The Best Essential Oils for Colds, the Flu, and Winter Blues
Want to know how to use essential oils for colds and flus?
With cold and flu season right around the corner, it’s time to start loading up on whole foods and vitamin C, staying hydrated, and getting enough sleep.
Unfortunately, it’s still possible to catch a cold or the flu even while taking care of yourself.
Instead of stuffing yourself full of medications, you should opt for natural remedies like these top 10 essential oils for colds and the flu.
What Are Essential Oils?
Essential oils are compounds extracted from medicinal plants or herbs that capture the scent and flavor, or “essence,” of the plant.
They undergo either distillation or mechanical processes to extract the chemicals, which are then mixed with alcohol to preserve their strength.
Since this mixture is so strong, the essential oil is also often mixed with a carrier oil, such as almond, coconut, or jojoba oil. This allows the oil to then be used topically without being too strong.
The plants used to make essential oils contain numerous health benefits, which is why they are such an effective natural remedy for health problems.
Benefits of Essential Oils for Sickness
Essential oils hold several different cold and flu prevention and fighting properties, like being:
Essential oils have also been shown to:
- Aid in circulation
- Help with insomnia and trouble sleeping
- Reduce stress and anxiety
- Relieve muscle and joint pain
- Support the immune system
- Treat coughs
As you can see, the benefits of essential oils are far and wide.
Essential oils can relieve cold and flu symptoms naturally, such as headaches, fatigue, aches and pains, congestion, and blocked airways.
They also serve as natural disinfectants to kill germs in the air, similar to Lysol, and on surfaces, doorknobs and countertops, without the harmful chemicals of traditional household cleaners.
This makes them especially useful during the cold, winter months to further help ward off colds and the flu.
It’s no wonder so many people are jumping on the essential oils bandwagon.
How to Use Essential Oils for Cold and Flu Relief
Essential oils can be used in many different ways, including:
- Aromatherapy: Also known as essential oil therapy, aromatherapy is an alternative medicine practice that uses essential oils to balance and promote the health of the body, mind, and spirit. There are several different ways aromatherapy is used, such as: diffusing oil(s) into the air, inhaling oils through the nose from a towel or the bottle, massage therapy that utilizes the oils, taking an oil-infused bath, or directly rubbing the oil on yourself.
- Bath blends: Essential oil bath blends are mixtures of essential oils that are added directly to your bath or mixed with epsom salt to make bath salts. Often times, bath blends are used as a way to detox the body, but are also just a great way to relax and receive the benefits of the essential oils you’re soaking in.
- Diffusers: Similar to a humidifier, diffusers release essential oils into the air in the form of a fine vapor. This allows them to be safely absorbed into the respiratory system to aid in sinus relief, congestion, and any other respiratory problems you may have.
- Hot or Cold Compress: Hot or cold compresses infused with essential oils are an easy way to target specific aches and pains.
- Massage blends: Often times massage blends contain a mixture of essential oils. These are then rubbed into your skin, providing you with the many benefits they offer, while also moisturizing your skin and leaving you smelling fresh.
- Steam inhalation: As the name suggests, steam inhalation is the process of inhaling the vapor mixed with essential oils directly into your system to unblock passages, providing relief from respiratory ailments.
- Topical applications: Essential oils are also found in many topical applications, such as lotion, soap, and massage oils, making them the perfect way to reap the benefits of the oils.
As you can see, each has it’s own unique use for helping improve your health.
I personally recommend and use doTerra essential oils. For more information on how to purchase, click here.
20 of the Best Essential Oils for Colds and The Flu
1. Eucalyptus Essential Oil
If you’re suffering from any of the following, eucalyptus essential oil is your secret weapon:
- The common cold
- Chronic pulmonary disease (COPD)
Eucalyptus essential oil is one of the best natural remedies for respiratory conditions due to its ability to stimulate the immune system.
In addition, it works as an expectorant, ridding your body of toxins that cause you to cough and feel miserable.
Here are a few more ways eucalyptus essential oil is a natural health aid:
- Alleviates headaches and muscle pains
- Clears sinuses
- Fights seasonal allergies
- Improves earaches
- Relieves sore throat
How to use eucalyptus oil for colds and flu symptoms
- Diffuser (relieves cough)
- Household cleaner (disinfectant)
- Steam inhalation (clears sinuses)
- Topically (relieves allergy symptoms, alleviates sore throat, relieves earaches and headaches)
Note: Eucalyptus oil should not be ingested orally and should be kept away from pets.
2. Frankincense Essential Oil
Frankincense essential oil helps boost the immune system and fight off illness.
A study from Mansoura University in Egypt found frankincense oil to display strong immunostimulant activity, meaning it can destroy dangerous bacteria and viruses.
Another property that makes this such a great essential oil for sickness is its ability to prevent the formation of germs, whether it be on skin or objects in your home.
This is due to its antiseptic and disinfectant properties that contain antimicrobial effects.
Frankincense essential oil can also help decrease pain and inflammation, which are common ailments of the cold and flu.
How to use frankincense essential oil
- Bath blends (relieves stress)
- Diffuser (clears blocked passageways)
- Hot or cold compress (reduces headaches, congestion, and bodily aches and pains)
- Household cleaner (disinfectant)
- Steam inhalation (clears blocked passageways)
3. Oregano Essential Oil
Oregano oil, also called oil of oregano, is a natural “medicine” containing antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal properties.
