Aromatherapy for Common Winter Illnesses

Winter is a time when many common illnesses occur; although common winter illnesses are not usually serious, they can cause symptoms that leave you feeling exhausted and drained of energy. Many essential oils possess the therapeutic properties necessary to bring the body back to full health. Common colds, coughs, influenza and dry and cracked skin are some of the common winter illnesses that can be treated with essential oils in the practice of aromatherapy.

Essential Oils for Common Colds

Many essential oils possess the bactericidal and anti-viral properties needed to combat the symptoms of the common cold. Some essential oils help the body to stimulate its own defense mechanism and prevent further infection. Useful essential oils that can be used in the practice of aromatherapy to fight the symptoms of the common cold include lavender (Lavandula angustifolia), tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia), lemon (Citrus limon) and rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis).

Essential Oils for Coughs

Coughs often accompany colds but can also be an uncomfortable symptom associated with many respiratory infections. Essential oils that are bactericidal, anti-catarrhic and antiseptic help to control the symptoms associated with coughs. Suitable essential oils that can be used to treat coughs include lavender (Lavandula angustifolia), thyme (Thymus vulgaris), marjoram (Origanum marjorana) and Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulus, Eucalyptus smithii).

Essential Oils for Influenza

Common colds and other viral infections are often referred to as “influenza” when in reality influenza is often more serious in its effects. However bactericidal, anti-viral and antiseptic essential oils may help with some of the symptoms of influenza; these include tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia), Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) and clove (Eugenia caryophyllus). Consult a qualified professional for the more serious symptoms of influenza.

Essential Oils for Dry and Cracked Skin

Dry and cracked skin may be caused by a number of health problems but it is a symptom of cold, winter winds too. Dry skin needs to be moisturized to prevent soreness and the possible infection of cracked skin, if left untreated. Essential oils that are moisturizing and soothing are suitable for the treatment of dry skin; these include rose (Rosa damascena), geranium (Pelargonium graveolens), lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) and neroli (Citrus aurantium var. amara). Tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia) essential oil is suitable to treat an infection of cracked skin.

Essential Oils for Winter Illnesses

Essential oils can be used in a number of ways in the practice of aromatherapy. In general, essential oils should be diluted in a carrier oil or lotion base before applying them to the skin. Steam inhalation of essential oils is an effective method for treating respiratory complaints; this can be done with a steaming bowl of water or in a hot bath. In addition, add a drop of the chosen essential oil to a tissue and inhale.

Cautions for Using Essential Oils

Some essential oils carry contra-indications for use, depending on the health problem and the circumstances of the individual; these include pregnancy, blood pressure, elderly and use with children. Make sure that you are aware of any contra-indications associated with a particular essential oil before using it. In addition, use only the quantity specified for treatment. Consult a qualified professional for further advice on the use of aromatherapy to treat common winter illnesses.

  • Davis, Patricia, Aromatherapy: An A-Z UK: Vermilion
  • Lawless, Julia, The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Essential Oils UK: Thorsons
  • Price, Shirley, Aromatherapy Workbook UK: Thorsons

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