The Common Cold and Flu – Using Essential Oils to Ease Symptoms

the common cold and flu - essential oils to ease symptoms

A runny nose, scratchy throat, headache, and fatigue—the symptoms of both cold and flu are felt by all individuals. But what exactly is the common cold, and how do people contract it? How do the symptoms of a cold differ from the flu? Are there precautions that can be taken to avoid getting sick in the future?

While both illnesses are prevalent, there are certain remedies—both holistic and conventional—that can help ease the symptoms and get you back on your feet in no time. The trick is knowing which common remedies are scientifically backed versus mere myths. For a quick and easy remedy on the go, try the Relieve or Healthy personal diffuser blends. Whether you’re suffering from extreme congestion, have a pounding headache or a fever that just won’t go away, there is an essential oil out there that can help.

woman blowing nose with blanket onCommon Cold

A common cold is an upper respiratory infection caused by a virus, most often affecting the throat and nose. More than 100 different viruses can cause what is known as the common cold. However, the virus most commonly associated with colds is the rhinovirus.On average, rhinoviruses account for 30 to 50 percent of all common colds.2

Rhin means “nose.” Often this causes the sniffling, itchy, runny, and stuffy noses that are the telltale symptoms of a cold. Aside from the common cold, rhinoviruses can also cause ear infections, sore throats, sinus infections, and pneumonia.3

While the common cold can affect individuals at any time of the year, reported infections usually peak in autumn and spring. During these times, up to 80 percent of common colds may be associated with rhinovirus infection.4 

Colds spread easily and can be contracted through person-to-person contact or by coming into contact with a contaminated surface. When an infected person sneezes, the virus is spread through the air or transferred onto the person’s hands. The person then touches a doorknob. If an individual touches their nose, mouth, or eyes after touching that infected doorknob, they can get infected with the virus.

On average, adults contract approximately two to five colds each year. Meanwhile, children who are of school age contract between seven and ten colds a year.

Symptoms of the Common Cold

The symptoms of a cold are milder than flu symptoms and are most often restricted to the respiratory system. You may experience a runny or stuffy nose, sneezing, cough, sore throat, headache, minor body aches, and fatigue.

Colds often last for 7 to 10 days. The first couple of days are marked by a headache, sneezing, slight chills, scratchy throat, and a general feeling of malaise. As the virus progresses, individuals begin to experience a stuffy or a runny nose, cough, and general fatigue. Symptoms often peak within the first two or three days, with some symptoms lasting for up to three weeks.

The symptoms of a cold begin to appear when the virus attaches itself to the nose or throat and are actually a result of the body’s immune system attempting to fight off the virus. When the virus attaches itself, the immune system sends out white blood cells to attack the foreign virus.

During the course of the virus, the color of nasal discharge may change from clear to yellow to green. Clear mucus is marked by a low number of white blood cells. An increase in white blood cells can cause the mucus to become yellow or pale green in color. When there are a larger number of white blood cells fighting the virus, mucus can turn green. Mucus can trap viruses, and the symptoms of sneezing and coughing help expel both the mucus and unwanted virus from the body.5

Flu (Influenza)

While the common cold can be caused by over 100 different viruses, influenza can only be caused by three types of influenza viruses: types A, B, and C. The type A virus is most commonly associated with seasonal flu epidemics and is constantly mutating. Type A viruses can also infect animals, and wild birds are common hosts.

The type B virus can only be found in humans. It is not commonly associated with pandemics, though can still be the cause of seasonal epidemics. The type C virus can also only be found in humans and is characterized by much milder symptoms.

Influenza viruses tend to mutate over time, which is why new flu shots emerge every year. While the influenza vaccine can protect against type A and B viruses, there isn’t currently a vaccine to protect against influenza caused by type C viruses.6

The flu, like the common cold, is a highly contagious viral respiratory infection. The virus can enter the body through the mucous membranes of the nose, eyes, and mouth. Just like a cold, individuals can contract the flu virus through close contact with an infected individual. Alternatively, they can touch something the infected person has recently come into contact with. Additionally, the flu virus can also be contracted through the infected air.

