Fighting the Flu Using Essential Oils
Influenza, commonly referred to as "the flu," is an infectious disease with symptoms such as: chills, fever, sore throat, muscle aches and pains, severe headache, coughing, weakness and fatigue and an overall general discomfort. It is more severe than the common cold and caused by a different virus. It is typically transmitted in the air by coughs, sneezes or direct contact.
Occasionally the flu may develop into direct viral pneumonia or secondary bacterial pneumonia. Those with compromised immune systems are more susceptible. Many essential oils are anti-infectious, anti-viral and anti-bacterial. They effectively assist the body's mechanism to fight like a warrior when flu "invaders" bypass our natural defenses.
Infection of all kinds feed on sugar in the diet. Starving the infection should help boost the immune response and speed recovery, while avoiding sugars may help you avoid succumbing to the flu as it makes its seasonal rounds. When we feel susceptible or have early flu symptoms coming on, we avoid the following because they are sugars or convert to sugar and may compromise immune response:
- starches (such as white potatoes)
- grains (basmati or long-grain rice in moderation may be exceptions)
- processed foods
- dairy (except for homemade fermented dairy products from raw milk such as kefir and yogurt)
- fruit? Go easy on fruit - seek balance with the diet.
While there is no guarantee that using essential oils will prevent you from contracting the seemingly ubiquitous flu bug, using essential oils may help lessen the duration of the symptoms. Our family has avoided the dreaded flu for years by drinking plenty of water, avoiding sugar and using the following oils:
- Immune Support is applied morning and evening when the flu is threatening. It is diffused nightly. For a cough, we take a drop in a teaspoon of local, raw honey (sometimes with a drop of Lemon essential oil).
- Citrus Quench Hand Cleanser is used as one would use a hand sanitizer.
- Plague Defense Spray is used in public places. We spray shopping cart handles, toilet seats, high chairs, booster seats and so on. It can be used as a room spray in lieu of toxic, commercial disinfectants.
- Warrior or Plague Defense are blends we consider using when the invaders have aggressively crossed the defenses. For children, we use Immune Support.
- Breathe Easy is our favorite for any respiratory issue. We diffuse it, apply topically to back, chest, inner thighs and may soak in a bath with a few drops mixed with coconut oil and magnesium salts. We have used it as a cough remedy with a drop added to a teaspoon of local, raw honey.
- Respiratory Relief is a favorite to diffuse. It may also be applied on on the chest, back and throat (avoid applying on or near the face of a young child).
- Lung Support is exceptional for serious lung congestion. We apply respiratory-supporting essential oils to the inner thighs, or use as a suppository if appropriately diluted. From these locations they are fed directly into the heart-lung circulatory system and reach the lower bronchial capillaries in their original lipophilic and volatile state. Thus, they will likely still have the capability to help eliminate pathogenic microorganisms and assist resolving mucus issues. If we have lung congestion and our typical methods of addressing it are failing, we put 1-2 drops of Lung Support in a capsule and fill the rest up with castor oil (olive oil or any cooking oil will work). We make sure the capsule is fully lubricated with the castor oil and use it as a suppository (inserted into the rectum at least an inch or so). The results are typically very immediate - coughing subsides and breathing improves. This may need to be repeated a few times and is most effective if it's used at the first sign that the invaders have settled in the lungs. For a lingering, or ineffective cough, a diluted drop on/under the tongue helps many. Because of Birch in this blend, it is not suggested for use with children or to use during pregnancy or when breastfeeding. Be sure to check the detail page for medical contraindications associated with its use.
- Myrtle is our favorite for sinus issues. We use in our personal nasal inhalers, and if the issue is persistent, we dilute well and swab nostrils to ease congestion and to help us avoid infection. It does not sting and, when appropriately diltued, it can be used on small children without causing them any discomfort. (Be sure the cinoel content of your Myrtle is less than 40%, as is HEO's Myrtle. Appropriate dilution is important to avoid risk of irritating the mucus membranes and/or causing breathing issues with a small child.) Swabbing nostrils with diltued Myrtle is actually a very desirable experience for us, but please try it on yourself before using it on a child. This way you will know what they are experiencing and can encourage them.
- Tummy Soothe eases symptoms if the stomach virus (gastroenteritis) hits. We put a drop on the tongue or a few drops on the abdomen for vomiting and diarrhea. Information about using essential oils for gastroenteritis.
- Nasal Inhalers are great to have on hand. We've used these for sinus congestion with great success.
- Nasal Sprays are also beneficial.
- Car Diffuser Lockets are a simple way to use the oils while driving.
The following testimonies are representative of many that we've received.
