Adding Essential Oils To Your Cold & Flu Arsenal
Why does it seem that winter is the most common time of year that people get sick? People always seem to come down with a cold or the flu as the seasons change. A lot of people tend to believe that temperature changes are the direct cause of these illnesses. While that is somewhat true it probably isn’t for the reason you think.
Temperature changes don’t directly affect your immune system, but according to experts
the temperature shifts permit a different group of viruses to flourish.¹ While these viruses make people sick, you can certainly have an arsenal of essential oils to help you survive the season unscathed.
I have compiled a list of the top essential oils that will help you battle the common cold and influenza in your household this winter. This list is of course based on personal experience and research in essential oils. It includes a mix of popular essential oils as well as suggestions on how to use them to soothe symptoms at home.
Thieves Essential Oil
Thieves oil is actually a blend of essential oils comprised of lemon, eucalyptus, cinnamon, clove, and rosemary. It is a popular choice amongst fellow users of essential oils and is always at the top of the list for helping at the first sign of illness.
Thieves is known to aid in eliminating symptoms of colds and flu very quickly. I have seen wonders in it helping with sore throats, reducing fevers, clearing a stuffy nose and even helping with chest congestion. All of these benefits stem from this oil’s anti-bacterial, antiviral, anti-infectious and antiseptic properties.
To Use: Diffuse or put a few drops in a lukewarm glass of water to drink. This will provide fast-acting support at the first signs and symptoms of the ick. I have also been able to use this oil diluted to rub on the chest to relieve congestion and to help break a fever.
I use this affordable diffuser from Amazon. It has a large water reservoir which I love. While most diffusers will stop after just a few hours, this one will run all night long when I set it up in my bedroom. The light emitted from this model also doesn’t shine bright enough to disturb my sleep which is a bonus.
Lemon Essential Oil
Lemon essential oil is known to be a very effective antiviral and decongestant. It has been used throughout history to protect against immune threats. There are currently over 700 studies that support the use of lemon essential oil in medical therapies.²
To Use: Diffuse this bright oil alone or mix with Peppermint and Lavender to assist with seasonal respiratory discomfort. Its fresh scent will help purify the air as you breathe better. You can also use it as part of your daily cleaning routine to kill germs by mixing it in a spray bottle with water and vinegar.
You probably recognize this scent even if you are new to essential oils. It has long been used in vapor rubs to help relieve stuffy noses and congestion. This is because Eucalyptus oil is great for easing the respiratory system during colds and the flu.
To Use: You can diffuse this camphorous oil and even add a few drops to your home humidifier. It also makes a great topical rub for the chest when paired with a carrier oil.
Oil of Oregano
While it sounds odd that oregano would be involved in anything besides pasta sauce this oil touts a list of benefits. Oil of Oregano is popular for helping with colds, the flu, respiratory conditions, and can even help get rid of parasites. In my work in the dental field, I often came across patients who chose to take Oregano essential oil rather than traditional antibiotics.
To Use: The oil taken in a capsule or as a few drops in water can help combat viruses and infections. It can also be added to your vaporizer for inhalation during illness.
Peppermint oil is another great staple oil that you most likely already have on hand. This oil has been used for centuries for digestion, sinus, and respiratory support. It is also great to apply to the temples to provide relief from a headache. A small amount applied to flex points on the bottoms of your feet can also help to reduce fever.
To Use: It is best applied with a carrier oil due to the strong cooling sensation it provides. Rubbing this diluted oil on your chest is also great for congestion.
Lavender oil really is an all-star player when it comes to essential oils. It can do just about anything in my opinion. From helping you relax and get a good night’s sleep, to soothing irritating skin, Lavender oil really does it all.
It is no surprise that it also comes in handy to aid in cold and flu symptoms. This “miracle” oil has antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties and can come to your aid when you or a loved one are ill. It is also great to help relax tense neck and shoulder muscles and ease headaches.
To Use: You can create a great decongestant rub or massage oil with a carrier of your choice. Lavender oil is also great when diffused to help you get some much-needed rest. This is one oil that you will continue to use from your medicine cabinet even after cold and flu season has passed.
Stock Up This Winter
While essential oils may not be a cure-all there is certainly a place for them in today’s modern home. They are a great alternative to over the counter and prescription medications that sometimes contain questionable ingredients.
Be sure to choose top grade oils from a reputable seller. I personally only use Young Living and Plant Therapy as these are both great companies and they have a large selection of organic oils. As always if you have a recurrent or persistent illness be sure to consult your healthcare provider.
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