Top Essential Oils For Colds, Flu and Cough

You know the drill. You wake up with an itchy throat. You suddenly feel hot, then freezing cold. Your bed seems to be calling you like an obsessive ex-boyfriend. The congestion, chills, achiness, and tiredness are just a few of the symptoms associated with a cold or flu. When the sickies come beckoning, it’s time to up the self-care and get some rest. 

In addition to drinking plenty of fluids and catching some extra zzz’s, essential oils can offer some relief from cold and flu symptoms. These oils can help clear sinus congestion and alleviate body aches. Many essential oils have natural properties that support deep relaxation and rest so you can get back to the amazing, healthy human that you are. 

How To Use Essential Oils For The Cold & Flu

When first using essential oils, it can sometimes be tricky to figure out where to start. At Aromawest, your safety is of the utmost importance so we always encourage proper usage. We do not recommend ingesting essential oils unless you’re under the direct care of your physician or certified aromatherapist. In general, we always suggest you discuss using essential oils with your doctor. 

If you’re feeling ill, here are some easy ways to drop essential oils into your day:

  • Congestion: Gently inhale essential oils through steam 
  • Cough: Add essential oils to a warm washcloth and drape over your chest
  • Immune boost: Add essential oils to a diffuser
  • Body aches: Dilute essential oils with a carrier oil (like Argan oil) in a bath
  • Headache: Dilute essential oils with a carrier oil (like Fractionated Coconut oil) and massage into your head, neck, back and feet

Top Essential Oils For Colds & Flu

Now that we’ve reviewed how to use essential oils when you’re sick, let’s discuss which essential oils work best for cold and flu symptoms. Stress and anxiety can have a massive effect on your immune system. It’s important to find ways to relax and manage your mental health as well as your physical health. 

If you’re looking for an essential oil blend that combines the best single-origin oils for wellness, try our Immune and Breathe essential oil blends. Both were specifically formulated by certified aromatherapists to ward off sickness and support recovery. Plus, there’s actual science to back up the use of essential oils during cold and flu season. 

Eucalyptus Essential Oil 

You may be familiar with the smell of Eucalyptus. Many over-the-counter rubs and salves contain Eucalyptus oil to help clear the respiratory tract. A main constituent of Eucalyptus is 1,8-cineole which is known for its antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. A 2010 study found that Eucalyptus is effective against bacteria, including Mycobacterium tuberculosis, and helped stimulate the immune system. Eucalyptus essential oil can help relieve sinus congestion and coughs so you can inhale and exhale with ease. 

Peppermint Essential Oil

A natural decongestant, Peppermint essential oil can also help relieve headaches, migraines and muscle aches when diluted with a carrier oil (like Jojoba oil). Its high level of L-Menthol helps clear your sinuses and relieve discomfort.  A 2013 study found that Peppermint can help cool the body, making it a natural method for relieving symptoms of a fever. 

Peppermint can actually help relax the bronchial muscles to calm your breathing if a coughing fit ensues, according to a small 2013 study. If you’re looking for a natural cough suppressant, Peppermint has you covered. 

Tea Tree Essential Oil 

Used in Australia for over 100 years to promote health and healing, Tea Tree essential oil is packed with antimicrobial, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. One of Tea Tree’s main constituents is Terpinen-4-ol which is known for germ-fighting and antifungal benefits. It can help break up chest congestion and relieve discomfort from coughs. 

Lemon Essential Oil 

Open and effortless breathing may be only a few drops away when Lemon essential oil is on the case. It can help clear nasal congestion with its bright and refreshing scent. Energizing and stimulating, Lemon essential oil can also help you fight fatigue and relieve queasiness. It was shown to be effective in reducing nausea and vomiting during pregnancy according to a 2014 study. A 2014 animal study also found Lemon to be a powerful pain reliever. Say buh-bye to body aches. 

Lavender Essential Oil

Known as the Beyonce of essential oils, there is very little Lavender can’t do. Restful sleep is incredibly important to fighting and recovering from a cold or flu. Its floral aroma helps inspire quality sleep and rest. When inhaled, Lavender essential oil can help loosen up congestion. Although its stress-relieving properties are more well known, Lavender also has pain-relieving effects according to a 2010 study.

If you’re looking for a sleep-specific essential oil, try our Sleep Essential oil blend. It smells like  a comforting cup of tea and encourages deep sleep. 

Essential Oil Chest Rub DIY

 

SOURCES

Carson, C. F., Hammer, K. A., & Riley, T. V. (2006). Melaleuca alternifolia (Tea Tree) oil: a review of antimicrobial and other medicinal properties. Clinical microbiology reviews, 19(1), 50–62. https://doi.org/10.1128/CMR.19.1.50-62.2006

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases (NCIRD) ( last reviewed 2021)

Hunter, A. M., Grigson, C., & Wade, A. (2018). INFLUENCE OF TOPICALLY APPLIED MENTHOL COOLING GEL ON SOFT TISSUE THERMODYNAMICS AND ARTERIAL AND CUTANEOUS BLOOD FLOW AT REST. International journal of sports physical therapy, 13(3), 483–492.

Ikeda, H., Takasu, S., & Murase, K. (2014). Contribution of anterior cingulate cortex and descending pain inhibitory system to analgesic effect of lemon odor in mice. Molecular pain, 10, 14. https://doi.org/10.1186/1744-8069-10-14

Kim, S., Kim, H. J., Yeo, J. S., Hong, S. J., Lee, J. M., & Jeon, Y. (2011). The effect of lavender oil on stress, bispectral index values, and needle insertion pain in volunteers. Journal of alternative and complementary medicine (New York, N.Y.), 17(9), 823–826. https://doi.org/10.1089/acm.2010.0644

Meamarbashi, A., & Rajabi, A. (2013). The effects of peppermint on exercise performance. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 10(1), 15. https://doi.org/10.1186/1550-2783-10-15

Sadlon, A. E., & Lamson, D. W. (2010). Immune-modifying and antimicrobial effects of Eucalyptus oil and simple inhalation devices. Alternative medicine review : a journal of clinical therapeutic, 15(1), 33–47.

Savari Kia, P., Safajou, F., Shahnazi, M., & Nazemiyeh, H. (2014). The effect of lemon inhalation aromatherapy on nausea and vomiting of pregnancy: a double-blinded, randomized, controlled clinical trial. Iranian Red Crescent medical journal, 16(3), e14360. https://doi.org/10.5812/ircmj.14360