Winter is the season to be merry but your body sure does not feel that way!
The skin goes dry and scaly, the nose get stuffy, the head gets achy and the pain of all those muscle and bone injuries sustained years ago, come visiting with a vengeance.
Doesn’t it seem like your body is colluding with one Mr. Grinch to stop you from having a good time over the holidays?
In reality, your body isn’t the villain but the victim here! The truth is that ol’ bod of yours has to fight an uphill battle at the end of every year.
Plus, none of us do our bodies any favors with all those festive indulgences and excesses. And if all of that is not enough winter also happens to be the season of striking contrasts.
If you think about it the marked shift from the exhilaration and the excitement of the revelries of December to the grueling work schedule and the back to regular life drama of January is so shocking that it’s enough to depress anybody.
I am sure by now you will agree with me when I say that your body certainly does not have it easy in winter.
BUT, this winter things will be different! Why? Simple, because you now have Olivia’s Ultimate Guide to Essential Oils For Winter.
Like all my other articles, we will start this one with the basics, and the most nagging question of the day…
Why Use Essential Oils In Winter?
Did you know that both cardiovascular and respiratory-related death rates spike significantly in winter?
No, I am not suggesting that essential oils can cure people who are battling with such acute and life-threatening health issues.
What I am trying to say, though, is that your body needs all the help it can get in this season to help fight viruses and aromatic extracts offer a safe and effective way to lend that support. Here is how:
- The immune angle: Plunging mercury levels means your heart has a hard time pumping blood all over the body. Because your blood carries, your body’s defenders AKA white blood corpuscles, the disruption in circulation may create a paucity of these little soldiers, giving critters more time to thrive and multiply.
- The infectious troubles: Freezing temperatures and dry air also offer a thriving environment for cold and flu causing microorganisms.
- The nutrient problems: Because days get shorter and the cold weather makes you bundle up, you don’t get the required amount of sun exposure. Unfortunately, not enough sun light also means not enough vitamin D.
- The emotional upheavals: The deficiency of vitamin D and the fact that people tend to spend long hours indoors in winter also spell trouble for mental health. So, it’s no wonder that a lot of people who don’t normally have problems with depression or anxiety also end up suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder.
- The cardiac crisis: Because the blood vessels constrict in response to cold weather, your heart has to work extra hard to pump blood around. Moreover, the constriction of the arteries and veins inevitably leads to an increase in blood pressure and puts a greater strain on the blood vessels.
- The skin problems: Your body reacts to the freezing temperatures by sending blood away from the skin and inwards. This means that the dermal cells get starved of oxygen, nutrients as well as fluids, hence the dermal dryness and flaking.
Now, let me tell you how essential oils turn the tide in favor of your body.
- These aromatic extracts work as circulatory stimulants and warming agents that help to draw blood to the treated areas.
- Also, they are very potent anti-microbial agents. So, they start the battle with the critters, often even ending it, before your body feels the need to step in.
- Although they cannot make up for vitamin D deficiencies, essential oils and aromatherapy do help to alleviate stress, anxiety and depression.
- Moreover, most of these extracts are immune regulators, so they help to put your body defense system back on track.
- Their warming and cooling effect also comes in handy when dealing with the itching and the redness of dermal dryness
- Furthermore, nearly all essential oils are extremely effective anti-inflammatory agents. So, they neutralize the damage caused by infectious ailments and other health problems.
Essential Oils For Winter Wellness
The citrus oils: You can take your pick from bergamot which relaxes; lime, which is uplifting or lemon that has the most in-your-face energizing effect. Citrus oils, in general, promote feelings of excitement, happiness and clarity.
The woody oils: Think of these as “winter-special” oils and it’s not just because most conifers resemble the Christmas tree that you will be bringing home. From the relaxing effects of sandalwood to the invigorating effects of black spruce and from the stability-evoking effects of white fir to the uplifting effect of cypress, all of them can be used to keep both the mind and the body healthy in winter.
The floral oils: Lavender, with its relaxing and soothing effects and geranium with its ability to heal and control inflammation, are the best floral oils for winter. But, you may also want to try rose and neroli, specifically in skincare, to tackle the detrimental effects of freezing weather.
The herbal oils: The thing about extracts derived from herbs is that they are extremely potent anti-microbial agents. Plus, essential oils derived from oregano and thyme help to stimulate the immune system. Together, these properties of herbal oils aid in keeping many types of winter ailments at bay.
