Common colds are an almost unavoidable part of life, especially during the colder months. On average, most American adults catch 2-3 colds annually, leading them to search for various remedies in order to strengthen their immune system and move past a sore throat, cough or runny nose as quickly as possible. Everyone desires swift relief when suffering from a common cold!
Essential oils are becoming a popular, natural go-to remedy to help offer relief from colds and other illnesses. While some essential oils can be used for specific symptoms such as congestion, others can also provide general wellness benefits like relaxation before bedtime. Discover the power of essential oils in this article! Unearth what they are, how effective they are at relieving common cold symptoms and why you should consider incorporating them into your daily routine.
What are Essential Oils?
Essential oils are the concentrated essences of plants, extracted from their leaves, flowers and other parts. Through either steaming or pressing methods they can be carefully gathered in a high-powered form to deliver profound therapeutic benefits.
Through the distillation of plant materials, essential oils are produced – capturing their natural essence and unique properties. Additionally, some plants can have powerful antimicrobial, antiviral, antifungal or antibacterial elements in their oil. Due to the potency of these compounds, a small bottle may require several pounds worth of any given plant material to produce; for example an acre’s worth of lavender will only generate 2 gallons of essential oil!
Essential oils are incredibly powerful, so they’re often blended with a carrier oil like coconut, jojoba or argan in order to make them safe for topical use. A carrier oil helps reduce the strength of these essential oils, making it easier and safer to apply them topically on your skin.
Without carrier oil, undiluted essential oils may cause skin irritation. You can also find pre-made blends of two or more essential oils in stores with complimentary scents and benefits. For instance, many people use a mixture of peppermint and eucalyptus for their restorative properties to clear airways – this combination is usually available in an all-inclusive bottle!
Potential Benefits of Using Essential Oils for Colds
Nature’s blessings offer us the gift of essential oils, which have been proven to provide relief from some uncomfortable cold symptoms. Sore throat? Coughing? Nasal congestion or chest tightness? Even runny nose and fatigue can be alleviated with select oils. Though there is limited scientific evidence on the effects of essential oil use for treating a common cold, so far it has demonstrated promising results!
How to Use Essential Oils
Utilizing essential oils can provide a myriad of benefits, though the potency of these effects largely depends on your chosen application method. If you are experiencing minor physical discomforts such as aches or swelling, then applying lemon oil directly to the affected area is more advantageous than putting it in a humidifier and inhaling its fumes. One thing you should absolutely avoid doing – no matter what suggestions you find online – is consuming essential oils; they are incredibly concentrated and therefore unsafe for internal use! To assist with safe usage methods, we have included some recommended approaches below.
Throat, chest, or sinus massage
When you’re feeling the effects of a cold in your throat, chest, and sinuses, attempt to massage essential oils onto your skin for relief. But don’t forget: these potent oils may cause skin irritation if not mixed with a carrier oil beforehand!
Use essential oils with one of the following carrier oils: Coconut oil, Olive oil, Jojoba oil, Almond oil, Argan oil, Avocado oil, Grapeseed oil, Rosehip oil and Hemp seed oil. When massaging the sinus and throat area, take care to avoid the areas around the eyes and mouth; you don’t want essential oils to drip into your eyes or mouth.
Humidifier or diffuser
If you’re looking for ways to enjoy the aromatherapy of essential oils, a humidifier or diffuser are ideal options. All year long, people can benefit from adding drops of their favorite oil into a diffuser and enjoying the blissful smell in their home. When cold season hits, using an essential oil-infused humidifier (or any other type that adds moisture) could be particularly helpful – not only does it fill your room with pleasant scents but also cleanse the air around you by dispersing natural antimicrobial properties! To get extra relief when congested, try something like eucalyptus oil which is known to act as an effective decongestant.
Breathe in the bliss of essential oils by either taking a whiff from the bottle or putting some drops on a cotton ball, handkerchief, or towel for easy inhalation. Not only will it instantly clear up your nasal passages with its heavenly scent but also depending on which oil you choose – reduces congestion and helps relax before bedtime!
Soak up the calming effects of essential oils by adding a few drops in your bathwater. Need some relaxation? Lavender is always a popular option! If muscle tension or cold-related ailments are causing discomfort, try chamomile, eucalyptus, and lemon to ease those aches and soothe any soreness.
To target specific areas of your body, consider adding a couple drops of essential oils to a warm compress. For instance, if you experience aches or muscle soreness, then using a warm compress infused with either lemon or eucalyptus oil may offer tangible relief.
Risks and Warnings
Before using essential oils to treat your cold, be aware of the potential risks associated with this form of relief.
- Potency:Essential oils should never be underestimated—a few drops can have a powerful impact. Limit your use to 2-5 drops at most, and always dilute the oil with a carrier before applying it topically. Essential oils are not intended for sensitive areas or oral consumption; bear this in mind when using them around eyes or mouth.
- Pregnancy: With limited research regarding the safety of essential oils for young kids or pregnant women, it’s best to avoid using them if you’re currently expecting or breastfeeding – unless specifically instructed by your physician.
- Pets: Caring pet owners should take caution when using essential oils around their cats, dogs, and other domestic pets. For some of these animals, even being near a humidifier with certain types of oils can be hazardous due to their toxicity and sensitivity levels. As such, it is best to exercise extreme precaution before bringing them into contact with any type of oil-infused environment.
- Quality:When purchasing essential oils, always opt for glass bottles as they will help extend their shelf life and minimize contamination risk. If the oil is packaged in a plastic bottle, this should be seen as a warning sign that you need to be extra vigilant when selecting your product.