As winter quickly approaches, cold and flu season seems to be just around the corner. The stress of the holidays and the constant presence of germs around us tend to compromise the immune system, making those dreaded runny noses, irritating coughs, and clogged sinuses seem inevitable. Illness can quickly force us into the confines of our homes, making it difficult to enjoy the wide variety of winter activities. Rather than turning to pharmaceutical remedies this cold and flu season, you can stock up on virus-fighting essential oils that will help you find relief while adding the powerful benefits of aromatherapy to your home. These essential oils can reduce symptoms while helping you to avoid getting sick in the future. Are you ready to stock up? Here are 10 powerful essential oils for treating cold and flu symptoms and preventing future sickness:
1. Clove Oil to Reduce Pain and Inflammation
Clove oil has been used for many years to reduce pain and inflammation. If you’ve ever used clove oil to treat a toothache, perhaps you are already familiar with its strong numbing effect which is also quite helpful when it comes to treating a sore throat. Due to its antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and analgesic properties and its ability to boost the immune system, clove oil is an excellent tool for treating and preventing cold and flu symptoms. Pick up clove bud essential oil today!
To relieve a chesty cough:
Add 2 drops of clove oil and 4 drops of myrtle oil to a carrier oil such as olive oil or coconut oil. Smooth this mixture over your chest.
To numb a sore throat and boost the immune system:
Add a few drops of food-grade clove oil to hot water, and sip slowly. Gargle each sip for a few moments before swallowing. Repeat this procedure up to 3 times in 24 hour periods.
2. Cinnamon Bark and Cinnamon Oil Work Wonders For Cold and Flu Symptoms
The warm, spicy scent of cinnamon is often associated with fall and winter months, and it provides a sense of comfort for many. Did you know that cinnamon oil can also offer relief from irritating cold and flu symptoms? It is important to note that there are two different types of cinnamon oil, each with slightly different uses: Cinnamon bark oil is very potent with a strong, perfume-like aroma. This oil effectively enhances nitric oxide function to increase blood flow and reduce inflammation. Cinnamon leaf oil has a spicy, musky scent and boasts anesthetic, antiseptic, antimicrobial, and antioxidant properties. Leaf oil tends to have a much milder effect than that of bark oil.
To relieve a sore throat:
Add lemon, raw honey, and cinnamon to hot water and sip slowly.
To treat a headache:
Diffuse cinnamon oil throughout the home to expand blood vessels and increase circulation.
To combat fatigue:
Add 4 drops cinnamon leaf oil and 4 drops peppermint oil to 4 tsp carrier oil, and massage into sore muscles.
3. Eucalyptus Relieves Congestion
If you’ve ever used Vix VapoRub to treat a cough and relieve congestion, you’ve already experienced the benefits of eucalyptus. Eucalyptus essential oil provides quick relief for those suffering from blocked nasal passages and strained breathing. Its strong, menthol scent is great for overall respiratory health as it reduces inflammation of the lungs and reduces sinus pressure. There are many effective uses for eucalyptus oil, however, it is important to note that it should never be ingested.
To improve breathing and relieve congestion and cough:
Use eucalyptus oil in a diffuser, or add a few drops to a hot bath. The combination of the oil and the steam can help to clear nasal passages. Eucalyptus oil can also be added to a carrier oil and applied under the nose, onto the throat area, and to the chest. Additionally, try applying this mixture to the bottoms of the feet and cover with socks for nighttime relief.
To soothe sore, aching muscles:
Add a few drops of eucalyptus oil to a carrier oil. To enhance its penetration, add eucalyptus oil to Almond oil. Massage this into sore muscles for quick pain relief.
4. Use Frankincense Oil for its Antibacterial and Antiseptic Properties
A strong decongestant with antibacterial and antiseptic properties, frankincense essential oil is an ideal go-to choice for cold and flu season. It works by eliminating phlegm in the lungs, clearing nasal passages, and relieving muscle fatigue and soreness during times of sickness. By using frankincense essential oil to clean the surfaces in your home, you can effectively kill germs and help prevent illness. Diffusing this oil also helps to reduce indoor pollution and clean the air around you while simultaneously reducing stress.
For congestion relief:
Add several drops of frankincense oil to a hot bath and inhale the steam slowly as you bathe.
To reduce a headache:
Add a few drops of frankincense oil to a warm washcloth. Apply the cloth to your forehead and chest.
5. Ginger Treats Cold and Flu Symptoms but also has Antiviral Properties
Not only is ginger essential oil a great way to treat cold and flu symptoms, using it regularly also helps to prevent viruses altogether due to its strong antiviral effect. It is also particularly effective at stimulating appetite and easing digestion. Ginger has a unique warming effect, which raises the body’s temperature slightly to stimulate perspiration which helps to fight off viral infections, rapidly flush out toxins, and ward off chills. Its expectorant effects aid your body in loosening mucus and soothing lung tissue.
