Did you know that there are over 200 viruses that can cause the common cold? It’s no wonder that the average adult catches a cold between two and four times each year. Everyone is familiar with that feeling of dread when they first notice a stuffy nose or a dry, itchy throat during the cold months. While colds are usually not life-threatening, severe cold symptoms can keep you in bed for over a week and leave you feeling absolutely miserable (source).
Today, most people reach for anti-inflammatory drugs to treat a cold. While these drugs do alleviate some cold symptoms such as fever, body aches and inflammation of the sinuses, they don’t possess the virus-killing chemical compounds required to fight the infection. Plus, studies show that the overuse of anti-inflammatory drugs is more dangerous than we had previously believed. Taking large doses of these popular over-the-counter drugs can result in liver and kidney dysfunction as well as other major health issues (source).
When it comes to treating a cold, it’s best to rely on natural products. Many essential oils have been scientifically proven to fight the common cold thanks to the wide variety of health benefits found within their chemical compositions.
Essential Oils that Fight the Common Cold
Long before there were drug stores, people around the world depended on the healing powers of essential oils when they were under the weather. Essential oils are natural products derived from plants that contain many cold-fighting chemical compounds. Many contain anti-viral, anti-inflammatory, analgesic and decongestant properties that can put an end to those aggravating cold symptoms. These oils are safe to use, very affordable and extremely effective.
Lavender Essential Oil
Lavender essential oil is one of the most versatile oils out there thanks to its enormous variety of health benefits. Therefore, this oil can successfully treat several cold symptoms that make you feel downright miserable.
When a person is experiencing a cold, their airways are inflamed as the immune system tries to expel the virus from the body. When these airways are inflamed, the bronchial tubes swell up and produce excessive amounts of phlegm, interfering with a person’s ability to breathe easily and comfortably. When a cold becomes severe, breathing can become very difficult as the bronchial tubes are extremely swollen and congested.
Fortunately, lavender essential oil has been proven to reduce inflammation of the bronchial tubes when inhaled. One study found that lavender oil’s anti-inflammatory properties are so powerful that inhalation of the oil can actually stop an asthma attack (source). The oil can also treat bronchitis thanks to its inflammation-reducing abilities. When inhaled, lavender oil absorbs into the tissue of the bronchial tubes, quickly bringing down swelling and irritation (source).
Lavender essential oil can also give your immune system the boost that it needs to combat a virus. Studies have shown that the oil’s potent antioxidant levels can improve immune system function by fighting against free radicals that damage the cells, causing a variety of diseases (source).
Everyone knows just how much cold symptoms can interfere with getting a good night’s sleep. When the airways are congested and the body is in extreme discomfort, falling asleep can be difficult. Unfortunately, cold sufferers need to get more sleep than usual so that their bodies can be rested enough to fight the virus. Fortunately, lavender essential oil has been proven to act as a sedative that helps people fall asleep quickly and stay asleep through the duration of the night (source).
Peppermint Essential Oil
One of the most frustrating symptoms of a cold is congestion. As the body tries to expel the virus, phlegm and mucus build up in the airways, causing a stuffy nose and excessive coughing. These airways become inflamed as well, causing swelling and overall discomfort.
Have you ever rubbed your chest with that popular decongestant cream? If so, you are familiar with the magic of menthol. The leading chemical compound in peppermint, menthol quickly absorbs through the skin and permeates the inflamed tissue, reducing swelling while loosening up phlegm and mucus. Next time you’re congested, go straight to the source and grab a bottle of peppermint essential oil.
Peppermint essential oil is one of the most potent expectorants out there. An expectorant is capable of thinning out phlegm and mucus, allowing you to breathe easily at last. Simply massaging the oil into the chest will quickly eliminate congestion (source). Plus, studies have proven that menthol can increase your lung’s capacity, allowing you to breathe more deeply (source).
Yet another benefit of menthol is its ability to naturally reduce a fever. Menthol is uniquely capable of cooling the body when applied to the skin, lowering the overall body temperature gently and safely. Plus, menthol’s ability to numb inflamed tissue will help you achieve relief from those brutal body aches at last (source).
Clove Essential Oil
A cold virus is like a relentless attack on the respiratory system. Between the itchy throat, the congestion and the swelling of the bronchial tubes, the simple act of breathing becomes a difficult and painful task. The good news is that clove essential oil can dramatically improve the health of your respiratory system within minutes.
As an expectorant, clove essential oil can quickly break up mucus and phlegm when inhaled. This will eliminate congestion, allowing you to breathe easily once again (source).
Inhaling clove essential oil will also reduce inflammation along the bronchial tubes. The oil possesses potent anti-inflammatory properties. When inhaled, these inflammation-fighting chemical compounds get absorbed into the tissue along the respiratory tract, alleviating a sore throat and swollen airways.
In fact, clove essential oil is a known demulcent. This means that when inhaled, the oil coats the airways in a protective film that reduces painful irritation. That irritation is responsible for the itchy, dry cough that lasts long after the virus has left your body. Eugenol, clove oil’s leading chemical compound, has antitussive properties, meaning that it soothes throat irritation, eliminating that annoying cough once and for all (source).
One of the most common symptoms of a cold that isn’t talked about enough is the mental depression that can result from fatigue, physical pain and staying in bed for long stretches of time. Amazingly, clove essential oil has been found to alleviate depression and boost mental energy when inhaled (source).
