It’s cold and flu season, and this means that you want to give your immune system a boost. It goes from occasionally fighting off infections to being constantly under siege. If you have kids like I do, the number of germs they bring home can seem like it doubles or triples your exposure.

Essential oils can be a powerful and natural tool to help give your immune system a boost and germs, and I’m going to go over the best essential oils and natural remedies for colds and flu. I’ll also talk about how you should use your essential oils to get the full benefits, and this includes a few essential oil diffuser recipes for colds.

Why Use Essential Oils for Colds and Coughs?

Essential oils have been around for years, but researchers have started to focus on them more and more like a natural way to fight germs and so-called “superbugs” that cause colds and flu. The researchers found that essential oils can be a more cost-effective alternative to traditional antibiotics, and they’re natural. (1)

Depending on the essential oil or oil blend you choose, it could have positive effects on your immune system as well as antibacterial and antiviral properties. These three things combine to create a powerful remedy to help your body combat and keep infections from taking hold and making you sick.

How to Use Essential Oils for Flu and Cold Relief

Essential oils can help to alleviate your symptoms by going to the source of your cold or flu and working with your body to eradicate the bacteria or viruses. (2) Additionally, several studies have showcased the medicinal properties of essential oils and essential oil blends, and these studies have proven that essential oils can help with congestion, cough, inflammation, and potentially even reduce fevers. (3) You can use your essential oils via:

Steam Inhalation:

Steam Inhalation: You can create your own essential oil shower bomb. This bomb will go into the bottom of your shower, and the steam from the shower will allow you to inhale the essential oils as the bomb melts. (4)

Diffusers:

Diffusers: A diffuser is a fast way to disperse the oils into your immediate air. You can add a few drops of your essential oils to your diffuser and let it run. For best results, let them diffuse in your bedroom 30 minutes before bed.

Hot and Cold Compresses:

Hot and Cold Compresses: Make an essential oil compress by using two cups of hot or icy water and five to six drops of oil. You also want to mix a dispersant (like Solubol) in the water and oil mix because water and oil won’t naturally integrate. The dispersant helps with this process. Add a piece of material to the mixture, let it soak up the mixture, ring it out and place the material over the area you want to apply the compress to.

Bath Blends:

Bath Blends: Adding a few drops of essential oils to your bathwater will allow it to soak into your skin, and you’ll also be able in inhale it as it disperses in the steam from your bath. Again, use a dispersant to ensure the oil integrates into your bathwater. You can use a tablespoon of vegetable oil, coconut oil, or jojoba oil and 10 to 20 drops of oil. Mix them together and add them to your bath.

Massage Blends:

Massage Blends: If you have aches and pains like you can get with the flu, make a massage blend with four ounces of your preferred carrier oil and four or six drops of essential oils. Blend them together and massage them into the sore area. (5)

Essential Oils to Relieve Cold and Flu Symptoms

Wondering which essential oils to diffuse for colds? If so, we’re going to go over the top six essential oils for colds and coughs and the flu. You can use these oils on their own, or you can mix them to make excellent essential oil diffuser recipes for colds.

1. Oregano

Oregano essential oil has powerful antimicrobial and antiviral properties that can help fight cold symptoms and the flu. Several studies have shown that oregano oil is effective against respiratory infections, bacterial infections, and viral infections. Additionally, this oil works on skin infections as well as internal infections. (6)(7)(8)

Ways to Use Oregano Essential Oil

The preferred use of this essential oil is by massage oil and by diffusers. You can simply add a few drops of this oil to your diffuser and breathe it in to get the benefits, or you can add a few drops of oil to a carrier oil and massage it into your skin.

2. Tea Tree

Tea Tree oil is a popular natural disinfectant because it has antiviral, antibacterial, and antiseptic properties. Research has shown that this particular essential oil is especially helpful for treating respiratory infections, coughs, and sore throats. It is very strong, and it can boost your immune system. (9)(10)(11)

Ways to Use Tea Tree Essential Oil

This is a strong essential oil, but you can dilute one to two drops of the oil into five or six drops of water and a tablespoon of your dispersant and rub it into your sinus and neck area to get rid of a cough or a sore throat. You can also diffuse this oil or create a disinfectant spray by adding 20 to 25 drops of tea tree oil to 16 ounces of water.

3. Lavender

Lavender has a history of medicinal use dating back hundreds of years. It’s prized for its soothing scent and powerful antibacterial and antimicrobial properties. Along with fighting germs that cause infections and illnesses, lavender oil can loosen up any phlegm in your lungs and help you breathe easier. (12)(13)(14)

Ways to Use Lavender Essential Oil

You can mix a few drops of lavender oil with your favorite carrier oil to make a massage blend that you apply to your chest and neck area. It’s also useful to add a few drops into a tablespoon of vegetable or coconut oil and add this mixture into your bathwater and let it diffuse in the air and soak through your skin.

