10 Natural Oils Used to Prevent and Treat Colds and Flu - vitaminsonly

August 14, 2019

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. While most adults get about two to four colds every year, children whose immune system is not yet fully developed can get up to ten episodes each year. While using hand sanitizers and avoiding exposure is useful, natural oils preventing 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 for achieving quick relief from the common cold and for relief from headaches. Hot baths and showers also help to relieve the congestion associated with cold and cough. To inhale steam, pour steaming water in a bowl and lean over the bowl with a towel draped over to prevent the steam from escaping. The steam soothes and moisturizes the irritated nasal passages and adding essential natural oils to the steaming water can help loosen up the mucus, relieving congestion.

The best results can be obtained by combining three to twelve drops of natural oils such as lemon, lavender, eucalyptus, peppermint in a bowl that contains 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 a towel.
  •        Breathe deeply through nostrils and close your eyes.

2. Massaging with Natural Oils

 Natural essential oils can also be mixed with carrier oils and applied locally near the nostrils, throat, and chest followed by gentle massage. 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, massage the sinuses with a mix-up tea tree oil with Cedarwood oil or try a combination of lavender and peppermint essential oils.

3. Direct inhalation of essential oils

Natural oils preventing colds can also be applied on handkerchiefs, towels or the pillowcase to inhale the oils as many times as possible directly.

4. Warm compress

Mix two drops of any of the essential oils such as Cedarwood, Lime, Clove, Cypress, Helichrysum, tea tree, peppermint, lemon, and lavender in warm water. Soak a compress such as a small hand towel or clean washcloth, squeeze gently to remove excess water and apply on the chest, nose, forehead, cheeks, and throat. Applying the compress four to five times a day can help relieve the nasal and chest congestion.


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 theLavandula latifolia which is a flowering plant and herb. The flower spikes of this plant are distilled to obtain the essential oil. The essential oil is a mix of many phytochemicals which impart the potent anti-inflammatory and immune boosting properties to the oil. It is one of the most prevalent scents used in aromatherapy and the perfume industry.  Associated with the deep relaxation and soothing effects it brings, lavender oil is used as a pain reliever and is 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 and the phenols such as Carvacrol, cymene, and Thymol in the oil impart 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 besides being 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,  β-myrcene and α-pinene that are extracted from the citrus lemon. Lemon oil has antibacterial, antiseptic and antiviral properties and helps the immune system ward off viruses and bacteria that cause cold 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 essential oil is derived from the milky sap of the Frankincense tree which is then dried and distilled. 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 is also known by the name of melaleuca oil and is derived from the tea tree that 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, 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 is used in many cuisines as a spice and is derived from theSyzygium aromaticum plant's flower buds that are then 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 Oil: Research 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. It can also help strengthen your immune system which would be of great help to keep you away from colds and flu during its peak season.

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  • If you are not sure how to use essential oils for cold and flu relief, ask for the advice of 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. Again, ask your doctor of any questions.
  • Remember that essential oils with a citrus note are sensitizing and phototoxic, so 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 will not have an allergic response to it.

For Immune Support: 


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