Essential Oils and Colds
It seems that colds are a year around thing these days!
We no longer have to wait for winter before the sniffles and sneezes kick in, as we now have summer colds, spring and fall colds too!
Yes, those bacteria know how to kick us when we’re down!
Despite that, there are many ways to get one over on the common cold and find yourself sniffle free much quicker than you would otherwise be.
Did you know that essential oils for colds are a real thing?
There are many essential oils which have antibacterial and antimicrobial benefits, helping to kick out the germs that linger and cause colds, allowing you to recover.
The immune system also gets a pretty good boost in the process, so overall, you can look forward to your cold being over far faster than you would otherwise have to cope with.
Before we get into the specifics, let’s quickly recap on what essential oils are and why they’re so beneficial for overall health and wellness.
What Are Essential Oils, And What is Aromatherapy?
Salt and pepper, and they’re ideal for anyone who wants a more natural and holistic route towards certain ailments.
Essential oils are used in aromatherapy, but they come originally from plants.
The oil is extracted using a variety of different methods, usually steam inhalation, and is taken from the most abundant part of the plant.
Great care is taken not to ruin or spoil the oil and to ensure that it retains the essence of the plant.
Here the vitamins, minerals, and the healing properties are contained, and through proper use, they can have a range of very useful benefits.
Aromatherapy is the method of using the oils and applying them onto or into the body.
This can be done via massage, which massages a diluted down essential oil onto the skin and the process of massage helps to absorb it into the pores far quicker.
As a result, the oil is carried out the body and it can do its good work.
In addition, you can try inhalation.
This is usually through a diffuser or via a few drops of your chosen oil onto a tissue or cloth and breathed in.
You can add a few drops to your bath water, turn it into a spritz for your pillow at night, or you can use it topically on your skin.
Most essential oils require dilution with a carrier oil.
This is because essential oils, despite being natural, are quite potent.
Using them neat can cause side effect, such as a rash, so diluting it down is the best option.
There are various different dilution amounts, e.g. 2.5%, 5%, so you need to do your research ahead of time and find out your particular blend and dilution.
The good new is that you’re also going to get benefits from the carrier oil as well!
The most common are olive oil and coconut oil.
Many medical professionals are happy to recommend aromatherapy to their patients these days, however some remain skeptical.
There have been many studies into the benefits of aromatherapy, and helping to relieve the common cold is certainly one of them!
Shortly, we’re going to turn our attention to essential oils for colds, but before we get to that point we need to add in a quick disclaimer.
Aromatherapy is very widely used these days but if you have any specific conditions or you’re taking any medication, you should speak to your doctor beforehand in order to check that you don’t have any contraindications or any interactions that may otherwise come your way.
Essential Oils For Colds, Which Are Best?
The most annoying part of having a cold is the sinus congestion which seems to temporarily rob you of your sense of smell and makes it extremely difficult to breathe easily.
This is all down to blockages in your sinuses but essential oils can help to relieve this and therefore allow you to breathe and smell much easier as a result.
Some oils are better than others, and the best ones to try are:
- Peppermint oil
- Eucalyptus oil
- Tea tree oil
- Oregano oil
- Orange oil
- Lavender oil, which may also help with the associated headaches
- Rosemary oil
- Pine Oil
- Lime oil
- Lemon oil
- Ginger oil
You’ve no doubt heard of every single one of those oils and they’re very easy to find in heath care stores and supermarkets too.
You’ll also have heard of some of those oils via ingredients in common cold medicines, eucalyptus in particular.
Peppermint oil is ideal for opening the airways and helping to clear that annoying build up of mucous which causes sinus congestion.
Inhaling peppermint oil can also have a cooling effect on the inside of the nose, which may be irritated due to sneezing and the build up of mucous.
Of course, one of the main ingredients in this oil is menthol, another common ingredient in cold remedies.
The other plus point of peppermint oil is that it is bacteria fighting, which can help to get rid of the cold much faster and reduce the inflammation which occurs inside the nose and surrounding area.
You can try a steam bath or you can use a diffuser to breathe in the peppermint oil and clear your airways.
We mentioned eucalyptus and this is another very useful essential oil for colds.
Again, a steam bath is a good way to use this oil and it’s also very relaxing too.
The compound included within eucalyptus oil, cineole, is associated with reducing runny nose and headaches too.
Tea tree oil is an oil you’ll have seen in certain skincare products but it’s also useful for colds too.
It can help to reduce congestion in the sinuses by attacking the virus and the bacteria which causes it.
