Cold and flu season is upon us. And even if you did receive your yearly flu shot, there is still a chance you may come down with a bad cold or even the flu itself. So what happens if you do get sick? What medications do you need to treat your symptoms? If you are considering alternative therapy, you may be able to minimize your cold and flu symptoms with aromatherapy.
There’s nothing worse than a pesky sore throat to make even gentle swallowing uncomfortable. For this cold and flu symptom, you want essential oils to kill the bacteria causing the soreness. Add two drops of both lemon and tea tree essential oils to a cup of warm water and gargle. I’ve used this method several times with success.
A number of essential oils are known for having expectorant properties. These include spike lavender, frankincense, and eucalyptus. There are several ways to use these essential oils to minimize congestion. While taking a hot shower, place two or three drops of the essential oil on the shower floor and inhale. The aromas of the essential oils will combine with the steam for a natural expectorant.
This symptom is more associated with having the flu than the common cold. Essential oils with anti-inflammatory properties, like black pepper or ginger, should ease these aches and pains. Try adding about three to five drops of either essential oil per 5 ml of a carrier oil, such as sweet almond oil. To avoid injury, do NOT use these essential oils undiluted on your skin.
Having a cold or the flu can wipe you out. And while you should rest during your recovery, you may want to have some little pick-me-up so you’re not spending all day sleeping in bed. Energizing essential oils include rosemary and peppermint, both of which have stimulant properties. Place a drop or two on a cotton ball and inhale for a caffeine-free shot of energy.
Nausea is another symptom that is more associated with the flu than the common cold. By far, the best essential oils for nausea are peppermint and lavender. Both are effective when inhaled. In addition, foods or drinks that have natural peppermint oil or natural ginger flavor can help ease a nauseated stomach.
Stop the spread of germs!
Not only can you minimize cold and flu symptoms with aromatherapy, you can use it to stop infecting others. Handwashing is the most effective way to prevent the spread of germs. There are numerous recipes online for homemade natural hand sanitizers that are alcohol free. My personal favorite is this one, which costs less than 70 cents per 3-ounce batch.
Aromaweb.com, Essential and Carrier Oils Profiles
CDC.gov-Seasonal Influenza Q&A, Vaccine Effectiveness – How Well Does the Flu Vaccine Work?, last updated September 25, 2013
Flu.gov, Symptoms of the Flu
Prevention.com, How To Make Your Own Sanitizer, November 2012