With changes in temperature and seasons, respiratory problems often appear. Whether it’s in autumn and winter with colds and flu, or in spring and summer with allergies.
In this way, symptoms such as nasal congestion, cough, sneezing, fatigue, and sore throat can appear.
Symptoms can vary from person to person according to the severity of each case.
Complications can even occur, turning these symptoms into chronic disorders such as asthma or bronchitis.
Fortunately, nature has provided us with natural remedies that can be found in essential oils.
These possess, among other things, great anti-inflammatory and antibiotic qualities. In addition to relieving symptoms, they help speed up the recovery process.
These oils are therapeutic and usually have no contraindications, so they are very beneficial and safe for respiratory health.
Next, I will tell you about the 21 most recommended and effective essential oils to alleviate the flu, colds, coughs, sore throats, and nasal congestion.
You will learn what their main properties, benefits, applications, and modes of use are. We’ll also look at some effortless recipes that will be very useful to you.
What are Essential Oils?
Before I tell you which essential oils you can use, I’ll explain exactly what they are and why they are good for relieving these diseases and their symptoms.
First, you should know that an essential oil is an aromatic compound that has been obtained from a tree or plant. It can come from the bark, flowers, leaves, and stems.
We can say that these oils represent or are the ‘essence’ of that plant or tree. In them, their main active ingredients are concentrated.
Therefore, their best and most important properties are obtained in a pure state as well as all their benefits.
In this sense, it should be noted that the more pure and natural the essential oil the better benefits it will offer. That’s why I always advise you to look for quality, pure and organic essential oils.
And while, as I mentioned before, they are usually safe and do not generally have contraindications, care should always be taken with their use.
For safety, certain indications, recommendations, and measures should be followed as you will see later.
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How are Essential Oils Extracted?
Commonly, the highest quality essential oils are extracted through steam distillation processes.
They can also be obtained with pressing techniques, by maceration (widely used for homemade essential oils), or with solvents.
In this last case, residues can be left behind which tend to be unhealthy, so I do not recommend using essential oils extracted through this process.
21 Essential Oils for Flu, Cold, Cough, and Nasal Congestion
Essential oils have been used for centuries to combat the symptoms of respiratory ailments such as coughing and congestion, among others.
Some are more effective than others, and it’s best to find the one that’s right for you.
In general, these oils will help expel accumulated mucus and reduce inflammation in the respiratory tract, sore throat, and nasal congestion.
If you’re experiencing any of these respiratory conditions, don’t hesitate to try these essential oils that are 100% natural.
Tea Tree Essential Oil
Tea tree oil is very versatile and has a large number of different uses. It is one of the most used and is very easy to get.
It has antiseptic, antibacterial, and antiviral properties. So it is a natural remedy that helps fight infections, eliminating viruses and bacteria.
It is widely used to alleviate the symptoms of colds and flu, such as cough and mucus.
In addition, it strengthens the immune system and reduces inflammation of the respiratory tract.
It is also good for relieving sore throat, lowering fever, and reducing nasal congestion.
You can use it by applying a few drops diluted in a carrier oil, through gentle massages on the chest and nasal sinuses.
Oregano Essential Oil
Oregano oil is excellent for relieving respiratory and throat problems caused by viruses and bacteria. This is thanks to being a very powerful antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral.
It contains carvacrol and thymol which help to clear the respiratory tract, eliminating among other things nasal congestion.
It is especially good for cases of bronchitis, asthma, flu, and colds, improving respiratory capacity.
It also has anesthetic properties so it can help to relieve fever.
This oil was widely used in Ancient Greece for the treatment of infections and to protect food from bacteria.
It is particularly potent, so if applied topically, it is crucial and necessary to dilute it with carrier oil, such as jojoba oil or extra virgin olive oil.
You can apply this mixture to the nose and chest to help reduce mucus production and improve breathing.
You can also use it with a diffuser or add a few drops to hot water in a pot and inhale the steam (I will explain how to do this later).
