Brrrr! Temperatures are dropping and you might find yourself wanting to snuggle into fluffy blankets and wrap your hands around a mug of your favorite warm beverage. Fall is indeed upon us!
However, as much as I adore watching The Nightmare Before Christmas for the hundredth time in a cozy sweater with a delicious pumpkin spice latte, fall is also the start of the sniffles and flu season.
When we observe nature, we realize that She tends to provide just what we need at the perfect time. Many of the seasonal plants and spices of fall are just the excellent germ killers and immune boosters we need right now. Diffusing some of these warming, immune supporting, and antibacterial essential oils can help us to stay healthy and prevent seasonal ailments.
Spice and All Things Nice
Cinnamon (Cinnamomum zeylanicum) a famous element of the “pumpkin spice” combo, is one of the strongest antimicrobials of all essential oils. Broad-spectrum antibacterial, and also effective against the flu, a diffusion can destroy pathogens in the environment. Make sure you choose the essential oil that is extracted from the leaf of the tree, as cinnamon bark should not be diffused or applied on the skin due to potential adverse reactions. Cinnamon oil from the bark is usually reserved for internal use (where it has benefits as well as cautions) or personal inhalers.
Ginger (Zingiber officinale) has an affinity with the respiratory system (among others) where it can ease congestion and help clear excess mucous. When diffused, its warming aroma is a lovely support against the chill of cold, foggy fall days.
Squeeze in the Citrus
Citrus oils are packed with monoterpenes (limonene, for example), a family of chemical compounds that are known to be effective airborne antimicrobials. In fact, the diffusion of Sweet Orange (Citrus sinensis) and Bergamot (Citrus bergamia) have shown successful results against the influenza virus1. They can support the respiratory system and help prevent respiratory infections. In addition, their aroma is particularly uplifting; they are one of our best allies against seasonal anxiety and melancholy.
Take a Breath With Eucalyptol-Rich Oils
1,8 cineole, also called eucalyptol, is one of the best chemical compounds to consider for respiratory and viral infections. Most Eucalyptus species strongly support the respiratory system with their decongestant and expectorant activities. Eucalyptus globulus and Eucalyptus polybractea being two effective antivirals1. If you are diffusing around children and sensitive respiratory systems, consider using Eucalyptus radiata, or another oil with a smaller amount of 1,8 cineole, such as Ravintsara (Cinnamomum camphora), Niaouli (Melaleuca quinquinervia) or Laurel (Laurus nobilis).
Bring the Forest Indoors with the Pinaceae Family
The botanical family Pinaceae comprises the pines (Pinus), firs (Abies), and spruces (Picea). They typically contain high amounts of monoterpenes (alpha and beta pinene), which make them great airborne antibacterials and supportive of the respiratory and immune systems. Light and cleansing, they are wonderful for freshening the air when the cold season causes us to keep our windows closed. Scots Pine (Pinus sylvestris), Black Spruce (Picea mariana), and Silver Fir (Abies alba) are my favorites for the season.
Diffusion Do’s and Don’ts
- Over-diffusing can lead to irritation of the airways and adverse effects on the nervous system (irritability, migraine, nausea…). Be mindful of the diffusing time, and never leave your diffuser on overnight.
- When diffusing around children and pregnant women, use half of the amount of essential oils for half the time and diffuse oils safe for them.
- When diffusing around pets, keep a window open for ventilation and allow them to leave the room if they feel uncomfortable. Do not diffuse essential oils in close proximity of birds.
- A diffusion time of 30 minutes with an ultrasonic diffuser (with water) is ideal. A nebulizer (without water) is much more potent, so 15 minutes on will be enough. You can repeat every 2-3 hours, while making sure your room is properly ventilated.
- For a strong germ cleanse, leave the room and set the nebulizer for 30 minutes with a 10 on / 10 off timer, then air out the room.
- Prior to diffusing in a shared space, make sure you are not hurting the olfactory sensitivity of people around you. Aromatic preferences are personal! Remember that placing a few drops of your synergy on a tissue or clay diffuser near you are other ways to keep it personal.
To learn more about diffusion, check out this online course!
My Favorite Diffuser Synergy for Fall and Winter
This recipe yields a 5ml bottle of synergy (100 drops)
30 drops Bergamot (Citrus bergamia)
26 drops White Fir (Abies alba)
20 drops Ravintsara (Cinnamomum camphora)
8 drops Cinnamon leaf (Cinnamomum zeylanicum)
16 drops Ginger (Zingiber officinale)
Add ten drops of the blend to your diffuser and enjoy the comforting aroma and the health benefits too!
Other warming oils for the season include Black Pepper (Piper nigrum), Nutmeg (Myristica fragrans), and Clove (Eugenia caryophyllata).