Effective Treatment for Colds and Flu Without Medication

Posted by John Coppola on 25 Jan, 19

Tired, run down, dragging, congestion, sneezing, coughing, chills, body aches? We all know this feeling. It’s a cold or worse yet, maybe the flu. Before running out to the pharmacy for cold medications (with their list of side effects), reach for essential oils instead.

What Are Essential Oils?

Essential oils (EO’s) are concentrated plant extracts that capture the plant’s scent and flavor, called it’s “essence”. True essential oils are obtained through steam or water distillation or cold pressing. If the essential oil is extracted from the plant by means of using a chemical, it’s not considered a true essential oil and will not have the same physiological effect on the body.

Although EO’s are gaining world-wide recognition, their use is not new. In fact, essential oils have been used to treat and heal various ailments for at least 5,000 years. Specific essential oils have been traced back to being used in the period of 3000-2500 BC in Egypt, India, China, Rome and Greece.

Essential oils (EO’s) can be diffused into the air, inhaled or diluted and rubbed into the skin. Most essential oils are not meant to be swallowed.

Best Essential Oils for Cold & Flu Relief

Essential oils are a potent and highly effective, all-natural remedy for colds and the flu. They can help alleviate your symptoms and even prevent the onset of colds and flu viruses. Here are a list of effective EO’s to use to combat colds or flus.


Frankincense essential oil has remarkable rejuvenating and healing properties. It works great for fighting cold symptoms. Frankincense has the following properties:

  • Antiseptic (prevents growth of germs, viruses, bacteria)
  • Anti-inflammatory
  • Expectorant (loosens mucus allowing it to be expelled from the lungs) 

Frankincense is also useful for reducing anxiety.


Steam Inhalation: This will help relieve congestion and stuffed up airways.

  • Add several drops of frankincense essential oil to a bowl of hot, steaming water
  • Place a towel over your head, lean over the bowl and inhale the steam until all the oils have dissipated (~ 10 minutes).
  • Repeat several times per day as needed for congestion and headache relief.

Hot Bath: The steam will act as a decongestant, and the blend will help to reduce body aches and pains associated with the flu.

  • 2 drops frankincense essential oil
  • 2 drops orange essential oil
  • 1 drop eucalyptus essential oil
  • Mix the oils into the bath water


Oregano is a super powerful antiviral and antimicrobial essential oil. In fact, a recent study shows that oregano essential oil dramatically, reduces symptoms of upper respiratory ailments including coughs and sore throats.


Oral Administration: You can ingest oregano oil if you have a top-grade, pure, ingestible form of oregano essential oil or oil of oregano. This essential oil is very potent and can sometimes leave an unpleasant but temporary burning sensation in your mouth. Here’s how you can take it:

  • Place 10-20 drops in 1 ounce of a non-acidic juice (like organic apple juice), mix and drink
  • Place a few drops under your tongue and let them absorb for a least 30 seconds before swallowing. This method can provide immediate relief of your cold symptoms, but it’snot for the faint of heart. You may want to try the dilution first before diving in to full-strength oregano oil.

Massage or Diffuser Blend: Create a therapeutic diffuser blend:

  • 2 drops oregano essential oil
  • 2 drops rosemary essential oil
  • 2 drops peppermint essential oil
  • 2 drops eucalyptus essential oil


Eucalyptus essential oil comprises about 72% eucalyptol making it an efficient remedy to alleviate hest coughs, clear sinuses and open breathing centers (bronchioles).

*Do not take eucalyptus essential oil orally, as it can be toxic.


