It is winter season in Bangkok, and the pollution is back… Yes, we can contribute to making Bangkok a less polluted city by consuming less and better. But there is still a long way to go for our individual steps to have an immediate impact on the air we breathe outside.
But when it comes to the air contained in our homes though, its quality has a lot to do with our lifestyle. Things like circulating the air often, getting our A/C units checked regularly, and avoiding the use of chemical detergents & cleaning products. All of that matters.
Another suggestion, to purify the air you are breathing in your own home, is to use natural aromatic extracts from plants: essential oils, via a diffuser.
Joëlle Smaniotto, photo by Ploy Phutpeng
We are focussing here on the use of essential oils through atmospheric diffusion, that is to say, propelling essential oils in the atmosphere by the mean of a diffuser.
1. Eucalyptus radiata (Eucalyptus radiata)
Thanks to its high concentration in 1,8 cineol, Eucalptus radiata essential oil is a quality choice to deal with ENT issues such as colds, cough, clear sinuses, and to help decongest your respiratory system. A tip for diffusion, is not to use it on its own but as a minor component of a blend to avoid risk of irritation.
Anti fungal ★★★☆
Anti bacterial ★★★☆
Boosts immunity ★★☆☆
Predominant aromatic molecule: 1,8 cineol (60-75%)
2. Grapefruit (Citrus paradisi)
Grapefruit essential oil is obtained by expressing its peel, from which fresh, sweet and tart notes rise! It is to me an obvious choice for diffusion for several reasons: it contains antiseptic properties, it diffuses well in the atmosphere, and its high content in limonene will at the same time work on decreasing stress and anxiety if any!
The smell of citruses is usually widely appreciated, for the entire family.
Sanitizing ★★ ★★
Predominant aromatic molecule: Limonene (84-95%)
3. Java Citronella (Cymbopogon winterianus)
Living in this region, we know well what is a lemongrass-y smell, don’t we?!
There are many types of lemon-grasses, so it is important to refer to the latin name provided with any quality essential oil, to make sure you are getting the one you are looking for as they each have their own aromatic identity.
The Java Citronella (from Indonesia) contains a high concentration of citronellal and geraniol. It is commonly used as an insect repellent, which will come handy when you open your windows to get that air ciculating at home.
Insect repellent ★★★☆
Anti fungal ★★☆☆
Predominant aromatic molecule: Citronellal (35-65%)
4. Ravintsara (Cinnamomum camphora)
Ravintsara essential oil is very efficient when dealing viral infections of all types, including those affecting your ENT and respiratory system. It is one essential oil I almost always include in blends when addressing colds or even when you feel you are “coming down” with something physically as it is a great ally to boost your immune system. Back in the West, I would say it is a winter must have! I sure always have some in my bag.
Boost immunity ★★★★
Predominant aromatic molecule: 1,8 cineol (50-65%)
5. Sweet Orange (Citrus sinensis)
The sweet smell of orange peel makes it a quality choice of essential oil for diffusion, to please the entire family. Orange essential oil is (surprisingly to some) a calming one. It contains a very high amount of limonene and not only it is relaxing but even sleep-inducing so its best diffusion time is the end of the day.
It is very volatile and diffuse easily in the air to purity the atmosphere while delicately leaving a pleasant fragrance in your home.
Active predominant molecule: Limonene (90-97%)
6. Balsam fir (Abies balsamea)
Last but not least… how not to talk about pine trees less than a month away from Christmas?
Balsam fir trees, out of all pine trees, are some of the most fragrant of all and they produce that distinctive smell that will propel us in the Christmas magic, no matter how far we are from the forest and the snow! Its essential oil is known for its antiseptic properties, especially for the respiratory system. It helps deal with mold, viruses and bacterias. It also helps lower anxiety.
Active predominant molecule: beta-pinene (28-56%)
Image from Tara Winstead, Pexels
Diffusion is one of the safest way to use essential oils. But still, it should be done carefully. I recommend to diffuse in a room that has been well aerated, to use a quality diffuser, either an atomizer (using water mist to propel the essential oils in the air), or a nebulizer (dry diffusion, propelling essential oils as micro droplets). Also, do not heat the essential oils (a good diffuser shouldn’t warm its content). The time of diffusion and quantity of essential oils to use both depend on the size of the room, and type of diffuser. As a general guideline, it is recommended to diffuse for short periods of time and never continuously.
Some essential oils, even in diffusion, can be a bit irritant, so it is better not to use those on their own, but as a minor component of a blend. If any discomfort occurs, stop diffusing!
✍ Article written by Joelle Smaniotto