While you can catch a cold at any time of the year, the flu virus generally peaks during the winter months, with the flu season spanning from late fall to early spring. Additionally, influenza symptoms are more severe than those of the common cold, though they share many similarities.

Symptoms of the Flu

Flu symptoms are marked by a dry cough, sore throat, chills, muscle or body aches, headaches, a stuffy nose, severe fatigue, and a moderate to high fever. In children, flu symptoms may also include nausea and vomiting.

While cold symptoms appear gradually, flu symptoms often come on quickly. These symptoms can last for up to one to two weeks. Individuals are contagious one day before they begin displaying symptoms and up to seven days after symptoms appear.

How the Immune System Works

It would be amazing to be able to boost your immune system and never get the common cold or flu again, right? Unfortunately, that’s not how the immune system works. When you contract an illness, cells within the immune system rush to inspect the foreign invader. Once identified, they design cells to find and kill the virus making you sick. If you get that particular strain again, your immune system already knows how to fight it off. This is why it’s not likely to contract the exact same strain of illness twice.

This is exactly why vaccines work: vaccines are actually a small concentration of a particular virus or bacteria. When the virus/bacteria is injected into the body, the immune system works to create cells to kill off the invader.

However, the body must come into contact with the bacteria or virus in the first place for the immune system to learn how to fight against it. It is nearly impossible to become immune to every strain of rhinovirus and influenza virus that exists. This is why there is a new flu shot every year, and why the flu shot isn’t always 100 percent effective as it protects against only the three most common flu strains that year.

On the other hand, it can actually be harmful to have an overactive immune system. If the immune system is constantly active, this can result in inflammation in the body or even autoimmune disease.7

While you may not be able to become immune to all illnesses, by taking care of your body and living a healthy lifestyle, you can help keep your immune system in tip-top shape and decrease your risk of contracting a virus.

Common Myths About Cold and Flu Remedies

Will eating chicken soup help you get over an illness faster? Will going outside with wet hair make you get sick? Everyone has heard a lot of myths (and supposed facts) about both the common cold and the flu. But is there really any truth behind these claims?
girl brushing wet hair

Cold weather (or going outside in the cold with wet hair) can make you sick: False

The holiday season seems to be synonymous with sneezing, coughing, and runny noses. However, there is no scientific basis in the myth that colder temperatures cause you to become sick. In the same vein, many people believe that going outside on a winter day with wet hair can cause an individual to contract the cold or flu. 

Although the cold weather won’t cause you to become sick, more people seem to be sick during the colder months. During the warmer months, people tend to spend more time in nature. When winter comes around, people are likely to be found huddled around the fireplace than outside.

Because of this, the colder months are marked by people spending more time indoors in close proximity to each other. If your Uncle Rick arrives at your holiday party sneezing and coughing, you have a much higher chance of contracting a virus from him than standing outdoors in the cold.

chicken noodle soupEating chicken soup can ease your symptoms: True

Ah, the classic mom remedy. Eating a warm bowl of chicken soup often stirs up memories of snow lightly falling outside the window while you’re curled up in bed nursing a cough and a runny nose. As it turns out, mom was right after all.

Although chicken soup has long been touted as a home remedy for colds, a study published in 2000 finally gave some scientific backing to the claim. One study found that chicken soup contains a number of substances that can help relieve symptoms of upper respiratory tract infections due to their anti-inflammatory properties.

In the study, three batches of soup were used to study the movement of neutrophils—white blood cells—through the blood of healthy volunteers. The researchers believed that if the chicken soup decreased the movement of neutrophils and reduced inflammation, the symptoms of the cold would become less severe.

The results of the study showed that when the neutrophils were subjected to several variations of the soup, the movement was reduced. However, they were unable to determine the exact ingredient of the soup that caused this reaction, and the chicken broth alone didn’t have the same effect.

Even so, the results indicate that chicken soup could have anti-inflammatory properties that can reduce the symptoms of a cold.While eating chicken soup surely won’t cure a cold, it can help alleviate some of the symptoms. So next time you’re feeling sick, cooking up a big batch of warm, healing soup certainly can’t hurt.

