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15 Best Essential Oils for Cough and Common Cold Care

Did you know that many people swear that natural cold remedies are just as effective as the synthetic over-the-counter cold medicines? For many, the use of essential oils for colds and coughs is the most natural and effective way to manage and or prevent the common cold.

Using oils to treat cough and the common cold

Though common in the winter, the common cold can occur at any time of the year. The cold-causing virus is easily spread through tiny air droplets released when the infected person coughs or sneezes. If he/she does the sneezing or coughing near you, chances are high that you’ll contract the virus.

Direct contact with contaminated surfaces also increases your infection chances, which is why you need to ensure you thoroughly wash or disinfect your hands and the common places and items around your home (regularly) to prevent the virus from spreading.

There are various essential oils that can help with the disinfection and still offer you the much-needed shield and relief from cold symptoms. They include:

Best essential oils to treat common cold and coughs

Try these natural remedies for relief. We recommend the Clinganic line, non-gmo and USDA approved.

1. Peppermint

You’ve probably come across this common herb while taking a nature walk or even consumed it as a spice. And, you’ve heard us tout it as a natural insect repellent. So versatile!

Peppermint contains menthol—a natural decongestant believed to relieve throat and chest congestion.

When used in moderation, peppermint essential oil can also help alleviate fever, cough, and body pains that usually come with a cold. The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health confirms that this oil can be helpful in cough relief.

2. Eucalyptus

A 2016 study noted eucalyptus essential oil for its anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, and antibacterial properties. It’s a rich source of the oxide, eucalyptol, which helps loosen mucus secretions, relax the muscles, and open up the nasal passages for easier and effective breathing.

3. Rosemary

Other than its widely known culinary benefits, rosemary also exhibits medicinal properties that can help relieve cold symptoms. Cineole (for instance), essential oil from rosemary is ‘praised’ for its soothing and pain-relieving ability, which can enable you to get that much-needed quality rest when suffering from a cold. An article from the Journal of Ethnopharmacology confirms that this herbal is an effective anti-inflammatory agent.

The herb is also known to promote good blood flow to vital organs like the brain, therefore, a great way to treat headaches.

herb garden
From season to season, you can keep rosemary in your herb garden for both cooking and natural care.

4. Oregano

Oregano essential oil is commonly known for its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antiviral properties. It exhibits a wide spectrum of antimicrobial properties which makes it suitable for warding off respiratory ailments such as colds, coughs, and sore throats.

It’s also a great germ-fighter, as documented by a research team in 2016. So try using it even on the surfaces around your home.

5. Thyme

Just like oregano, thyme essential oil is also made of powerful compounds (mainly carvacrol) which help protect against both bacteria and viruses.

It’s also a powerful antidepressant, stress reliever, fatigue fighter, and a decongestant; hence a perfect remedy for colds and coughs.

6. Frankincense

This is one of those cold remedies you’d definitely want to bank on to relieve you of the cold symptoms and also keep your anxiety levels down, especially that you’ll most likely be worried about missing work or an important event.

Frankincense oil has astringent, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, and expectorant properties; making it an effective remedy for the treatment of a cold or flu.

7. Lavender

Other than its refreshing aroma that helps with deep relaxation and mood enhancement, a lavender essential oil also exhibits healing properties, which help with pain relief, anxiety reduction, and insomnia treatment.

It’s an effective remedy for respiratory ailments like colds, flu, and other related symptoms such as coughs and sinus congestion.

lavender essential oil

8. Sandalwood

It’s among the most expensive essential oils in the world, perhaps considering its scarce nature and the fact that sandalwood itself is the world’s second most expensive tree. You’ll find this oil in cosmetic products like perfumes and Ayurvedic medicine.

Sandalwood essential oil boasts of antiviral, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, and expectorant properties, making it an ideal oil for treating colds and flu symptoms.

You may also want to use the oil to relieve mental stress or get over a burnout phase, it’s calming and relaxing effects will do the job.

9. Lemongrass

Lemongrass essential oil, also known as, fever grass has over the years been a key component in Ayurvedic medicine owing to its antipyretic properties—the ability to fight a fever.

As a natural analgesic, the oil is also used to reduce body pains and muscle aches often associated with colds.

Want something refreshing that will lift out your fatigue? Then try lemongrass. Other than uplifting your entire body system, it also helps alleviate painful headaches, which is courtesy of the unique citrus scent.

10. Tea Tree

Tea tree oil has antiviral, antiseptic, and antimicrobial properties, which help get rid of the winter cold infections.

It’s also a natural disinfectant you can use to clean around your home to combat the spread of germs and viruses, and in the end, keep you safe from contracting a cold.

11. Geranium

You may have not tried it but some studies indicate that the Pelargonium sidoides present in geranium may offer you the much-needed relief from a cough. A 2021 study also touts the fact that participants showed no side effect.

Add your geranium oil to a diffuser or warm bath for additional benefits of its refreshing floral scent. An elevated mood is just one such benefit.

12. Marigold

Marigold essential oil possesses antimicrobial, antibiotic, and anti-parasitic properties, which can help cure external body infections and prevent airborne diseases such as measles and the common cold.

The relaxant properties of this oil also help relieve cough and cramps.

marigold foot soak

13. Cinnamon

Cinnamon leaf essential oil is rich in phenylpropanoids—antifungal, antimicrobial, antispasmodic, and anti-inflammatory properties. All these make it a powerful killer of airborne bacteria and microbes.

Its anti-rheumatic and analgesic properties also help with chest decongestion and muscle pain relief respectively.

14. Lemon

Its anti-inflammatory nature helps restore the respiratory system to sound health. The antioxidant property, on the other hand, works on boosting your immune system.

15. Clary Sage

This essential oil helps ease stress and puts you in the sleep mood for a better rest. Adequate rest allows your body to heal faster from a cold.

Bertie County, NC
Sunset over a field of clary sage in Bertie County, NC.

The Takeaway on Finding the Best Essential Oils for Your Cough or Cold

Ever heard of the saying ‘too much of something good is dangerous’? The same principle applies to excessive use of essential oils, which can as well be toxic to your health. Therefore, consider starting by diffusing very little amounts and increase as needed or as may be tolerated by your body system. This is, essentially, to avoid intoxication.

Always consult with your doctor before using any essential oil if; you’re pregnant, have epilepsy, suffer from hypertension, or are in doubt of how to use the oil.   

content last updated on 07.07.2021

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