Peppermint Essential Oil
Peppermint oil has a strong and intense smell. It has many very good properties to help alleviate respiratory problems and ailments.
It is an analgesic, that helps to reduce throat pain caused by coughing and inflammation.
Its effects are practically immediate and its aroma makes it very pleasant to use.
In addition, it has antiseptic, antibacterial, antimicrobial, antiviral, antispasmodic, anti-inflammatory, and expectorant properties.
Its use is widespread in relieving respiratory ailments, being useful for relieving congestion and nasal infections.
It also helps to decrease coughing, as well as pain and irritation of the throat and nose. It is also used to mitigate the symptoms of sinusitis.
The main component that helps in all this is menthol, which has been used for the last 2,000 years as a remedy and tonic for health, especially in traditional Chinese medicine.
Its components and slightly soothing properties make it an excellent option to relieve congestion.
In the same way as oregano essential oil, it can be combined with other oils such as eucalyptus oil or rosemary oil for even faster relief.
It is important to mention that if you want to apply it topically, it should be mixed with a carrier oil, as it can be toxic on its own.
Lemon Essential Oil
Lemon oil is extracted from the peel of the lemon through a cold pressing process.
It is very good for relieving and eliminating cough and congestion, being one of the most effective essential oils for this. It also has antioxidant, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties.
It improves the immune system and stops the growth of bacteria, being very effective against the symptoms of fever and cold.
You can rub a little lemon essential oil combined with a base or carrier oil on the lymph nodes and ears. It will relieve the pain caused by fever or colds.
Clove Essential Oil
Eugenia caryophyllata, Syzygium aromaticum
Clove oil helps stimulate the immune system and soothes sore throats. These benefits come from its stimulating, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, and antimicrobial properties.
In general, this oil is wonderful for combating infections and bacteria, helping to reduce congestion in the nasal passages.
You can mix it with hot water in a container and inhale the steam.
It is usually very strong and should be diluted with a carrier oil if you want to use it topically. This will prevent it from irritating your skin.
Another very good way to take advantage of its benefits is through a humidifier or diffuser so that its healing properties are released into the air.
This will help you alleviate problems in the nasal sinuses, such as inflammation, and a sore throat.
You can also inhale clove oil directly from the container, breathing deeply several times. Immediately, you will feel the effects and notice an improvement in breathing and relief from congestion.
Rosemary Essential Oil
This oil is obtained from the plant leaves by steam distillation.
Rosemary oil is very useful for respiratory problems such as cough, sore throat, bronchitis, asthma, and sinusitis. This is because it is highly effective against bacteria, even those that are resistant to medications.
It is similar to eucalyptus essential oil in some aspects. It helps to relieve congestion, cough, and colds.
The best way to use it is to mix it with hot water and inhale the steam directly. In this way, it will clear the airways and excess mucus, allowing better breathing.
You should repeat this process two to four times a day, as you deem necessary.
Frankincense Essential Oil
Boswellia carterii, Boswellia sacra
Frankincense oil is a very good anti-inflammatory that helps to clear the nasal passages and lungs, as well as remove phlegm from the throat.
Thanks to its natural active principles, it has expectorant properties.
To treat the flu, cough, and colds you can use it through a diffuser in which you place two or three drops.
You can also apply a few drops of this oil, diluted with a carrier or base oil, by gently massaging it on your chest. It will help you to decongest the nasal passages and minimize the production of phlegm.
It is also very effective in treating the symptoms of asthma and bronchitis.
Eucalyptus Essential Oil
Specialists agree that eucalyptus oil is one of the most effective essential oils in relieving ailments and problems in the respiratory system.
The eucalyptus tree is native to Australia. Its oil was first distilled in 1788 by doctors who used it to treat chest and bronchial problems.
In addition to having a very pleasant aroma, it is an excellent decongestant. For this purpose, put a few drops of oil in a bowl of hot water, place a towel over your head, and then deeply inhale the steam.
