Aromatherapy as an Alternative Solution: Fight Colds & Flu with Essential Oils

I’m sure I’m not the only one when I say I’m not fond of having colds and the flu. Try as I might, there was a period in my life when I couldn’t catch a break from colds, not being aware my sleepless nights were behind my weakened immune system. And after month after month of feeling under the weather, I was quite tired of over-the-counter and prescription medicines.

It was only later when I welcomed aromatherapy in my life that I started resorting to essential oils for flu as an alternative solution for providing immediate relief from symptoms and reducing the risks of colds. What I like about these oils is the fact they prove to be great to have around the home at all times as they come in handy as air fresheners, and as ideal ingredients to add to your body wash and cleaning detergents.

Oils to Boost Immunity

As my first line of defence, I tried to include oils that would be of help in strengthening my immune system and decrease the chances for viruses taking their toll on my health as often as they did before.

collection of essential oils

Searching for the oils with antiseptic, antibacterial and anti-fungal properties, I came across lemon, eucalyptus, rosemary, and tea tree, so I used them as a shield to prevent the spread of germs at home, and maintain general health and well-being. As soon as I ran out of them, I stumbled upon an immune support blend of essential oils for colds, including clove and cinnamon, and ever since I keep a bottle or two in my collection as spares.

Oils to Relieve the Symptoms

As if headaches and stuffy nose weren’t bad enough, when you come down with influenza you lose appetite and energy, you get a sore throat, every muscle in your body aches and you feel like you can’t get out of bed.

Even though some medicines we’re all pretty familiar with are meant to provide relief, they don’t, so if you feel like you’ve been there and need the help of essential oils for flu, my suggestion is to enrich your aromatherapy collection with peppermint, chamomile, thyme and lemon.

thyme essential oil

Other than being known to fight respiratory infections (e.g. thyme), they help clear the nasal passages as well (e.g. lemon), reduce coughs and sinusitis (e.g. peppermint), relieve the symptoms (e.g. chamomile), and reduce fevers. Nowadays there are also specific blends of oils that are created for sinus relief, so even if you’re new to aromatherapy, it won’t be too difficult to find the right ones for your issues.

Oils to Promote Sleep

sleeping with essential oils

As I mentioned earlier, there were times when catching the z’s every night felt like mission impossible and I didn’t even see the bedding was a culprit. Well, that along with the poor sleep hygiene (not going to bed at the same time, eating, drinking and using electronics before sleep).

Since it’s during sleep that our immune system releases cytokines, proteins crucial for fighting infections and inflammation, it’s only natural for sleepless nights to decrease their production. After making some more than needed changes in my lifestyle, particularly with sleep habits and the bedroom, I also sought the help of relaxing essential oils known for their healing properties, as in the example with lavender, bergamot and sandalwood.

How to Use the Oils

What’s great about aromatherapy is there are many ways you can introduce flu essential oils in your day to day life.


Why visit a sauna when you can have your own sauna at home? But if you’re not lucky enough to be able to install one, the simple bowl with hot water and drops of an essential oil can turn your home into a spa for an instant.

Choose one of the oils for immune boost or symptoms relief, add several drops in the bowl with boiling water, cover up your head over it with a towel and inhale for a couple of minutes. If you don’t like this kind of inhalation, then adding a drop or two on a cotton pad would do the trick, or simply taking a whiff directly from the bottle of the oil.

smelling an essential oil



For those like me who enjoy filling up the entire home with the smell, the use of diffusers would do; not to mention, this way you have your own germ repellent, protecting you from the viral particles in the air that remain from a person’s cough or sneeze. If you aren’t afraid of vaporisers, and take all the care needed with the flame, then you could use them as well, having in mind they provide an even more intense smell.

Topical Application

To be able to use essential oils directly on the skin, in the shampoos and body wash, in your bath or shower, you have to dilute them first with the suitable carrier oils, like avocado, almond and coconut oil.

The recommended ratio for adults is up to six teaspoons of carrier oil for the 15, 20, 30 or 60 drops of essential oil depending on the percentage of dilution (2.5%, 3%, 5% and 10% respectively) you’re after. A word of caution is to do a patch test even after diluting, because you might not be aware you’re allergic to some of the natural ingredients in the oils.