10 Essential Oils that You Need to Use for the Common Cold

essential oils for colds

The ever-changing weather often brings with itself an abundance of viral infections. Added to this sudden change in our modern lifestyle has rendered our immune system quite weak. The first and foremost way for any virus to affect us is through the frustrating flu, severe headaches coupled with fatigue and loss of appetite.

Though not life-threatening, a cold can readily become lasting trouble that hampers our day to day activities. By merely using the highly effective essential oils, one can quickly cure the toughest of cold and flu. Read along to know the most effective essential oils for colds.

Types, Symptoms, and Causes of Cold

Cold is a normal phenomenon that occurs because of a viral infection that perpetuates in one’s throat or nose or both. It highly familiar but occurs more in children, usually harmless, preventing colds is not difficult. Moreover, once you know the right treatment for cold and cough, it can just go away in 4-5 days.


There are more than 200 viruses that can cause cold flu(1). A person’s age, the strength of the immune system and exposure to the specific environment are primary factors that determine which type of cold is there. The most common of cold and cough are baby colds, chest colds, and head colds. All of these mainly occur by viruses belonging to the group of rhinovirus and coronavirus.


The primary symptoms associated with a cold include:-

  • Congestion
  • A sore throat
  • A runny nose
  • Low fever
  • Headaches
  • Sneezing
  • Fatigue


The following reasons can cause cold flu:-

  • Any sudden weather changes
  • A virus such as the human parainfluenza virus, coronaviruses adenovirus, human respiratory syncytial virus or enteroviruses
  • Contact with a sick person
  • A poor immune system

Why are Essential Oils Suitable for a Cold?

Eating a balanced diet undoubtedly contributes towards building a healthy immune system which in turn ensures lesser chances of contracting a virus, however, often the best of us are subject to common cold. Homeopathy and Ayurveda are some natural therapies that offer excellent ways to enhance one’s immunity along with offering quick solutions to treat the common cold).

Some of us wonder how to get rid of the common flu and which is the most effective natural remedies of all, well, the most effective treatment is using essential oils. These oils are suitable for aromatherapy or a topical rub; some even have antiviral benefits that prevents infections along with lowering one’s fever.

The prominent essential oils include eucalyptus oil, tea tree oil, thieves’ oil, oregano oil, black seed oil and peppermint oil amongst many others. Just scroll down to know more about these oils!

How to Use Essential Oils for Colds?

Given below are some top essential oils(2) for cold that aid in treating congested nose, headaches, flu, cough and other ailments associated with the common cold.

1. Oregano Oil

oregano oil for cold

Oregano oil is readily used to cure a common cold and flu. It’s one of the most natural available oil which makes it a top choice amongst other home remedies to treat symptoms of a cold.

Why to use?

Oregano oil is a favorite essential oil for cold owing to its powerful antibiotic properties. Various studies have concluded that oregano oil is antifungal, antiparasitic, antibacterial and antiviral and is primarily used to treat a sore throat and other symptoms associated with flu.

 How to use ?

Oregano oil should be used in a limited amount or else its strong essence can prove harmful for us. Add one or two drops of oregano oil in juice, tea or water to avail its benefits or add these drops to a vaporizer or diffuser. It can decrease the effects of a sore throat and fight various viruses and infections efficiently.

[Read: Oregano Oil For Cold]

2. Eucalyptus Oil

Eucalyptus oil is highly useful to strengthen immunity and to aid in curing asthma, joint pain, bad breath and skin ailments, etc. It is a significant part of home remedies to treat fever, cold or a cough.

Why to use?

The oil of eucalyptus is known for its antibacterial and antiviral healing properties. Its effects are immune-stimulatory, antioxidant, spasmolytic, decongestant, analgesic, and anti-inflammatory. Inhaling the aroma of this oil helps to loosen phlegm as well as alleviate congestion which is why it is a part of many cough remedies.

How to use?

The best manner to use this oil is through steam inhalation or a diffuser. For the former, you can add 10-15 drops of eucalyptus oil in a bowl of boiling water, cover your head with a towel and breathe in the vapors for up to 10 minutes.

