15 Essential Oils for The Common Cold (Plus Recipes & Application Tips)


Colds: How to Prevent and Cure those Pesky Infections

Arg, that scratchy throat and runny nose… you know a cold is brewing.

We all have had a cold and unfortunately we are never going to get away from them, especially when there are over 250 strains of the common cold floating around.

So what can you do to prevent getting that cold that everyone in the office has or how can you lessen the duration of the bodily invasion?

Signs and Symptoms You Might Have a Cold

When it comes to colds there is no time of year that is off limits.

Many believe that colds are less present in the summer months, but in actuality they are just as common in the summer months as in the dead of winter. It mostly depends on your proximity to other “infected hosts”. Sounds like Westworld.

Symptoms can vary person to person but in the end no matter your age the symptoms are similar.

  • Do you have a runny nose?
  • Is your nose or head stuffy or full feeling?
  • Do you have a sore or scratchy throat?
  • Is there are hoarseness in your voice, throat or lungs?
  • Do you find yourself sneezing a lot?
  • Are you coughing? Dry and hacky or full of phlegm?
  • Are you experiencing watery eyes?
  • Do you have a headache or earache?
  • Does your body ache?
  • Are you experiencing a fever?
  • Do you have a loss of appetite?
  • Are you tired or fatigued in general all over?

All of these can be signs that you could have a cold.

You should also look at your discharge – that is the stuff coming out of your nose, lungs or elsewhere. If it is green or yellowish that is a sign that an infection is present and you may have a cold or worse.

Also note your irritability level. Children will become very fussy while adults will be more on edge or irritable towards others. It is a sign of a weakened and taxed system.

15 Essential Oils to Help Cure and Prevent that Cold from Taking Hold

You may be wondering how essential oils can prevent or even help cure a common cold. Well essential oils have been used for thousands of years to help fight colds, and humans have become pretty adept at their application for this common concern.

Essential oils have been applied topically to the body to help prevent aches, pains and fevers. They have been inhaled to help clear the sinuses and break up mucus build-up in the lungs.

They have also been ingested to help fight the infection from the inside out; also helping to boost and strength the immune system while fighting the cold.

Here are some of the best known oils to use for your cold:

Cloves: Clove is great for cold care due to its antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, immune boosting and headache relieving properties. Cloves have been proven to kill human pathogens that can infect the body creating a cold. Cloves have the ability to reduce pain and inflammation which is commonly associated with colds thus helping the body relax and heal quicker.

Clove helps to boost the immune system by stimulating the production of white blood cells in the body which help to fight off infection. Headaches can often be a symptom of colds and cloves can help to reduce this pain and inflammation in the brain. Simply mix cloves together with rock salt in some milk and drinking it will help to reduce headaches quickly and effectively.

Eucalyptus: The smell of eucalyptus often reminds people of being sick; this is because it is commonly used in OTC remedies for colds. It helps to boost not only the immune and respiratory systems but also is a powerful anti-inflammatory.

Eucalyptus helps the respiratory system by breaking up and eliminating built-up phlegm and mucus in the chest and sinuses which is the natural home of the bacteria causing cold. It helps to boost the immune system by protecting it from invading bacterial infections and by helping to increase the production of white blood cells during a cold invasion.

By drinking some Eucalyptus tea can help to reduce inflammation through the body and blood vessels. This reduction in inflammation can help speed up the healing process because it stimulates blood flow to help the bacteria fighting white blood cells get to where they need to go to support fighting off the infection.

Frankincense: Frankincense helps with respiratory issues and the immune system. It is also known to be a powerful antiseptic; that by even just burning the herb will help to clean the air killing germs and bacteria.

It helps the immune system by killing unwanted guests such as the bacteria that is associated with colds. It helps the respiratory system by reducing inflammation thus soothing coughs. It also helps in eliminating mucus and phlegm from the respiratory system which helps to remove the bacteria from the system.

Ginger: Ginger is great for colds and has been utilized by grandmas for millenia. It helps to promote sweating which is especially important when you have a cold because it helps to eliminate toxins from the body thus helping to disinfect the body to the eliminate pathogens.
It helps to calm the stomach and reduce nausea which can sometimes occur during a cold. It helps to promote the produce white blood cells in the body which help to fight off infection. Ginger also block out high levels of prostaglandins that can cause fever or headaches which can occur during a cold.

Hyssop: Hyssop has many cold fighting benefits. It helps to reduce coughing fits by reducing muscle spasms and calming the nervous system. It helps to promote circulation within the body by reducing swelling. Hyssop breaks up and eliminates phlegm and mucus in the chest and sinuses while also warming the respiratory system to prevent further build-up of mucus and phlegm. It removes toxins through frequent urination and sweating which also helps to reduce fevers.

