The Body: The Complete HIV/AIDS Resource Follow Us Follow Us on Facebook Follow Us on Twitter Download Our App 
Professionals >> Visit The Body PROThe Body en Espanol
HIV/AIDS Blog Central

Liquid Gold: The Secret Life of Essential Oils, Part Two

By Philip D.

March 17, 2011

After my previous post on essential oils, I received more inquiries on the topic than any other, by far. This made me feel hopeful for the HIV-positive community. Many of us are so bound to to Pharma that sometimes it's refreshing to have somewhere else to turn to support our compromised health and complement what modern medicines have to offer us.

I realize I've given a lot of information but if you're interested in making aromatherapy part of your life, here's what I'd suggest to get you started. I am not an aromatherapist, or maybe I should say I'm a newbie aromatherapist, so for what it's worth:

  1. Consider investing in a quality diffuser to enjoy your oils. I have an ultrasonic (blows a microfine mist) model that I've used almost every night for three years and it's still going strong. It's easy to set up and refill and the best part is that it has varying, timed cycles that last through the night. Start it next to your bed (or at the office, or bathroom or ...) breathe deeply and forget about it. Start slowly and increase in duration as your body becomes accustomed. Remember, only use distilled water and Pure Essential oils (not mixed with a carrier oil) in your diffuser
  2. Start off with a few oils. Lavender and Lemon are universal oils and you can blend them with any others you add to your collection. As we learned, "therapeutic grade" labeling is not an assurance of quality but if you get a big 2oz bottle of Sandalwood for $9, it's very doubtful you would be getting maximum benefit and you will probably mess up any good diffuser. Consider pure essential oil blends that may contain several different oils that you may find appealing. Some oils mix better with others but in nature most get along sufficiently well.
  3. Use your favorite search engine to find out more or better still, hunt down a qualified aromatherapist to assist you and answer any questions. I'll help as much as I can.

    And of course, be sure to ask for and follow your doctor's advice in matters concerning your health!

I tried so hard to limit my favorite oils for the immune system to just eight; but after further consideration, I just can't help but offer some additional worthwhile contenders to those who find this complimentary therapy intriguing. After some continued research, I'm even sure several of these could have easily made the first list, had I expanded it.

Sandalwood. Talk about complexity. It's a powerful antiviral and immune stimulant but in various forms it's also been used during zillions of spiritual ceremonies and rituals for thousands of years, over five continents. Why? Because, it not only puts you naturally into a more meditative mindset but it moonlights as an antidepressant/mood elevator acting heavily on the limbic brain. Gotta love those sesquiterpenes. However, best quality happiness does not come cheap. Sandalwood has been not been replenished nearly fast enough for the World's usage. I adore a fine Sandalwood like some enjoy champagne.

Cistus. If there is one singular oil that Philip's body responded to above all others, it would be this complex, medium-pricey offering. Also known as Rock Rose, the Dr Edward Bach wrote about it as one of his 38 Remedies, "The remedy for cases where there even appears no hope. In accident serious or sudden illness, or when the patient is very frightened or terrified, or if the conditions is serious enough to cause great fear to those around." Three weeks after my diagnosis, I received an aromatherapy massage (aka heaven) as a gift from a concerned friend, to lessen my obviously stressed behavior. The body worker applied more than a dozen oils to my body over a two-hour session, but only this one created a natural, pronounced warming sensation when and where she applied it to my skin. Her verdict? My body craved it so intensely it was responding to its chemistry. Sure felt like it.

Frankincense & Myrrh. I can't be the only one that wondered why Baby Jesus got these two with some Gold from The Kings. Probably because they were considered to be two of the most powerful, useful medicines of that time. Guess what? They still offer plenty of benefit for our bodies and our brains. It seems not only have some types of inflammation met their match; this duo, simply and instinctively, goes after dis-ease. Frankincense is my personal favorite for depression and the only oil found in every aromatherapy blend I've created.

Tea Tree. I confess, a large part of why this one wasn't mentioned before is my general dislike for the aroma of most Tea Tree oils. With that said, there is a relatively new lavender hybrid that is much softer than the others. Whichever you choose, TT is about as multi-purposeful as they come. It's antibacterial, anti-fungal, antiviral, anti-parasitic and anti-inflammatory. Plus, any number of troublesome skin/scalp and athlete's foot "problems" might just disappear with a little regular use.

Lemon. Speaking of many uses, not only does this inexpensive immune stimulant come in handy all over the house and in a human, it blends with any and all essential oils. That alone should tell you something. The reason I've been using it more lately is its clinically proven ability to improve memory retention. I can't say I've noticed a big change yet but notably, my thorough, 90's recreational drug phase and possibly my current HIV regimen have to bear some of the blame.

Rose. Granted, I've never seen it mentioned for anything related to HIV or the immune system but I do get weak in the knees for the real deal. Although multi-varietal, there is no essential oil more costly (when unadulterated) or more exquisite in my opinion. It takes tens of thousands of petals to make just one drop of pure oil. One of aging skin's best friends. Known to be expressly beneficial to those haunted by nightmares, rose aroma creates a sense of well-being. Who doesn't need more of that?

Please share your favorite oils and uses here.

Inhale deep and prosper.

Send Philip D. an e-mail.

Get e-mail notifications every time Philip's blog is updated.

See Also
More on Other Physical/Spiritual Therapies


Add Your Comment:
(Please note: Your name and comment will be public, and may even show up in
Internet search results. Be careful when providing personal information! Before
adding your comment, please read's Comment Policy.)

Your Name:

Your Location:

(ex: San Francisco, CA)

Your Comment:

Characters remaining:
A Positive Spin

Philip D.

Philip D.

After testing HIV positive in 2007, I promised myself that I would make something "good" from all that I was handed. From the very beginning, each time I was presented with an obstacle or challenge, I also received some help. Usually in the form of a person, sometimes an opportunity; but I have grown so much, it has made it impossible for me to call the past few years "bad." Although I've never written much of anything before, I have been so incredibly fortunate, I feel like I must pay it forward somehow. Maybe by sharing my experience, it will help those starting later in the game, on the fast track to HAART, or anyone that's feeling a bit isolated or "stuck" with their diagnosis.

Subscribe to Philip's Blog:

Subscribe by RSSBy RSS ?

Subscribe by Email

Recent Posts:

View All Posts

A Brief Disclaimer:

The opinions expressed by's bloggers are entirely their own, and do not necessarily reflect the views of itself.