Ultimate Autumn immunity boosting blend
Autumn is the time of year when we can be susceptible to viruses, such as the common cold, so I thought it would be helpful to share my Ultimate Immunity Boosting Aromatherapy Power Blend and other top tips for boosting your immunity the natural way.
Immunity boosting aromatherapy blend
My ultimate blend comprises of 4 drops Black Pepper essential oil, 8 drops of Ravansara and 2 drops of Sandalwood. The resulting blend is powerful and synergistic, protecting against and fighting bacterial and viral infections.
Exploring each of the essential oils individually, it is easy to understand why they contribute to this ultimate immunity boosting blend.
Black Pepper essential oil, for example, has anti-catarrhal, antibacterial, antiseptic, expectorant properties and is very beneficial to use for respiratory problems such as colds, coughs, bronchitis and laryngitis. The oil has a spicy, woody aroma and is steam distilled from the still green, unripe berries of the plant which is native to South West India. Some experts warn, however, that it may over-stimulate the kidneys, be an irritant to sensitive skins, and that it should be avoided during pregnancy.
Ravansara essential oil also has antiseptic, antimicrobial, antiviral, expectorant and immunomodulant properties and is an excellent choice in the treatment of influenza, chronic fatigue syndrome and as a preventative measure against colds and viral infections. The oil has a slightly spicy, camphorous, woody, herbaceous odour and is steam-distilled from the leaves and twigs of a tree native to warm and tropical climates. It has no known contra-indications, although should be avoided in pregnancy.
Sandalwood essential oil is non-toxic and is recommended for a wide range of respiratory conditions such as bronchitis, catarrh, coughs, and influenza due its decongestant properties. The oil has a distinctive woody odour and is steam-distilled from the heartwood and roots of a small, evergreen tree native to Asia, with India being the main producer of the oil. Sandalwood harvesting is now officially controlled by the Indian Government, and only mature trees (over 30 years old) can be harvested. Base Formula recommend that when purchasing Indian Sandalwood essential oil, you check to ensure that it carries the 'Agmark Seal' which certifies that it conforms with Government standards.
Ways to use the immunity boosting blend
Our ultimate immunity boosting blend is ideal for use in an aromatherapy oil burner or diffuser to help prevent infection. Use between 3-5 drops of the oil blend in an oil burner or several drops in an aromatherapy diffuser (following your product's instructions). Alternatively, pop up to 5 drops on a tissue and inhale regularly throughout the day.
- Aromatherapy massage is reputed to have immunological benefits and our immunity boosting blend would be a perfect choice for a massage treatment or, if you prefer you could try a foot massage instead. Simply mix the essential oils with 30ml of carrier oil and massage into the body in a direction towards the heart.
- If you have been unfortunate enough to develop a viral infection, such as a sore throat, put 5 drops of the blend into 10ml of Moisturising Lotion and apply to the throat area twice a day.
- For bronchial problems put 5 drops of the essential oil blend into 10ml of Moisturising Lotion and apply to the upper chest and back twice a day.
- The blend can also help ease blocked sinuses or congestion, when used in a steam inhalation. Boil two pints of water and pour into a bowl. Add ten drops of the essential oil blend, agitate the water (not with your hands as the water will be too hot), lean over the bowl, put a towel over your head, close your eyes and inhale the vapours for up to ten minutes. Repeat this process several times a day. Alternatively, the blended oils may be put onto a paper tissue, as described above, which is ideal for asthmatics for whom steam inhalation is not recommended.
- Aching muscles and joints can be relieved by mixing 5 drops of the blend into 10ml of Arnica infused oil and massaging it into the affected area twice a day.
Other top tips for boosting your immunity
In addition to using essential oils, follow our top 10 tips for keeping your immune system healthy and strong.
- Sleep deprivation suppresses your immune system’s ability to fight off infection. Make sure you are getting adequate sleep (at least 7 hours per night) to reboot your energy levels and replenish those infection-fighting cells. If you struggle to sleep try using calming, sedative essential oils before bed to help you relax and unwind. Our Sweet Dreams pure essential oil blend or Sweet Dreams Spritz are ideal if you don’t want to make your own blends.
- Maintain good hygiene practices by washing your hands regularly to reduce contact with bacteria and avoid touching your mouth, nose or eyes with your hands, as this is how bugs can enter the body. Ensure items such as cutlery and crockery are washed thoroughly, and use your own towels, especially if someone in the household is poorly. Healthcare professionals also advise using disposable tissues instead of cloth handkerchiefs to avoid reinfection.
- Eat a healthy balanced diet to ensure you’re getting the right spread of vitamins and minerals. Include fibre rich cereals such as wholemeal breads and breakfast cereals, fewer animal fats, and plenty of fruit and vegetables. Avoid sugary foods and drinks, as sugar has been shown to slow your immune cells down.
- Drink less alcohol - too much alcohol suppresses the body’s ability to fight bacteria and viruses.
- Enjoy ‘moderate’ exercise to help boost your mood, energy levels and overall health! Exercise, even just going for a walk, pumps your circulation around your body and boosts your immune function. Don’t go too crazy if you haven’t exercised in a while as your body can perceive this as stress which can in turn weaken the immune system. Equally don’t push yourself too hard if you’re feeling tired or run-down.
- Remember to top-up your Vitamin D levels. The latest research indicates that it is even more important than we realised, as an anti-cancer agent, mood enhancer, immunity booster and an essential element for our renewal and repair mechanisms. We're still enjoying some lovely late sunshine at the moment so make sure you get outside to soak up those rays while you can! As the nights draw in and you get less sunlight, increase your dietary intake by eating more bony, oily fish such as sardines, mackerel and herring, as well as dairy produce and eggs. You could also consider taking a good quality supplement.
- Try to reduce stress levels. While shorts bursts of stress may actually help your immune system, prolonged periods of stress have the opposite effect and can weaken your immunity. As mentioned above, massage is a great way of reducing stress and boosting immunity at the same time, so why not treat yourself to a relaxing massage treatment every now and again. You can also use aromatherapy oils at home to aid relaxation. Pop them in a diffuser or enjoy a soothing aromatic bath. Our Relaxing pure essential oil is ideal for a quick and easy, ready to use solution.
- Enjoy lots of laughs. It really is true that laughter is the best medicine. It not only boosts your mood, but also helps strengthens immunity and reduces stress, tension and even pain.
- Wrap up and keep your extremities warm. Experts at the Common Cold Centre at Cardiff University reckon that having cold feet and a chilly nose can increase the risk of catching viruses. When your feet or nose gets cold it causes the blood vessels in the nose to constrict. This reduces blood flow, which means there are fewer white blood cells to fight viruses!
- Last but not least - don’t smoke. Not only does smoking cause serious health conditions like cancer, but it also lessens your body’s immune response making you more susceptible to viruses and making it harder for you to shake off illnesses like the common cold, once you’ve got them.
I hope that you find our ultimate immunity boosting blend and natural health tips useful in protecting yourself and your family from viral infections over the coming months. And remember, if you don't want to make up your own blend you can always check out our range of pre-blended essential oils - which includes Anti-Virus, Bug Buster and Breathe Easy blends which are especially useful for those coughs and colds!
Read other articles by Christine Fisk