Thanks to its properties, among which it is a magnificent mucolytic, antioxidant, antiseptic, antifungal, and antibacterial, the results are very quick.
It almost immediately loosens mucus from the nasal passages and helps expel excess mucus from the throat and chest.
In addition, as with other essential oils, it helps strengthen the immune system.
Its main component is eucalyptol, which has a pleasant aroma similar to that of mint and a spicy but refreshing taste.
This oil can be found in many products for respiratory ailments. It is one of the ingredients most used in ointments and unguents for colds.
Cypress Essential Oil
Cypress oil is very useful for fighting infections and eliminating congestion. It also helps to decrease the build-up of mucus and phlegm in the respiratory tract and lungs.
It has antispasmodic properties that make it very good for the treatment of respiratory conditions and problems such as asthma or bronchitis.
To take advantage of its benefits, you can use it in massages, previously diluted with a carrier oil, or through diffusers.
This oil can also be combined with other essential oils to further enhance its effects.
Lavender Essential Oil
Lavandula angustifolia, Lavandula officinalis
Lavender oil is widely used for various purposes, making it very easy to obtain.
It is highly useful with respiratory disorders and symptoms of flu and colds, such as nasal congestion and cough.
It allows the decongestion of phlegm trapped in the lungs and nasal passages.
This oil, which is considered a ‘light’ and ‘soft’ essential oil, has very good antiseptic, antiviral, anti-inflammatory, and antifungal properties. Additionally, it has a very pleasant smell.
It is also used as a circulatory and immune stimulant.
Although it is a mild oil, I recommend diluting it with a base oil and applying a few drops to the chest, neck, or back. Perform a gentle circular massage and you will quickly feel a noticeable relief.
You can also put a few drops on a handkerchief and bring it to your nose, inhaling deeply, to clear it. This will help you breathe better when you are congested.
Thyme Essential Oil
Thymus vulgaris, Thymus zygis
Thyme oil is one of the best options if the desire is to reduce and relieve nasal congestion and cough. This is mainly due to its multiple antibacterial, antiviral, and antimicrobial properties.
It is considered one of the best natural antioxidants. Among other benefits, it helps to strengthen the immune and respiratory systems.
According to studies carried out, this oil can effectively combat bacteria. Therefore, it is very good for sore throats and excessive mucus caused by the flu and colds.
Similarly, it increases mucus secretions, making it ideal for relieving dry cough.
It also helps to detoxify the liver and is a very effective lung disinfectant.
As with other essential oils, this oil is very potent and should be diluted if you wish to apply it topically. For this, you can choose the carrier oil of your preference and dilute it to obtain good results.
Basil Essential Oil
Basil oil is characterized by reducing inflammation caused by allergies, this being one of its best-known benefits.
It has antimicrobial and antiviral properties that help promote the detoxification of the body from bacteria and viruses.
You can use it to relieve coughs and nasal congestion by adding a few drops to your carrier oil and performing circular massages on the chest.
Ginger Essential Oil
Thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties, ginger oil is widely used in the coldest times of the year to eliminate mucus, as well as reduce nasal congestion and throat pain.
It also helps to cleanse the lungs and reduce the nausea that can sometimes accompany the flu.
You can use it through a vaporizer or diffuser, or by placing two or three drops on a handkerchief or cotton ball and inhaling.
It can also be mixed with carrier oil and used to massage the chest.
Juniper Berry Essential Oil
Juniper oil or juniper berry is commonly used for respiratory infections and sore throats.
Among its benefits for respiratory health, it can be mentioned that it is antifungal, antibacterial, antioxidant, antiseptic, and antimicrobial. These properties help the body rid itself of the viruses and bacteria that cause respiratory problems or conditions.
To obtain its benefits, its properties can be diffused in the environment using a diffuser or vaporizer.
You can also apply it as a massage oil, previously diluted with a base or carrier oil.
