Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Oils and illness

One of my friends called me tonight after reading my blog post regarding Riley's illness and recommended I look into using essential oils to help with Riley's symptoms. In particular she said that lavender oil and tea tree oil are safe for use with infants and have anti inflammatory properties.
So, on her recommendation I took some essential lavender oil that I forgot I had in my cupboard (I bought it last year to help Ayden sleep while Brent was gone), diluted 2 drops in a tbsp of olive oil and rubbed it on Riley's chest, back, and neck before bed. I also added 5 drops to the humidifier. Our room smells very lavendery, as does our baby.
Many plants contain natural antibacterial, antifungal, and other beneficial properties, mainly for the plant's benefit to protect it from invaders and microbes in the environment, and can be used to our benefit if properly extracted. So cool. And of course many herbs and plants have healing properties that can also be beneficial for healing.
It is difficult to find free, published, clinical trials online, but there is some interesting stuff out there, and some pretty cool stuff. I figure, lavender and tea tree oil are considered safe for use with infants (if diluted with oil), so it can't hurt. Anecdotal evidence suggests it will certainly help.
So far he's less wheezy and sleeping VERY comfortably.
Thank you Alyssa! If we can avoid the hard hitting pulmonary drugs, it will be fantastic!
I will also use these on Matthew, as he was declared "pre-asthmatic" at 18 months by an allergist and I've been working hard to try and keep his lungs healthy ever since. When he gets colds he often needs help keeping his lungs open while he fights them off. We've used vitamin C, Quercitin, and Grape Seed Extract, cleaned our furnace annually and carpet frequently, and tried to keep cat dander and dust to a minimum. When he got a cold, we helped him fight it with ventolin and atrovent puffers. I tried to keep the heavy drug use to a minimum by keeping him as healthy as possible, and for the most part, I believe we have avoided asthma altogether.
Incidentally, during this time he had chronic ear infections which is speech pathologist feels is the reason for his speech issues. I wish now that I had paid as much or more attention to his ears as I did to his lungs. Well, I tried. I didn't know. We all do the best we can, right?
Anyways, I can use this oil on Matthew's chest as well, even though by now he has managed to avoid asthma. And obviously on Ayden's.
Just thought I would share!
And say thanks to Alyssa!

Here is some stuff I've found...In particular, tea tree oil is being used in a large clinical trail to test its effectiveness against one of the scarier and more pervasive superbugs in hospitals, MRSA (methicillin resistant staphyllococcus aurauleus). Too cool! Nature generally knows best.
Here's some stuff I found

Due to concerns over the gastric problems caused by NSAIDs researchers are turning to more natural solutions to dealing with the problem of inflammation. One ingredient with a great future potential is capsaicin, the chemical in chili peppers that gives them their spiciness. Studies have shown some success in the control of pain and inflammation when capsaicin is applied topically.[citation needed]
Others advocate the consumption of anti-inflammatory foods as a means of controlling inflammation. Anti-inflammatory foods include most colorful fruits and vegetables, oily fish and certain nuts, seeds, herbs and spices such as ginger. Those following an anti-inflammatory diet will avoid refined oils and sugars, and show a preference for anti-inflammatory foods in their meal choices.[8] Tobacco may have some anti-inflammatory effects, see Smoker’s Paradox. In some conditions, dietary omega-3 fatty acids lower inflammation, see Essential fatty acid interactions.

Essential Oil of the Month: Lavender

Edited by Lisa J. Chadderdon

Common name: Lavender

Scientific name: There are roughly 30 different species within the botanical family Labiatae. Several varieties are used medicinally, but the most common is "true" lavender, or Lavendula angustifolia.

Description of odor: Sweet, fresh, herbaceous, slightly floral

Method of extraction: Steam distillation

Where it grows: "True" lavender grows wildly in France, Italy, and parts of Spain. It also thrives in certain climates in the U.S., specifically those with rocky soil and cool weather (although many other varieties tolerate heat very well).

Who should use lavender: Lavender essential oil is suitable for everyone, ranging from children (ages 2 and up) to seniors.

