Aromatherapy versus H1N1

You surely remember that last winter the World Health Organization had warned that H1N1 flu could easily evolve into a pandemic. That did not happen fortunately, however a significant number of people worldwide was infected by the virus and for many of them what seemed to be a simple flu did not have a happy ending. Much fuss was also created in relation with the new vaccine that entered the market in order to avert virus spreading.
The medical community was divided in two camps and the opinions regarding the necessity of vaccinating, especially the vulnerable population groups (elderly, children, pregnant women and people with chronic health problems) were many and diverse.

Unfortunately, this winter H1N1 flu remains at the news headlines. The particularity of this flu is that even young people facing no other health problems may sicken heavily if affected by the virus. From the beginning of the year until today 61 persons have been hospitalized in Greece and 9 of them submitted to the illness due to implications. In Italy, the number of victims in January was 25 while many others remain in the intensive care units of our neighboring country.

It seems that this relatively new virus has become part of our everyday lives. For that reason, whether you have been vaccinated against H1N1 or not, you should follow the general hygiene directions with higher consistency, in order to avoid getting or spreading the virus.
Do not forget that aromatherapy has to offer completely safe and natural ways of preventing and treating flues.
Many essential oils have antibacterial and antiviral activity. Their use could help you minimize the chances of getting the virus. If however you get sick, there are essential oils with expectorant, febrifuge, decongestant and sedative properties that will help you alleviate the symptoms.
You may find the following advise and indicative list of appropriate essential oils useful:
  • Systematically disinfect the rooms of your house and work area by using an oil burner, diffuser or spraying the air with a mixture of 25 ml distilled water and 15 drops of essential oils. If you are sick the diffusion of appropriate essential oils in the atmosphere will facilitate your breathing (e.g. eucalyptus, juniper, lavender, black pepper), soothe your coughing (e.g. basil, benzoin, chamomile), help you relax and sleep better (e.g. lavender, chamomile).
  • For occasions when hand washing is not possible you could prepare a disinfectant hand cream. Add 20 drops of essential oils (preferably ravensara, tea tree and lavender) in 30 ml base cream or aloe vera gel.
  • If you are suffering from bronchitis you could warm up your chest and soothe the pain during breathing by gently massaging the breastbone and back with the following mixture:

          30 ml olive or cayenne oil

          5 drops niaouli
          4 drops eucalyptus
          4 drops peppermint
          4 drops black pepper
          2 drops oregano or cinnamon
  • Finally, in order to feel relief when having fever I suggest you use compresses of cold water with 6 drops of essential oils (e.g. basil, eucalyptus and lavender).
Let me remind you that aromatherapy should be used only as a complementary treatment and can by no means substitute your doctor’s directions or medications. Moreover, the above suggestions are addressed to adults with no chronic health problems. If you are intending to use aromatherapy on children or members of other vulnerable population groups please consult a certified aromatherapist first.
Essential oils with antiviral action: basil, bergamot, cajeput, cinnamon, cypress, eucalyptus, lavender, lemon, niaouli, oregano, ravensara, rosemary, teatree, thyme.
Essential oils with expectorant and decongestant properties: basil, black pepper, bay laurel, cypress, eucalyptus, frankincense, ginger, juniper, myrrh, oregano, peppermint, ravensara, rosemary, thyme.

My suggestions:

Burning essential oils in a burner or diffuser is a very good habit, especially during winter when viruses thrive. The aroma diffused in the atmosphere of your office or home will enhance your emotional balance, strengthen your mental clarity and will keep pathogenic organisms away, due to the antiseptic properties of many oils. A great variety of oil burners exists. Electric ones, with candles and of course suitable for the car, which is an ideal place for virus spreading!

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