It can be used mixed with cedar oil, lime oil, cypress oil, geranium oil, lavender oil, grapefruit oil, or bergamot oil.
Hyssop Essential Oil
Thanks to its antiseptic properties, hyssop oil helps fight bacteria and viruses.
It is very good for eliminating viral and bacterial infections as well as reducing fever and sore throat.
Hippocrates already spoke in the past about the benefits of this oil to decrease inflammation, both of the throat and chest, and for the relief of other types of bronchial problems.
It is a great antispasmodic and expectorant which aids in the relief of spasms of the respiratory system.
It also helps relieve cough and loosen the phlegm that is deposited in the respiratory tract.
All this makes it good for treating the common cold and other respiratory problems such as bronchitis.
German Chamomile Essential Oil
German chamomile oil is a great anti-inflammatory, antiviral, antiseptic, and antispasmodic, which is why it is very good for quickly relieving respiratory infections.
It is normally used to help reduce congestion and relax the bronchial muscles.
In ancient times, the Egyptians used this oil to cure fever.
It can be used both by inhalation and topically, ideally diluting it with a carrier oil.
Lime Essential Oil
Lime oil is an excellent antiseptic, antiviral, and antibacterial, being very effective in strengthening the immune system.
It is ideal as a protection against the flu and colds, therefore it helps to fight germs.
In addition, it is useful for relieving fever and cough thanks to its antiallergic and anti-inflammatory properties.
It also has a very good amount of antioxidants.
Its benefits can be obtained through aromatherapy, using purifiers or diffusers.
You can dilute this oil with olive oil or coconut oil.
Sage Essential Oil
Sage oil has strong antibacterial, antiseptic, and astringent qualities, making it very beneficial for relieving sore throat and cough.
It should be diluted with a carrier oil if you wish to use it topically.
You can also use it through a diffuser or by putting a few drops in a pot with hot water and breathing in the steam.
Pine Essential Oil
Pine oil is effective in treating inflammation and excess mucus caused by the flu or colds.
Like most of the oils I have mentioned, it is a great antiseptic, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory.
It helps the respiratory system to function more efficiently, relieve inflammation, and eliminate infections, as well as reduce nasal congestion.
One way to take advantage of its beneficial qualities is through a humidifier or diffuser, or by inhaling the steam.
Likewise, it can also be used topically after being diluted with a base or carrier oil.
Lemongrass Essential Oil
Cymbopogon citratus, Cymbopogon flexuosus
Lemongrass oil is very effective in reducing pain and fever, as well as other symptoms of colds, bronchitis, and flu.
It also stimulates the immune system and calms the nervous system.
It is a good natural antiseptic and analgesic widely used in Ayurvedic medicine from India and in traditional Chinese medicine.
It also has antimicrobial, astringent, and bactericidal properties.
You can benefit from its properties by adding a few drops to the bath (previously diluted), through diffusion or massages.
Cinnamon Essential Oil
Cinnamomum zeylanicum, Cinnamomum verum
The tree from which cinnamon oil is extracted is native to Sri Lanka and other parts of Asia. It is considered one of the oldest trees in the world. It has a musky, sweet, and woody aroma.
Among its many and very good healing virtues, it stands out as being anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antiviral, and antiseptic, as well as possessing very high levels of antioxidants.
Thus, it helps to strengthen the immune system and kill the body’s bacteria.
It also helps to reduce inflammation of the mucous membranes and clear the respiratory tract, allowing for better breathing.
Being a very potent essential oil, it can irritate or even burn the skin if not diluted with a carrier oil.
The best way for you to use this oil is through a diffuser or by directly inhaling its aroma from the bottle.
How to Use Essential Oils to Relieve Coughs, Colds, Flu, Nasal Congestion and Sore Throats
The first step to using essential oils is choosing a quality essential oil.
To do this, when choosing the oil to use, you should look for those that are 100% natural, pure, and organic or ecological, like the ones I have recommended.
