Monday December 21, 2015
Stuffy noses, head or chest colds are no fun. It can either feel like your head is about to explode from all the mucus or you can't turn off the runny faucet. Most of us don't appreciate blowing our noses repeatedly, yet the mucus does have a purpose. Its job is to flush out infection. Over-the-counter meds address the symptom and dry up the mucus, but that doesn't mean they treat the infection. Without doubt, mucus is messy, inconvenient stuff. You might be less irritated without its slimy presence. However, you may have to content with the next level of infection instead. A sinus infection or bronchitis can result leading to the need for heavier medications like antibiotics with their own downsides, which I'll discuss in a future blog. As the old adage goes: "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure."
This is the major reason why Eucalyptus Oil is another of my personal have-to-have oils.
It has been known for centuries to benefit the respiratory system and for good reason; it's a great decongestant. (The makers of Vick's Vapo rub figured that out too.) Eucalyptus is my secret weapon when I feel anything trying to take hold in my head or lungs. I literally carry it on me when traveling to keep my respiratory system supported while being exposed to lots of public spaces, surfaces and recycled air on planes. For application when traveling, I simply put 2 or 3 drops in my clean hands, rub them together and breathe it in. (Note: I don't have any skin sensitivity. If you do, read the caution below.)
There are a few great ways to inhale eucalyptus through steam.
It's easy to use in the shower by placing a warm, damp washcloth with 5-10 drops on it out of direct water contact. It can be used in a vaporizer or diffuser while sleeping for easier breathing. Prior to learning about the benefits of eucalyptus, I used to get bronchitis at least once a year, often after the holidays, when my immune system was worn down. By using the steam method demonstrated below, I am grateful to say it's been over 17 years without any bronchitis. You can check it out here.
In addition to those already described, here are some of eucalyptus properties and other benefits:
• analgesic (pain relief)
It's good for:
• muscle aches, spasms and sprains
• cold sores
• insect bites/repellant
• stimulates memory/mental clarity
If bugs bug you, I have found eucalyptus to be a great insect repellant for both mosquitos and gnats, especially when I've worked up a sweat hiking or working out in the yard.
The most common form of eucalyptus is "Eucalyptus Globulus" which has a bolder aroma. I prefer "Eualyptus Radiata" which has more citrus notes (scent) to it. In my massage practice, I used it below the face cradle to help prevent clients from getting stuffed up while lying face down. In all those years, there were only two clients who preferred not to have it during their massage.
Remember that essential oils are potent and can interact with certain conditions.
For those with sensitive skin, it is not recommended to use eucalyptus undiluted directly on the skin but should be mixed with a carrier oil. If you have a specific condition as always, before using something new research it relative to your condition to keep yourself safe. It's your body and your responsibility.
Happy holidays, breathe easier, and be well,