3 ways to use essential oils for winter health
With January gone and February being a short month, we may think that the thaw of spring is well on its way but winter officially ends on 20 March (sorry to be the bearer of this news!). Winter is the season when the days are shorter, we are spending more time indoors, and colds and flu are more prevalent. This time of year, preventative health becomes more important than ever, and there’s never been a better year to get proactive, strengthen our immune systems, and generally stay as healthy as possible.
Essential oils can be an enjoyable and affordable way to boost your winter wellness routine. Essential oils can provide great support to prevent and fend off colds and flu. This is because as volatile oils of plants, essential oils have brilliant anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties and a great way to boost natural immunity.
Below is a list of essential oils for specific winter health issues but if I had to choose one oil for winter health this would definitely be eucalyptus. It is my go-to oil whenever I feel the slightest sniffle (or hear them all around me). There are many types of eucalyptus but I would recommend eucalyptus globulus as the one which is most readily available and has powerful antibacterial and antiviral properties. Studies have shown that eucalyptus helps in improving respiratory circulation in the body that increases the number of phagocytes assisting decongestion. It has also immunity-boosting properties that help the body in fighting infections and bacteria more effectively.
* Please do not use eucalyptus with children under 8 years old because of the cineole content in eucalyptus which can cause an adverse reaction in children. Other oils that are fantastic to have in your cabinet for winter health are Peppermint, Tea Tree and Rosemary as all will help alleviate a range of symptoms.
- Anti-viral/to stop the spread of coughs and colds/flu: Eucalyptus, Peppermint, Tea Tree, Lavender, Thyme, Rosemary
- Coughs and sore throats: Eucalyptus, Sandalwood, Benzoin, Tea Tree, Lavender, Thyme
- Blocked sinuses: Eucalyptus, Ravensara, Rosemary, Black pepper, Frankincense
Now as to the use… Here are three easy ways to use essential oils for winter health.
- Steam inhalation
Steam inhalation is a fantastic traditional method to help with any blockages. As the name suggests, it is simply breathing in steam from heated water. Use this to soothe and open their nasal passages when they have a cold or sinus infection. The warm, moist air is thought to loosen mucus and relieve symptoms.
How to use?
Fill a large bowl carefully with boiling water. Add 4-5 drops of essential oils or a blend – I use our Mind Spa blend - to the water. You can also add dried chamomile, lavender buds or other dried herbs that you will use in a tea but this is optional. Lean over the steaming bowl with a towel over your head. Check that the temperature is ok for you as it should not feel uncomfortable. Allow the steam to enter your nose and mouth by breathing normally though your nose and mouth. Do this for 10-15 minutes. You may need to top up with just-boiled water 2-3 times as it will cool and lose the steam.
- DIY nasal inhaler stick
Every season I make nasal inhaler sticks for my family and they use it throughout the season. You can buy the nasal inhaler sticks and cotton wicks from Amazon
Admittedly, the sticks are made of plastic and not good for the environment and so I am on the lookout for an alternative, more sustainable option.
How to make?
Once you have sourced the sticks, these are very easy to do! Just add 2-3 drops of essential oils or a blend to the cotton wick and then close the top part of the wick and Voila! For this, I love using tea tree on its own or our Mind Spa blend.
- Warm bath
A warm bath is a great way to relax on a winter evening. Do not add pure essential oils to your bath directly as essential oils are not water-soluble and will sit on top of the bathing water and will cause a direct contact with your skin. Dilute essential oils in bath salts or a carrier oil first and then add to your bath. Blends that will work wonders here are Mind Spa (surprise!), Sweet Dreams and Energy Boost. Magnesium-rich Epsom salts will also help with muscular relaxation and invigorate your body.