4. Peppermint

Peppermint has a very strong and fresh aroma that has sweet and sharp undertones. It also has high levels of menthol, and menthol is useful for fighting congestion, relieving aches and pains, and helping with nausea. It warms slightly on contact. (15)(16)(17)

Ways to Use Peppermint Essential Oil

Make a cold or hot compress by adding peppermint oil to your dispersant and add this mix to hot or icy water and allowing it to soak into a piece of material. Wring it out and apply it to your chest or sore areas. A bath blend is another popular choice because this is a stronger oil.

5. Frankincense

Frankincense essential oil has an earthy scent that has calming properties that can help you sleep and rest when you’re not feeling well. It also has documented astringent, anti-inflammatory, and antiseptic properties that are essential to helping your body fight a cold or the flu. (18)(19)(20)

Ways to Use Frankincense Essential Oil

Adding this oil to your bath or making a shower bomb will allow the oil to diffuse in the steam and you inhale it. It’ll act as a strong decongestant to help clear up your airways. It’s also useful as a cold or hot compress that you put on your temples to get rid of headaches.

6. Clary Sage

When you have a cold or the flu, you usually feel very nauseous or fatigued. Clary sage essential oil can help reduce these feelings, and this can help you rest. Additionally, this oil also has antibacterial, antiviral, decongestant, and sedative properties that can help fight germs and heal you. (21)(22)(23)

Ways to Use Clary Sage Essential Oil

Clary sage oil works best when you inhale it. This means that you can set it to diffuse for 30 minutes in your bedroom before you to go sleep for the night, or you can also add it to your bathwater or shower.

My Essential Oils for Colds and Flu Experience

I use a variety of essential oils in my everyday life, and it’s necessary! My kids seem to catch and bring home every cold or bug that goes around their friend group, so I have to be on my toes. I keep a spray bottle of 10 drops of tea tree oil with a half of a cup of vinegar and 48 ounces of water on hand to spray off and disinfect my cupboards, the kid’s toys, and the doorknobs.

My kids are always having problems with being congested too, so I like to add a few drops of lavender or peppermint oil to a tablespoon of coconut oil, mix it, and add it into their bathwater and let the steam diffuse it. It helps to break up their congestion, and it relaxes them, so they sleep better.

Finally, one of my favorite uses for Clary Sage, Frankincense, and Oregano essential oils is through my diffuser. I can add a few drops of one of those essential oils or a blend of them to my diffuser and run it for 30 minutes to an hour to get the full effects.

Recommended Products for Cold and Flu

1. Boiron Oscillococcinum for Flu-like Symptoms

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These small tablets dissolve under your tongue without any water, and they quickly get into your system. These tablets are useful for temporarily relieving aches, pains, fatigue, fever, headache, and chills that are associated with colds of the flu.

This company is dedicated to putting out natural products that work with your body’s natural chemistry, and they don’t interact with any medications you may take. They work best when you take them at the first signs of getting sick, and they’re safe for children aged two and up.

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2. Svasthya Eucalyptus Vapor Rub

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This vapor rub is a natural balm that works to help reduce your decongestion and cold or flu symptoms. It features natural ingredients including eucalyptus, rosemary, beeswax, extra virgin olive oil, and lavender oil. Along with opening up your respiratory tract, it also softens your skin.

There are no additives in this balm, and it contains 100-percent natural ingredients that are safe for use on children as young as three. You can also use it if you’re pregnant or nursing without a problem, and it soaks into your skin as well as diffuses into the air.

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Tips for Colds and Flu Relief Remedies

  • Gargle with salt water to get rid of excess bacteria.
  • Take a teaspoon full of honey to help suppress coughs and soothe inflammation.
  • Drink ginger tea to give your immune system a boost.
  • Flush out your sinus cavities with warm salt water.
  • Rest a lot because being sick takes a toll on your body.
  • Drink hot liquids to stay hydrated and keep your electrolytes in balance.
  • Take a steamy shower to open up your respiratory system.
  • Dab Vick’s Vapor Rub under your nose and on your chest for congestion.
  • Take vitamin C to give your immune system a boost to help fight off bacterial or viral infections.
  • Eat foods with probiotics to help balance the good bacteria levels in your body.

Caution of Essential Oils for Cold and Flu Relief

  • You shouldn’t take essential oils orally unless they’re food grade because they can be toxic.
  • Avoid giving more potent essential oils like peppermint and tea tree to young children.
  • Be sure that you purchase your oils from a reputable source to get high-quality oils.
  • You should ask your doctor before using essential oils if you’re nursing or pregnant.
  • Always test new essential oils on a small patch of skin and watch for irritation.
  • Never apply essential oils direct to your skin without diluting it with a carrier oil first.
  • Essential oils are generally safe for adults to use, and you want to ask your pediatrician before you use them on children under five.
  • Water and essential oils won’t mix on their own, and they can be too strong. This is why it’s best to mix it with a dispersant before adding it to your bathwater or spray bottle.

The Bottom Line

Now you know the best essential oils and natural remedies for colds and flu along with essential oils for flu and which essential oils to diffuse for colds. They can help you stay healthy year round. Did you enjoy my article? Perhaps your favorite essential oil didn’t make our list. Either way, I invite you to sound off in the comments below and share if you liked my article.