Essential oils are natural concentrates used to address everything from anxiety to acne. In the middle of flu season, it’s important to understand what these oils do for immune systems and how they can prevent and alleviate sickness in time for spring break.
Rhema Zlaten, ORU alumna and dōTerra distributor, started using essential oils in her household over eight years ago.
“My best friend had started using them and talking to me about how they made a difference in the duration of sickness in her family,” Zlaten said. “I began experimenting with different types to see how my body would respond to them, and I’ve been hooked ever since.”
There are hundreds of oils and blends available on the market right now. Distributors like Young Living and dōTerra provide the most reliable products, according to Zlaten, because they test the purity of their oils through an independent regulator.
“For college students looking to try essential oils,” Zlaten said, “I would recommend starting with lavender, peppermint and then a citrus oil such as wild orange or lemon.”
Citrus oils are known for their anti-bacterial properties, and can be used to cleanse surfaces as well as detoxify the body. Lavender is known for relaxation and anti-anxiety, and can boost the immune system in fighting off contagions. Most oils can be added—sparingly—to water and ingested, and mixing several different oils with lemon juice in water can be a flavorful way to get through the flu season.
The concentrates are derived from plants by a variety of methods, and contain natural anti-microbial and anti-bacterial enzymes that help your body fight infection.
“The key to using concentrated essential oils,” Zlaten said, “is to use less of them more often.” Many oils—wild orange, clove, cinnamon, eucalyptus—can be applied to the bottoms of the feet every hour, both when feeling a cold coming on and as the cold progresses. To combat the flu, oils like pepper- mint, melaleuca (tea tree), and lavender can be mixed and applied to the chest, “to promote clear breathing and anti-bacterial support,” Zlaten said.
One of the best methods of treatment is a diffuser, a device that releases essential oils into the air. Be- cause diffusers can be stocked with any oil, they are useful year-round. You can find them at health food stores or through distributors like Young Living and dōTerra. For immediate help, a few drops of oil like peppermint on a tissue can also be inhaled to clear up breathing passages and bring relief to sinus headaches.
While there are many accepted methods and mixtures, what works for one person may not have the same effect on another. Many people respond well to inhaling the aromas of the oils from the skin of the palms, feet or chest. Others prefer ingestion or diffusion.
“I think the best rule of thumb to remember for how essential oils work is to try different types based on recommendations from reputable companies, massage therapists and chiropractors,” Zlaten said, “and then determine what works for you based on how your body responds.”
For more ideas on uses and applications, dōTerra provides a DIY blog on their website doterra.com.
Story by Christen Latini, Courtesy Photo