When the weather gets cooler, our health can start to take a turn for the worse. Colds, flu, sniffles and coughs are a familiar health concern during the cooler months. Highly contagious, the common cold and flu is easy to pick up, so it's important we protect our immune system to prevent the spread of pathogens. Let’s explore how we can prevent cold and flu naturally. Aromatherapy can save the day by choosing essential oils with specific properties and how to apply them effectively.

Essential Oil Natural Remedies

Let's explore the properties of essential oils for cold & flu symptoms. A property of an essential oil is the chemical constituent action and the result it has on the mind and/or body. Some well known properties include; antibacterial - tending to prevent the growth or spread of bacteria, anti-inflammatory - used to reduce inflammation or anti-fungal; used to prevent fungal growth.

Eucalyptus essential oil

Expectorant Essential Oils

An expectorant property promotes the secretion of sputum by the air passages, used to treat coughs. Expectorant essential oils are good for sore throats and coughs as they help thin the mucous in the sinuses and lungs which makes it easier to expel. Essential oils for blocked nose and congested lungs, we recommend:


Rosemary, Peppermint, Eucalyptus, Black Pepper, Fennel, Frankincense, Ginger, Juniper, Marjoram, Oregano, Pine, Tea Tree & Thyme.

Antibacterial Essential Oils

Essential oils which are antibacterial means they are tending to prevent the growth or spread of bacteria. Essential oils may help kill pathogens from a bacterial organism.


Some recommended essential oils are;

Lemon, Lavender, Cedarwood, Eucalyptus & Basil, Cinnamon, Clove, Sandalwood.

lemon essential oil
rosemary essential oil

Antiseptic Essential Oils

Antiseptic means preventing the growth of disease-causing microorganisms. All essential oils have antiseptic properties to some degree and many essential oils are especially good at preventing the spread of bacteria, fungus and viruses. We recommend:

Lime, Lemon, Eucalyptus, Lavender, Lemongrass, Immune Support Blend, Rosemary, Tea Tree & Clove.

Balsamic Essential Oils

Balsamic means of the nature of or yielding balsam - an aromatic resinous substance. These essential oils are good for lungs, for the respiratory system, they work to soothe and calm the throat. Essential oils good for a dry cough and irritated throat we recommend:

Sandalwood, Frankincense, Geranium, Marjoram, Cedarwood & Fennel.

cedarwood essential oil

Essential oils for cough & allergies

Essential oils for cough & allergies can very depending on what kind of cough you are experiencing and if this cough is related to your allergies.


Essential oils for general coughing; Black Pepper, Cedarwood, Eucalyptus, Fennel, Frankincense, Lemon, Marjoram, Peppermint, Pine, Rosemary, Sandalwood.


Essential oils for dry cough; Marjoram, Sandalwood, Frankincense,Geranium, Cedarwood, Fennel.


Essential oils for spasmodic cough; Frankincense & Marjoram.


Essential oils for smokers cough; Eucalyptus & Pine.


Essential oils for allergies; Chamomile & Lavender.

How to use essential oils for cold & flu

Diffuser: An antiseptic oil diffused in the air will help prevent the spread of airborne pathogens. Add 6-8 drops to your diffuser.


Disinfectant spray: Add 10 to 20 drops of essential oils to a 500ml spray bottle. Shake well before use. Perfect for hard surfaces.


Steam Inhalation: Steam for the treatment of blocked sinus, congested lungs, dry cough and/or irritated throat, add up to 2 drops of essential oil to a bowl of steaming water. Place your face close to the bowl and cover the back of your head and bowl with a towel to trap the aromatic vapours. Inhale for a few minutes and repeat every three hours for up to three days. Too many drops of essential oil in a steam treatment can cause excess mucous production and be irritating to the eyes, throat and lungs; 2 drops are enough for this method.


Compress: A hot compress can be used if steam inhalation is inappropriate; for young children, to avoid danger of scolding, etc. Add 2 to 3 drops of essential oil to a bowl of warm water. Submerge a face washer then wring out excess water. Apply compress to chest and change as required.


A cold compress can provide relief for painful sinuses. Follow steps above but use lukewarm to cold water and apply compress to the face especially over the forehead, cheeks and around the jaw line.


Helpful essential oils for sinus pain would include:


Sinus Clear Blend




Massage Blend: Applying essential oils in a massage blend can help ease symptoms to promote sleep and relieve a sore neck and ribs if coughing has caused muscular strain. A 2.5% dilution; 5 drops of essential oil to 10ml of carrier oil. Helpful essential oils with the dual action of relieving sore muscles and supportive of the respiratory system include:





Ginger (more suitable for a productive cough than a dry cough)

Author: Alissa Geddes

Alissa is a fully qualified Aromatherapist with further qualifications in Remedial Massage & Myotherapy. She qualified as an Aromatherapist in 2005 and has worked in hospitals, day spas and in clinical practice. Alissa contributes her extensive knowledge to ECO. and helps with detailed education to our ECO. community. Alissa is passionate about assisting and teaching others how to restore and maintain their health and wellbeing.

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