Colds and the annoying sore, scratchy throat that accompanies them affect millions of people each year.
Web MD estimates that in the United States alone, there are more than 1 billion colds per year. That’s a lot of miserable people with stuffy noses, sneezing, and sore throats.
While there are medications that treat cold symptoms, many of them have unpleasant side effects. Plus most over the counter cold remedies don’t cure colds and may have devastating side effects for some.
Fortunately, essential oils may ease your cold and sore throat symptoms with no side effects. Some may even shorten the duration of the cold itself.
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Essential oils can help ease your cold and sore throat symptoms. Cold medicines can have many side effects ranging from annoying and benign to potentially life threatening that make them a poor choice for many.
Fortunately, essential oils can relieve cold symptoms and sore throats naturally with minimal side effects.
5 Best Essential Oils to Fight Colds and Sore Throats
The following essential oils can help you beat your uncomfortable cold and sore throat symptoms:
What Are Essential Oils?
Essential oils are strongly scented oils from natural sources. These oils are made by distilling the oil from a plant like an herb or fruit. Because of this, these oils normally smell like a stronger version of the plant they come from.
Homeopaths and natural living enthusiasts have a long history with essential oils. They have used essential oils for years to promote better health and living. Their uses include:
- Promoting relaxation
- Better sleep
- Relieving sore throats
- Weight loss
- Clearing congestion
- Soothing cold symptoms
- Relieving headaches
How Can Essential Oils Help You Manage Your Colds and Sore Throat?
Colds and viruses plague many of us with their annoying symptoms. Over 200 viruses cause colds and sore throats. According to the Mayo Clinic, common cold symptoms include:
- Runny or stuffy nose
- Sore throat
- Mild body aches
- Low fever
- General feeling of being unwell
Unlike bacterial infections like strep throat or a sinus infection, colds and most sore throats are caused by viruses. Antibiotics are totally useless against viral infections, and the only thing you can do when suffering from the misery the cold inflicts on you is wait it out and treat the symptoms. This leaves you with very few options for easing the misery during a cold. (1)
Over the counter medications are one available option for cold and sore throat relief. Unfortunately most of these over the counter cold and flu medications are notorious for causing side effects including:
Unfortunately, those are the fairly benign side effects of cold medicines. Some people may suffer from serious side effects that may cold medicines downright dangerous. People that are at high risk for serious side effects from cold medicine include those who fit into one of the following categories:
- Have high blood pressure. Decongestants in cold medicine constricts the blood vessels to open the nasal passages, which may lead to a dangerous spike in blood pressure.
- Have heart problems. Combination cold medicines can make heart problems worse and cause irregular heartbeat, dangerously high blood pressure, and tremors.
- Suffer from liver or kidney disease. Common pain relievers found in cold medicines can damage the liver and kidneys with repeat use. (3)
- Pregnant women. The University of Michigan Health System advises all pregnant women in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy to avoid all medications as they may increase risk of complications. After the first 12 weeks, very few cold medications are approved for use, and all should be used very sparingly.
Fortunately, you can treat most of the symptoms that cold medicines treat with an essential oil. Studies show that some essential oils can soothe inflamed nasal, throat, and bronchial passages with their anti inflammatory properties. Other oils can relieve body aches and headaches. Still other oils can help relieve congestion. These combine to make for powerful cold and sore throat relief. (4)
Perhaps most alluring about using essential oils to remedy colds and sore throats is that some oils boost the immune system with their antibacterial and antimicrobial properties. These properties may actually prevent you from getting sick in the first place or shorten the duration or severity of the illness due to the vitamins in the oils. (5)
What are the Best Essential Oils for Colds and Sore Throat?
Navigating your way through all the available essential oils can be a daunting task. There are many oils that can help you get relief from your allergy symptoms without relying solely on medications.
The best essential oils for managing allergies include the following:
The distinct, calming fragrance of the flowering herb is recognized as an anti-inflammatory. Recent studies have concluded that lavender oil can reduce inflammation and reduce the production of mucus that result from colds and sore throats. (6)
Benefits of Lavender Oil for Colds and Sore Throat
Lavender oil can help relieve the effects of colds and sore throats by:
- Reducing Bronchial Inflammation - The calming nature of lavender also calms the airways, making it easier to breathe. Cold medications have similar properties that target inflammation, making breathing easier.
- Eases Pain - Lavender oil can help reduce headache pain. It can also help with other aches and pains associated with the common cold and sore throats.
How to use Lavender Oil for Cold and Sore Throat Relief
Lavender oil can be used to manage cold and sore throat symptoms by:
- Inhaling - There are several methods of inhaling lavender oil. Some of the most popular methods include: a diffuser, adding a few drops to a bowl of simmering water and breathing it in with a towel around your head and bowl; using a few drops on your forehead in the shower and breathing it in; and as a simple diffuser in the room in a bowl of water.
- Topically - Lavender essential oils can be placed directly on the skin. Rubbing the oil directly around the nose, throat, and head can help reduce the pain associated with colds and sore throats.
Lavender oil products to try include:
Peppermint oil and flavor is used in many products, from mints to holiday candies. But this popular holiday flavor makes a great cold and sore throat remedy. Peppermint oil can clear stuffed up sinuses and help relieve an itchy throat. (7)
Benefits of Peppermint Oil for Colds and Sore Throat
Peppermint oils can help you reduce your cold and sore throat by:
- Reducing Inflammation - The pleasing scent of peppermint oil is very soothing and helps to open up airways. This is particularly helpful when fighting congestion that accompanies colds.
