The use of Essential Oils (EOs) can be traced back thousands of years in many cultures. They were used in medicine, religious practice, perfumes, and even in the mummification process. In China and India, recorded studies and use of EOs for health purposes began over 3,000 years ago. Even Hippocrates, who is considered to be the Father of modern day Western medicine, recognized their healing properties and wrote of the positive role they had in healthcare.
This is great news for all of us looking for a little extra immune support during the cold, flu, allergy, or pandemic season. Even better news? There's no need to break out that super cute face mask you bought online or made, you can pick up everything you need right here from the comfort and safety of your home. So, let's talk about which EOs have the scientific data to back up their efficacy. Here are our top three picks of germ fighting oils that are essential today.
Good ol', reliable Tea Tree Oil. This EO is one of the few that you can use “neat”, or undiluted. You may have heard that during World War II this oil was considered an essential product by the Australian government as it was heavily used by medics in the field. Those manufacturing it were exempt from military service as production was required around the clock to keep up with demand. Tea Tree Oil was also widely distributed to U.S. military personnel to help prevent infections from blisters on their feet and other open wounds. It works well applied directly to cuts and burns, in DIY disinfecting room sprays, and in oil blends to help ease symptoms related to cough and congestion. It is the all around, go-to EO.
Please Note: This oil is very toxic if swallowed and should be kept out of reach from children. You shouldn't use on your four legged family members either as they may ingest it which could lead to illness or even death.
Another heavily researched EO that can be used “neat” is Lavender Oil. This Essential Oil has documented evidence of its antiseptic superpowers in medical settings. It has also been studied in labs with phenomenal results. Lavender Oil, like Tea Tree, has antibacterial, antiviral, and anti-fungal properties. It is extremely useful on burns.
Good to Know: Lavender is considered to be well tolerated by most people, but always do a test run before applying any EO liberally.
Eucalyptus is very well known for its ability to help congestion. In some parts of the world, people hang Eucalyptus branches on their shower nozzle so that when the steam fills the room, it will act as a natural decongestant. Don't happen to have Eucalyptus growing outside your door? Me neither, so the next best thing is to place a few drops of Eucalyptus Oil on your shower wall and deeply breathe in the infused steam. You can make it even more effective by adding Peppermint and Rosemary, two more EOs known for their germ fighting abilities and comforting relief of symptoms related to colds and flu.
Caution: Eucalyptus should always be diluted and should not be used on infants or very young children. Check with your child's doctor to make sure this is appropriate for your little one.
You have your list of starter oils, so now what? The easiest way to get started on your path to EO Master is to apply topically or diffuse the oils. But first you know we have to go over the disclaimers, right? In this crazy time we are living in, we need to listen to the CDC Guidelines and practice safe, social distancing. Having a spray bottle of Tea Tree Oil at the ready to “disinfect” anyone walking within 6 feet of you is NOT what we're talking about here, okay? The use of these germ fighting essential oils is meant to supplement your already amazing hygiene practices.
Also, and I cannot stress this enough, please do not drink the oils! I know there are a few companies out there that shall remain nameless that will tell you, even encourage you, to ingest their product. I'm saying very clearly- no, put down the bottle, uh-uh, don't do it. Please, for real, don't do it, just no. And please remember that “all natural” does not mean “completely safe to use on everyone in every situation”. Talk with your Doctor or Naturopath if you have concerns.
Now that we got all of that out the way, let's get to the fun stuff! What to do with these amazing bottles of botanical beauty...
Diffusers: I already mentioned applying oils to your shower wall and breathing in all that soothing goodness, that is one way to get the benefits from vapor. Another easy way is to use a diffuser that disperses the Essential Oils into the air.
When used with germ fighting essential oils, this aromatherapy product helps purify your surroundings and reduce the growth and spread of microbials that are lurking nearby. They're super easy to use. Just follow the manufacturer's directions on the diffuser and then sit back and let it do the work.
Topical: For topical use, you have many options, but for this post we'll keep it simple by focusing on pre-made blends and simple oil blends. We will have more advanced essential oil blending posts at a later date.
For a ready to use option, you can try a pre-filled roller bottle that is already blended and diluted. Rare Essence Defense blend has several of the EOs mentioned above. Bonus, it's already diluted so it can be used right out of the box!Defense blend is available in its pure undiluted form. Another ready made blend that is a powerhouse of goodness is Breathe Ease, which simply contains Eucalyptus, Tea Tree, and Peppermint. No need to buy each individual oil, you have all three of these major players in one bottle! This is also an undiluted blend that needs to be mixed for topical use, which is simple to make.
To make your own blend, first take a peek at our gemstone essential oil roller bottles and see which one calls to you. Then, pick up a carrier oil of your choice. Choose from our wide selection of essential oils to suit your needs. Once you have your supplies gathered add a couple of drops of undiluted essential oil into the bottle, no more than four with these rollers. ** Finally, fill the rest of the roll-on bottle with the carrier oil you chose. There you go, you are now an EO Padawan!
If you would like to learn more about Essential Oils & their uses, be sure to check out our selection of Essential Oil & Aromatherapy Books. Otherwise, be on the look out for more Essential Oil articles coming up, including recipes to make cleaning sprays to help keep your home smelling fresh and reduce the germs in the air and on surfaces. See you then!--- Josette Fisher, Certified Health Coach, HealthyAscentSA.com
** A good ratio to keep in mind for mixing essential oils for topical or massage use is that an essential oil should be anywhere from 3 to 5% with the remaining 95% to 97% a carrier oil. If you are mixing for use on a child less than 6 yrs. old, please keep the essential oil percentage to about 1% or one drop of EO and 99 drops of carrier oil.