Moreover, you should always read the label on the package detailing the country of origin, botanical information or data, chemotype, distillation dates, and expiration.
Having said this, let’s move on to see the different ways to use essential oils to alleviate symptoms of respiratory diseases.
This is the most recommended and can be carried out in different ways:
– Inhalation of steam
This involves combining essential oils with hot water which will generate therapeutic steam.
Normally, it is recommended to add between 3 to 7 drops of the essential oil in a pot with two or three cups of hot water.
Then you should cover your head with a towel and breathe in the steam that comes from that container, at a distance of about 24 inches (ca. 61 cm).
Be careful not to burn yourself and always do it with your eyes closed to avoid irritation.
– Direct Inhalation
Another way to take advantage of the power and benefits of essential oils is to alleviate the symptoms of colds and flu.
They can be inhaled directly from their container or by adding two or three drops to a handkerchief, bowl, or cotton ball and inhaling deeply several times.
For example, you can create a mixture of essential oils and carrier oils:
- Put 10 to 12 drops of pure essential oil and mix it with 30 ml of carrier oil such as extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil.
- After placing it in a handkerchief, bowl, cotton ball, or even in the palm of your hands, bring it close to your nostrils.
- Inhale deeply for about a minute.
Aromatherapy diffusers work by breaking down essential oils into small molecules that contain their active ingredients.
They then spread through the air and are assimilated by the body.
They are a good way to take advantage of the benefits of these oils, having previously been diluted.
It’s worth noting that it is advisable to use an ultrasonic diffuser and not a candle or electric burner.
The latter heat the essential oil, which causes many of its benefits to be lost.
On the other hand, using the ultrasonic diffuser, the aroma will coldly spread in the environment, preserving all its properties and benefits.
This involves adding 2 to 12 drops of essential oil, previously diluted with a carrier oil, into a bathtub with warm water.
You immerse yourself in it for about 15 or 20 minutes and inhale deeply while taking the bath.
I advise you to always read the manufacturer’s instructions for the oil you are going to use or consult with a specialist.
In this way, you will use the correct doses and avoid eye irritations and/or other parts of your body.
It should be noted that it is important not to forget to dilute the essential oil with a carrier substance before adding it to the bath.
Massages are another way to use essential oils and take advantage of their benefits.
Then massage the mixture for a few minutes into the chest and throat area to relieve cough and nasal congestion.
You can also add a few drops of essential oil to your favorite massage oil or lotion and use it as you usually do.
Another option is to rub the mixture on the soles of your feet before going to bed at night.
Remember it is very important that if you are going to use any essential oil topically, you should always dilute it first with a carrier or base oil.
Pure essential oils are very potent and could irritate your skin.
Oral Use… NO!
As I have said, pure essential oils are highly concentrated and potent, so their oral or internal application is not recommended. They can be toxic.
It should be clarified that this blog does not recommend the consumption of essential oils.
Home and Natural Remedies with Essential Oils to Relieve Respiratory Problems
There are several ways to use essential oils to alleviate symptoms of the flu, sinusitis, coughing, and colds.
Below, I detail some simple and effective homemade recipes that are 100% natural.
Recipe #1: Massage Blend made with Lemon and Lavender Essential Oils
With this recipe, you can relieve cough, congestion, and cold naturally, and it is very easy to do.
- 5 drops of lavender oil
- 2 drops of lemon oil
- 1 tablespoon of carrier oil, such as coconut oil or jojoba oil
Put the 5 drops of lavender oil and the 2 drops of lemon oil in a jar or container and mix it.
Then add 1 tablespoon of the carrier oil you have chosen. Mix well.
That’s it! You now have your preparation ready for massages.
Now you should rub the mixture on your chest, back, neck, or behind the ears to relieve cough and congestion.
You could also use this mixture for an aromatherapy bath, putting it in a bathtub with warm water and taking a bath.
