In this series of articles you’re going to find out about your immune system. We’ll look at how a healthy immune system functions and signs that you may need additional support.
You'll be introduced to the best essential oils to use for boosting your immune function. These oils will give you the additional support needed for preventing and relieving all types of infections, including the common cold and flu.
You’ll also learn what the latest research shows about these oils and why you’ll want to consider using them for a variety of home health care therapies.
The guidance and featured recipes you’ll get will empower you to stay healthy and vital at any age. You’ll be armed with the necessary protection to help prevent disease and much less likely to fall prey to many of the modern day diseases that may threaten.
What is your immune system?
Your body has a built-in house keeping system that functions 24/7 as your bodyguard to protect you against foreign invaders. Your immune system works with your other body organs and systems to keep every part of you clean, clear and healthy.
Similar to home maintenance, your immune system cares for the proper and normal functioning of your entire body. Your immune system can function on demand and also has processes in place that deal primarily with keeping you healthy on an ongoing basis.
You are wired to respond and react to everything in your environment. The ability to adapt quickly and efficiently to your environment are key components of a healthy functioning immune system. These immune responses within your body happen automatically without your even thinking about them.
You might say your immune system is the foundation of your health. It makes sure all of your organs and systems are healthy and functioning at their peak performance.
What comprises your immune system?
Your immune system is made up of your skin, bone marrow, blood circulatory system, tonsils, the thymus gland, spleen, lymph nodes and mucous membranes which includes the linings of your eyes, nose, mouth, respiratory and digestive tracts.
Immune cells are also located in every organ and system in your body. A conversation between your immune cells and everything else in your body is continually going on. Lymphatic fluid and lymph nodes help your tissues and bloodstream communicate. Lymph nodes, located throughout your body, gather information and make plans for defense and protection.
Essentially your immune system is made up of organs that control the production of certain protective defense cells, called lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell (leukocyte). Your bone marrow and thymus gland, situated above the heart and behind the breast bone, are called primary lymphoid organs.
The immune system’s defense cells are made in your bone marrow and travel throughout your body by way of the bloodstream to stay informed about everything that’s happening in your organs and tissues.
3 Types of Immunity
Essentially your body has two kinds of immunity, ‘innate’ and ‘adaptive.’ Both branches of your immune system work together. There is also a third type of immunity called ‘passive’ which is acquired before, during and after birth when breast fed.
1 - Your innate immunity is the primitive part of your immune system. It functions in general and non-specific ways. It is your first responder when under attack from a foreign invader. Your ‘innate’ immune system is made up of your skin, white blood cells and mucous membranes.
Your gut lining is also a part of this primitive and dynamic part of your immune system. More than half of your immune producing cells are located in your intestines and appendix.
2 - Your ‘adaptive’ immune system is much more complex and serves as the backup for the functioning of your ‘innate’ immunity. Your ‘adaptive’ immune system has more specificity. Its job it to identify and target very specific invaders. Your ‘adaptive’ immunity keeps a list of these foreign invaders for future reference as needed to signal when an immediate response is needed.
3 - ‘Passive’ immunity is a third type of immune support that babies get from their moms. During her last 3 months of pregnancy, the mother passes antibodies to her unborn baby through the placenta. Babies also acquire immunity from their moms via vaginal delivery and nursing on mother’s milk.
Three (3) reasons why essential oils are so effective for boosting immunity.
As a whole essential oils tend to be potent anti-microbial agents. This is because their parent plants have a vested interest in killing bugs, fungus, bacteria and other tiny microbes. This protective mechanism manifests as plant excretions which are extracted as essential oils. As a result essential oils have the ability to break down microbial bio fields that are stubborn and resistant to many antibiotics.
Adaptation is a key component in the evolution and survival of species. Darwin is quoted as saying, “The species that survives is the one that is able to adapt to and adjust best to the changing environment in which it finds itself.”
An adaptogenic is a natural substance that helps the body to adapt to stress. An adaptogenic (or regulator) exerts a normalizing influence upon bodily processes. Meaning they have a regulating effect on the body’s responses when they’ve gotten out of balance as in the case of illness and infection.
Essential oil molecules are extremely tiny. Their lipid-soluble quality is very similar to that of your own cell membranes, making them easy to absorb and bioavailable in your body.
By inhaling their aromatic vapors, essential oils enter through your lungs and are transported through your blood capillaries and circulatory system to reach lymph nodes and all of your body’s organs and systems.
Similarly, through applying essential oils, suitably diluted on your body, they can penetrate skin cell tissues and pores, hair follicles and sweat glands for delivery through your blood stream to lymph nodes and all of your body’s organs and systems.
CLARY SAGE (Salvia sclarea)
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FDA Approved: Generally Regarded as Safe (GRAS) Status
The first of the essential oils to consider for supporting your immunity is clary sage. Clary sage has been approved by the Federal Drug Administration for use by the public and has generally regarded as safe (GRAS) status.
As you may know, the spreading of bacterial antibiotic resistance in hospitals and clinics has reached epidemic proportions. This has led to investigative research for finding other antibacterial agents which can provide a valuable complement to existing therapies.
One such study was conducted to determine the antibacterial activity of clary sage (Salvia sclarea) against Staphylococcus. A comprehensive evaluation of Staphylococcus clinical strain resistance to antibiotics was performed.
Clary sage oil was shown active against Staphylococcus aureus, S. epidermidis and S. xylosus.
The study concluded, “The results of the in vitro tests encourage use of formulations containing clary sage oil as an active natural antimicrobial agent. Because of its antimicrobial properties clary sage oil may be applied to treat wounds and skin infections.”
One of the most powerful adaptogenics in aromatherapy, clary sage has an especially inviting, softly floral and sweet scent. Clary sage can have a deeply soothing effect on nervous tension and stress related symptoms in both men and women. As stress is often associated as a root cause for diminished immune response, it is excellent as a preventative measure and helpful for boosting your immune response.
CAUTIONS: Skin sensitization (moderate risk). As Clary Sage can make some people feel exceedingly woozy and faint please avoid using it when driving or needing to focus. Maximum dermal use level .25%.