Your immune system may be weaker than you think…
The world has changed. Life has changed. Priorities have changed. Not that long ago, who would have even dreamt that we would ever close down companies, sports, events, travel, shops, restaurants…
We’re now facing the stark reality of just how much the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted on our daily lives. Things that used to be important are no longer so. The simple things in life give us joy – our family and friends, a roof over our heads, good food to eat – and, in these uncertain times – staying healthy.
We all know that social distancing and washing our hands are key to stopping the spread of the virus. And we also know that if our health is in any way compromised this could put us at risk. That’s why a strong immune system is so critical – these days more than ever.
If you seem to catch every cold that comes along, always feel tired or have other nagging symptoms you’re not sure of, it could mean you have a weakened immune system. The reasons are varied - including lack of sleep, a poor diet and high stress - as well as underlying health conditions such as diabetes and heart disease.
The good news is that a few simple lifestyle changes can go a long way restore your body back to the good health you not only need, but also deserve. Read on for signs that your immune system may be weaker than you think, and how you can use the healing powers of essential oils to help boost your immunity - naturally…
YOU’RE CARRYING TOO MUCH WEIGHT
According to the CDC, nearly half of adult Americans are not only overweight, but actually obese – a number that has grown alarmingly over the last 20 years. And with obesity comes all sort of health problems such as insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and the risk of a stroke. Making you all the more vulnerable to opportunistic viral and bacterial infections going really bad…
Excess sugar as well as highly processed and junk foods are the key drivers behind weight gain. Be aware that sugars lurk in everything - not just candies, snack foods, sodas and energy drinks - but also in so-called healthy foods like low-fat yoghurt, as well as fruit. Many junk and processed foods not only include high levels of sugar, but also lack nutrients (like margarine, white flour and rice) and are often prepared using unhealthy hydrogenated vegetable oils.
Best to ditch everything sweet, highly refined and processed, and stick with a diet of real food – good proteins like lean meat, fish, chicken, turkey and eggs; fresh vegetables; healthy fats from full-fat dairy, avocados, nuts and olive oil; whole grains; and berries if you like fruit.
How Essential Oils Can Help You Lose Weight
No kidding. But it goes without saying that if you are not following a healthy diet and getting enough exercise, no essential oil in the world will help you lose weight. But they can certainly help you along by reducing cravings, burning fat and increasing your energy. Evidence suggests that the best oils to help you shed those unwanted pounds include lemon, grapefruit, holy basil, cinnamon, ginger, peppermint and lavender.
One study found that massaging grapefruit oil onto your stomach may reduce dangerous belly fat and slim down your waist. Ginger is a known thermogenic agent, which means it helps burn fat and increase your metabolism. Another study found that sniffing peppermint oil makes you feel fuller and less hungry, so that you naturally eat less, reduce your calories and shed weight.
Promote weight loss: Combine 2 drops each of grapefruit, ginger and cinnamon oil in a tall glass of warm water and take three times daily to boost your metabolism.
Reduce sugar cravings: Adding 5 drops of cinnamon oil to a diffuser will help regulate your blood sugar and reduce the munchies.
Curb hunger pangs: Take a whiff of peppermint oil straight out of the bottle every 2 hours to lower your appetite.
Burn fat: Soak in a warm water bath with 2 to 3 drops of cinnamon oil to help speed up fat loss.
YOU’RE NOT GETTING ENOUGH SLEEP
Getting your ZZZs is an absolute must for good health. A number of studies confirm the link between a daily dose of 7 to 9 hours of high-quality sleep and a healthy immune system. Chronic sleep deprivation can lead to all sorts of illnesses like heart disease, diabetes, stroke, respiratory infections and even weight gain.
Develop good sleep hygiene habits. Go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day. Avoid stimulants such as alcohol and caffeine for a few hours before you go to bed. Banish ‘blue light’ emitting devices from your bedroom. Follow a relaxing bedtime routine to help calm your body and mind. Have a warm bath, read a good book, do some deep breathing exercises – whatever works for you…
How Essential Oils Can Help You Sleep
Instead of popping a pill which has all sorts of unwelcome side effects, add calming essential oils to your bedtime routine. A number of studies have found that certain oils have positive effect on sleep deprivation and disturbances, especially lavender essential oil.
Well known as the Queen of Sleep, lavender is arguably the best natural option to help relax your body and calm your mind if you have trouble falling asleep or find yourself waking up regularly during the night. Other essential oils that can be used to promote restful sleep include Roman chamomile, ylang ylang, bergamot, cedarwood and vetiver.
Sweet Dreams: Lavender can help you slip into dreamland in many different ways. Make it an essential part of your bedtime routine by adding lavender bath salts to a warm bath. Spritz your pillowcases and sheets with a lavender linen spray or tuck a lavender sachet under your pillow. Just before you nod off, slip on a lavender eye mask to block out sleep interrupting light and breathe in the calm. You’ll be surprised at just how well it works…
Sleep Aid: An hour before you go to sleep, diffuse a mix of a few drops each of lavender, Roman chamomile, cedarwood and bergamot to create a tranquil bedroom oasis for the best-ever night’s sleep.
