The common cold is called that for a reason – it will plague all of us at multiple points in our lives, and typically at the most inconvenient of times, with the associated symptoms – headaches, blocked airways, fatigue, sinus pain – causing all manner of annoyance and discomfort. Particularly severe colds, and/or flu, can also be accompanied by fever, which is when body temperature exceeds the normal range as the body tries to fight an infection. Prolonged or high fevers can have unpleasant and alarming side effects, so efforts should be made to reduce them when causing discomfort, particularly in children or the elderly.
How do essential oils help
Essential oils are natural substances that have many properties that can help fight bacterial and viral infections, and effectively treat the symptoms of colds and fever. Many oils are antibacterial, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, analgesic, antipyretic as well as sudorific (reduces sweating) and febrifuges (reduces fever) – essentially (pun intended!), they have pretty much everything you need to overcome a fever or cold, and to get relief from the frustrating side effects of a cold that inhibit your day to day activities.
Colds are typically associated with respiratory problems, so the menthol family (peppermint, spearmint, eucalyptus) of essential oils are excellent options, and have centuries of use as folk remedies. In addition to having fantastic healing properties, menthols are highly effective in clearing blocked airways – more so than medicinal intervention, which is why many over the counter products in pharmacies also contain these essential oils.
How to use them, and what to use
Peppermint oil – or any other menthol – is excellent for respiratory problems as it clears the respiratory tract, reducing congestion and making breathing easier, and also for bringing down a fever. This in turn will make it easier to sleep, enabling the body to rest and heal. Menthol oils are most effective in treating colds when diluted in a carrier oil and used as a massage oil or in a balm/salve, rubbed directly onto the chest. An old wives’ tale also says that rubbing a menthol onto the soles of your feet can help prevent coughing, a particularly frustrating cold symptom, at night. Steam inhalation is also another highly effective way to use menthol oils to clear airways and relieve cold symptoms; essential oil saunas are extremely beneficial, and you can create your own at home by diluting a few drops of your chosen oil in a bowl of steaming water, leaning over it with your head covered by a towel, and inhaling the steam for two minutes at a time.
To reduce fever, your best choice is eucalyptus, another menthol, which has come to be known as ‘fever oil’, such is its popularity in treating fever. It is particularly good in combination with the super soothing and calming lavender oil. Dilute a blend of the two oils in cold water and apply in a cold compress to the forehead. Fever is often controlled via use of a febrifuge and sudorific; whilst there are pharmaceutical products available for this, chamomile oil also has these properties – topical application to the skin can promote sweating, helping to cool the body down and flush out toxins. It is also very calming, so is particularly good for feverish children in distress. Both chamomile and lavender are calming and relaxing, so will also help to promote sleep and bodily rest, which is essential to overcoming a cold. They can be combined with other relaxing essential oils, such as sandalwood and bergamot, to make a calming blend, perhaps used as a pillow spray, that will promote maximum rest and relaxation, an in turn healing.
Lemongrass is another natural anti-inflammatory and analgesic, and also boasts antipyretic properties, which reduce fever, making it another popular choice, as it can promote both healing and fever reduction, and help provide pain relief from headaches. It is particularly effective when applied topically to the temples.
As you can see, the wide-ranging benefits and properties of essential oils means that pretty much all symptoms of fever and colds can be alleviated and addressed effectively via natural remedies, so much so that even in traditional medicine they are often turned to as a first port of call. However, it should be stressed that in the case of fever, particularly in vulnerable people such as the elderly or very young, a persistent or particularly high fever should warrant medical attention. For more tips and recipes for cold and fever treatments using essential oils and aromatherapy techniques, check out the information on our website at: https://www.apollen.com/ailments/immune-system/fever”>