Whereas, for the latter, you can add several drops of the oil in a diffuser and breathe in the vapors throughout the night. It can also rub it on chest or shoulders.

[Read: Eucalyptus Oil For Cold ]

3. Thieves Oil

thieves oil for cold

Thieves essential oil is one the most significant home remedies to get rid of common cold and flu. It is a blend of cinnamon, rosemary, clove, lemon and eucalyptus which makes it a top choice amongst oil enthusiasts. Interestingly, this oil was first prepared by four thieves to prevent contraction of infection during the great plague.

Why to use?

Owing to the robust concoction of various herbs and spices, the thieves essential oil serves as an antibacterial, antiviral, anti-infectious and antiseptic all in one! It works amazingly to reduce fever, congested noses, sore throats, and chest congestion.

How to use?

Thieves oil can be used in a diffuser or consumed orally along with water or any drink. When using in a diffuser, you can add several drops but for oral intake you.

4. Black Seed Oil

Another name for black seed oil is black cumin seed oil. It is incredibly beneficial to treat common bacterial or viral infections hence it used in many home remedies.

Why to use?

The primary reason for using black seed or black cumin seed oil is their ability to boost the body’s natural killer cells (white blood cells) which helps even to fight cancer. Hence, this oil increases the chances of white blood cells to combat common bacterial or viral infections.

How to use?

Black seed oil can be taken through a diffuser or via steam inhalation. You can also take a glass of lukewarm water and add a few drops of black seed oil and honey to it. Taking this mix for 3-4 days would be highly useful to treat the common cold.

[Read: Benefits of Black Seed Oil]

5. Tea Tree Oil

tea tree oil for colds

Tea tree oil is the extract of the leaves of the tea tree. It is also known as melaleuca oil and has a yellowish-pale color and a fresh camphoraceous odor. One shouldn’t confuse the tea tree with the tea plant as both are entirely different.

Why to use?

This oil can inhibit bacteria and can fight numerous infections. People seeking home remedies to treat bronchial congestion, cough, and pulmonary inflammation often add tea tree oil in bath water.

How to use?

The most effective way to use tea tree oil is adding the same in bathwater, in a diffuser or inhaling its steam. Apply this oil directly to your skin, and for curing a cold or a cough, you should use it on the chest, shoulders, and back.

[ Read: Tea Tree Oil for Cold ]

6. German Chamomile Oil

German chamomile is known as blue chamomile or true chamomile that majorly grows in the southern and eastern parts of Europe. It is one of the two chamomile spices with medicinal use.

Why to use?

The German chamomile oil is highly beneficial to ease muscle aches, joint pains, headaches, and tension in one’s muscles as well as the mind. Its aroma has a unique soothing essence that enables one to get rid of colds and flu. In addition to these, it is also usable as a skin moisturizer.

How to use?

The oil of German chamomile can be directly applied as well as rubbed to one’s chest or any other area of pain and muscle tension. Adding a few drops to one’s warm bath can lead to satisfying effects too.

[Read: Benefits of Chamomile oil ]

7. Lemon Oil

lemon balm essential oil for clear cold sores
Image: shutterstock

Lemons(3) are amongst the most abundant sources of Vitamin C that help in fighting with free radicals. As a result, even its oil is quite beneficial, especially for treating everyday ailments such as flu, cough or cold.

Why to use?

Lemon essential oil is an excellent decongestant and is known to get rid of various kinds of antivirus. It is useful for increasing blood circulation and the immunity of our bodies too. It cleanses the nasal passage and paves the way for steady breathing.

How to use?

The best way to use this oil is to add a few drops to the diffuser. Its strong essence will purify the room and clean the place of any bacteria or virus along with making one feel good. You can also inhale its scent via steam inhalation method.

8. Lavender Essential Oil

The lavender plant is a relative of the mint family. Its oil is known to be gentle, having a sweet scent and an effective natural remedy to treat cold, flu and similar ailments.

Why to use?

