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Essential oils (EOs) have been used as traditional remedies throughout history, including inhaling the vapors to provide relief from colds and other respiratory infections. Now modern research is showing that they hold the potential to fight influenza viruses, and possibly other respiratory viruses. Influenza, also known as the flu, continues to pose annual threats worldwide as modern science struggles with therapies due to mutated viruses and drug resistance. A 2014 study examined the effect and safety of several EO vapors and their effects on the flu virus with promising results.
Researchers examined several different EOs which were added to test tubes and capped with lids containing dried virus particles. The test tubes were then maintained at 98.6° F for 10- and 30-minute time frames before examining the oils’ effect on the virus particles. After only 10 minutes, both citrus bergamot and eucalyptus oil vapors showed significant antiviral activity. After 30 minutes, the essential oil vapors from cinnamon, lemongrass, lavender, and geranium were able to completely inactivate the influenza virus.
As respiratory viruses continue to pose great threats throughout our nation and the world, it is necessary that we look to both new and old solutions. Based on this study, EOs from citrus bergamot, eucalyptus, cinnamon, lemongrass, lavender, and geranium hold the potential to be used in aromatherapy as another tool in the fight against respiratory viruses. Diffusers and essential oils are affordable and safe options that can be used in conjunction with other immune- supporting protocols.
Melatonin, a hormone produced in the pineal gland in the brain, is well known for regulating the biological rhythm of our sleep-wake cycle. However, recent research has shown that melatonin has therapeutic properties well beyond regulating sleep, including supporting mental health and wellbeing.
In a recent study that included women with fibromyalgia, 12-15 mg of melatonin taken at night for ten days resulted in significant improvements in quality of life, mood status, anxiety, and pain. Additionally, urinary cortisol levels were also significantly decreased, indicating that melatonin may benefit mood and mental health by counterbalancing our primary stress hormone.
12-15 mg of melatonin taken at night for ten days resulted in significant improvements iquality of life, mood status, anxiety, & pain.
Similar results were also observed in two separate studies including diabetic patients undergoing dialysis and women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). When these individuals took 10 mg of melatonin once per day, one hour before bedtime for 12 weeks, researchers saw significant improvements in not only sleep quality, but also in a reduction in the frequency of depression and anxiety. Other findings included improvements in metabolic health parameters, including helping to maintain glycemic control by improving insulin levels and markers of insulin resistance.
In summary, melatonin has numerous mechanisms in which it may positively impact mental health, including counterbalancing cortisol (acting as an anti-stress factor), improving sleep quality, maintaining glycemic control, and reducing the frequency of depression and anxiety.