Each year, around 35.6 million people in the United States suffer from flu or influenza. [1] It is a highly contagious respiratory disease that can affect your throat, nose, and even lungs. 

Researchers have not found any effective medications for flu as the viruses tend to change and mutate constantly. In that case, some natural remedies such as essential oils for flu may help reduce the symptoms.

Essential oils have numerous therapeutic properties that may help alleviate the symptoms of influenza. Some of them can reduce headaches by clearing your nasal passage, while others can soothe infection and fever.

Continue reading to explore some of the best essential oils for flu and how to use them correctly to get the best results.

Essential Oils for Flu

1. Lemon Essential Oil

Vitamin C is a vital component to fight the flu or any other respiratory diseases. Lemon essential oil is an excellent source of vitamin c and some other therapeutic properties.

Originated from the fresh lemon peel using the cold-pressing process, lemon oil can exhaustion, helps with depression, kills harmful viruses, clears your skin, and reduces inflammation.

The antioxidants found in this essential oil can soothe your swollen glands and fight respiratory infections. [2]

A recent study found that lemon oil can effectively treat respiratory diseases such as cold, influenza, etc. [3]

2. Lavender Essential Oil

Lavender oil is extracted from the evergreen lavender plant. It is one of the most popular essential oil due to its medicinal components.

Rich in anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antiseptic, and antimicrobial properties, lavender essential oil can clear your nasal passage and reduce inflammation. [4]

Besides, this oil can clean the phlegm in your lungs and soothe your headaches. [4]

You can use lavender oil both as a massage oil and in aromatherapy.

3. Peppermint Essential Oil

Peppermint oil is derived from the leaves of peppermint plant or Mentha Piperita

The antimicrobial, antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and astringent properties of this essential oil help reduce infections, inflammation, cough, and other respiratory problems. [5]

Peppermint oil contains menthol, which can help you feel better with its cooling effects. [5]

You can massage this oil on your chest or inhale to soothe the symptoms of flu.

4. Eucalyptus Essential Oil

Eucalyptus oil can be one of the best options if you have respiratory problems. It originates from Eucalyptus globulus, which belongs to the same family as the Melaleuca alternifolia.

According to a 2012 research, eucalyptus oil can be a natural antibiotic against several infectious diseases. [6]

When used in aromatherapy, its menthol aroma may help clear sinuses and soothe congestion.

5. Tea Tree Essential Oil

Tea tree oil is a popular choice of essential oils when it comes to treating any bacterial and respiratory disease.  Extracted from Melaleuca alternifolia, this oil comes with a pale yellow color and a mothball-like aroma.

Tea tree oil is rich in antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and other medicinal properties that help treat several respiratory problems like cold, fever, flu, etc. [7]

Besides, its antiseptic properties help fight germs that cause infections in your nose. [7]

Regular use of this oil can soothe nasal congestion and promote the healing of infections.

6. Clove Essential Oil

Clove oil is the first choice whenever someone has a toothache. This potent essential oil can also effectively reduce the symptoms of respiratory problems like influenza and cold.

Due to its antiviral, antifungal, antiseptic, and antimicrobial properties, clove oil is a popular ingredient in aromatherapy. This potent essential oil can effectively ease the congested sinuses and promote the healing of flu. [8]

However, clove oil is quite strong. It is highly suggested that you dilute it with a carrier oil before topical use.

7. Thyme Essential Oil

Thyme essential oil comes from the leaves of Thymus vulgaris through the steam distillation process.

This aromatic oil is a bit costly as it requires a lot of plants to get a small batch of oils. However, it is rich in several medicinal properties that make it worth trying.

Thyme essential oil contains antibacterial, antispasmodic, and antiseptic properties that help reduce cold, cough, sinus, as well as influenza. [9]

Besides, the potent antioxidants of this oil help build a healthy immune system and fight several diseases. [9]

How to Use Essential Oils for Flu

While aromatherapy is the most popular way to treat respiratory problems, topical application may also help reduce some of the symptoms and provide comfort.


Add a few drops of your favorite essential oil into a diffuser. Let the aroma spread into your room. You can also keep the diffuser beside your bed to help clear your respiratory tract and ensure better sleep.


Dilute a few drops of essential oil and apply it on your chest, neck, and forehead.

Precautions While Using Essential Oils for Flu

Essential oils are usually safe, but you should maintain some precautions to avoid any side effects:

  • Always dilute the essential oil with a suitable carrier oil before topical application.
  • Some essential oils, such as lemon oil, can make your skin photosensitive. Do not go to direct sunlight after using this essential oil on your skin.
  • Always buy essential oils from a reputed seller to avoid the adulterated product.
  • Ask your doctor before using essential oils if you’re pregnant or a breastfeeding mom.
  • If you’re under medication for flu or any other medical condition, consult with your physician first before using these oils.

When to See a Doctor?

For most people, flu occurs as a mild illness and does not require a doctor. However, you must ask for medical attention if you see the following symptoms:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Pain and pressure in your chest and abdomen.
  • Vomiting
  • Having flu while you’re pregnant
  • You have a heart disease
  • Flu along with asthma
  • High fever and severe cough


While influenza is not a severe disease, your condition might get critical if you are not careful from the beginning. That’s why you must understand the symptoms of this illness.

Essential oils can be an excellent complementary treatment if you start using them immediately when you feel flu symptoms coming on. You can find them in some health stores or online.

Besides, you must follow a healthy diet to keep your immune system strong. In this way, it will be easier for you to prevent influenza from happening.

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