So winter is in full swing. Everyone seems to be suffering from the sniffles of some sort, and are either recovering from, in the midst of, or about to begin a nasty bout of flu. After the previous years lockdowns and safety measures which resulted in reduced exposure to cold and flu viruses, it was inevitable that this winter we’d all have a lower immunity to these viruses and end up getting infected and feeling pretty lousy at some point.
What’s the best essential oil for winter?
A natural decongestant, helping to improve our breathing during the winter months and relieving pain and inflammation,eucalyptus oil is a winter essential and is one of the best essential oils for colds and flu. Whilst there’s no cure for a viral infection, eucalyptus can certainly ease many of the symptoms which is why it has a long history of use as a natural cold remedy, and is a key ingredient in a number of well-known products including chest rubs and inhalers. Eucalyptus oil is extremely versatile and can be used in a number of ways including as a diffuser to help open the lungs, or combined with a carrier oil for a massage or with bath salts for a soothing bath to help alleviate aching muscles and joints. Furthermore it has an invigorating scent which can help to keep us awake and alert. Overall eucalyptus oil is the perfect choice to keep us feeling our best during the winter season, and these benefits aren’t just limited to relieving cold and flu symptoms.
What are the benefits of eucalyptus essential oil during the winter?
Eucalyptus Essential Oil Relieves Respiratory Conditions
It’s no coincidence that eucalyptus essential oil is a key ingredient in most chest rubs. Its main component, 1,8-cineole, helps to fight viruses and inflammation, and eucalyptus has a long history in the treatment of the common cold, bronchitis, sinusitis, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). As a natural decongestant with proven antibacterial and antiviral properties, it reduces chest inflammation, clears the sinuses, alleviates coughing, and helps to promote easier breathing. It also stimulates the immune system. By activating the nose’s cold receptors and can help to alleviate a stuffed or running nose. With its cooling properties, it can also be used as a cold compress to reduce a fever.
Recommended usage: Diffuser, steam inhalation, chest rub, cold compress, massage, in the bath.
Eucalyptus Essential Oil Improves Seasonal Allergies
In addition to 1,8-cineole, eucalyptus oil also contains eucalyptol and citronellal which have anti-inflammatory and immunomodulatory effects. One study that was published in BMC Immunology found that in addition to exhibiting antiseptic, antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties, eucalyptus oil also demonstrated immuno-regulatory effects and thus can help to regulate the immune response when presented with an allergen.
Eucalyptus Oil Fights Infections
Several studies have confirmed that eucalyptus oil has strong antimicrobial effects against many strains of bacteria, fungi and viruses, and can be used both topically and aromatically to destroy
the microorganisms that can make us sick. One such study published in the Asian Pacific Journal of Tropical Biomedicine found that eucalyptus oil was able to inhibit Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus aureus.
Eucalyptus Oil Reduces Pain and Inflammation
Winter is no fun for those suffering from inflammatory conditions such as arthritis which is more painful during the winter months. However, eucalyptus oil has analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties and can ease the discomfort of painful joints and muscles. Demonstrating a similar cooling action to menthol, eucalyptus soothes aches and pains and is a common ingredient in over the counter creams and ointments. One clinical trial on the effects of inhaling eucalyptus oil on pain and inflammatory responses was published in Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Patients after total knee replacement surgery inhaled either eucalyptus or almond oil for 30 minutes on three consecutive days during rehabilitation, and blood pressure, heart rate and pain scores were recorded. It was found that pain levels on all three days as well as the systolic and diastolic blood pressure levels on the second day were significantly lower on the group using the eucalyptus oil.
Eucalyptus Oil Improves Earaches
Earache seems to go hand-in-hand with winter, whether caused by a viral infection such as the common cold or flu, a bacterial infection or a seasonal allergy. However, as a decongestant eucalyptus oil can help to unclog the respiratory tract and clear the consequential build up of fluid or mucus in the ear, in addition to inhibiting a bacterial infection.
Eucalyptus Oil Alleviates Headaches
Eucalyptus oil is known to be one of the best natural remedies for headaches, in particular those caused by sinus pressure, stress, exhaustion or nervous tension. This is due to its ability to clear the sinuses and thus release pressure, promote the relaxation of tense facial and neck muscles, and its invigorating properties. Results are even more pronounced when combined with peppermint oil.
