You know when a dreaded cold is coming on: Your throat and voice feel a bit scratchy, your nose begins to run, your eyes resemble those of a frog, your energy dips, you get the chills, and, in general, you feel like a blob. Compound these symptoms with muscle aches, joint stiffness, occasional nausea and fever, and you’ve got the flu. According to my wise grandmother, influenza used to be called “bone fever” because you ache right down to your marrow and it hurts for someone just to touch you.
When you want relief from your misery, instead of reaching for some chemical-filled pill or ill-tasting syrupy medicine that will just leave your brain feeling clogged, why not add the following remedy to your arsenal of natural cold and flu therapies? With its analgesic, antibacterial, antiviral and respiratory-soothing properties, it’s guaranteed to help ease symptoms and bring comfort so you feel better soon. Combine this treatment with more-than-ample bed rest, hot organic chicken or vegetable-onion-garlic soup, and lots of herb tea, and you’ve got the recipe for healing!
Surround Me in Comfort: Warming Bath Oil
Feeling all stuffed up? Got the chills, aches, pains and general misery of a cold or flu? Then a detoxifying sweat session with this bath oil is just the thing you need to ease your symptoms, open your sinuses, warm your core and relax your entire body so that you can sleep soundly and get the healing rest you so desperately need. Ginger, thyme, lavender, palmarosa and pine essential oils deliver antiseptic and antiviral properties, stimulate sluggish circulation, induce perspiration, relieve muscle tension and aching joints, and even relieve headaches due to congestion.
Note: Do not partake of this heating therapy if you are running a fever, sweating, or are extremely weak and debilitated, as it will exacerbate your symptoms.
20 drops ginger essential oil
15 drops palmarosa essential oil
15 drops thyme (chemotype linalool) essential oil
15 drops Scotch pine essential oil
10 drops lavender essential oil
1 cup jojoba base oil
Equipment: Dropper, dark glass bottle with dropper top or screw cap
Prep time: 15 minutes, plus 24 hours to synergize
Yield: Approximately 1 cup
Storage: Store at room temperature, away from heat and light; use within 2 years
Application: 1 or 2 times per day
Add the ginger, palmarosa, thyme, Scotch pine, and lavender essential oils drop by drop directly into a storage bottle. Add the jojoba base oil. Cap the bottle and shake vigorously for 2 minutes.
Label the bottle and place in a dark location that’s between 60° and 80°F for 24 hours so that the oils can synergize.
This healing, detoxification process can be performed in the morning, if you are staying home for the day, and also at night before retiring. Turn up the heat or stoke the woodstove and make a mug of fresh ginger, cinnamon spice, or decaf chai tea, or just plain hot water with lemon juice. Run a hot bath, with the door closed. When the tub is nearly full, add 1 to 2 tablespoons of bath oil under running water and swish to blend. Ease into the soothing bath and lie back for about 20 minutes while you sip your tea. Sweating helps release toxins from your pores. Following your soak, gently pat yourself dry. Put on pajamas and socks, and climb under the covers. Do this once or twice daily for a few days, until you are well.
You can learn how to make more topically-applied herbal remedies by reading Tourles’ latest book, Hands-On Healing Remedies:150 Recipes for Herbal Balms, Salves, Oils, Liniments & Other Topical Therapies (Storey Publishing, 2012).
Stephanie Tourles is a licensed holistic aesthetician, certified aromatherapist, and gardener with training in Western and Ayurvedic herbalism. She is the author of eight books, including Organic Body Care Recipes; Raw Energy: 124 Raw Food Recipes for Energy Bars, Smoothie, and Other Snacks to Supercharge Your Body; Naturally Healthy Skin; 365 Ways to Energize Mind, Body & Soul; and Natural Foot Care. She lives in Orland, Maine.