Using Essential Oils to Build Immunity During Cold & Flu Season

I hate when my kids get sick…it’s so hard to see them so miserable and when they’re really young, it’s hard because they can’t always tell you what’s wrong. And then everyone gets sick and it wipes the whole family out for a couple of weeks.

Last winter, my youngest got a cold from his older sister…he was only 3-4 months old at the time and it turned into RSV. He had trouble breathing, we had to take him to the ER to have all the mucus sucked out (gross! and miserable for him,) and we ended up having to give him breathing treatments for several months! It was awful and giving breathing treatments every four hours wasn’t fun either.  I hated having him on the medication for so long, and for several months there we were ending up in the doctor’s office at least once a week…no joke.

My poor little guy sleeping during a breathing treatment.

So…I’m all about prevention this year! I’ve recently discovered the benefits of essential oils and have begun to use them for a variety of things, and one of those is to build immunity, as well as to help with natural healing when sick.

Why essential oils? Essential oils are 50-70 times more powerful than herbs. They can kill viruses and bacteria and they work fast. They are extracts from plants and are 100% natural.

Some commonly known ways to boost immunity can be aided and enhanced with the use of essential oils:

1. Get enough sleep. To help me relax and fall asleep at night instead of laying there with my mind racing about all I need to get done, I use Lavender essential oil and a blend called Serenity. I make a spray mist with some water and Lavender and mist it over my pillow and sheets before bed or I rub a few drops of Serenity on the bottoms of my feet. For kids, I put a couple drops of Lavender on a tissue and tuck it into their pillow.

2. Reduce stress. Again, Lavender essential oil is a great stress reducer, along with the blends Serenity and Balance.

3. Add lemon to your water daily to build immunity over time. I use Lemon essential oil when I don’t have fresh lemons on hand. Make sure you use a high quality brand however, because not all essential oils are pure enough for ingesting. (I use a brand called doTerra because they offer Certified, Pure, Therapeutic Grade oils). Read this post about more on the immunity benefits of adding lemon to your water.

4. On Guard Essential Oil. This is one of my favorite blends. It contains Wild Orange, Clove, Cinnamon, Eucalyptus and Rosemary and it smells like Christmas. It can be used as prevention or as soon as you feel a cold coming on. This blend can be taken internally by putting a couple drops in water. Or, for kids I rub some diluted On Guard on the soles of their feet. For daily immunity rub on soles of feet every night before bed or diffuse in a room regularly to eliminate airborne pathogens. It can also be diluted in a spray bottle and used to clean doorknobs, telephones, or anything that comes in contact with everyone’s hands on a regular basis.

Of course, don’t forget washing your hands regularly and all of the other commonly known ways to boost immunity.

Once you do get sick, essential oils can also help provide quick and natural healing.

Breathe-this is a respiratory blend made up of Laurel Leaf, Peppermint, Eucalyptus, Ravensara, Melaleuca (Tea Tree), and Lemon. It strengthens and fights infection in the sinuses and bronchioles. When my kids have a cough or congestion I rub Breathe (diluted with a carrier oil such as fractionated coconut oil) on their chests and the bottoms of their feet. It really helps eliminate coughing throughout the night. This blend can also be used for asthma and other breathing problems.

Lemon-add a drop to honey to soothe a sore throat.

On Guard-rub (diluted) on the throat externally or take a few drops internally to relieve sore throat.

Eucalyptus Radiata-use for congestion, sinus infections and to open airways. Dilute with carrier oil and rub on chest and neck for respiratory problems.

These are just a few of the ways to use essential oils for health and wellness in your family!

This post is part of the Home Remedies Carnival at Keeper of the Home.

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11 Responses to Using Essential Oils to Build Immunity During Cold & Flu Season

  1. Re your point about lemons and building up immunity, I recently read that adding lemon to green tea boosts the effectiveness of green tea catechins up to five times. I found this at http://www.buy-lemons-online.com/

    Here is the actual citation from the summary of the green tea/lemons study:

    Lemons found to be the most effective citrus in boosting healthy catechins in green tea. “[N]ew research shows that although green tea is high in catechins — antioxidants that have been shown to reduce the risk of chronic diseases like cancer and cardiovascular disorders — the amount of these substances that are available for absorption by the body are lower when they’re consumed solely in tea. . . Under 20 per cent of catechins, which include EGC, EGCG, EC and ECG, remain after digestion, say [researchers at Purdue University in a study published in the November 2007 issue of Molecular Nutrition and Food Research]. . . The researchers believe that citrus juices and vitamin C protect catechins from oxidative damage in the intestine. According to Mario Ferruzzi, assistant professor of food science at Purdue University in Indiana, and the study’s lead author, catechins break down in non-acidic environments, such as the intestines, leaving less than 20 per cent of the antioxidants to be absorbed after digestion takes place. [However, when citrus juices or vitamin C are added to green tea, catechin levels are increased.] Citrus juices, including from limes, grapefruits, lemons and oranges, increased the levels of catechins by more than five times, with an 81 to 98 per cent recovery for EGC, 56 to 75 percent for EGCG, 86 to 95 per cent for EC and 30 to 55 per cent for ECG. Lemon juice was the most effective at preserving catechins in green tea, the study found.” (No author credited, “Green tea up to 5 times as healthy when citrus juice added,” CBC News, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, Wednesday, November 14, 2007)
    Allister Bulic

  2. Emily Jones says:

    Do you have any recommendations for where to buy? Does it matter? Can I pick these up at my local grocery store? Thanks for the info, this is the first I’ve heard about it, and since we’re all recovering from being sick, I’m pretty motivated to find something to keep us from being this way all winter!!!

    • Deb Eborn says:

      Make sure you buy a good quality essential oil. There are many companies that sell them. YoungLiving Essential Oils is a good one. One of the best oils available. A small vial will last a long time, as you only use a few drops at a time. The ones you might find at the grocery store are not usually a good quality oil and may be laced with chemicals or so diluted they are not worth using.

      • kjeldy says:

        I agree…it’s important to buy good quality. I recommend doTerra–they are Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade oils. So safe that most of them can be taken internally as well, which is not true of the ones you may find at the drug store/grocery store/health food store.

  3. kelley says:

    ugh, i agree- sick kids= the worst! thanks for the info i will have to chat more with you about it sometime. interested in the whole rubbing it on their feet bit- wondering how this helps?

  4. kjeldy says:

    Kelley-the feet have large pores and so absorb oils quickly. I also like putting the oils on kid’s feet because then they can’t rub their hands in them and stick their hands in their eyes, mouth, etc. Other areas that absorb oils quickly are the wrists and behind the ears…but I just stick with the feet.

  5. Kimberly says:

    I make a homemade vapor rub. We’ve caught our first virus in ages and so I’ve been rubbing this under noses, on backs and chests and soles of feet as well. So comforting and helpful. I can’t wait to try some of your other ideas!!!!

    • kjeldy says:

      Thanks for your comment Kimberly! I love the Breathe oil, and have been using it instead of Vapo-Rub…sounds similar to your homemade one. Let me know if you try anything else and how it works out for you.

  6. Rana says:

    My friend gave me some melrose from Young Living when my kids and I got sick last year. I love it and it is so soothing. Thanks for the reference to doTerra too.

    • kjeldy says:

      Thanks for stopping by Rana! I love using the oils rather than turning to OTC medications from the drug store. I’ve found the On Guard to help in so many situations–it’s been a lifesaver for me!

  7. this blog is so insightful and helpful. thanks!

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