10 Essential Oils to Help You Deal with the Flu & How to Use Them

Let's all admit how annoying the flu can be. Your nose is runny and stuffy, your throat is always scratchy, and no matter what you do, you can't stop sneezing. It wouldn't be an exaggeration to say that the flu can stop you from living your best life, leaving you depressed, depleted, and laid out for so many days.

The chances of catching the flu varies seasonally but increases especially with the onset of winter. Our bodies can get so messed up that on average, an adult may lose 1 to 5 working days just because they have caught the flu. Your mind may keep yearning for the normal, healthy days and you may even spend hours on the internet searching for "top treatments for the flu" over and over again. [1]

The good news? There is no need to suffer from the distressing flu symptoms as your body tends to fight off the virus. Using essential oils can ease the toughest of these symptoms in a matter of days. Essential oils have been used for centuries to combat different types of health problems. Their ability to fight off the stubborn flu virus is well-documented and even the latest scientific studies strongly support this homeopathic flu treatment.[2]

Before we jump to answering "what is the treatment for the flu" in detail, let's first take a look at what causes the flu.

What Causes the Flu?

what is the treatment for the flu

The culprit behind the common flu is a type of virus. Unlike bacteria, these viruses do not respond to antibiotics. As soon as the flu virus enters the body, it goes straight into your cells and starts replicating. A single virus can produce countless other viruses that break through the cellular barriers and enter the body causing the stuffy, runny nose that we all dread so much.

10 Essential Oils to Help You Deal with the Flu

Now let's move to the best homeopathic flu treatments using essential oils.

Frankincense Oil

Frankincense is one of the oldest known essential oils and possesses strong anti-inflammatory and anti-viral properties. Both of these properties can dramatically shorten the duration of your flu attack.

While our ancestors did not know much about viruses, they knew that frankincense oil has calming and healing properties that can certainly help ease problems. This oil also tends to support respiratory symptoms like a cough that may accompany the flu. What's more, it has a naturally calming scent that’s going to help you relax your mind and body so you can heal. You can use a drop or two of frankincense essential oil to make yourself an herbal steam to help heal your ailments. 

Cinnamon Oil

cinnamon essential oil

What are the best treatments for the flu, you may ask? Behold, as we reveal the power of cinnamon oil! Cinnamon oil is one of the most potent essential oils to get rid of the cold and flu. A study revealed that blending this oil with wild orange and cloves can destroy almost 90% of the viral molecules in the body. [3] Sounds amazing, right?

The cinnamon plant is extremely soothing and warming. Using cinnamon bark to make yourself a tea will not only improve your circulation but also keep you warm and give cover from the chills that often come with the flu. You can also add cinnamon essential oils to a diffuser or steam to help. 

Thyme Oil

Thyme oil works like a charm when it comes to fighting problems of the upper respiratory tract, like cough, sneezing, and nasal congestion. Diffuse it in a steamer or use the fresh plant in a soothing tea, and you will enjoy instant relief.

Using thyme oil provides dual treatment for victims of the flu. It not only opens up a congested nose by adding moisture to the mucus membranes but also penetrates this mucus lining to protect it from other harmful organisms.

Peppermint Oil

Peppermint oil is one of the most uplifting and invigorating essential oils with natural cleansing and clarifying properties. This makes it an ideal essential oil for clearing airways and getting rid of congestion.

Peppermint oil is also great for sinusitis, coughs, and throat infections. It has a warming effect on the body that can soothe the pains and minor aches that often accompany the flu.

The minty goodness from the peppermint oil owes most of its soothing properties to menthol, the active ingredient. Research has found that this oil can soothe the bronchial muscles and ease breathing in an upper respiratory tract infection. [4]

Basil Oil

Who knew that this extremely popular cooking ingredient could possess extraordinary antiviral properties? When you get the stubborn flu that completely blocks your nose and makes your eyes all watery, you can rely on basil essential oil to make your day better. It also possesses strong anti-spasmodic qualities that can also relieve cough attacks that often accompany the flu.

Lavender Oil

Lavender essential oil

Lavender is probably the most popular type of essential oil, mainly due to its soothing, flowery scent. This oil has multiple benefits; it can help with your headaches, relax the body muscles, and get rid of a congested nose and chest.

