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Episode 181: Supporting Your Immune System, Plus the History of Ravintsara

In this episode we sit down with Dr. Scott Johnson to talk about how you can support your immune system. He'll discuss lifestyle choices you can make, which doTERRA supplements will help you support your immune system, as well as some of his favorite oils to use to help support your immune system, like Turmeric.





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doTERRA: A healthy, supported immune system can make all the difference. And today, we're going to talk about what you can do to support your immune system every day.

Welcome back to  Essential Oil Solutions with doTERRA,  the podcast where you'll hear exciting, useful, and simple everyday uses for essential oils from experts in the field. If you like what you hear today, rate, review, and subscribe wherever you listen. We always appreciate hearing from you.

Today, we're excited to talk to Dr. Scott Johnson—doTERRA employee and author of multiple books and hundreds of articles about health, wellness, and essential oils—about how you can support a healthy immune system. Scott, thank you so much for being here with us today.

Scott Johnson: You bet! Thanks for having me again.

doTERRA: We love to talk to you because you have so much essential oil information in your head. And so this is a topic that I'm really excited to talk to you about because supporting our immune system can seem a little complex and intimidating. Why is it that I shouldn't be intimidated?

Scott: The immune system is a complex and multifaceted system, but supporting its proper function is actually pretty simple. In fact, it's not really any different than what you should do to support your overall wellness. A healthy immune system is maintained by living a healthy lifestyle. I think that bears repeating. A healthy immune system is maintained by living a healthy lifestyle. All too often, we think there is a magic bullet that will make sure our immune system is working optimally. But it isn't magic. It's living for wellness.

doTERRA: Absolutely. And you mentioned that healthy lifestyle. What are some of the lifestyle choices that I can make to help make sure I'm keeping my immune system healthy?

Scott: The immune system relies upon a steady supply of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients to function optimally, particularly vitamins D and C and the mineral selenium and zinc.

Healthy Diet

So we need to eat healthy foods that supply these nutrients. Vitamin D can be found in fish, raw mushrooms, and eggs. Vitamin C is in citrus fruits, cruciferous vegetables, and peppers. Zinc in seeds, legumes, and nuts. And selenium in Brazil nuts, fish, and brown rice.

Physical Activity

Secondly, regular physical activity helps maintain a body environment that is less hospitable to illness, and it triggers changes in antibodies and white blood cells that may help support healthy immune function.

Manage Stress

Of course, you need to manage stress and emotions. Constantly elevated stress can promote maladaptation that suppresses immune function, and our cells adapt to the neuro chemicals that are released in response to our mood state.

I don't think people fully appreciate just how much stress and emotions affect their overall wellness.

Reduce Toxic Load

Toxins are another thing to consider when it comes to immune function. A study published in the journal Science in 2019 found that common toxins in the environment can harm the immune system and weaken the body's defenses against microbial threats. Even more alarming, parents pass these damaged immune systems on to their children.

Proper Rest

Proper rest is also important. Sleep is the time for your body to slow down and reset, and sleep loss promotes reduced immune cell activity, limiting our ability to fight infection.

So although the immune system is complicated, supporting it is simple and aligned with the lifestyle factors that you would want to maintain anyway for overall wellness.

doTERRA: I think you're absolutely right, and it's comforting to know that there is so much that is within our control that we can do to help support our immune system.

Scott: Right.

doTERRA: Now, you mentioned supplements in there because it is hard to make sure we're getting all of the different vitamins and minerals that we need. What supplements does doTERRA have to help support my immune system?

Scott:: I'm glad you asked that because being proactive in supporting healthy immune function is a major key, and supplements are a proactive way to do so.

Foundationally, a daily vitality pack, like LLV, can support healthy immune function by providing healthy fats, vitamins, minerals, and other important vital compounds.

Microplex VMz®

Microplex VMz is a comprehensive assortment of vitamins and minerals provided as a food nutrient complex or chelate, so the body readily recognizes and absorbs the nutrients it provides. It contains nutrients critical to immune system function that I mentioned earlier, vitamins D and C, zinc, and selenium.

Alpha CRS+®

The LLV pack is important, though, because some nutrients need help being delivered into the cells. Quercetin is a great bio flavonoid that helps deliver nutrients inside cells, and it is found in Alpha CRS+. In addition, Alpha CRS+ provides a variety of antioxidants to help protect cells against free radical damage, and healthy cells mean healthy tissues and organs and ultimately a healthy person.

xEO Mega®

Last but not least in the LLV pack is the xEO Mega, which provides healthy fats. One particular fatty acid that is important for healthy immune function is DHA. DHA helps regulate genes that belong to immune response pathways, making it important to shore up our immune defenses. Also, DHA and EPA are involved in the inflammatory response, which is an immune function.

