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39 of the Best Essential Oil Blends for Colds

39 of the Best Essential Oil Blends for Colds

We’ve all been through it. A foggy head, scratchy throat, congestion aches and pains from the common cold – none of the symptoms are particularly pleasant. With the winter cold and flu season getting ready to start soon this is a great time to get familiar with essentail oils and how they can help. 

It’s easy to turn to over-the-counter medications but some have questionable ingredients and don't help much. Why not consider natural alternatives, like essential oils? 

In fact, there are many powerful essential oil blends for colds.​​This shouldn't be too ​surprising. Many essential oils do have antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, along with the ability to decrease pain, increase concentration and improve mood.

To help you along the way, this post highlights 12 of the most effective oils for colds, along with multiple blends and ways to use each of them.

​You can use many of the diffuser blends for massaging by adding 2 to 4 teaspoons of a carrier oil. Unrefined coconut oil is a common choice but there are many others too.

Eucalyptus Essential Oil

Eucalyptus Essential Oil

Eucalyptus has a potent scent and is common for decreasing congestion and opening the sinuses. Many recipes take advantage of this by producing balm or using the oil on tissues that you sniff regularly. Some blends can also be used in steam inhalation for the same reasons.

Note: This is one essential oil that should never be consumed orally

Remedies and Blends:

Make this balm to help relieve congestion:

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    1 tablespoon unrefined coconut oil

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    7 drops eucalyptus essential oil

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    5 drops lavender essential oil

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    2 drops thyme essential oil

Add the following to a small packet of tissues and enclose in a sealed zip lock bag. Taking a tissue out and breathing deeply can help reduce a nasal blockage and congestion.

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    6 drops eucalyptus essential oil

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    4 drops lavender essential oil

The combination below can be used in the same way or added to a diffuser. The end result is more potent, although it isn’t suitable for young children.

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    5 drops eucalyptus essential oil

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    3 drops camphor essential oil

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    2 drops peppermint essential oil

This diffuser blend is more complex but can help to clear the sinuses and leave you feeling clean and fresh:

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    2 drops eucalyptus essential oil

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    2 drops tea tree essential oil

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    1 drop lemon essential oil

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    1 drop lavender essential oil

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    1 drop peppermint essential oil

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    1 drop thyme essential oil.

Cinnamon Essential Oils (Bark + Leaf)

Ceylon cinnamon

As a spice, cinnamon has many health benefits. It’s no wonder that the essential oil is powerful.

There are two options here, cinnamon leaf and cinnamon bark. As the names suggest, these come from different parts of the plant. Their benefits also vary, although both have antimicrobial and antioxidant properties.

Cinnamon leaf is often recommended as it is the milder of the two oils. Other authors suggest cinnamon bark, which may have more advantages. You can also swap one for the other if you don’t have what the blend calls for.

Note: Make sure you perform a patch test before topical use, as cinnamon oil is a sensitizing oil. This makes it more likely to cause reactions.

Remedies and Blends:

Diffuse this blend to fight a cold:

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    3 drops cinnamon bark essential oil

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    3 drops lavender essential oil

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    3 drops clove essential oil

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    3 drops sweet orange (or lemon) essential oil

Use in a diffuser to improve a sore throat:

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    2 drops cinnamon essential oil (either type)

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    2 drops clove essential oil

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    2 drops lemon essential oil

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    2 drops rosemary essential oil

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    2 drops eucalyptus essential oil

Add to a diffuser to reduce nausea:

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    2 drops cinnamon bark essential oil

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    2 drops coriander seed essential oil

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    4 drops tangerine essential oil

Rosemary Essential Oil

Rosemary essential oil

Rosemary is appealing for its scent and its high levels of camphor. It is also warming, which makes it useful for reducing muscle pain and improving circulation. This means many rosemary blends are effective topically, if carrier oil is added.

Note: Rosemary oil is best avoided during pregnancy. It is also unsuitable for people with high blood pressure or epilepsy.

