Aromatherapy & the Flu Season: 9 Essential Oils to Alleviate Every Flu Symptom (Updated April 2020)

As more and more people are becoming aware of the toxic chemicals in our everyday products, all-natural alternatives, especially essential oils, have been rising in popularity. When it comes to treating the flu, in particular, many users treat essential oils as an essential part of their self-care methods.

Aroma Foundry offers the Germ Buster 6-Pack. It comes with essential oils that are great not just for fighting off disease-causing germs but also for relieving each and every flu symptom.


Quick Rundown of the Best Essential Oils for Flu
Lemongrass Essential Oil can prompt the body to sweat more, lower the body’s temperature, and help reduce fevers.
Tea Tree Essential Oil helps fight off and treat infections that cause the flu and other diseases.
Eucalyptus Essential Oil helps reduce phlegm and inflammation, alleviate coughs and colds, and fight off infections.
Lemon Essential Oil relieves fatigue and stress caused by the flu.
Citronella Essential Oil can fight off infections and help manage body pain.
Sage Essential Oil offers antimicrobial properties, which can help get rid of flu-causing viruses from your body.
Peppermint Essential Oil can promote proper blood flow and relieve body aches.
Lavender Essential Oil can promote relaxation, improve sleep, and relieve stress and headache caused by the flu.
Fir Essential Oil can reduce inflammation, combat infection, and ease sore throats.

Before going deeper into the topic of the best essential oils for flu, let’s first try to understand what the flu and its symptoms are.


Understanding the Flu

In 1918, the world witnessed one of the deadliest pandemics in history: the influenza pandemic. Influenza, also known as the flu, was caused by the H1N1 virus, which was said to originate from birds during that time. Because of this, a third of the global population became infected, and the number of deaths reached almost 50 million.

The flu, as we know it today, is a contagious disease caused by the same influenza viruses. This illness can infect the respiratory system, including the throat, nose, and lungs.

While there are currently antiviral medications for the flu, it can still cause mild to severe symptoms. Sometimes, it can result in hospitalization or even death. 

How the Flu Spreads

Experts believe that flu viruses can be transmitted by infected individuals through droplets as they talk, cough, or sneeze. These droplets can spread to other people up to 6 feet away, land on the mouths or noses of people nearby, or remain on surfaces or objects. 


According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, after the flu virus infects a person, symptoms can appear within 1 to 4 days. At times, people with the flu do not have symptoms. This means that infected people might not show symptoms right away or at all, and they might spread the flu without knowing they’re sick.

The common symptoms of the flu include:

  • Fever (but not all people with the flu experience fever)
  • Chills
  • Cough
  • Runny nose
  • Sore throat
  • Body aches
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue

It’s also more common for children than adults to experience vomiting and diarrhea.


9 Best Essential Oils for Flu Symptoms

Learning the symptoms of the flu is a great way to start using essential oils as a secondary flu treatment. That way, you’ll understand which essential oil to use whenever you feel an oncoming symptom.

Below are the best essential oils for flu and the benefits they can bring to people with the flu.

1. Lemongrass Essential Oil for Fever

Lemongrass essential oil

Sweat out your fever the natural way using our lemongrass essential oil.

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Extracted from a fast-growing perennial grass, lemongrass essential oil offers a scent that is a milder and sweeter version of the scent of lemons. It is well-known for its natural ability to help balance the different systems of our body and boost the immune system as well.

As an antipyretic, lemongrass essential oil can help reduce fevers caused by the flu. It can prompt the body to sweat more, thereby lowering the body’s temperature. At the same time, this essential oil for fever can flush out toxins and help kill infections.

Learn more about lemongrass essential oil benefits.


2. Tea Tree Essential Oil for Infections

Tea tree essential oil

Fight off infections causing the flu with tea tree essential oil.

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The first tea tree essential oil was produced in Australia in the 1920s, and from that time up until today, many have found that this oil delivered antiseptic benefits to its users. Fresh tea tree oil has a camphorous scent similar to eucalyptus, and it is often used for relieving dental pain and disinfecting. 

Tea tree essential oil has the ability to help prevent and fight off infections in different parts of the body, such as the bladder, genitals, eyes, ears, mouth, navel, and skin. That means it can also help treat infections that cause the flu and other diseases. 

Before using tea tree essential oil, it’s worth noting that it should be used in low doses and should never be taken orally because of its potency.

Learn more about tea tree essential oil benefits.


3. Eucalyptus Essential Oil for Colds and Coughs

Eucalyptus essential oil

Relieve coughs and colds and enjoy the various aromatherapy benefits of eucalyptus essential oil.

