Essential Defense for Colds and Flu

This article was originally published November 12, 2011. If you are looking for a way to begin using essential oils, read on. Managing stress during colds & flu can bring your body comfort. Adding pure essential oils to your home care routine is a great place to start. These pure, plant extracts support healthy immune function, encourage proper digestion and help the body relax during the normal stresses of illness.  This information is timeless and we always have these essential oils on hand during cold and flu season. They support a healthy immune system, and discourage the spread of illness when we’re washing our hands more frequently with those DIY essential oil soaps we’ve made.  Thanks for stopping by, hope you are encouraged by some more practical uses of essential oils.

With six children in our home we have the potential for a lot of  germ exchange.  I must say though, we have never had a bug that has gone from one person to the next through the whole family.  I know it has not been luck that has help us evade the transmission of illness from one person to the next.  I am a germ fanatic and do whatever I can to contain germs.  Cleanliness is my number one defense and I use  pure therapeutic grade essential oils as the foundation for fighting bacteria without harsh chemicals as well as washing hands regularly.  A Goji Fruit Beverage is our main nutrient boost for vitamins when we start to feel a little run down.

Want more tips on keeping healthy before, during and after the flu strike? Read my article on Natural Resources to have on hand BEFORE flu strikes.

The most important steps include frequent hand washings ( DIY foaming hand soap), washing bed linens and towels (I add a drop of Cinnamon/clove essential oil blend or Purifying Blend essential oil to my laundry soap for extra disinfecting), cleaning my bathrooms with Cinnamon/clove/Melaleuca/rosemary/lemon Blend wipes (you can make your own wipes with a natural Cinnamon/Clove Household Cleaner and tough paper towels, store them in an old baby wipes container for convenience) and diffusing highly anti-bacterial blends like Cinnamon/Clove/Melaleuca/Rosemary/Lemon Immune Boosting Blend, Purifying Blend, and Frankincense to kill airborne bacteria.  Therapeutic, food grade essential oils are also the most important items in our wellness cabinet.  In fact, we don’t have any artificial ingredients in our bathroom – no chemicals or products with artificial flavors & colors. 

This is what  we use to support a healthy immune system:

If you’re feeling a little run down:  adults can make up a gel capsule of an Immune Boosting Blend:  1 drop of Immune Boosting Blend (make sure you are only using essential oils that are classified as dietary supplements) essential oil plus 1-2 drops of lemon essential oil and a few drops of olive oil in a gel cap.  For kids 2- 6, massage 1 drop of lemon essential oil or  1-2 drops of a Eucalyptus Blend, (Frankincense or Lavender for kids under 3) onto to the bottoms of feet.  Use an Immune Boosting Blend hand sanitizer to keep germs from spreading.  Keep mouth clean where germs multiply with Immune Boosting mouthwash, we use Thieves. Cinnamon and Clove essential oil have been researched for their effectiveness against many bugs, check out to see.

DIY Throat Soother –  1 tsp agave nectar with 1 drop of lemon essential oil.  For adults add 1 drop Immune Boosting Blend for extra immune health. Suck on Immune Boosting Blend lozenges (Thieves) which contain cinnamon and clove, clove has used historically  in dentistry as a topical anesthetic.

Essential Oil cough syrup

Fever – Adults, dilute 1-3 drops peppermint  or lavender essential oil in 1 tsp of a vegetable carrier oil like jojoba, sesame or apricot kernal on each foot. Peppermint and lavender are both cooling to the body and can bring comfort to a stressed mind and body. Children under 6 – Lavender & Frankincense (Boswellia Carterri) diluted on bottoms of feet or along the spine – repeat as needed to keep child calm and relaxed. Peppermint essential oil is very strong and can cause respiratory distress in little kids. Be safe and use the gentle lavender or frankincense instead. Applying cool washcloths under the arms and in groin area is also a natural way to cool the body, make sure water is tepid, not super cold. Here are some other ways of dealing with a fever naturally.

peppermint essential oil for fever

Dry Throat – 1 tsp agave nectar with 1 drop of lemon essential oil  can keep the throat moistened and prevent discomfort from a dry throat. (Lemon essential oil contains many more nutrients and antioxidants than just lemon juice as the essential oil is distilled from the rind – use only Therapeutic, food grade lemon essential oil for ingesting) .  For adults and children over 12 add 1 drop of  Immune Boosting oil Blend to the spoonful of lemon/agave nectar to support healthy immune systems. Gargle with Immune Boosting mouthwash. If you are able to drink liquids, squeeze some fresh lemon juice into a mug of warm water and sip slowly. Add some fresh grated ginger to bump up the defenses which will also support a happy digestive tract.

