Aromatherapy A-Z: Flu

Aromatherapy A-Z: FluFlu (Influenza) can be a serious and even deadly illness. The most common symptoms are chills, fever, sore throat, muscle pains, headache (often severe), coughing, weakness/fatigue and general discomfort. Although it is often confused with other influenza-like illnesses, especially the common cold, flu is a more serious disease caused by a different type of virus.

If you know that infections are about, the best course of action is to boost up your immune system (particularly if you're tired and feeling low). Mid to late winter seems to be a classic time for increased infection risk – as people are often run down having had a long period without much sunlight. Lack of sunlight can lead to a Vitamin D deficiency which contribute to lowering the immune response.

Some easy immunity boosters are certain nutrients, foods, herbs and essential oils (see below):

If I'm fighting a bug I often chop up a clove of raw garlic and take it after an evening meal. Eat a few sprigs of fresh parsley if you are worried about the garlic oil repeating on your breath, as this helps neutralise the odour and will further boost your immune response.

Drink Rosemary tea, or Lemon and Ginger tea, and increase garlic and ginger in your diet as they are both good immunity boosters.

Siberian Ginseng (Elagen is one of the best standardised versions with 2000mg per capsule) will boost your immunity and help increase stamina and energy if you are tired. As an “adaptogen” it will also help to ease the effects of stress on the body.

Vaporise anti-microbial essential oils, especially those that are anti-viral – to help neutralise air-borne bugs before they strike! Try 10 drops of Bergamot and 5 Tea Tree in a vaporiser, or make up a spray with 150ml Lavender Hydrolat, 30 drops Bergamot, 15 Tea Tree and 5 Eucalyptus. If you don't want to mix your own oils you could use our pre-blended Bug Buster pure essential oil blend with Lavender, Tea Tree, Lemon, Myrrh, Plai and Camphor.

If you are already showing some signs of infection react immediately and you might not have to suffer the full blown version. To help stop the virus in its tracks drink plenty of water. If you are just beginning to feel tired, achy and perhaps a sore throat is creeping up – have a hot (not too hot) bath before bed and add 15ml Bath Oil with 5 drops Tea Tree, 1 drop Lemon, 2 drops Ravensara or Eucalyptus and 5 drops Lavender. Add to the bath once the water has run.

Vaporise 2 drops of Thyme, 4 Lavender, 2 Clove and 4 Tea Tree in your bedroom. Before you go to bed give yourself an aromatherapy inhalation with the same combination of oils but half the number of drops. Do this daily, morning and evening whilst the symptoms persist. Even if you develop more symptoms and don't stop it in its tracks – the aromatherapy oils will help reduce the severity of the condition and help prevent secondary infections.

Have fresh soup throughout the day with plenty of fresh garlic, leeks, onions, ginger and sage added. Do not be tempted to take suppressant medication and work through it. Flu can be serious and you need to listen to and respect your body's signals – especially if you develop a temperature. Treat yourself holistically and you should recover more quickly and thoroughly.

Increasing your Vitamin C intake can also help reduce congestion and boost immunity – try BioCare Magnesium Ascorbate powder – a low acid Vitamin C form that you can take easily in drinks. If your digestion has been affected a Bio-Acidophilus Complex will help and will also boost your ability to fight those bugs.

Joannah Metcalfe
Consultant Aromatherapist

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