Inflammation is also reduced, which can help you to breathe a little better, and you’ll find a runny nose is improved.
If you want to try tea tree oil for a cold, it’s best to use it in a diffuser and inhale the scent.
Oregano oil and clary sage oil are also associated with fighting sinus congestion, and are both anti-bacterial oils too.
Oregano oil may stop the bacteria from growing in the first place, but clary stage is ideal for helping with congestion and even sinusitis, if your cold has reached that point.
We have to mention lavender oil, and this all-rounder oil is ideal for so many different things!
Lavender oil will help you to relax and get a better night’s sleep but it will also help to reduce the swelling in and around the sinuses and therefore help you to breath better.
Another option is rosemary oil, which is an oil with very powerful anti-inflammatory properties.
This can help to relive the swelling in the sinuses and clear your airways much faster.
These essential oils for colds are all very easy to find and very easy to use.
Inhalation is the best option when you’re attempting to treat a cold, however hard you might think it is to breathe!
Self-Help For Colds
Aside from using essential oils for colds, what else can you do to relieve your symptoms and help you feel better?
Many people assume they have to carry on with life when they have a cold, simply because a cold isn’t considered to be a serious illness.
Despite that, colds can make you feel ghastly and can seriously impact on your energy levels.
Having a cold also means that your immune system is taking a bashing, as your body is fighting the current virus.
In that case, you may be susceptible to picking up other viruses.
As a result of all of this, resting is the best option.
You might laugh and wonder where you’re supposed to find the time to rest, but it’s imperative that you do.
You’re probably not sleeping wonderfully, thanks to that sinus congestion, and in that case, inhaling some of those essential oils we just mentioned could be a good option.
You should also drink plenty of fluids, especially water, and do your best to avoid becoming thirsty.
Eat foods which are packed with vitamins and minerals, especially iron, and get plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables too.
Vitamin C is a good one here, so citrus fruits are a big do!
If you have a sore throat, you should soothe your throat with lozenges and perhaps something cold.
It’s up to you what you have but some people find ice cream helps to soothe a throat – other than that, it’s just a great excuse to eat ice cream!
You could try saline nasal drops if your nose isn’t budging, but it’s also a good idea to check your room temperature and make sure it’s not too hot, too cold, or too humid.
This is simply going to make your nasal stuffiness worse, and a cold room will make your throat extra sore too.
Humidity is also a no no, because you’ll get a headache on top of everything else!
Of course, most of the time a cold simply clears up on its own and leaves you alone, but it can sometimes linger a little.
If you notice that your cold is turning into a cough which doesn’t seem to go after a short period of time, or you notice that you have a sore chest, with green or coloured mucous being coughed up, especially alongside a temperature, you should go and see your doctor, as your cold could have turned into a chest infection.
In that case, you’ll probably need antibiotics to clear it up.
Using essential oils alongside all of these self-help methods could help you to feel better much faster than otherwise.
Should you call in sick to work? That totally depends on how you feel.
Most people don’t, but then they risk spreading the cold around the rest of their workplace, which is often not appreciated by their colleagues!
You should however make sure you rest whenever you can and try your very best to get some sleep.
Your body heals whilst you’re sleeping, and you’ll certainly feel lacking in energy if you don’t manage to get a good amount of shut-eye.
Using essential oils for colds is a great way to battle an illness that makes you feel under the weather for a few days.
Reducing sinus congestion is the main aim here, and essential oils, especially the ones we mentioned, all seem to do that very well.
Of course, you can use essential oils in many different ways, but for this particular issue, inhalation is the best option.
By doing that you’re getting right to the source of the problem – the nose and sinuses.
Breathing in the aroma will help to reduce inflammation in the nose and around the sinuses, clear your airways and reduce mucous build up.
If you choose lavender oil, you might also notice that you sleep far better and headaches are reduced too.
Essential oils are very beneficial for a range of different health issues, including sleep problems, menstrual and menopausal symptoms, erectile dysfunction, alopecia, side effects related to chemotherapy, arthritis and sore joints, chronic pain conditions, headaches, migraines, anxiety, depression, and stress, to name just a few.
Each specific oil has an area of speciality, however many are also all-rounders, such as lavender oil, which can be used for a range of different issues.
Doing your research into which oil is best for your specific situation is the best way forward, and it’s also a good idea to do a patch test before you use a new oil, just to check that you’re not unknowingly allergic to that specific essential oil.
You can also try blending your own essential oils and creating your own bespoke mixture, but before you get to that point, try using oils for other ailments and see how far you get.