Immunity

Stay Healthy with Essential Oils: Benefits Backed with Scientific Research

Unfortunately the cold November weather this month heralds the true beginning of cold and flu season. Essential oils are a nice way to scent the home naturally, but did you know that many essential oils have real, scientifically documented benefits?  Certain oils, like eucalyptus, have actually been shown to kill airborne bacteria and viruses when diffused into the air. 

See the article linked below for more information on antimicrobial essential oils and specific links to research studies:

Disinfecting the Air with Essential Oils

Additionally, these articles from our website may be helpful for preventing illness and helping to manage symptoms if you do get sick:

Medicinal Essential Oil Recipes for Cold and Flu Season

Nature's Shield: Our "Thieves Oil" Blend

Also, for more information on scientific research on various essential oils, see this article on our website:

Essential Oil Research Studies and Benefits

Medicinal Essential Oil Recipe Blends for Cold and Flu Season

Essential oils smell wonderful, but they are more than just a pretty scent- many have very impressive medicinal benefits. Below are some suggestions of essential oil combinations that are particularly helpful during the winter months. 

The amounts below are appropriate for use in an essential oil diffuser, like those we have available at the store, though the same ratios could be used for making a therapeutic balm or an atomizing spray, though you may need to change the quantity of oil depending on how much you’re making.

 

Sinus Blend for Relieving Congestion

Eucalyptus is amazing for opening up the sinuses, and is also extremely effective at killing airborne microbes when used in a diffuser. Camphor is also a great antiviral and antibacterial oil, and its vapors are great at reducing cold symptoms. Peppermint is very soothing and can calm irritated respiratory passages, so it’s a nice addition to this blend. The optional addition of cedarwood can help with calming coughs if they are accompanied by sinus congestion. 

5 drops eucalyptus essential oil
3 drops camphor essential oil*
2 drops peppermint essential oil

For sinus congestion with a cough, add 3 drops of cedarwood essential oil to the above blend.

*Do not use camphor topically on children, or in a diffuser for very young children.

 

Respiratory Blend to aid in Relieving Coughing and Purify the Lungs

Hyssop is a very purifying oil and is used to help with reducing excess mucus in the respiratory tract. Cedarwood can help to quell coughs and helps to reduce and loosen phlegm in the lungs when inhaled. Frankincense is useful for breathing problems including bronchitis and asthma, and anise helps to calm a cough.

4 drops hyssop essential oil
3 drops cedarwood essential oil
3 drops frankincense essential oil
2 drops anise oil essential oil

 

Antibacterial Brightening Blend

This is a nice fresh smelling blend which also helps to kill bacteria in the air- bergamot, lemon, and lemongrass also have very potent antibacterial qualities and smell very nice together. It also helps to freshen stale air in a home.

4 drops bergamot essential oil
4 drops lemon essential oil
4 drops lemongrass essential oil

 

Winter Sleep Blend

Many of us are congested through the colder months of the year, so this blend combines the power of eucalyptus with soothing lavender oil, which has been shown in a number of studies to be a very effective sleep aid.

5 drops eucalyptus essential oil
5 drops lavender essential oil

 

“Thieves Oil” Purifying Blend  

These are the combination of oils traditionally as a purifying blend for illness and immunity.

We have also begun carrying a premixed blend based on the legend of the four thieves called Nature’s Shield at the store. You can read more about the blend here. 

5 drops clove bud essential oil
4 drops lemon essential oil
3 drops cinnamon bark essential oil
2 drops eucalyptus essential oil
1 drops rosemary essential oil

 

Also on our website:

Disinfecting the Air with Essential Oils

Essential Oil Research Studies and Benefits

Nature's Shield: Our "Thieves Oil" Blend

The Ultimate DIY Sore Throat Spray

This spray is absolutely fantastic for sore throats. Not only does it soothe an irritated throat, it helps to reduce inflammation and kill bacteria.  

¾ cup water  
2 tbs. Braggs raw apple cider vinegar
1 tbs. raw honey
1 tsp. sea salt
4 drops lemon essential oil
2 drops peppermint essential oil
2 drops eucalyptus essential oil
2 drops clove essential oil
pinch of cayenne pepper (optional)
2 bags Traditional Medicinals Throat Coat teabags (optional)

We have amber glass travel size spray bottles at the store which are perfect for this throat spray recipe.

