Aromatherapy is the ancient practice of using essential oils to treat diseases. These oils are extracted from rinds, flower petals, leaves, roots, barks, stems, and other parts of the plants, mixed with other substances, and are then applied on the skin, inhaled, or sprayed.
A common misconception about aromatherapy is that it heals through delightful scents. The source of confusion usually stems from the refreshing feeling that comes from taking a whiff of anything that smells good – such as potpourri, perfumes, scented candles, and even store-bought air fresheners. While pleasant smells do improve moods, there is more to the ancient art than what we commonly know now.
How Aromatherapy Works
One way of using essential oils is to apply them on the skin. Since skin is semi-permeable, or capable of absorbing substances into our body, the healing compounds found in essential oils are taken in.
Aromatherapy is, of course, also delivered through inhalation. When essential oils are inhaled, molecules stimulate the olfactory organs and sends signals to the limbic system in the brain. This can affect blood pressure, breathing, heart rate, stress levels, and release hormones that help reduce symptoms of the diseases, and promote relief.
Some essential oils contain antiviral properties that help boost the immune system. This means that not only are they ideal for treating disease as it happens, these oils are also great for preventing diseases that result from a poor immune system.
Finding Natural and Fast Flu Relief with Aromatherapy
Among the most common everyday illnesses are the flu and the common cold. Because they are contagious, it is highly likely for anyone with an average-functioning immune system to get contaminated from someone at home, in the workplace, or from just anyone you pass by on your commute. They can be extremely debilitating. One can find treatment through aromatherapy, and in a number of ways.
Cool Compresses for Cold and Flu with Fever
The best oils to use for the fever that comes with cold and flu would include lavender, bergamot, ginger, lemon, tea tree oil (Melaleuca alternifolia), eucalyptus (either radiata or globules), and sandalwood. They are best applied as cool compresses on the forehead to help bring down temperature.
Eucalyptus globulus, tea tree oil, basil, peppermint, wintergreen, chamomile, niaouli, ravensare, and lemon oils decongest the nasal passages when inhaled. Additionally, they contain antiviral and anti-infectious properties that help purify the atmosphere of airborne pathogens that cause diseases. Using a bowl of hot water, add at least ten drops of tea tree oil, eucalyptus, or any combination of rosewood, conifer, ravensare, niaouli, and lemon, and leave it in a room overnight to clear the air.
Oil Vapor or Steam Inhalation
To get the fastest relief, use these oils with vaporizers or as steam inhalers. Oils derived from Eucalyptus, pine, conifer, chamomile, thyme, peppermint, and basil help ease nasal and chest congestion, and relieve sore throat during colds and flu. For faster results, these oils are best added to a bowl of hot water or to a vaporizer. Add ten drops of tea tree oil, a few drops of eucalyptus globules, wintergreen, or peppermint, and inhale the steam.
To get the most of the steam, use a towel to cover part of your head and keep as close as possible to the vaporizer. Make sure to keep your eyes out of the towel and away from the steam.
Another method that offers the same relief to the same symptoms would be to use these same oils in a bath. Add three times the amount of the mixture for steam inhalers into your bath, and soak in the warm water for at least fifteen minutes. This allows enough time for the body to absorb the healing properties of the oils, and enough time for the steam to stimulate the olfactory system.