For illness prevention and symptom relief:
High-quality ginger oil can be added to your favorite herbal tea. For an extra powerful wellness tonic, add a few drops of ginger oil, raw honey, turmeric, cayenne pepper, and lemon to a cup of hot water and enjoy this mixture several times a day.
To increase blood flow and warm the body:
Add several drops of ginger oil to a hot bath, or dilute with a carrier oil and use as a gentle, warming massage oil.
6. Lemon Oil and the Immune System
Like ginger essential oil, lemon essential oil has the power to boost the immune system and prevent illness before it takes hold by stimulating the production of white blood cells. Lemon oil is highly beneficial for those experiencing fatigue. Diffusing it into your home can help to lift your mood and provide improved mental clarity and wakefulness. Using this oil can help to reduce fever, swollen glands, and bodily aches and pains.
For earache relief and to reduce lymph node swelling
Dilute lemon oil with a carrier oil of your choice, and dab this solution around the fronts and backs of ears and near lymph nodes.
To fight fatigue:
Use several drops of lemon oil in a diffuser, or add to a carrier oil for a stimulating massage. Add a few drops of food-grade lemon oil to herbal tea or hot water. Combine with raw honey and ginger for extra strength.
7. Lavender Helps you Unwind and Sleep Well
The sweet, floral aroma of lavender is known for its ability to promote relaxation and comfort. Because symptoms of cold, flu and other respiratory issues tend to become worse during nighttime, lavender essential oil is a wonderful way to help you unwind and find the peaceful, rejuvenating sleep that will encourage your body to rapidly heal itself. Because lavender has a very gentle decongestant effect, it allows for eased breathing while you get much-needed rest.
For congestion relief and deep relaxation:
Draw a hot bath, and add several drops of lavender oil. Or, add lavender oil to your favorite carrier oil and massage onto the chest, back, shoulders, and neck.
To promote restful sleep:
Diffuse lavender oil in your bedroom at night, or apply a small amount to pillows and blankets.
8. Oregano Oil Does More Than You Know
Studies have shown that oregano essential oil is highly effective in treating colds, flu, and various other respiratory ailments. Using oregano oil helps reduce congestion and pressure while treating the underlying cause of symptoms, making it an excellent alternative to pharmaceutical antitussives. It boasts powerful antiviral and antimicrobial properties and is high in antioxidants, zinc, calcium, potassium, vitamin A, and vitamin C.
To relieve symptoms and boost the immune system:
Place 2-3 drops (GRAS certified) oregano oil under the tongue. Let the oil absorb for about 30 seconds before swallowing.
For a natural hand sanitizer that protects against illness:
Combine a few drops of oregano oil with coconut oil. Rub this mixture onto hands several times a day.
Because it contains menthol, a common ingredient found in cough drops, peppermint essential oil quickly helps reduce a sore throat, cough, and stuffed up nasal passages. Additionally, the antispasmodic quality of peppermint oil helps to treat a persistent cough. It is able to quickly alleviate headaches that are often caused by the pressure associated with congestion. In fact, studies have found that applying peppermint oil to the forehead and to aching muscles can be just as effective as commonly used pain relievers such as Tylenol.
To clear blocked sinuses:
Fill a large bowl with hot water, and add 3 drops of peppermint oil and 2 drops of eucalyptus oil. Position your face over the bowl, and drape a towel over the back of your head. Inhale the steam slowly.
To soothe sore muscles and relieve a tension headache:
Use a carrier oil of your choice, and combine it with 2 drops of peppermint oil and 2 drops of lavender oil. Rub this combination onto your chest, back, and apply a very small amount to your temples.
10. Tea Tree Oil
Unlike commonly used cold medicines, tea tree essential oil works at the root of the cause by fighting the infection rather than simply suppressing the symptoms. Tea tree oil can be used to combat cold and flu from the moment warning signs appear, or if the illness has already taken hold, tea tree oil can help to greatly reduce its severity. When added to a hot bath, this powerful remedy can induce profuse sweating to help the body rid itself of toxins. Like eucalyptus and peppermint, the menthol effect of tea tree oil makes it a valuable tool in warding off cold and flu symptoms such as fever chills, congestion, and aches and pains.
To loosen chest congestion and fight illness:
Add a few drops of tea tree oil to a hot bath, or use it in a diffuser to purify the air and combat colds and the flu.
To encourage eased breathing and restful sleep:
Combine tea tree oil and lavender oil in a diffuser in your bedroom, or dilute with a carrier oil and apply to your chest.
Disclaimer: These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, nor to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent disease. Information found on this site is meant for educational and informational purposes only.
Warnings: Keep out of reach of children. If pregnant or on medication consult your Doctor. Keep away from eyes and sensitive areas. For topical use dilute with a carrier oil.