Lavender: Lavender is a powerful healer in general and is also great in helping to get rid of a cold. Lavender has anti-inflammatory properties that help to reduce swelling in the body while helping to increase circulation and promote relaxation.
By reducing inflammation throughout the body it helps to increase circulation which is important to helping to get over a cold. Lavenders antiseptic properties help to fight off infection in the body as well as helping to ward off potential infections that may be present. It also helps to promote a quicker healing time.

Lemon: Lemon helps to reduce fevers by stimulating perspiration in a person thus helping to sweat out toxins in the body. This is especially important when it comes to relieving the symptoms of a cold.
It also helps to calm the respiratory system to help increase breathing and circulation; another important feature in relieving cold symptoms. Lemon’s antibacterial properties make it great in soothing and fighting throat infections. Adding some honey to hot lemon tea will help to sooth the throat and fight the infection present.

Lime: Lime can cure infections and help to defend your body from them due to its antiseptic properties. It can help to cure symptoms such as a sore throat or respiratory problems. Lime is also a powerful disinfectant that helps clear away pathogens in the home. It also helps to reduce fevers a common symptom of a cold. Lime is also a powerful antioxidant help to rid the body of unwanted toxins.

Oregano: Oregano is a cold power player. Oregano helps the respiratory system to break-up and eliminate the build-up of mucus and phlegm that occurs during a cold.
It also helps to soothe the lungs and throat during coughing fits. As a powerful anti-inflammatory it helps to reduce the swelling within the body that can occur during a cold thus helping to ease those sore and aching muscles. Oregano has antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral and anti-parasitic properties which make it perfect for fighting infection. Oregano is also a powerful antioxidant helping the body rid itself of dangerous toxins that can be plaguing the system causing serious illness or colds.

Peppermint: Peppermint tastes and smells invigorating and is a great cold defender for the body. Peppermint is great to helping to reduce nausea and headaches, which can be associated with colds, by reducing pain and swelling and calming the head and stomach.

It also helps to reduce general pain and inflammation that can be associated with a cold bringing a cooling effect that can help to relieve a fever or body aches and pains.

The menthol present in peppermint helps to open up the airways bringing congestion and inflammation relief to the chest and sinuses. Rubbing peppermint on your chest can help to open the airways, reduce congestion and help in breaking up the build-up of mucus and phlegm that may be present in the lungs.

Peppermint helps to boost the immune system by promote circulation. It is also a powerful antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal essential oil.

Pine: Pine is known to have analgesic properties which make it great for reducing aches and pain associated with colds. It helps to reduce the inflammation present in a cold thus helping to reduce pain. It helps to fight infections due to its antibacterial properties. Pine’s expectorant properties help with respiratory problems as well. It helps to loosen and break-up phlegm and mucus in the chest helping to eliminate the infection from the body. It also helps to reduce future build-up of mucus and phlegm in the respiratory system.

Rosemary: Rosemary is a powerful immune system booster. It helps fight off infection while helping the body to rid itself of unwanted toxins. It is also an effective pain reliever, reducing the pain and inflammation associated with headaches and body aches that come with a cold. By having a vapor bath or massaging it into the affected area will help to reduce the pain and inflammation in body such as the respiratory system or on the body such as any aching muscles.

manuka / tea tree flower

Tea Tree: Tea tree is well known for it’s ability to help protect the body from infection. Tea tree has antibacterial and antimicrobial properties which are important in fighting colds. It also has strong expectorant properties that help to eliminate the build-up of mucus and phlegm in the respiratory system during a cold.

Rubbing tea tree essential oil on your chest prior to bedtime can help promote the expectorant properties. Tea tree is also known for its antiseptic properties that help to treat infection and prevent it from spreading. Tea tree helps to boost the immune system by stimulating circulation, helping the white blood cells fight the cold faster. It also has antioxidant properties that help to reduce toxins in the body inducing perspiration or sweating and urination to get rid of them. By inducing perspiration it also helps to reduce fevers and open the pores on the body to help cool the body.

Thieves: Thieves essential oil blend is a combination of four (or five) essential oils that work together to create a powerful cold cure. The four essential oils that make up Thieves are lemon, cinnamon, eucalyptus and rosemary. Each of these essential oils on their own helps to fight colds but together they make a powerful super essential oil. Thieves is a very potent antibacterial antiviral, antiseptic. Thieves helps to reduce aches and pains by reducing inflammation and promoting circulation.

