6 Best Essential Oils to Boost Your Immune System
Every day, our bodies are exposed to countless toxins and stressors that can really put a strain on our immune system. Some of it we can control and some of it we can’t, but regardless, it doesn’t change the fact that our immune systems take numerous hits every single day. In a healthy individual, this isn’t normally an issue. However, if the immune system is compromised, this can lead to illness or possibly even more serious health issues.
Amid the coronavirus pandemic we’re dealing with at this time, people everywhere are adjusting to a new normal. As we're all experiencing, the stress of these adjustments certainly differ from our regular day-to-day stress. Social distancing and the measures we have in place currently can only do so much. People need to interact in their daily lives for several different reasons, and sooner or later things will go back to normal. The one thing that we should all start putting into practice immediately is building our immunity, and this is something we all can do on our own so it’s up to us to be proactive about it.
We are continually exposed to organisms that are inhaled, swallowed or inhabit our skin and mucous membranes. Whether or not these organisms lead to disease is decided by the integrity of our body’s defense mechanisms or immune system.
When our immune system is working properly, we don’t even notice it. But when we have an under- or overactive immune system, commonly referred to as a compromised immune system, we are at a greater risk of developing infections and other health conditions.
Factors that affect the immune system
There are many factors that can compromise the immune system and some of the most notable ones include:
- Toxin Exposure
- Exposure to illness
The fact is that no matter how hard we try to avoid it, our immune systems will eventually get compromised on some level and at some point over the course of our lives. Stressful situations at work, inadequate sleep, or some other factor (or factors!) are inevitable in everyone’s life and these will definitely have a negative effect on the immune system and our overall health.
If you’re wondering how to boost your immune system, be advised that it won't happen overnight. It’s a matter of strengthening your immune response on a daily basis with dietary and lifestyle changes, and that means building up or maintaining your immunity is like running a big marathon for the rest of your life, it’s never a sprint race you can run from time to time. But fortunately the good news is that your body is made to fight germs and protect your body from harm.
There are various things that can be done to enhance your immunity. As mentioned above, getting the correct amount of sleep, eating a well balanced diet, exercising regularly, and reducing our toxin load are all things that help . However, an alternative way that we can support our bodies is to add essential oils to our daily routine. In fact, there are multiple essential oils that can be applied proactively for boosting your immunity. (1)
What’s wonderful about using essential oils to boost immunity is that they also do so much more. Essential oils can help protect you from unwanted bacteria and viruses all while filling your home with their beautiful aromas.
Essential oils for immunity
Let’s take a look at some of the most effective essential oils for immunity, plus a few that contain potent antimicrobial compounds that can be useful in fighting off a wide range of bacteria, fungi, and viruses.
Oregano essential oil is known for its healing and antibiotic-like properties. It fights infections naturally due to its anti-fungal, antibacterial, antiviral and anti-parasite compounds. Since it contains a natural anti-pathogen, it can be used to improve and boost the immune system.
A 2016 study showed that the primary compounds in oregano that are responsible for its antimicrobial properties include carvacrol and thymol. Furthermore, several studies show that oregano oil exhibited antibacterial activity against a number of types of bacteria, including B. laterosporus and S. saprophyticus. (2) (3)
Peppermint essential oil is one of the oldest plants used in traditional medicine. According to a recent study, peppermint essential oil has potent antimicrobial and antiviral properties, and the menthol compound was found to inhibit antibody growth by inducing cell death and regulating cellular processes through regeneration and modulation of detoxification pathways. It also has anti-allergenic potential, and helps to relax the gastrointestinal tract. Thus making it a valid option for boosting immunity. (4)
Furthermore, Peppermint essential oil can be used to relieve the migraines, headaches and stomach upsets. It can also be used to improve digestion and has excellent detoxifying properties. The good thing about peppermint essential oil is that it’s very common and easy to find.
Eucalyptus essential oil is more commonly used as a remedy once colds or flu have already set in, but as disease prevention plays the MOST important role in having a strong immune system, you should consider eucalyptus essential oil one of your best allies, since it can do both- help your body maintain strong immunity and also fight infections when necessary.
