Influenza is a virus. There are many strains of influenza or the flu and one of the more frustrating things about these strains of viruses is that antibiotics are ineffective in fighting them or their unpleasant symptoms. Too often when arriving at the doctor, desperately seeking relief from a fever, aches and the most unpleasant of symptoms, you are too often sent away empty-handed having been told that there’s little to do except getting rest and drinking lots of fluids. When you feel like something the cat dragged in, this is anything but comforting.
Aromatherapy has been used for centuries to treat viruses and many essential oils are known for their antiviral properties. To some extent, the doctor is all too accurate when relaying the unwanted news that rest and lots of fluids are pretty much all that can be done to treat a nasty strain of the flu. However, essential oils aid the immune system and can often help speed recovery and ease the worst symptoms while doing so.
Essential oils are also effective in preventing and treating secondary infections which result from a flu that is particularly resistant to the immune system’s efforts to destroy it. Often times, the flu will settle in the chest or in the sinuses, causing a think green mucusy congestion. This is a sure sign of a secondary infection.
Many essential oils are natural expectorants and can help break up mucus, assisting the immune system in expelling the bacteria more efficiently making a cough more effective, rather than the dry painful cough with which those of us who have had the flu are all too familiar.
Febrifuges are constituents that reduce fever. While a fever is the body’s way of fighting a virus, sometimes the fever can get too high, which can be ultimately harmful, not to mention absolutely miserable. The essential oils of basil, bergamot, black pepper, chamomile, camphor, eucalyptus, hyssop, Melissa and peppermint are all effective febrifuges.
Expectorants, as mentioned above are extremely helpful when it comes to viruses. Expectorants can prevent chest congestion from becoming infected, and if an infection already exists, expectorants are an important ally to the immune system in helping the body rid itself of the unwelcome bacteria. Essential oils that act as expectorants are basil, benzoin, bergamot, cedarwood, eucalyptus, fennel, hyssop, marjoram, myrrh, peppermint and sandalwood.
What about the stomach upset and the accompanying symptoms too often present with the flu? Essential oils have properties that can settle an upset stomach, easing nausea and vomiting as well as diarrhea. Some essential oils that are effective in alleviating stomach upset are basil, black pepper, chamomile, clary, fennel, juniper, Melissa, myrrh, peppermint, rose and rosemary.
If you go to your local health food store and seek out essential oils, you may look at the tiny half-ounce brown bottle and find the price higher than you expected. Some essential oils appear to be expensive. However, it often takes hundreds or even thousands of blossoms or leaves to make a tiny amount of essential oil. Perhaps more significant in terms of your purse or wallet is that a very small amount of an essential oil goes a very long way. Usually, a few drops of essential oil will be all it will take to treat your symptoms. If used often, that tiny little bottle could possibly inhabit your medicine cabinet for up to a year, and the benefits of these powerful oils are worth many times more than their weight in gold!