7 Natural Remedies with Essential Oils for Cough or Cold

22 February 28, 2017 - Natural Remedies

Let’s face it: whether you’re in the throes of winter cold season, or you’ve come down with a stubborn cough or cold in the middle of summer, the waiting game is tough. Waiting for nasal congestion or sore throat and coughing to subside so you can get back to your daily rhythm, can leave you feeling restless and helpless.

Try these easy natural home remedies to help make you more comfortable the next time you’re feeling under the weather:

1.    Throat and Chest Massage

Directly massaging the throat and chest with essential oils is an enjoyable home remedy that can deliver positive results (and feel oh so good)! Cedarwood and Frankincense are often used in combination as a remedy for coughs because they help to loosen mucous and clear the lungs. CypressPeppermint and Helichrysum further assist with opening the airways.

Natural cough remedy:
Try massaging a diluted combination of Cedarwood, Peppermint, Frankincense, Cypress and Helichrysum directly onto the chest area.

Sore throat remedy:
Rub a diluted mixture of Lemon, Peppermint and Tea Tree (Melaleuca) essential oil directly on the throat. Start at the base of the ears and continue with downward strokes along the sides of the neck. Rub from the underside of the chin down both sides of the trachea. Repeat up to three times daily.

2.    Sinus Massagepeppermint essential oil

Sinus congestion or “stuffiness” can be one of the most unpleasant symptoms of the common cold, and it can lead to sinus headaches. Try these tips and get ready to breathe the free air again, friends!

  • If nasal congestion has got the best of you, gently massage near the nostrils with a local application of diluted Cedarwood or Tea Tree essential oil. Make sure you avoid contact with the eyes and mucous membranes.
  • Got a bad case of sniffles and runny nose? Combine a few drops of Lavender or Peppermint essential oil with a carrier oil and rub the mixture onto the nose, massaging near the nostrils. Both of these oils can help with runny nose symptoms (and they also smell delightful).

Before bed, use Lavender and Peppermint oils to massage the sinuses. This may help to clear the sinuses so you can breathe better as you drift off to sleep. As with all essential oils, be careful to keep these oils away from the eyes, mouth and the inside of the nose.

3.    Steam Inhalation

Deep breaths in… deep breaths out! Have you ever noticed that your sinuses seem to clear up when you take a hot shower? The steam helps moisturize and soothe your nasal passages, and when combined with specific essential oils (you guessed it), steam inhalation can help to loosen mucous and bring relief to the sinuses. 

Unfortunately staying in the shower forever isn’t an option (our lives are too busy, plus think about the water conservation!), but not to worry! We suggest these easy steam bowl alternatives:marjoram bowl

For congestion, sore throat and sinus headaches:

Combine 3 – 12 drops of Lemon, Lavender, Marjoram and Lime in a bowl or pot of steaming water. Deeply inhale the steam.

Lemon and Lime assist with congestion by helping to break down mucous, while Marjoram and Lavender help to relieve headaches due to sinus congestion.

Remedy for cough and postnasal drip:

Place 3 – 12 drops of Marjoram, Lavender, Cedarwood and Peppermint oils in a bowl of steaming water. Position your face directly above the bowl and slowly breathe in the steam for approximately 5 – 10 minutes. This practice can be completed up to three times each day.

4.    Direct Essential Oil Inhalation

If steaming water is not readily available to you, we’ve got an even easier method to try.  Apply 1 – 6 drops of Lime, Lemon or Peppermint essential oil to a tissue or handkerchief and inhale occasionally up to three times daily.

Lime and Lemon help to loosen mucous, while Peppermint can help to reduce upper respiratory tract symptoms from colds including sore throat and cough. All three have the added benefit of a refreshing, pleasant aroma.

5.    Calming Bath geranium essential oil

There’s no doubt about it: anything that comforts and soothes while you’re sick is an absolute blessing. A warm essential oil bath can be just the thing your body needs and can feel utterly blissful. Adding the following essential oils to the bathwater can help ease your symptoms of stuffiness and sore throat and enhance your relaxation. 

Combine 2 – 8 drops total of any of the following essential oils with an equal amount of liquid soap or shampoo:

Add the mixture to a warm bath and gently blend it into the water with your hands. Soak in the bath for 10 minutes and enjoy!

6.    Warm Compresses

Compresses can be just what the doctor ordered. Infuse your compress with essential oils that are approved to help alleviate symptoms of colds and coughs.