Eucalyptus Essential Oil
Like many essential oils, eucalyptus essential oil can tremendously improve the state of the respiratory system. Boasting powerful anti-inflammatory properties, the oil can reduce inflammation along the airways when inhaled, soothing a sore throat while eliminating the swelling that can interfere with one’s ability to breathe.
Like peppermint essential oil, eucalyptus oil is a known decongestant that is capable of thinning out mucus and phlegm. When inhaled, that stuffy nose and congested throat will experience fast relief (source).
Another exciting benefit of eucalyptus essential oil is its virus-fighting abilities. One study showed that eucalyptus oil can effectively kill the viruses that are responsible for the common cold. Simply inhaling the oil introduces its virus-killing abilities into the body, allowing it to act quickly as it absorbs into the affected tissue (source).
Research has shown that eucalyptus oil can even boost your immune system’s ability to fight off viruses and other infections. When the body is in an inflamed state, the immune system loses its ability to effectively eradicate infections. Bodily inflammation can result from anything from excessive stress to poor diet. By inhaling eucalyptus essential oil, you can quickly treat widespread inflammation, giving the immune system back its virus-killing superpowers (source).
Frankincense Essential Oil
Fascinatingly, frankincense essential oil was used as a cold treatment centuries ago. Now, science has confirmed the belief that this oil possesses the unique ability to fight the cold virus. In fact, The United States Library of Medicine recognizes frankincense oil as a cold remedy (source).
Frankincense’s anti-inflammatory properties are well-known. One study found that the inhalation of frankincense oil can effectively reduce inflammation that results from the flu virus. This oil can reduce swelling of the airways and relieve those awful body aches that occur when one has a fever (source).
Frankincense oil possesses a variety of chemical compounds that give it the ability to act as a cough suppressant. The oil can simultaneously loosen up congestion while its anti-inflammatory properties soothe the throat, preventing the irritation that causes those itchy, dry coughing spells (source).
Lemon Essential Oil
When you visit the doctor because you have a cold, the first thing that they will tell you is that you need to increase your vitamin C intake. That’s because vitamin C has the ability to strengthen the immune system’s ability to fight viruses (source).
Typically, cold sufferers stock up on orange juice in an attempt to boost their vitamin C levels. However, these juices are loaded with sugar that can actually increase inflammation, aggravating cold symptoms. Instead, you can consume a few drops of lemon essential oil. This oil is packed with cold-fighting vitamin C, giving your immune system the boost it needs to get rid of that virus once and for all.
Lemon essential oil also has anti-inflammatory properties. Therefore, it can reduce inflammation throughout the body when inhaled. When a person is suffering from a cold, their entire body becomes inflamed, resulting in body aches and a sore, swollen throat.
Plus, lemon essential oil is a natural stimulant. When a person is suffering from a cold, they usually experience mental and physical fatigue as their body is under attack. A few sniffs of lemon oil can energize you, boosting your cognitive function while making you feel refreshed all over (source).
Tea Tree Essential Oil
Tea tree essential oil is packed with virus-fighting chemical compounds. When inhaled, the oil absorbs into the body and kills virus cells quickly. Many studies have proven that tea tree oil can kill powerful viruses in no time (source). In fact, one study found that tea tree oil is capable of killing the herpes virus, a recurring viral infection that is notoriously difficult to treat (source).
Like other popular essential oils, tea tree essential oil is an expectorant. In other words, it acts as a decongestant when inhaled. The oil will treat that stuffy nose, congested throat and sinus headache quickly and effectively (source).
Rosemary Essential Oil
Yet another essential oil that can treat your cold symptoms is rosemary oil. This popular oil can actually boost your immune system’s virus-fighting abilities thanks to its high level of antioxidants. Research has shown that antioxidants can give your immune system the fuel that it needs to fight viral infections by protecting the health of the cells in the body (source).
Rosemary essential oil also possesses a powerful ability to get rid of congestion along the sinuses and bronchial tubes. Inhaling the oil will thin out mucus and phlegm on contact, allowing you to take deep breaths again (source).
Lemongrass Essential Oil
The worst part of having a cold is developing a fever. Once a fever occurs, awful symptoms like muscle aches, chills and intense fatigue take place. Fortunately, lemongrass essential oil has unique fever-fighting abilities. The oil’s chemical makeup gives it anti-pyretic properties, meaning that it can reduce a fever safely and quickly. While reducing the body’s temperature, lemongrass oil encourages the body to sweat out toxins as its potent anti-inflammatory properties reduce those awful fever symptoms like body aches (source).
Lemongrass essential oil can also help you achieve that blissful sleep that you need to fight off the infection (source). Studies have found that inhaling the oil promotes deep, uninterrupted sleep (source).
Plus, the oil’s anti-inflammatory properties give the it the ability to reduce inflammation along the airways, putting an end to that painful sore throat. By inhaling the oil, you can reduce the swelling and pain that’s causing that terrible discomfort when you swallow (source).
Essential Oils Remedy For Colds Infographic
It’s clear that essential oils can treat every symptom associated with the common cold while killing the virus effectively. Next time you feel a cold coming on, there’s no need to despair. Instead, break out your essential oils and allow their healing properties to restore your health.
What essential oils do you like to use when you’re under the weather? Feel free to leave us a comment in the comments section below!