Part 2 – Making Use of the AntiViral Aromatherapy Oils

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by Harriet Bliss

The Anti-Viral Essential Oils: Melissa

Melissa, a member of the Lamiaceae family also known as Lemon Balm, has been shown particularly efficacious against the herpes simplex virus. The oil has also been shown to have significant antidepressant effects, and can positively modulate the action of the immune system. While somewhat costly, as the plant itself yields a very small amount of essential oil, its potency is considered exceptionally high. Even small amounts within your formula can provide important protection. Melissa is noted specifically by Dr. Kurt Schnaubelt in ‘Advanced Aromatherapy’ to work in very low dilutions; Dr. Schnaubelt believes the oil’s effects will still be strong when used at one part per hundred in topical recipes.

Melaleuca Oils from Australia

Tea Tree, because we’ve all been using for so long, slips our mind when considering oils for more ‘serious’ applications. The naturally occurring terpines in Tea Tree are among the most potent anti-viral constituents found in essential oils. Yet not all of us are very fond of Tea Tree’s aroma; what’s important to know that Tea Tree actually has a wonderful ‘nutmeggy’ aroma when it’s fresh – and Tea Tree happens to be one of the essential oils that is better tolerated when it’s fresh (if the smell is unpleasant, it’s likely old or not of good quality). The research backing the antiviral action is probably more comprehensive than any other essential oil. While aromatherapists do not consider Tea Tree the first line of defense for influenza, it could certainly be a helpful component in blends with other appropriate oils for this purpose. Also in the Melaluca family is Rosalina, or ‘Lavender Tea Tree’. This relatively new oil seems to have an exceptional balance of properties, acting as both an anti-stress agent and a potent antimicrobial. Some therapists consider this oil may be the better choice for anti-viral protection.

Essential Oils Specific for Influenza

Case studies by professional aromatherapists have been presented where oils have been matched to the symptoms of the viral infection. Oils from plants of the Myrtaceae family (Eucalyptus Radiata, Tea Tree and Ravensara) have helped in cases of respiratory tract infections. For the lower respiratory tract, Hyssop decumbens has been successfully used. Bay Laurel essential oil has been specifically noted for its ability to destroy the virus causing SARS. All these oils are excellent in combination: Eucalyptus Radiata, Ravensara aromatica, Tea Tree, Hyssop and Bay Laurel would make an absolutely wonderful, highly-potent blend for diffusion. Additional oils from the herbs of Oregano and Thyme could be added if the formula were to be used topically (Note: these oils are so strong as to possibly cause irritation of the mucus membranes if inhaled in significant quantities. They are best used along with carrier oils on the reflex points of the feet associated with the respiratory system: the bottom of the foot from the ball to the pinky toe, and directly above this on the top of the foot).

Make Your Own Powerful Blends

Making your own formulas for home use, whether in a diffuser or for topical application is exceptionally easy to do. Don’t be wary of mixing your own – once you do it, you’ll find it fun and educating, likely even giving you more personal ownership and understanding of the use of oils. Diffusing the oils in your environment is considered by some practitioners is considered by some therapists to be THE MOST EFFECTIVE way to use their protective effects. For this use, an example formula may be equal parts of Bay Laurel, Eucalyptus Radiata, Tea Tree, Hyssop decumbens, and Ravensara. If you find any of the aromas overwhelming, just reduce the portion of the blend of that oil. So you could just pipette 1 milliliter of each oil into a separate bottle, then use this formula in a nebulizing diffuser. The same formula can be mixed for topical application by blending 1 part of this recipe into 9 parts of a carrier oil (such as gently melted virgin Coconut oil – which is considered to have antiviral properties itself) and used as a daily foot massage. Melissa oil can be included if you wish to enhance the formula. Rubbing this blend into the areas of the body where the lymph nodes are close to the surface is also recommended: the sternum, armpits and neck are receptive areas. If you choose to use the blend in a diffuser, remember that the carrier oil should then NOT be used (it will not evaporate properly!).

The same essential oils can be mixed in a small spray bottle for traveling. Again, a 1:10 dilution in water, mixed in a 1 ounce bottle with a spray cap, vigorously shaken, can be taken along on a plane. You can mist yourself and your environment using this, and even your hotel room and rental car can be ‘treated’ with your mixture.A final note on blending and use – as essential oils are highly concentrated, be sure to keep them away from the eyes, and out of the hands of younger children (please consult a practitioner if you intend to use these formulas with the young ones; while the recipes are appropriate, the concentration of essential oil should be significantly lower for children under 12. In no case should the oils be used with infants – for more information on properly using essential oils with children, see ‘Aromatherapy for the Healthy Child’ by Valerie Ann Worwood).

Essential Oils are the Foundation of Aroma-Medicine: Use Them!

Essential oils are simply the concentrated volatile natural chemicals of plants. Plant medicine has a long, effective history, and the use of essential oils is no exception. Studies around the world support their use in treating infectious illness, and specifically in preventing and treating viral diseases. If you can, follow your intuition with their use, frequency and dosage. Be careful not to overdo it, as the potency of these medicines implies that only small amounts are needed to produce the desired effects. The formulas described here are not meant to supplant other means of preventing and curing illnesses, but to complement them. Remember that many aromatherapists consider this the most effective use essential oils may have for us, why not give it a try!
About the Author:

The author is a frequent user of Lavender, Frankincense, Lemongrass and other essential oils from Ananda Aromatherapy

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