There’s an endless amount of over-the-counter medications at any regular drugstore to help you fight a cold, but before you decide to do that, you might want to consider heading over to your local aromatherapy shop for a more natural and effective solution instead. The right therapeutic essential oils may help.
According to WebMD, cold symptoms can be helped by rubbing certain essential oils on the body, inhaling them through steam by using a diffuser, and combining them with a damp cloth to be applied to the skin. Make sure you follow the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy’s safety guidelines to ensure you use essential oils properly to avoid potential adverse effects.
1. Eucalyptus Oil
Why It Works: Eucalyptus oil comes from the Australian-native eucalyptus tree, and is known for its ability to boost the immune system, offer antioxidants, and help with respiration.
How to Use It: Use a few drops with a diffuser at night to inhale it while you sleep or alternatively rub a few drop diluted in water on your chest to help with decongestion.
2. Lemon Oil
Why It Works: As one of the strongest antimicrobial agents of all the essential oils, lemon oil is incredibly effective at cleansing the body from harmful toxins and promoting drainage from swollen lymph nodes.
How to Use It: Dilute a few drops in water or mix them with coconut oil to rub around your ears, throat, or lymph nodes in order to stimulate drainage.
3. Lavender Oil
Why It Works: Considered one of the most versatile essential oils, lavender oil is best known for its calming effect and use as a sleep aid. It can also ease breathing and congestion.
How to Use It: Sprinkle a few drops in a warm bath before you go to bed at night to ease stress, promote relaxation, and experience respiratory relief by breathing in the steam.
4. Rosemary Oil
Why It Works: Rosemary oil’s antiseptic and antimicrobial properties can help soothe a sore throat, combat congestion, treat respiratory infections, and help with flu symptoms while also boosting the immune system.
How to Use It: You can either add a few drops of rosemary oil to a diffuser to inhale it or alternatively mix it with coconut oil or olive oil to massage your lymph nodes for a relaxing and cleansing effect.
5. Chamomile Oil
Why It Works: From the daisy-like flower, chamomile has antiseptic, antibiotic and disinfectant properties. It also reduces inflammation, acts as a mild sedative, and even boosts mood.
How to Use: If you have a fever, you can add a few drops to cold cloth to be used as a compress on your forehead.
6. Frankincense Oil
Why It Works: Frankincense oil is great for improving immunity and promoting cellular health. It also has a warm, rich scent that has an immediate soothing effect.
How to Use It: Add a few drops to a bowl of warm water and breathe in the steam with a towel over your head (and eyes closed). You can also dilute frankincense in water to apply to your chest or alternatively use a few drops with a diffuser.
7. Peppermint Oil
Why It Works: Although peppermint oil shouldn’t be used with very young children, it’s a very stimulating oil that brings an immediate cooling and calming sensation that can relive parts of the body when applied topically.
How to Use It: Mix a drop or two with some water, coconut oil, olive oil, or any other carrier oil and rub into your forehead, temples, and neck — making sure to avoid contact with the eyes.
8. Ginger Oil
Why It Works: Ginger oil promotes good digestion and may provide some anti-nausea effects. It also has very warm and woody scent, which may be perfect when you’ve got chills.
How to Use It: All you need to do is to apply a drop to a paper towel and softly inhale its scent to relieve a nauseous stomach. You could also use it in a diffuser.
9. Tea Tree Oil
Why It Works: Tea tree oil is know for its powerful antifungal, antibacterial, and antiviral properties. It helps cleanse the body and fights infection.
How to Use It: During the sore throat stage of a cold, you can add just 1 to 2 drops to warm water, gargle it for a few seconds, and spit it out. If you can’t stand the taste, you can swap it out for peppermint or ginger oil.
10. Pine Essential Oil
Why It Works: Pine oil is another expectorant that has the ability to loosen mucus phlegm in the respiratory system so that they can be eliminated more effectively. It also has a wonderful stress-relieving scent.
How to Use It: Use it with your diffuser or add a few drops to a warm bath. The calming scent will make you feel like you’re in the woods!
11. Ravensara Oil
Why It Works: All the way from Madagascar, ravensara oil is another very versatile oil that includes antibacterial, antimicrobial, antiseptic, expectorant, relaxant, and all sorts of other beneficial properties.
How to Use It: Once you get over your cold, you can use ravensara oil in a diffuser throughout the rest of the cold and flu season to protect yourself from getting sick again.
With the help of some of these powerful oils, you might just be able to give that cold exactly what it needs. If you liked these remedies, be sure to find out how to steam your face using essential oils too.
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