How To Use Essential Oils & Aromatherapy To Relieve Cold Symptoms Naturally

Relieve your cold symptoms, naturally.

How To Use Essential Oils & Aromatherapy To Relieve Cold Symptoms Naturally getty

If you know how to use essential oils, you can deal with the common cold in a natural way.

Who hasn't suffered from a common cold?

While there's no cure for the common cold, there are still things you can do to relieve the symptoms in ways that are all-natural and based on plants' wide-ranging healing properties.

There are many essential oils that provide relief from cold symptoms, such as:

  • Blue Gum Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulus)
  • Ginger (Zingiber officiale)
  • Palo santo (Bulnesia sarmientoi)
  • Peppermint (Mentha piperita)
  • Peppermint eucalyptus (Eucalyptus dives)
  • Ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa)
  • Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis var camphor)
  • Scotch pine (Pinus Sylvestrus)
  • Siberian fir (Abies sibirica)
  • Sitka spruce (Picea sitchensis)
  • Thyme (Thymus vulgaris)

RELATED: What Are Essential Oils? + How They Work & Which Are The Best To Use


Did you notice how so many of the essential oils that relieve respiratory symptoms are extracted from trees and plants that have leaves shaped like needles or weblike branches, which look very similar to the lung's bronchus?

This is what aromatherapists refer to as the Doctrine of Signatures.

This doctrine dates back to early Greek herbalist Dioscorides and Galen of the first and second centuries C.E., respectively, who noted that many herbs that looked like parts of the human body could be used to treat ailments of those particular body parts.

Here are 8 specific cold symptoms and the types of essential oils you need to treat them.

1. Congestion.


Rosemary, peppermint, and Blue Gum eucalyptus and essential oils derived from a wide range of conifers (pines) will help relieve congestion.

Scotch pine, Ponderosa pine, Siberian fir, and Sitka spruce are just three listed above.

2. Coughs and sore throats.

Thyme and particularly the chemotype Thymus vulgaris ct thymol is wonderful for the throat.

It soothes coughs and sore throats and opens the respiratory system, expanding the breath.

3. Immune stimulant.

Thyme is also considered a good immune stimulant. Another chemotype, Thymus vulgaris ct linalool, is a good option.

This thyme chemotype is less irritating to the skin and can be added to a chest rub. Try lemon (citrus limon) of an immune stimulant as well.


4. Aches and pain.

Clove (Eugenia caryophyllata) and ginger are the way to go.

However, do not put these essential oils undiluted on the skin. They can cause mild to serious skin irritation.

5. Headache.

My favorite essential oil for headaches is peppermint.

6. Nausea.

Ginger and peppermint also work well on that mild nauseated feeling that sometimes accompanies colds when there is fever, mild dehydration, or congestion.

Peppermint is also cooling and refreshing.

7. Bad sleep.

Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) is the best for better rest and sleep.

8. Stomach ache.

I prefer herbal tea to essential oil rubs for soothing a stomach ache. My absolute favorite is German chamomile (Matricaria recutita).


RELATED: The Different Types Of Essential Oils And How Aromatherapy Works

Here are 4 ways to apply aromatherapy for cold relief.

1. Diffusion.

The easiest way to provide relief to cold symptoms of the respiratory tract is diffusion. Diffusers may create moisture (i.e., vaporizers), which can help to loosen mucus and thus clear nasal passageways. An alternative is a dry diffuser like a nebulizer.

Whatever the preference, diffusers can continuously condition the air with healing aromatic components, even throughout the night.

2. Vapor inhalations.

This method is very similar to a moist diffuser, but more intense. Essential oils are added to a bowl of hot — not boiling — water.


A towel is draped over the patient's head and the bowl, creating a tent for their head accumulating vapor. The patient then breathes the aromatic vapor for five to seven minutes.

This type of treatment can substantially clear a heavily congested head.

3. Personal inhalers.


Having a personal inhaler is a great option. It can be charged with an essential-oil blend using the above suggestions and designed to address your specific symptoms such as nasal congestion, headache, or both.

Your inhaler can be kept on your bedside table or in your pocket ready to be used as frequently as needed. Another benefit is the blend used can be changed as your symptoms change.

For example, sore throats can give way to congestion, and vice versa.

4. Chest rubs.

Add essential oils that are good as immune stimulants or for soothing coughs, sore throats, and congestion to a carrier such as an organic nut or vegetable oil, unscented cream, or a soft natural butter like shea butter that you can rub onto the chest.


Make sure to check our blog post on proper essential-oil dilutions.

RELATED: 5 Interesting Benefits That Essential Oils Can Bring To Your Life

Patricia Bonnard, Ph.D., ACC is a certified International Coaching Federation (ICF) Leadership Coach and a certified Martha Beck Life Coach. For more information, visit her website.