Remedies and Blends:

Add these oils to a diffuser to help relieve a cold and feel better:

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    5 drops rosemary essential oil

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    4 drops eucalyptus essential oil

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    4 drops peppermint essential oil

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    3 drops cypress essential oil

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    2 drops lemon or sweet orange essential oil

Diffuse this blend to lower stress:

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    2 drops rosemary essential oil

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    2 drops peppermint essential oil

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    1 drop bergamot essential oil

This diffuser blend helps improve alertness, which is good during the day if you’re feeling worn out:

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    1 drop rosemary essential oil

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    1 drop juniper berry essential oil

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    1 drop lemon essential oil

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    1 drop cypress essential oil

Tea Tree Essential Oil

Tea tree essential oil

Tea tree oil is a common choice for colds and the flu – due to its antibacterial and antiseptic properties. It’s also powerful for reducing congestion.

The actions of tea tree oil and eucalyptus oil are similar, so the two can be used interchangeably in blends. However, some people prefer the scent of one over the other.

You’ll also see tea tree oil called melaleuca, which is a reference to its scientific name.

Note: Like cinnamon, tea tree oil can often cause sensitivities. Make sure you patch test before using it on your skin.

Remedies and Blends:

Diffuse these oils to help purify the air:

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    3 drops tea tree essential oil

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    2 drops peppermint essential oil

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    2 drops lavender essential oil

Mix the following components and use in a warm bath to boost the immune system:

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    7 drops tea tree essential oil

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    7 drops lavender essential oil

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    4 drops lemon essential oil

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    2 tablespoons carrier oil (e.g. unrefined coconut oil)

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    Half a cup of epsom salts

Use the following topically to help fight a cold.

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    4 drops tea tree essential oil

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    4 drops bergamot essential oil

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    3 drops black pepper essential oil

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    4 teaspoons carrier oil (e.g. unrefined coconut oil)

Lemon Essential Oil

Lemons are often considered powerful for fighting colds and great for health. This helps explain the popularity of lemon water and why lemon essential oil is so powerful.

Benefits include the ability to fight bacteria, oxidation and inflammation – making it perfect for getting to the heart of the matter. The oil may increase white blood cell production. This is a powerful way to boost the immune system and help you fight off your illness.

The scent is another powerful component.

The smell of citrus often improves moods, helping people to reduce stress and feel better. This is perfect if a cold has you feeling low and miserable.

Remedies and Blends:

Use this blend in a diffuser to help purify the air:

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    6 drops lemon essential oil

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    3 drops eucalyptus essential oil

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    1 drop thyme essential oil

Diffuse these oils to boost your mood:

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    2 drops lemon essential oil

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    2 drops sweet orange essential oil

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    2 drops bergamot essential oil

The following is a variation on the proprietary Thieves oil blend from doTERRA and offers many of the same advantages. It can be used in a diffuser to improve immunity or you can add a carrier oil and use it topically.

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    5 drops clove essential oil

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    4 drops lemon essential oil

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    3 drops cinnamon bark essential oil

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    2 drops eucalyptus essential oil

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    2 drops rosemary essential oil

Sweet Orange Essential Oil

Orange essential oil

As the name suggests, sweet orange has a fruity scent. Like lemon, this is perfect for lifting the mood and can give you an extra boost of energy. Sweet orange is powerful for daytime blends when you need a little more motivation.

The oil also has disinfectant properties. This makes it relevant for reducing the spread of bacteria and for purifying the air.

Remedies and Blends:

Diffuse to increase energy and focus – perfect if you’re feeling groggy.

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    2 drops sweet orange essential oil

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    2 drops peppermint essential oil

Use the following to improve mood and energy:

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    2 drops sweet orange essential oil

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    1 drop lemon essential oil

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    1 drop lime essential oil

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    1 drop grapefruit essential oil

Use in a diffuser to help you de-stress and balance your mood:

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    3 drops sweet orange essential oil

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    3 drops neroli essential oil

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    1 drop lemon essential oil

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    1 drop frankincense essential oil

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    1 drop ylang ylang essential oil

This diffuser blend helps fight the flu:

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    4 drops sweet orange essential oil

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    4 drops tea tree essential oil

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    2 drops lemon essential oil

Lavender Essential Oil

Lavender essential oil

Lavender is often associated with relaxation and sleep. It is also a calming oil and many blends take advantage of this. The gentle nature of lavender oil also means it works for most people and situations, which isn’t the case for every other oil.