Commonly listed as an ingredient in some types of conventional store-bought drugs and remedies, it could also help decongest the chest and clogged sinuses, expel mucus, and relieve the various aches and pains associated with these symptoms. (5)
Eucalyptus oil can be used effectively both topically or aromatically to protect against the microorganisms that make you sick. A lab study found that eucalyptus oil is able to effectively kill 22 types of harmful bacteria, like E. coli and Staphylococcus aureus among others which have the potential to weaken your immune system. (6)
Besides its immune-boosting abilities, Frankincense essential oil or resin often referred to as olibanum, is used in aromatherapy for a wide variety of health benefits including boosting overall immunity, minimizing pain and inflammation, and chronic stress and anxiety relief.
This wonder oil boosts your immune system at a cellular level by helping with the production of white blood cells which are your body’s main defense against bacterial and viral infections. It can also help to address the inflammation associated with any kind of infection such as those of an open wound.
Numerous studies have confirmed frankincense as a powerful immune-boosting and cancer-fighting benefits. This, along with its other properties, may in part explain its usefulness in fighting infection and in treating autoimmune conditions such as asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, and inflammatory bowel disease
When diffused, frankincense oil has also been shown to reduce high blood pressure and heart rate due to its anti-anxiety and depression-decreasing effects, which play a massive role in our immunity. Plus, unlike prescription medications, it doesn’t cause brain for or has other negative side effects. (9)
Similarly to the old-world remedies, Thyme essential oil has special properties and compounds that make it very potent for improving one's immune system. The active compound is called thymol, which is a terpene that can be used in several ways including as a cough suppressant.
Using thyme oil along with other essential oils such as evening primrose can produce incredible results in the treatment of common coughs and other upper respiratory tract ailments, and has been scientifically proven to be effective against acute bronchitis due to its potent anti-inflammatory properties. It has a natural antimicrobial and immune-boosting activity and can be used as an effective treatment for most bacterial infections that affect humans, including certain coliforms. (10)
Tea Tree essential oil can also boost the immune system due to its powerful antimicrobial properties. It is used in respiratory ailments for its strong decongestant effects on the sinuses and as an expectorant in the treatment of dry coughs as it is a good expectorant.
Having antiviral, anti-fungal, and antibacterial properties, tea tree essential oil can effectively act as your first line of defense against many pathogens. Unlike most essential oils that share similar properties, Tea Tree oil can actually be classed as an immune system stimulant rather than simply a support. When diffused frequently in your home, it can also serve as the MOST POTENT air purifier, killing various types of sickness-causing germs and nasties floating around.
These wondrous effects have been substantiated via multiple scientific studies. When tested for possible effects on many virus types, tea tree oil has been found to be incredibly effective against strains of influenza. Frequent inhalation of its scent will ultimately stimulate the human body so that the immune response and natural defenses strengthen. Furthermore, even topical applications can work just as well. One or two drops of tea tree oil rubbed onto the wrist area or palms could serve as a shield against bacteria and viruses that you may encounter as you go about your day. (11)
OTHER ESSENTIAL OILS THAT CAN HELP WITH IMMUNITY
Lavender essential oil could indirectly boost the immune system because of its well-known stress-relieving and relaxation properties. It helps the mind and body relax due to its enchanting aroma; also by increasing the alpha and theta waves in the brain which are correlated with inducing a state of relaxation it can help even with chronic cases of insomnia and has a modulating effect on the entire nervous and immune system. Stress and sleep play a big role in our overall health, and by using natural aids such as Lavender essential oil instead of medical drugs to get the adequate amount of rest and stress-relief we are also taking big steps to boost our immune system. (12)
According to research studies, the list of Cinnamon essential oil benefits is long. Cinnamon is known to possess antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and anti-diabetic properties. It can also help to fend off heart disease, high cholesterol and neurological health disorders, like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease some of which could be prevented by taking care of your immune system on a daily basis through the adoption of a healthy lifestyle. (13)
The most important properties you’re looking for in any essential oil for immune support are antibacterial and antiseptic and Cinnamon oil provides both of those properties, and therefore it can deliver great results in boosting your natural defenses against unwanted germs and bacteria.
