Saturday, January 25, 2014

Five "Must Have" Essential Oils for the (Very) Cold and Flu Season - PART 1

      The shimmer of the Holiday lights have now dimmed to a memory. True, the days are getting longer with sunlight, but that doesn't stop Old Man Winter from whistling his brutal tune that chills many to the bone in the Northern Hemisphere. (Southern hemispherians, bookmark this for later.) Why is "winter" always labeled as the flu and cold season? It's not because cold weather somehow procreates germs on a whim and then blows them into us with gusty gales. There is, however, a Popular Science article that has one theory mentioned that expresses this. Mind you, it was an 80-year old journal entry stumbled upon in 2007 by a medical researcher named Palese. It was called the "Upper Atmosphere Flu Theory":

     "...And here--in the flu droplet's earthward fall--is where humidity comes in. As this droplet falls, it also begins to evaporate. The drier the air is, the more moisture evaporates from the droplet, and the smaller the droplet gets. AND if it gets smaller, the effect of air resistance gets bigger. Eventually, if enough of the droplet evaporates, the flu virus is whisked away on air currents and can float around for days, until someone else breathes it in."

      Okay. Before this starts sounding like a nerdy thesis on WHY winter is the cold and flu season, which it so easily could, let's just skip ahead, skip ahead and...skip ahead to the experience any human that has suffered during the cold and flu season KNOWS. It just IS. Because the kids are back in school flinging germs at each other; because adults are staying indoors passing germs to each other; because Old Man Winter wears us down in resilience and stamina affecting our immune systems; because germs like to infiltrate dry areas, and dried-out noses and throats from dry heat and dry air...WHATEVER. It just IS. Are you with me? What we need to talk about is creating a germ-fighting "safe-haven" to battle the "powers that be" during this time. That's where these five, super germicidal oils come into play. First, we must talk about WHAT they are, and why. Next, and more importantly for many, we must talk about HOW to use them.


#1.) - Clove Essential Oil
- Steam-distilled from the flower buds of Eugenia Caryophylatta from Indonesia. Clove oil has a warm, spicy, rich scent. This oil has been prized for throughout history for its phenomenal antimicrobial, anti-fungal and antiviral properties. It is a warming oil that also has pain-relieving efficacy.
(Cite 1)

#2.) - Cinnamon Essential Oil ("True") - Steam-distilled from the leaves of Cinnamomom Zeylanicum. Cinnamon leaf essential oil is the "kinder and gentler" relative of cinnamon-bark oil. Less likely to cause irritation of already irritated mucous membranes, it has a warm, sweet-spicy, herbaceous scent. Cinnamon leaf oil promotes clarity and courage in the face of adversity. It is a boon to the cardiovascular system and serves to soothe aching muscles and joints. It is also known to be part of the great family of herbs that fight off infections of every kind. (Cite 2)

#3.) Eucalyptus Essential Oil - Steam-distilled from the leaves of Eucalyptus Globulus. This oil has been revered for centuries for its efficacy as an antibacterial, antimicrobial, antiviral and anti-fungal agent. It is also used the world over as an expectorant and mucolytic (breaks up gunk in the respiratory tract) for various respiratory disturbances.The scent is clean and medicinal, and is said to promote over-all purification and healing. (Cite 3)

#4.) Lemon Essential Oil - Cold pressed from the peel of Citrus limonum. A warm, sunny, citrus-y scent, the oil of lemon promotes clarity and invigoration. Properties include powerful immune stimulation, antimicrobial, antiseptic and anti-tumorial efficacy. This is especially due to the high limomene content available in this oil. Lemon oil is also reported to have great astringent properties good for the skin and the over-all body.
(Cite 4)

#5.) Rosemary Essential Oil - Steam-distilled from the whole plant of Rosmarinus officinalis. This oil has been highly regarded for centuries as one of the most potent antibacterial, anti-fungal and anti-parasitic agents available. The aroma is sharply herbal and medicinal promoting clarity, focus and purity.
(Cite 5)

 NOW :  How to use. The five oils mentioned above can be mixed together in equal parts, but Clove and Cinnamon are notoriously "hot" oils which means exactly what it sounds like: they can cause irritation to both the skin and respiratory system if used too liberally. To err on the side of soothing relief, I recommend the upcoming recipe for this Cold and Flu Blend on the following post. Stay tuned! She's being served fast and quick. ;)

Sources and Cites for the Scientifically Scintillated:

1.) Chaieb, K., Hajlaoui, H., Zmantar, T., Kahla-Nakbi, A. B., Rouabhia, M., Mahdouani, K. and Bakhrouf, A. (2007), The chemical composition and biological activity of clove essential oil, Eugenia caryophyllata (Syzigium aromaticum L. Myrtaceae): a short review. Phytother. Res., 21: 501–506. doi: 10.1002/ptr.2124

2.) Medicinal properties of 'true' cinnamon (Cinnamomum zeylanicum): a systematic review.
Priyanga Ranasinghe, Shehani Pigera, Ga Sirimal Premakumara, Priyadarshani Galappaththy, Godwin R Constantine, Prasad Katulanda
BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine (Impact Factor: 2.08). 10/2013; 13(1):275. DOI:10.1186/1472-6882-13-275

3.) Raho G Bachir, M Benali, Antibacterial activity of the essential oils from the leaves of Eucalyptus globulus against Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus, Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Biomedicine, Volume 2, Issue 9, September 2012, Pages 739-742, ISSN 2221-1691,

4.) Electronic Document Format(ISO)
OLIVEIRA, Sarah Almeida Coelho et al. The antimicrobial effects of Citrus limonum and Citrus aurantium essential oils on multi-species biofilms. Braz. oral res. [online]. 2014, vol.28, n.1 [cited  2014-01-25], pp. 22-27 . Available from: . Epub Oct 07, 2013. ISSN 1806-8324.

Fu, Y., Zu, Y., Chen, L., Shi, X., Wang, Z., Sun, S. and Efferth, T. (2007), Antimicrobial activity of clove and rosemary essential oils alone and in combination. Phytother. Res., 21: 989–994. doi: 10.1002/ptr.2179

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