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Herbs and Oils for Colds and Flu

As the temperature changes from the warmer summer days, to the cooler fall air and frigid winter cold, this season often brings with it the inevitable cold and flu. This year however, instead of taking pills, try swapping your meds for essential oils, some of which work wonders in helping the body heal faster when a cold or the flu surfaces. They are a great natural remedy, with a plethora of health benefits and can be used either through inhalation or through skin absorption.

To get the most out of essential oils and their benefits, create a blend of one of the essential oils (12 drops), combined well with 30ml of a carrier oil, such as cold-pressed olive oil, or coconut oil. To help alleviate the symptoms of a cold and flu, at night, rub the blend at the sole of your foot and wear socks. Throughout the day, rub the blend in the palms of your hand, placing them over your nostrils and inhaling.

Oregano - This antiviral and antibacterial oil helps boost the immune system and is ideal for combating infections. In your healing process, use oregano essential oil as a natural hand sanitizer, combining 10 drops of oregano oil with two tablespoons of coconut oil, and rubbing it into your hands. Besides, fighting against germs, it will also help keep your hands soft and smooth. Be warned though, this essential oil is pretty potent - using it on broken skin may cause irritation, so go easy on small cuts.

Peppermint - Beneficial for the respiratory system, peppermint provides effective relief for nasal congestion, asthma, bronchitis, as well as the common cold and cough. If you're feeling stuffed or cannot stop coughing, try a peppermint essential oil steam, by draping a towel over your head and breathing in the steam from a bowl of hot water, mixed with a couple of drops of peppermint essential oil.

Thyme - Use this oil to give your immune system a boost. Thyme essential oil will also give your liver a detox. This essential oil can also be used to treat respiratory infections. It is an excellent pulmonary disinfectant, and besides being useful against colds and the flu, thyme is also ideal to use for asthma, catarrh, coughs, whooping cough and bronchitis. Extensive research has also discovered that thyme helps to increase mucus secretions to relieve dry coughs.

Frankincense - If you're suffering from a cough, frankincense is said to be a natural remedy for the lungs. It is also recommended for asthma and bronchitis. Just add 2 to 3 drops of frankincense essential oil in 1 ounce carrier oil. Rub the blend thoroughly on your chest.

Eucalyptus - Eucalyptus is often found in cough drops and ointments (you've likely smelled it in VapoRub) due to its antiseptic and antibacterial properties. One other fantastic property of Eucalyptus is its ability to stimulate the immune system and combat inflammation in the lungs. In fact, it is the perfect remedy for healing a sinus infection. All you need to do is add a few drops of eucalyptus oil to a bowl or pot of steaming, hot water. Drape a towel over your head, close your eyes and breathe deeply for instant relief. The oil contains anti-microbial and anti-fungal properties which help reduce the swelling of mucous membranes.

Lemon - Colds and fever may sometimes cause earaches or swelling in your lymph nodes, which may result in you feeling all the more worse. Try rubbing some lemon oil (combined with a carrier oil) around your ears and/or lymph nodes, to allow them to drain. Using lemon essential oil will also help you feel more energized, particularly when you're feeling run-down.

Clove/Thieves - This essential oil is especially used as a remedy for toothaches. But due to its anti-inflammatory, analgesic and anti-bacterial properties, clove is great at alleviating colds and flu too. It is often mixed with cinnamon, clove, eucalyptus, lemon and rosemary, in a blend called Thieves Oil.

Ginger Honey Crystals - When you're feeling a little under the weather, the flu may also have you feeling a little nauseous. In this case, you should opt for ginger essential oil. This can also soothe flu-related aches and pains.

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