The spice oils: Few things in nature can create the heating effects of oils extracted from spices. Be it clove, cinnamon or nutmeg, they all offer a safe and effective way to keep joint inflammation in control. Plus, the crisp spiciness of their aroma has an immediate uplifting and energizing effect on the brain. So, you definitely need these essential oils in winter.
8 Must Have Essential Oils For Winter
Here is the list of essential oils for winter:
As far as anti-microbial powers go, few other essential oils can come close to this aromatic extract. The golden yellow oil not only helps to control infections but is also very effective against inflammation and sluggish healing.
And if that is not enough, it also boasts of immune-regulatory properties. Plus, it’s healing and nourishing effects on the skin are simply unparalleled.
This extract not only helps to counter the negative effects of winter on your mood and emotions but also helps to battle mental sluggishness.
It is also a remarkably potent anti-pathogenic agent that is effective against viral as well as bacterial infections. So, it can keep, cold, flu and cough away.
Known as the “oil of empowerment”, the at-once energizing and grounding aroma of this extract is enough to keep away winter blues.
The spicy and invigorating effect of this oil can help to replace the emotions of helplessness and stagnation with zeal and gratitude. Plus, its warming effect can do wonders for your circulatory system.
As far as respiratory health goes, few oils can offer as many benefits as this extract. Often used in vapor rubs, eucalyptus essential oil helps to clear the respiratory tract of mucus build-up and prevents bacteria and viruses from causing inflammation.
An immune-stimulator, this oil is just the substance to counter the immunosuppressive effects of winter.
5. Black pepper
Another warming oil, this extract can generate just the right amount of heat to act as a counterirritant against joint and muscular pain.
Moreover, the warming effect helps to draw blood to the treated areas and aids in the rapid removal of metabolic waste. When used in aromatherapy, the strikingly crisp and spicy aroma of the oil promotes mental clarity and focus.
6. Sweet orange
Of all the citrus oils, this one has the most gently invigorating aroma that provides a surge of energy and happy thoughts.
It works as both a relaxant and a mood enhancer. Plus, its mild astringent effect is just what your skin needs in winter.
An extraordinary anti-inflammatory agent, this extract also helps to balance the immune and nervous systems. So, it helps your body to fight the critters that attack from the outside as well as the negativities that haunt you on the inside.
8. Clary sage
The superlative anti-depressant and mood-stabilizing effects of this oil are especially needed to tackle the damp and dreary negativity that hits mid-winter.
Because it helps to keep both anxiety and depression in check, it works exceptionally well when the beginning of the year seems overwhelming. If used topically, it is remarkably effective against all types of muscle and joint pain.
Top 6 Essential Oil Blends For Winter Blues
1. Soothing Lozenges for sore throat and cough
Yes, these do take about half an hour to make but they are delicious and incredibly effective on both dry cough as well as congestion cough. You will need:
- 1 cup of sugar
- ½ cup honey
- ¼ cup or 60 gm. peeled and grated ginger
- 1 heaped tsp licorice root
- 2 tbsp dried elderberries or any organic and preservative-free dried berries mix
- 3 drops peppermint essential oil
- 1 drop each black pepper and turmeric essential oils
- 2 cups of water
- A few tsps. powdered sugar
- 2 pinches cinnamon powder (optional)
- Silicone candy molds/silicone ice tray and candy thermometer (optional)
- Medium-sized pan
Don’t let the ingredients list above scare you. This is a simple hard candy recipe with a few herbal and essential oil additions. You start with the infusion. For this, put the ginger, the dried berries and the licorice root powder into a medium-sized pan and pour enough water in it to cover the ingredients.
You should be fine with about 2 cups of water. Place the pan on the stove and turn up the heat to bring the mixture to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Then, strain the mixture and set it aside.
I like to lightly grease my silicone mold/ice tray before and keep it ready before I head to the next step. This is very important because once the syrup gets to the hard crack consistency, things will proceed at breakneck speed.
Next, place a larger, heavy bottom pan on the stove and pour the herbal infusion into it. Stir in the sugar and honey while keeping the heat at medium-high. Like for all forms of hard candy, you are simply trying to cook out the water from the mixture here.
So, you will have to cook till you get a sugar syrup of hard crack consistency. If you are using a candy thermometer, you will get to this point at 300 degrees Fahrenheit, which should take about 25- 30 minutes.
Once the mixture comes to a boil allow it to continue boiling gently for about 25 minutes. Stir occasionally, particularly getting to the syrup at the bottom of the pan, which has the highest risk of burning.