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For centuries, aboriginal Australians have been using eucalyptus leaves for treating colds, coughs, and other respiratory problems. Today’s therapeutic grade eucalyptus essential oils offer the same benefits. 

These essential oils can help reduce phlegm and inflammation, stimulate the production of saliva, and open up breathing passages. That means eucalyptus essential oil can alleviate the severity of colds and coughs. Plus, because of its antimicrobial properties, this essential oil for colds can aid the body in fighting off flu infections.

Learn more about eucalyptus essential oil benefits.


4. Lemon Essential Oil for Fatigue

Lemon essential oil

Feel energized and relieve fatigue with lemon essential oil.

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On a hot summer day when the sun drains out all your energy, fresh lemonade is certainly a cool reprieve. The same goes for when you suffer from the flu and feel feverish. As your body forces you to rest while it fights off the infection, you can’t help but feel tired and sluggish when you’re down with the flu.

Luckily, lemon essential oil can effectively restore your energy, just as how the sour taste of lemon can pack a punch. This essential oil for fatigue can also refresh your mind, just as how a cool glass of lemonade refreshes you in sultry weather.

If you’re exhausted due to fever, lemon essential oil is the best choice for relieving fatigue and even stress.

Learn more about lemon essential oil benefits.


5. Citronella Essential Oil for Pain

Citronella essential oil

Effectively manage body pain while repelling disease-carrying insects with citronella oil.

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Known as an insect repellant, citronella oil has a fresh, clean aroma with an added strong lemony scent. Because of its distinctive aroma, this oil serves a sort of protection against disease-carrying mosquitoes and even parasites. 

But warding off insects isn’t the only thing citronella oil is good at. With its antimicrobial properties, it can also effectively fight bacterial and fungal infections. It’s great for cleaning, disinfecting, and freshening your home!

Another great thing about citronella essential oil is that it offers analgesic properties. When you’re down with the flu and your body’s aching, this essential oil is a good natural alternative to painkillers. In other words, it can help you manage body pain caused by the flu. 

Learn more about citronella essential oil benefits.


6. Sage Essential Oil for Microbes

Sage essential oil

Get rid of flu-causing viruses and other microbes with sage essential oil.

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Sage is widely used for smudging in purification rituals. It is believed to cleanse a place of bad energies. 

However, sage isn’t only used for cleansing places--it’s also helpful for cleansing the body of microbes. Because it contains camphor and chemical camphene, sage oil offers antimicrobial properties. That means you can use this oil to help get rid of flu-causing viruses from your body. 

Learn more about sage essential oil benefits.

7. Peppermint Essential Oil for Body Aches

Peppermint essential oil

Reduce body aches and sore muscles and promote proper blood flow using peppermint oil.

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With its intense minty scent, peppermint essential oil is just delightful to smell. It offers a more potent aroma than spearmint essential oil and tends to remind users of sweet peppermint candies. 

Peppermint has been used since ancient times for stomach problems and body pains. Because of its anesthetic properties, this essential oil for body aches can be massaged into sore muscles and other body parts to relieve aches and pains. 

Peppermint essential oil helps reduce the buildup of lactic acid, which causes muscle soreness. Plus, its aroma can promote proper blood circulation, which can further reduce body aches caused by the flu.

Learn more about peppermint essential oil benefits.

8. Lavender Essential Oil for Headaches and Stress

Lavender essential oil

Enjoy relaxation and better sleep and alleviate headaches with lavender oil.

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One of the common symptoms of the flu is headache, but there’s another side effect of the flu that isn’t as well-recognized: stress. Getting sick is no doubt stressful since it restricts our capability to go about our day-to-day activities. Fortunately, lavender essential oil exists to relieve both stress and headache brought about by the flu. 

With its mild floral scent, lavender essential oil can promote relaxation and calmness, thus reducing stress and even improving sleep. If you’re suffering from flu-related headaches and other body pains, you can also apply and massage diluted lavender oil onto the affected area to relieve the pain. This essential oil for headaches is ideal for coping with the stress brought about by the flu.

Learn more about lavender essential oil benefits.


9. Fir Essential Oil for Sore Throat

Fir essential oil

Ease your sore throat and fight off infections with soothing fir oil.

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When you have a sore throat because of the flu, you’ll feel extremely grateful if you have fir essential oil at your disposal. Siberian fir essential oil is known not only for its fresh pine scent but also for its anti-inflammatory properties. Whether you diffuse it or dilute and rub it on your neck, it’ll most likely ease the soreness of your throat.

Besides this, this essential oil for sore throat offers antibacterial and antimicrobial properties, which means it’s also great for combatting infections.