The oil of lavender has antiseptic, antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties that make it a fantastic oil for purifying the air. It can be used in homes during the flu season to prevent flu-causing bacteria from accumulating in your home.

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How to use?

Lavender oil can be best utilized by placing a few drops on a cotton ball and placing the same under one’s pillow. Its incredible properties enable muscles to relax thereby inducing a restful sleep. For the treatment of headaches, lavender oil can be applied to the affected area, inhaled or put in a diffuser as well.

[Read: Lavender Oil Benefits]

9. Peppermint oil

peppermint oil for colds

Peppermint has a unique, pungent smell and is used to treat symptoms of cold and flu. It is used in massages and by various spas as well.

Why to use?

The peppermint oil is excellent to get rid of severe headaches, reducing fever, nausea and chest congestion. One would experience relief from the chest or nasal congestion in only a few hours after the application of peppermint oil.

How to use?

Peppermint oil has a considerably strong essence. Therefore, it’s advised that it be diluted and used with a carrier oil. This carrier could be almond, coconut or any other oil utilized for day-to-day needs. Once mixed, this essential oil can be applied on to the skin directly. It’s most effective when applied under the feet, on the chest, shoulders, and temple.

[Read: Peppermint Oil For Cough]

10. Sandalwood oil

sandalwood oil for colds

Sandalwood is often utilized to freshen the air, in worship and various salons as well. It is one of the most commonly used natural remedies for treating many ailments. The oil is extracted from mature trees that are 60-80 years old!

Why to use?

Sandalwood has rich antimicrobial, antiviral, antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties making it ideal for treating flu and common cold symptoms. Moreover, it has antiphlogistic and disinfectant properties which enable it to cure internal infections.

How to use?

The oil of sandalwood tree is usable with other carriers. One can apply it to the affected body parts too to relieve the pain or muscle tension. Add a few drops of the oil in boiling water and inhale this scent to clear congestion of the nasal passage.

Risks and Precautions

All the above-mentioned essential oils have enormous benefits. However, one must pay heed to their consumption. Some oils are harmful when inhaled or applied directly. It’s always better that one mixes these oils in another harmless oil carrier (like coconut oil) or liquids before consumption or else it can lead to rashes, burning sensation or prevalence of certain skin conditions. Furthermore, do check whether the oil you’ve chosen is safe to ingest or not.

Other Home Remedies for Cold

Apart from the useful natural remedies mentioned above for treating cold and flu symptoms, you can also benefit from the following home remedies:-

Milk and turmeric

Turmeric has antioxidants that are used to remove harmful or infected toxins from one’s body. When this spice is mixed in warm milk and consumed before sleeping, then its highly effective to cure a cold, cough and other flu-like symptoms.

Gargle with salt water

The go-to remedy for treating chest congestion and a sore throat is gargling with warm salty water. The salty vapors help to cleanse the virus responsible for cold; therefore, rinsing with salt water gives immediate positive results.

Lemon, honey, and cinnamon mix

Squeezing half a lemon and adding cinnamon and honey is a proven home remedy for curing common cold and flu-like ailments. Lemon is a natural antioxidant whereas the presence of Cinnamaldehyde in cinnamon enables it to fight numerous kinds of infections, especially those of the respiratory tract.

Bottom Line

By using essential oils for cold one can quickly get rid of that harsh cough or other problems associated with a cold. Just remember the risks involved while utilizing various oils and you’re good to go!


1. What Are the Significant Differences Between the Common Cold and Flu?

Generally speaking, both common cold and flu have similar symptoms that include having nasal congestion, sore throat, fever, fatigue, and headaches. The main difference is that the flu’s symptoms last longer as compared to a cold.

2. What Is the Best Way to Prevent Cold?

The best way to prevent contracting cold’s symptoms is to wash hands with a medicinal soap and clean water properly. One can even utilize a sanitizer for the same. Also, remember not to touch your nose, eyes or mouth with unwashed hands as this can transmit the virus thereby leading to a breakout of an infection in your body.

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