This year’s cold and flu season has been a bit rough. Not only has there been the usual flu virus and common cold going around, but a new and particularly resistant strain of virus that leaves you hacking incessantly day and night. This annoying tickle can really disrupt your day to day life especially when trying to get that cold-healing restful sleep.
Thankfully, one of the best things you can implement into your wellness routine are various essential oils for colds (and flu!) that help clear away mucus, stop spasmodic coughing, drain the sinuses, and offer immunity support while your body fights off the offending organisms in your system.
Essential Oils for Colds
Essential oils can offer a myriad of benefits including shortening the duration of your cold, alleviating symptoms, and upping immunity.
Additionally, using essential oils instead of OTC medicines can help you avoid unnecessary side effects, but that’s not to say that you should never use conventional medicine. Listen to your body and decide for yourself how to best treat your cold the most effectively.
Essential oils are just a great way to help support the body while it fights viruses and infection.
Some of the best essential oils for colds include:
- Bay laurel – one of the most effective essential oils for respiratory infection, general colds and flu, and various viral infections
- Cajuput – clarifying for the lungs, alleviates symptoms of congestion, asthma, bronchitis, sore throat, and muscle aches
- Cinnamon bark – one of the most antibacterial and antiviral oils. Excellent for use in a diffuser
- Clove – extremely antiviral and antibacterial. Excellent for use in a diffuser or in room sprays
- Cypress – works well as an anti-spasmodic and decongestant
- Eucalyptus bicostata – (a subspecies of E. globulus) helps clear mucus and open the lungs. A great alternative for those allergic to eucalyptol
- Eucalyptus globulus – antiviral, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory. Very good for lung ailments
- Eucalyptus radiata – the go-to oil for all respiratory ailments
- Eucalyptus staigeriana – has wonderfully sedative properties. Also antiviral
- Fragonia – highly antimicrobial and especially good for respiratory infections
- Ho wood – a camphoraceous oil that helps prevent viruses and bacteria from replicating. Good for diffusion
- Lavender – a calming and sedative oil that helps improve restful sleep (very important during cold and flu!)
- Lemon – anti-inflammatory and uplifting. The perfect oil for emotional support during cold and flu
- Myrtle – Excellent for respiratory illness, bronchitis, coughing, fatigue, and insomnia associated with cold and flu
- Niaouli – great for scratchy throat and incessant coughing
- Peppermint – soothing for bodily aches and pains and clarifying for the lungs and sinuses
- Ravensara – boosts immunity and shortens the duration of cold and flu
- Ravintsara – helps relieve cough. Highly expectorant
- Rosemary – reduces aches and pains, improves circulation, and relives chills
- Tea tree – antibacterial, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory. Great for improving expectoration
- Thyme linalool – decongestant for both lungs and sinuses. Also great for disinfecting the air and surfaces
Essential Oil Recipes Using Essential Oils for Colds
Now that you’re armed with the best essential oils for colds it’s time to learn how best to use them.
Below are three effective recipes that feature essential oils from the list above that can be used to help ease cold and flu symptoms, support immunity, and get you better faster!
Feel free to swap out oils as needed depending on what you have on hand.
If you want to use these recipes for children, be sure to read this post first on which essential oils are safe to use for specific ages.
Recipe #1 – Cold and Flu Chest Rub
This recipe is a bit more involved but well worth taking the time to whip it up – it will last all season long!
It’s perfect for those chesty coughs, wheezy breathing, and stuffed up sinuses.
For this recipe you will need:
- One 2 oz tin or jar
- An accurate kitchen scale
- A small pyrex measuring cup
- 2 grams of beeswax
- 35 grams of sweet almond oil (or other carrier oil of choice)
- 12 drops eucalyptus radiata essential oil
- 6 drops ravintsara essential oil (swap out with Ravensara for children 6 months and older)
- 3 drops bay laurel essential oil (swap out with cypress or fir needle for children 6 months and older)
- 3 drops myrtle essential oil (swap out with Rosalina for children 6 months and older)
- To begin, bring 1 inch of water to a gentle simmer in a saucepan.
- Add the beeswax and sweet almond oil to the pyrex measuring cup and place it in the center of the saucepan.
- Allow them to melt thoroughly.
- Remove from the heat and allow the mixture to cool slightly.
- Add in the essential oils and mix. You will notice that the consistency of the chest rub is very similar to Vaseline and easy to stir.
- Store the chest rub in a 2 oz tin or jar.
When coughing and congestion are keeping you up at night, apply a thin even layer to the chest and back before bedtime.
If you’re interested in another recipe that’s just like vapor rub but without the unnecessary ingredients, check out my chest rub recipe here.
Recipe #2 – Congestion Away Nasal Inhaler
This blend is highly expectorant, clarifying, and will also help eliminate viruses and bacteria within the respiratory system.
For this recipe, you will need:
- One personal nasal inhaler
- 2 drops cajeput essential oil (can be used for children 6 years and up)
- 2 drops cypress essential oil (can be used for children 6 months and up)
- 2 drops fragonia essential oil (can be used for children 2 years and up)
Apply each oil to the cotton pad of the nasal inhaler and cap closed.
To use, simply hold the end of the nasal inhaler in front of one nostril and breathe in gently for a few breaths. Alternate nostrils.
Use as often as needed to help alleviate congestion and inflammation in the lungs and sinuses.
If you need one for allergies, check out my allergy nasal inhaler recipe here.
Recipe #3 – Cold-Be-Gone Diffuser Blend
This one is really easy to throw together and forget for a few hours and really helps kill off lingering cold and flu germs in the air and on surfaces in the home.
For this recipe, you will need:
- A diffuser
- Bottled or filtered water
- 3 drops clove essential oil (safe for children 2 years and up)
- 3 drops cinnamon bark essential oil (safe for children 6 months and up)
- 3 drops lemon essential oil (safe for children 6 months and up)
- 3 drops rosemary essential oil (safe for children 10 years and up)
Fill the diffuser to the line with filtered or bottled water.
Add the essential oils and let the diffuser run until empty.
I like to place the diffuser in strategic areas of the house like the kitchen, living room, or bathroom – anywhere where people gather most often.
The essential oils in the vapor from the diffuser will help kill airborne bacteria as well as anything on frequently touched surfaces in the house.
Diffuse this blend 2-3 times daily to help control cold and flu germs.
What have been your favorite essential oils for colds? Please share your tips in the comments below!
You may also enjoy reading:
Broad-Spectrum Essential Oil Blend for Cold and Flu
Sickroom Spray Recipe for Cold and Flu
Essential Oils for Boosting The Immune System and Fighting Cold and Flu
12 Must-Have Remedies for Cold and Flu Season
Oregano Oil Roll-On for Cold and Flu Care
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