ESSENTIAL OILS FOR TREATING COLD SYMPTOMS
Cold and flu season is at its peak, and with the ongoing pandemic, the spread of viruses shows no signs of slowing down. You may have a routine in place when you feel under the weather or have a medicine cabinet full of pills and potions you hope would help you power through your day during the course of your illness. Catching a cold or flu is a sign that your body needs to get some rest and that you need to take a back seat in your daily activities. If you are looking to take a more natural approach to manage your symptoms and promote a speedy recovery, essential oils have abundant healing properties that can help to clear nasal congestion, manage coughing, alleviate sore throat, promote restful sleep, and get you back on track to feeling better. Continue reading to discover some of the best essential oils and how they can be used during the cold and flu season.
WHY USE ESSENTIAL OILS FOR COLD AND FLU?
Essential oils possess complex chemical compounds that exhibit antioxidant, anti-microbial, astringent, and anti-inflammatory properties. The constituents in essential oils are potent, making them an effective alternative to prescription and over-the-counter medicines. While there is limited research on using essential oils as treatment for cold and flu symptoms, the studies that have been conducted show promising results. A study of 60 people by the Evid Based Compliment Alternat Med found that patients had greater improvement in symptom severity when they received an essential oil spray, compared to those who received a placebo spray. Meanwhile, a review that analyzed the results of several studies found that essential oils may be a beneficial treatment for adults with upper respiratory tract infections, as well as symptoms of the flu and the common cold.
THE BEST ESSENTIAL OILS FOR COLDS
Clary Sage Essential Oil – Clary Sage is rich in Linalyl Acetate and Linalool, which are constituents that contribute to the oil's anti-inflammatory, astringent, analgesic, and hypotensive properties. This herbaceous oil is believed to be effective in eliminating and preventing the spread of harmful bacteria, as well as decreasing the symptoms of coughs and colds.
Cinnamon Bark Essential Oil – Cinnamon Oil's Cinnamaldehyde content is responsible for its spicy and warm aroma, as well as its anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, and anti-microbial qualities. Cinnamon Oil is also believed to be effective in supporting immunity and reducing the severity of cold and flu symptoms.
Eucalyptus Essential Oil – Crisp, clean, and camphoraceous, Eucalyptus is a powerful astringent oil that can help clear nasal passages and eliminate harmful airborne bacteria. The three main constituents of Eucalyptus Oil, a-terpineol, citronellol, and camphor possess anti-microbial, antifungal, decongestant, and anti-inflammatory properties that can ease the symptoms of the common cold and support recovery.
Frankincense Essential Oil – Hailed as the essential oil for overall well-being, Frankincense is a reputed anti-inflammatory and is versatile enough to treat an array of health concerns. Antiseptic and anti-inflammatory, Frankincense Oil can reduce the severity of coughs as well as eliminate harmful bacteria.
Lavender Essential Oil – Known for its calming and sedative properties, Lavender essential oil can promote relaxation and support a good night's sleep for when you are under the weather. Lavender may also relieve fatigue and tension headaches that are associated with sinuses.
Lemon Essential Oil – The invigorating "liquid sunshine" is packed with cleansing and purifying properties, making Lemon Oil the most powerful anti-microbial among the essential oils. The main constituents include a-Pinene, Camphene, Sabinene, and Limonene, which contribute to Lemon Oil's anti-septic, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anti-fungal properties, making this brilliant oil ideal for treating cold symptoms and boosting immunity.
Peppermint Essential Oil – Peppermint is an excellent oil to inhale or apply to the neck and chest area to alleviate congestion and ease tension headaches. Due to its rich Menthol content, Peppermint oil is also believed to reduce cough and relieve sore throat. Be sure to dilute the essential oil with a carrier oil if you choose to apply it topically.
Tea Tree Essential Oil – Boasting potent antiviral and antimicrobial properties, Tea Tree oil is a powerful immune system stimulant, making it especially effective for supporting recovery from illnesses. Due to its Sabinene content, Tea Tree oil helps to prevent the spread of viruses, bacteria, and fungi, while also exhibiting antioxidant activity and soothing inflammation.
HOW TO USE ESSENTIAL OILS WHEN YOU ARE SICK
- Use a Diffuser or Humidifier – Diffusing your space with immunity-supporting essential oils is the easiest way to clear nasal pathways, diminish harmful airborne bacteria, or promote relaxation prior to sleep.
- Treat symptoms with a throat, chest, or sinus massage – Gently massaging essential oils for colds into areas affected by congestion can help the nasal pathways feel clearer and ease tension headaches. Be sure to dilute the essential oils with a carrier oil, such as coconut or jojoba oil, to prevent skin irritation.
- Inhalation – You can sniff the oil directly from the bottle or you can add a few drops to your hands, rub them together, and cup your nose while inhaling the aromas. To promote nasal decongestion and better sleep, apply a few drops of your choice of oil onto your pillow prior to bedtime.
- Aromatherapy Bath – Few things are more soothing than a warm bath when you're feeling under the weather. Apply one of the above essential oils or blend more to suit your needs. Pour a few drops into the warm bath water and bathe for 20-30 minutes.
- Add Essential Oils to a Warm Compress – If you're experiencing achiness or sore muscles, pairing healing essential oils with a warm compress may provide temporary relief. Frankincense, Eucalyptus, or Lemon oils may be very effective for treating bodily discomfort.
CONTRAINDICATIONS FOR ESSENTIAL OILS
All New Directions Aromatics Essential Oils are for external use only. They should not be ingested and should not be stored within the reach of children, in case of accidental ingestion. As with essential and carrier oils, a patch test should be conducted on the inner arm or another generally insensitive area of skin, using a dime-size amount of the specified oil to check for sensitivities. An absence of an allergic response within 48 hours suggests that the oil is safe to use.
The topical application of most carrier oils is generally known to be safe with responsible use, but irritations, allergies, rashes, and other side effects are possible. In the chance of an allergic reaction, discontinue the use of the product and see a doctor, pharmacist, or allergist immediately for a health assessment and appropriate remedial action. To prevent side effects, consult with a medical professional prior to use.
Essential or carrier oils must never be used near the eyes, inner nose, and ears, or on any other particularly sensitive areas of skin.
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