Can essential oils help to address air quality problems?  This long, hot, dry summer has meant that all over wild fires have been a real challenge.  Not only do they bring destruction to the land in their wake, but the smoke affects the air quality over large distances.  BC Air Quality has put out, and continues to monitor Air quality advisories all over the Province.  No doubt the same is being done in other provinces in Canada and States in the US.  What is of concern to those who are affected by these is the potential damage than can occur to the respiratory system through the inhalation of smoke. Fortunately there are many essential oils that can be helpful for air quality problems.

As I understand it the smoke that is inhaled can cause damage to the body in a number of ways.
  • The smoke carried into the body by hot air can actually damage or destroy tissue in the mouth, nose and upper respiratory system.
  • Smoke can also cause damage by irritating tissues. Materials found in smoke can be toxic to the cells or they can cause physical damage by rubbing across the tissues.
  • Smoke cuts off the supply of oxygen to the body and therefor can starve the body of the oxygen needed to remain alive and function normally.

First and foremost it is important to make sure that anyone exposed to smoke inhalation is getting enough oxygen into their system. If they are breathing easily this is simple enough to do, if they are wheezing their airway may be blocked or restricted and they will need a bronchodilator to help the muscles of the respiratory system to relax so that the oxygen can get through.

We certainly have a number of essential oils that could help to relax and soothe the respiratory system.  We also have essential oils that could help to boost tissue repair and support the immune system.  Make up the blends to have on hand.  They will then be ready to be used in a variety of diffent ways.  These include personal inhalers, diffusers, sprays and misters.  This can make all the difference.

Consider choosing oils for your blends from oils with:
  • an antispasmodic action like: basil, bergamot, cajeput, cedarwood, chamomile, cypress, eucalyptus, sweet fennel and thyme.
  • a soothing action on irritated or inflamed mucous membranes like: benzoin, frankincense, myrrh and sandalwood.
  • an immune stimulating actionlike: cajeput, eucalyptus, lavender, lemon, niaouli, palmarosa, ravintsara, rosemary, tea tree and thyme.
  • an anti-inflammatory actionlike: blue tansy, German Chamomile, helichrysum and yarrow.
  • to slow stress related breathing: frankincense.
  • to ease tightness of breath or feelings of congestion: elemi
  • General respiratory support oils: many of the tree oils like eucalyptus, fir, myrtle, pine, tea tree.
Immune Booster Mister/ Sanitizer Recipe

You can use the blend in a number of other ways as well.  For instance, add it to a Personal Inhaler or use any of the diffuser methods of your choice.
Immune Booster | West Coast Institute of Aromatherapy

Read more Boosting our Immune Systems 

Read about Respiratory Infections