1. I was completely eager to get Breathe Easy because I knew it was safe for my two month old! I got sick with a severe cold, and then my newborn son and my husband got the same thing! I was still on the mend when Breathe Easy came, so I put it in the diffuser right out of box! Within minutes my sinuses were clearing and my baby's breathing became less of a struggle! My husband came home, and he was feeling a little better within the hour! He now asks for my oils! Thank you for giving us parent-safe alternatives for little ones!
2. Breathe Easy is wonderful. Hubby and I have been using it for a yucky cough we have, and it has helped so much. - Lana
3. I really blew my diet last week and paid for it, but not as dearly as in the past. After eating a bunch of grains and sweets over the holidays, I further assaulted my immune system by taking a walk on a damp, windy and frigid evening without sufficient warmth. By the time I got inside, I was shivering and my teeth were chattering. Just after midnight I awoke with a very bad sore throat which progressed into a hard cough by early morning. I slept fitfully and chided myself for being so stupid. I should have gotten up and used the oils, but I kept hoping it would go away. By morning, I had a fever and chills along with the sore throat and cough. Here's the amazing part: I took a drop of Warrior diluted with coconut oil in a capsule 3-4 times through the day, applied Immune Support on my chest and throat, and for the cough, I put a drop of Frankincense and Lemon on a teaspoon and added local, raw honey. This was a fantastic remedy for the cough. I had to take it about every hour, but by evening I was hardly coughing at all. I also gargled a diluted drop of Plague Defense a few times for the sore throat. By bedtime, I had no fever, hardly a cough and felt 80% better. I took a really warm bath with a few drops of Respiratory Relief mixed first with Epsom Salts and castille soap, and then added to hot bath water. I soaked that up until the water had cooled down. I took another Warrior capsule, reapplied the Immune Support, took the cough remedy one last time and diffused Respiratory Relief through the evening. I snuggled into bed and slept soundly. Would you believe that the next morning I felt like a new person? I coughed a few times to clear the nighttime mucus, but seriously, I had experienced an astounding recovery from what normally would have lasted several days and left me worn out and weak. Wow!
4. When flu season comes around, I start diffusing Plague Defense in the living area of our home. We've gone several years with the flu bug getting hold of our closest friends, but it bypassed our family. I'm confident these oils are effectively defending us.
5. This is my first flu season using essential oils instead of the pharmaceuticals we used to use. When my husband came home with signs of the flu, I remembered the infection-fighting formula you wrote about Warrior, and fixed him a capsule of it right away (one drop of Warrior, then filled with olive oil). He had the chills and a sore throat when he came in, so after taking the Warrior and gargling a drop of Plague Defense mixed with a little coconut oil and honey, he laid back in his recliner with a warm blanket. I went to the kitchen and started cooking a chicken so I'd have some soup for him when he woke up. After a couple hours of sound sleep, he woke up and said he felt 90% better. The chills were gone and he was hungry. I gave him another capsule of Warrior and fed him the chicken soup. He stayed up another couple of hours, and by bedtime said he felt totally fine, but I gave him one more capsule for good measure. He woke up saying he'd had the best night's sleep he'd had in months and felt like a top. We both send our love and appreciation to you and your "crew" for making these wonderful oils available to us. The information and care you provide is unsurpassed.
6. I want to share an experience I had last night - a testimony to the power of these oils. I felt nausea coming on me rapidly about bedtime. My stomach was cramping and I had diarrhea. It was basically the typical stomach virus onset. I felt miserable, and I knew I'd fallen victim to the "bug" that many of my co-workers had fought this past week. With a determined vengeance against this "invader," I put a drop of Plague Defense mixed with raw honey on my tongue. I decided to add some Frankincense to this battle plan. I applied the diluted Frankincense all over my throat, upper torso and shoulders. My stomach was having big fits, and I was near to throwing up, so grabbed the Digestion Support and rubbed a few drops on my abdomen. The nausea subsided almost before I put the lid back on the bottle - literally! I went to bed and prayed for "deliverance." I woke up once in the night feeling much better, but still not 100%, so I reapplied the Digestion Support on my stomach and went back to bed. I slept better than usual, and by morning there was no sign of illness of any kind. These oils are amazing!
7. I'm so thankful for Tummy Soothe! We've used Digestion Support previously and successfully for the stomach bug. Recently while out of town, the "bug" hit, and all we had with us was Tummy Soothe! I'm very happy to report that it worked!! Great blend!
8. Over the holidays we had the opportunity to see if Tummy Soothe worked as well as Digestion Support has for the stomach bug, and we are very pleased to say that it was impressive! After one application to the abdomen, the "yucky" feeling subsided. If it returned, we reapplied, but the diarrhea and stomach upset stopped after the first application. When our teenage son then started to feel badly, he put a smidgen on a clean finger and held it to the roof of his mouth for a moment, which cleared discomfort up for him immediately.
May you have a wonderful, healthy fall,