This makes it a close competitor to common medical antibiotics, without the fear of antibiotic resistance and poor gut health.
Aside from being a natural alternative to antibiotics, oregano essential oil can help fight infections (bronchitis, pneumonia) and bacterial overgrowth, treat digestive issues, and fight inflammation.
These properties make it one of the best essential oils for cold and flu relief.
How to use oregano oil for colds and flu relief
- Drink with water (treats sinus infections, allergies, bronchitis, and croup)
- Take with water or coconut oil (natural antibiotic)
4. Tea Tree Essential Oil
Tea tree essential oil is commonly known for its antiseptic properties and ability to treat wounds.
Documented studies over the past 7 decades have shown tea tree oils ability to kill several strains of bacteria, viruses, and fungi, making it one of the best antibacterial essential oils.
This makes it a great household disinfectant to kill germs in the air or on common household surfaces.
Tea tree is also a great essential oil for fighting cold and flu symptoms, such as cough, congestion, and sore throat.
And due to its ability to help heal common skin problems, this makes for the perfect dry skin fix during those cold, dry winter months.
How to use tea tree essential oil
- Diffuser (antibacterial, relieves cough and congestion)
- Topically (soothes dry skin)
- Inhalation (relieves congestion and sore throat)
Note: Tea tree essential oil should not be taken orally and should be diluted (1:1) for topical use. It should also be kept away from pets.
5. Lemon Essential Oil
Lemon oil is one of the most popular citrus essential oils due to its antioxidant properties and versatility.
In fact, it’s been used for over 1000 years to treat a wide variety of medical issues.
Lemon essential oil can:
- Detox the body
- Increase energy
- Purify skin
- Boost the immune system
- Clear mucus and phlegm
- Stimulate lymphatic drainage
- Ward off bacteria and fungi
Lemon essential oil is also a natural disinfectant, making it the perfect addition to your natural household cleaners.
These properties make it the perfect essential oil for cold and flu prevention.
How to use lemon essential oil
- Household cleaner (disinfectant)
- Diffuser (helps detox, clears mucus, boosts immune system)
- Massage blend (helps detox, purifies skin)
6. Peppermint Essential Oil
One of the most versatile essential oils, peppermint has an endless list of health benefits, especially for fighting off the cold and flu:
- Clears sinuses
- Relieves scratchy, sore throat
- Treats congestion
- Alleviates headaches
- Relieves muscle and joint paint
How to use peppermint essential oil
- Diffuser (opens airways, treats congestion, calms the mind)
- Cooking (clears sinuses, calms the mind, reduces aches and pains)
- Hot or cold compress (reduces stress and anxiety, treats congestion, relieves muscle and joint paint)
- Massage blend (reduces stress and anxiety, treats congestion, relieves muscle and joint paint)
7. Lemongrass Essential Oil
Lemongrass, a seasoning commonly used in Thai cuisine, is packed full of health benefits, all with a deliciously pleasent scent.
The compounds found in lemongrass essential oil are antifungal, antiseptic, and anti-inflammatory.
These properties help relieve aches and pains, kill germs, aid in digestive health, and reduce fever, making lemongrass essential oil a great cold and flu reliever.
How to use lemongrass essential oil
- Diffuser (reduces inflammation, kills germs)
- Topically (reduces inflammation, soothes aches and pains, reduces fever)
- Massage blend (soothes aches and pain, reduces fever)
8. Thyme Essential Oil
Thyme essential oil holds antibacterial and antiseptic properties, which helps it kill bacteria and infections, both on the skin and inside the body.
It also helps relieve congestion and cure infections that are brought on by the cold and flu.
How to use thyme essential oil
- Bath blends (relieves stress, anxiety, and fatigue)
- Diffuser (increases circulation, relieves congestion)
- Inhalation (opens blocked passages)
- Topically (kills infections)
9. Ginger Essential Oil
Ginger is a powerful superfood, so it’s no wonder it’s a useful essential oil for colds and the flu.
Due to its high levels of antioxidants, ginger essential oil has been shown to fight free radicals and inflammation, making it a great immune system defense.
Ginger essential oil also helps relieve discomfort from congestion and infections, as well as digestive upset, while also helping clear mucus in the throat and lungs.
How to use ginger essential oil
- In tea (clears mucus, relieves congestion discomfort, boosts immune system, relieves stomach discomfort)
- Topically (clears mucus, relieves congestion discomfort)
10. Lavender Essential Oil
Lavender essential oil is a natural antioxidant that fights free radicals, like toxins, to protect your immune system and prevent serious damage to your body.
Having a strong immune system during cold and flu season is incredibly important for warding off sickness.
Lavender essential oil is also one of the best essential oils for sinus congestion and cough, and can alleviate common breathing problems associated with the cold and flu.
This oil is also a natural relaxer, which is great for relieving stress, anxiety, and headaches, while also gently calming the mind.
How to use lavender essential oil
- Bath blends (reduces stress and anxiety, relieves headaches)
- Diffuser (reduces congestion and cough)
- Massage blends (relieves stress and anxiety)
- Topically (reduces stress and anxiety, relieves headaches)
Like I mentioned, I only use and recommend doTerra essential oils. For more information on how to purchase doTerra oils, click here. Six out the 10 mentioned essential oils for colds, are found in the Healthy Start Kit and it also comes with a diffuser!
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