To Relieve a Stuffed Up Nose: Use several drops of eucalyptus essential oil in a diffuser, with steam inhalation, a hot bath, or even in a vaporizer.
Or, If the scent of eucalyptus is to powerful, you can blend it with the following EO

  • 3 drops eucalyptus essential oil
  • 2 drops lavender essential oil
  • 2 drop peppermint essential oil

To Prevent Airborn Infection From Spreading: Diffuse or vaporize:

  • 3 drops eucalyptus essential oil
  • 3 drops tea tree essential oil

To Calm Chest Coughs: Blend this essential oil chest rub ─

  • 4 drops eucalyptus essential oil
  • 2 drops myrrh essential oil
  • 4 drops cedarwood essential oil
  • 4 tsp carrier oil (almond, jojoba, etc.)
  • Massage the blend into the chest, morning and evening

For an Aching Body: Use this combination in a hot bath, with a hot or cold compress, or with a carrier oil as a body massage blend:

  • 4 drops eucalyptus essential oil
  • 2 drops ginger essential oil
  • 4 drops rosemary essential oil
  • 4 tsp carrier oil for massage blend


Tea tree essential oil contains antiseptic, antiviral and antimicrobial properties. Using this essential oil for colds is excellent for diminishing coughs, bronchial congestion and sore throats. Tea tree essential oil is also an excellent, natural disinfectant, so you can use it to kill germs on surfaces and in the air.
(*Tea tree essential oil can be a mild sensitizer, so be sure to perform a patch test before using it for the first time.)


As a Cough Remedy: Administer 8 - 12 drops of tea tree essential oil on your sinuses and neck areas.

Or, in your diffuser or Vaporizer ─

  • 4 drops tea tree essential oil
  • 4 drops eucalyptus essential oil

As a Disinfectant: Add 25 drops of tea tree essential oil to a 16 oz spray bottle filled with water. Spray and wipe all surfaces in your home, especially those that have been in contact with sick individuals. Furthermore, spray phones, doorknobs, light switches, remotes, keyboards, bathroom and kitchen fixtures, and any other object that is often touched and shared amongst family members.
It's also good to mop hardwood floors with this blend, and you can add lemon or pine essential oils for scent.

As a Massage Bend: To fight viral infections ─

  • 4 drops tea tree essential oil
  • 4 drops bergamot essential oil
  • 2 drops black pepper essential oil
  • 4 tsp carrier oil
  • Massage into your chest and the soles of your feet

Diffuser Blend: To disinfect the air in your home ─

  • 4 drops tea tree essential oil
  • 4 drops lemon essential oil


Peppermint essential oil has a cooling, pungent, menthol aroma. This oil revives depleted energy and enhances positivity. It can help to improve concentration and battle fatigue, as well as sooth nausea and upset stomachs.

Because of its high concentration of menthol, peppermint essential oil for colds and flu relief is ideal because menthol is beneficial for treating congestion, stuffed up airways, and relieving bodily aches and pains. Furthermore, peppermint essential oil has a mild warming effect which feels great when used on sore muscles.
(*Peppermint essential oil can be a slight sensitizer, so be sure to perform a patch test before using this essential oil topically for the first time.)


To Ease Nausea and an Upset Stomach: Inhale peppermint oil from a tissue or try this massage or diffuser blend ─

  • 3 drops peppermint essential oil
  • 3 drops nutmeg essential oil
  • 3 drops rosemary essential oil 
  • 4 tsp carrier oil for a massage blend

To Relieve Sore Muscles and Bodily Pain: Massage Blend ─

  • 2 drops peppermint essential oil
  • 4 drops rosemary essential oil
  • 4 drops spruce essential oil
  • 4 tsp carrier oil

As a Hot or Cold Compress:

  • 2 drops peppermint essential oil
  • 2 drops yarrow essential oil
  • Add 1 tsp carrier oil to the essential oils if you feel they are too strong

Steam Inhalation:

  • 3 drops peppermint essential oil
  • 2 drops eucalyptus essential oil
  • For a headache, add 2 drops lavender essential oil 


Lemon has long been considered a cure-all fruit and essential oil, especially for treating the flu and for reducing fevers. Furthermore, lemon essential oil also is a great treatment for fatigue as it is an energizing essential oil.

Lemon essential oil has antibacterial, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, which not only makes it ideal for fighting viruses, but also for reducing cold and flu symptoms such as coughing, congestion, swollen glands and bodily aches and pains.


