There is nothing worse than feeling that first sniffle and knowing it means a cold is coming. Even worse is if it’s summer. No one wants to be sick when the weather is warm.
Unfortunately, if your immune system lets you down, you can catch a summer cold. But the trick is knowing how to lessen the symptoms and cut down the time of suffering. I’ll tell you what works for me…
Last week I started feeling a little bit “off,” so I reached for my usual plan of attack: my collection of essential oils. Within a day or so, I was feeling better!
I’ll admit that if someone had told me a couple of years ago to rub some oil on myself to help with my cold, I would have thought it was strange advice. But then, I actually tried using an oil blend of peppermint, ylang ylang, and blue chamomile for a sore neck one time. And from then on I was convinced. It took away my pain, and I have been using essential oils ever since for a variety of ailments, including a summer cold.
How to Use Essential Oils
There are a variety of essential oils, and many ways they can be used to help when a summer cold strikes. Essential oils can be used aromatically in a diffuser, and they can also be used topically (i.e. on your skin).
When using an oil topically, it is important to test a small area of skin first. And to dilute the essential oil with a carrier oil, such as coconut oil. The average ratio is three drops of carrier oil for every two drops of essential oil. However, it’s important to know that this ratio will vary depending on the types you’re using and the strength you’re going for, so follow the instructions on the specific products you get.
Now, back to summer cold prevention!
How to Prevent a Summer Cold
Diffusing essential oils could help to destroy any harmful particles that may be in the air, and possibly keep your family virus-free. My favorite combination to diffuse is a mixture of clove, eucalyptus, cinnamon, and orange oils. I just add a few drops of each into some water and let it diffuse throughout the air. These particular essential oils are said to combine to create a barrier that can kill harmful bacteria and viruses while strengthening the immune system.
Best Essential Oils for Treating Summer Colds
Peppermint oil could be used as a natural decongestant as it contains menthol, an ingredient found in many topical rubs that helps relieve congestion. Simply mix a couple of drops with coconut oil or another carrier oil and gently rub on your chest before bedtime.
Oregano oil is a powerful antiviral essential oil, according to research studies. Rub a couple of drops of oregano oil with some coconut oil onto the soles of your feet before bedtime to help relieve upper-respiratory ailments, including cough and sore throat. Some of the biggest pores are on the bottom of your feet. So when the oil is rubbed in, it gets into the bloodstream quickly.
Lemon oil may be one of the most effective essential oils for cough and cold congestion. It is best used for sore throat due to its anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antioxidant properties. Scientific evidence suggests that lemon essential oil can boost the immune system and inhibit the growth of bacteria. Either diffuse the oil in the air, or rub it on the soles of your feet with coconut oil.
The Benefits of Essential Oils
Most people reach for a pharmaceutical cold medication at the first sign of sickness. Essential oils provide a great alternative remedy to treat your symptoms with very little side effects, if they are used as directed. There are numerous peer-reviewed studies to support the effectiveness of certain essential oils. And more and more health practitioners are suggesting them to patients.
Essential oils have been used for centuries for both their healing and aromatic benefits. Most oils are created through steam distillation, where steam is passed through the plant material, and hydrodistillation, where the plant is gently boiled in water. More modern methods include mechanically expressing oils from citrus fruit peel and solvent extraction.
There are countless essential oils on the market. And as with all products, some are better than others. Make sure to choose essential oils that are pure, therapeutic grade and organic, if possible. As mentioned, always do a test patch on your skin to check for any irritations and follow the specific directions for each individual oil. In general, never ingest essential oils or use undiluted essential oil on the skin. Of course, consult with a doctor if any health concerns arise.
Miller, R., “20 OF THE BEST ESSENTIAL OILS FOR COLDS AND RELIEVING THE FLU,” UpNature, December 18, 2016; https://www.up-nature.com/blogs/news/20-of-the-best-essential-oils-for-colds-and-relieving-the-flu, last accessed June 14, 2017.
Gilling, D.H., et al., “Antiviral efficacy and mechanisms of action of oregano essential oil and its primary component carvacrol against murine norovirus,” Journal of Applied Microbiology, February 12, 2014; 116(5):1149-63. doi: 10.1111/jam.1245, last accessed June 14, 2017.