Safety: As with many essential oils, lavender is very safe to use as long as it is not overused or abused. If used in high concentrations, lavender can be stimulating. Follow aromatherapy recipes exactly, and do not exceed recommended dosages. If any allergic reactions occur, discontinue use immediately; if symptoms persist, consult your physician.

Lavender is an herb that has been used for many generations, by people in many cultures. It is valued for its beauty and fragrance, as well as for its many medicinal uses. Consequently, lavender is the one essential oil that should be a staple in every home's medicine cabinet. It is also the best oil with which to become acquainted with the practice of aromatherapy.
French perfumer Rene-Maurice Gattefosse (1881-1950) is credited with the modern-day interest in the medicinal value of lavender essential oil. After suffering severe burns on his hand while working in his laboratory one day, he desperately sought something to cool the wounds. By chance, he applied pure essential oil of lavender directly to the burns. He discovered not only that his wounds cooled off, but moreover that his hand healed quickly, and without scarring.

Gattefosse published a paper about his discovery in 1932, and later wrote two books regarding the use of essential oils in medicine (Aromatherapie and Antiseptiques Essentiales) that had a tremendous impact on the scientific world. It is, in fact, Gattefosse to whom the term 'Aromatherapy' is credited.

10 Ways to Use Lavender
Lavender is one of two essential oils that are considered safe when applied directly, or neat, to the skin (tea tree is the other).

Essential oils typically come in 1/3 or ½ ounce bottles with built in dropper tops. To get a perfect drop, simply tip the bottle over and gently tap the bottom of the bottle.

First Aid
For minor cuts and scrapes, apply one drop of pure lavender essential oil directly to the wound (after the wound has been cleaned), then dress with an appropriate bandage. For deep cuts or wounds, consult your doctor or a licensed clinical aromatherapist before applying essential oil. Lavender helps to regenerate tissue and can cause healing from the outside in if used too quickly - again, make sure to consult your physician or a licensed clinical aromatherapist for advice.
For mild burns, place a few drops of lavender essential oil onto the dressing that will be placed over the wound. Also be sure to use any appropriate salve as directed by your physician.
To help reduce problems with insomnia, simply apply one drop of lavender essential oil to the edge of a pillowcase. Take deep breaths, and relax from your toes all the way to your head, focusing on all the major body parts along the way. Eventually, your body will become "trained" to the effects of the essential oil - usually within a week or two -- and you will notice a significantly faster reaction with continued use.
Place 20 drops of lavender in a warm bath and relax. 5-10 drops may also be used in a vaporizer for inhalation. If a bathtub or vaporizer isn't available, simply apply 3 drops to a cotton ball and inhale as needed. If you face a stressful daily commute, car diffusers work wonders: place 5 drops of lavender essential oil onto the pad and plug the unit into your cigarette lighter.
Lavender's analgesic properties help to reduce sunburn pain, and lavender is also useful in the sunburn healing process. For large, lightly burned areas, use about 15 drops of lavender essential oil to 1 tbsp of distilled water and dab gently over the entire affected area. For smaller, more severe sunburns, apply lavender essential oil neat (directly) to the area - but make sure that you only use a drop or two, since essential oil is extremely potent.
Household disinfectant
Lavender has superb antimicrobial and antiseptic properties, making it a great household disinfectant. For cleaning sinks, tubs, or toilets, sprinkle baking soda and 3-5 drops of lavender essential oil onto a sponge and scrub away. After you're finished scrubbing, rinse the area well. For washing floors, countertops, etc., simply add 60 drops of essential oil to a bucket of warm water, and wipe or mop as needed.
Lavender helps to reduce inflammation, regenerate skin tissue, and promote healing of bruises. To ease inflammation, place 5 drops of lavender essential oil into a bowl of cold water, wet a washcloth in the lavender solution, and apply as a compress to the affected area. After using the initial compress, apply a drop or two directly upon the bruised area once a day until the area has healed.
Colic or tummy aches in infants
Place 1-3 drops of lavender essential oil into 1 tsp of carrier oil (such as jojoba or sesame). Rub the oil mixture gently onto your baby's tummy and lower back in a clockwise direction. Repeat this procedure every few hours until the symptoms subside.
After a long day, place 10 drops of lavender essential oil into a hot footbath and soak for 30 minutes. Lavender has a well-earned reputation as a restorative - you'll be surprised how much better you'll feel!
Insect bites/bee stings
Place one drop of lavender essential oil directly onto insect bites or bee stings. Lavender's anti-inflammatory properties reduce swelling, its analgesic properties reduce pain and itch, and its healing properties encourage tissue repair. Frequently, you'll hardly notice the bite at all if you apply the oil immediately after being bit or stung.


