Friday, December 14, 2012

Essential oils for the colds: It's that time of year.... atchooo!

During the cold and flu season many people begin sneezing around me, working with groggy heads and stuffed noses. We can't avoid touching paper, equipment, hands and utensils that other people—people with colds or flu—have handled but we can do something to help keep ourselves healthy and sanitary. 


Personally, I take essential oils into the shower with me, every day.  I have become fond of two essential oils for this purpose because of their fragrance, which to me is pleasant, and their relative affordability, and most importantly because they are generally thought to have some anti-bacterial and anti-viral actions:  lavandin super (the hybrid closest to true lavender in fragrance and composition) and Palmarosa (Cymbopogon martini). 

Here is how I use them. 

Diluted

First a caution, Palmarosa can have a bit of sting to it when applied directly to the skin, especially if you have sensitive skin.  So before I get into the shower, I get a shot glass and put about a half inch of some kind of moisturizing oil in it, almond, or jojoba, or even olive oil.  Then I put about 10 drops of Palma Rosa into the oil, mix it up well, and head to the shower.  Standing in the shower before I turn on the water, and being careful not to get oily, slippery feet, I apply the mixture to my chest, shoulders, arms and thighs.  I pay careful attention to not get the oil on my face, in my eyes and ears, or near my genitals, because it can sting!  (You definitely should test this by applying a little of it to your wrist to make sure you respond well to the oil.  All skin is not equal and what works well for me may be irritating to you.)  

Then I turn on the warm water and continue to rub the oil onto my skin while inhaling the fumes.  I wash normally with soap.  This daily exercise during the cold and flu season seems to help me stay one step ahead of the whatever it is that makes people feel unwell.

Undiluted

With Lavandin super, I take it a little further still.  I sometimes take 20 drops of oil, undiluted, with me into the shower and apply it directly to my skin.  The oil is so gentle that you can use it just about anywhere, although not on the face or eyes.  Even though the oil is gentle I recommend a skin test, because not all skin is created equal.  I particularly like to use Lavandin under my arms, as I would any soap, and then wash with water.  I don't need to use any soap in addition to the oil.  The effect of the oil on my skin is to reduce the odor from bacteria, increase a sense of calm and wellbeing, and when I smell it throughout-out the day it gives me a reminder to stay alert to what I'm touching and using.

Stepping Stones Books & Gifts carries Lavandin super, genuine and organic, a fine clean fragrance that I prefer.  It is from a hybrid plant and is perfect for relaxing massage blends, wonderful for meditation and an economical alternative to True Lavender.  Because stock is changing rapidly, we do not display the inventory in our online store, but you can call us anytime to order:  707-527-8372
Watch the free "How to make a sanitizing hand lotion" video in the right hand column of this screen for an easy and effective way to make a nondrying hand lotion with antibacterial and antiviral essential oils.  And if you're nose is blocked and your head stuffy, watch the free video on "How to make nasal straws," and effective, easy way to deliver a lot of essential oils and their fumes to where you need them.