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Help Beat Winter Cold & Flu Bugs with Aromatherapy

'Tis the season alright. Flu bug, cold bug, sniffles, sneezes, stuffy heads, runny noses. Chances are you've already been hit by at least one of these symptoms. If you're like my family, you've been hit with them all.

Here's a few essential oils that may help alleviate some of the symptoms and make everyone feel just a little bit better.

Clear the Air

An easy way to make the air in your winter enclosed home feel fresher and help beat off the bugs is to diffuse oils into the air. You can do with with a diffuser, lamp, ring or simply by warming some water on the stove and adding a few drops of oil to that. Just watch that you don't let the pot go dry.

Some essential oils you can use: eucalyptus, rosemary, peppermint, tea tree, ginger, orange, cinnamon, cypress, bergamot, frankincense, clary sage, pine, chamomile, lime, juniper, lavender.

Go Steam Your Head

When your head is stuffed and congested or you can't stop coughing then steam your head. Steaming is an age old treatment to let warm, moist air into your head and lungs. Often used with herbs and essential oils for penetrating power. The cough from a cold is usually made worse by the dry winter air.

Pour boiling water into a metal or glass bowl, then add your essential oil. Drape a towel over your head and position your face 10-12" above the bowl. Breath deeply.

Some essential oils you can use: cypress, eucalyptus, peppermint, tea tree, lavender, rosemary, frankincense.

Bathing Beauties

Got that sore, achy feeling all over? Nothing feels better than a nice warm bath. Add some bath salts to help draw some of the metabolic toxins out with your sweat. Add some essential oils to ease chest and nasal congestion.

Some essential oils you can use: cypress, eucalyptus, peppermint, tea tree, lavender, cedarwood, myrrh, rosemary.

You CAN Sleep with a Cold

Sleeping when you can't breathe means a long, tiring and restless night for you. Things you can do to help ease it a bit is to make sure you have a humidifier or vapourizer going in the room. The humid air helps keep your air passages moist.

Next add the same penetrating oils from the "Clear the Air" list. Whatever worked best for you in that list, use it here.

Make sure your vapourizer has the proper insert for adding essential oils. If it doesn't, a small ceramic dish beside the steam outlet (not over) will work nicely too. Close enough that the dish warms up from the steam, but does not block the steam's path. A couple of drops of the oil placed on a cloth close to your pillow will give an extra boost until the scented steam takes effect.

Why so many suggested oils?

Simply because some oils work better on one person than another. Some oils are easier to find than others and some people may have known reactions to certain oils. You need to play with the different oils and see which ones are most effective on you.

There are many more oils that can be used for these conditions. Pick up any aromatherapy book and you'll likely find more oils suggested. However some require advanced knowledge to utilize them safely, some aren't quite as effective as the ones listed here and some are wonderful but are just too costly for all but the most dedicated users.

The best thing you can do is try a few of the more common oils out and see how they affect you. As always, pick up some reputable books on aromatherapy and find out more about the oils you've chosen. You're on your way to a healthier, smelling-good kind of home.

About The Author

Paula Polman, B.Sc. is the owner of Basic Scents & Supplies. She has been making natural care products for over six years and practising aromatherapy for more than eight years. She can be reached by email at paula@basicscentssupplies.com or visit http://www.BasicScentsSupplies.com for more information.

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Paula Polman