Dairy consumption increases mucus production: False

It’s a common myth that drinking milk while suffering from a respiratory infection will increase mucus production. However, a 1990 study published in The American Review of Respiratory Disease debunked this claim.

In the study, 60 volunteers with rhinovirus-2 were studied over a ten-day period. During these ten days, records on dairy intake and respiratory symptoms were maintained.

One study showed that dairy intake was not associated with an increase in upper or lower respiratory tract symptoms of congestion or mucus weight.9 An Australian study published in 2005 came to the same conclusion.10

While water or hot herbal tea may be a better beverage to reach for when suffering from cold or flu symptoms, milk won’t make your congestion worse.

Antibiotics can help cure a cold or flu: False

While a quick fix for your symptoms would be nice, taking antibiotics won’t do anything to alleviate your sniffly nose or a cough. This is because antibiotics help remove bacterial infections, while both the common cold and influenza are caused by viral infections.

woman taking small white pillThough the symptoms of upper respiratory viral and bacterial infections are similar, they require different means of treatment.

Bacteria are single-celled organisms that multiply and are often linked to ear, throat, and sinus infections. They can also cause bacterial pneumonia, bronchitis, strep throat, and whooping cough.

On the other hand, viruses are smaller than bacteria, reproduce rapidly, and cause the common cold, flu, and viral pneumonia.

Bacteria attack the cells of the body from the outside and are able to reproduce on their own. Viruses, on the other hand, move into the cells of the body and reprogram them from the inside.11

Because of their different structures and methods of survival, antibiotics can attack the cell walls of bacteria but not the hard protein shell of viruses.

Cold and Flu Prevention

While there are no surefire ways to become immune from both cold and flu viruses, there are certain precautions you can take to help boost your immune system and reduce your chances of contracting a virus.

Wash Your Hands

washing hands in white sinkThis popular precaution has been drilled into individuals from childhood. Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly with warm water and a gentle soap. One thing to note: using hand sanitizer is not the same as washing hands with soap and water.

In fact, researchers found that washing hands with soap and water was actually statistically superior to using alcohol-based hand sanitizers when tested against H1N1 influenza virus.12

Disinfect Surfaces

While you should be disinfecting surfaces in your home regularly, it is even more important to do so if someone in your family has a cold or flu. A simple disinfecting spray can be made with a combination of water, white vinegar, and lemon or tea tree essential oils to spray down these surfaces.

Keep Your Hands Off Your Face

Cold and flu viruses enter the body through the mucous membranes. So, it is especially important to keep your hands away from your nose and eyes after touching potentially contaminated surfaces.

salad in bowl with fork resting on side of bowlMaintain a Healthy Diet

Eating a diet with lots of fresh fruits and vegetables can help boost your immune system and keep illnesses at bay. And instead of reaching for that third cup of coffee, try a warm mug of herbal tea with honey instead.

Relieve Stress

Stress alone won’t cause you to contract the cold or flu, but chronic stress can weaken the immune system and make you more susceptible to illness. Hundreds of studies have been conducted on the effects of stress on the immune system. While small amounts of cortisol (stress hormone) can actually help boost the immune system, excessive amounts can weaken it.13

So, take some time out of your day to unwind, even if it’s just 10 to 15 minutes in the morning or evening. For a quick and easy way to alleviate stress and anxiety, diffuse a blend of lavender and frankincense essential oils throughout the home.

Get a Good Night’s Sleep

Most people know that a good night’s sleep is essential for maintaining good health. But why is this the case? During sleep, the body produces cytokines, which help coordinate white blood cell activity and fight off infection. Chronic sleep deprivation decreases the body’s production of cytokines, weakening the immune system, and leaving you more vulnerable to viruses.

Conventional Treatments

doctor and patient touching armUnfortunately, there aren’t any remedies that will cause cold or flu symptoms to completely disappear. While certain supplements claim to shorten the duration of the illness, most of the time you’ll just have to ride it out.

Even so, there are over-the-counter medications that can offer relief from congestion, headache, cough, fever, and other symptoms. Combining these with natural remedies and a healthy lifestyle can take the edge off of your sickness.