Support healthy lung and nasal function – with a Eucalyptus EO Blend applied to reflexology points on the bottoms of feet, rubbed on the chest or inhaled can bring a familiar aroma like a chest vapor rub.  We use RC which is a blend of Eucalyputs Globulus,  Eucalyptus Radiata, Eucalyptus Citriadora, Myrtle, Black Spruce, Peppermint, Pine, Lavender, Marjoram and Cypress. This is a super immune support as well as respiratory support. Add a  few drops to bath water and breath deeply, it’s like your natural vapor rub with pure plant extracts. The company I get RC from has a limit on the purchase of it to 1 per account. If you’d like to get yours wholesale, visit my sister site for membership information, I’d love to support you in your essential oil journey! :).  Frankincense supports the respiratory tract and calms the mind while the immune system fights viruses.  Apply to the chest and throat area on lymph glands.  Place a drop of frankincense (only use a food grade Frankincense that is labeled as a dietary supplement)  on the tongue to help the immune system stay healthy.  An essential oil blend made of Ravensara, wintergreen, Eucalyptus Radiata, lemon and peppermint can also be soothing and support healthy lung function.  Layering oils can boost their synergistic qualities and it’s important to rotate oils.  If you find one that resonates better with you, keep it up. Essential oils metabolize in your body in about 1 hour so you can safely repeat diluted quantities in that time. They are versatile, and can be apply directly to the chest or Vita-Flex/reflexology points on the feet to support healthy lung function.

Cold/Canker Sores –  Apply a diluted drop of an Immune Boosting oil Blend directly to the spot to alleviate pain and support a healthy immune system (1 drop of EO mixed with 1 teaspoon of vegetable carrier oil).  Peppermint oil also may help when applied directly. Melaleuca alternifolia has been researched extensively against the Herpes Simplex virus, including Acycolvir resistant strains, check it out at

Headache /body aches – Raindrp method of essential oil application alone the spine can soothe the senses and relax the body , apply peppermint or PainBlend essential oils on the forehead and temples or  lemon essential oil on the big toe.  Soak in a mineral bath like Ancient Minerals with 3-4 drops of lavender essential oils added to soothe muscles and joints from the daily activities of life.

Vomiting/diarrhea – Peppermint essential oil has been researched extensively for it’s effectiveness in supporting a healthy digestive tract. Apply to the soles of feet, on the belly and 1 drop in water to sip.  Children under 6 should not use peppermint oil, instead use Frankincense or ginger essential oil on the feet and belly.  After 1 hour of no vomiting, gradually introduce liquids. Dilute 1 oz. Goji Fruit Beverage with 4-5 ounces of water is a gentle way to start adding nutrients. Peppermint essential oil has been researched for it’s ability to calm nausea and other digestive upset.

Probiotics can boost your immune systems and body’s natural defenses, supplementing is super important if you’ve lost a lot of fluids to vomiting or diarrhea or if you’re on antibiotics. Make sure you get a probiotic with high numbers….we have ones in our fridge that are 1-85 billion organisms from a variety of strains. Replenishing needs are greater than what yogurt can provide. Many high quality probiotics require refrigeration but there are some others that do not and make good travel companions, especially if you’re traveling overseas.

Research has found oregano essential oil is powerful against many microbes including Listeria, Salmonella and even the Yellow Fever Virus (see research link below).  Check with your doctor to get instructions on using a probiotic when taking Oregano essential oil. 

In addition to some of these suggestion make sure to add some homemade chicken soup – Bone Broth, drinking plenty of  high quality fluids, rest and some common sense to ensure a quick recovery.  Always seek the advice of your doctor for serious illness.

These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are meant for educational purposes only, they are not a substitute for medical care.