With one of the most potent antioxidant properties among essential oils, Clove essential oil is one of the last on this list but certainly not the least impressive due to its countermeasure effects against free radicals that can cause toxin-overload.
With its strong antiviral and antibacterial protective abilities, clove essential oil can help ward off or even prevent colds and flu by destroying the unwanted nasties that make us sick, especially during the changes of season. (14)
Below are a few recipes we like that you may want to try for yourself. They could be very handy when you need them.
Immune Boosting Foot Rub
The soles of your feet are an ideal area for applying a foot rub especially one that contains essential oils. The skin is tougher on your feet and there are over 2000 pores on the sole of each foot, making it an effective location for prime absorption.
- 1/4 cup coconut oil, slightly softened
- 3 drops USDA Organic Frankincense Essential Essential Oil
- 1 drop USDA Organic Cinnamon Essential Essential Oil
- 2 drop USDA Organic Clove Essential Essential Oil
- 2 drop USDA Organic Oregano Essential Essential Oil
- Soften the coconut oil by placing it in a glass or ceramic cup/jar placed inside a small pan with boiling water on top of the stove for 2-3 minutes or until it melts.
- Remove from the stove and give it a stir until it reaches a smooth consistency.
- Once the coconut oil is not too warm, add all 4 essential oils. Mix again to fully blend the ingredients together. Apply to your foot soles to support your immune system and allow the wonderful scent of this therapeutic blend to give your feet some well-deserved love. After all, they do so much for you every day, don’t they?
Immunity Bath Salt Blend
This immunity bath blend is not only great for strengthening your immune system; it's also a wondrous way to relax and relieve stress.
- 5 drops USDA Organic Tea Tree Oil Essential Oil
- 10 drops USDA Organic Thyme Essential Oil
- 5 drops of USDA Organic French Lavender Essential Oil ( I always find this oil to be the most relaxing for baths)
- 1 tablespoon liquid Castile soap (or your favorite carrier oil)
- 2 oz Himalayan salt
First, dilute all of the essential oils in the Castile soap or carrier oil of your choice. Then take the oil mixture and combine all the remaining ingredients. Finally add the salt blend to a warm bath while the water is still running, swirl water with your hand to disperse the blend...then let your mind unwind while listening to your favorite music and sipping on some vino... Who said you can't have a luxury spa treatment right in the comfort of your home? Enjoy :)
Immune Boosting Roller Blend
- 10 drops USDA Organic Eucalyptus Essential Oil
- 10 drops USDA Organic Frankincense Essential Oil
- 8 drops USDA Organic French Lavender Essential Oil
In a 10ml roller bottle, add the essential oils and proceed to add the carrier oil of your choice. Fractionated coconut oil works well, but you can also use sweet almond or jojoba oil. Shake the roller bottle to combine. Apply liberally to the wrists, neck, spine, or the bottoms of the feet.
It's generally recommended to dilute essential oils with a carrier oil before using it on the skin with the exceptions of Frankincense, Helichrysum, and Tea tree among a few others. However, all essential oils should be diluted when using it on pets and children, especially those under the age of 10.
If you're considering starting a therapeutic regimen using Essential Oils, it's better to consult a doctor or aromatherapist professional first. Some skin types can showcase allergic reactions, so before using any essential oils, it's recommended to do a skin test first, which you can do at home if you prefer by applying 2 drops of oil on your wrist and waiting for 24 hours to see if any irritation occurs. If not, then you’ll be safe to use it.
Try to use the exact amounts of the oil as per prescriptions or recipes above, otherwise, they could be toxic and cause irritation, allergies and other unwanted effects.
And finally, always choose USDA Organic oils to avoid the artificial fertilizers & pesticides sprayed on all non-organic crops; otherwise, you’re defeating their effectiveness.