  • Over-the-counter decongestants can help loosen mucus and ease breathing.
  • Cough suppressants help relieve coughs that interfere with sleeping or daily life, but should not be taken if a cough isn’t too severe.
  • Antihistamines can help reduce congestion, sneezing, and a runny nose.
  • Pain relievers can help reduce headaches and muscle pain caused by influenza.
  • Cough drops can help soothe a sore or scratchy throat.
  • Fever reducers such as acetaminophen can help reduce too-high fevers. 

All over-the-counter medications have potential side effects, so it’s important to understand the risks before taking any of these. It might be a good idea to try to relieve some of your symptoms with natural remedies first.

If you have a sore throat, gargle with warm salt water as often as you’d like. For this, use approximately half a teaspoon of salt in one cup of warm water.

Additionally, it’s important to stay hydrated when you’re sick with the cold or flu. Water, tea, and broth are the most beneficial liquids. Try to avoid caffeine, alcohol, and sugary juices for the duration of your sickness.

Natural Remedies

Pharmacy shelves are packed to the brim with cold and flu remedies, from pain relievers to fever reducers to decongestants. But before you hit the drugstore, take a look in your pantry. Many of the more holistic treatments for cold and flu symptoms may already be in your home.

Holistic practitioners have been remedying sore throats, headaches, runny noses, and coughs with natural remedies for thousands of years. Whether you’re looking to sip a mug of herbal tea, diffuse a healing essential oil blend, or use a fragrant, decongestant salve, there are plenty of ways to naturally alleviate some of your cold and flu symptoms.

Ginger and Turmeric Roots

While ginger may be well-known for its ability to calm an upset stomach, it also boasts anti-inflammatory properties that can help alleviate symptoms of both cold and flu. For a powerful anti-inflammatory hot tea, combine a fresh ginger root with turmeric, lemon, cayenne pepper, manuka honey, and a pinch of black pepper.

Ginger is known for its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and antiviral properties, while turmeric contains curcumin, which is also known for its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antiviral properties, as well as its ability to boost immune system function.14

Lemons have anti-inflammatory properties, help boost the immune system, and can promote the flushing of toxins from the body. They can also relieve respiratory symptoms and nausea.

Cayenne pepper can help alleviate the symptoms of cold and flu by clearing mucus and reducing fevers. Manuka honey is known for its antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal properties. Combined together in one hot drink, this is a powerhouse that can leave you feeling better in no time.15


Many studies have been conducted to test the efficacy of echinacea on the symptoms of cold and flu. Echinacea is one of the most widely-known ways of naturally relieving symptoms of the common cold.

Part of the reason why these studies are so contradictory is that there are many different species of echinacea. Three of these are commonly used medicinally. The preparations of the medicinal species vary. Some use the root. Others use the flower, leaves, or even the whole plant. The plant can be made into a tincture or ground into tablets. Depending on the species of echinacea used, the part of the plant used, and the method of treatment, the results can vary widely.16

In one study, echinacea was found to reduce the chances of catching a common cold by 58 percent. And it was able to reduce the duration of the common cold by one and a half days.17

In another study, the efficacy of an extract of echinacea was tested against five different type A influenza viruses. The results showed that echinacea effectively blocked the replication of all viruses tested. Even more notable is the fact that even after repeated treatment cycles, there seemed to be no resistance built up to the treatment.18

To use echinacea to prevent illness or shorten the duration of symptoms, you can drink echinacea in a tea, take a small amount of a tincture daily, or create a natural herbal throat spray to ease throat pain.

It’s important to note that echinacea should not be taken in any form by individuals who have an autoimmune disease.


Zinc is a trace element that is necessary for maintaining a healthy immune system. The body doesn’t make it naturally, so humans need to get it from in daily diet or through supplements. However, the supplementation of zinc to treat cold or flu symptoms has been widely-studied. Like echinacea, the results are mixed.

One study attempted to understand why the results of zinc studies were so widespread. The theory was that the daily total dose of zinc might explain the variation in results.

As it turns out, studies that used daily doses of 75 mg or less showed no positive results. Rather, those that using over 75 mg showed up to a 42 percent reduction in the duration of colds.19 The results of this study show that higher doses of zinc may, in fact, shorten the duration of colds, while lower doses do not provide significant benefits. 

