Self-Care for Colds

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Colds are no fun. But there are ways we can use plants and essential oils to help us feel better. Below are some essential oils, ingredients, and ways to use them for self-care when we are sick.

Cinnamon – Cinnamon is antiviral, antibacterial, and antifungal. Use it for digestive discomfort. It contains antioxidants with anti-inflammatory effects, and helps reduce blood pressure.

Eucalyptus – Eucalyptus is decongestant, anti-bacterial, and antiviral.  It is useful for pain and itching, chicken pox, cold sores, shingles, and arthritic pain.

Ginger – Ginger helps rigidity in the body such as arthritis or muscle stiffness and tension. Use it for the digestive system and colds.

Lavender – Lavender is antibacterial, sedative, insect repellent, soothing, and calming. Use it to help nervous tension and mild anxiety.

Lemon -Lemon is antimicrobial, antiseptic, astringent, and tonic. Lemon helps defend against infection, oily skin, digestive system, and stimulates focus

Lemongrass -Lemongrass is antimicrobial, antiseptic, astringent, bactericidal, deodorant, nervine, and tonic.  It tightens and tones skin and connective tissue. It is useful for soothing headaches.  It is uplifting and energizing and good for concentration.

Peppermint – Peppermint is useful as a stomach/digestive remedy.  It is antispasmodic and a stimulant.  It clears the head.  It helps with travel sickness, sinus congestion, and clear thinking.

Rosemary -Rosemary helps the nervous system. It is a brain stimulant as it heightens sensory perceptions and memory. Rosemary is great for hair care and regrowth, muscular aches and pains, constipation, and headaches.

Tea Tree – Tea tree is antimicrobial, antiviral, antifungal, anti-bacterial, and an energizing stimulant. Use tea tree on cold sores, insect bites, in steam inhalations, acne and shingles. Do not use it on very sensitive skin.

Cold and Flu Essential Oil Blends

Breathe Easy
4 drops eucalyptus
2 drops ravensara
1 drop lemon
1 drop peppermint
1 drop oreganoCommon Cold
5 drops rosemary
4 drops eucalyptus
4 drops peppermint
3 drops cyprus
2 drops lemonCough and cold
3 drops peppermint
2 drops lavender
2 drops tea tree
1 drop eucalyptusGet Well
2 drops cinnamon
2 drops clove
2 drops eucalyptus
2 drops rosemary
2 drops orangeGerm Fighter
4 drops clove
3 drops wild orange
2 drops cinnamon
2 drops eucalyptus
1 droop rosemaryHeadache Blend
3 drops peppermint
4 drops lavender
1 drop eucalyptusJust like Vicks
5 drops eucalyptus
5 drops tea tree
2 drops rosemary
1 drop peppermintMom’s don’t get sick
7 drops frankincense
5 drops lemon
2 drops oreganoSinus Congestion Relief
2 drops cypress
2 drops eucalyptus
2 drops tea treeSummer Cold
5 drops elemi
5 drops orange
5 drops lemon
2 drops black pepper

Tea for Colds

Blueberry Tea – Blueberries are high in antioxidants and vitamin C and can help reduce inflammation.

Chamomile Tea – Scientific studies indicate that inhaling steam with chamomile can help cold symptoms.

Ginger Tea – Ginger has anti-inflammatory properties, helps with nausea, and reduces symptoms of respiratory illness.

Hibiscus Tea – Hibiscus is great for cold symptoms and has a ton of vitamin C and iron.

Lemongrass Tea – Lemongrass is antibacterial and antimicrobial and has plenty of antioxidants and vitamin C.

Licorice Root Tea – It has antimicrobial and antiviral properties and helps with symptoms of a cold.

Peppermint Tea – Peppermint tea can soothe your throat and promote rest and relaxation.   It has antiviral properties which can help with pain, inflammation, and congestion.

Tea with Lemon and Honey – Lemon juice has lots of vitamin C.  According to Harvard health, honey has antimicrobial properties and appears to improve cold symptoms.

Chest Rub

Here is a basic balm recipe. You can make it into a chest rub by adding in essential oils like rosemary, eucalyptus, and peppermint.

1 tablespoon beeswax (or soy wax)

1 tablespoon coconut oil

1 tablespoon sunflower oil (or your choice)

12-24 drops essential oils.

Melt wax and oils in a double boiler. Add in essential oils and pour into a jar.


For Aches and Pains

Taking a warm bath combines heat therapy and hydrotherapy.  The buoyancy of the water and the heat help to increase relaxation. The warm water loosens muscle spasms and releases tension. It boosts circulation and blood flow. As a result, muscles get more oxygen, improving elasticity of tissues and therefore helping to relieve pain.
Try taking a bath in sea salt, Epsom salts, and/or mineral salts with essential oils of clove, eucalyptus and peppermint.
Or try a mustard bath with baking soda, salts, mustard powder and essential oils of peppermint, rosemary, thyme and eucalyptus.

Body Acne

Epsom salts may be tried with mild acne according to anecdotal evidence.  Magnesium is said to be useful for treating acne on the neck, chest, or back as it helps reduce inflammation.  Hot water strips skin of oils that can cause breakouts. Try a warm bath with epsom salts 2 to 3 times a week.

Ginger Detox Bath

To help you sweat out the toxins.  

A ginger bath can help sore joints and muscles, increase circulation, reduce water retention, and is helpful when you have a cold, flu, or fever.  Use hot water that is comfortable.  Stay in the bath for a minimum of 15 minutes but up to 40 minutes.  Do not eat a full meal right before the bath. Drink water before and after to help flush out the toxins.  After the bath, you will still sweat for an hour or two.


2 cups Epsom salts

1 cup baking soda

3 tbsp ginger powder

1 tbsp fresh ground ginger in a tea bag

essential oils like lavender and rosemary or eucalyptus


A hot compress is useful for painful joints, backache, toothache and earache.  Alternatively, a cold compress can help headaches, fever, sprains, strains, and insect bites. Sometimes you need to alternate hot and cold compresses.  Below are instructions on how to make a cold compress.  A hot one is the same except you will use hot water instead of cold.

Cold compress  



Ice or cold water

5-6 drops of essential oils




Fill a bowl with water and ice.

Add essential oils. 

Dip cloth into the water, soaking up the oils.

Wring out cloth and place it on the affected area.

Wrap a towel around it.

When the compress is no longer cold, replace it with a new one.

Steam Inhalation 

Steam inhalation is a great way to relax or treat illness such as sore throats, colds, and other respiratory problems.   Here are instructions on how to use steam inhalation once you have chosen your essential oils.


A bowl or a big mug with a handle

Boiling water

4 to 5 drops of essential oils 

A towel

Directions:  Fill the bowl with boiling water or warm a mug full of water.  Next, add in your essential oils.  Then, bend over the bowl, cover your head with a towel and breathe in deeply for a few minutes keeping your eyes closed.

If you liked this post and want more self-care ideas, take a look at my book just released today, Radiance and Ritual: Skincare and Self-Care for the Winter Season and the companion journal Radiance and Ritual: Self-Care Journal for the Winter Season

The post Self-Care for Colds appeared first on Wellbeing Magazine.

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