Learn more about fir essential oil benefits.


Essential Oils for Flu: How Effective Are They?

A study that was made in 2010 has shown that protective essential oils decreased the influenza viruses in infected in vitro Madin-Darby canine kidney (MDCK) cells. It has also shown that using certain essential oil blends as treatment of the virus reduced the direct infection of the cells.

Apart from this, a 2014 status review delved into the antiviral, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antifungal, and other bioactive properties of essential oils as medicinal potential.

While these studies and others out there suggest that essential oils can potentially fight the flu, there’s still more research needed to prove that these oils can be used as a primary medicinal treatment. For now, if you happen to catch the flu, it’s best to seek your doctor’s advice, continue taking flu medications, and consider essential oils as a holistic approach to treat the flu.


How to Use Essential Oils for Flu Symptoms

Essential Oils to Inhale

If you’re planning to use essential oils to help alleviate flu symptoms, the best way to do so is by inhaling them. You can either take a whiff of the essential oil in its bottle directly or put a few drops of the oil onto a clean cloth. You can also add a few drops in your bath or a bowl of hot water for steam inhalation.

Inhaling essential oils is great for clearing nasal congestion and breathing passages, promoting sleep, combatting respiratory infections, boosting energy, and relieving stress. The essential oils for flu you can inhale include: 

  • Tea tree oil
  • Fir oil
  • Eucalyptus oil
  • Lemon oil

Essential Oils to Apply to the Skin

For body pain and headaches, it’s best to mix your essential oil with a carrier oil and apply it directly to the affected area. The essential oils for flu and topical use include: 

  • Peppermint oil
  • Lavender oil
  • Lemongrass oil (which can make you sweat and reduce your fever)

Essential Oils to Diffuse

Because the flu is highly contagious, you might want to consider disinfecting the area by diffusing essential oils. Diffusing oils is also the best way to enjoy their aromatherapy benefits for mitigating flu symptoms.

Some essential oils to diffuse for flu and to clear the area of microbes include:

  • Eucalyptus oil
  • Citronella oil
  • Lemon oil
  • Tea tree oil
  • Sage oil
  • Lemongrass oil
InnoGear 500ml Aromatherapy Essential Oil Diffuser

For more effective aromatherapy, this multifunctional essential oil diffuser can produce a strong mist while featuring a whisper-quiet operation. 

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ASAKUKI 400ml 5-in-1 Essential Oil Diffuser

You might also want to try this elegant wood diffuser, which offers 400-milliliter tank capacity, multiple mist settings, and 7 LED light colors.

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Before using these diffusers to disinfect your home, read this guide on blending essential oils for purifying the air and fighting off airborne microbes.


Things to Keep in Mind Before Using Essential Oils

If you’re considering using essential oils to treat the flu, it’s important to remember that essential oils are not a cure-all. If you have the flu, you still have to take over-the-counter medications and seek the help of a medical professional when your symptoms worsen. It’s also best to consult your doctor before using essential oils as a part of a holistic approach to treating any disease, including the flu.

Another thing to keep in mind is that you should try boosting your immune system so that it can prevent the flu virus from entering your body. You still have to get your annual flu shot, practice good hygiene, and live a healthy lifestyle.

After you’ve checked all of the necessary preventive measures, try strengthening your immune system further by using the best essential oils for fighting off viral infections. Each of these essential oils offers protection against microbes. Plus, they can be combined to make effective blends for getting rid of microbes!

Aroma Foundry’s Germ Buster Essential Oil Six-Pack carries curated oils that can be effective against various kinds of bacteria, fungi, and viruses. Keep yourself infection-free with Aroma Foundry!

Get This 6-Pack

As the saying goes, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” It’s always a good idea to live holistically healthier with a few drops of essential oil.


Author Profile

Diet Immarie Salazar

Diet Immarie Salazar lives and breathes (and writes about) all-natural living. As a free spirit, her favorite Aroma Foundry essential oil is patchouli. But thanks to the saving graces of lavender oil, she can go about her day despite the inevitable stress and frequent headaches.

  1. Understanding the Flu
    1. How the Flu Spreads
    2. Symptoms
  2. 9 Best Essential Oils for Flu Symptoms
    1. Lemongrass
    2. Tea Tree
    3. Eucalyptus
    4. Lemon
    5. Citronella
    6. Sage
    7. Peppermint
    8. Lavender
    9. Fir
  3. Essential Oils for Flu: How Effective Are They?
  4. How to Use Essential Oils for Flu Symptoms
    1. Inhale
    2. Apply to the Skin
    3. Diffuse
  5. Things to Keep in Mind Before Using Essential Oils
  6. References