Thieves is great for relieving sore throats. Simply gargle with Thieves or spray it down the throat to help reduce the pain and inflammation associated with a sore throat but to also help reduce the bacteria that may be present. It helps to boost the immune system increasing blood circulation throughout the body. It helps the respiratory system by relieving congestion and inflammation in the chest and lungs. Inhaling the vapers through a vapor bath or massaging Thieves into the chest will help to not only boost the immune system but will help relieve the congestion and inflammation present in the chest an sinuses.

Thyme: Thyme is an antispasmodic which means it help to reduce unwanted or excessive spasms associated with coughing. It has antiseptic properties which help to fight against infection and protect the body from it festering further into the body. Thyme’s antibacterial properties help it to reduce bacterial growth in and outside of the body; eventually killing it along the way.

It also helps to boost the immune system by promoting blood circulation. Thyme is also a great expectorant as it helps to reduce congestion while eliminating the build-up of mucus and phlegm in the respiratory system that occurs during a cold.

Ways to Use Essential Oils to Help Cure a Cold

There are a few ways that you can use the above essential oils to help cure your cold or prevent a cold from taking hold in the first place. You can apply the essential oils topically or you can ingest them or you can inhale them. No matter the method you choose relief is right around the corner.

  • Inhalation: Inhaling essential oils while infected with a cold is very beneficial as the vapor of the essential oil will be inhaled into your respiratory system helping to loosen and break-up the build-up of mucus and phlegm so it can be expelled from the system. It also helps to open up the airways to help with breathing and reduce congestion. Try putting a few drops of you essential oil of choice into a bowl of warm water and, placing a towel over your head, place your head over the bowl and inhale.
  • Topical: Topical application of essential oils can help to relieve pain and inflammation associated with a cold as well as helping to loosen and eliminate the build-up of mucus and phlegm in the chest. It also helps to reduce the feeling of congestion, supporting easier breathing. It can also help to reduce fevers and headaches. Try rubbing your essential oil of choice on your chest to help boost your immune system and stimulate your respiratory system. Or try massaging your essential oil of choice into your sore and aching muscles to help reduce inflammation and bring pain relief.
  • Ingestion: Ingesting an above essential oil can help the body begin to heal from the inside out. Ingesting the essential oil of your choice can help the cold fighting properties get into the body in a different way helping to attack the infection from a different angle while helping to boost the immune system; ingesting certain essential oils, such as lemon, can help to soothe a very sore throat. Try having lemon tea with some honey to help soothe that sore throat or perhaps try peppermint tea to soothe the body and promote detoxification. Ingesting essential oils should always be done with caution. Do your research!

The above essential oils can be administered in any number of ways. Find the best way for you to help get rid of or prevent that pesky cold.

EO Recipes for Cold Prevention and Elimination

When it comes to preventing and eliminating colds there are many essential oils recipes out there. The key is to find the right recipe along with the right combination of essential oils that work for you.

Diffusion Cold Aroma Blend



  1. In a dark colored bottle combine all of the essential oils together.
  2. Mix well.
  3. Use a diffuser to send the cold fighting aroma throughout you home.

Cough and Congestion Relief Balm



  1. In a clean and sterilized dark glass jar mix all the above ingredients together.
  2. Rub about a teaspoon size amount over the chest prior to bedtime to help reducing coughing and congestion throughout the night.

Breathe Easier Inhaler



  1. Combine the essential oils together and place in an inhaler stick. Or using a tissue place the drops of each essential oil sporadically all over the tissue ensuring they do not overlap and then place in a plastic zip lock bag.
  2. Inhale as needed to open the airways to help you breathe throughout the day.

Cold Germ Fighting Spray


  • 1 ¾ oz. distilled water
  • 2 drops cinnamon EO
  • 2 drops mandarin EO
  • 1 drop clove EO
  • 5-20 drops essential oils of your choice
  • ¼ tsp. vodka or witch hazel – important when using thicker essential oils such as jasmine


In a dark glass bottle combine all ingredients together and mix well. Shake before each use and spray away.

Protective Essential Oils Blend



  1. Combine all essential oils together in a dark glass bottle. Mix well.
  2. This blend can be used on its own or can be added to homemade cleaning products or mix with Epsom salts in a bath.
  3. Also try simply diffusing into the air a combination of any of the essential oils or add in other essential oils to help clean and purify the air.

Additional Ways to Help Clear Out Colds

With so many different strains of the common cold there is no way to fully prevent someone from getting sick.

So what else can you do to help prevent yourself from getting sick or help to shorten the length of your cold?

