Aromatherapy for Coughs and Colds
by Wendy Mackay MIAAMA
Winter is a prime season for coughs, colds and flu. The drier atmosphere in our homes and workplaces and the contrast between this and the colder (and often wetter!) weather outside, can make us all more susceptible to catching a “bug”. However aromatherapy and essential oils can help – both with helping to prevent you catching a cold as well as helping with the symptoms and getting you feeling better sooner.
Prevention is always better than cure. Help stop the spread of germs by using the antiseptic powers of essential oils around the home.
Tea tree Essential Oil in particular is fabulous used as a disinfectant. Add a few drops to the water when washing your floors.
Or sprinkle a few drops of Tea tree or Eucalytptus Essential Oil on a damp cloth and use to wipe down light switches, door handles, taps and other areas that are touched regularly to reduce the spread of germs.
Other surfaces can be washed down with Tea tree Essential Oil in warm water. If you aren’t keen on the aroma of Tea tree Essential Oil on its own, try adding a little Lemon Essential Oil along with the Tea tree Essential Oil.
Vaporise essential oils such as Eucalyptus, Lavender (or Lavender French Alpine), Rosemary, Pine, Lemon, Cypress or our “Breathe” Essential Oil Blend to cleanse the air.
Make a room spray by putting 3 drops each of Eucalyptus, Tea tree and Lemon Essential Oils or Eucalyptus, Pine and Rosemary essential oils or 9 drops of Breathe Essential Oil Blend in a spray bottle and topping up with water. Don’t forget to shake well before each time you use it to disperse the oils through the water. (Remember essential oils are not soluble in water, so this step is important.)
If you do catch a cold a cold, essential oils can also help to soothe the symptoms and help you to feel better.
At the very first sign of symptoms, run a warm bath and add a mix of 2 drops of Eucalyptus Essential Oil, 3 drops of Lavender (or Lavender French Alpine) essential oil and 2 drops Tea tree Essential Oil in 1 tablespoon of a light carrier oil such as Grapeseed or Apricot kernel. Mix well then soak for at least 15 - 20 minutes. Afterwards, pat yourself dry, wrap up warm and put yourself to bed. The aromatic bath will help soothe symptoms and relax you to help you to get a good night’s sleep and get the rest that is so important when you are ill.
Vaporise essential oils in the bedroom with a waterless electric vaporiser use 4-5 drops of essential oil such as Eucalyptus, Lavender, Lavender French Alpine, Lemon, Pine, Rosemary, or Basil. Use one oil or a combination or try our Breathe Essential Oil Blend.
Put a few drops of essential oil on a tissue and breathe in the vapors throughout the day to help to relieve congestion. Oils that can help here include, Basil, Eucalyptus, Pine, Peppermint or Rosemary. Or try our Clarity Essential Oil Blend. Add a drop of Lavender or Lavender French Alpine if your symptoms include a headache. In between use , tuck the tissue inside your shirt or in a pocket to keep the aromas close throughout the day.
These same oils can be used for steam inhalation to help relieve congestion. Use 1- 2 drops only in a bowl of hot, but not boiling, water. Close eyes and cover your head with a towel to make a tent. Breathe in deeply. (Note steam inhalations are not recommended for anyone suffering from asthma).
Make a soothing chest rub by adding 6 drops each of Eucalyptus, Lavender (or Lavender French Alpine) and Rosemary essential oils or 15 drops of Breathe Essential Oil Blend to 50ml Grapeseed Oil. Apply to chest, throat and upper back morning and night.
Of course all these suggestions must go hand in hand with the usual healthy living guidelines – make sure you drink plenty of water, eat lots of fresh fruit and vegetables, and make sure you and your family get enough exercise and sleep. It all helps!
(Safety note - all recipes given are for adult doses. For children under 12 years, use no more than half the amounts stated. For babies under 2 years, use no more than a quarter of the dose. It is now recommended to avoid using eucalyptus or peppermint essential oil on children under 10 years old as the cineole and menthol content respectively in these oils can cause breathing difficulties in some cases. (Robert Tisserand Essential Oil Safety 2nd Edition) Always contact a professional aromatherapist if you are unsure of correct treatment or if you have other health concerns that may affect or contraindicate aromatherapy treament. Always see your health professional if symptoms persist for more than a few days, or if symptoms worsen.)
Top 5 Essential Oils for Colds
Eucalyptus - Long favoured as a cold remedy. Helps clear congestion and improving breathing.
Tea tree - Highly antibacterial, and good for infections generally.
Lavender - Antiseptic and healing, soothing and relaxing, aids rest and recovery
Rosemary -Clearing for the head, helps relieve aches and pains
Pine - Antiseptic and expectorant - clearing and stimulating
(This information is meant as general advice. Please consult your health practitioner or a qualified aromatherapist for advice on your specific situation.)
Wendy Mackay is a qualified Aromatherapist and a member of the International Aromatherapy and Aromatic Medicine Association (IAAMA). Wendy along with her husband David is the Founder and Director of Essence of Wellbeing. Essence of Wellbeing is dedicated to the best in Aromatherapy and Pure Natural Skin Care and is located in Mornington on the beautiful Mornington Peninsula in Victoria, Australia.