Dana said...

So interesting!!!

I got my Mom to bring Tea Tree and Lemon oils with her because Andrew has been complaining he misses the "clean" smell in the house. We use microfibre cloths rather than chemical cleaners. I thought that a few drops of the essential oils might do it for him (so far I haven't really noticed but since I only have a tiny bottles and no known supplier here I am probably being overly conservative with how much I use).

But maybe I could have used the tea tree oil when Micah was sick!?

Where do you recommend I get advice I can trust on use and application of essential oils?

Tonya said...

Try eucalyptus oil too. My sister-in-law said it works as well as albuterol in a nebulizer (I can't spell either of those!). She just recently had her 2 month old and 1 year old w/ major lung issues. For asthma, our chiropractor said her daughter had horrible asthma - a chiro fixed her of it (which is why she became one). She recommended putting lavender oil behind the ear if the child has an ear infection.

Fun that you're learning about this stuff! :-) Oh, peppermint oil helps with congestion also. You can add oils to the vaporizer too.

Anonymous said...

Hey, that is awesome. this is the company that I use when buy oils for medicine: it is called Quintessence Aromatics Inc. They are very good quality, canadian, and I trust them on my kids, and it is not expensive,and if you have a group of people who order together and your order is $250 or over you get 25%off. I have a neighbor who does just that. I like young living blends, but they are expensive and from the states which adds cost when the dollar is low. But on the good note their blends last me a long time. safeway brand and those kind of places may be good for cleaning your toilet, but not medicianal purposes. there are more lavendar oil sold than then there is lavendar grown so be mindfull, even labels that say 100% pure is a play on words, get 100% therapeutic grade. and even that, it can be 100%therapeutic candle grade. purpose for making candles and that kind of stuff.
pine oil is the one I use to help Jon's breathing tubes open up when he is wheesy, and eucalyptus radiata kills dust mites. Luke is allergic to dust mites, I buy those dust catchers from the dollar store that sit inside the heating vent and drop a few drops of eucalyptus oil on it, the house smells great and spreads the dust mite killer all over. Okay I could go on forever about oils.... that is good for now. alyssa anderson.

Anonymous said...

ps it is hard to find good information on alternative health options, it is an advertising thing. the FDA and drug companies actually own the rights to health and because they have the money and are close to the rule makers they pursue and try to crush independant alternative health companies. they also have laws passed to make it against the law for anyone to claim that a vitamin or anything can cure or help with health issues. that is why there is always a disclaimer at the bottom of the page saying it is not passed by FDA to cure anything. It is a hard topic, yes I want to make sure not anyone can claim something that is false, but come on, I saw a advertisment on tv saying that now research is showing that sugar is actually not what causes hyperactivity, it is probably related to things like all the friends around. Just come to my house and watch my child 15mins after he has had some sugar. hee hee good luck. alyssa

Anonymous said...

okay sorry, I did not mean to open that can of worms on your blogg. alyssa

Asheya said...

I love lavender essential oil, and now I know some new uses for it!

I also use eucalyptus oil in the bath (2-4 drops is plenty) to help fight off colds and other viruses if it seems like we're coming down with something. Don't have any research on it, or what age it's safe for. Eucalyptus is also supposed to be good for clearing out the lungs/sinuses etc. wherever mucus lurks, so if we are stuffy then we take a bath with it.

Oh, I just saw that someone else suggested eucalyptus. Well that makes two!

Dana said...

Joshua and Micah have congestion and cough right now so I'm trying lavender on them both! Joshua is sleeping upright in the wrap right now and sounds pretty good....!