For zinc to be most effective, doses should be taken within the first 24 hours of noticing cold or flu symptoms. Zinc can be taken as a pill, powder, liquid, gummy, capsule, or lozenge. Above all, the lozenges are the most effective way to shorten the duration of illness and minimize symptoms.

However, it’s important to note that excessive zinc intake can be harmful to health. Excess zinc intake may cause nausea, vomiting, lack of appetite, headaches, or diarrhea and may also suppress the absorption of copper. Because of this, the maximum zinc intake recommended per day for adults over the age of 18 is 40mg.20


Elderberries are the fruit of Sambucus nigra and are often used in medicinal syrups, lozenges, gummy supplements, and capsules. Elderberry has long been used as an herbal remedy for influenza, the common cold, and sinus infections. Elderberry is thought to have antiviral, immunostimulant, and anti-inflammatory properties, all beneficial in fighting off both cold and flu and reducing symptoms.21

In a 2011 study, the efficacy of liquid elderberry extract was tested against type A and B influenza viruses. The results showed that the elderberry extract exhibited an inhibitory effect on the propagation of human influenza viruses and could be beneficial when used to combat infection.22

In another study, the effect of elderberry supplements was tested on cold duration and symptoms in air travelers. In the study, 312 volunteers participated in a trial lasting 15 to 16 days depending on travel duration.

Out of these volunteers, 158 individuals were given elderberry capsules and 152 were given a placebo. The results of the study showed that, on average, those who took the elderberry supplement experienced a cold that was two days shorter in duration than those who were taking the placebo and experienced less severe symptoms.23

If you’re feeling under the weather, take a tablespoon of elderberry syrup three times a day until symptoms become less severe.

It’s important to note that raw elderberries should not be eaten in place of a lozenge or syrup. The uncooked berries can be mildly poisonous and cause nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.

How To Use Essential Oils to Relieve Cold and Flu Symptomsroom diffuser in living room

Aside from using common herbs and spices to help ease your cough, clear your sinuses, and rid yourself of that pounding headache, there are plenty of essential oils that can help alleviate your symptoms when diffused throughout your home.

You can also blend your favorite therapeutic oils to create soothing balms, decongesting salves, massage oils for sore muscles, and potent vapors that can clear both the sinuses and mind. Additionally, while many essential oils can help relieve respiratory symptoms, a handful can also help boost immune system function before a virus has even taken hold.


Essential oil diffusers are one of the best ways to reap all of the therapeutic benefits of essential oils. You simply mix a few drops of essential oil with water in a room diffuser and then turn it on. The diffuser will disperse the oil throughout the air, and you can sit beside it to breathe in the vapors easily. When you’re on the go, a portable essential oil diffuser like Relieve is a quick and easy way to get the same benefits.

Steam Inhalation

Diffusing essential oils throughout a room can help rid the air of harmful pathogens and allow you to easily breathe in the therapeutic effects. But it is not as concentrated as when breathing the vapors of the oil directly from a bowl of steaming water.

This method is especially helpful for clearing congestion. Just add a few drops of your essential oil of choice to a bowl of warm water, then cover your head with a towel and place your face over the bowl to trap the steam. You can then breathe the steam directly from the bowl for approximately five to 10 minutes to help relieve congestion.

To reap benefits similar to those of steam inhalation, you can also add a few drops of your favorite essential oil to a warm bath and inhale from the comfort of the water.

Best Essential Oils for Cold and Flu

leaves and three essential oil bottlesLemon Essential Oil

Lemon essential oil is great to have on hand because it is so incredibly versatile. For example, it can help maintain healthy respiratory function and reduce the symptoms of cold and cough. It also has both antibacterial and antiviral properties, which can help ward off illnesses and boost immune system function.

Additionally, lemon is also known to support the lymphatic system, which assists the body in removing toxins and waste. 

To prevent illnesses, diffuse lemon essential oil throughout the home or add a few drops to a spray bottle of water and white vinegar and use that solution to wipe down surfaces.