Proof: Lavender CAN Help You Sleep Better (Without Any Pills) – Read More
YOU DON'T EXERCISE ENOUGH
Want to really boost your immune system? Then move more and sit less. Exercise doesn’t have to involve hectic gym workouts. Just by walking for 30 minutes every day can make a significant difference to your health. And if walking is not your thing, try swimming, cycling, a game of tennis, an at-home yoga routine – or even gardening.
The key is to keep moving. Stand up more often and do a few star jumps. Park further away from the mall entrance to clock up extra steps. Any form of exercise has been proven to enhance your health by protecting you against heart disease, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, osteoporosis and even some cancers. And boost your immunity against all sorts of bugs…
How Essential Oils Can Help Your Exercise Routine
If you need a little kickstart to get going, a stimulating essential oil that increases oxygen to the brain will leave you feeling refreshed, focussed and energized.
One study amongst healthy male athletes found that peppermint oil increased brain oxygen concentration, improved exercise performance and reduced exhaustion. Other great essential oils for energy include grapefruit, lemon, lemongrass, eucalyptus and rosemary.
Workout energizer: Inhale invigorating peppermint oil before a workout for an instant wakeup call and increased mental energy.
Motivation boost: Feeling sluggish, tired and unmotivated? Diffuse 2 drops each of eucalyptus, lemongrass and rosemary essential oils to lift both your energy and your mood.
YOU'RE ALWAYS STRESSED
We all have stress. It’s a normal human response to circumstances in our lives. It’s only when it becomes chronic that it matters. If you’re permanently running on a short fuse, having serious trouble sleeping, or your stomach is always tied up in knots, then it’s highly likely that your immune system is weak and compromised.
Chronic stress can lead to all types of illness. That’s because stress decreases the body’s lymphocytes - the good guys that help fight off any infection - which are crucial to a healthy immune system. The lower your lymphocyte levels, the more you’re at risk for viruses like the common cold, flu and COVID-19. Stress also increases the risk of conditions like obesity, heart disease, Alzheimer's, diabetes, depression, and gastrointestinal problems.
Find a way to blow off some steam, whether that’s going for a long run, embracing calm through meditation, or having a good laugh with friends. And seek professional help if you feel you can’t cope…
How Essential Oils Can Help Reduce Stress and Anxiety
It’s no coincidence that many people reach for essential oils whenever they’re stressed or anxious. The best essential oils to calm and relax your mind include lavender, bergamot, Roman chamomile, ylang ylang, rose, orange, frankincense and vetiver.
There’s ample proof of their ability to soothe, calm and promote feelings of upliftment and tranquillity. One clinical trial found that a blend of lavender and rose oils helped to significantly reduce anxiety and depression in postpartum women. Another study used a mix of lavender and bergamot aromatherapy to successfully treat depression, stress and anxiety amongst chronic pain patients.
Anxiety reducer: Help to relieve anxiety by placing a few drops of lavender oil on your palms, rub together, and cup your hands to your nose and let the smell flood your senses. Or diffuse frankincense throughout the home to help reduce heart rate and high blood pressure, and ground your feelings.
Tension reliever: Treat yourself to a lavender neck pillow or heat wrap warmed up in the microwave to release all that unwanted stress and tension. Or ask your significant other to treat you to a super relaxing rub-down with lavender massage oil.
Relaxation mixture: Mix 1 drop each of Roman chamomile, lavender and frankincense essential oils, and apply to your temples for immediate relaxation relief.
Did You Know Lavender Is Proven to Reduce Anxiety - Quickly and Safely? - Read More
YOUR GUT HEALTH IS SUSPECT
Did you know that nearly 70% of your immune system is located in your gut? It’s host to a whole community of very helpful bacteria and organisms that work hard to defend you against infection and maintain a healthy immune level. Low amounts of these helpful gut bacteria can leave you at risk to chronic inflammation, obesity, autoimmune disorders, dementia and even cancer.
If you have frequent diarrhea, gas or constipation, it could be a sign that your gut bacteria are out of whack and your immune system is compromised.
Quit the junk food that is just encouraging the growth of bad bacteria. Then help the good guys thrive with whole, real and fresh foods that are low in sugar, fiber-rich and gluten free. Reduce antibiotic usage that throws your gut into reverse, and load up on healthy pre- and pro-biotics to rebalance your system. And reduce chronic stress which not only disrupts your gut health but can also lead to leaky gut syndrome.
How Essential Oils Can Help Heal Your Gut
Think of anything to do with your stomach and it’s highly likely that essential oils will be able to help. Certain oils have been found to relieve a wide variety of symptoms like an upset stomach, indigestion, diarrhea, constipation, stomach spasms and even conditions such as IBS. Essential oils can also provide support for the entire digestive process.
