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April 29, 2021

Come winter, the dreaded cold and flu season begins. Although cold and flu viruses are most active between April through to October, they may last until December. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it is possible to get a cold any time of the year.

Studies show that most adults get 2 to 4 colds each year. While young children whose immune system is not yet fully developed can get up to 10 episodes. Complementary therapies and using natural oils to prevent colds are one of the most efficient ways to prevent and manage cold and flu symptoms.

Best Ways to Use Natural Essential Oils:

According to the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy (NAHA), essential oils can be used in various ways including these:

1. Steam Inhalation

Inhalation of steam is the best age-old natural remedy to achieve quick relief if you catch a cold and have a headache. Hot baths and showers also help to relieve the congestion associated with cold and cough.

To inhale steam you need to pour steaming water in a bowl. Then, lean over to the bowl with a towel draped over to prevent the steam from escaping. The steam soothes the irritated nasal passages. Adding essential natural oils to the steaming water can help loosen up the mucus, relieving congestion.

Best results can be obtained by combining 3 to 12 drops of natural oils in a bowl that has boiling water. Breathe in deeply to inhale the steam for at least ten minutes. Steam inhalation is the best cure for sinus headaches, flu-related cold and cough and sore throat.

For postnasal drip and cough, combining natural oils such as peppermint, cedarwood, lavender, and marjoram works best. Steam inhalation can be done three to four times a day.

Steam Inhalation Methods:

  •        Put five to seven drops of the specific essential oil in a bowl of hot water.
  •        Gently lean over the steaming bowl with your head covered with towel.
  •        Breathe deeply through nostrils and close your eyes.

2. Massaging with Natural Oils

Natural essential oils can be mixed with carrier oils and applied locally near the nostrils, throat, and chest. For coughs, massaging the chest and throat with a combination of Frankincense and Cedarwood is the best option.

While Cypress,  Helichrysum and peppermint aid in clearing the airways. If you suffer from sinus congestion, wash your hands then massage the sinuses with a mix-up tea tree oil with Cedarwood oil. You can try a combination of lavender and peppermint essential oils.

3. Direct inhalation of essential oils

Natural oils that prevent colds can be applied on handkerchiefs, towels or pillowcase to inhale the oils.

4. Warm compress

Mix two drops of any of the essential oils such as cedarwood, lime, clove and lavender in warm water. Soak a clean washcloth, squeeze gently to remove excess water and apply on the chest, nose, forehead and throat. Applying the compress four to five times a day can help relieve nasal and chest congestion especially if you have a runny or stuffy nose.


The Top 10 Natural Oils Preventing Colds and Flu:

Here are some of the top natural oils preventing colds:

1. Lavender Essential Oil:

Lavender oil is derived from the Lavandula latifolia which is a flowering plant and herb. Lavender oil is obtained through steam distillation of the flower spikes of this plant. A mix of many phytochemicals which impart the potent anti-inflammatory and immune boosting properties. It is one of the most prevalent scents used in aromatherapy and the perfume industry. 

Associated with deep relaxation and soothing effects. Lavender oil is used as pain reliever and effective in respiratory ailments such as influenza, sinus congestion, cough, and colds. Lavender oil can also bring relief to breathing problems that crop up due to trapped phlegm and blocked airways.

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2. Oregano Oil: This essential oil is obtained from oregano herb's flowers, and leaves. The phenols such as Carvacrol, cymene, and Thymol in the oil have antioxidant and antibacterial properties.

Studies show oregano oil can dramatically reduce upper respiratory symptoms that occur in common colds and flu. Oregano oil boosts the immune system and is known to have powerful antifungal and antibacterial properties.

3. Thyme Oil: Thyme is a fragrant herb that is widely used in medicine, therapies, and cooking. Thyme is known to have good antiviral, antibacterial and antiseptic properties. Effective in relieving stress, boosting immunity and heart health. Because of its powerful antibacterial properties, thyme is often found in commercial cleaning products that are eco-friendly.

