Your Cold and Flu Arsenal #6: Five More Essential Oils to Treat and Beat Cold and Flu
Reading Time: 5 minutes
By: Sarah Grace Powers – Confluence Daily is your daily news source for women in the know.
In last week’s installment, I introduced essential oils to the arsenal you want to have on hand to prevent and treat those icky respiratory ailments that are so pervasive at this time of year.
I love essential oils because they’re basically concentrated plant medicine. The small bottles are so easy to carry with you and pull out at need.
A lot of people get confused because essential ‘oil’ is somewhat of a misnomer. These substances are actually not oily at all, and are created (most often) through a complex distillation method that extracts the medicinal essence of a plant from the water and plant matter.
Some essential oils are extracted in other ways, and very poor quality ones are created through chemical extraction – those are the ones to avoid!
If you are new to using essential oils, be sure you catch last week’s article for some basics on choosing and using these powerful packets of healing, and to learn about five basic essential oils to have on hand for cold and flu season.
This week, read on to learn about five more essential oils to clear up congestion caused by cold, flu and other alien viruses, along with a few more recipes for using them effectively.
And remember, all essential oils have antimicrobial qualities. So, if you have just one bottle laying around, you’ll benefit by putting some in a diffuser if you’re starting to feel under the weather. Or even just opening it and taking a whiff.
Five More Helpful Essential Oils
Hyssop (Hyssopus decumbens) – Be sure to get the “decumbens” variety and not “officinalis” which contains ketones that can be hazardous. Hyssop is a sinus and lung decongestant and can also help with allergies and asthma. Its antiviral action make this oil a good choice for viral bronchitis, and chronic conditions. It can help to stop wheezing.
Marjoram (Origanum majorana; or Marjorana hortensis) – another potent antiviral that also acts as a sedative to ease muscle spasms and cramps. It’s sometimes used for laryngitis and definitely works to treat colds and flus.
Thyme (Thymus vulgaris, var. linalol) – once used as a remedy for whooping cough, thyme is a potent antibacterial and antifungal and still is a great choice for relieving lung congestion. The “linalol” variety is the safest to use as it is less irritating to tissues. It acts as an expectorant and can numb the throat. Note: Thyme oil is STRONG. Use sparingly. I’ve regretted adding more than one drop to a steam!
Niaouli (Melaluca quinguenevia) – Also sometimes referred to as “MQV,” this oil is a nice alternative to tea tree. It is less astringent and heating but still has powerful antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral properties. It’s a good choice for infections that cause lots of mucus and other moist conditions.
Lemon (Citrus Limon) – This refreshing smelling oil helps to counter all viral and bacterial infections. It’s effective against the bacteria that causes strep and pneumonia infections. It also works to boost the immune system and when used in a massage oil it stimulates detoxification of the lymph system.
As I discussed last week, one of the best ways to get the benefits of the oils is to place a few drops of essential oil in a simple diffuser to naturally disinfect a room that has been populated with sick people.
Here are a few more wonderful ways to actually use these oils.
I love simple saltwater gargles to disinfect and treat a sore throat, but essential oil gargles can be a tasty and effective alternative. Try a drop or two of lemon or cypress oil in a couple of ounces of water. Or really boost the effectiveness by adding the oils to a cup of warm thyme or sage herbal tea.
Clear out airborne bacteria and prevent more illness by using a diffuser as mentioned above. Or make a quick and simple disinfectant room spray by combining 6-10 drops of essential oils in an ounce of water and place it a bottle with a spritzer top. Shake well each time you spray the room.
Forget the Vicks! You can make up a quick chest rub with essential oils that smells and feels way better. You can also find many natural vapor balms (made with essential oils) in natural foods stores. Rub some of the salve or oil on the chest, back and throat. Then cover with some flannel or warm fabric to hold in the warmth. Try this recipe:
1 t. peppermint oil
1 t. eucalyptus oil
½ t. thyme linolol oil
½ cup olive or almond oil
¾ ounce beeswax, grated or shaved
Heat the oil and beeswax on very low heat until the beeswax melts. Cool a little then stir in the essential oils. Pour the mixture into a jar and allow to harden.
If this sounds too complicated you can just make it as a massage oil and skip the beeswax and the heating. Use the same way.
(This recipe comes from Aromatherapy: A Complete Guide to the Healing Art, by Kathi Keville and Mindy Green – a highly recommended resource for information on essential oils.)
A steamy soak is another excellent way to take in essential oils. Use caution, though, when adding strong essential oils to your bath. Fill the tub with hot water, then add just a few drops of essential oils, being sure to swish them around thoroughly in the bath. If you have sensitive skin, or want to be extra safe, add the essential oils to almond oil or another carrier oil, and then add this fragrant and therapeutic “bath oil” to your bath.
Some aromatherapy experts recommend regular bathing with lavender oil to build up resistance to colds, and you can also use lavender oil to treat the flu. One recommendation is to mix a few drops of lavender oil with a carrier oil (almond, jojoba or really any other food grade oil) and rub on the body, especially chest and back of neck. Then jump into a warm bath and soak for 10 minutes. Follow this with getting into bed, and resting or heading into dreamland.
Personally, I like the sound of that last one! My current home doesn’t have a bathtub, but if you’ve got one I suggest adding lavender oil to your essential oil collection if it’s not already there. And, heck, even if you don’t have a tub, lavender essential oil could become your new best friend. But… that’s the subject of another article.
More by Sarah:
Sarah Grace Powers is a certified life coach and EFT Practitioner. She is a ‘dream resuscitator’ for women in their second half of life, supporting them to rediscover their passions and make their impact in the world no matter their age or circumstance. In her previous career she owned and operated an herb shop and has practiced holistic living for more than three decades. Find her at sarahgracecoach.com