Usually having a cold means a significant increase in self-care, a lot of lemsip and a lot of sleep (while also trying not to fall asleep at your desk). We often succumb to the pain of waiting it out and allowing it to run its course rather than using our already limited energy finding alternative solutions.
One of the more effective and less indulgent methods of self-care is applying a topical rub of essential oil to alleviate cold or flu symptoms particularly when it comes to clearing your nasal passages and helping cold-induced headaches. They’re a great option when indoors during the colder months with viruses lurking and windows firmly shut, limiting the circulation of fresh air. Plus, they may also help you to de-stress and sleep better – something worth keeping in mind for general use of essential oils as opposed to solely when facing illness.
The best way to use essential oils is through adding a few drops to a bowl of boiling water, placing your head over the bowl, draping a towel over your head and inhaling. Be careful to keep your eyes closed as some essential oils may cause irritation to eyes. You can also add a few drops of essential oils to a diffuser to clean the air or dilute it in a carrier oil (coconut oil, avocado oil or castor oil) and add it to steaming bath water. It’s important to note that essential oils are extremely potent and you should avoid taking them by consumption as well as avoiding concentrated amounts. If essential oils aren’t diluted by a carrier oil, some can cause irritation to your skin and eyes.
As a disclaimer, these suggestions obviously shouldn’t be used to replace prescription medicine. It’s important to check with your doctor if you’re planning to use homoeopathic therapies to relieve symptoms and essential oils shouldn’t be used by infants, elderly or nursing mothers.
So, what are the benefits of each essential oil?
Lemon can be used to clear nasal passages and allow for steady breathing.
Peppermint reduces coughs, sinusitis and throat infections.
Thyme has the anti-bacterial activity to help fight respiratory infections.
Eucalyptus reduces fevers and fights viruses and chamomile relieves cold and flu symptoms.
How should I use essential oils to ease my symptoms?
Sore throat: Apply 1-2 drops of either tea tree, sage, eucalyptus or ginger to the palm of your hands, rub together to spread the oils. Then, cupping your hands around your nose, take a few deep breaths to inhale the aroma of the essential oils.
Sinus Congestion: Add a couple of drops of either sandalwood, eucalyptus, cedarwood or peppermint to boiling water. Drape a towel over your head and breathe in the steam. Keep eyes closed and your face at a safe distance from too much heat on the face.