In fact, lavender essential oil can safely be used for children, although you still need to take care.

The essential oil can also help in other ways, such as helping to clear congestion.

Remedies and Blends:

Use in a diffuser to help decrease congestion and improve immune function:

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    3 drops lavender essential oil

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    3 drops lemon essential oil

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    2 drops pine essential oil

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    1 drop peppermint essential oil

Diffuse to boost the immune system:

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    5 drops lavender essential oil

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    3 drops rosemary essential oil

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    3 drops geranium essential oil

Use the following in a diffuser as a simple way to promote sleep:

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    5 drops lavender essential oil

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    5 drops eucalyptus essential oil

Peppermint Essential Oil

Peppermint oil uses

The strong scent of peppermint oil makes it powerful for clearing nasal passages and increasing alertness. The oil also has antiseptic and anti-viral actions, making it perfect for fighting colds.

Menthol is an important part of the oil, promoting these benefits. There is also a warming effect, making peppermint oil useful for relieving muscle pain.

Note: Peppermint essential oil is strong and contains menthol. It is more likely to cause reactions and shouldn’t be used on or around young children, not even in a diffuser. Even if you’re not sensitive, try to avoid excessive use of the oil.

Remedies and Blends:

Use the following as a vapor rub to help clear the airways:

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    3 drops peppermint essential oil

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    3 drops eucalyptus essential oil

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    3 drops lavender essential oil

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    1 tablespoon unrefined coconut oil

Use in a diffuser to reduce congestion:

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    3 drops peppermint essential oil

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    2 drops tea tree essential oil

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    2 drops eucalyptus essential oil

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    2 drops lemon essential oil

Diffuse to relieve a headache:

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    4 drops peppermint essential oil

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    4 drops lavender essential oil

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    2 drops basil essential oil

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    2 drops frankincense essential oil

Frankincense Essential Oil

What is Frankincense Good For

Frankincense is considered a good all-around essential oil, offering many different benefits. These include helping to reduce stress, improve sleep and lower inflammation.

The oil can also boost the immune system, helping your body fight off the cold faster.  

Remedies and Blends:

Use in a diffuser to help boost your immunity:

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    5 drops frankincense essential oil

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    4 drops fresh ginger essential oil

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    1 drop cinnamon bark essential oil

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    1 drop chamomile essential oil

A diffuser blend to promote sleep:

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    8 drops frankincense essential oil

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    6 drops lavender essential oil

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    3 drops sweet orange essential oil

Diffuse this blend to decrease stress, it may also improve your sleep:

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    2 drops frankincense essential oil

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    2 drops bergamot essential oil

Thyme Essential Oil

Thyme essential oil

The main power of thyme is the ability to fight germs, including viruses. You’ll often see the oil as part of air purifying blends or recipes to decrease congestion.

Thyme is commonly combined with lemon, tea tree and/or eucalyptus oils due to the combination of scents and impacts. Of course, there are countless other blends as well, including the ones highlighted below.

Note: Avoid thyme oil if you have high blood pressure, as the oil may make the issue worse.

Remedies and Blends:

Add the following together in a glass bottle and then use the desired amount in a bath. The mixture helps reduce aches and pains.

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    15 drops thyme essential oil

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    5 drops eucalyptus essential oil

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    5 drops of lemon essential oil (optional)

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    Half a cup of carrier oil (e.g. unrefined coconut oil)

Diffuse the following to decrease congestion. You can also add a carrier oil and use the mixture as a chest rub.