PB Assist®+

Another foundational supplement is PB Assist+. A healthy gut microbiome is essential to maintaining proper immune function. And this supplement provides six probiotic strains to encourage a healthy gut microbiome. It's also important or notable that the largest mass of lymphoid tissue is found in your gut, and it's called the gut-associated lymphoid tissue. It's estimated that 70% of the immune system is located here, and about 80% of your plasma cells, like antibodies, reside in the gut-associated lymphoid tissue.

doTERRA On Guard®+ Tablets

During more challenging times, I would say you have On Guard+ Tablets that provide vitamin C, vitamin D, zinc, and powerful beta glucan, which is a natural prebiotic fiber known to aid immune responses.

So there are a lot of doTERRA supplements you can choose from to help your immune system work as efficiently as possible.

doTERRA: I love that, and I love that there are so many options and so many ways to make sure you're getting that well-rounded dose of everything that you need. Now, before we end, I have to ask about essential oils specifically. What essential oils do you love to use to support your immune system?

Scott: On Guard is a fantastic option because it is loaded with essential oils traditionally used to support a healthy immune response. Even better, it comes in an easy-to-use soft gel as On Guard+, which also includes some additional essential oils: Oregano, Melissa, and Black Pepper.

Turmeric is one that is probably not thought of as often, but your inflammatory response is mediated by the immune system. And turmeric provides antioxidant support when ingested, all of which can improve your immune responses.

I'd also suggest diffusing Breathe essential oil during the night to contribute to a restful environment where you can get a good night's rest.

Another one I like to use is Frankincense oil, the king of oils. I find it very balancing in its effects.

Having said that, there are many others, and I would tell people, don't be afraid to experiment and find what works best for you. Each of us is biologically unique, and so our experience will be a bit different than that of others. Try some of the common oils used to support immune function and also try some of the less common ones, and you might be surprised by your results.

doTERRA: I think you're absolutely right. Finding what works for you is key in making sure that you are doing your best to support your body. Scott, it has been fantastic to talk to you today. We always learn so much from your experience and the scientific knowledge that you have. We really appreciate you.

Scott: My pleasure. Glad to do it.

doTERRA: The bright green leaves and the clear, sharp, fresh aroma of the ravintsara tree are the first things to greet you, but there is so much more hidden beneath the surface.

Ravintsara is an evergreen tree with the scientific name Cinnamomum camphora. The term cinnamomumis derived from the Greek root kinnamon or kinnamomon, meaning sweet wood.

History of Ravintsara

The history and uses of ravintsara have been intertwined with the history of Madagascar, but the tree is actually native to China, Japan, and Taiwan. It was introduced to Madagascar during the middle of the 19th century, though there is a lot of disagreement on how the tree made its way to there. In the countries where Cinnamomun camphora originates it is well known for camphor, which is extracted from the leaves and wood.


But one of the most interesting things about this tree is that, through research, it’s been found that there are a number of different subspecies or chemotypes, and the chemical profile of the essential oil distilled from the different subspecies is incredibly different, depending on where the tree was grown.

So, while the trees grown in Japan produce camphor the Cinnamomum camphora cultivated in Madagascar contains high levels of cineole, which is also known as eucalyptol, and doesn’t have any camphor. And the only difference between the two trees is where they are grown.

Harvest and Distillation

Now, the entire ravintsara tree is aromatic, but the ravintsara oil is contained in secretory pockets on the leaves. Leaf harvesting is done manually by farmers living on the production sites. The fresh leaves are distilled immediately after collection or, at the latest, the next day.

Historical Use of Ravintsara

The Malagasy people, who are the people native to Madagascar, give high regard and value to the ravintsara tree. And this is evident in the origin of the word ravintsara. In Malagasy, ravintsara translates to “the tree with good leaves.” Coming from the Malagasy words ravint meaning “leaf” and sara meaning “good for you”

The leaf of the tree has long been used in the central highlands of Madagascar as a folk remedy. Tea made with the leaves is often used as a home help in times of need. Ravintsara can also be rubbed on the chest, or the leaves can be steamed and the vapors inhaled.

Traditional beliefs say that ravintsara could also be used to remove the evil eye and stimulate the spirit in a positive way. And some beliefs reveal that ravintsara would also allow traveling in the subconscious.

Not only has the tree been utilized in health practices, but the Malagasy have even found a place for it in their cooking. The leaves are sometimes used as condiments in certain culinary specialties.

The Malagasy people have given the tree “noble” status because of its aesthetic and how useful it is in traditional. For centuries, ravintsara trees have been planted on the estates of the noble families of Madagascar. And when the French colonists came in the late 1800s, they noticed how much the Malagasy people revered the ravintsara leaf. Taking their cue from the native people, the French colonists also began to hold the tree in high esteem and began planting ravintsara trees on the grounds of their hospitals and missions.

We continue to hold the ravintsara tree in high esteem, and we know you will too!

Thanks for joining us and congratulations on living a healthier lifestyle with essential oils. If you liked what you heard today, rate, review, and subscribe wherever you listen. Also, if you want to try any of the products you learned about, go to or find a Wellness Advocate near you to place an order today.

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