Add 2 drops of any of the following essential oils to a bottle filled with 500 ml of warm water:

– Cedarwood                                – Lime
– Marjoram                                   – Helichrysum
Clove                                          – Cypress
– Frankincense                            – Thyme
– Tea Tree                                    – Geranium
– Peppermint                               – Jade Lemon
– Lemon                                       – Lavender

Shake the bottle thoroughly, then soak your compress (a clean, absorbent washcloth is recommended). Gently squeeze the compress to remove excess moisture. Apply the compress directly on the forehead, across the nose and cheeks, on the throat or on the chest. It can also be placed over the ears as a remedy for earaches stemming from head cold congestion. Cover the compress with a t-shirt or towel and leave in place for 2 to 4 hours. You can apply your compress up to three times each day.

7.    Warm Liquids

Take advantage of the natural soothing effects of heat while you’re sick with a cold! First, rub a local application of diluted Frankincense, Thyme, Lavender, Tea Tree or Peppermint essential oils onto your throat, chest or forehead. Then, while you’re relaxing and breathing in the aroma of the oils, drink a soothing mixture of apple cider vinegar with honey. Warm liquids can feel good on a sore throat and can become a relaxing part of your bedtime routine.

In addition to utilizing these home remedies to treat colds, don’t forget that getting adequate rest, eating healthy foods and taking care of your body are essential to recovery.

Have your own favourite home remedies for cough and cold? Tried any of these remedies and loved them? Tell us about them in the comments below!

This post is also available in: French



  • Sarah February 28, 2017 - 8:47 pm Reply

    Eucalyptus, R.C, & Raven are also great to throw in the mix of oils above. I have diluted them & applied them to my sinuses, chest & throat. They are all good to drop in your hand, cupping hands over your face to deeply inhale & get rid of the stuffiness😊. Also lots of sleep & Ningxia red.

    • Meg February 9, 2018 - 4:38 pm Reply

      Hi Sarah,

      Which YL Eucalyptus oil do you recommend? They sell 3 so I haven’t been sure which to buy.

  • Jess March 6, 2017 - 7:31 pm Reply

    I add Marjoram, Thyme, and Lavender EO to a roller bottle with a carrier oil. I then apply it to my children’s spine, chest, and bottom of their feet to help alleviate cough & cold symptoms.

    • Julie March 21, 2017 - 6:19 am Reply

      What’s you r dilution ratio with this blend?

      • Leesa March 25, 2017 - 4:14 pm Reply

        I’d love to know the ratio as well

        • admincanada September 11, 2017 - 3:23 pm Reply

          For proper essential oil dilution and ratios, always refer to the individual product labels.

  • Ann March 7, 2017 - 3:28 pm Reply

    RC added to coconut oil rubbed on the chest helps a persistent cough and congestion

    • Connie October 18, 2017 - 5:23 pm Reply

      Ann, can u use solid coconut oil and rub on your chest then the RC on top?
      . thx Connie

      • Leah Doyle October 24, 2017 - 11:44 am Reply

        Mix the R. C. into your coconut oil and then apply to your chest. It works tge same whether your coconut oil is liquid or solid. ☺

      • Yrma Bailey October 26, 2017 - 3:33 pm Reply

        What is RC?

        • Shegirltopia November 24, 2017 - 11:37 pm Reply

          RC is a Young Living blend. “R.C.™ is an invigorating blend of cypress, spruce, and three varieties of eucalyptus that is comforting when applied to the chest and throat.”

  • Kay November 5, 2017 - 6:16 am Reply

    R.C.™ Essential Oil is a blend of Spruce, Cypress, and three types of Eucalyptus oils (E. globulus, E. radiata, and E. citriodora)

  • olevia November 7, 2017 - 7:36 am Reply

    Great tone of writing. I love it. Hope others people also love to read it. Keep rocking!!!

  • Janelle Schaeffer November 8, 2017 - 10:14 am Reply

    What is RC?

  • Cynthia November 12, 2017 - 6:03 am Reply

    Awesome information, thanks everyone!

  • T Warren December 20, 2017 - 12:26 am Reply

    I used a combination of peppermint, cinnamon, eucalyptus and lemon diluted with coconut oil rubbed it on my earlobes, under my chin and down my throat and had an almost instant relief from a nasty cough.

  • Tracy Pozayt December 23, 2017 - 8:07 pm Reply

    I have bronchitis right now and what is working well for me is using my unckers rub as my carrier and using RC and Thieves and mixing and putting on the soles of my feet and my chest and thraot- have been really sick with this virus and it has been helping SOOOO much!

