Updated: Nov 25, 2019
Crisp winter mornings. I love the crunch of feet on frost covered grass and the smell of wood smoke from cosy, crackling fires. What I love less is the sniffling. You know the sound...sniff...sniff, sniff.....sniff, sniff, sniff.....sniff. Please get a tissue! Go on, have a good blow, it’s better out than in.
At first hint of a snuffle or cough in my family I spring into action. Out comes my winter potions. Heads are thrust over bowls of steaming water and shoved under towels, with shouts of ”close your eyes”, “breathe through your nose”. As much as my loved ones tease me about my potions and brews, they do comply easily enough as their ability to breathe through nostrils is restored. Whilst the coughs and sniffs are annoying at least my house smells nice. A win/win really.
What on earth am I talking about? Essential oils. Did you know in a few drops of essential oil from one plant Mother Nature can pack in a decongestant, an analgesic, an expectorant and a sedative? Sounds suspiciously like an over the counter cold remedy. Essential oils can provide the body with everything it needs to help fight off the nasty winter lurgies. If you want to learn more about these amazing gifts from Mother Nature and how to use them read on.....
Here is my winter survival kit:
Cajeput - Analgesic, Antirheumatic, Balsamic, Decongestant, Expectorant, Febrifuge, Pectoral, Stimulant, Sudorific.
Eucalyptus - Analgesic, Antirheumatic, Antiphlogistic, Antiviral, Bacteriacide, Balsamic, Decongestant, Expectorant, Febrifuge, Rubefacient, Stimulant.
Ginger - Analgesic, Expectorant, Febrifuge, Rubefacient, Stimulant, Sudorific, Tonic.
Lavender - Analgesic, Antiphlogistic, Antirheumatic, Antiviral, Bacteriacide, Cordial, Decongestant, Restorative, Sedative, Sudorific.
Marjoram - Analgesic, Cordial, Expectorant, Restorative, Sedative, Tonic.
Niaouli - Analgesic, Antirheumatic, Balsamic, Bacteriacide, Decongestant, Febrifuge, Stimulant.
Peppermint - Analgesic, Anaesthetic, Antiphlogistic, Cordial, Decongestant, Expectorant, Febrifuge, Stimulant, Sudorific.
Rosemary - Analgesic, Antirheumatic, Cordial, Stimulant, Sudorific, Tonic.
Sandalwood - Antiphlogistic, Bechic, Expectorant, Sedative, Tonic.
Tea Tree - Antibiotic, Antiviral, Bacteriacide, Balsamic, Cordial, Expectorant, Stimulant, Sudorific.
These oils do have other actions, I have only listed those which may be beneficial for winter lurgies.
Before using any essential oil always read up about it first as not every oil is suitable for everyone, especially children, the elderly, pregnant women, and those with medical conditions.
So what are all these fancy terms?
Analgesic - pain relief, Antiphlogistic - reduces inflammation, Antirheumatic - helps to relieve rheumatism, Antiviral - controls virus organisms, Bacteriacide - combats bacteria, Balsamic - healing, soothing and softening phlegm, Bechic - eases coughs, Cordial - tonic to the heart, Decongestant - releases nasal mucous, Expectorant - removes excess mucous from bronchial tubes, Febrifuge - cooling and reducing high temperatures, Pectoral - helpful for chest infections, Restorative - restoring and reviving health, Rubefacient - warming by increasing blood flow, Sedative - calming, Stimulant - increases the flow of adrenalin and energy, Sudorific - increases sweating, Tonic - improves bodily performance.
An excellent way to use these oils is in a steam inhalation. A bowl of near boiling water plus no more than 5 drops of essential oil in total. Pop your head over the bowl with a towel over your head, close your eyes and breathe through your nose if you can. 5 to 10 minutes. Then grab a tissue. You’ll need it!
A nice warm bath can cheer you up and help when feeling achy. Up to 10 drops of essential oils (mixed with a tablespoon of cold pressed sweet almond oil or extra virgin olive oil) in your bath will add to the experience. The oils can get to work through inhalation and absorption through the skin.
Before you put your jammies on and snuggle under the duvet put 3 drops of essential oil into 10mls of vegetable carrier oil like sweet almond oil or extra virgin olive oil (cold pressed) and rub onto your chest and back. This may help with keeping your nasal passages clear whilst sleeping.
There we have it. Spring will be here soon...
Aromatherapy should not be used in place of conventional medical care. Always consult your GP or a health professional for medical attention and advice.