For example, a study found that ginger essential oil help with indigestion and constipation, and is also known to relieve gas, reduce nausea and ease stomach pain. Another useful oil is peppermint, which has been found to reduce IBS symptoms by nearly 20%.
Fennel has also been found to help a huge number of digestive problems. Some other essential oils that may be helpful for digestion and promote detoxification include lemon, grapefruit, parsley lemongrass, marjoram, black pepper and juniper berry.
Digestion helper: To support digestion and encourage healthy gut activity, combine one drop each of ginger, peppermint and fennel oils with one teaspoon of carrier oil and massage the belly in circular motions 2 to 3 times a day.
Note: Essential oils are highly concentrated and potent so should not be taken orally unless under the supervision of an accredited aromatherapist.
YOU’RE NOT STEERING CLEAR OF SMOKE
You’ve heard it all before. And you’re about to hear it again. Smoking doesn’t just hurt your lungs. It hurts almost every organ in your body, rendering your immune system way less effective and making you a prime target for cancer, heart disease and many other serious illnesses. And if you live with a smoker, second-hand smoke is just as bad. No amount of smoke is ‘safe’.
At a time when we should all be trying to improve our immune system; this one is a no-brainer. Reach out for help if you need it. Speak to your doctor about the different strategies that can help you quit.
How Essential Oils Can Help You Quit Smoking
The good news? Black pepper oil has been found to be one of the best ‘quit smoking’ oils because it not only provides a unique pungent taste similar to cigarettes, but also stimulates the respiratory system in a way that mimics cigarette smoke. In doing so, it reduces those nasty withdrawal symptoms and helps you kick the habit.
Even better, the study also found that those who inhaled black pepper oil had significantly fewer nicotine cravings so easing any stress and anxiety you may go through when trying to quit.
Vaping switch up: Add 3-4 drops of black pepper essential oil to a blank core in your vaping device to mimic the physical sensation of smoking. Or simply take a few sniffs out of the bottle when the urge becomes too great.
YOU’RE IGNORING FUTURE HEALTH PROBLEMS
Boosting your immunity is not only about fixing problems but also about preventing future ones.
Stay up to date with your vaccines. The CDC estimates that just over 60 000 people died of flu in the last season. That in itself should be an incentive to get your flu shot every year.
Check in with your doctor regularly. If you’re pretty healthy, it needn’t be annually - up to every 3 years is okay. But don’t ignore the fact that regular visits can help you catch underlying health problems earlier when they’re easier to treat and often cure.
And if you are not using your prescriptions correctly, be aware that this can also have serious consequences. The CDC estimates that ‘non adherence’ to dosage and timing of prescriptions leads to 125 000 deaths every year.
How Essential Oils Help Boost Immunity and Fight Infections
With antibiotic resistance becoming a major health threat in our modern era, the saying ‘prevention rather than cure’ is no longer just a ‘nice to have’ but critically important.
Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be difficult. Many essential oils have antibacterial, antiviral, antiseptic anti-inflammatory, and anti-fungal properties that help to boost your immune system and fight infections – and do so safely and naturally. Some of the best essential oils for your immunity include eucalyptus, oregano, myrrh, lemon, frankincense, ginger, peppermint and cinnamon.
The secret to the efficacy of eucalyptus is 1,8-cineole that is a powerful anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and antibacterial. One study even suggests it may also stimulate the innate immune system providing protection against harmful bacteria, viruses and other particles.
Immune system booster: Mix 3 drops of oregano oil and 2 drops of eucalyptus oil with 1 teaspoon of carrier oil, rub on the bottom of your feet and cover with socks. Or warm up a pair of eucalyptus spa booties to wear every evening before you go to bed.
Rev up your immunity: Add a generous scoop of eucalyptus bath salts to a warm bath to soak up the immune-boosting properties.
Raise your resistance: Regularly diffuse 3 drops eucalyptus, 2 drops of frankincense and 1 drop of peppermint oils to maintain a healthy immune response.
The Many (Some Unexpected) Uses Eucalyptus Essential Oil Is Good For – Read More
More than ever before, good health matters. And a strong immune system is the key to good health. A few simple lifestyle changes together with the powerful healing qualities of essential oils can help you not only protect, but also boost your immune system all by yourself…
Please check with your doctor before using essential oils to treat any medical concerns. It’s also advisable to ask your doctor to check for any underlying health conditions if you have a weak immune system.
As essential oils are concentrated and powerful, please use caution when applying directly on the skin because this can cause irritation. Be sure to patch test on the inside of your forearm for 24 hours beforehand. And don’t ingest essential oils unless under the supervision of an accredited aromatherapist.
There's a difference between a lavender essential oil and a lavender oil, which is simply a perfume. If a label does not clearly state that it is an 'essential oil,' then it is not a pure oil and should not be used as suggested.