Essential oils are everywhere in the natural outdoors of late spring, summer and early fall because many plants that are flourishing emit them into the air to communicate and attract pollinators. An example is walking past lavender on a warm summer day and catching a whiff of its soothing, herbaceous scent. Evergreen essential oils like cedar and pine prevail in the winter and their balsams are recommended in many northern cultures where people take walks in the forest as a cure for respiratory illnesses. Mostly though, we are stuck indoors away from the sensory bliss of warmer days. The stagnant, dry air of our homes, schools, and workplaces cause many problems for people, especially when it comes to respiratory health. Dust, bacteria, viruses, and mold can get trapped in rooms and the risk of having issues with sinuses, allergies, asthma and contagious illnesses increases. There is no better time to introduce essential oils to combat microbes of all kinds and keep air clean and healthy. The best way to do this is to buy an actual diffuser and use it in areas that are used the most in your house. I also love to put a few drops in a vaporizer in my children’s room at night if they are experiencing a cough, cold, or flu. Here are my picks for the best essential oils for the cold, winter months.
Peppermint: So good for the sinuses! Peppermint with its high level of menthol has a cooling, shrinking effect on inflamed, miserable sinuses. It’s the only essential oil many people can smell when they are sick. One time a woman came into my store and said, “All I can smell is peppermint” I asked if she had a cold and she did so that is the only aroma among many that she could detect.
Cinnamon: Spicy essential oils such as cinnamon are high in phenols and have anti-microbial properties that can clean the air of harmful bacteria and viruses. Definitely a must when someone is sick.
Orange: Citrus essential oils are very purifying as well and can be combined with spices to create a stronger antimicrobial blend. Orange essential oil is also uplifting, something we need when depression is at its peak.
Eucalyptus: Tree essential oils are generally great for the respiratory system because they are high in oxides. Eucalyptus is especially soothing to breathe in during a chest cold or other illness related to this area.
I’m amazed at how available good quality essential oils are now. They can be bought at most malls, grocery stores and of course, every health food store. As I mentioned, you can add them to a diffuser or vaporizer to clean the air but you can also add them to mop buckets, laundry, and all-purpose cleaners to cover your household with their purifying, therapeutic properties.