Yvonne Berger

Harnessing Plant-Based Essential Oils To Clean Up The Oxygen Supply

Breathing is an aspect of living so innate to our human biology that we don’t always take inventory of its recurring ebb-and-flow. But if you can allow your mind to escort you to a Magic School Bus type of investigation, you’ll find that within this rich airflow intruders prowl: dust particles, prickly allergens, and other unfavorable foes. We filter our water, the air that flows through our air-conditioning, so why not filter our personal oxygen supply?

Airware began eight years ago with the goal of providing general contractors a better breathing alternative to uncomfortable face-mask. Tired of getting fined for his workers unwilling to rock the ear loops, David Dolezal developed a medical grade nasal insert with guidance of local engineers; one of which was from 3M (formerly known as Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing). Together they designed a nasal dilator equipped with a filtration device that’s discreet, effective, and doesn’t compromise natural breathing. Not only could construction workers benefit from this device, but the product had potential for use in countries like China and India, where rampant air pollution compromises the health of regular citizens. There was also something to be said for the citizens of Japan and Korea who cautiously wear face-masks, blockading microorganisms, because they are in close proximity to other people. The ‘aha’ moment for Airware must have felt like a heart-attack— this idea was golden.

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Two-and-a-half years ago Jeffrey Rassas, the president of Airware, guided the company through a launch of essential oil infused products (Air Headache, Decongest, Allergy, Nausea, Sport and Travel).

Plant-based essential oils provide an array of healing benefits– in Airware’s products they are used to address a number of ailments by infusing the inner branches of the nasal insert with plant energetics that act as a natural purification system.

The company uses essential oils extracted through steam-distillation and other cold-pressing techniques. The lavender, peppermint, ginger, citrus, and eucalyptus oils Airware uses are a complex arrangement of hydrocarbons and oxygenated compounds whose biggest therapeutic value comes in the form of monoterpenes, which inhibit the accumulation of toxins and serve as a healer of both mind and body.

Airware nasal insertThe antimicrobial properties in plant oils act as an additional filter while simultaneously addressing a number of bodily ailments. Airware vends their products online at Walgreens and Target, and throughout Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, China, and India. “We feel like India’s a big market for us and we recently launched our product through a hospital group there,” Rassas told me. A partnership of this sort has the potential to save lives in polluted regions of the world where plant-based healing technology is low-impact, cost effective, and easy to distribute.

The World Health Organization reports that half of the urban population being monitored is currently exposed to air pollution 2.5 times recommended levels. The most dangerous particles are ten micrometers or smaller (the nose and throat can filter out pollutants above ten micrometers by producing mucus) which can penetrate lungs and cause bronchitis, lung cancer, and COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease).

In countries like India and China where air pollution is rampant and unavoidable, citizens are advised to wear some type of filtration or else stay inside. Rassas passionately explains, “Depending upon the size of the microbe, we can filter up to 98%. A virus is going to be less than a tenth of a micrometer so we’re not going to be able to filter that [with the first Breathe product]. But add the electrostatic filter, the antimicrobial essential oils, and the fact that virus’ and other bacteria travel through a dust particle or a water droplet, like a sneeze or a cough– which are more substantial in size– and our product can effectively protect you.”

Nasal inserts, unconventional as they may seem, can address a wide array of concerns that point equally to the same mission: promoting more opportunities to breathe deeper and be apart of nature. Plants, even in the form of essential oils, are still the key to getting some fresh air.

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