4. Eucalyptus Oil:A drop of eucalyptus may be the ideal way to get rid of cold symptoms. As per a review carried out in 2010, eucalyptus oil has been shown to have antimicrobial and properties. Historically eucalyptus oil has been used for common cold across many cultures.

The active ingredient in eucalyptus oil is 1,8-cineole that fights viruses and clears up respiratory infections. Eucalyptus oil also stimulates the immune system and fights lung inflammation.

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5. Peppermint Oil: The active ingredient in peppermint oil is menthol that is known to be a natural decongestant. Many topical cold rubs and throat lozenges contain menthol as well.

According to an in vitro study conducted in 2003 peppermint oil has good anti-viral properties. Menthol in cough drops soothes sore and itchy throat to relieve a cough.

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6. Lemon Oil: The active components of lemon oil are limonene, β-pinene and β-myrcene. Lemon oil has antibacterial, antiseptic and antiviral properties that strengthens immunity to ward off bacteria and viruses that cause colds and cough.

Lemon oil is used in the perfume industry and antiseptic preparations. Lemon oil mixed in a carrier oil and massaged on the lymph nodes can help improve lymph circulation, relieving inflammation.

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7. Frankincense Oil: This oil is derived from the milky sap of the Frankincense tree. The tree is indigenous to the Middle East and some regions in Africa. The main biologically active ingredients include Limonene, Borneol, and Pinene.

Due to its spicy and earthy aroma, the oil has widespread use in aromatherapy. Besides having sedative properties, the oil is known to strengthen the respiratory system, while also boosting immunity. Apart from these uses, Frankincense oil is also used to relieve anxiety and stress.

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8. Tea Tree Oil: Tea tree oil or melaleuca oil is native to Queensland and New South Wales in Australia. It has been used for centuries as a folk remedy to treat wide-ranging bacterial infections, fungal and viral infections.

Biologically active components are terpinen-4-ol, α-terpinene, and γ-terpinene. Besides being a natural antiseptic, Tea tree oil possesses antiseptic and antimicrobial properties to relieve flu symptoms.

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9. Clove Oil: Clove or Syzygium aromaticum is used in many cuisines as spice. It is derived from the plant's flower buds that are dried. Eugenol is the main active ingredient of clove oil. Clove is one of the best antioxidants possessing the highest antioxidant activity among other spices.

In India and Indonesia, clove oil has traditionally been used to treat toothaches. Clove oil has antibacterial and potent anti-inflammatory properties and is an effective pain reliever. Evidence shows clove oil can fight oral bacteria to get rid of infections. "Thieves oil" is a combination of clove, cinnamon, lemon, rosemary and eucalyptus that is effective in addressing cold symptoms.

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10. Bergamot OilResearch shows that bergamot essential oil contains effective anti-influenza effects that can help fight colds and flu. It is considered to be a natural remedy to treat cold, flu, and even cold sores. You can also use this for prevention and treatment.

You can inhale it from the bottle or put it in your diffuser. Helps strengthen your immune system to keep you away from colds and flu during its peak season.

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  • Ask advice from your doctor or a licensed natural health practitioner
  • If you are pregnant, suffer from hypertension or have epilepsy, you should avoid rosemary and clove bud essential oils.
  • Remember that essential oils with a citrus note are sensitizing and phototoxic. Use these oils sparingly, especially if you are going outdoors. 
  • Although reactions are rare with proper use. Always perform a patch test before using a new essential oil to ensure you'll not have an allergic response.

For Immune Support: 

  • 4 drops thyme essential oil
  • 4 drops lemon essential oil
  • 2 drops clove bud essential oil
  • 4 tsp carrier oil

Disclaimer: The health information published on this web page is solely intended for educational purposes. VitaminsOnly strongly recommends to consult health care professionals for any questions concerning your health.


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