Essential oils are powerful compounds made from the petals, leaves, and peels of plants! While they’re amazing for brightening up a space or helping us feel calm, there’s a couple that are scientifically backed to be effective during the cold and flu season!
Let’s discuss some of the most popular essential oils for boosting our immune system and why they can be so effective!
This oil is my favourite topical anti-microbial! From preventing infection on cuts and scrapes (not on an open wound), to a spot treatment for acne, it’s a staple in my natural medicine cabinet.
When it comes to colds and flus, tea tree oil may prevent you from getting sick in the first place! One study showed that tea tree oil prevented the influenza virus from entering a healthy cell, so even if you encounter an infection, your body won’t be affected.
As essential oils shouldn’t be taken internally, there are two methods I suggest. The first is topical application. You can mix a few drops with a base oil and massage under your jaw and down your neck (this is where lymph nodes are!). The second method is to inhale a couple drops directly from your palms or while you’re in the shower! The steam from the shower will help the oils reach deeper into your nasal cavity and lungs.
If you’ve already got a cold, you’ll want to reach for eucalyptus oil because it’s an excellent airway and sinus opener! For those that suffer from congestion, sinus infections or bronchitis, inhaling this oil allows for better movement of mucus and faster healing! One study combined eucalyptus with sweet orange and lemon oils for even greater effect. Try adding 1-2 drops in the palm of your hand, rub both palms together then cup your hands over your mouth and nose while you breathe in slowly.
Oregano oil is a strong anti-microbial which means it can help kill off bacteria, viruses and fungal infections. It’s best suited for bacterial infections, and a recent study looked at drug-resistant Staph Aureus infections and found oregano to inhibit further growth, even when antibiotics weren’t effective!
It’s important to remember that anything that has the potential to rid the body of bacteria should not be taken daily because there’s a lot of bacteria we need! Instead, use oregano oil as a short-term measure when you’ve got a cold, or during peak cold and flu season. 2-3 drops diluted in water is all you need. Keep in mind that it’s always advised to add in a high quality probiotic to keep your gut balanced after its use!
*FUN FACT* This oil also shares many of the same benefits as thyme so if you can’t get your hands on oregano, this may be a good substitute!
Perhaps one of the most underrated but effective essential oils for the immune system, clove is an all-star antiviral, and an overall immune booster. Its main constituent is eugenol and it’s been widely studied and found to help kill off bacterial and viral infections. It’s especially useful for long standing infections that may have developed a biofilm (this is a shield that pathogens make to protect themselves from antibiotics, which makes infections with a biofilm tough to treat).
This oil can easily be blended with others for a more powerful punch. I love mixing it with tea tree on the skin or adding 1 drop to a cup of ginger tea at the first signs of getting sick. It’s also great to inhale a few drops from your hands before and after a flight! The close quarters of an airplane can make the common cold much more likely to enter the body.
Essential oils can go a long way at keeping colds and flus at bay! Be sure to share this article with anyone looking to boost their natural medicine cabinet with more effective and easy-to-use remedies!
What are your favourite essential oils for the cold and flu season?
New to essential oils? Book an appointment with Dr. Laura to discuss your customized road to more natural health.
Dr. Laura Belus is a Naturopathic Doctor that focuses on detoxification and hormone balance for weight loss, stress management, and greater energy. She believes in making simple, yet powerful, changes to diet & lifestyle habits that create lasting results. She practices in Mississauga and Toronto.