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Aromatherapy for Cold and Flu Season

Be prepared for flu season this year! Maybe, like so many, you and your family don’t trust the flu shot to protect you. Or maybe you took the flu shot and found you still got sick. While we’d all prefer to prevent the flu, if you’re suffering there’s plenty you can do to relieve the symptoms. Try these essential oils for symptomatic relief and prevention:

Pine essential oil. Derived from the pine tree, this oil helps clear your nasal passages and can help in relieving sore throat pain.

Lavender essential oil. This gentle oil has antiseptic and antimicrobial properties, and is suitable for use with children.

Peppermint essential oil. Peppermint has antiseptic and anti-viral properties, and can be useful as an expectorant. Not suitable for babies or young children.

Thyme essential oil. This oil is also antiseptic and anti-bacterial. Blend with tea tree, lemon, and eucalyptus oils in the bath or in an inhaler to help fight congestion. Avoid thyme essential oil if you have high blood pressure.

Lemon essential oil. With its high vitamin content, this oil helps boost the body’s immunse system and stimulates the production of white blood cells, thereby increasing your body’s ability to fight off illness! May also improve circulation throughout the body.

Eucalyptus essential oil. An antiviral and a decongestant, eucalyptus essential oil helps treat colds and congestion. Use in a steam inhaler to help open blocked nasal passages, sooth inflammation, and fight bacteria.

Rosemary essential oil. Rosemary works as an antiseptic and antimicrobial. Blend with lemon and eucalyptus oils (and a carrier oil). Massage around nose, cheekbones, and temples to relieve congestion and discomfort.

A great way to get the benefits of these oils is by breathing them, allowing them to enter your body through the membrane in the nose and lungs. Use a diffuser, or add four or five drops of the oil to a pot of steaming water. Cover your head with a towel, and carefully lean over the liquid to breath the steam. Be careful to avoid burns from the steam!

Or, place a drop or two of the oils on a warm, damp cloth and place the cloth on your chest or forehead to relieve pain and congestion. These oils are also good in a bath (4-5 drops added as the water is filling the tub.)

While essential oils are not a substitute for other proven methods of fighting colds (get enough fluids, rest, and see your health care professional if symptoms worsen), if you are looking for natural ways to boost your body’s defenses during cold and flu season, try these oils!

Herbs Can Cleanse features high-quality, pure essential oils by PlantLife. Head on over to and see our wide variety and reasonable prices!