Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Aromatherapy for Colds and Flu

Many people suffer from colds, flu, coughs, and other respiratory ailments during the winter season. Aromatherapy is the natural solution for the respiratory problems associated colds in the head, sinuses, nasal passages, and lungs because essential oils are inhaled. They go to work immediately on the affected parts, offering fast, gentle, soothing relief. In fact, essential oils actually get into the blood stream faster when they're inhaled than when they are taken orally and absorbed through the stomach lining.
For many people, aromatherapy is superior in every way to decongestants, shots, and other cold medicines, not only because they are fast-acting, but because they rarely cause unwanted side effects when used properly. Children and the elderly, who are often quite sensitive to medications, can derive wonderful healing benefits from the use of aromatic oils.

Inhaling the cool, stimulating aroma of eucalyptus, spearmint, or peppermint will instantly relieve stuffy nose and sinus congestion without drying out your nasal passages or causing drowsiness. Frankincense, balsam, sweet marjoram, and lemon balm can also be beneficial in treating congestion, coughing, and irritation in the head, nose, throat, and lungs. Pine, fennel, myrrh, and eucalyptus can help bronchitis and sinusitis; cedar wood, bergamot, hyssop, and cypress are effective in treating colic, asthma, and dry coughs. Tea tree oil is soothing to sore throats and can also relieve sores in the mouth and gingivitis.
Tea tree oil, peppermint, and eucalyptus are sometimes available in inhalant sticks, but you can also 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 keep it close enough to inhale the healing fumes. Aromatic salves can be rubbed directly on the chest, much like Vicks, to break up congestion in the chest and head.
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.) In this case, you can put several drops in a vaporizer or humidifier to fill your room with refreshing, healing scent. Or, add essential oils to your tub water and enjoy a soothing, healthful bath that will make you feel wonderful inside and out.

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