When cold and flu season strikes, your immune system goes from fighting the occasional battle to being embroiled in an all-out war that can last all winter long, depending on where you live and how many germs you’re exposed to. This is where essential oils can be a great option!
According to several scientific studies, essential oils have been shown to have antibacterial and antimicrobial properties which may help shorten the duration of the common cold. Essential oils are a great natural remedy for colds and flus (among many other things), and there are lots of ways to reap their benefits.
Diffusing oils is one of the easiest ways and can help purify the air and ease congestion in the lungs. The Chalkboard runs down how to properly inhale and diffuse essential oils, and the importance of using a carrier oil when inhaling. Many oils can be applied to the bottom of your feet, or added to body wash, lotions or moisturizers.
And whether you’re trying to not get sick or just fighting a stuffy nose, here are 11 cold and flu diffuser blends.
Essential oils are a helpful addition to any winter survival kit, but buying individual oils can get expensive quickly. If you can only purchase a couple, I recommend choosing ones that have multiple benefits and that are versatile enough to use in lots of different blends. If you can put them to work in beauty recipes, cold and flu remedies and diffuser blends you’ll be able to reap the benefits all season long to stave off colds and infections.
Best Essential Oils for Cold & Flu
Antiviral, antifungal, and antibacterial, oregano essential oil helps boost the immune system and is perfect for combating infections. You can even use it to make a natural hand sanitizer. It’s one of the more potent essential oils, so it’s no wonder that it’s so effective at fighting off infections and illness.
However, because of its potency, it can easily irritate the skin so it should always be properly diluted when applied topically, no more than 1%, according to Essential Oil Safety, and should not be used if pregnant or breastfeeding.
If your immune system needs a boost (or your liver needs a detox), turn to thyme oil, one of the original ingredients in Listerine! This oil also has antiseptic properties and can be used to stimulate circulation in those with sports injuries, pains and strains.
Different species of thyme contain different percentages of compounds, so it’s always a good idea to know which one you are getting. A good rule of thumb is to stick to using no more than a 1% dilution of thyme topically to avoid irritation. Additionally, diffusing thyme is always a great way to utilize its antiseptic and immune-boosting properties!
This antiseptic and antibacterial oil has tons of everyday uses and is often found in cough drops and ointments (if you’ve ever used VapoRub, you’ve smelled it). Eucalyptus essential oil stimulates the immune system and combats inflammation in the lungs and fight off colds. Use it to make your own steam inhalation remedy which is great for healing sinus infections.
Eucalyptus is one of the best oils to use to support your health, especially in the winter months. However, it should always be used with caution and never on or around the mouth or nose of infants or young children.
Like its cousin orange oil, lime oil has tons of uses. This essential oil is antiseptic, antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral. This means it will help your immune system fight off germs left and right. It can also be added to natural household cleaners, and is great at removing sticker residue and gum from surfaces.
Not only is lime beneficial when fighting off illness, it’s also great at boosting your mood and helping you feel energized. It’s a great option to consider if your immune system has taken a hit and you need a bit of a mental pick-me-up.
But remember, lime is phototoxic. If used topically, it should be used in very low dilutions and sunlight exposure should be avoided.
It can also help with stress or tension that may accompany illness and can even help with mental fatigue. Use it in this DIY antiseptic spray, too, in order to protect wounds. It’s also great when used in diffuser blends or in a DIY salve recipe for respiratory issues.
This essential oil is also antibacterial and antifungal, making it useful when fighting off certain illnesses. Additionally, it can help with mental clarity and can make you feel energized, making it perfect to use when you’re feeling under the weather. However, due to its menthol content, peppermint should not be used around the mouth or nose of infants or young children.
The essential oil Hyssop helps with respiratory infections (like bronchitis) and supports the lungs. If you get chronic bronchitis or just have a pesky cough that won’t go away, try this one out. It’s also said to help with water retention and bruises.
It has strong antiseptic properties that make it useful for a number of issues, including aches and pains that can be associated with illness. However, hyssop should not be used if pregnant or breastfeeding and should not be used around infants or young children, according to Essential Oil Safety.
When earaches or swelling in your lymph nodes has you feeling icky, rub a little lemon oil (with carrier oil) around your ears and/or lymph nodes. Lemon oil has antibacterial properties and may be able to help fight infection and colds. Lemon oil also helps energize, making it perfect for a DIY air freshener.
Like lime, it has potent antibacterial properties and can be especially useful in DIY cleaning formulas. However, it is phototoxic and should be used in very low dilutions and sun exposure should be avoided when using it topically.
Known for its toothache-remedying powers, clove oil is also anti-inflammatory, analgesic and anti-bacterial. It’s often mixed with cinnamon, eucalyptus, lemon and rosemary in a blend called Thieves Oil. Or mix with vanilla and use it in this DIY body oil.
Clove has warming properties and can be beneficial for muscle or joint pain that can accompany illness as well. However, it can cause skin irritation if not diluted properly and it should not be used around infants or young children.
If nausea is what’s getting you down (that darn flu!), opt for ginger essential oil, which can also soothe flu-related aches and pains. It’s a fantastic option to consider for a multitude of illnesses. Like clove, ginger is a warming oil that can be beneficial for everything from chills and fevers to colds, coughs, and even sore throats!
As with all essential oils, ginger should be used in appropriate dilutions and with caution around young children.
What oils do you use for colds and flu?
This post was medically reviewed by Dr. Holly Smith, a board certified physician in nephrology and internal medicine with a background in nutrition. Learn more about Hello Glow’s medical review board here. As always, this is not personal medical advice and we recommend that you talk with your doctor.437