Tea Tree Essential Oil

Tea tree essential oil has powerful antibacterial, antiviral, and antiseptic proprieties that make it a powerhouse for ridding your home of harmful pathogens. To prevent illnesses, you can use tea tree to make a natural disinfecting spray for the home.

If you’re already suffering from cold or flu symptoms, add a few drops of tea tree essential oil to a warm bath or diffuse throughout the home.

If you have a lot of congestion, warm up a bowl of water and add a few drops of this essential oil. Cover your head with a towel, and breathe in the healing vapors for five to 10 minutes. Breathing in the steam can help to clear the sinuses.

eucalyptus leaves and an essential oil bottleEucalyptus Essential Oil

If you’ve ever had a whiff of eucalyptus essential oil while congested, you know first-hand how wonderful this essential oil is to have on hand. Simply sniffing the oil directly from the bottle can clear sinuses and help you breathe easier.

Eucalyptus essential oil has both antiviral and decongestant properties. It can help prevent illness before it sets in, as well as help ease symptoms if you’re already sick. 

To clear up congestion, add a few drops of eucalyptus essential oil to a carrier oil and gently massage onto the chest and neck. Alternatively, add a few drops to a bowl of warm water and breathe in the steam, or gargle a couple of drops of eucalyptus oil in warm water to ease the pain of a sore throat.

Cinnamon Leaf Essential Oil

Cinnamon leaf essential oil can help boost the immune system and support respiratory function due to its antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. By diffusing cinnamon leaf essential oil throughout the home, you can help relieve inflammation in the throat and lungs that lead to coughing. Additionally, cinnamon leaf oil is a great addition to a natural disinfecting spray.

Lavender Essential Oil

lavender around essential oil bottleWhile lavender is often associated with its calming properties and ability to promote restful sleep, lavender essential oil also has anti-inflammatory properties that can help relieve symptoms of cold and flu.

Lavender essential oil can be added to a carrier oil and used as a massage oil for sore muscles or can be rubbed onto the temples to ease the pain of headaches.

In addition, since a good night’s sleep helps the immune system function properly, diffusing lavender essential oil throughout a room or lightly spraying your pillow can help you get the rest you need to recover.

Peppermint Essential Oil

If you’re suffering from the flu and have a fever, peppermint essential oil can help. Add a few drops of peppermint essential oil to a carrier oil and gently massage onto the bottoms of your feet and the back of your neck to help reduce fevers.

This essential oil also has antiviral properties, which can help kill off viruses when diffused throughout the home. Peppermint is also known for being an expectorant, which can help clear the nasal passages and rid the body of excess mucus. And when gently massaged onto the temples or breathed in through a diffuser, peppermint essential oil can help alleviate the pain of headaches.

oregano and essential oil bottleOregano Essential Oil

Oregano essential oil is a popular natural remedy for cold and flu and for good reason. One of its main components is carvacrol. It is known for its powerful antiviral properties that help fight against the common cold and flu. In fact, it’s often referred to as a natural antibiotic that can fight off harmful pathogens.

One study examined the antiviral effects of carvacrol (sourced from oregano essential oil) against murine norovirus (MNV). The results showed that carvacrol effectively inactivated MNV within one hour of exposure. 24 While this study was conducted on MNV and not the common cold or flu, it shows that oregano essential oil can be effective against viral infections.

To help fight off infection, take a drop of oregano essential oil internally. Always be sure you’re purchasing 100 percent therapeutic grade essential oil that is meant for internal use. Alternatively, you can diffuse oregano essential oil throughout a room, massage it onto the chest and neck after diluting it with a carrier oil, or inhale it through steam inhalation.

Frankincense Essential Oil

Frankincense essential oil has been used since ancient times as an anti-inflammatory, diuretic, and disinfectant. It is also known to boost the immune system, helping you fight off both bacterial and viral infections.

A 2003 study found that frankincense essential oil exhibited strong immunostimulant activity.25 Additionally, this oil has been shown to reduce inflammation and boost immune system function.

To reap the benefits of this powerful essential oil, diffuse it throughout a room of your home, add a few drops to a warm bath, or add to a carrier oil and gently massage onto the soles of the feet, chest, or neck.

