Essential Oils for Cold and Flu

It’s that time of year!  No, not to begin gift shopping, but to stock up of tissue, saline and all other items that soothe the dreaded cold.  Before you head to your local pharmacy take a quick peek in your cabinets and stock up on your essential oils to help heal what ails you.

I began using herbs in my twenties to help soothe colds, cramps and other simple ailments.  My mother used to complain about the basket of unlabeled baggies on my counter filled with various petals and leaves.  My response ‘Step off.  I know what I’ve got going on here.’  Now my hobby has progressed from medicinal herbs, to bath and beauty supplies, to incorporating essential oils for that extra added bonus.

Recently I had the pleasure of sharing some of my favorite cold and flu remedies in a couple of workshops.  Below is the information I shared and some of my favorite recipes.  I tried to make note of oils that are not safe for young children as I know that a lot of times we are looking for relief for our children.

Essential oils that soothe congestion

My Top Four

 Tea Tree – An effective antimicrobial, expectorant and antiseptic. Safe for babies over 6 months.

Oregano– Acts as expectorant

Rosemary – Antiseptic, helps open nasal passageways.  Safe for babies over 2 years.

Chamomile – Relieves congestion and helps calm cranky patients. Safe for babies of all ages.

Other favorites

Eucalyptus – Potent antiseptic, antiviral, and decongestant. Avoid using on children under 2.

Peppermint – Helps to open nasal passages. Do not use on babies or young children.

Thyme – Powerful antiseptic that helps boost immune function. Useful for colds, flu’s and chills. Avoid if you have high blood pressure.

Basil – Helps open nasal passages. Antiseptic.

Rosemary – Antiseptic, helps open nasal passageways.  Safe for babies over 2 years.

Pine– Great for colds and sinusitis. Has decongestant and antimicrobial qualities.

Lavender – Antihistamine, antiseptic and antimicrobial. Safe for babies of all ages

Clove – Use in small quantities.  Higher concentrations of this oil should not be used without the supervision of a qualified professional.

Marjoram – Antimicrobial. Helps with breathing.

Lemon – Stimulates immune function, but take care if using in sunlight because it increases sensitivity (safe for children over two years)

Sweet Orange – Helps with detoxification


How to best to use essential oils for immune support?


Massage is believed to strengthen the immune system.  Full body is best, but neck and shoulders or feet will do.  Always massage feet and cover with socks before bed for best effect.

Bath (Hydrotherapy)

Add up to 8 drops of essential oil to bathwater right before entering the tub.  Best to mix with a teaspoon of carrier oil or vinegar for good disbursement.


Place oils in diffuser for maximum effect.

If you do not have a diffuser you can put a few drops in bowl of hot water and breathe in steam.  Keep your eyes closed, lean over bowl and breathe in deeply.  Repeat as long as desired.

You can also put a few drops on a tissue and inhale aroma.  Pause and repeat.  Avoid touching your nose with the


Cough and Cold Syrup


2 T Apple Cider Vinegar

3 T Water

2 T Raw Honey

½ Tsp Ginger

½ Tsp Cayenne

*1 drop Lemon Essential Oil

*1 drop Oregano Essential Oil

*Essential oils are not meant to be ingested please add to recipe at your own risk

Mix water, honey and ACV in bowl with ginger and cayenne.  Pour into 4 oz storage container.  Add essential oils and top with water if necessary.  Keep refrigerated.  To use shake vigorously.  Take 1 tsp every 4-6 hours for ages 10 and over.  Use ½ tsp for ages 6 to 10.

How these items help colds?

Honey contains antioxidant, antibacterial, and antimicrobial properties; helps to soothe sore throat; boosts the immune system.

Cayenne peppers, raw or in dry powder form, loosens nasal and sinus congestion; contains Vitamin A which protects the body when an infection is present; and naturally reduces body temperature.

The anti-inflammatory properties of ginger root will help to relieve a sore throat quickly, and they also kill rhinoviruses, which cause colds in the first place.


Immunity Support Roller


5 drops Oregano Essential Oil

3 drops Clove Essential Oil

3 drops Frankincense Essential Oil

2 drops Lemon Essential Oil

Top with Coconut Oil

Mix these ingredients in a roller ball and store in a cool dry place.  Roll on back of neck and bottom of feet at bedtime.


Vapor Rub


4 T Coconut Oil (you may need to melt if not soft)

5 drops Eucalyptus Essential Oil

3 drops Peppermint Essential Oil

1 drops Rosemary Essential Oil

1 drops Wild Orange Essential Oil

1 drops Tea Tree Essential Oil

 Mix all ingredients in a 4 oz container container.  Store in cool dry place.  Place in fridge to solidify when needed.

For use on children over two. Rub this salve on the chest to help open breathing passageways and also rubbing a thin layer on the soles of your feet. Take extra care to place the oils right under the four smallest toes – this will help the healing properties of the oils be absorbed into the bloodstream where they can assist the body with its work.  Note: Do not apply these formulas directly under the nose.


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