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Essential oils are used in the practice of aromatherapy to help with a wide variety of health problems, including cold and flu symptoms. Cold and flu season is now upon us, in what appears to be epidemic proportions this year. You might not necessarily have access to the flu shot - or you might prefer a more natural approach. Essential oils are just one natural tool that might help with combating cold and flu symptoms.
Types of essential oils for colds and flu: The majority of essential oils are anti-bacterial and antiseptic which means that they can help to fight the germs and bacteria which linger in your home. However, essential oils for colds and flu need to be able to relieve other symptoms, such as aching limbs, congestion and fever. Suitable essential oils for fighting cold and flu symptoms include:
• tea tree & eucalyptus – both oils are excellent for combating infections, viruses and bacteria, and for soothing aching limbs and congestion
• lemon & peppermint - to reduce fever
• lime - flu symptoms
• Other essential oils include rosemary, lavender, black pepper and ginger.
How to use essential oils to fight colds and flu:
• as a compress – apply a cool compress, with the appropriate essential oils, over your head to reduce fever and chills
• in the bath – soak aching limbs in a warm bath with essential oils; add essential oils to a carrier such as a bath oil or salts before adding
• steam method – fill a bowl of hot water with a few drops of essential oil. Place a towel over your head and lean over the bowl. Inhale to relieve congestion
• aromatherapy diffuser – you can add appropriate essential oils to an aromatherapy diffuser and allow the aroma to diffuse throughout the room.
Remember to consult a healthcare professional for advice on using essential oils for colds and flu. In addition, certain essential oils should not be used in pregnancy, with some medical conditions or with certain medication. Reduce quantities for the elderly, with young children and if pregnant. This article is not a substitute for medical advice pertaining to your individual circumstances.
Lawless, Julia, 1995, The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Essential Oils UK: Thorsons
Worwood, Valerie, 1991, The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy US: New World Library