Lemongrass Essential Oil

Traditionally used in Ayurvedic medicine to help reduce fevers and treat infectious illnesses, lemongrass essential oil is another great way of alleviating symptoms of cold and flu. It is known for having anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antifungal, and stress-relieving properties.

Furthermore, lemongrass essential oil promotes sweating, which helps the body release toxins and reduces the temperature of fevers. To reap the full benefits of this oil, breathe it in through steam inhalation, add a few drops to a warm bath, or massage a drop or two onto the soles of your feet.

Clove Bud Essential Oil

Clove bud essential oil is known for having antiviral, antifungal, and antibacterial properties, which can help fight off infections in the body. It can also support the health of the respiratory system and help maintain a properly-functioning immune system.

To benefit from clove bud essential oil, add a drop or two onto the soles of the feet, diffuse throughout the home, or add to a warm bath.

Thyme Essential Oil

Packed with antiviral and decongestant properties, thyme essential oil is great if you’re suffering from a cold or other respiratory problems. It can also help boost energy when you’re feeling fatigued.

Mix thyme essential oil with a carrier oil and use it as a decongesting chest rub, breathe in the vapors through steam inhalation, diffuse it throughout a room, or add it into to a warm bath.

Clary Sage Essential Oil

clary sage and essential oilClary sage essential oil is a highly-versatile oil known for its astringent, digestive, antispasmodic, antiseptic, and nervine properties. When inhaled, the antispasmodic properties of this oil can help to relieve a spasmodic cough and other respiratory problems. This oil can also help open up the sinuses and relax bronchial tubes.

To help ease respiratory symptoms, diffuse clary sage essential oil throughout a room or mix it with massage oil and massage onto the chest and neck.

Rosemary Essential Oil

Rosemary is a powerhouse of an essential oil, boasting pain-relieving, stress-reducing, immune system-boosting, and respiratory-healing properties. It can also be used to calm the mind, relieve pain, fight infection, and relieve congestion.

The healing benefits of rosemary are best when it is inhaled through steam inhalation. You can also add this oil to a relaxing massage blend, warm bath, or vapor rub.

When Should You See a Doctor?

Although colds are commonly self-diagnosed and go away on their own, there are times when a trip to the doctor may be needed. Adults should consult a doctor if they experience any of these symptoms:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Severe chest pain
  • Dizziness
  • Vomiting
  • A severe sore throat or pain in the sinuses
  • Wheezing
  • Fever that lasts longer than 5 days
  • Fever of 103 degrees or higher
  • Symptoms that persist longer than 10 days

Children should be seen by a doctor if they experience any of these symptoms:

  • A severe sore throat or pain in the sinuses
  • Wheezing
  • Earache
  • Drowsiness
  • Lack of appetite
  • Fever of 103 degrees or higher
  • Fever higher than 100.4 degrees in infants
  • Symptoms that do not improve over the course of a week


While the symptoms of the common cold and flu can put a damper on your day (or week), a healthy lifestyle, proper diet, and combination of a variety of natural treatments can reduce the intensity of your symptoms and have you feeling better in no time.

Diffusing blends of healing essential oils throughout the home can help rid the air of harmful pathogens and alleviate present symptoms.

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Kiri Rowan

By Kiri Rowan

Kiri Rowan is a writer, photographer, and traveler with a strong interest in alternative medicine. She helps friends, family, and other travelers treat their symptoms with essential oils and medicinal plants.

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The above information relates to studies of specific individual essential oil ingredients, some of which are used in the essential oil blends for various MONQ diffusers. Please note, however, that while individual ingredients may have been shown to exhibit certain independent effects when used alone, the specific blends of ingredients contained in MONQ diffusers have not been tested. No specific claims are being made that use of any MONQ diffusers will lead to any of the effects discussed above.  Additionally, please note that MONQ diffusers have not been reviewed or approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. MONQ diffusers are not intended to be used in the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, prevention, or treatment of any disease or medical condition. If you have a health condition or concern, please consult a physician or your alternative health care provider prior to using MONQ diffusers. MONQ blends should not be inhaled into the lungs.

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