Sunday, November 8, 2009

Aromatherapy for Colds and Flu

As colder weather rolls in, many people suffer from colds, flu, coughs, and other respiratory ailments. Aromatherapy––healing with scent––is a natural solution for the respiratory problems associated colds in the head, sinuses, nasal passages, and lungs. When essential oils are inhaled, they immediately go to work on the affected parts, offering fast, gentle, soothing relief.

Inhaling the cool, stimulating aroma of eucalyptus, spearmint, or peppermint instantly relieves stuffy nose and sinus congestion without drying out nasal passages or causing drowsiness. Frankincense, balsam, sweet marjoram, and lemon balm can ease congestion, coughing, and irritation in the head, nose, throat, and lungs. Pine, fennel, myrrh, and eucalyptus can help bronchitis and sinusitis. Cedar, bergamot, hyssop, and cypress effectively treat colic, asthma, and dry coughs. Tea tree oil soothes sore throats; it can also aid sores in the mouth and gingivitis.

Aromatherapy can even be superior to decongestants, shots, and other cold medicines in some instances. Not only is it fast acting, aromatherapy rarely causes unwanted side effects when used properly. Children and the elderly, who may be sensitive to medications, can derive wonderful healing benefits from the use of aromatic oils.

Tea tree oil, peppermint, and eucalyptus are sometimes available in inhalant sticks, but you can simply inhale the fumes of these essential oils directly from an open bottle. Tiny "pillows" or "sachets" of some aromatic herbs are available in health food stores, and can be placed on your bedside table or pillow at night to help you breathe freely while you sleep. Or, you can simply put a few drops of one of these oils on a handkerchief and inhale the healing fragrant fumes periodically, as needed. To break up congestion in the chest and head, rub aromatic salves directly on the chest.

If you prefer, put several drops in a vaporizer or humidifier to fill your room with refreshing, healing scent. Or, add essential oils to bathtub water and enjoy a soothing, healthful bath that will make you feel wonderful inside and out.

Only pure essential oils derived from plants offer true aromatherapy benefits––synthetic concoctions lack the plants’ natural vital energy. Some essential oils should not be ingested and some can be irritating to the skin if rubbed on full-strength––make sure you read the label before using any essential oil to avoid problems. 

Skye's Aromatherapy Card Deck will soon be available from Fair Winds Press.

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