Start by boiling your water.  After boiling, steep the tea bags in the water until it has cooled to slightly above room temperature.  Remove tea bags and mix in honey, sea salt, and cayenne pepper stirring until completely dissolved.  Depending on the type of raw honey you use, you may need to use a whisk to dissolve the honey (the Y.S. Organics Bee Farms raw honey I use is very thick, so I had to whisk it for a while).

Next, add the apple cider vinegar and essential oils, and then pour the mixture into a spray bottle.  

If using this recipe for children, I might recommend making it without the essential oils.  It will still be effective.

Give the bottle a shake each time before spraying.  Enjoy!  It’s fantastic for a sore throat, but is also great to use as a preventative measure.  I love it!  

 

NOTE: I’ve made two different batches of this recipe, this one, and one that is heavier on the essential oils.  I can’t decide which I prefer.  If you want to make the above throat spray recipe a little stronger, you can increase the essential oils in the recipe to 7 drops lemon oil, and 3 drops each of eucalyptus, peppermint, and clove oils. 

This recipe makes at least three full 2oz. spray bottles.

Disinfecting the Air with Essential Oils

essential oils disinfecting.jpg

There are a variety of essential oils that have antibacterial and antiviral properties, though most of the research that has been done on essential oils is on direct contact with bacteria or viruses, which doesn’t necessarily translate into true benefits for essential oil users.

In our research at the store, we have come across several essential oils which have been documented in scientific studies to reduce and kill airborne bacteria and viruses when diffused into the air.

Here is a study which found that tea tree and eucalyptus essential oils killed airborne influenza viruses when diffused into the air.

Here is a study which tested essential oils against 6 common respiratory pathogens. The findings reported that cinnamon bark oil and lemongrass oil significantly disinfected the air when diffused into the air. It’s a long article, so there’s a good table here which summarizes the results.

This is an impressive study on antibiotic resistant bacteria including MRSA and the results of diffusing essential oils of geranium and lemongrass into the air.

This is a study on the benefits of eucalyptus oil inhalation against airborne tuberculosis bacteria.

This is another study on eucalyptus oil which reports on its broad spectrum antimicrobial action, as well as its benefits for inhalation on respiratory problems like bronchitis, asthma, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). 
 

Summary
So let me break it down. This isn’t to say that all the oils listed below don’t have both antibacterial and antiviral properties, but rather is a summary of the scientific research available on the disinfectant action of essential oils when used in a diffuser.

Cinnamon Bark Essential Oil: Antibacterial
Eucalyptus Essential Oil: Antiviral and Antibacterial
Geranium Essential Oil: Antibacterial
Lemongrass Essential Oil: Antibacterial
Tea tree Essential Oil: Antiviral

We carry several full lines of 100% pure essential oils, and testers of each so you can test what each of the different essential oils smells like. We also carry a large selection of different essential oil diffusers at the store. Our diffusers use nothing but tap water and essential oils and turn off automatically when all the water is used up. I can’t recommend them enough, they're a perfect way to use essential oils in the home in a way that lasts for many hours (most of our diffusers are able to run continuously for seven to eight hours without being refilled).

Suggested blends
Lemongrass is wonderful and fresh smelling and blends well with other oils. Tea tree is a potent medicinal aromatherapy oil, but I’m not in love with the scent (it’s not terrible, just not my favorite). Its scent mixes well with other oils which mask its medicinal odor, so it can be added to any of the blends below. I use the blends below in my home on a regular basis:

Lemongrass + Cinnamon Bark
Lemongrass + Eucalyptus + Tea Tree (this is the strongest antimicrobial combination)
Lemongrass + Geranium
Eucalyptus + Geranium
Eucalyptus + Tea Tree
Eucalyptus + Lavender (this is a fantastic blend for sleep)

In particular, we recommend the NOW brand of essential oils. NOW Foods is a local company in Illinois that has very reasonably priced essential oils while remaining of extremely high quality. Here is an article from our blog on the extensive research NOW conducts on its oils to ensure quality and potency.

 

Here are some other articles from our health blog on essential oils which you may find beneficial:

Essential Oil Research Studies and Benefits

Nature's Shield: Our "Thieves Oil" Blend

Medicinal Essential Oil Recipes for Cold and Flu Season