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Essential oils and Head cold

There is no end in sight for winter and your nose is always blocked up and running. Really nothing rare, but also really annoying, a cold muck up your life, especially in winter but at other times too. React quickly, because it could lead to serious infections (sinusitis, bronchitis…)
To give you quick relief, here are the best oils and some recipes (for treatment but also for prevention).

blocked nose

A little reminder regarding head colds

A head cold (also known as viral or acute rhinitis) is a common nasal infection (of the nasal cavities) and sometimes of the throat, caused by a virus.
In winter, the air is generally dryer in houses and therefore the nasal mucous is dry and becomes less able to resist viral infections and a head cold is on the way.
Head colds are linked with age: it can occur up to 10 times a year in 2-year-old children, on average 4 times for adults but almost disappears in the elderly. With age, the body develops immunity against several viruses (over 200) responsible for the common cold.



If symptoms appear it means that our immune system has not managed to neutralise the virus. It matters therefore to take care of it as soon as possible by boosting the immune system.

A head cold starts slowly with:

  • A sore throat
  • A feeling of having a blocked nose or a runny nose
  • Sneezing
  • Weepy eyes
  • A slight headache
  • Generally, certain tiredness, a slight fever (maximum 38.5° C)
    These symptoms appear gradually and persist between 5 and 7 days, rarely longer.

Head cold or flu? Sometimes we think we have flu when in fact it is only a head cold. Both are viral infections that affect the respiratory tract and the symptoms resemble each other. The flu, however, provokes more serious symptoms than a simple head cold: muscular aches, cough, high fever, headaches, and sometimes a stomach ache and nausea.

flu and cold
flu and cold symptoms disease infographic

The best EO for taking care of a head cold

The information provided in this post could not be considered as medical information nor engage my responsibility
or that of the Pacific Scents blog as to your usage of essential oils for yourself or anyone else.
I strongly invite you to compare the information with that of authoritative experts and the opinion of health professionals.
EO = Essential Oil


After this little reminder regarding the head cold, here is an overview of all EO whose properties can be helpful to fight a head cold.

The EO Eucalyptus radiata:

eucalyptusThe finest of the eucalyptus EO. Well tolerated, it is in a certain way the specialist of the respiratory tract. If you had to choose only one, this is the one !!

  • Frees the nasal passages, bronchi and congested throat
  • Anti-infectious, antibacterial
  • Stimulates the immune system (useful to prevent flu)
  • Soothes a cough
  • Excellent antiviral close to Ravintsara that can be substituted




  • Not advised for pregnant or breastfeeding women
  • Dilute strongly before usage
  • Before, do not confuse with Eucalyptus globulus which is forbidden in children and infants. Make sure you are using Eucalyptus radiata.

The EO Niaouli:


  • Powerful antiviral
  • Anti-infectious, it stimulates immune defences and helps the organism to get rid of viruses
  • Anti-catarrh and expectorant


  • Not advised for pregnant or breastfeeding women and for children under the age of 8.
  • Dilute well in a VO because it can be irritant if used pure.

The EO Ravintsara


  • Anti-infectious and antiviral (one of the most powerful)
  • Stimulates the immune system
  • Avoids the risks of secondary infection
  • Fights infection and problems linked to sinuses, respiratory tract and chronic allergies


Not advised for pregnant or breastfeeding women and for children under the age of 8.


The EO Peppermint:

peppermint essential oil

  • Invigorating and stimulating (in cases of overall tiredness)
  • Expectorant, mucolytic (very useful in cases of productive cough.





  • The EO Peppermint is particularly powerful and concentrated. People sensitive to allergies as well as people with fragile skin must be doubly careful.
  • Do not use if there is a cardiac problem, as well as epilepsy, or fever.
  • Not advised for pregnant or breastfeeding women and for children under the age of 8, epileptic patients or the elderly.
  • May cause local irritation of the skin.
  • Provokes a strong sensation of cold which can lead to hyperthermia if used excessively.
  • Maximum concentration advised: 0.5% (neuro-toxic and abortive at very high dosage).
  • No prolonged usage without medical advice.

