Though there hasn’t been any scientific research that could demonstrate the effectiveness of essential oils against common colds, these natural products have been employed as a natural medication by people.
However, there are studies that conclude that essential oils do help in relieving cold symptoms and even have antibacterial and anti-viral properties.
That said, here we’re going to find out what essential oils are good for a cold and what makes them effective at doing so. They’re as follows:
You may not know this, but an over-the-counter vapor or chest rubs often has eucalyptus oil or at least its main compounds, eucalyptol or cineole. One study has found that eucalyptol has an antimicrobial effect, hence allowing it to ward off bacteria that are the root cause of illnesses.
It has been found that eucalyptol has an anti-inflammatory effect, can soothe pain, and also alleviate muscle tension that is caused by a cold or flu. Aside from these, eucalyptus essential oil also has a calming effect on cough.
It can be applied in various ways such as diluting the oil in steaming water and inhaling the water vapor or rubbing the mixture of eucalyptus oil and carrier oil onto the chest and throat.
Surprisingly, aloe vera can be a great cure for seasonal infections such as colds and flu. The mucilaginous gel inside an aloe vera plant contains detoxifying and anti-inflammatory properties as well as laxative properties.
In the beauty and skincare industry, many cosmetic brands contain aloe vera. Apart from being a moisturizing therapy for sunburnt and dry and irritated skin by applying it directly on the skin, aloe vera can be used as a juice to cure a cold and cough.
To do so, you simply have to trim one aloe vera leaf in 3-4 doable parts and spoon out the gel in all of these parts. Afterward, place the gel inside a blender, combine it with a cup of apple juice, then consume fresh.
Peppermint can be extracted into menthol which, when inhaled, produces a cooling sensation that’s capable of soothing a scratchy throat. Apart from soothing a scratchy throat, it can aid in easing the muscles of the windpipe called the bronchial muscles.
Aside from this, a peppermint essential oil has menthol which may influence the mucous receptors in the nose. This aids in opening the airways and emptying the mucus. In most cases, peppermint oil is applied by adding it to a diffuser or mixing it with topical oils.
One of the typical garden herbs is rosemary which contains cineole which aids in separating mucus and minimizing inflammation. It also comes with antibacterial and antifungal properties which make it perfect for dealing with a common cold.
The aroma of lavender stimulates sleep which is a necessary remedy for sick people in order to boost their immune system. You can use lavender essential oil in a diffuser at night or spray a lavender linen spray unto your bed sheets and pillows.
Also known as Melaleuca, tea tree oil can hamper the growth of unwanted bacteria which is the source of sinus infections and several respiratory problems. Apart from being antibacterial, tea tree oil has antiviral and antifungal properties.
It may also help in lessening inflammation by lowering sinus swelling which mitigates the symptoms of congestion such as a stuffy nose.
The effectiveness of the oregano essential oil lies in the fact that it contains a potent compound known as carvacrol which wards off different types of bacteria. This allows a person suffering from sinusitis to achieve quick and effective relief.
The musky and woody smell of the cedarwood essential oil is a known expectorant due to its capability to reduce phlegm. This essential oil is also a sedative that helps minimize runny noses, not to mention it also acts as a diuretic. Its beautiful organic fragrance can aid your sleep, which again, is essential to be relieved from cold.
Benefits and Risks of Essential Oils
Now that we’ve known which essential oils are good for a cold, let us talk about the benefits of essential oils.
Essential oils can be used as a complementary therapy to relieve cough symptoms as well as a form of alternative medicine. Aside from this, there are certain oils that can promote relaxation and induce sleep such as chamomile and lavender. Lastly, there are essential oils that can aid in curing bacterial and viral infections while others help in minimizing fever.
However, there are certain risks involving essential oils, especially when they’re applied carelessly. Generally, essential oils are safe when applied at low doses. However, these products are known to be potent and should, therefore, be used with care.
To start, essential oils shouldn’t be ingested. Furthermore, undiluted essential oils must not be applied to the skin as they can cause burns, irritation, and inflammation. Prolonged exposure or inhaling large amounts of scents from these oils may cause dizziness.
Lastly, the safety of children or babies may be compromised due to the use of essential oils. Due to that, it’s better to consult your physician or a trained aromatherapist first before using them.
Aside from using essential oils to help reduce colds, you can help yourself relieve symptoms in other ways. These methods include taking acetaminophen or ibuprofen if you have a fever and minor aches, a decongestant drug when you need to relieve congestion, hot tea with lemon, honey, and cinnamon to relieve your sore throat, and lastly, fluids like water to stay hydrated.
You can also consume chicken soup as well. Most importantly, prevent yourself from catching a cold in the future by having an active immune system through consuming a balanced diet, having sufficient sleep, and regular exercise.