As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. See Full Disclosure Here
Do essential oils for colds really help?
Well, despite extensive research, there is no known cure for the common cold yet. All those meds your doctor gives you when you have a cold? Those don’t exactly ‘cure’ the cold. What they do is provide relief from the symptoms so you don’t feel so miserable.
Meanwhile, you just have to let the cold run its course.
While there are no immediate fixes or miracle cures, using essential oils for colds helps to ease congestion and shorten the duration of the symptoms without any adverse effects.
Best Essential Oils for Colds & Congestion
Eucalyptus essential oil is rich in 1.8-cineol, also known as eucalyptol. This gives the oil more than just its distinctive, strong aroma. Eucalyptol also gives eucalyptus oil powerful expectorant, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory properties.
This is one of many studies that found that cineole helped reduce many symptoms associated with colds and congestion including a runny nose, nasal obstruction, and headaches.
When you inhale this strong aroma, the eucalyptol works to loosen mucus secretions and relax the muscles. This eases the congestion brought on by the cold and opens up the airways so you can breathe more easily.
Eucalyptus oil is the active ingredient in many over-the-counter decongestant medications including chest rubs. That distinctive strong aroma that you get when you apply a chest rub for your cold? That is the aroma of eucalyptus.
How to use eucalyptus essential oil for congestion
– Add a few drops of eucalyptus essential oil to a bowl of steaming water. Create a tent with a towel so the hot steam doesn’t escape. Inhale. Breathe in the steam for a few minutes. Add more hot water if necessary. Do this at least 3 or 4 times a day for fastest results. As the eucalyptus-infused steam enters the nasal passage and goes into the airways, it helps to loosen mucus and reduces congestion.
– Add eucalyptus essential oil to the bath, shower, or diffuser to get the benefits of eucalyptol to relieve colds and congestion.
– Mix 1-2 drops of essential oil in a carrier oil and rub gently on your chest, which is one of the best pulse points for easing chest congestion.
– If you want to make it more solid like that kind of vapor rub you buy at the store, add a little beeswax to a blend of eucalyptus essential and olive oil. The beeswax will help solidify the mixture so it is more like a balm rather than a liquid. Rub the balm on your chest to help relieve congestion.
– To bring down fever, apply a cool compress with a drop of eucalyptus oil added to the cold water.
Tea tree essential oil helps ease sinus congestion by combating two potential causes: bacteria and viruses. The active ingredient in tea tree oil is alpha-sabine. This compound gives the oil its antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and antiviral properties.
Tea tree oil works to kill the virus and reduce inflammation, which helps relieve the symptoms of congestion, such as a runny or stuffy nose.
How to use tea tree essential oil for colds
– Add 20 drops of tea tree oil into a warm bath and soak in it for at least 20 minutes. Breathe in the vapors as you soak in the bath. Be careful not to get the oil in your eyes. Make sure that you breathe in and out deeply while you’re in the tub for the best effects.
– Put a few drops of tea tree oil in your diffuser. Inhale the vapors to benefits of tea tree essential oil for colds.
– You can use tea tree oil in the steam inhalation treatment but it isn’t as effective as eucalyptus for congestion.
Peppermint essential oil contains menthol, a compound that activates the mucus receptors in the nose and clears the mucus. This eases congestion, opens up the airways, and makes it easier to breathe.
Peppermint oil’s antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties also help combat the symptoms of colds and congestion.
How to use peppermint essential oil for colds and congestion
– The most effective way to use peppermint essential oil for colds and congestion is by creating a steam bath. Add a few drops of the oil to a bowl of steaming hot water. Place your face over the bowl and cover your head with a towel to prevent the steam from escaping. Breathe in the steam for a few minutes. Add more hot water if needed. Do this at least 3 or 4 times a day for fastest results.
– Adding a few drops to your diffuser or to a warm bath is also a great way to use peppermint oil for colds and congestion.
Precaution: DO NOT use peppermint oil for colds and congestion in children less than 6 years. Peppermint oil contains menthol which may be dangerous for younger children.
Known for its relaxing, sleep-inducing properties, you’d hardly think lavender essential oil would work to ease cold and congestion symptoms too. Interestingly, it does.
Lavender’s anti-inflammatory and analgesic or pain-relieving properties are what help to make it effective for colds and congestion. Lavender essential oil works to alleviate symptoms of congestion by reducing pain and swelling in the sinuses.
Its calming properties also help you feel more relaxed so you can get a good night’s sleep instead of letting the congestion keep you up all night.
