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Best Essential Oils for Colds

Feeling sniffly? Grab some of the best essential oils for colds, and you'll be alright.

It seems like cold season has two times when it strikes—winter and summer. Truth be told, just about everyone has had a cold at least once in their lives. Even the healthiest people you'll see get them from time to time. 

As pervasive as it is, there's nothing really you can do to cure a cold, per se. There's no real cure for the common cold, so much of the treatment available is more about just helping yourself feel comfortable while it subsides. 

Catching a cold is inevitable, it seems, so even if you're healthy as a horse right now, keeping some of the best essential oils for colds and sniffles might be a good idea. 


Without a doubt, lavender oil is one of the best essential oils for colds—and just about everything else. This oil has naturally soothing properties that will help get rid of aches, congestion, and pains, but that's not all it can do. 

Lavender essential oil also has the added perk of having antibacterial properties and being an excellent oil for high blood pressure. This means you can add it to a water and white wine vinegar to make a totally natural cleaning product that'll prevent others in your home from getting sick, too. 

How to Use It:

  • A couple of drops on your chest or face will help relieve congestion fairly quickly. 
  • Some oil in a 30/70 split of white wine vinegar and water makes for a great-smelling antiseptic cleaning product. 
  • Dropping some lavender oil and chamomile oil onto a pillow lets you sleep well, too. 


Eucalyptus oil has become a go-to for almost anything with pain, aches, and soreness. What really makes it one of the best essential oils for colds, though, is how quickly it clears out your sinuses—and its anti-inflammatory properties. 

Australians use eucalyptus oil all the time for sniffles, and now, this oil is quickly spreading beyond the land down under due to its efficacy. 

How to Use It:

  • There are tons of essential oil recipes that involve eucalyptus oil as a way to bolster decongestive effects. You'll see a number of them below. 
  • Placing four to six drops of eucalyptus oil in a carrier oil is a great way to make a massage oil that will keep your chest feeling clear. 

Tee Tree

Tea tree oil has become a darling in the cosmetic world, with major stores like The Body Shop carrying their own lines of cosmetics featuring this skin-clearing oil. Known for its "minty" and tingly sensation, it's easy to see why people call tea tree oil one of the best essential oils for colds. 

This is a great oil for relieving muscle aches, pains, and also clearing up your sinuses. Along with being a good muscle relaxer, it also has antibacterial and antifungal qualities. That's a great thing for those who want to prevent getting a cold, too. 

How to Use It:

  • Dropping 6 to 12 drops of tea tree oil around your sinuses is a recommended way to relieve a cough. 
  • If you need to clear out your sinuses, using four drops of tea tree oil and four drops of eucayptus oil in your essential oil vaporizer will work wonders. 
  • Several drops of tea tree oil into a bottle of carrier oil also works well as a soothing massage oil. 


Love that lemon fresh scent? Who doesn't? With all the Vitamin C lemons pack, it's pretty unsurprising that naturopaths call lemon one of the best essential oils for colds, flus, and other sniffly-sneezes. 

Lemon essential oil has anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, anti-bacterial, and anti-fungal properties that can help you kick a cold's butt. Best of all, you can actually DIY this, since lemon oil is found in lemon rinds. Just cooking with lemon rinds can help you get some of the benefits of this oil. 

How to Use It: 

  • Drop four drops each of lemon, lavender, and tea tree oil into a diffuser with four ounces of carrier oil to relieve coughs and fight the cold. 


If you love the smell of mint gum, you're going to adore using peppermint essential oil. Its powerfully pungent menthol aroma has been used for centuries as a decongestant, and its "icy-hot" effect on skin makes it a great way to relieve pain. 

Because mint also is a great choice for treating nausea, peppermint is one of the best essential oils for colds and seasickness. 

How to Use It:

  • Put a couple of drops of peppermint oil into your favorite tissue to make a nice-smelling congestion relief tool. All you have to do is inhale when you feel stuffy or queasy. 
  • A mix of equal parts eucalyptus and peppermint oils in a carrier oil also can help relieve muscle aches and congestion. 

Cinnamon Leaf

Cinnamon has two different essential oils available—cinnamon bark and cinnamon leaf. The leaf is the milder of the two, and to a point, that's why it's one of the best essential oils for colds. 

This has strong anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, and anti-congestive traits that make it a great option for anyone feeling under the weather. It also has a very warming-but-cooling sensation that makes it great for anyone suffering from aches and pains. 

Unlike cinnamon bark, which can actually burn skin, cinnamon leaf is gentle enough to ensure a warming sensation without irritation.

How to Use It: 

  • Add two drops of cinnamon oil and two drops of lavender oil to a hot bath.
  • Adding two drops (each) of cinnamon, clove bud, and mandarin oil to four ounces of carrier oil makes a great massage oil for increasing blood flow. 

Clove Bud

Clove bud oil, also known as clove oil, is cinnamon leaf oil's cousin, in many ways. It has a similarly warm, spicy, and smoky scent. It's got the same anti-congestant, anti-bacterial, and anti-inflammatory traits that make cinnamon leaf oil one of the best essential oils for colds and sniffles. 

Unlike cinnamon oil, clove oil has become infamous for being a "winter smell." So, you also get to enjoy the benefits of a housewarming smell while you get better. 

How to Use It:

  • Four drops clove bud oil with four tablespoons of carrier oil will clear out a deep-chest cough. 


Grapefruit is one of those foods that people either love or hate. Either way, grapefruit oil is one of the best essential oils for colds, coughs, and lethargy. Between its high Vitamin C count and the fact that it has incredible anti-bacterial traits, it was a shoe-in for this list. 

This essential oil is great for anti-depressant use, as well as for fighting colds. That being said, certain people should avoid grapefruit oil. If you have dietary restrictions against grapefruit, you should not ingest this oil. 

How to Use It: 

  • Using four drops each of grapefruit, ginger, and peppermint oils in four tablespoons of carrier massage oil works well to ease cold-related nausea. 
  • Dropping some grapefruit oil in the bath can help boost your mood, and also relieve congestion. 
  • Adding grapefruit oil to a white wine vinegar cleaner mix can bolster antibacterial traits, too. 


If you love Thai food, then you already know that lemongrass has the same delicious smell as lemon oil. The surprising thing you might not know is that it's one of the best essential oils for colds, flus, and just preventing sickness. 

Like real lemon, lemongrass has a lot of healing properties and anti-inflammatory properties that make it a great additive to cleaning agents, as well as a great treatment for the sniffles. It's one of the more exotic essential oils that keep you naturally healthy—and we can dig it. 

How to Use It: 

  • Use a couple drops of lemongrass oil in a white wine vinegar solution for a nice-smelling cleaning product that will help prevent others from getting sick.
  • Drop a couple of drops in your bath, or pour a little bit of it in a bag of Epsom salts to make a great bath related decongestant. 
  • Use in place of any recipe involving lemon essential oil. 


If you don't mind smelling like a pizza, then you'll be happy to know that oregano oil is one of the best essential oils for colds—and really, any other type of sickness. It's anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, and as close to a natural antibiotic as possible. In fact, some science suggests oregano oil can tackle drug-resistant bacteria

Sure, it may not be the most pleasantly perfumed bottle on here, but this is one of the most fantastic essential oils on this list when it comes to health benefits. Science even backs it as a great way to relieve a cough, and that should tell you volumes. 

How to Use It:

  • You can use a drop or two as a food additive to help you fight the cold. 
  • Drop a couple of drops in your bath for a pungent, but clearing, way to get rid of coughs. 
  • Adding several drops to a carrier oil also makes a great anti-bacterial hand cleaning solution.

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