Steam: steams are great when you have a cough or a cold. The essential oils are carried on the steam into the nasal passages and lung – which means you are essentially doing a direct application of an herb on the affected tissues.

What you need: hot water, a towel and one or more essential oil.

  • Bring a pot of water to boil. Take it off the stove and set it on your kitchen table.
  • Or, boil water in your tea kettle, then pour the water into a big mixing bowl.
  • Put 4-6 drops of essential oils in the water.
  • Using the towel, make a “tent” that covers your head and the bowl.
  • Breathe the steam deeply into your lungs.
  • Caution: if the steam feels too hot at first, lift the “flap” of the tent to let in some cooler air.
  • Breath in the steam for 5-10 minutes.

Quick Steam: before getting in the shower, drop 3-4 drops of oil on your chest. Stand under the hot water of the shower and get a mini-steam. Note: always test for skin sensitivity first by putting one drop on your inner forearm and waiting for at least 30 minutes. For most people, the commonly used household “medicine cabinet” oils of lavender, eucalyptus, rosemary and tea tree can be used in this way, but test first!

Pillowcase: essential oils do not stain, like fatty oils, so you can drop one drop of an oil on each corner of your pillowcase, and breathe the calming effects of lavender, or the sinus opening eucalyptus all night long. Of course, be careful to not get the oil in your eyes.

Sniff: Vials of essential oils are very portable – you can toss them in your bag or pocket without fear of them leaking. Open the vial and “sniff” deeply several times a day. Or, fold a tissue and drop 2-3 drops of oil onto it. Bury your nose in the tissue and inhale deeply.

Diffuser: there are a variety of devices you can diffuse the oils into your environment. Some are very simple, using a tea candle and a small basin of water; others are more high-tech.

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