6 Essential Oils for the common cold!

Although I live in the tropics, this time of year always makes me think about autumn and the impending winter months in Europe. I am for sure, a huge fan of hot climates but I do really love autumn and miss those bright blue crisp days, surrounded by the crunch and crackle of leaves, with the air sharper and summer left scattered behind .

Reminiscing about this time of year, which I haven’t experienced in Europe for a long time, made me think of this week’s post: the common cold and cough! Of course this can strike at any time of year, so I think it should be useful for all my friends across the globe, even over in the southern hemisphere where things are slowly heating up.

There are a few key essential oils that are particularly useful to have in your cupboard at the ready. As always there are waaaaay more options depending on the specifics of your symptoms, life style and so on. But this quick guide should help the common cold.

An aromatherapy treatment for the upper respiratory tract will aim to

  • Treat the infection with antimicrobial oils
  • Expel mucous & decongest
  • Sooth headaches & sore eyes
  • Relieve coughing
  • Build up the immune system

So, which oils then?

Please bear in mind that the first 3 oils are stimulating, whereas the last 3 are regulating or soothing.

Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus Globulus)– This is your number one decongestant oil with a camphorus odour. It also has a host of other properties and will help sooth a cough, but stimulates the immune system, removing congestion and stagnation. Please use Eucalyptus Radiata for kids under 3 years old. 

Rosemary (Rosmarinus Officinalis - This is a very stimulating oil and great for clearing those foggy head colds and creating clarity when we have mental fatigue!

Lemon (Citrus Limonum) – This is a general antimicrobial; lemon extracts are used a lot in cleaning products. It’s also particularly good for sinusitis symptoms too. It has a gently stimulating energy with cooling properties.

Ravintsara (Cinnamomum Camphora) – It’s a strong antimicrobial. It has a regulating energy that will help to expel mucous and assist you in recuperating in those final stages of a cold.  Great one for young kids an infants too!

Atlas Cedarwood (Cedrus Atlantica) – this is a real tonic, it calms and regulates your nervous system. It is especially good for those colds that you just can’t seem to shake off.

Lavender (Lavandula Angustifolia) – This super oil deserves a post of its own and will get one soon! For the mean time, if you don’t have it, get it now. It is the aspirin of aromatherapy. In terms of treating colds, it’s great to put in the blend as a general immune system tonic and to sooth, especially if you are using the blend at night.

How do I use the oils though?

Steam inhalation is fantastic for a powerful hit! In a bowl of boiling water put around 5 drops of oil. But this is not safe with young kids, so the other option is to put the oils in the bath. Additionally, you can diffuse the oils in the house, follow the instructions of the manufacturer for your particular diffuser. I am a big fan of the Muji ones; they look good, work well and don’t break the bank.

Finally you can make a concentrated blend, which you can rub into chest, back and on feet at night. A small concentrated blend for 30ml base oil would be around 15-18 drops of essential oil.

What else?

Strong decongestants and some strong antimicrobials tend to be high in a chemical constituent called 1.8 cineole, that’s that strong camphorus aroma you can smell.

In general, oils from trees and leaves will tend to treat cold symptoms well, they are the lungs of the earth and plants!

And remember..

When buying oils please always check the Latin name too, as some oils go by the same common name, but are actually different plants.

Almost there I promise! 

Please remember I am a huge advocate of combining an allopathic and holistic approach to any illness. If you need to get yourself checked, go to the doctor! Or visit a naturopathic doctor or homeopath! 

Notes on safety

Do not use eucalyptus globulus oil on kids under 3 years old and in a lower dilution on kids under 10 years old. This is super important it can cause a spasm of the glottis.  You may also want to avoid this oil if you have epilepsy.  Be sure to double-check the safety for your individual health concerns.