If the mixture starts foaming before you hit the hard crack stage, take it off the heat momentarily and allow the foam to subside and then place it back on the stove. If you are not using a thermometer, keep a cup filled with ice water handy.
At the 25 minute mark, when the syrup visibly thickens, drop a few drops of the syrupy mixture into the cold water. The droplets should not dissolve; instead, they should sink to the bottom. When removed, they should feel hard to touch.
Once the syrup is ready, take the pan off the heat and transfer the contents into a Pyrex cup. This is what I like to do because it gets easier to pour it into the mold. But you can keep it in the pan if you intend to use a spoon or a ladle.
In both cases, allow it to cool for about a minute before adding essential oils to the mixture. Stir well and then pour into the mold. Allow the candy to set for several hours and then dust with candied sugar, stevia powder or arrow root powder to stop the lozenges from getting sticky due to humidity.
If you don’t want an extra coating on the hard candy, simply store in a single layer or in layers separated by parchment paper in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
2. Immune boosting neck rub
Your immune system takes multiple hits in winter so, it can use all the additional help you can give it. And with this warming rub, you will be lending your body the support of Mother Nature to fight off those winter woes. This is what you need:
- 30 ml organic virgin coconut oil/ shea butter
- 5 drops each thyme and turmeric
- 4 drops each eucalyptus and basil
- 6 drops cedarwood
Melt the coconut oil/shea butter using a double boiler or a hot water bath. Add the essential oil to the carrier and mix well. Transfer the blend to a small, dark glass jar and store away from direct exposure to sunlight and humidity.
Apply a small amount on the back of the neck, the soles of your feet and on the upper chest (ladies no need to apply on and below the breasts) every night. The blend can be used twice a day when you are feeling a bit under the weather or once a day or every two days as a preventative measure.
3. The avoid-chilblains foot rub
Even if you don’t suffer from the annoying, itchy, red bumps brought on by chilblains, this blend will still come in handy to keep your tootsies from getting too cold. In fact, the foot rub cream is highly recommended for anybody who suffers from circulatory problems or diabetes. This is what you will need:
- 30 ml jojoba oil (if not available, you can use any other carrier oil)
- 6 drops each rosemary and eucalyptus
- 2 drops black pepper
- 1 drop nutmeg
- 9 drops german chamomile
This one is real easy to make. You simply put all the oils together (carrier and essentials) and give the mixture a good whisk. Then, transfer to a glass bottle or container (dark glass only or covered with colored tape to prevent direct light exposure).
Use generously all over your feet and toes and even on your hands if need be. Cover the treated areas with socks/gloves/muffler/scarf etc to lock the soothing warmth in and for better penetration of the active ingredients.
If you have sensitive skin, increase the amount of carrier oil to 50 ml. Because this blend contains nutmeg and black pepper essential oils, which are extremely potent and intensely warming, do a patch test before using this blend. You can use this formulation for up to two times a day.
4. Nagging pains be gone compress
Whether it is muscle fatigue, an old ligament or skeletal injury or degenerative joint pain, the dip in temperature will exacerbate it. Fortunately, this easy-to-make compress is potent enough to counter the effects of winter. In fact, it goes one step ahead and helps to even prevent the pain from recurring once it has been brought under control. This is what you will need:
- 7 drops eucalyptus
- 4 drops wintergreen
- 3 drops peppermint
- 7 drops frankincense
- Carrier oil of your choice as needed
Increase the quantity of the essential oils proportionately if you want to have more of the mother blend. To use, prepare a bowl of hot water (as hot as you can stand but not blistering hot). Add sea salt or Himalayan pink salt and stir to dissolve the crystals. Then, add 5 drops of the blend to a teaspoon of any carrier oil. Add the oil mixture to the hot water and give it a good whisk.
Soak an old washcloth or a small towel in the water and wrap around the painful/sore areas. Cover with a larger towel to trap the heat inside for as long as possible. Once the soaked towel/cloth cools, remove and repeat.
Do this for up to 5-7 times in one sitting. Don’t wash the treated area for at least an hour afterward. This hot compress can be used up to two times a day. For best results, use it before bedtime or the first thing in the morning.
5. A cup of go-away-winter- blues!
I bet you are wondering how come Olivia is recommending the intake of essential oils. I know this is something that I rarely do. Because winter wreaks havoc on the body, some extraordinary measures are warranted for this season.
And, all will be well as long as you keep things in perspective when using aromatic extracts internally. You will know what I am talking about once you read the recipe and the usage instructions. But first, here is the ingredients list.
