Alternative ways to stay healthy and boost immunity
This year’s health crisis has resulted in many of us looking at alternative ways to stay healthy by strengthening our immune system. Traditional medicine has been widely promoted within our society, but what about supplementing that with holistic healing practices?
Ancient cultures in China, India, and Egypt, have long incorporated aromatherapy in successfully supporting their health and well-being. This therapy, known to have physical and psychological benefits, employs plant components and extracts carefully combined with pure carrier oils. The oil scent-molecules, when inhaled, then travel through the olfactory nerves to the emotional center of the brain stimulating areas responsible for emotions, behaviors, and memory. When applied to the skin, these natural properties get absorbed then travel in the bloodstream, throughout the body, to deliver their specific, intended benefits.
The most well-known types of essential oils and their benefits are as follows:
- Bergamot: lessens stress and reduces inflammation in skin conditions like eczema
- Chamomile: promotes relaxation & good mood; anti-inflammatory & anti-spasmodic
- Eucalyptus: expectorant & decongestant (perfect for cold season), aids focus & energy
- Frankincense: anti-inflammatory, immune boosting, heals skin irritations
- Garlic: anti-inflammatory, boost immune system, reduces blood pressure, nutritious
- Ginger: anti-inflammatory, aids digestion, relieves nausea and pain, eliminates gas
- Jasmine: anti-depressant, sedative, antiseptic, heals skin wounds
- Lavender: stress reliever, soothing, cell regenerative, reduces itching, heals wounds
- Lemon: helps digestion, headaches, & mood, antimicrobial, antioxidant, boosts immunity
- Lemongrass: cleansing, antiviral, antimicrobial, insect repellent
- Peppermint: energy booster & digestion aid; relieves nausea & soothes aches & pains
- Rose: mood and relaxation enhancer, cell regeneration, aphrodisiac
- Rosemary: clears sinus, expectorant, boosts breathing, clears mind, stimulant
- Sage: relieves stress and pain, also an aphrodisiac
- Sandalwood: properties toward calming nerves and improving focus
- Tea Tree: boosts immune system, anti-fungal, antibacterial, antiviral, antimicrobial
- Ylang-Ylang: antidepressant, nourishing, treats headaches, nausea & skin infections
There is a science to combining, applying, and administering essential oils depending on your needs, and it is always a good idea to consult a professional aromatherapist for ideal results. Since there are no regulations with essential oils, you might also need help determining quality brands, as well as which method of administering them would be best for you and your family.
Ways to Use Essential Oils
Diffuser: this is a machine that changes the oil, when mixed with water, into vapor droplets. This is an easy way to absorb the benefits of your essential oil while working, relaxing, or sleeping, however, other people within reach might be allergic and react differently to the oil’s properties. Young children and infants might also have adverse effects. Should you choose to diffuse, select a private area where the oils will only benefit the appropriate people.
Body Oil: This is a mixture of plant extracts with a carrier oil like olive or coconut oil. It is to be applied and massaged into the skin for best results. These are concentrated oils; therefore, it is always prudent to select a small test area prior to applying it everywhere to ensure it will not cause any skin irritation.
Aroma Sticks: These are plastic sticks with an absorbent wick that soaks up the essential oil. They can also be portable, convenient, and discretely administered when you need it.
Accessories: A variety of options are available for you to carry or wear your desired essence. Items such as necklaces and bracelets, candles and more are available and made with materials you can place few drops of your favorite essential oil for continuous use throughout your day.
Advice for Immunity Boosting
Although research regarding the benefits of essential oils is ongoing, there is a current study in progress(https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7427755/) on the National Center for Biotechnology Information site about “COVID-19 and therapy with essential oils having antiviral, anti-inflammatory, and immunomodulatory properties”. It is an interesting read if you have time. The study is still incomplete, however, since COVID19 affects the respiratory system and is aggravated by inflammation, it might be beneficial to boost immunity and lower inflammation with a proper diet and the help of the following essential oils:
Eucalyptus: traditionally used to treat respiratory illnesses with reports of having antiviral activities against certain viruses. The NCBI study shows promising result in lowering inflammation in the respiratory system and the inhibition of virus growth.
Garlic: known to treat colds, flus, and infections. The study states that garlic oil showed significant decrease in the virus intensity in host cells with the possibility of preventing entry of the virus in other cells, and the potential to “activate molecular antioxidant pathways that would decrease the secretion of pro-inflammatory cytokines.” (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7427755/)
* Additional suggestions might involve Lemon oil and Tea Tree oil for their immunity boosting properties
For centuries, essential oils have been known to hold anti-inflammatory, immunomodulatory, antioxidant and antiviral properties. The key is the knowledge to administer them properly and efficiently. Many claim there is not enough research on the matter, and warn to use these oils at your own risk, however, they may be worth you researching them and seeking professional advice regarding correct use for your family, in conjunction with current, modern-day medicine, for ultimate health and well-being.
***Essential oils can be beneficial when used properly. As with any new therapy, please ALWAYS consult your doctor and aromatherapy professional before using essential oils***