Essential Oils to Fight the Ick!
Whenever we’re in a seasonal shift, people are more prone to getting sick… and then leaving their sick germs everywhere. Ugh.
Never fear, essential oils are here! These potent plant extracts are my first line of defense against whatever big ick is in the air.
Not familiar with essential oils? Think of plant medicines being arrayed on a giant clothes line. The gentlest (flower essences) are on one end, teas come next, then vinegars followed by tinctures, and then, at the far end, you’d find the essential oils.
Essential oils are a complex combination of phyto-chemicals distilled into a potent concentrate. When the Bubonic Plague was ravaging Medieval Europe perfumers were said to have remained disproportionately healthy because of their daily contact with the powerful anti-microbials in the essential oils they used to blend fragrances.
Here’s my short list of oils to keep you feeling fit through this spring’s season of ick. These broad spectrum oils are a first line of defense. Inhale them often (inhalation gets the constituents of the oil into your bloodstream fast!) and use them, diluted, to clean off door knobs and counter-tops that other people might be ick-ing!
Lavender Spike: the powerful older brother of common lavender, Spike has higher levels of anti-viral and anti-mircrobial constituents.
Thyme: in a petri dish, thyme oil has killed some of the big nasties in under ten minutes! But this means you have to spray thyme on and leave it on, not spray it on and wipe it off. Great for doorknobs and phones other people have used. Use thyme to wipe your tray table and armrests when you’re flying. Note: swap Red Thyme for gentler Thyme Linalol for steaming.
Lemon Balm (Melissa): while it grows prolifically, Lemon Balm doesn't produce much oil. Pull out your precious stash of Lemon Balm oil when you’re reaching for the Elderberry to create a two-pronged defense!
Palma Rosa: contains significant geraniol which has been petri-dish tested against numerous bacteria.
Ravintsara and Eucalyptus (globulus and radiata): these all contained the well-researched 1,8-Cineole. Use them in a diffuser to support your immune system and neutralize an array of airborne nasties!
Warning: these oils are potent! A leaky bottle of jasmine essential oil ate a hole in my kitchen table’s finish. Before you start using oils around the house, check out the recipes below. Also, some oils (even if it's just scent) can be toxic to pets. Please look into pet safe essential oils before using any around your furry friends.
Choose 2 or 3 of these oils to create some germ-reducing products for yourself. Why 2-3? The plants have different chemical profiles. By using a few you create a more broad spectrum.
Room Spray: Mix 30 drops with a tablespoon of vodka. Shake well. Add this combination to 4 oz. of water and put in a spray bottle.
Hand Soap: Add 30 drops to a combination of 1 oz. glycerine and 3 oz. liquid castille soap. Shake well.
All Purpose Cleaning solution: Add 30 drops to a 4 oz. combination of white vinegar and water (1:1 ratio on the white vinegar to water). Shake well.
Infuser/Nebulizer: For the highest therapeutic value, it's best not to heat your oils. A cold air nebulizer is the best choice when you want to maintain the oil’s therapeutic integrity. Viruses become air-born from people sneezing and coughing. Running a nebulizer is a great way to “clear the air.”
Inhalation: A few drops of oil will remain potent on a cloth that's then put in a Ziploc bag. Hold it near your nose and breath!
Steam: Put ONE drop of oil in a bowl of just-boiled water. Drape a towel over your head and breath the steam.
On Herbiary owner Maia Toll's Blog:
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