- 8 drops ginger
- 4 drops cardamom
- 3 drops each black pepper and clove
- 7 drops turmeric
- 4 drops cinnamon bark
Mix the oils and store in a dark glass bottle. You can either add this to tea or to soup. In both cases, you will need a preparation that has an oil/emulsion base. What I mean is that you’ll have to add cream/plant milk to your tea or have it in a soup that has cream/coconut cream/sour cream in it.
Preparation is real easy; all you have to do is mix the oils in a small glass bowl and transfer the blend into a dark glass bottle. Another way is to use droppers to pour the essential oils directly into a small, dark glass bottle. Then, put the cap back on and roll the bottle between your fingers to mix the oils. Store the bottle in a dark, dry and cool place (no need to refrigerate).
To use, dip a toothpick, about an inch of it, into the oil and swirl your tea/soup with the oil-covered toothpick. What you are doing here is using less than 1/4th of a drop at one time. Use it no more than once a day and don’t use continuously for more than 5 days at a time.
6. Inhalation therapy to beat cold, flu and seasonal allergies
Critters find the most inopportune moments to attack your body. In fact, infections are notorious for ambushing people when they are at their weakest, physically and mentally.
Because winter pushes you down several notches on both fronts, don’t be surprised if your normal robust self finds it taxing to battle the germs. But, worry not! Here is an easy and extremely effective blend that will bring in the cavalry from your side. You will need:
- 5 drops rosemary
- 3 drops each eucalyptus, peppermint and sweet marjoram
- 2 drops tea tree
Mix the oils and store in an amber glass bottle. To use, add 3-5 drops to a bowl containing a solution of boiling water and sea salt/ Himalayan salt. Bend your head forward and use a towel tent to stop the medicated steam from escaping. Inhale the salt and essential oil treated vapors for 7-10 minutes.
Top 15 Essential Oil Diffuser Blends For Winter
1. Holidaying right into the New Year blend
- 2 drops frankincense
- 2 drops sweet orange
- 1 drop douglas/white fir
2. Get your head back on your shoulders blend
- 1 drop black pepper
- 2 drops lemon
- 1 drop rosemary
- 1 drop eucalyptus
3. Make the wait for spring more comfortable blend
- 3 drops geranium
- 2 drops neroli
- 1 drop cassia/cinnamon bark
4. Silent night, peaceful night, starry night blend
- 2 drops ylang ylang
- 2 drops lavender
- 1 drop sandalwood
5. Get your body ready for spring blend
- 2 drops wintergreen
- 1 drop clove
- 1 drop peppermint
- 1 drop turmeric
- 1 drop tea tree
6. Energy infusion blend
- 3 drops rosemary
- 2 drops eucalyptus
- 2 drops lime/lemon
7. Jingle bell jingle bell happy all the way blend
- 3 drops grapefruit
- 2 drops cassia
- 1 drop cardamom
8. Healthy and happy through winter blend
- 2 drops clove bud
- 2 drops ginger
- 3 drops cinnamon bark
9. Get up and exercise blend
- 3 drops spearmint
- 2 drops sweet orange
10. Welcome friends and family blend
- 1 drop pine
- 1 drop cypress
- 1 drop ginger
- 3 drops lime
11. After all that entertaining blend
- 5 drops spearmint
- 4 drops peppermint
- 2 drops sweet orange
- 2 drops cassia/cinnamon bark
12. Christmas morning blend
- 3 drops white fir
- 2 drops juniper berry
- 1 drop cypress
- 2 drops frankincense
13. Comfy by the fire blend
- 1 drop pine
- 2 drops cedarwood
- 1 drop ginger
- 2 drops myrrh
14. For spring’s on its way blend
- 3 drops wild/sweet orange
- 1 drop basil
- 1 drop tea tree
- 1 drop patchouli
15. When winter’s doing a number on ya blend!
- 3 drops rosemary
- 1 drop lemon
- 1 drop basil
- 3 drops lavender
At the end of the year and the article….
And, there you have it folks, all the information you need to make the end of this year pleasant and to walk into the new year with a renewed sense of purpose and energy with your essential oil army backing you 100%.
What I like the best about using aromatic extracts is that they can be used in conjunction with any other form of treatment that you are using. Whether it is light therapy or regular meds, you can combine essential oils with them all.
Plus, these blends/formulations are super easy to make and I have already told you about the amazing benefits of these oils. So, you have absolutely no reason to not use essential oils to make and keep your body winter-ready. And on that note, I wish you all Happy and Aromatic Holidays this year and for years to come!