Tea Tree Oil

You must have heard about tea tree oil. It is a common ingredient in natural skincare products, mainly due to its antibacterial properties. While this essential oil is great for combating skin impurities, it can also provide much deeper effects. Along with the anti-bacterial powers, the tea tree oil also has antiviral properties that can shorten the duration of the flu and help alleviate its symptoms.

Also known as Melaleuca, tea tree oil has been extensively researched and proven to possess antiviral properties that can relieve sore throats and bronchial congestion. [5] Studies have also revealed that this oil can stop the influenza virus from entering the bodies cells and duplicating. [6] In addition to soothing the flu symptoms, you can also use tea tree oil to disinfect your home and kill the flu germs present on the surface as well as in the air.

Sandalwood Oil

Sandalwood oil is an earthy, grounding essential oil which is a natural expectorant. What this means is it waters down or liquefies the thick mucus stuck in your nose, making it easy for you to expel it. Therefore you can look to this essential oil to aid in the relief of a congested nose and be able to breathe freely.

You can either perform a steam inhalation or dilute the sandalwood oil to rub on your chest. Whatever method you choose to perform, sandalwood oil has the potential to help relieve flu symptoms and save you from days of misery.

Eucalyptus Oil

Many health experts believe that eucalyptus oil is the best essential oil to relieve cold and flu symptoms. The reason behind these strong claims is its active ingredient: eucalyptol. Eucalyptol is a strong anti-inflammatory agent and an effective pain killer that can provide immediate relief from the flu symptoms. According to research, eucalyptus oil can stop the virus from entering the cells and interfere with its duplication as well. [7]

Eucalyptus oil also contains another active ingredient called methanol that eases the congestion in the nose. It is the same natural ingredient that most over-the-counter chest rubs used to treat colds, coughs, and flu.

Rosemary Oil

Rosemary essential oil

Rosemary essential oil has a great analgesic or pain-reducing effect in addition to strong anti-inflammatory activity. [8] It has been proven to provide relief from the H1N1 type of influenza virus along with other oils. [9] Rosemary oil is a warming oil that can also relieve pains and aches that come along with the flu.

Using Essential Oils for Flu

essential oil diffuser

There are different ways we can help our body defeat the flu with essential oils.


Using aromatherapy diffusers will evenly spread the essential oil in the air, making it easier for you to inhale it. These diffusers can be anything; either heat-driven, evaporative, ultrasonic, or you can even use nebulizers. This way, you will get all the benefits of the essential oil while enjoying its natural fragrance at home.

Steam Inhalation

Bring a few cups of water to boil, allow to cool slightly, and add 3-5 drops of your preferred essential oil to it. Now bring your head directly above this steaming water and place a towel on your head to form a "tent." Take deep breaths and inhale this essential oil-diffused steam as much as you can. Make sure to take note of the heat as you do not want to burn yourself.

Topical Use

Using a few drops of essential oil, dilute your favorite essential oil and apply it directly to the affected area. You can rub this diluted oil around your nose or on your chest to enjoy its soothing effects. Never use essential oils directly on your skin without diluting in a carrier oil first as it can be irritating and cause adverse reactions.

Essential Oils for Flu: The Final Verdict

essential oils for stomach flu

The next time you catch the flu and wander here and there in agony, searching for answers to "what is the best treatment for the flu," simply get your hands on your favorite essential oil. All you need to do is add it in a diffuser, take steam, or topically apply it, and watch the dreadful symptoms of flu go away. If the flu lingers on or if you persistently suffer from a fever or difficulty in breathing, don't hesitate to contact a doctor.

To your health and happiness, Doctor Danielle


A Warning About Essential Oils: Make sure to store essential oils in a secure place away from children and pets. While natural, that does not mean that essential oils are safe and can actual be harmful if used in the wrong way or without proper dosing. Make sure to carefully follow instructions when using essential oils and contact your local physician if you have any questions or concerns prior to using them. In addition, make sure to talk with your doctor if you are pregnant or plan on becoming pregnant, have certain medical conditions, such as epilepsy, before working with essential oils.

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