Best Essential Oils for Colds, Flu & Beyond

February 5, 2018
Best essential oils for cold - Dr. Axe

With all of the viruses and ailments circulating this winter, it’s no wonder people are searching for the best essential oils for colds. And the flu. And dry skin and sore throats. Cooler months bring a unique set of health challenges. When this time of year sets in, I like to use essential oils as part of my first line of defense.

Whether you’re completely new to essential oils or looking to expand your comfort level with new oils, this list identifies some of the go-to oils for common winter and fall issues. As always, essential oils safety is important to understand, too. Not all oils are safe to ingest or apply to your skin. Your age, medications and pets in the house will also play into which oils are best for your household.

Best Essential Oils for Colds 

Thyme oil may be best known for its antibacterial properties, but it packs a potent antiviral punch, too. In fact, its germ-killing qualities are so effective, you’ll find thyme oil as the active ingredient in many commercial green cleaning products.

Warming ginger essential oil also comes in handy during cold season, thanks to its mucus-clearing properties.

Best essential oils for cold - Dr. Axe

Best Essential Oils for the Flu

When flu season is in full swing, you may be looking for more natural ways to ease symptoms. As always, if your symptoms become severe or do not improve, check in with your healthcare provider. But many people are able to support their bodies and use essential oils and other flu natural remedies to get through a flu episode.

Best essential oils for cold - Dr. Axe

Essential Oils for Dry Skin

Humidity levels typically drop in late fall and winter, leaving our skin parched, flaky and sometimes even cracked. So many lotions and moisturizers on the market contain really harmful synthetic scents. I opt for natural oils to keep my skin feeling smooth and less damaged.

Best essential oils for cold - Dr. Axe

Essential Oils for Sore Throat 

If you find yourself searching for essential oils for sore throat issues this winter, you’re not alone. Viruses like the flu and common cold often the cause of irritating sore throats.

Best essential oils for cold - Dr. Axe

Essential Oils for Arthritis

If you’re living with arthritis, you know the transition to cold weather can be brutal. Add to that the wild fluctuations in temperature and humidity we’ve experienced this season, and it’s easy to see how people’s joints are feeling the effects.

Best essential oils for cold - Dr. Axe

Essential Oils for Sinusitis

Clogged sinuses can last for weeks or even months. In fact, about 35 million Americans suffer from sinus infections or sinusitis annually. These are the oils I turn to when I feel sinus issues starting to crop up.

Best essential oils for cold - Dr. Axe

Essential Oils for Cool Weather Allergies

Thankfully, brutal ragweed and other pollen-related allergies aren’t in full-swing in the winter. But that doesn’t mean a break from all allergies. If you’re irritated by cold-weather allergies, you may want to look into these essential oils for some relief.

Best essential oils for cold - Dr. Axe

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  1. Pat Atkins on

    Thank you so much for this information! I am new to essential oils, and I need to know what oils to use for which conditions, and how to use them safely and effectively. This is the perfect answer! I would love to see more applications like these.

  2. shanti on

    i just love your way of passing your knowledge. visual-easy wording so i get to understand.
    i really appreciate all you offer.
    om shanti om peace,

  3. Roberta Morse-Tuttle on

    I did an Arthritis Detoxifying Bath. I AM HOOKED!!! It gave me such relief that I am going to do it once a week at the minimum. Thank you for the awesome recipe on your website. I am trying your other recipes, too. Thank you for your dedication to our health.

  4. Carolyn on

    The info on Oregano Oil did not give info on dosage amounts . If you are taking internally as a replacement for antibodics when you are sick, how many drops per dosage and how many times a day would you take during a 10 day period? Does anyone know?

  5. Donna Isbell on

    Thank you for this list on information of essential oils and how to use them at this much needed cold and flu season…I’m new using essential oils and we have cats and 1 dog who are inside pets ….your information about which are toxic to pets was greatly appreciated

  6. Richard Runge on

    Awesome info thank you
    I have used essential oils for years
    My sister in law has soft bones and lupus.
    I have Extreme pain in the balls of my feet with a little tingling and slight numbness
    Dr have ruled out diabetes
    What would you recommend

  7. Autumn on

    Love this post! I have definitely found the use of oils beneficial during cold and flu eason. Epsom salt baths, Eucalyptus oil and lemon are saviors!

  8. Sherri Groves on

    Thanks so much for all the information. I’ve used essential oils for many years and I rely on them for cleaning, preventive measures for my health, for my animals, and on and on. You are so kind to share how to use. I don’t recommend them to some of my friends because I’m afraid they won’t use them correctly, but I’ll share this site with them.

