Silver Creek Aromatherapy's Cold & Flu blend has been a client favorite for years because of its safe and gentle effectiveness. This particular blend harnesses the antiviral, antibacterial, and antimicrobial power of eucalyptus (Eucalptus radiata), thyme (Thymus vulgaris ct linalol), tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia), and lavender (Lavandula angustifolia). Each essential oil was specifically selected for its action within the human body to both fight the effects of viral infection and prevent typical subsequent bacterial complications.
The eucalyptus species, radiata, is chosen for its more gentle approach when compared to the more common Eucalyptus globulus; making it a better option for children, the elderly, or anyone in a frail condition. It still packs a powerful punch against many common viruses and bacteria and brings the added benefits of regulating immune functions and fighting inflammation.
Thyme is also a well-researched antimicrobial effective against a broad spectrum bacteria. The specific thyme for this blend is carefully and thoughtfully selected, as the linalol chemotype has a greater therapeutic margin and is less likely to cause any irritation than other, more common, chemotypes within the same genus and species.
The inclusion of Australian tea tree essential oil in this blend is not only for its well-known effectiveness as an antiviral and antimicrobial agent, but also because its effect with influenza has been studied very specifically. It also shares some notoriety with eucalyptus as having an affinity for supporting the respiratory system. Both essential oils have many of the same terpenoid molecules as constituents.
The addition of lavender certainly adds to the antimicrobial action, but also comforts as only lavender can. Furthermore, it lends a synergistic effect as it combines with the thyme to more than double either of their individual antimicrobial impacts. The result is a drop in the MIC (minimum inhibitory concentration) from 1.3 to .4 percent against staph.
De Rapper, S., Kamatou, G., Viljoen, A., & van Vuuren, S. (2013). The In Vitro Antimicrobial Activity of Lavandula angustifolia Essential Oil in Combination with Other Aroma-Therapeutic Oils. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine : eCAM, 2013, 852049. http://doi.org/10.1155/2013/852049
Dhifi, W., Bellili, S., Jazi, S., Bahloul, N., & Mnif, W. (2016). Essential Oils’ Chemical Characterization and Investigation of Some Biological Activities: A Critical Review. Medicines, 3(4), 25. http://doi.org/10.3390/medicines3040025
Juergens UR, Engelen T, Racké K, Stöber M, Gillissen A, Vetter H. Inhibitory activity of 1,8-cineol (eucalyptol) on cytokine production in cultured human lymphocytes and monocytes. Pulmonary Pharmacology and Therapeutics. 2004;17(5):281–287
Kehrl W, Sonnemann U, Dethlefsen U. Therapy for acute nonpurulent rhinosinusitis with cineole: results of a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial. Laryngoscope. 2004;114(4):738–742.
Li, X.; Duan, S.; Chu, C.; Xu, J.; Zeng, G.; Lam, A.K.-Y.; Zhou, J.; Yin, Y.; Fang, D.; Reynolds, M.J.; Gu, H.; Jiang, L. Melaleuca alternifolia Concentrate Inhibits in Vitro Entry of Influenza Virus into Host Cells. Molecules2013, 18, 9550-9566
Prabuseenivasan, S., Jayakumar, M., & Ignacimuthu, S. (2006). In vitro antibacterial activity of some plant essential oils. BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 6, 39. http://doi.org/10.1186/1472-6882-6-39
Sadlon AE, Lamson DW. Immune-modifying and antimicrobial effects of Eucalyptus oil and simple inhalation devices. Alternative Medicine Review. 2010;15(1):33–47
I'm always glad to hear of someone questioning the quality and/or purity of essential oils. There are many options out there and it's often difficult to distinguish the truth from the marketing hype. The following is a summary of my response to a recent inquiry.
Whenever possible I use oils from wildcrafted plants growing in their indigenous environment. The best chemical combinations come from plants growing as God intended them to, with the environmental conditions true to nature without interference from humans. Certainly these could be considered to meet the requirements of "organic" but the reality is that they may not be labeled as such. My second choice is organic. Organic has very obvious benefits, but the reality is that in order to obtain an organic certification one must introduce some level of human controls into the growing process. This disruption may or may not interfere with the chemical profile of the finished product.