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    3 drops thyme essential oil

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    3 drops peppermint essential oil

Use this blend in a diffuser to support your immune system:

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    4 drops thyme essential oil

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    4 drops lemon essential oil

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    3 drops clove essential oil

Pine Essential Oil

Pine essential oil

Pine is another essential oil with the ability to fight bacteria and inflammation. The scent is also appealing and can help to energize and improve your mood.

Many people also enjoy pine because it is a seasonal scent. This aspect helps to bring back positive memories and can help to lower stress as a result.

Remedies and Blends:

Combine the following to make an effective muscle rub:

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    4 drops pine essential oil

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    4 drops rosemary essential oil

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    3 drops black pepper essential oil

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    3 drops grapefruit essential oil

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    3 teaspoons carrier oil (e.g. unrefined coconut oil)

Diffuse these oils to promote energy and focus, perfect for a foggy head:

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    2 drops pine essential oil

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    2 drops rosemary essential oil

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    2 drops basil essential oil

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    2 drops pine essential oil

Add these to a diffuser to provide a seasonal mood boost:

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    3 drops pine essential oil

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    3 drops juniper essential oil

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    2 drops lemon essential oil

Lemongrass Essential Oil

Lemongrass essential oil

Lemongrass has some similarities to lemon essential oil, which may be obvious from the scent and the name. Nevertheless, there are some key differences too.

Lemongrass itself also has a long history in traditional medicine, including Ayurvedic and Traditional Chinese medicine. This supports the health benefits, which include antibacterial and antiseptic properties. The oil can also have a calming effect and is less energetic than lemon essential oil.

Note: Lemongrass essential oil does interact with sunlight, so be careful when and how you use it. The oil can easily irritate the skin, so make sure you do at least one patch test. 

Remedies and Blends:

While it is on the complicated side, the following diffuser blend can be powerful for improving your mood and energy levels:

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    4 drops lemongrass essential oil

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    4 drops rosemary essential oil

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    2 drops ginger essential oil

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    2 drops orange essential oil

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    1 drop cinnamon essential oil

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    1 drop grapefruit essential oil

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    1 drop mandarin essential oil

Use the following combination as a rub to soothe tired and sore muscles:

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    3 drops lemongrass essential oil

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    2 drops lavender essential oil

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    2 drops marjoram essential oil

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    2 teaspoons carrier oil (e.g. unrefined coconut oil)

This diffuser blend can help reduce headaches and migraines:

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    3 drops of lemongrass essential oil

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    3 drops of lavender essential oil

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    3 drops of peppermint essential oil

Add the following to a diffuser to improve breathing and reduce congestion:

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    2 drops lemongrass essential oil

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    2 drops lavender essential oil

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    2 drops eucalyptus essential oil

Precautions You Should Take

Using essential oil

Essential oils tend to be safe and offer many health benefits. Even so, there are key areas to consider.

  • Don’t use essential oils directly on your skin. Always dilute them with a carrier oil or other ingredients. You can use the dilution guide from The Herbal Academy as a good starting point.
  • If you are pregnant, on medication or have a serious health condition – consult your doctor before using essential oils. Some oils can have interactions and it’s important to be aware of these first.
  • Always perform a test on a small patch of skin before using a new oil. While reactions are rare, they can occur.
  • Citrus-based essential oils have photosensitive properties. Be careful about using these if you are going outdoors.
  • Be wary about using essential oils internally. This is an area of intense debate – but if you do use the oils in this way, choose high quality brands and pay close attention to your body.
  • Children and infants are more sensitive to essential oils. Be sure you research carefully. Not all blends will be safe for children, especially not when used topically.

The site Wellness Mama offers additional details about using essential oils safely. You can find more information about ways to blend essential oils and combinations of scents at the site Essential Oil Haven.

Final Thoughts

Essential oil collection

None of these essential oil blends will cure a cold overnight. But, they can make your experience a little easier and much less stressful.

Many also boost the immune system. This should help you get over the cold or flu faster and back to your normal self.

But, don’t neglect other proven techniques. You still need to make sure you’re getting enough fluids and resting while your body fights the bug.

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Check out my recommended products to see where you can get started. 

Fighting Colds with Essential Oils

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