Related Research
D’Arrigo M1, Ginestra G, Mandalari G, Furneri PM, Bisignano G. Synergism and postantibiotic effect of tobramycin and Melaleuca alternifolia (tea tree) oil against Staphylococcus aureus and Escherichia coli. Phytomedicine. 2010 Apr;17(5):317-22. doi: 10.1016/j.phymed.2009.07.008. Epub 2009 Aug 20.

Sara J. Greay, Katherine A. Hammer Recent developments in the bioactivity of mono- and diterpenes: anticancer and antimicrobial activity. Phytochemistry Reviews May 2011 Date: 17 May 2011
Brady A1, Loughlin R, Gilpin D, Kearney P, Tunney M. In vitro activity of tea-tree oil against clinical skin isolates of meticillin-resistant and -sensitive Staphylococcus aureus and coagulase-negative staphylococci growing planktonically and as biofilms. J Med Microbiol. 2006 Oct;55(Pt 10):1375-80.

Christine F. Carson, Syndie Messager, Katherine A. Hammer and Thomas V. Riley  Tea tree oil: a potential alternative for the management of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) Australian Infection Control 10(1) 32 – 34 ?Published: 2005.

J. Maya, C. H. Chana,b, A. Kinga,*,L. Williamsb and G. L. Frencha. J. Time–kill studies of tea tree oils on clinical isolates Antimicrob. Chemother. (2000)45 (5): 639-643.

The Journal of Contemporary Dental Practice. January-February 2012;13(1):71-74. Activity of Commercially Available Essential Oils Against Streptococcus mutans
Lalit Kumar D Chaudhari, Bhushan Arun Jawale, Sheeba Sharma, Hemant Sharma CD Mounesh Kumar, Pooja Adwait Kulkarni.

Annals of Microbiology
December 2010, Volume 60, Issue 4, pp 599-604
Date: 10 Jul 2010 Anticariogenic and cytotoxic activity of clove essential oil (Eugenia caryophyllata) against a large number of oral pathogens Bochra Kouidhi, Tarek Zmantar, Amina Bakhrouf.

G. A. Ayoola, F. M. Lawore T. Adelowotan I. E. Aibinu, E. Adenipekun, H. A. B. Coker and T. O Odugbemi Chemical analysis and antimicrobial activity of the essential oil of Syzigium aromaticum (clove) African Journal of Microbiology Research. Vol.(2) pp. 162-166, July, 2008 Available online
Abstract: The antimicrobial sensitivity of the volatile oil against some Gram-negative bacteria (Escherichia coli ATCC 35218, Escherichia coli, Klebsiella pneumoniae, Salmonella paratyphi, Citrobacter spp. and Enterobacter cloacae), a Gram-positive bacterium (Staphylococcus aureus ATCC 25923), and a fungus (Candida albicans) showed a broad spectrum of activity. The minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) was determined for each organism as 2.4, 1.6, 0.27, 0.016, 0.23, 1.63, 0.73 and 0.067 mg/ml for S. aureus ATTC 25923, E. cloacae, S. paratyphi, K. pneumoniae, E. coli ATTC 35218, E. coli, Citrobacter spp. and C. albicans, respectively. Antioxidant screening of clove oil with 2,2-diphenyl- picryl-hydrazyl radical (DPPH) was positive, indicating the presence of free radical scavenging molecules which can be attributed to the presence of eugenol, a phenolic compound.

Antimicrobial activity of clove and rosemary essential oils alone and in combination YuJie Fu1, YuanGang Zu1,*, LiYan Chen1, XiaoGuang Shi1, Zhe Wang1, Su Sun1 andThomas Efferth2 Article first published online: 11 JUN 2007
DOI: 10.1002/ptr.2179 Phytotherapy Research Volume 21, Issue 10, pages 989–994, October 2007

Cytotoxicity of clove (Syzygium aromaticum) oil and its major components to human skin cells A. Prashar, I. C. Locke andC. S. Evans Article first published online: 7 JUL 2006
DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-2184.2006.00384.x Cell Proliferation Volume 39, Issue 4, pages 241–248, August 2006. Toothache.

Journal of Essential Oil Research
Volume 15, Issue 4, 2003
The Mechanism of Bactericidal Action of Oregano and Clove Essential Oils and of their Phenolic Major Components on Escherichia coli and Bacillus subtilis Khadija Rhayoura, Touria Bouchikhib, Abdelrhafour Tantaoui-Elarakic, Khalid Sendided & Adnane Remmale pages 286-292.