Recipe #2: Essential oil blend with Peppermint, Rosemary, and Eucalyptus essential oils
Mix the following ingredients in a container:
- 3 to 4 drops of peppermint oil
- 2 to 4 drops of rosemary oil
- 2 to 3 drops of eucalyptus oil
Once all these ingredients are mixed, use them with a diffuser.
Recipe #3: Lavender, Lemon, Eucalyptus and Pine Essential Oil Blend
Mix these ingredients in a bowl or container.
- 4 drops of eucalyptus oil
- 1 drop of lemon oil
- 5 to 7 drops of lavender oil
- 5 to 7 drops of pine oil
Once you have mixed all these oils in the mentioned proportions, place them in a diffuser or in a pot with hot water to inhale the steam.
If you mix it with a base oil, you can use it to perform massages on the neck and chest area.
Recipe #4: Essential oil blend with Peppermint, Rosemary, and Thyme essential oils
Mix the following essential oils in a container:
- 3 to 5 drops of rosemary essential oil
- 2 drops of thyme essential oil
- 1 drop of peppermint essential oil
Just like in the previous case, you can put this mixture in a pot or container with hot water and inhale the therapeutic steam.
You can also use it with a diffuser or humidifier.
If you mix it with a carrier oil, you can use it to massage the neck, back, and chest area.
Precautions, Warnings and Advice for Use
As I mentioned before, for you to make proper use of these essential oils, you should keep in mind certain precautions and recommendations.
In this way, you will avoid problems and be able to take full advantage of all their benefits in the best possible way.
- Pregnancy and breastfeeding: generally, it is not recommended to use them during pregnancy and breastfeeding, so if this is your case, consult with your doctor before using them.
- Babies and toddlers: as these are very pure products, their use is not advisable in small children or babies. If you wish to use them in this regard, consult with a specialist first.
- Severe diseases: people with these diseases should consult with a doctor before using them.
- Sun exposure: certain essential oils can be photosensitive, so it is not recommended to expose yourself to the sun after their application.
- Tolerance tests: always perform a small tolerance test with one or two drops of essential oil diluted in carrier oil, in a sensitive area of the body, such as the inner part of the forearm or on the wrist. Wait at least 12 hours to make sure that no allergic reactions occur.
In addition, other general recommendations for its use are:
- Always follow the manufacturer’s recommendations and use only the recommended amounts.
- Keep them away and out of reach of small children.
- Do not apply them to your eyes or mucous areas.
- If you have an allergic reaction, stop using them immediately and go to the doctor. Take the bottle of oil you have used.
- You should store them in dark, glass containers and always keep them away from light and heat.
- Keep them out of the reach of pets.
When Should You Go to the Doctor?
Essential oils are very good as alternative therapies and complement conventional treatments.
However, if you have symptoms such as excessive mucus, fever, swelling, shortness of breath, pain in the face and nose, and/or nasal congestion that lasts more than 10 days, you should consult with a trusted doctor.
If the symptoms go away but persistently return, also.
In some cases, the doctor may prescribe you antibiotics or medications, which you should take as directed.
It is usually effective and safe to continue using essential oils to treat the signs and symptoms of the flu, cold, sinusitis, or bronchitis. However, it is always advisable to consult a health professional.
And once the symptoms are gone, you can continue using essential oils to prevent future infections.
As you have already seen, these 21 essential oils are very good for curing the flu, the common cold, cough, sore throat, and nasal congestion, thanks to their properties, benefits, and applications.
However, certain usage recommendations and precautions should be followed before using them.
You should always read the manufacturer’s instructions and use the recommended doses to avoid side effects and/or complications.
You know, if you have problems with cough, sore throat, nasal congestion, or any other respiratory problem, you can take advantage of the power of these natural ingredients that are excellent home remedies.
Finally, it should be noted that the use of essential oils should not be considered a substitute for conventional medicine.
They are an excellent complement, but if you have doubts about your health, consult with a trusted doctor.
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