Eucalyptus Oil Benefits the Skin
Many people suffer from chapped, broken skin during the winter months and find that skin irritations, fungal infections and skin conditions such as acne and eczema are more pronounced, in addition to a prevalence in cold sores. A 2017 review on eucalyptus for dermatological conditions, confirmed its effectiveness against skin conditions, abscesses, athletes’s foot, blisters, boils, cuts, cold sores, insect bites, shingles, sores, ulcers and wounds. It has antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal properties and promotes wound healing. Eucalyptus can also help to counteract dry skin as it intensely hydrates and boosts the skin’s ceramide production, a fatty acid which increases the skin’s moisture-retaining capabilities, and reinforces the skin’s barrier protection.
Eucalyptus Oil Remedies an Itchy Dry Scalp
The colder weather can cause a dry itchy scalp. Colder weather inevitably means dryer air with less humidity, plus hot showers and central heating can suck the moisture right out of our skin and scalp, resulting in an itchy dry or flaking scalp. Meanwhile wearing hats can exasperate dandruff or a fungal infection. Much like with the rest of the skin, eucalyptus oil can intensely hydrate the scalp, increase ceramide production, and destroy bacteria and fungi. Furthermore, it will strengthen the hair and improves elasticity, boost shine, and stimulate the follicles for healthy hair growth.
Eucalyptus Oil Alleviates Stress and Boosts Mental Clarity
It’s fair to say that very few people benefit mentally during the winter season. Cold weather, short dark days providing less natural vitamin D, a shortage of social interaction, an unhealthy diet, reduced exercise and the ‘January Blues’ mean that anxiety and stress levels are elevated. Meanwhile, disruption to our circadian cycle and a reduction in melatonin can disrupt our sleep pattern and leave us feeling fatigued, suffering from brain fog, or in a bad mood. The invigorating aroma of eucalyptus with its invigorating, soothing and purifying properties boosts energy levels and cognitive function, helping to balance the nervous system and providing a calming effect on the mind, allaying anxiety, reducing stress, mental fatigue and mood disorders, and improving brain function, focus and concentration.
Eucalyptus Oil is a Natural Germ-Buster
Researchers have noted that eucalyptus oil has “broad-spectrum antimicrobial action” which makes it an ideal cleaner to alleviate those nasty winter nasties – bacteria, viruses and fungi which lurk on the surfaces and in the air. Safeguard yourself and your family in a natural way without the use of harmful chemicals. It’s also the perfect “post illness cleanup”, particularly if someone vomits. It will kill all germs, helo to remove stains and remove any foul odour. You can add a few drops to a bowl of detergent to sponge down any affected areas on carpets, sofas or beds. You can also spray onto mattresses between bed changes. Soak any soiled bedding or clothes in a bucket of warm water and add a cup of white vinegar and a few drops of eucalyptus oil. You can also add a few drops to your detergent in the washing machine.
How to Use Eucalyptus Oil
For aromatherapy: add a few drops to a diffuser or oil burner as per manufacturer’s instructions.
For skin and scalp care: apply topically. Add a few drops to a carrier oil, moisturiser, body lotion, shampoo, etc. Note: Never apply undiluted to the skin or hair.
For massage: mix 3 drops with 15-20 ml of base oil (jojoba, sweet almond, coconut, etc)
Cleaner: add 20 drops of orange oil to a spray bottle filled with water and spray as required, or directly onto insects, flooring, etc.
To increase immunity: apply lightly diluted to the soles of the feet every night.
Steam inhalation: add 1–2 drops to a bowl of hot water. Then place a towel over your head and inhale the scent deeply for 5 to 10 minutes.
To relieve flu/cold/cough/earache: add a couple of drops to a carrier oil and apply to the chest, throat and neck (plus outer ear in case of earache)
This winter, break open the eucalyptus essential oil to ensure that you remain as healthy as possible. If you don’t already have this indispensable and versatile oil in your collection, pick some up today, you certainly won’t regret it!