At this time of year all sorts of respiratory infections are rampant and lately I have been coming into contact with lots of people who are battling anything from a simple cold and/or sinusitis, to influenza and even bronchitis or pneumonia.  So what can we do to address these pesky bugs?

I believe first and foremost we should start by looking at the individual – not the condition.  Consider first what they are experiencing physically and emotionally.  What symptoms do they have?  What emotions are they dealing with?  A friend once told me that we often develop a cold a week – 10 days after a stressor in our lives, and thinking back at what was going on a week or 10 days before can sometimes give us a clue.  Consider the person’s lifestyle, and what they are likely to follow through with.  Last but not least, based on the oils you can consider always choose those that are more aromatically pleasing to them.  If they don’t like the smell they might not use the blend, no matter how good it might be.  Of course we are blending for a physical condition, but we always want to include something for the emotions, and since many of the oils that address the emotional issues are the more fragrantly pleasing this can also help to make the blend more aromatically pleasing.

As these conditions are caused by viruses we will will definitely want to include one or more antiviral essential oils in our blend.   For more information Read Essential Oil Properties – Antiviral in the Article Archives.

Then we want to look at what symptoms the individual is experiencing.  This should include not just the obvious physical ones like coughing, mucous buildup, stuffiness, headaches, fever, chills etc but also the, not always so obvious, emotional symptoms a person is faced with.  It has been my experience that by adding the right emotional essential oil to a physical blend will usually speed up that individual’s healing process.

Essential oils to consider choosing based on physical symptoms include:
Black pepper (Piper nigrum) – has expectorant and decongestant properties.
Cedarwood (Cedrus atlantica) – has mucolytic properties.
Cinnamon (Cinnamomum zeylanicum) – has antiviral properties.
Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globules) – has antiviral, decongestant, expectorant and mucolytic properties.
Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus radiata) – has antiviral and expectorant properties.
Eucalyptus (Eucalyptus smithii) – has antiviral and decongestant properties.
Frankincense (Boswellia carterii) – has expectorant and mucolytic properties.
Ginger (Zingiber officinale) – has expectorant properties.
Helichrysum (Helichrysum italicum) – has antiviral and antiseptic properties.
Spike Lavender (Lavendula latifolia) – has expectorant and antiviral properties.
Lemon (Citrus limonum) – has antiviral, decongestant and calming properties.
Marjoram (Origanum majorana) – has antiviral properties.
Myrrh (Commiphora myrrha) – has antiseptic properties.
Niaouli (Melaleuca viridiflora) – has strongly antiviral and decongestant properties.
Oregano (Thymus vulgaris) – has antiviral properties.
Peppermint (Mentha piperita) – has expectorant and mucolytic properties.
Pine (Pinus sylvestris) – has expectorant properties.
Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis ct. cineol) – has expectorant, decongestant and mucolytic properties.
Tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia) – has antiviral properties.
Thyme (Thymus vulgaris) – has expectorant properties.
Essential Oil Precautions and Contraindications and Methods of Use and Applications 

Prevention is always the best approach.  The article on 3 Essential Oil Strategies to Prevent Colds provides ideas for effective strategies against any viral infection.

Effective strategies for dealing with Respiratory infections include:

  • Getting plenty of rest and fluids.
  • Diffusing an appropriate blend of essential oils.
  • Using an appropriately blended essential oil Personal Inhaler.
  • Applying your essential oil blend topically to the upper chest area.  For sore throats apply the blend to the throat area as well, for sinusitis the blend can also be applied (carefully to the sinus area).  Please note that I always recommend using a lower dilution of 1% or less on the face as the skin here is more sensitive than the skin on your body.  The topical application of the blend is soothing and it delivers a slow release of the essential oil molecules into the air making them available for inhalation.  Two methods of application (topical and inhalation) with one application.
  • Remember to keep everything well sanitized by spritzing the room, bed linens, counters tops and other surfaces with an effective essential oil blend.
  • Where appropriate, adding 1 – 2 drops of your essential oil blend to a steam inhalation can be helpful.
  • Using an aromatic Warm Compresses applied to the upper chest.
  • If you are dealing with sinusitis, warm compresses applied to the face can ease facial pain.  For this compress you might prefer to use a hydrosol or blend of hydrosols.
  • Rinsing your nasal passages with a neti pot can also be helpful.  This can also be with a hydrosol or blend of hydrosols.
  • And of course there is always the old fashioned remedy of the Onion.  I first heard of this in an email that was doing the rounds in 2009 which suggested having an unpeeled onion in a dish in each room of the house protects against bacteria, viruses and flu. The email went on to say that if someone was already ill to place a cut onion next to them overnight. In the morning the onion will have turned colour and the person will be better.  Ever since then as soon as I feel a tickle or sneeze, out comes an onion, which I cut and have next to me.  I certainly find it works really well for me.

Stay healthy and use preventative measures but if one of the pesky bugs out there, does take hold, these strategies can help you get back on track really quickly.