Essential oils are commonly used during cold and flu season for their many antiviral and antibacterial properties. And if you think about it, plants create these compounds for a reason—protection!
Garden plants (think thyme, oregano, rosemary, lavender), trees (juniper, sage, frankincense), and grasses (lemongrass, citronella) all produce germ-fighting essential oils. These natural compounds are part of what make up the plant’s immune system. Plants create and use them to fend off insects, bacteria, fungi, and other germs [source]. And when we extract the oils, we often use them for the same reasons.
What’s the best way to take advantage of the antimicrobial effects of these oils? Diffusion.
Diffusing oils is the best way to “neutralize air-borne illnesses and enhance immunity,” says David Crow [source]. Cinnamon, clove, thyme, oregano, and tea tree are some of the strongest germ-fighting essential oils, and combining them with eucalyptus, lavender, and citrus oils can alleviate symptoms and support the immune system. He also explains in his article that the antimicrobial effects of essential oils are most potent “when pathogens are exposed to the vapors of the oils,” so it sounds like diffusion is the way to go.
Below, I’ve listed eleven immune support diffuser blends. I created these blends so they would be beneficial for purifying the air, fighting congestion, and boosting immunity. Many of the oils you will find in these can be used interchangeably, so feel free to swap out the ingredients for any essential oils that you desire.
Use these blends to help prevent illness and improve your recovery if you feel like you’re coming down with something. Simply add the essential oil drops to a diffuser to purify the air in your environment—just remember to adjust the number of drops according to your diffuser instructions.
11 Immune Support Diffuser Blends
Air Purifying Diffuser Blends
Air purifying blends are especially beneficial if somebody in the home or office has been sick or if you suspect mold or other toxins. Essential oils such as tea tree, thyme, clove, and cinnamon all contain antibacterial, antiviral, AND antifungal properties, according to The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy, and are heavy hitters when it comes to air-purifying capabilities.
Other essential oils such as eucalyptus, ginger, lemongrass, lemon, and orange all contain potent antibacterial properties that make them essential for any blend that clears and refreshes the air in your environment. These blends can be used in the home, office, or car, so try them all out and see which ones you like best!
Congestion Diffuser Blends
Congestion blends are great to use not only for nasal congestion, but also when you’re dealing with respiratory problems such as coughs, colds, sinus drainage or infection, and just “the crud.” Essential oils can help with congestion by promoting drainage, opening up airways or bronchioles, fighting viruses and bacteria associated with congestion, and more [source]!
Many of the essential oils listed below are considered beneficial for giving you a mental boost as well, so if you’ve been feeling a bit sluggish due to congestion, essential oils such as peppermint, eucalyptus, lemon, and rosemary can all help to perk you up mentally. And next time you’re dealing with congestion or any sort of respiratory problem, go ahead and give one of these combinations a try!
Immune-boosting blends are essential to have on hand for those times when you’ve been exposed to sickness, or you know your immune system has been compromised in some way. Did you know that essential oils can work on the immune system in many different ways? Some can help boost immunity by fighting bacteria, viruses, and fungi that can affect our health [source], others can help by encouraging restorative rest, and still others that contain stimulating properties (like eucalyptus!) can help by activating the immune system [source].
The immune-boosting blends I’ve listed below include essential oils that can aid the immune system in all of these ways and more. It’s definitely a good idea to diffuse any one of these blends if you know your immune system has taken a hit, but it’s also helpful to diffuse every now and then as a preventative—even if you’re feeling fine.
There are many ways that essential oils can support the immune system. Most of them have stellar air-purifying abilities, some work by helping to fight off certain pathogens, while others aid in jump-starting the immune response.
Theoretically, there is a potential for exacerbating respiratory symptoms when diffusing essential oils, however, there are also studies showing the benefits of essential oils in patients with respiratory infections [source]. Some people with allergic asthma or rhinitis may have a reaction to certain of the essential oils recommended here [source]. So their use should always be individualized and monitored carefully.
We know now that, because diffusion is one of the easiest and most effective ways to utilize the immune-supporting properties of essential oils, it can be very helpful to crank up the diffuser to promote their disease-fighting potential. So, next time you’re looking for a natural (and simple) way to help your immune system with a little boost, you should consider giving these essential oil diffuser blends a try!
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.510