In a world chock-full of differing personal, political and spiritual philosophies, one thing everyone can agree on: it’s no fun having a cold.
The common cold has for centuries resisted attempts to treat it, and the fatigue, sore throat and runny nose that signals its arrival seem to be unavoidable at times.
When fighting the symptoms of those particularly stubborn colds that don’t want to go away, essential oils may be your best line of defense. Used correctly, they provide some of the most consistently effective avenues to relief. Read on for descriptions of the best essential oils to chase away those “common cold” blues!
Best essential oils for colds
Lemongrass oil can lower fevers and relieve the aches and pains that typically accompany a cold. By tackling these most disabling of symptoms, lemongrass oil allows you to function and get things done as needed despite your illness. Diffuse the oil into the air and breathe deeply or mix with a carrier like jojoba oil and massage into the skin wherever you feel pain.
A natural decongestant, thyme oil is ideally-suited to tackling cold symptoms. Add a few drops (not more than 3 or 4) to a like amount of jojoba oil and rub onto your chest to clear up your stuffy nose. Thyme oil also goes well with a warm bath; again, add 3 or 4 drops, this time to your bathwater, and relaxation is sure to follow.
Peppermint oil is a staple for allergy relief, so it’s not surprising that it has great utility in fighting cold symptoms as well. The sharp, minty scent is great for breaking through clogged sinuses, and many who swear by peppermint have reported boosts of energy from using the oil as well. Add this to your diffuser and breathe in for a general sense of well-being, or – if especially congested – place a drop or two into a neti pot to aid nasal irrigation.
Clove oil is primarily a pain reliever, and works wonders when diluted in coconut oil or jojoba oil and massaged into your achy muscles. However, another side benefit of applying clove oil is that it strengthens your immune system, so even as you treat the painful symptoms of your cold, you’re also helping your body to heal and fight off the virus. It’s a win-win remedy!
Like clove oil, cypress oil is best when used topically. Mix with jojoba oil and rub into the skin at your pain points to soothe aches and find relief. A slightly less potent pain reliever than clove oil, one unique advantage cypress oil has is that it treats and prevents the muscle spasms that often accompany particularly bad colds. If you suffer from twitching and shivering when sick, cypress oil is just what you need to calm your body and help you get some rest.
A few whiffs of lavender oil diffused in the air goes a long way toward promoting relaxation; the sweet floral scent is widely regarded as some of the best aromatherapy around for easing anxieties and calming the mind. What’s somewhat lesser-known is that lavender oil can clear sinuses as well, and can stop those persistent sneezing fits that crop up when you have a cold. In addition to diffusion in the air, lavender oil can also be employed as a chest rub to stave off coughs and congestion.
Frankincense oil is a great bath oil when you’re in the throes of a cold; adding a couple drops (maybe with some eucalyptus oil as well for a particularly potent blend) has the effect of easing aches and pains, but also soothes sore nasal passages and addresses congestion when you breathe in the steam from the hot bath. Frankincense oil can also help with cold-related headaches when added to a wet washcloth and applied as a hot or cold compress.
Pine oil is a natural antiseptic, and as such a perfect choice to combat the germs that go hand-in-hand with the common cold. This essential oil will reduce pain and restore energy when diffused into the air or diluted in jojoba oil and massaged into the skin. It can also help to sanitize your surroundings when sprayed onto surfaces in your home as a disinfectant. You can treat your symptoms while also stopping the spread of your illness to other family members!
Eucalyptus oil is the first go-to for many when it comes to chest rubs for battling coughs and congestion, and is often an ingredient in store-bought rubs that confer those same benefits. A highly versatile essential oil, eucalyptus oil also offers pain and sinus relief when added to a hot bath, and can be used in your diffuser as well! Just set it up at the end of a hard day in whatever room you most like to relax and breathe in the soothing vapors.
Tea tree oil
Like pine oil, tea tree oil is a natural antiseptic that can kill germs in the air and on surfaces in your home. It’s also a potent anti-inflammatory, and when diffused into the air and breathed in deeply, tea tree oil works miracles for swollen throats and nasal passages for cold-sufferers. Many find that the effects are even stronger when mixed with some eucalyptus oil in your diffuser.
Basil oil is an all-around healing oil that promotes wellness and will help you recover from your cold more quickly. It has also been shown to yield incredibly positive results when rubbed directly over the sinuses or chest to relieve inflammation and congestion. For those who suffer from post-nasal drip and nausea with their colds, a few drops of basil oil mixed with lavender oil in a diffuser will dry you up and settle that uncomfortable queasiness.
Lemon oil is another of the family of natural anti-inflammatories and–as such–is excellent for sore noses and throats that have suffered from too much congestion. Those with very phlegmy coughs, in particular, are apt to find relief from lemon oil, which loosens and dispels congestion far more effectively than most essential oils. The best way to employ lemon oil is to add a few drops to a pot of boiling water and breathe in the steam.
Medical science may not be able to cure a common cold, but with the right blend of essential oils, you can at least help to speed it on its way!