How to use lavender essential oil for colds and congestion
– Before bed, dip a clean washcloth in a bowl of hot water to which you’ve added a few drops of lavender oil. Place it on over your face gently and inhale deeply as you do. Let the scent permeate your lungs and mind to help you sleep.
Put a few drops of lavender essential oil in your diffuser and keep it on before you go to bed. You must use an auto-shutoff aromatherapy diffuser so that it shuts off when the water is over.
Rosemary is another effective essential oil for colds and congestion. It has strong anti-inflammatory properties that help relieve swollen sinuses and open up the airways so you can breathe better.
Rosemary essential oil is a good choice if you prefer herbaceous aromas.
Recap of How to Use Essential Oils For Congestion
We’ve seen how to use each individual essential oil for colds and congestion. Here’s a recap of the various methods.
These are the main ways to use essential oils for colds and congestion:
1. Steam Inhalation: This is like an essential oil sauna for the face. Add 6- 7 drops of essential oil (preferably eucalyptus) to a large bowl of steaming water. Lean over the bowl with your face at least 10 inches away so you don’t get a steam burn. Cover your head with a towel to create a tent. Close your eyes and breathe through your nose for no more than two minutes at a time. Take off the towel for a few seconds. Repeat. Add more hot water if you need it.
2. Add essential oil to a warm bath: Add a few drops of essential oil to a warm bath and inhale gently while soaking in the bath for at least 20 minutes. Make sure to use essential oils in the bath the right way.
3. Add essential oil to your shower: When you use eucalyptus essential oil in the shower correctly, the hot steam of the shower will lift the vapors upwards. When you inhale the eucalyptus-infused steam, it enters your nasal passages and airways and opens them up, easing congestion.
3. Direct Inhalation: Put a few drops of any of the above essential oils for colds to a tissue or cotton ball. Hold the tissue near your face and gently breathe in. Be careful not to get essential oil directly on the skin, as it can cause irritation.
4. Diffuse Essential Oils for Cold: Adding essential oils to a diffuser is the best way to get the beneficial effects of the oil continuously while you’re at home. Put a few drops of any one of the above essential oils for colds and congestion in your diffuser and keep it in the room you’re in. The diffuser disperses the oil in the air and you get the benefits even as you go about doing your everyday chores.
5. Diffuse this Breathe Better Essential Oil Blend: This Breathe Better Essential Oil blend is a combination of the best essential oils for colds and congestion. When you diffuse this blend, you get the benefits from all of the oils at once.
6. Make your own Chest Rub: The simplest yet pretty effective chest rub consists of 1-2 drops of essential oil mixed with a carrier oil such as sweet almond or olive oil. Rub this gently over the chest to get relief from the symptoms. Adding a little beeswax to this mix will give you a more solid chest rub, that’s similar to a traditional over-the-counter vapor-rub.
To use essential oils for sinus congestion relief, it is safest to dilute them, and then breathe in the scent. Do not swallow or ingest essential oils.
Precautions when Using Essential Oils for Colds and Congestion
Always mix essential oils with an appropriate carrier oil before applying on your skin. Applying undiluted essential oils directly to your skin may cause inflammation, burns or irritation.
Always practice moderation when using essential oils. Essential oils are potent. Inhaling the scent of any oil for long periods of time or in large amounts may have adverse effects.
Do not use essential oils on children without first consulting with your doctor. Many essential oils may not be safe for younger children.
Do not use essential oils for colds if you are pregnant without first consulting with your doctor or a certified aromatherapist.
Do not ingest essential oils randomly. Speak to your doctor. Find out which essential oils are safe to ingest.
Looking for Instant Relief from a Cold or Congestion?
What if you have something important to do and just cannot afford to stay in bed?
For times when you need instant relief from cold and congestion symptoms, try steam inhaling with eucalyptus or tea tree essential oil. It helps break up the congestion and reduce swelling so your airways are more open and you can breathe more easily.
Home Remedies for Colds & Congestion
In addition to using essential oils for colds and congestion, here are a few other natural remedies that have been proven to help.
Drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated.
That chicken soup mom used to give you when you were little? It really helps when you have a cold.
Gargle with warm salt water to soothe a sore throat and reduce coughing.
Drink hot tea with lemon, cinnamon, and honey to soothe a sore throat.
Get plenty of rest. Your body needs energy to fight the cold and flu. It takes longer to recover when you keep going and don’t take time to rest and recover.
You don’t have to suffer or use chemicals to fight a cold. You can use natural remedies to help and since essential oils have been around for centuries you can be sure if you source good essential oils that they’re safe and effective for your needs.
Disclaimer: This information is not intended to serve as medical advice. Please consult your doctor before using any natural medication or if you experience any unusual symptoms. See Full Disclaimer here.