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The Aromahead Blog - Aromatherapy Education and Resources

Preventing Colds and Flu

by Andrea Butje on September 20, 2009

preventing colds and fluA guest post by Cindy Black. For more from Cindy, stop by her blog at the Meridian Massage Institute.

I’ve been getting many questions about how to prevent the flu from friends and clients as they go to work in schools, public and private offices, retail, etc. So here we go…

Keep the ick out!

Prevention is easier than curing.
Illness prevention and health support are hallmarks of alternative medicine. The key to prevention is to be methodical and consistent in your use of alternative medicines. This is a strategy of health support rather than blasting away at an illness that has already taken place.

Remedies to Prevent Cold and Flu

I use a combination of cell salts, herbs, and essential oils.

The cell salts and herbs are things I take internally to support my already functioning immune system.
Essential oils are applied externally to fend off microbes and support my respiratory system. This approach to prevention is “two-pronged”- I want to keep myself healthy while reducing the load of microbes I need to deal with. I am aiming at a strong immune system that has less to deal with, so I stay healthy and vibrant all year long.

  1. I use herbs and cell salts to support my immune system.
  2. I use essential oils to reduce the number of microbes my system has to fend off.

Cell Salts

These are highly dilute mineral salts- based on the 12 essential minerals.
The intention with cell salts is to supply the cells (the tiny invisible blobs that make up our body) with “bite-sized” minerals that are essential to their functioning. The theory is that happy cells manifest as a happy, healthy body.

Cell salts for cold and flu prevention:
Ferrum Phos and Kali Mur are taken throughout the season.

Ferrum Phos Cell Salt – If possible get Ferrum Phos at the 12X dilution. If that is not available, use the 6X dilution. Take 2 tablets, 3 times a day for the entire flu season.
Kali Mur Cell Salt –  Use Kali Mure at 6X dilution. Take 2 tablets, 3 times a day for the entire flu season.
(If you want to know what the “6X” means, click here.)

A great thing about cell salts is how easy they are to take. They come as little tablets. Just pop them under your tongue and let them dissolve. They are taken under the tongue in order to be absorbed easily into your body. Or, you can toss them into your water bottle and sip them throughout the day.

Herbs For Cold and Flu Prevention

Herbs are our original medicine, used by every culture of the world for illness prevention and treatment.

There are many great herbs, formulas, and companies out there. You can always consult a local herbalist for an individualized herbal recommendation that suits your needs uniquely. Another approach is to use an off the shelf product.

Planetary Formulas is a great company founded by Acupuncturists and Herbalists Michael and Leslie Tierra. Their formulas can be found in health food stores and on the web. Most importantly, they work!

The classic Chinese herbal formula for cold and flu prevention is called “Jade Wind Screen”. The basic idea is that the formula acts like an extra jacket, a “wind screen”, or “wind breaker” as we say in the west. This particular formula has been proven effective over thousands of years by the experience of herbalists and their patients. It is made of a 3 simple herbs. Planetary Formulas call their version of Jade Wind Screen “Astragalus Wind Screen”.   Astragalus is one of the main herbs in the formula.

Astragalus Wind Screen comes in tablet form, so you can easily take these with you wherever you go.

Echinacea Defense Force is another great formula for prevention. Personally, this is the one I use more often.

Which is best for you? Read more about each formula to find out which one feels right.  I tried them both in order to pick my favorite.

Essential Oils For Cold and Flu Prevention

These are highly concentrated plant oils from certain aromatic plants.
Very potent and great smelling, essential oils are easy to use. For cold and flu prevention, I diffuse them into the air in my office and home, add to them the bath, apply to my skin diluted in jojoba oil, and use them for steam inhalations. Using tiny amounts every day offers a great deal of protection from microbes in the environment.

Recommended Essential Oils:

  1. Eucalyptus, Eucalyptus Globulus
  2. Frankincense, Boswellia carterii
  3. Ravintsara, Cinnamomum camphora

The Plan for Natural Cold and Flu Prevention

Start using these remedies as early as October in order to prevent cold and flu in the fall and winter. You need to boost your system before you catch a cold or flu!  Keep using them through the winter.

1. Cell Salts Ferrum Phos(12X or 6X dilution) 2 tablets, 3 times a day, Kali Mur (6X dilution) 2 tablets 3 times a day.

2. Astragalus Jade Wind Screen or Echinacea Defense Force – first month, take 2 tablets 2 times a day. After that, try dropping back to 1 tablet 2 times a day for maintenance. If you will be traveling, around sick people, or under stress, go back up to 2 tablets 2 times a day. Notice how you feel in order to find your optimal dose.

3. Essential Oils
Diffuse essential oils daily into the air
Apply a diluted essential oil blend when you are going out into public
Steam inhalations 2-3 times per week
Add essential oils to a warm bath 1-2 times per week

  • Eucalyptus globulus* – diffuse 20 drops into the air
  • Frankincense – add 2-5 drops into a hot bath and diffuse 20 drops into the air.
  • Ravintsara* – diffuse 20 drops into the air. 1 drop into warm water for steam inhalation. 2-5 drops into a hot bath.

Essential oil blend to apply to wrists and neck:
Add the following essential oils into 1 ounce of jojoba oil:

3 drops: Eucalyptus*, Eucalyptus globulus

5 drops: Frankincense, Boswellia carterii

5 drops: Ravintsara*, Cinnamomum camphora

**for children under 10 use Frankincense instead of Eucalyptus or Ravintsara

Lifestyle adjustments to prevent cold and flu

  1. Wash your hands frequently
  2. Get plenty of rest
  3. Provide extra protection against the cold – use that hat, scarf, big coat and puffy mittens!

Where to purchase these items, or just get more information:

Cell Salts
Hylands brand is reliable and available in many health food stores and on the web. 

Ferrum Phos on the web
Kali Mur on the web

More about cell salts
How to use Cell Salts on the Big Tree Blog

Planetary Formulas Astragalus Jade Wind Screen – can be found in many health food stores and here on the web
Planetary Formulas Echinacea Defense Force – can be found in many health food stores and here on the web

More about herbs: Leslie Tierra’s  (Co-Founder of Planetary Formulas) fantastic book about using herbs to support your health:

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Essential Oils
Essential oils on the web at Aromatics International
Diffuser – can be found in health food stores and here on the web

More ways to use essential oils:

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Acupressure points to prevent colds and flus
Check out  “Acupoints for Cold and Flu Prevention” video on demand.


Andrea Butje is an internationally-recognized Aromatherapist who has changed the educational paradigm through her inspired approach to teaching essential oils and Aromatherapy Certification. Check out her book, The Heart of Aromatherapy, at Aromatics International!

Topics: cold and flu, Essential Oils, Guest Posts, herbs, Immune stimulating, staying healthy in winter

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