To Fight a Cold or the Flu: Use this combination as a diffuser blend or massage blend:

  • 4 drops lemon essential oil
  • 4 drops tea tree essential oil
  • 4 drops lavender essential oil
  • 4 tsp carrier oil for massage blends


Lavender essential oil is a favorite scent amongst the essential oils and has been so for centuries. It's a wonderful healing oil which is a natural pain reliever, anxiety reducer, treatment for insomnia and is good for skin ailments.

It’s particularly useful for respiratory ailments and symptoms such as influenza, colds, sinus congestion, and coughs. Furthermore, lavender oil can alleviate breathing problems when phlegm is trapped within the lungs and sinuses.


For Congestion Relief: Apply several drops of lavender essential oil on the chest, sinus and neck area, and back for quick relief.

For Bodily Aches and Pains: As a massage blend ─

  • 4 drops lavender essential oil
  • 4 drops rosemary essential oil
  • 4 drops of peppermint essential oil
  • 4 tsp carrier oil (almond or jojoba, etc.)

As a Sleep Aid and Decongestant: Use this blend in a diffuser or humidifier ─

  • 4 drops lavender essential oil
  • 4 drops chamomile essential oil
  • 4 drops cedarwood essential oil

All of these blends with lavender essential oil are also useful for relieving anxiety while you're are feeling down.


Carrier oils are vegetable oils, such as almond, coconut, jojoba, that have been derived from the seeds, kernels or nuts of a plant. Since many essential oils are very potent and can cause redness, burning or irritation, when applied to the skin directly, carrier oils are used as a dilution method for the essential oil. As the name applies, carrier oils help “carry” essential oils into the skin.

Here is a list of carrier oils:

  • Almond oil
  • Apricot oil
  • Avocado oil
  • Coconut oil
  • Grape seed oil
  • Jojoba oil

These are just a few. There are many more carrier oils than what I have listed.

Please bear in mind that before using essential oils topically, they must be diluted with a carrier oil.


  • If you are not sure how to use essential oils for cold and flu relief, ask for the advice of your doctor or a licensed natural health practitioner.
  • If you are pregnant, suffer from hypertension or have epilepsy, you should avoid rosemary and clove bud essential oils. Again, ask your doctor of any questions.
  • Remember that essential oils with a citrus note are sensitizing and phototoxic, so use these oils sparingly, especially if you are going outdoors. 
  • Although reactions are rare with proper use, always perform a patch test before using a new essential oil to ensure you will not have an allergic response to it.


Essential oils carry biologically active volatile compounds in a highly concentrated form that can provide therapeutic benefits in very small amounts.

Scents can have a powerful influence on your well-being. When you inhale the fragrance of an essential oil, the aroma penetrates your bloodstream via your lungs, which is one mechanism that the oils can exert a powerful physiological effect. Essential oils are also easily absorbed through your skin when applied topically.

Modern scientists are not only finding compelling links between scents and human behavior, scents can actually influence the biochemistry of your nervous system.

Many essential oils have antibacterial, antifungal, and/or antiviral qualities, and contrary to antibiotics, essential oils do not promote resistance.

Using Essential oils have been one of many natural approaches to effectively treat colds and flu for hundreds of years.

Quality of the EO is critical. You must only choose pure, therapeutic grade essential oils from plants…NOT synthetic fragrance oils or perfumes, which can be toxic and typically contain allergenic compounds.

However, even when using all natural EO, not all are created equally. Essential oil quality can vary tremendously.

According to The University of Minnesota, here’s what you should look for:

  • Is there a statement of purity? (Look for 100 % pure essential oil with no dilution) 
  • Is it really cheap? (If it’s the least expensive brand…stay clear. More than likely the quality is very poor)
  • Is the latin name of the plant provided?
  • Is the name of the country in which the plants are grown provided?
  • Is there a distillation date or expiration date?
  • Is there information about organic growing or wildcrafting? (Wild crafting tells you they gather wild plants)
  • Is the oil GC (gas chromatography) or MS (mass spectrometry) tested

Essential Oil Brands that we recommend

There are many essential oil brands on the market to choose from. After extensive research, these are the brands that we recommend:

  • Aura Cacia 
  • Vitacost
  • Young Living
  • Wyndemere