There are other important considerations in determining the quality and purity of the oils. One must understand the distillation or extraction process to determine how this impacts the presence of any impurities in the final product; as well as how this impacts the presence and ratio of specific constituents. Gas Chromotography (GC) is often used to characterize the chemical composition of an oil. The results of which are quite informative to those who understand how to read them. I rely on these reports for analysis and comparison, having performed GC tests myself while working in a lab.
Three key items are important for anyone using essential oils: the latin (or binomial) name, the extraction process, the region of origin. I recommend not using any essential oil that does not provide this information clearly in the labeling. One doesn't need a chemistry degree to verify that the oil is the correct genus and species, has been properly prepared, and originates from a plant in its natural growing environment.
Are you ready to learn more about essential oils and start your personal aromatherapy journey? There will be a teleseminar on December 15 at 7 pm Eastern time that may interest you. It's Essential Oil Basics and focuses on what essential oils are, how they work in the human body, and how to safely select essential oils. We'll also cover some basic usage tips and recipes, as well as have a Q & A time. Simply send a message via the "Contact" link above or sign up via the "Learn" link above to obtain your attendance code. The cost is just $10 and includes a $5 coupon to be used for any product or service of Silver Creek Aromatherapy.
Here we are on the cusp of Fall's beauty. It's too bad that this time of year brings respiratory viruses as well. The change in weather, the change in our routines and gatherings; whatever the cause for the spread of this misery, Eucalyptus brings some relief.
My favorite species is Eucalyptus radiata. It is mild yet powerful. The mild part is reflected in a rounder aroma than that of the more common Eucalyptus globulous and the fact that it is more safe for use with children, elderly, or anyone in frail health. The powerful part is it's action as an antiviral agent with an affinity for the respiratory system. You can find it in some of my more popular blends like Cold & Flu (diffuser blend or massage oil) and Bacteria Buster (diffuser blend).
Try one of these options for relief:
For my fellow science geeks that are interested - The chemical constituent 1,8-cineole, found in Eucalyptus oils, has antimicrobial effects against many bacteria, including Mycobacterium tuberculosis and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), viruses, and fungi (including Candida). Surprisingly for an antimicrobial substance, there are also immune-stimulatory, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, analgesic, and spasmolytic effects. I'll save those discussions for another post.
Rose and lavender are two of the best-known essential oils for inducing restorative sleep as they relax both mind and body. Both also share analgesic properties and can be particularly helpful if pain keeps you awake. Put two drops of each into a warm bath and soak your way to a restful night. Enhance your soothing experience by adding 1/4 cup of Dead Sea minerals or epsom salts.
Aromatherapy treatment with lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) was associated with a decreased need for acetominophen to control discomfort in tonsillectomy patients during the first three days after surgery.(1) Essential oil of Rose has a very rich and intoxicating aroma that is supportive during emotionally taxing situations. Sixty patients in a Cardiac Care Unit participated in a trial to evaluate the effect of rose (Rosa damascene) aromatherapy. The result was a significant improvement in sleep quality. (2) Another study involving postpartum women found that a diluted essential oil blend of Rose otto and Lavandula angustifolia improved anxiety and depression.(2)
(1)Evaluation of the effect of aromatherapy with lavender essential oil on post-tonsillectomy pain in pediatric patients: a randomized controlled trial. Soltani R, Soheilipour S, Hajhashemi V, Asghari G, Bagheri M, Molavi M. Int J Pediatr Otorhinolaryngol. 2013 Sep;77(9):1579-81. doi: 10.1016/j.ijporl.2013.07.014. Epub 2013 Aug 8.
(2)Effect of Rosa damascene aromatherapy on sleep quality in cardiac patients: a randomized controlled trial.
Hajibagheri A, Babaii A, Adib-Hajbaghery M. Complement Ther Clin Pract. 2014 Aug;20(3):159-63. doi: 10.1016/j.ctcp.2014.05.001. Epub 2014 May 14.
(3)The effects of clinical aromatherapy for anxiety and depression in the high risk postpartum woman - a pilot study.Conrad P, Adams C.Complement Ther Clin Pract. 2012 Aug;18(3):164-8. doi: 10.1016/j.ctcp.2012.05.002. Epub 2012 Jun 27.
