Written by Nick Polizzi
With cold and flu season now in full swing, there are a lot of stuffy noses and scratchy throats. And if you have young, school-age children like me, you’re even more susceptible to these common seasonal symptoms…
Congestion is no fun, and can sometimes be painful. However, you may be able to find relief with something as simple as essential oils. These botanical remedies are “small,” but they are mighty.
Today, we have an essential oil blend to share with you that can help open your respiratory passages and have you breathing a bit more freely.
Essential oils might seem like a modern remedy, but they’re actually quite ancient. Dating back as early as 4500 BC, ancient Egyptians were recorded as having used these oils for cosmetic and medicinal purposes – and they were clearly on to something.
They are produced by distilling oil from a plant, usually via steaming or pressing. The therapeutic oils are typically found in the roots, stems, leaves, flowers, or fruits. And they’re now being used to combat various conditions including anxiety, depression, nausea, insomnia, and even cold and flu symptoms like that congestion we talked about above.
There are a number of different oils that can be used to help relieve congestion, but a recipe I like to use consists of peppermint, oregano, tea tree, and lemon.
And here’s why…
Seems kind of fitting to use peppermint during the winter months, doesn’t it? (Think candy canes…) But in all seriousness, peppermint essential oil gets an A+ when used for respiratory conditions.
Peppermint oil helps to soothe the throat by relaxing the muscles of your windpipe, and it has a cooling effect on sore throats.
And further earning it the A+ grade, peppermint (mentha piperita) has natural anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and antibacterial properties — all the things you look for and need when battling colds and viruses.
Similar to peppermint oil, oregano oil also has antimicrobial and antiviral properties that help your body fend off those unwanted germs.
But along with fighting infection, oregano oil, when used in aromatherapy, can aid your respiratory tract by suppressing coughing fits and loosening up a buildup of phlegm and mucus. That alone will do wonders when suffering from congestion.
One of the most widely used essential oils, tea tree oil is nature’s antiseptic. It gets to the root of the infection and works to inhibit the growth of bacteria that causes sinus and respiratory issues.
What makes tea tree oil so effective as a remedy for cough and colds is that it can kill airborne viruses and bacteria. It becomes your body’s first line of defense, killing potential germs before they even have a chance to enter and attack your body.
**Note – Use caution when using tea tree oil around children and pets.
A popular essential oil because of its fresh, clean scent, lemon oil is often added into aromatherapy blends to act as a bronchodilator, by relaxing the air passageways and increasing airflow to the lungs. Lemon oil is a potent anti-inflammatory that reduces stress, eases breathing and supports overall respiratory function.
When you blend these four healing oils together, you get one powerful remedy to help treat respiratory and nasal congestion.
Here’s a recipe for your own respiratory-opening essential oil blend:
Natural Essential Oil Decongestant
- 15 drops of Peppermint
- 15 drops of Oregano
- 15 drops of Tea Tree
- 15 drops of Lemon
Using a diffuser is a great way to safely enjoy the oils over a longer period of time. Simply follow the manufacturer’s directions for water to oil ratio. The diffuser will disperse the essential oils into the air of a room. You can also make your own air diffuser by adding essential oils to a spray bottle with water. Spritzing into the air will create a similar effect as a store-bought diffuser.
*The number of drops above is just a suggestion. The important thing is to use the 4 ingredients in equal proportion to each other.
Other ways to use essential oils:
Essential oils can be dispensed in a variety of ways. The easiest way to use essential oils is to put a few drops on your palms, rub your hands together, cup your hands over your mouth and nose, and take a few deep breaths.
You can also inhale them using steam. Add a few drops to your steaming bath, or add them to a bowl of hot water, cover your head with a towel and inhale the steam for several minutes.
If congested, add a couple of drops to your pillowcase and place the essential oil-side down before going to sleep.
If you want to use topically, it’s best to dilute them with a carrier oil such as coconut or avocado oil before applying to your skin. Once diluted you can apply to your wrists, neck, or other pressure points.
*Essential oils are natural and safe; however, it’s important to listen to your body. Everyone reacts to them differently. Pay attention to how they are making you feel. Remember… a little goes a long way!
It’s truly amazing what these beautiful oils can achieve.
Host of Healing Kitchen: Let Food Be Thy Medicine
and Founder, The Sacred Science
Nick Polizzi is the founder of The Sacred Science, a website and blog dedicated to explorations of alternative healing modalities and indigenous healing traditions. His work stems from a calling to honor, preserve and protect the ancient knowledge and rituals of indigenous peoples around the world. He has spent his career directing and producing feature-length documentaries about holistic alternatives to conventional medicine. His work illustrates the power we humans possess to overcome the many challenges that life can bring when we own our truth.
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