The following article is by
Elizabeth Jones, Essential Oil Therapist
College of Botanical Healing Arts, Founder
Santa Cruz, CA
is a dynamic healing modality
that works at a cellular, molecular level as well as on an emotional, psychological
level. Physically, it can be used as an immune stimulant to prevent infection and
to mitigate symptoms of infectious disease.
The immune system is also an amazing, complex group of cells that are there to protect
us from invading pathogens. The immune system has the ability to distinguish self
from other. This is linked to a set of more than 50 genes, known as the major histocompatibility
complex (MHC). The immune system will generally attack any cell with a foreign MHC.
(1) Steve Van Toller.We will examine some lines of defense in our bodies and how
to use essential oils to strengthen these barricades:
The first lines of defense are barriers like the skin, which makes it physically
difficult for bacteria, virus, or fungus to penetrate into the body. Sweat, sebum,
and mucous membranes all have a pH balance and some white blood cells to discourage
and cleanse bacteria from entering internal passageways.
An essential oil treatment to strengthen the skin's defense would be a friction.
After taking a shower in the morning, blend 2 drops each of Niaouli (Melaleuca
cardamomum)), Black Pepper (Piper
Nigrum), Ravintsara (Cinnamomum
camphora), and Grapefruit (Citrus
x paradisi) in 8 ml. of vegetable oil. Rub between
your hands quickly and apply to your chest, stomach and thighs. Feel the tingle
and energy! This will be absorbed through the skin into the bloodstream, killing
any skin bacteria on the way.
A second line of defense is called phagocytosis. This involves larger, white blood
cells called phagocytes or macrophages that are borne in lymph nodes. They are "heroes"
that arrive first at any scene of damage or pending infection to the body. They
engulf and kill invading microbes and then die rapidly in the line of duty (thus
the term, hero).
An essential oil treatment to aid these aggressive fighters in an upper respiratory
cold battle would be an aromatherapy steam. Boil two cups of water, pour into a
ceramic bowl, and add 1 drop Tea Tree (Melaleuca
alternifolia), 1 drop of Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus
globulus), and 1 drop of Peppermint (Mentha x piperita). Cover your
head and bowl with a towel, breathing deeply for 5 minutes. If it hurts, you know
the oils are attacking infected cells.
The third line of defense is the lymphocytes called B cells and T cells. The T cells
come in several forms and are born in the thymus and bone marrow. In the thymus,
they undergo training to become killer T cells or helper T cells amongst several
kinds. The latter travel throughout the body, soldiers on guard, looking for invaders
and always ready to alert all of the white cells for a battle.
The B cells live in the lymph nodes, killing any cancer, virus, or bacterial agents
traveling in the lymph system. They produce antibodies to attack an invader and
let some of these antibodies survive once the threat is gone, in case this microbial
enemy should enter the body again. Simply stated, this is how we develop immunity.
An aromatic process to bolster the lymphocytes would be to use and inhale Bay Laurel (Laurus Nobilis) and Thyme (Thymus Vulgaris) in the shower every morning or in an
evening bath. By rubbing them on the chest, neck, and lymph nodes during and after
bathing, these oils would act as preventatives by stimulating the lymphocytes. For
sensitive skin, it would be best to mix 10 drops of each essential oil in 1 oz.
of jojoba or olive oil. (2) Kurt Schnaubelt, Medical Aromatherapy.
A fourth line of defense is the adrenal glands. These glands produce two chemical
messengers called adrenaline and cortisol. They reveal the mind/body link since
negative, emotional stress increases their release. This can lead to a suppression
of phagocyte and lymphocyte response. (3) Shirley Price, Aromatherapy for Health
Professionals. An essential oil treatment to keep the adrenal glands in balance
and to keep depression at bay:
3 drops of Frankincense (Boswellia carteri)
2 drops of Geranium (Pelargonium graveolens)
4 drops of Bergamot (Citrus x bergamia)
Use in a bath or unscented natural lotion, applying the aromatic lotion over the
adrenals on the lower back.
Essential oils can actually attack invading viruses or it can address the circumstances
that lead to a depressed immune system. Essential oils minimize symptoms i.e. a
cold, Prevent secondary infections, and in general, support the body's terrain to
prevent infectious disease. Unlike the use of antibiotics, applying essential oils
before, during, or after an infection, leaves the body in an improved state of health
with increased ability to fight off future afflictions. Begin using a few drops
every day to support this wonderful, vigilant, army of cells we call the immune