Last week, I released a webinar on using essential oils to increase resiliency and assist with coping with stress and anxiety during times of change. In this 50-minute webinar, which I sent exclusively to my e-subscribers, I shared on the following topics:
- Characteristics and properties of essential oils
- Mind-Body effects of essential oils
- Assuring safe use & quality
- The soothing effects of lavender essential oil
- Specific blends that optimize physical and emotional support during immune challenges
- How to best start and continue your journey with essential oils
This webinar was part of my commitment to provide my readers during this world crisis with self-care tips that I use personally and with my clients as a naturopathic doctor. In my practice, I have found essential oils to be one of the most effective, holistic tools for calming and assisting one in maintaining more serenity during an emotional upheaval.
In this post, I continue with this theme and with my discussion from the previous weeks.
First, I review the latest news from the conventional and integrative medical literature regarding COVID-19 (references are hyperlinked). My intention in doing this is to provide an overview of the facts and sources from the media in one simple, weekly format.
Next, I continue with my series on using essential oils to calm anxiety, stress, and lower cortisol. Specifically, I highlight another study using a blend of oils that features my favorite single oil, lavender for supporting cardiovascular function and improving sleep.
First… A Special Note
I truly feel that the panic from the pandemic and the negative news feeds are forms of a mental virus that is seriously compromising our nation’s wellbeing. The red lights flashing on our screens that dominate in news releases has the potential to keep our brains in panic and decrease our resilience if we are not careful. In other words, being too informed can make for a slippery slope for maintaining your wellness and sanity.
As the situation continues, I’ve decided to follow my own advice on paying more attention to self-nourishment and less on conventional media clickbait and alarming updates.
For this reason, in in a future post, I’m compiling a list of longer, insightful essays which I found very helpful in viewing this “PAUSE” in a new light. It is my hope that these resources will provide contemplation that will aid your emotional health. (Here’s one very long article that will be highlighted, if you’d like to get started)
As you continue to heed the sanitizing vital advice from the CDC and WHO and follow physical distancing measurements for containment, may you also take heed to the contagiousness nature of fear. Please keep this balance in mind as you read the news snippets below.
For some who are experiencing overwhelming fear and anxiety, it may be best to continue to follow the precautions by reviewing the daily updates from the CDC and your state website and skip right to the essential oils section.
This Week’s News Snippets
These are the top news stories of the previous week. I did add some of my own opinions and commentary, which I marked accordingly.
2. Social distancing has been extended through April for all of America.
3. Medical supplies, including drugs, and test kits remain in short supply. More tests are becoming accessible and quickly released via FDA’s unprecedented flexibility in manufactures’ reviews. (source, source, source, source, source, source) During the race for more ventilators, there are some physicians expressing concern on how they are being used for supportive care. (source, source)
4. Blood donation restrictions have been loosened to assist with blood bank availability.
6. Experts continue to release estimates on the endgame of total lives lost after the pandemic wanes; however, asymptomatic carriers make this difficult. Without knowing the true denominator (the total amount of people effected), the models are only predicative. (source, source, source)
7. Face masks for the general public entered consideration by the White House earlier last week, and, on Friday, the CDC has made an official recommendation to cover one’s face in public with a cloth. It is recommended that medical masks be reserved for healthcare practitioners. The Trump administration is advising that everyone in the most infected areas be urged to comply, but it is not required. The World Health Organization (WHO) has not changed their recommendation on wearing face masks if ill or taking care of the sick. (source, source, source, source) (Here’s a 45 second video on how to make your own from a tee-shirt.)
8. The race to finding a cure heightens with nearly 50 vaccine trials in the works and continued drug trials with potential treatments, including convalescent plasma. (source, source, source) Multinational trials are now underway and (universal kindness is being shown with) research collaboration crossing the globe. (source, source)
9. Various ways COVID-19 infects individuals continues to emerge, the latest being in your eyes and skin manifestations. (Distinct from allergic symptoms.) A few neurological symptoms are also being reported.
10. The microbial cloud debate heightens, and how much to sanitize due to virus transmission through inanimate objects causes concern.
- How worried one needs to be about surfaces being a risk of transmission is still not conclusive, but many agree the main source of infection is through close contact. As of now, experts feel it may be possible to contract virus from objects, but it is not the main concern. (So, washing hands and cleansing and sanitizing frequently used surfaces regularly remains the most sensible option.)
- Medscape recently reported that the lingering of the virus on fabrics was not likely, but possible. It may be reasonable to remove clothes when returning home and wash clothes daily if one is exposed to those with COVID-19, working in public, or as a healthcare provider.
- Food contamination with COVID-19 is reported to not be likely and supply chains for foods remain intact. (source)
- The six-feet distancing recommendation is now being challenged. It may be that we need to spread farther than initially thought. This is based on a few studies and assumptions and is being looked into. (source, source)
- Prevention continues to be urged as the main way to contain COVID-19.
- The CDC should still be your source on how to take proper precautions without going too nutty on sterilizing all day long.
- See my summary below.*
Integrative News Highlight: IV Vitamin C and AANP
- Recently, the American Association for Naturopathic Physicians (AANP) released a press release urging the medical community to utilize IV Vitamin C to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.
- The statement provided data published (English translation) by the “Expert Group on Clinical Treatment of New Coronavirus Disease in Shanghai.” This report details the use of IVC as effective adjunctive care of hospitalized COVID-19 patients. This data further highlights that a collaboration between the Eastern and Western approaches to medicine was used in China. That is, along with allopathic medications and standards, Chinese medicine and natural therapeutics were integrated during the COVID-19 pandemic.
- In my previous article, I provided citations of the use of IV vitamin C in New York hospitals, along with their launching of other trials of using various potential treatments. (source)
- This is not an approved treatment currently.