The EO Tea tree:

Tea tree essential oil

  • Powerful antiviral
  • Stimulates the immune system (useful for prevention)
  • Anti-infectious, broad-spectrum bactericide, antifungal


Not advised for pregnant or breastfeeding women and for children under the age of 8.

The EO Thymol Thyme:

rosemary essential oil

  • One of the powerful anti-infectious at a very broad spectrum
  • Antibacterial and antiseptic at a broad spectrum
  • Helps fight effectively against respiratory infections.


  • To be used for very short periods only.
  • Strictly for adults only.
  • Forbidden for pregnant or breastfeeding women.





The EO Scots Pine

scot pineExpectorant

  • Anti-infectious for the respiratory tract
  • Eases coughs, soothes the respiratory tract
  • Assists in treating respiratory infections such as bronchitis, head colds, pneumonia, asthma….


Not advised for pregnant or breastfeeding women and for children under the age of 8.
Do not use pure (potentially irritant)




recipes illustrationEasy recipes

Eucalyptus radiata

1 drop of Eucalyptus EO on the medium of your choice. Take 4 to 5 times a day.

THE Recipe against head cold

To be used as soon as the first day of the cold if possible.
Mix 2 ml of Eucalyptus radiata + 2 ml of Ravintsara + 1 ml of Niaouli

1 drop of the mixture each morning in a medium of your choice as prevention for a period of 7 days. If the cold has already struck, augment the dosage to 4 times a day.

Not advised for pregnant or breastfeeding women and for children under the age of 10.

A little massage against a head cold?

dropMix 15 drops of Ravintsara + 15 drops of Eucalyptus radiata + 4 ml of apricot kernel oil.

As soon as the first symptoms appear, massage the chest and back with 10 drops of this mixture 3 times a day.

Not advised for pregnant or breastfeeding women and for children under the age of 8.
For therapeutic usage consult a doctor.

EO to diffuse against a head cold


A few EO for children and adults


The Lemon EO: perfect for purifying the air and killing all contagious germs and viruses.
Grapefruit EO is also a good aerial antiseptic. These two citrus oils combine well with tea tree oil, eucalyptus radiata or ravintsara.
These EO are antiseptic, anti-infectious and antibacterial.
The best way to use them is to combine 2 or 3 in order to widen the field of your synergy.

Even when diffusing EO you need to take some care (choice of EO and duration of diffusion) if you are surrounded by fragile, allergic or asthmatic people or by children.

Inhalations to treat head cold and rhinitis

4 drops of Niaouli EO + 4 drops of Eucalyptus Radiata EO

A little reminder regarding inhalations (and also here)

  • Boil one and a half litre of water.
  • Let it cool a little for a few minutes so as not to burn your face with the water vapour.
  • Add the EO and wait 1 or 2 minutes before beginning the inhalation
  • Cover your head with a towel and breathe through the mouth and nose, eyes closed for 5 to 10 minutes.


Not advised for pregnant or breastfeeding women and also for children under the age of 8.
To perform in preference at night. Avoid going out after the inhalation. Repeat this until the head cold has gone.


Good habits to protect yourself from a head cold

woman open window

  • Wash your hands regularly and leave them away from your face
  • Do not go too close to someone who is infected already
  • Wash your nasal cavities with a saline solution
  • Do not share personal items with a person already infected
  • Clean surfaces in the home
  • Cough or sneeze correctly (cover your mouth and nose with a handkerchief)
  • Stay at home if you have a head cold to avoid contaminating others
  • Blow your nose regularly, one nostril then the other with disposable tissues to evacuate secretions
  • Act quickly, a head cold is a contagious virus
  • Aerate living quarters regularly, leaving windows open for 15 minutes for example
  • Use an aerial purifier with a few drops of EO to kill bacteria and germs
  • In winter to not overheat your home (bacteria love warm and stuffy places)
  • Think also of using disinfectant gels for your hands
  • In case of sore throats, prepare a warm drink with honey, lemon or green tea.

L’aromathérapie J. Valnet
Les Huiles Essentielles pour votre santé, G. Roulier

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