- Reducing Pain - Peppermint oil has pain relieving properties that can be used to help treat some of the painful effects of colds and sore throats.
How to Use Peppermint Oil for Colds and Sore Throat
To use peppermint oil, you should try these methods
- Gargling - Whether you have a sore throat or cold with a sore throat, gargling 6 - 8 drops of peppermint oil in luke-warm water is particularly effective in reducing the pain associated with a sore throat. Just be sure to spit it out and not swallow.
- Inhaling - Breathe in this soothing, minty oil by placing a couple drops into a bowl of boiling water. To get the best effect, wrap a towel over your head and drape it over the bowl.
- Chest Rub - Create your own peppermint oil chest rub by diluting two drops of peppermint oil in a carrier oil, such as coconut oil, and massaging it into the chest and front of neck.
Peppermint oil products to try include:
- Peppermint Oil Premium Therapeutic Grade 4 Ounce Essential Oil For Aromatherapy
- Peppermint Oil - Therapeutic Grade 10% Menthofuran
When grandma used to give you hot tea with lemon to you when you had a cold, she was onto something. This bright citrus oil helps with respiratory conditions including cough and congestion plus promotes overall health and well being with strong antimicrobial and antibacterial properties. (8)
Benefits of Lemon Oil for Colds and Sore Throat
Lemon oil works both benefits the acute cold and sore throat and helps prevent them in the future by:
- Eases Upper Respiratory Symptoms - Studies show lemon oil can actually kill airborne bacteria. Additionally lemon oil can thin mucus and soothe inflamed nasal and bronchial passages which clog up quite a bit when you are suffering from a cold. (9)
- Boosts Immune System - Lemon oil stimulates the immune system with a large shot of Vitamin C. Vitamin C is well known for boosting the immune system and helping to prevent and reduce the length of colds and sore throats.
- Relieves Sore Throats - Lemon oil can help to ease the pain of a sore throat with its antiseptic qualities.
How to Use Lemon Oil for Colds and Sore Throat
To use lemon oil for your cold and sore throat try the following:
- Gargling - Add two to three drops to a cup of warm water.Gargle for one to two minutes at a time.
- Cleaning - Mix a few drops of lemon oil with water and use it to wipe down the surfaces in your home. Lemon’s antimicrobial properties help kill the germs that cause colds.
- Drinking - Add a drop of lemon oil to a glass of water to give your immune system a boost.
Lemon oil products to try include:
- Lemon Essential Oil for Aromatherapy 4 Oz
- Lemon 100% Pure, Best Therapeutic Grade Essential Oil - 10ml
Thyme oil is considered one of the strongest antioxidants and antimicrobials available. History records its use from early civilization to the present. Thyme supports the immune, respiratory, and other body systems that help fight colds and sore throats. (10)
Benefits of Thyme Oil for Colds and Sore Throat
Thyme oils offer an array of benefits including:
- Kills Bacteria and Infections – Thyme effectively kills bacteria, and the infectious cold viruses.
- Opening Airways - Thyme oil reduces congestion and clears airways.
How to Use Thyme Oil for Colds and Sore Throat
Here are some common methods for using thyme oil:
- Inhale – Breathe thyme oil vapors in directly for fast congestion relief. Put a few drops on your hands, cup them over your nose, and inhale.
- Topically - Add a couple drops of thyme oil to a carrier oil and rub on the chest and neck to soothe the symptoms of a cold.
Thyme oil products to try include:
Found in many over the counter products, eucalyptus oil helps colds and sore throat symptoms. Studies have indicated that the chemical found in eucalyptus oil, cineole, has a variety of health benefits that include reducing inflammation and pain. (11)
Benefits of Tree Oil for Colds and Sore Throat
Eucalyptus oil helps relieve and fight against colds and sore throats by:
- Relieving Congestion - When used in aromatherapy, Eucalyptus oil can help reduce congestion associated with colds and in the throat. It loosens mucus and makes it easier to breathe again.
- Pain Relief - Eucalyptus oil helps fight pain by blocking the receptors. This property is particularly helpful for sore throats.
How to use Tree Oil for Cold and Sore Throat Relief
Tree oil can be used to manage allergies in several ways. The most popular ways to use tree oil to treat allergy symptoms include:
- Inhaling - Mix a drop two in boiling water to maximize the effect of Eucalyptus oil on clearing your sinuses.
- Gargle - Mix Eucalyptus oil with some luke-warm water to make a gargle. Gargle for 1 to 2 minutes to relieve the pain of a sore throat.
Good eucalyptus products to try include:
Essential Oils: Tips and Tricks for Fighting Colds and Sore Throat
Use essential oils to their fullest capabilities to banish your allergy symptoms with these tips and tricks.
- Choose the right oils for your symptoms.
- Try mixing the oils together to create a cold blend to ease all your symptoms. Mix a drop or two of peppermint, lavender, and lemon oil with coconut oil and use as a topical rub.
- Use lemon oil to boost your immune system and prevent colds and sore throats. The oil’s antimicrobial and antibacterial properties will help you prevent getting sick.
Conclusions: Can Essential Oils Help Me Fight Colds and Sore Throats?
Essential oils may help you control and even prevent colds and sore throats. These oils can relieve the uncomfortable symptoms with few symptoms. Beware though: essential oils are never intended as a substitute for a doctor’s care.
In the event that your cold lasts longer than 10 days or your run a high fever or have a preexisting medical condition, it’s always a good idea to consult your doctor.