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13 June 2009

Can Essential Oils Help Prevent Influenza?

Many essential oils have been used to help prevent influenza and other viral infections, as well as to help treat symptoms in those who are ill. Some essential oils are thought to act in positive ways to help defend against influenza infections or shorten the time that flu symptoms are experienced. Some are used in baths, massage oils or applied to the body in various ways. Here are a few:

Angelica -- (Angelica archangelica or A. officinalis) Anti-infectious and strengthens the immune system, but is photosensitizing so do not used on areas of the skin that will be exposed to sunlight.

Bergamot -- (Citrus bergamia) An antiseptic essential oil that not only helps destroy infectious microbes, but also helps strengthen the immune system. Photosensitizing.

Black Pepper -- (Piper nigrum) A warming essential oil that acts against respiratory congestion, viruses and bacteria.

Eucalyptus -- (Eucalyptus globulus, E. radiata, E. citriodora) Helps clear respiratory congestion and kills bacteria as well as other germs.

Garlic -- (Allium sativum) Highly antiseptic, antibacterial and detoxifying.

Ginger -- (Zingiber officinale) Seems to increase natural immune defenses at the cellular level and is strong against viruses.

Peppermint -- (Mentha piperita) Diffused in the air to ease lung congestion and respiratory infections.

Rosemary -- (Rosmarinus officinalis) A very strong antiseptic, rosemary is also useful for respiratory ailments.

Tea Tree -- (Melaleuca alternifolia) Better against fungi and bacteria, tea tree is still effective against viral infections.

Some essential oils are contraindicated for people with certain medical conditions, so be sure to study more about individual essential oils before using. Most aromatherapists recommend starting with the smallest amount of essential oils possible.

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