Cold symptoms: Get better faster with essential oils

The summer almost didn't seem to end this year, but we are already in the middle of the cold season: The days are getting shorter, the nights cooler and around us we are sneezing and coughing, people are struggling with cold noses and the well-known cold symptoms.

Many rules of conduct that we have made our own in recent months in the wake of the corona pandemic - frequent hand washing, avoiding hugs or greeting kisses, keeping your distance - make an important contribution "on the side" when it comes to getting ahead of us To protect against colds. If it does get you, you like to use the tried and tested. This includes - of course! - also essential oils. "Many essential oils fight off damaging microorganisms with their active ingredients," explains Anusati Thumm. Together with Maria M. Kettenring, she wrote the book "Essential oils in the cold season-quick help with coughs, runny nose and flu-like infections", which has just been published (more on this later).

But how do the essential oils actually "work"?
As a multicomponent mixture, essential oils can contain up to 500 different active ingredients. Some of them, for example the group of sesquiterpenes, have a strengthening effect on the immune system. Others, such as phenols, activate the body's own defense cells and help to quickly render unwanted intruders harmless. This makes them effective and beneficial companions who can combat coughs, runny nose and other complaints at an early stage, alleviate symptoms and significantly shorten the course of a cold.


“Infections can be caused by bacteria or viruses. Studies have shown that essential oils are effective against both. Scientific studies on the antiviral effect are mainly on herpes simplex viruses. Experience has shown, however, that the use of selected essential oils in the treatment of viral diseases leads to success, ”said Kettenring and Thumm. These oils include bay leaves, ravintsara, lemon, mountain pine and thyme thymol.

The authors further explain that in a laboratory study by Professor Andreas Hensel from the University of Münster, bay leaf essential oil inhibits the growth of Corona-Sars-CoV viruses more than other essential oils. Because the nasopharynx forms the typical "flight path" for viruses, the scientist advises Hensel to try gargle solutions and lozenges with essential oils "in viral times".

The antibacterial activity of essential oils has been shown in more than 500 studies, according to the renowned aromatherapist Eliane Zimmermann 1987-2001 worldwide. Not a study in the strict sense of the word, but Tanja Ruf sent us an impressive observation in an email. It is so interesting that I would like to share it with you (in consultation with her, of course). Tanja is a health and nurse as well as an aroma and wrap expert at the m & i specialist clinic Ichenhausen. She wanted to know how effective hand hygiene sprays with essential oils are and tested the spray, the recipe for which we published in the March News (70 ml of organic alcohol, 30 ml of rose hydrosol, 8 drops of ravintsara, 5 drops of lemon, 5 drops of orange, 5 drops of fine lavender, 2 drops of lemongrass, 2 drops of thyme thymol). She used five strokes of the spray and then swabbed her fingers. After 24 hours in the incubator, a hygiene specialist and a laboratory assistant examined the result. And: on the smear after using the spray no bacteria could be seen, on the smear without treatment with the spray approx. 124 CFU bacteria were detectable.

Back to the subject of colds. Here are our tips and, as you are used to, a few recipes:

Strengthen the immune system, alleviate symptoms, shorten the course -
our "top five" essential oils for cold symptoms:

  • Ravintsara bio
    Ravintsara is a camphor tree that thrives in Madagascar. It can be more than 30 meters high and develop different chemotypes depending on its origin. The cineole chemotype Ravintsara is used in naturopathy for colds and to improve the air in the room. Thumm and Kettenring also refer to it as "virus protection oil". "Ravintsara has proven itself in pneumonia and asthma prophylaxis and is often used for breath-stimulating rubs," explains Anusati Thumm (see recipe below).

  • Organic bay leaves Laurel, also called spice laurel, is an evergreen tree with aromatic leaves and blue-black berries, which originally comes from Asia. The essential oil obtained from the leaves can have a liberating effect on respiratory diseases and serves as a protective shield when people in the environment are ailing. Then it is advisable to purify the room air by evaporating laurel oil. “Bay leaf essential oil promotes deep breathing. According to the TCM teaching, it brings the cold phlegm to flow again, ”says Thumm.
  • Mountain pine oil organic Mountain
    pine, also called mountain pine or laying pine, is an evergreen shrub-like coniferous tree that thrives at heights between 1,000 and 2,700 meters. In naturopathy, the aromatic woody scented oil is traditionally used for cold symptoms. As an essential all-rounder against discomfort and stress, it should not be missing in any home and first-aid kit. Mountain pine oil helps deepen breathing, strengthens the immune system and has a liberating effect. Rubbing the chest with mountain pine oil in an organic care oil is particularly beneficial for colds. Corresponding information can be found on the labels of the green bottles for safe use and dosage.
  • Thyme Thymol bio
    Thyme is a herb that can develop different ingredients, scent and effect profiles depending on the climate and soil conditions. Thyme Thymol has proven itself in naturopathy, especially for diseases of the lower respiratory tract and infections. “Compared to the mild thyme linalool, this fiery thyme oil is more immune-strengthening and has a pain-relieving effect. It can only be used in very small doses and is only suitable from the age of twelve and not for pregnant women, ”warns Maria M. Kettenring, the second author of the book.
  • Organic lemon
    "We also call lemon the 'first aid cold oil'", says Maria M. Kettenring. The essential oil from the peel of the fruit not only scores with cleansing properties, but is also suitable for room scenting thanks to its fresh scent and has a mood-enhancing, calming effect. The oil is used, among other things, in gargle solutions, wraps and in hand hygiene.

The following recipes can be found in the new pocket guide “Essential Oils in the Cold Season - Quick Help with Coughs, Colds and Flu-Like Infections”:

SOS throat spray recipe

15 ml organic peppermint water
10 ml organic almond oil
10 drops organic lemon
6 drops organic Ravintsara
5 drops organic bay leaves
2 drops organic thyme thymol

Pour vegetable oils into a 30 ml spray bottle, instill essential oils and fill up with peppermint water. Shake vigorously before each use. Spray into the throat area one to three times a day.

Breath-stimulating breast oil recipe

100 ml organic almond oil
6 drops organic Ravintsara
6 drops lemon organic
4 drops eucalyptus glob.
4 drops of mountain pine organic

Mix the almond oil with the essential oils and rub it into the chest and back several times a day.

"Flu prophylaxis mixture" recipe

1 teaspoon salt
2 drops organic bay leaves
2 drops organic Ravintsara
1 drop organic lemon

Mix the essential oils with the salt and pour them directly into the hot water.

Recipe cough balm

25 mg Bio-coconut oil
5 ml jojoba bio
6 drops Lavandin Demeter
5 drops Ravintsara bio
5 drops of white fir bio
4 drops thyme, thymol bio

Melt coconut oil in a double boiler, add jojoba oil and essential oils, stir well and pour into a clean crucible. If you have a strong cough, massage gently into the chest.