According to experts, the CDC, and the World Health Organization (WHO), there is still no approved standard of care treatment, cure, or preventative remedy for COVID-19. Supportive measures and containment are in full force as a result. The CDC website and your state’s website contain more information and updates on how to properly social distance, sanitize, and self-quarantine or isolate. They also state when one should contact their physician based on symptoms, travel history, and exposures. Recently, the CDC also launched an online COVID-19 symptom checker to clarify when to stay home and to lessen the strain on medical personal.
*My Summary on Transmission from Everyday Items
- Thankfully, remaining viable on a surface does not mean remaining infectious, i.e., a main source of transmission. Keep in mind that many viruses and germies live on surfaces and always have, including the common cold virus, yet not all of us get colds constantly.
- Whether someone gets ill with an infection depends on many factors. These include not just exposure, but also aspects such as the immune system and health of the host (person) and total viral load.
- Not so long ago in the distant past, the microbiome was our friend and virome’s multidimensional role in both health and disease was emerging. Too much sanitizing is not necessarily optimal.
- The bottom line, as it appears now, is that for most regularly used surfaces a washing and disinfectant will do ya’. Also, a sanitizing spray on boxes arriving less than 24 hours may be beneficial. This is because this critter is a bit more contagious than microbes we are used to.
Take a breath…
Now, a scent of calm.
More Lavender Oil Blends for Cortisol, Calming Anxiety, Balancing Blood Pressure, and Improving Mood
In my previous highlight, I discussed how a lavender blend using marjoram and ylang ylang was effective for lowering cortisol and blood pressure in prehypertensive and hypertensive patients.
Interestingly, this combination was shown again to calm the heart and nerves in another study. This time, researchers assessed the effects of an aromatic massage in middle-aged women with hypertension. The blend of oils evaluated were lavender, marjoram, ylang ylang, and neroli a 20:10:15:2 ratio.
The trial used a nonequivalent control group and measured home blood pressure (BP), ambulatory BP, and sleep quality. The hypertensive group (n=28) received the aroma massage with essential oils prescribed by an aromatherapist once a week and body cream once a day. The placebo group (n=28) received massage and a cream at the same frequency, but the cream contained only an artificial fragrance. There was also a third, no treatment group (n=27) for comparison. The researchers tested the groups within 2 months at different times of the year.
SBP (systolic blood pressure), DBP (diastolic blood pressure), and sleep were all found to be significantly different in the experimental group. Although the trial design may present some limitations, the researchers concluded:
In conclusion, aroma massage was effective in reducing home SBP and immediate office BP before and after the intervention as well as increasing sleep quality in middle-aged women with hypertension. Further research comparing the effects of various and convenient aromatherapy methods including bathing, topical application, and foot washing is needed.
The authors explained how this combination of essential oils was effective for alleviating stress on the cardiovascular and nervous system:
Of the aromatherapy essential oils, lavender (Lavandula officinalis), marjoram (Origanum majorana), ylang-ylang (Cananga odorata), and Neroli (Citrus aurantium) are used for hypertensive patients. Lavender is the selective oil that balances the nervous system and alleviates insomnia, while marjoram activates parasympathetic nervous system and relaxes the sympathetic nervous system. Ylang-ylang controls cardiac palpitations and hypertension, and Neroli oil is effective in insomnia and depression. The main chemical ingredients of lavender, marjoram, ylang-ylang, and neroli are linalyl acetate, terpinen-4-ol, benzyl acetate, and limonene, respectively .
Using Lavender Blends in My Naturopathic Practice
I tend to use a combination of ylang ylang and lavender whenever someone is experiencing any nervous system overload (almost everyone right now). I also use it in general for assisting in calming the heart. Usually, I have my clients apply 1-2 drops each twice a day over their hearts and inhale. I also add a drop or two of neroli if additional calming is needed. Marjoram and lavender make a wonderful calming, yet focusing, diffusing blend.
Coming Up: Another Blend in the Research and the Final Summary
In an upcoming article on this topic, I will review another study showing a blend for decreasing anxiety, headache, and serum cortisol in middle-aged women and also review several other oils and blends from research and previous posts.
Additionally, I will be providing you with my reflective readings resources.
Please post your comments below.
My Disclaimer About Immune and Wellness Balancing Measures
The above suggestions are for overall health only.
According to experts and the World Health Organization (WHO), there is no approved standard of care treatment, cure, or preventative for COVID-19. Supportive measures and containment are in full force as a result. Please see the CDC website and your state’s website for more information and updates. They also state when to contact your physician related to symptoms and travel history, exposures.
Please read my more detailed article on this subject here.
This material is for information purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, treat, or prescribe for any illness. You should check with your doctor regarding implementing any new strategies into your wellness regime. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. (Affiliation link.)
Disclaimer: This information is applicable ONLY for therapeutic quality essential oils. This information DOES NOT apply to essential oils that have not been tested for purity and standardized constituents. There is no quality control in the United States, and oils labeled as “100% pure” need only to contain 5% of the actual oil. The rest of the bottle can be filled with fillers and sometimes toxic ingredients that can irritate the skin. The studies are not based solely on a specific brand of an essential oil, unless stated. Please read the full study for more information.
For additional safety and medical information, visit my essential oils database. It includes a full category on how to use essential oils safely and potential drug interactions that can occur.
Please be extra cautious and be sure to check with your doctor if you have a seizure disorder. The Epilepsy Society of the UK lists certain essential oils implicated for their antiseizure effect as well as those that have stimulating properties.
If you and/or your physician are interested in consulting with me to assist with supporting the integration of essential oils safely into a therapeutic protocol, essential oils consultations are available.