Essential oils have been utilized for medicinal purposes for centuries. Known for their natural ability to combat a litany of symptoms without having any hazardous side effects, these options seemingly have greased the pathway to wellbeing for countless users. Now, with the world facing its worst health crisis in a century, it’s only fitting they’d be primed for a comeback. Last fall, Cal Orey wrote for WellWell on four essential oils perfect to sooth, calm, restore and heal bodies and minds during flu season. A year later, we reached out to revisit the topic while focusing on a scarer, more deadly flu – COVID-19. The author of numerous works on natural remedies that includes The Healing Powers Series discussed how these wholly natural products alleviate not only the physical symptoms, but the mental apprehensions associated with the virus.
Last December, you wrote a guest article for WellWell on essential oils’ ability to combat flu symptoms. Do you think this remains true for COVID-19 symptoms? If so, which ones and how.
Not only has science shown their aroma alone can stimulate the pleasure center of your brain, but the wondrous healing properties of essential oils can: bolster the immune system; banish blue moods; boost energy and stamina; and lull your body into Zen-like relaxation. What’s more, scientists have found sandalwood can suppress cytokine cell production. You may have heard about cytokine cells in the news recently. They’re the cells which can create a “cytokine storm” in the body when powerful novel viruses hit, causing the immune system to go into overload and attack itself. The best bets here are chamomile, eucalyptus, lavender, and lemon.
You also wrote The Healing Powers of Honey on honey’s diverse healing ability. What role can honey uniquely play in helping elevate COVID symptoms?
Nature’s nectar is immune-boosting, which can help you to be virus-free and stay well. How? Today we know that honey is dripping in disease-fighting antioxidants — and it naturally contains a built-in antiseptic that acts as a gentle healer and powerful bacteria fighter. If you get COVID, honey can relieve a variety of ailments to the virus, including coughs and fatigue. What’s more, it can help lower the risk of heart disease, cancer, diabetes – even help reduce body fat and unwanted weight – and may help increase the odds of beating COVID or lessen its symptoms if you are infected.
Similarly in Healing Powers of Tea, you list numerous teas’ ability to alleviate stress and anxiety, as well as increase energy levels. With so many people stuck at home now, how important is getting such relief and which teas are best at targeting these symptoms?
Herbal tea. Speaking of fighting viruses with honey, pair it with tea to ward off colds and flus often due to stress and anxiety. A cup or two of a hot, steaming and healing herbal teas, such as Vitamin C-rich rose hips and chamomile, can help you to bolster immunity and soothe your nervous system. Black and green teas are chock-full of disease-fighting antioxidants. One cup of green tea has no fat, sodium, sugar, or calories.
Your new book, The Healing Powers of Herbs & Spices acts a culmination of all these benefits, demonstrating the vast appeal and application of herbs and spices. What contributes to their distinctly expansive capabilities?
Anise, bay leaf, garlic, parsley, turmeric, and more–for thousands of years, herbs and spices have been praised for preserving and flavoring food, as well as preventing and curing illnesses. The latest research reveals that the seasonings can lower your risk for cancer, heart disease, and obesity. Herbs and spices – many with Mediterranean roots — bring abundant zest to your table while lowering your cholesterol, balancing your blood sugar, and revving up your metabolism–at any age. Ward off colds and flu, banish a hacking cough, and lessen your anxiety and boost your mood with aromatic natural ingredients found in dried and fresh flavorings.
What are the most useful herbs and spices to combat the multiple issues mentioned above?
Today, in the twenty-first century, germs, viruses—including COVID-19—and superbugs are lurking everywhere, in your workplace, when on a plane, or even in your home. Antimicrobial marjoram may help bolster your immune system so you will be resistant to an infectious bug or even a superbug that is resistant to antibiotics. Researchers have discovered and pinpointed plant essential oils found in marjoram, like other Mediterranean plants, which have anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties. This, in result, means including the herb in a healthy diet and lifestyle, used in your diet food and even a tea, may help to lower your odds of getting sick.
The herbs and spices mentioned in your book are generally derived from the Mediterranean Diet. What role does that diet play and how is it more effective towards promoting health in comparison to others?
The Mediterranean Diet is one of the most popular and heart-healthy lifestyle choices, allowing for versatile herbs and spices. The diet itself is a plant-based regime with vegetables and fruits, grains, fish, poultry, eggs, nuts, olive oil and, of course, herbs and spices. By infusing dishes with flavorful allspice, chives, fennel, oregano, pepper, saffron, tarragon and special blends like Herbes de Provence you add disease-fighting antioxidants to help you build immunity and keep you slim.
You recently wrote on your blog about a profound experience you had regarding a planned trip to Alaska, what was that experience like?
I booked another flight for early winter to Anchorage, Alaska, because like tasting different herbs and spices—it promised an exciting experience. Before my journey I scrutinized a popular hotel food menu. It was my dream to feast on seasoned fresh salads, pastas, and fresh citrus fruit for breakfast in my suite overlooking the city skyline and snowcapped mountains.
Like always, my carry-on was filled with herbal teas, such as chamomile and hibiscus since I didn’t get a flu shot. Alas, I did fulfill my dream of flying to Alaska. However, on a 737-800 jet, rough air due to the hurricane-force winds in Anchorage was nerve-racking. While we landed in Anchorage, not diverted to Fairbanks, I was greeted with no snow, fog with zero visibility and cloud cover so no aurora borealis to view in the sky. The worst part? Garden-fresh organic herbs, like chefs at spas and on television love to use in cooking, are not readily available in December. But dried herbs and spices did come to the rescue. They usually do.
About Cal Orey, M.A.
Cal Orey, M.A. Is an author and journalist. Her books include the Healing Powers Series (Vinegar, Olive Oil, Chocolate, Honey, Coffee, Tea, Superfoods, Essential Oils, Herbs and Spices) published by Kensington. (The collection has been featured by the Good Cook Book Club.)
For More Visit www.calorey.com