  9. Lori Crowl on

    Thank you for this detailed information. It has helped me use my oils correctly. I also really appreciate the pet warnings. Thanks again for helping me to be a more responsible EO user.

  10. maja on

    Id like to make a chest/ nasal congestant rub for my 4 year old with epliepsy. But ive heard peppermint and eucalyptus are not good for this condition. Can u advise on different oils?
    Also if thyme is spasmolidic, does that mean anti spasmodic? or it can cause seizures?

  11. Pink on

    Dr. Axe, THANKS so very much! I missed the webinar due to family illness, and
    now at least have these good bits in its place! Am new to essential oils – are
    there certain brands that are edible, or are they all okay to eat?

    • Dr. Josh Axe on

      I’m so glad you found this article helpful! I hope all is well with your family. You can use very small amounts of certain essential oils in water or tea, but in general you should use precaution when taking essential oils internally. Check the warnings for each oil before ingesting, and only consume essential oils that are Certified USDA Organic and labeled as dietary supplements. Some oils cannot be ingested at all, so be very careful. You can find more information about essential oil safety here: Blessings to you and yours.

  12. Susan Gillam on

    I cannot say enough good things about Dr. Axe and my husband and I are his biggest advocates. After reading his book, Eat Dirt, it changed our whole way of thinking and our lifestyle and made us more aware of things we took for granted and simply were ignorant about. We have eliminated most toxic household products, gone to essential oils, and try to do as much organic as we can and plant our own garden and veggies. Dr. Axe explains things very easy and gives anyone the confidence and encouragement to use essential oils. You must respect the oils and use as suggested to minimize harm, but overall, they have changed our lives for the good. Will always be an advocate and grateful follower and love all of the advise.

  13. Jeff Diegel on

    Years ago I started eating at least a tablespoon of Coconut Oil every day. Plus a lot cheaper than all the other oils. I am rarely ever sick anymore. If I feel my nose starting to stuff up I make sure I clean it out the best I can and rub a little coconut oil on the inside lower nose. If the throat starts to feel sore I gargle with coconut oil before I go to bed and when I wake up, then swallow, Its gone in less than 8 hours. I did not believe all the benefits of coconut oil were true until over the years I found out every one is true. The Miracles of Coconut Oil.

  14. Vivienne on

    This is exciting!!! Never knew of the existence of a fraction of the oils mentioned, never mind what they were effective in relieving!

    Thanks. This is great info which I will certainly make use of.

  15. Pam Martin on

    Need to know what oils would help with heart burn in my 3yr old grandson who was diagnosed with leukemia April 7 2017. With all this chemo med he has a lot of heart burn they told my daughter to give him Zantac morning and evening. Would like to get him off of that Zantac use something natural.

  16. Lori on

    Hi Dr. Axe, I’m a certified Reflexology in London, Ontario, Canada and I’ve been looking at many of your Youtube videos and learning a “ton” from you, about essential oils, and food as medicine and natural remedies. I believe knowing more about these wonderful life remedies from Mother Earth are probably a very prudent partner for my Reflexology practice. I have a question for you. One of my daughters lives in Ft. McMurray Alberta (about 3000 miles from my husband and me) CRAZY!!! Anyhow, we are very close and talk most days. She has two wee boys, one is 3 years old and the other is a busy 1 year old. Lovely little boys, keeping my daughter and her husband busy. Husband works the oil fields in Northern Alberta (way up there!) and is gone 12 hours a day. So my daughter needs to be healthy to make sure her beautiful babies are okay. Problem is that the cold and flu has been ripping through their home every two weeks, one, then the next, then the parents, then back to the first child, and so on. It has been doing that since the fall 2017 (November). She says, I am basically well for 3 to 4 days and then “BAM!” One of the kids gets sick again and then they all get sick again. Any suggestions?

  17. Donna on

    Thank you for providing this information for me to help my child feel better and rest in my mind that he’s going to be okay.

  18. Carol Vyhonsky on

    Dr. Axe has some of the most comprehensive information available on the internet! Thank you for continuing to share your knowledge with us!

  19. Becky on

    My life and health is better because of the wealth of knowledge provided by Dr. Axe. The layout of the information, the common language plus the images on his web pages make it easy to read and absorb. How can one man do all that? I am a HUGE fan, I say this while tears well up in my eyes. I feel truly lucky to have Dr. Axe as a part of my family and my families health, indirect though it is. Thank you, Dr. Axe!!!


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