We all know that there's nothing worse than the flu and colds. Whether at work or home, these diseases can leave you feeling tired, congested, and unable to breathe properly. If you have essential oils in your home, they might be able to help reduce the effects of having a cold or flu. Essential oils can help boost your immune system and help with breathing issues associated with both infections! Here are some of our favorite ways to use them:
Why Essential Oils?
They are natural, not synthetic: They're safe to use in small amounts, and many of them have antiviral properties that can help your body fight off germs.
They are easy to use: just put a drop or two under your tongue or rub it on your chest before bedtime (or all over if you don't mind smelling like an orange peel).
They can help prevent illness: before it starts by boosting your body's ability to ward off infection. For example, peppermint oil is well known as a natural expectorant that helps relieve congestion of the sinuses while easing symptoms of coughing and sneezing. And studies show that lavender oil has antibacterial properties that help reduce inflammation in the lungs, which may make it effective against certain respiratory conditions such as bronchitis or pneumonia.
Here's how to use essential oils on colds and flu:
Essential oils can be used in a number of ways, as follows:
In a Room Diffuser: Add a few drops of the following essential oils (such as lavender eucalyptus, tea tree, lemon, and peppermint) into your diffuser (as instructed) to help support your immune system:
Apply diluted essential oil directly onto your chest (not the face or eyes) over your heart area for added support. You can also apply diluted essential oil on the bottoms of feet or spine for internal use. Be sure to dilute with a carrier oil (to around 5% strength, essential oil to carrier) such as coconut oil or jojoba oil first before applying the oils directly onto the skin.
Inhale directly from an inhaler filled with water and a few drops of diluted essential oil such as lemon or peppermint into nostrils for added support from a cold or flu virus.
Never use pure essential oils directly on the skin or in the nasal cavity as they can cause burns, irritation and/or damage mucous membranes.
Recommended essential oils
The following seven essential oils are useful for fighting the flu:
1. Lemongrass Essential Oil
Lemongrass oil is a natural decongestant and painkiller. Lemongrass is also a natural antibacterial, so you can use it to ward off colds, flus, and other infections.
For the best results: Add one drop of this essential oil to 2 tablespoons of unscented coconut oil or olive oil before applying it to the chest area.
2. Peppermint Essential Oil
Peppermint essential oil has a cooling effect on the body, making it a great choice for helping to reduce the effects of your cold and flu. Peppermint oil is also useful in treating headaches, indigestion, and nausea.
To help with colds & flu:
Add 6-8 drops of peppermint essential oil to a bath and soak for 20 minutes.
Alternatively, you can add ten drops of peppermint essential oil with 2-3 cups of water in a diffuser to help clear up congestion in your chest. Make sure to do this while sitting upright, so the vapors reach your nose directly.
You can also add five drops into 1/4 cup of carrier oil (such as jojoba or coconut) and apply it near your nose using cotton swabs or put some under your nostrils if you want something more natural than Vicks Vapor Rub (which contains harmful chemicals).
3. Eucalyptus Essential Oil
Eucalyptus essential oil is a natural decongestant that helps relieve sinus congestion. It's also an expectorant, which can help clear the nasal passages and make breathing easier, especially when you're congested from a cold or flu.
Just add a few drops of eucalyptus oil to your diffuser (or put some on a tissue) and inhale deeply!
If you don't have an essential oil diffuser at home, use this method:
Inhale deeply for about two minutes and hold your breath for 20 seconds before exhaling. Repeat this process three times per day until symptoms subside.
4. Cinnamon Essential Oil
Cinnamon essential oil is a natural anti-inflammatory and can help reduce fever and pain. Cinnamon oil also helps with nausea and digestive issues, such as diarrhea, bloating, or indigestion.
Cinnamon oil has antimicrobial properties that can help prevent bacterial growth. It's also known to kill viruses and fungi like Candida Albicans.
If you have the flu or a cold, use cinnamon essential oil by diffusing it in your room or taking a hot bath with one drop of the oil in your bath water. You can also add some drops of cinnamon essential oil to a bowl of steaming water for an aromatic inhalation session!
5. Thyme Essential Oil
Thyme essential oil can help relieve congestion by soothing the nasal passages. It is also a good antiseptic and antifungal agent, which makes it useful in treating respiratory problems. If you're suffering from a cold or flu, you will do well to consider adding thyme essential oil to your regimen.
Thyme has been used for centuries as an effective remedy against pain and inflammation, especially when applied topically to injuries such as cuts or burns. The herb has also been traditionally used to treat rheumatism and respiratory disorders like asthma because its antimicrobial properties kill viruses and bacteria that cause infections in the body's mucous membranes (where viruses tend to hide).
6. Tea Tree Essential Oil
Tea tree essential oil is an effective antimicrobial, making it a great addition to natural remedies for colds and flu. It also has antiseptic and antifungal properties. Tea tree oil can be used topically but should always be diluted before applying (it contains terpenes that may irritate the skin). You can add tea tree oil directly to bathwater or diffuse in the air.
7. Clove Essential Oil
Clove essential oil is a potent anti-inflammatory and analgesic oil. Clove essential oil can be used to help relieve cold and flu symptoms, such as:
If you're looking for a natural way to reduce the effects of colds and flu, essential oils are your best bet. They can be used in many ways, including diffusing them, applying them topically, or adding them to recipes.
In this article, we've shared some of our favorite ways to use essential oils to help reduce the effects of colds & flu. We hope they help you feel better this year's winter season!