The waning days of summer can bring anxiety along with altered schedules and the demands of back-to-school season. Respite is a deeply soothing citrus floral blend of pure essential oils that naturally relaxing and comforting - perfect for winding down your world a bit. Ylang ylang, mandarin, neroli, and geranium work together to ease anxiety and tension, while decreasing mental chatter and racing thoughts. It's available in an undiluted form for diffusing, a bath and body oil, a personal roll-on, or soaking salts with Dead Sea minerals.
Pregnancy and childbirth are amazing times of great joy and anticipation. Many women have a heightened concern for wellness during these times and seek natural or alternative treatments in order to maintain a healthy environment for baby. Aromatherapy, when practiced safely, is an excellent option for enhancing the wellness of both mother and baby.
Typical discomforts often associated with pregnancy, labor, and delivery include: stress, anxiety, insomnia, nausea, and pain. The appropriate use of carefully selected essential oils has been shown to safely alleviate each of these conditions. Drops of therapeutic essential oils may be diffused into the air, incorporated into body oil or the bath, or simply inhaled from a cotton ball or other device. Increased effectiveness is often experienced when essential oils are included in a relaxing massage.
Essential oils to avoid during pregnancy, childbirth, and lactation include: aniseed, birch, camphor, hyssop , mugwort, parsley, pennyroyal, rue, sage, tansy, sage, thuja, wintergreen, wormwood , Lavandula stoechas, Ocimum basilicum ct estragole.
Aromatherapy and Massage for Mother and Baby; by Allison England, RN. 2000. Book. ISBN: 0-89281-898-0
Essential Oil Safety: A Guide for Health Care Professionals (Second Edition); by Robert Tisserand and Rodney Young. 2014. Book. ISBN: 978-0-443-06241-4
Though it can be challenging to find valid scientific papers regarding essential oils on the internet, I came across a particularly interesting one regarding the impact of lavendula angustifolia on sustained focus. Essential Oil of Lavender Inhibited the Decreased Attention during a Long-Term Task in Humans chronicles the experimental method and results of a study on the impact of the lavender aroma on attention and vigilance while engaged in a task for a long period of time. Not only are the results of this study noteworthy, but the article refers to similar prior studies and critiques the conflicting results that can occur in the absence of sound experimental protocol. This particular study was conducted with strict attention to the rigors of statistical significance and careful control of the experimental environment and method. The consideration given to controlling potentially confounding variables that were extraneous to the study’s aim provides for a high level of credibility in the results noted.
These researchers administered a carefully controlled dose of essential oil aroma, at a specific flow rate and pressure, to a fixed point maintained at 10 centimeters below each test subject’s nose. The control test condition was an absence of odor at the same flow rate, pressure, and position relative to the test subject(s). Aromas used in the experiment were lavendula angustifolia and eucalyptus globulus, presented in a randomized order with the controlled absence of aroma. The test subjects were seated at a computer, in a closed and controlled environment, with their head position fixed relative to the computer screen. The numbers 0 – 9 were flashed upon the screen in a random fashion at a rate of one number per second and the subjects were instructed to monitor the numbers on the screen and respond to only the number 0, by pushing a button with their hand. The accuracy of their responses as well as their time to respond was measured in order to evaluate any changes in either measure as the time at task increased. The experimental results showed that after a time period of 15 minutes at task, the inhalation of lavendula angustifolia increased the percentage of accurate responses; yet did not impact the percentage of incorrect responses. Reaction times measured throughout the test indicate that those in the absence of any aroma were consistently greater than those during the presence of the lavendula angustifolia aroma. The authors of this study conclude that the aroma of lavendula angustifolia maintains attentiveness over time and reduces human error – a provocative point, given the tranquilizing effect of lavender’s constituent linalool.
Kuniyoshi SHIMIZU, Mayumi GYOKUSEN, Shingo KITAMURA, Takahiro KAWABE, Tomoaki KOZAKI, Keita ISHIBASHI, Ryusuke IZUMI, Wataru MIZUNOYA, Koichiro OHNUKI and Ryuichiro KONDO, “Essential Oil of Lavender Inhibited the Decreased Attention during a Long-Term Task in Humans”, Biosci. Biotechnol. Biochem., Vol. 72, 1944-1947 (2008)