromatically, topically and in some cases, ingested.
For thousands of years, many cultures have embraced plants for their medicinal properties.
In fact, the ancient Egyptians were the first to cultivate plant oils for health purposes, followed by the Greeks and the legendary physician, Hippocrates.
Essential oils are versatile, with a wide range of healing benefits and applications, making them a genuine, natural solution for supporting yours and your family's everyday self care.
The great thing about essential oils is that there is an oil for just about any common ailment you will experience. However, one of the best times to kick up your use of essential oils is during the winter time when the body and respiratory system are placed under extra stress from airborne bacteria and viruses.
Here, we highlight the main discomforts experienced during the winter season and our top recommended oils to help ease and protect you from these complaints.
Colds, Flu & Respiratory Congestion
A sign of a cold or flu usually begins with some of the following symptoms:
- Sore Throat
- Breathing Congestion
- Muscle aches
- Constant sneezing and a runny nose
The following essential oils have amazing decongestant properties that you should consider to help protect yourself against these discomforts or to clear these symptoms when they arise:
1. Tea Tree Oil
Native to Australia, Tea Tree Oil (also known as melaleuca), has been thoroughly researched and is known to have potent antibacterial, anti fungal, and antiviral properties, making it an ideal oil for easing all kinds of respiratory complaints and congestion during the winter season.
Tea Tree oil is particularly useful for easing cold and flu symptoms because it inhibits bacteria and fights infection.
In fact, some studies have also suggested that Tea Tree may inhibit influenza virus entry into the host cell.
For colds and flu, Tea Tree oil is best used aromatically by placing a few drops into a diffuser next to your bed while you sleep, or next to your desk while you work.
Tea Tree can also be added to a steamer/bowl filled with hot water to inhale and clear the air ways. Avoid contact with eyes.
A very small amount can also be massaged onto the skin when diluted with a carrier oil. When applying around chest and neck area, it can help to ease breathing congestion throughout your day. Another great way to use Tea Tree oil is as a natural disinfectant when cleaning benches, floors and laundry around the home.
Another native to Australia, eucalyptus is a potent yet refreshing decongestant that purifies the air and is known to reduce fever and fight viruses.
Eucalyptus has very strong antimicrobial and antiviral properties, making it very effective for easing coughs, colds, bronchitis and congestion within the upper respiratory tract.
There are a number of easy and useful ways to use eucalyptus oil during the winter season, such as the following:
- Add a few drops to a diffuser next to your bed to help you breathe easier whilst you sleep, or add to a bowl of hot water, place a towel over your head and inhale deeply for a couple of minutes to help clear congested airways. Avoid contact with eyes.
- Blend a few drops with a carrier oil of your choice and massage into your chest and neck area prior to bedtime and throughout the day to help clear your airways and ward off seasonal threats
- Add 3-5 drops to a small glass spray bottle filled with water and shake. Use as a purifying air spray around the home, bedroom or office
- Spray 1-2 drops in hot saunas or steam rooms to help detoxify and cleanse the respiratory tract.
3. Lemon Oil
The purifying qualities of lemon are well known and are particularly beneficial for extra protection during the winter season.
Lemon essential oil is anti-fungal, anti-oxidising and is a natural disinfectant, making it ideal for fighting viruses as well as reducing the most common cold and flu symptoms.
Additionally, lemon essential oil is a fantastic cleansing and digestive aid, which is vital when the body is experiencing congestion associated with fever, colds and flu.
Add 1-2 drops of lemon oil to a large glass of chilled or warm water first thing in the morning and drink to hydrate, kick start digestion and to help your body get a handy dose of protective Vitamin C.
You can also add lemon essential oil to DIY cleaning products around the home and diffuse lemon oil in your living room or office throughout the day to help refresh the air in your environment.
Peppermint oil is a powerful, natural decongestant and fever reducer.
Cooling, refreshing and stimulating, peppermint oil contains menthol, an ingredient found in topical rubs that helps relieve congestion, relax the muscles and boost mental clarity.
Use peppermint oil topically, when diluted with a carrier oil, for mild pain relief for tired muscles and joints and aromatically for respiratory support.
Peppermint is also an amazing oil to use as a 'pick-me-up' first thing in the morning or anytime you're feeling sluggish or run down.
Simply rub 1 drop into the palms of your hands, cup over your nose and deeply inhale then exhale away from your hands. Do this 3-5 times to feel activated and more alert. Avoid contact with eyes.
A soothing peppermint tea can be made by adding 1 drop to a large mug of warm water. Sip as a digestive aid first thing in the morning or any time you feel bloated or congested which is common when cold or flu symptoms arise.
5. Oregano Oil
Oregano is considered one of the most potent anti-bacterial essential oils on earth, making it a 'go-to' oil during the winter season to protect against cold and flu and to ease sore throats.
The two main active ingredients in oregano oil, carvacrol and thymol, are phenols, meaning they are agents that attack and dismantle harmful microscopic bacteria.
For centuries in Far Eastern and Middle Eastern cultures, oregano oil has been used to treat respiratory infections, chronic inflammation, urinary tract infections, dysentery and jaundice.
Oregano is so effective, it is widely recognised in natural medicine as an ideal alternative to prescription antibiotics.
The Main Takeaway
Every year during the colder months, our bodies can be more susceptible to colds, flus and viruses.
Luckily mother nature provides a number of helpful remedies in the form of pure essential oils to protect and ease these symptoms because of their potent anti-bacterial, anti fungal and antiviral properties.
Essential oils have been embraced for centuries as natural medicine and should therefore definitely be incorporated into your winter self care routine.
We encourage you to cherry-pick 2 or 3 of the essential oils shared with you here and to have them in your natural medicine cabinet at home.
Use them aromatically, topically and ingest them responsibly as per the safe usage recommendations and you'll go a long way to warding off viral threats during the winter season.
You'll find a full range of pure essential oils in our store at Tolmanselfcare.com
Tolman Self Care.