    • Mary February 24, 2018 - 3:46 pm Reply

      Hi Tracy, I’m new to all this. Can you tell me how many drops of RC and Thieves? Are you adding to a carrier oil?

  • Karen December 28, 2017 - 1:37 pm Reply

    Can we get a copy of combining different oils for different health problems from you?
    I never know what combination of oils to use.

  • Barbara Dixon January 3, 2018 - 3:37 pm Reply

    I use a mixture of frankincense, lemon and peppermint in a carrier oil over my throat and sinuses to really break up and relieve the mucous. Works great for me.

  • Iraida Besson January 5, 2018 - 6:41 am Reply

    Thank you all for your info. I am very sick right now and needed some relief with cough, chest and head congestion. I used lavender and tea tree oil and rubbed on my throat. I feel the relief almost instantly. Sharing is caring.

  • Kathleen January 6, 2018 - 9:37 am Reply

    I agree. I love the information provided and discussed. Great resource.

  • Elena Dcruzz February 16, 2018 - 7:52 am Reply

    I found the salt water gargle works well, it is also an inexpensive method of a regular mouth wash after the cold has gone to keep it at bay. Thanks.
    Home Remedies

  • Ashley C April 25, 2018 - 8:40 pm Reply

    My daughter has had a persistent cough and fever over the past 5 days…she is only three. She has never been sick since she was born 🙂 unfortunately her uncle works at a hospital and ended up bringing something home when he came to visit lol…I have found by applying 2 drops of Eucalyptus Radiata, and one drop of lavender to a tablespoon of coconut oil , applying it to her chest and around her nose, clears up her congestion almost instantly 🙂 allowing for her to sleep through the night!

  • Amy DuBois May 15, 2018 - 2:05 pm Reply

    I am a beginner I appreciate feedback, thx
    -I have aa exhausting dry cough that came with an achy joints
    – NOW that the achyness is gone I have this dry spastic cough that is exhausting
    Feed back appreciated
    Thanks Amy

  • Brittany May 28, 2018 - 5:01 am Reply

    I am looking for a blend (prefer an all in 1,
    Nothing I have to mix) to diffuse in my sons room. He is 6 months and has awful cough and congestion. What does everyone recommend?

  • Jodie Patterson July 3, 2018 - 4:25 am Reply

    Hi I was just wondering if these 7 Natural Remedies can be used also for young children ranging from 10months old to 6yrs old?
    My youngest gets sick very easily and it goes straight to her chest. Also my friend has a 10month old which was born 4wks premature and has had a chesty cough for more than 2months even after having antibiotics.
    Please Help

  • devbabbar July 5, 2018 - 3:33 am Reply

    Thanks for sharing very effective information with us. I always take the Ravya turmeric milk for instant relief when i am suffering from cold and fever. This happen with me when the weather is changed.

  • Abi July 11, 2018 - 2:06 pm Reply

    When you speak of “diluted” in #1 for cough, do you mean mix with carrier oil? Im not familiar with diluting oils!

  • Jennifer July 15, 2018 - 4:42 pm Reply

    Amy Dubois or anyone, Amy said she had a Chinese which is now over. Well I have the achiness and wondered if she used a remedy from EO to get over it or if anyone else may know of any? I too have the full/achy ears. Thanks for anyone’s help!!

  • Sharvari P Joshi July 30, 2018 - 12:19 am Reply

    Thanks for sharing the useful information. It is really a great blog.

  • roshni September 2, 2018 - 1:27 am Reply

    loved the information provided on this page. Mostly, people don’t Clearly solve the doubts, you did it perfectly.

  • Kristine September 19, 2018 - 7:27 pm Reply

    Great information! Do you know which of these are safe for children?

    • Olga December 10, 2018 - 1:27 am Reply

      Yes. Does anyone know which combo would work best for infants? My 3 month old has a bad cold that just taking its time to go away. We have been to the doctors and just told me that it will takes it course but if any other symptoms come up, we have to go back!

  • Tunde Kiss March 5, 2019 - 5:18 pm Reply

    Great info!

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  • sujeet July 16, 2019 - 4:32 am Reply

    Thanks for your information, it’s a very useful to us. You have done a wonderful Job… Well Done !
    I use Lavender and Peppermint oils for my sinus, that is really helpful to me. Thanks buddy…Keep Gong

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