Punxsutawney Phil may have missed his shadow this year, but Spring’s promise of vitality is still a ways off. In fact, another newsworthy story is making history, and it’s not the good kind. Coronavirus is everywhere in the news, and if you buy into the CDC’s predictions, it’s literal emergence everywhere is not far off. The question on many a mind is, “Will I be next?”
How does a virus select it’s host? Why do some escape the dreaded flu and other contagions, yet others draw the unlucky card almost every year? It’s not just exposure to the virus. One’s own immunity could be the unwitting ally to the flu and other viruses. Immunity is elusive – it’s not not visible, impossible to measure in it’s entirety for all pathogens, affected by several physiological systems, and susceptible to environmental as well as inherent factors. So, it makes sense to bolster one’s own immune system from several fronts to maximize it’s effectiveness.
Here’s where essential oils come into play. Oils can benefit us directly through antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, antiseptic and anti-inflammatory methods. Here they are either assisting in eradicating bacteria and viruses that cause sickness, or by strengthening the immune system to fight the good fight. When it comes to the battle, think of oils as more troops in your army.
Just as important are the indirect ways oils can strengthen our immunity. We often underestimate the effects lack of sleep, stress and anxiety can have on our ability to ward off infection, or recover quickly once we get sick. So, while you are enjoying the peaceful effects of a little lavender to help carry you off to dreamland, you might be stacking your odds to ward off or fight a bout of the flu. I don’t know about you, but in this era of superbugs and pandemics, I’m all for playing the odds. Although this is backed by scientific facts, I’m sure you’ve experienced first hand that cough or cold that Just. Won’t. Give. Up. Chances are, you are “run down” more so than usual.
We’re just getting started with this particular cold and flu season, so here are a few of my favorite oils to help boost your immune system:
An antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant warrior, Eucalyptus is one of the best oils to have in your arsenal. We are talking tough opponents here, such as Strep and resistant strains of Staphylococcus. It’s also thought to enhance the immune system’s key cells in their pathogen ingesting ability. Add to these the congestion and phlegm relief and you’ll realize why it’s our #1 pick and key to our Comfort blend.
Rest and relaxation are proven to be critical for fighting off sickness. Lavender is our top choice for facilitating both. It helps bring on recuperative sleep and fight stress, which are essential for a top functioning immune system. With additional antioxidant properties, you can’t go wrong with Lavender. It’s lovely scent is a welcome addition to any oil blend, or simply on it’s own.
This oil is a champion for anti-inflammation, which has proven to have a direct link to an enhanced immune system. Additionally, it has shown to be as effective as the broad spectrum antibiotic, Ciprofloxacin, against several pathogens. Not living the cleanest lifestyle? Then Frankincense is also your best friend with it’s ability to reduce free radical damage caused by poor diet, lifestyle, and environmental pollutants. With the air quality in SoCal this oil is always on hand for us.
In addition to adding wonderful flavor to Italian cuisine, this baby is a strong antibacterial. Oregano oil contains high levels of carvacrol and thymol, two compounds that cause bacterial death by weakening their cell membranes. Salmonella, E. Coli, Staphylococcus, respiratory viruses and rotavirus are just a few strains that have met their demise when faced with Oregano.
Feel a cold coming on or already in it’s grips? Then add this lesser known oil to your arsenal. It’s ability to ease respiratory symptoms of bronchitis and sinusitis, as well as fatigue and body aches make it a rescue remedy. A few drops in a bath can do wonders when you are down with a bug. It’s antibacterial and antiviral properties also assist the body’s cold fighting ability. And if you are one to suffer from fever blisters when you get sick, this oil offers relief and speeds healing.