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Top 5 Essential Oils for Cold and Flu

Posted by Kinga Koper on
Top 5 Essential Oils for Cold and Flu

According to the latest statistics by the CDC, an estimated number of 34- 49 million cases of flu illnesses were recorded in the United States alone. Due to the constant mutation of flu strains, one should get flu shots every year, maintaining a balanced and healthy diet as well as practicing clean hygiene to protect themselves from the flu season. 

On the other hand, natural remedies for cold and flu are becoming increasingly popular to relieve ailments and protect the immune system from ongoing flu seasons. Essential oil aromatherapies are a great alternative to treat some of the flu symptoms and help to recover faster for better health.

Here are the top 5 essential oils for cold and flu that we recommend and the best ways to use them:

Best 5 Essential Oils for Colds and Flu

1) Peppermint Essential Oil

Peppermint oil contains beneficial volatile compounds such as menthol and menthyl acetate that provides a cooling effect upon inhaling, relieving itchy throats and clear your airways for smoother breathing. The steam-distilled Peppermint also contains anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, making it particularly effective as a decongestant for coughs and colds with its signature minty aroma.

2) Eucalyptus Essential Oil

Native to the lands of Australia, the refreshing and clean scent of Eucalyptus oil is well known for its cineole and pinene constituents that boost your immune system against flus and colds. Eucalyptus essential oil is a great calming agent for the respiratory system as well, clearing up mucus and soothing sinuses for better breathability and comfort.

3) Tea Tree Essential Oil

Steam distilled from the Melaleuca plant, the immune-boosting properties of 1, 8‐cineole helps your body to combat against the flu virus, protecting your health from the harmful environmental factors. With a grassy and lemony tinge, Tea Tree oil exhibits potent anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory effects, further supporting their effectiveness against common colds and flus.

4) Lemon Essential Oil

Commonly known for its potent cleansing effects, Lemon oil is quite effective against countering colds during the flu season as well due to the abundant components of limonene within the citrus fruit. Delicately cold-pressed from lemon rinds, Lemon essential oil provides a tremendous boost towards your immunity, strengthening the body with its detoxifying effects.   

5) Thyme Essential Oil

More often found in the culinary field, the aromatic spicy aroma of Thyme oil helps in relieving respiratory symptoms with its potent anti-microbial properties. Studies on Thyme oil by researchers also demonstrated great results in countering sinuses and breathing difficulties for better respiratory protection during the cold and flu seasons.


How to Use Essential Oils for Cold and Flu

There are multiple ways on how to use these recommended essential oils to protect your health during the flu season, here are some of it:


Use our aromatherapy diffuser to diffuse the essential oils. Add a few drops of your choice of essential oil and sufficient water into the diffuser for best efficiency.


  • Steam Bath

Add 4-6 drops of essential oils into a bowl of hot water and gently inhale the steam vapor for 1-2 minutes.

  • Application on Skin

Blend 2-3 drops of essential oils with your preferred carrier oils and rub on the neck and chest area.

  • Misting

Mix a few drops of essential oils with water and spray onto your pillow before bedtime helps with smoother breathing at night or use the hydrosols (Eucalyptus, Lemon, Peppermint)

  • Direct Inhalation

Directly inhale from the bottle or add 1-2 drops on cotton ball before inhaling.

  • Warm Compress

Try a warm compress by adding few drops of essential oils on a warm towel. Rest aside with the warm towel over your head.


Potential Risks of Essential Oils

Although essential oils are natural products derived from botanical origins, it is best to exercise caution when using these oils:

  • Individuals with sensitive skin would be more likely to experience skin irritations or allergies from essential oils. Never use essential oils in their undiluted form and always do a patch test beforehand.
  • Essential oils may interact with certain medications or supplements. Kindly consult with a certified health practitioner before using them.
  • It is advised that pregnant women, young children and infants should talk to a certified health practitioner or doctor before using essential oils.
  • Certain essential oils pose health hazards to pets. If you have one, it is best to do a thorough research or a quick check with veterinarian before diffusing in homes.

Check more information about essential oils for flu and cold

Thyme Essential Oil

Tea Tree Essential Oil

Peppermint Essential Oil

Lemon Essential Oil

Eucalyptus Essential Oil

This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. The information contained herein is not a substitute for and should never be relied upon for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment.


CDC (2020), 2019-2020 U.S. Flu Season: Preliminary Burden Estimates


HealthinAging.Org (2019), Flu Prevention And Treatment Tips


Barbour (2010), Safety and Antiviral Activity of essential oil Against Avian Influenza and New Castle Disease Viruses


Horváth and Ács (2015), Essential oils in the treatment of respiratory tract diseases highlighting their role in bacterial infections and their anti-inflammatory action: a review†


Ali (2015), Essential oils used in aromatherapy: A systemic review


Setzer (2016), Essential oils as complementary and alternative medicines for the treatment of influenza


Pazyar et al. (2012), A review of applications of tea tree oil in dermatology


Dauqan and Abdullah (2017), Medicinal and Functional Values of Thyme (Thymus vulgaris L.) Herb


Becker (2018), Essential Oils to Prevent the Spread of Flu


Kalra et al. (2010), Cold and Flu: Conventional vs Botanical & Nutritional Therapy

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