There are so many other things that you can do in your daily life to help get rid of (and prevent) those pesky colds.

  • Hydrate: Hydrate. Hydrate. Hydrate. This cannot be stressed enough when you are sick. Staying hydrated will help to naturally thin out the mucus reducing the build-up in my respiratory system. Trying drinking straight water at least 8-10 glasses a day. If straight water is not your thing try having lemon, honey and cinnamon tea or a ginger tea. These teas will also help to soothe the throat while helping to break-up and eliminate any build-up of mucus and phlegm in the chest. It also gets the nose running which is good to help get out the infection from the sinuses. Bring your tissues.
  • Foods to Enjoy: Simple foods are easiest to consume while sick, not to mention they often help to make you feel better. Try consuming bone broth as it is rich in amino acids and mineral which will help to boost the immune system. Garlic and onions are both high immune boosting vegetables with cold fighting properties.
  • Foods to Avoid: When it comes to being sick all you want to, if you actually do want to eat, is comfort food. However, some of these comfort foods may actually help the cold infection to fester inside your body. You should avoid high sugar foods such as fruit juices or processed grains as they decrease the white blood cell count which is needed to help fight infection. Avoid dairy foods as they help in the production of mucus causing phlegm. Avoid eating empty calorie foods such as fast food as they degrade your immune system and put toxins in your body.
  • Vitamins and Minerals: There are quite a few vitamins and minerals that can not only help to prevent colds but that can also help to speed up a colds healing time. Try taking vitamin C or increasing your vitamin C intake; 1000mg 3-4 times daily. This will help to boost the immune system and increase the production of white blood cells. Try taking Echinacea, 1000mg 2-3 times daily, to help boost the immune system, fight the cold and soothe the throat. Taking 10mL of Elderberry daily, which is high in vitamin C, can help to reduce cold symptoms and boost the immune system by reducing toxins in the system. 50-100mg daily of zinc can help to boost the immune system preventing colds from taking hold.
  • Sleep: Sleep honestly is the best medicine when it comes to getting over a cold, though for many the congestions prevent that. Try using a humidifier with essential oils at bedtime to help open up the airways. You may also want to try elevating your head to help prevent post-nasal drip and coughing.
  • Nasal Rinse: A great and natural way to clean out your nasal passages is by using a Neti pot. Be sure to follow the instructions closely for the right irrigation solution.

What Should You Do if You Think You Have a Cold

With over 250 different strains of the common cold it can be hard to determine if you have a cold as no strain is exactly alike and, of course, each person reacts to the infection differently. So what should you do first if you believe you or someone else close to you has a cold?

First of all, if you think that you may have a cold be sure to check your symptoms. Note what symptoms you have and how long you have had them. This is important in determining if you have a cold or someone ailment.

Hydrate. Staying hydrated will help to prevent colds from taking a firm grasp in your system but if you do have a cold hydrating will also help to lessen the duration of your cold. It is important to cut out certain cold promoting foods from your diet to help promote and boost the immune system.

It is also important to start using essential oils as soon as possible. Whether you use a blend of essential oils or one oil on its own immediate use will help to prevent the infection from taking hold but will also help to speed up recovery time.

At the first sign of a running or stuffy nose try using the Breathe Easier Inhaler blend to help open up the airways. You may also want to try using a diffuser at home with the same blend.

Massage in the chest your choice of essential oil or essential oils or try using the Cough and Congestion Balm to help loosen us congestion, reduce inflammation and pain and open us the airways.

If you notice your cold has lasted longer than a week and does not seem to be getting any better it would be best to consult with a doctor. You may have something more than a common cold that needs further medical attention.

Cautions When Using Essential Oils for Colds

Caution should always be exercised when using essential oils. You need and want to ensure you are using them property to ensure you are getting the proper health benefits from it. Be sure to do your due diligence and research the essential oils you wish to use in fighting and preventing colds.

Some essential oils do not play well with others. While other essential oils have side effects and could interact negatively with your current medications and/or other essential oils you are using daily. Be sure to know and understand all possible side effects prior to use or consumption.

Be sure you know and understand how to properly use the essential oil as some should not be consumed while others, if applied topically, need to be diluted to prevent skin irritation and is recommended to be tested on a small patch of skin to monitor irritation if at all present.

Caution should always be used around pregnant women and children.


Hopefully this advice has been helpful for you. If you have questions or comments please let us know below in the comments!

Welcome to EOSanctuary

Hi. Glad to see you here. My name is Loren Elara and I run Essential Oil Sanctuary. I’d love to connect with you and share ideas. If you have any questions, comments or suggestions please let us know in the comment sections.

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