Rocío Meneses, Raquel E Ocazionez, Jairo R Martínez, Elena E Stashenko. Inhibitory effect of essential oils obtained from plants grown in Colombia on yellow fever virus replication in vitro. Annals of Clinical Microbiology and Antimicrobials 2009, 8:8
Konstantia Adam, Afroditi Sivropoulou, Stella Kokkini, Thomas Lanaras, and Minas Arsenakis. Antifungal Activities of Origanum vulgare subsp. hirtum, Mentha spicata, Lavandula angustifolia, and Salvia fruticosa Essential Oils against Human Pathogenic Fungi.J. Agric. Food Chem., 1998, 46 (5), pp 1739–1745. DOI: 10.1021/jf9708296 Publication Date (Web): April 11, 1998

Afroditi Sivropoulou, Eleni Papanikolaou, Constantina Nikolaou, Stella Kokkini, Thomas Lanaris, and Minas Arsenakis Antimicrobial and Cytotoxic Activities of Origanum Essential Oils. J. Agric. Food Chem., 1996, 44 (5), pp 1202–1205 DOI: 10.1021/jf950540t Publication Date (Web): May 16, 1996.
Can Baser, K. H. Biological and Pharmacological Activities of Carvacrol and Carvacrol Bearing Essential Oils. Current Pharmaceutical Design, Volume 14, Number 29, October 2008, pp. 3106-3119(14)

Abstract: Oregano essential oils obtained from the genera Origanum, Thymus, Coridothymus, Thymbra, Satureja and Lippia are rich in carvacrol, a monoterpenic phenol isomeric with thymol. Turkey is the biggest exporter of oregano herb and oil to the world markets. Oregano is mainly used in food, spice and pharmaceutical industries. Carvacrol is responsible for the biological activities of oregano. Many diverse activities of carvacrol such as antimicrobial, antitumor, antimutagenic, antigenotoxic, analgesic, antispasmodic, antiinflammatory, angiogenic, antiparasitic, antiplatelet, AChe inhibitory, antielastase, insecticidal, antihepatotoxic and hepatoprotective activities and uses such as feed additive, in honeybee breeding and in gastrointestinal ailments have been shown. This paper highlights these activities and attempts to explain the possible in vivo mechanism of action of carvacrol.

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6 Responses to Essential Defense for Colds and Flu

  1. mommyme October 19, 2014 at 8:30 pm #

    As a mommy currently taking care of her 2 sick babies. I am all about trying to find natural ways to manage these colds. I have used many different alternatives. I am not sure if any of you are trying to find really good information but I found this article and I found it to be really helpful – the Progressive kids probiotic really works.

  2. Susan P October 20, 2014 at 11:02 am #

    Thanks for stopping by. Yes, Probiotics may support a healthy body to fight against colds and flu. Look for a variety of strains and make sure you never combine probiotics with anti-biotics or the meds will kill the good bacteria.

  3. Kayla October 21, 2014 at 2:24 pm #

    Is there any guidelines for frankincense or myrrh with babies or children? Is it best to place a drop in their water or is it completely safe for them to have it on their tongue even as an infant? I am trying to learn all I can about essential oils for children and adults ! Thanks

  4. Susan P October 28, 2014 at 3:41 pm #

    Hi Kayla,
    This is an excellent question because there are a lot of websites out there advocating internal use at a fairly casual rate.

    I would not recommend internal use of essential oils for any baby or infant.

    Their systems are so pure and still developing and there is much we still have to learn about the safety of essential oils in internal use. Topical application with frankincense (boswelia carterii) is what we use from birth on, and only with a pure oil, I would not recommend a health food store brand because of the lack of testing and labeling. A food grade frankincense is wonderful for soothing babies and children, and just as effective if applied to the skin (soles of feet). Valerie Worwood recommends myrrh at infancy for umbilical cord health

  5. audra February 25, 2015 at 3:12 am #

    Is there a substitution for the agave nectar? Can I use honey instead?

  6. Susan P February 25, 2015 at 6:26 am #

    Yes Audra, honey is a great substitute. Some like agave nectar because it has a neutral flavor. I realize there is controversy as to the “pureness” of agave and glycemic index, and honey is an excellent alternative.
    Feel better!

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