Lifestyle

6 best essential oils for treating flu at home

Influenza or flu is one of the most common respiratory diseases. It is also one of the highly contagious respiratory condition that affects the nose, throat, and lungs.

It may not look like a serious health problem but it can even send a person to the hospital. For the very young ones or the older people, it can be life-threatening. Each year, between 9.2 to 35.6 million people catch influenza only in the USA. The number is even higher at a collective level. (Read CDC’s stats on Influenza by clicking here)

Unfortunately, the problem with flu viruses is that they are constantly changing and mutating. It means it is difficult for the researchers to formulate effective medicines and vaccines for it. The virus modifies itself against the medicine and then it is no more effective.

The doctor may recommend you different medicines for it each time. Meanwhile what you can do is to try alternative remedies. One popular way to try at home is using essential oils.

Essential oils are a part of various home remedies including health, lifestyle etc. For centuries, essential oils have been used for treating many common health problems including flu.

Today, essential oils are useful in multiple ways. They are added to cosmetics to make them smell good. Contrastingly, they also play a role in improving the quality of life for people with chronic illness (cancer).

Many claims about the efficacy of essential oils are anecdotal. It means they aren’t proven by research, only users found them to be helpful. However, there are many research studies that confirm the helpful role of essential oils for flu treatment. (Click here to read a research on it)

Which essential oils are best for flu?

Currently, researchers are exploring most effective essential oils for flu treatment. They are also studying the best possible way to use these essential oils.

For now, following essential oils show significantly good results for flu treatment. (Read more about essential oils against flu by clicking here)

  • Bergamot oil

It is helpful oil, especially against the flu virus. You may use it as a vapor after just 10 minutes of exposure to the virus.

  • Eucalyptus oil

This oil has naturally anti-viral properties. You may also use this as a vapor.

  • Red thyme oil

The best way to use red thyme oil is as a liquid phase.

  • Cinnamon leaf oil

This oil also has a natural antiviral activity as a liquid.

  • Tea tree oil

This is a powerful oil for flu symptoms. You may use it within 5 to 10 minutes of exposure to the flu virus. (Here is a research to prove its efficacy)

  • Lemon balm

Lemon balm is also helpful against influenza virus and avian influenza virus also called bird flu. (Click here to read the research findings on it)

How to use an essential oil for treating flu symptoms?

Most of the essential oils are regarded as safe in specific concentrations. US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves them. But people must use them carefully. (Click here to read more about it)

Anyone can use an essential oil on his own but the best is to take help from an aroma-therapist or any healthcare practitioner. It is particularly necessary when you frequently catch flu or have a weak immune system.

Generally, there are two basic methods to use essential oils.

  • A direct application to the skin

Firstly, you can try a topical application of essential oils. But make sure that you are mixing them with a carrier oil, such as jojoba oil, olive oil, or nut oil for better absorption. Alternatively, you can add them into body lotions and bath products.

  • Inhalation

Also, you can also use essential oils by mixing them into in hot water and inhaling the vapors that come out from it. Additionally, you can add them to your home diffuser.

Oral consumption of essential oils is not safe for health and has certain health risks. It is not recommended to try consuming essential oils. While you may try any other way of using essential oils as per the recommendation of a doctor’s or aromatherapist.

Risks associated with essential oils

Not every natural thing is good for health. Essential oils are usually marketed to be safe. But being a natural products does not mean harmless products.

Like other medicines, essential oils also cause severe side effects if you are taking an excessive amount or improper method to use them. Some of the possible side effects of essential oils are

Skin reactions

The most common reaction of essential oils is that it may irritate the skin or mucous membrane. In infants and young children, this risk is highest. It is also highest in older people that often ends up in an allergic reaction or skin diseases.

Drug reactions

Like medicines, essential oils may also interact with certain medicines that you are taking. That’s why it is advised not to combine any natural product with any drug or supplement. The best is to take an advice from your doctor first.

Sensitivity to light

Some extremely powerful essential oils i.e. bergamot makes the skin highly susceptible to photosensitivity. In extreme cases, it may cause sunburn.

Precautions

  • People who are on regular medicine should take their doctor’s advise before using any essential oil.
  • Women who are pregnant should avoid essential oils for the possible risk of placental transmission of active ingredients.
  • Essential oils are to be used with extreme care and by following a right way.
  • It is better to dilute it and never use a concentrated form anyways.
  • Any person with potential allergies should avoid using any essential oil for the possible reactions.
  • Keep the essential oil bottles away from the reach of children.
  • Do not use essential oil near the eyes and on open wounds.
  • Essential oils are dangerous for pets, especially cats, so take care of it.

The final word

While the use of essential oils is over hundreds of years, still it needs to be proven for therapeutic benefits. Recently, some of the oils are investigated for their efficacy on certain viruses i.e. flu. Still, there is a long way to accept essential oils as a treatment for various health conditions like medicines.

Medicines and essential oils both are helpful against influence. Essential oils don’t exactly treat the flu but they help with relieving the symptoms. In this battle against the flu virus, essential oils are a good support.

Flu can sometimes be life-threatening especially for infants or older ones with weak immunity. However, following a systematic approach for treatment can help to manage it. Consult your doctor to know about the best effects and risks of any essential oil that you want to try. Follow the doctor’s recommendations for the healing effects.

 

 

Areeba Hussain

The author is a Medical Microbiologist and a healthcare writer. She is a post-graduate of Medical Microbiology and Immunology with distinction. She is an author of six research papers and currently working as a research associate in a Research Lab.

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