by Elise Moreau
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There’s an endless amount of over-the-counter medications at any regular drugstore to help you fight a cold, but before you decide to do that, you might want to consider heading over to your local aromatherapy shop for a more natural and effective solution instead. The right therapeutic essential oils may help.
According to WebMD, cold symptoms can be helped by rubbing certain essential oils on the body, inhaling them through steam by using a diffuser, and combining them with a damp cloth to be applied to the skin. Make sure you follow the National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy’s safety guidelines to ensure you use essential oils properly to avoid potential adverse effects.
Why It Works: Eucalyptus oil comes from the Australian-native eucalyptus tree, and is known for its ability to boost the immune system, offer antioxidants, and help with respiration.
How to Use It: Use a few drops with a diffuser at night to inhale it while you sleep or alternatively rub a few drop diluted in water on your chest to help with congestion.
Why It Works: As one of the strongest antimicrobial agents of all the essential oils, lemon oil is incredibly effective at cleansing the body from harmful toxins and promoting drainage from swollen lymph nodes.
How to Use It: Dilute a few drops in water or mix them with coconut oil to rub around your ears, throat, or lymph nodes in order to stimulate drainage.
Why It Works: Considered one of the most versatile essential oils, lavender oil is best known for its calming effect and use as a sleep aid. It can also ease breathing and congestion.
How to Use It: Sprinkle a few drops in a warm bath before you go to bed at night to ease stress, promote relaxation, and experience respiratory relief by breathing in the steam.
Why It Works: Rosemary oil’s antiseptic and antimicrobial properties can help soothe a sore throat, combat congestion, treat respiratory infections, and help with flu symptoms while also boosting the immune system.
How to Use It: You can either add a few drops of rosemary oil to a diffuser to inhale it or alternatively mix it with coconut oil or olive oil to massage your lymph nodes for a relaxing and cleansing effect.
Why It Works: Frankincense oil is great for improving immunity and promoting cellular health. It also has a warm, rich scent that has an immediate soothing effect.
How to Use It: Add a few drops to a bowl of warm water and breathe in the steam with a towel over your head (and eyes closed). You can also dilute frankincense in water to apply to your chest or alternatively use a few drops with a diffuser.
Why It Works: Although peppermint oil shouldn’t be used with very young children, it’s a very stimulating oil that brings an immediate cooling and calming sensation that can relive parts of the body when applied topically.
How to Use It: Mix a drop or two with some water, coconut oil, olive oil, or any other carrier oil and rub into your forehead, temples, and neck — making sure to avoid contact with the eyes.
Why It Works: Ginger oil promotes good digestion and may provide some anti-nausea effects. It also has very warm and woody scent, which may be perfect when you’ve got chills.
How to Use It: All you need to do is to apply a drop to a paper towel and softly inhale its scent to relieve a nauseous stomach. You could also use it in a diffuser.
Why It Works: Tea tree oil is know for its powerful anti-fungal, antibacterial, and antiviral properties. It helps cleanse the body and fights infection.
How to Use It: During the sore throat stage of a cold, you can add just 1 to 2 drops to warm water, gargle it for a few seconds, and spit it out. If you can’t stand the taste, you can swap it out for peppermint or ginger oil.