Does your family get sick with the sudden changes of weather at this time of year?

If so, you are not alone.

In my experience, the transition from autumn to winter always claims a lot of casualties and this year is no exception. The familiar misery of coughs and congestion is upon us once again.

Science, myth, common sense, and pure essential oil protection

No-one knows for sure why it is that we seem more likely to ‘catch a cold’ in the colder months. Especially as studies on the most common cold virus – rhinovirus – have shown it to be active in both warm and cold temperatures (there are about 200 different types of cold virus).

One theory is that winter brings more indoor gatherings and greater fluctuations in humidity which helps to spread germs around much faster.

There is also provisional research showing that a body’s immunity to virus might be less effective in colder temperatures. Colder air creating infection in the nasal passages might be one reason why runny noses are often the first symptom we get.

Even without conclusive science, common sense says that we should be protecting ourselves from airborne germs and doing all we can to boost our immune systems.

But that doesn’t mean you have to go around wearing a surgical mask.

Just get your hands on the right pure, organic essential oils before the worst of winter sets in.

Which essential oils are best for getting you through the winter ills and chills

Here are my recommendations based on ingredients for ‘winter health’ prescription blends at the Absolute Essential natural health clinic (check out my post on baby-safe essential oils to see why you should always use pure, organic essential oils for family health care):

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Eucalyptus No introductions needed here. Eucalyptus is probably the best known cold and flu remedy of all time. Eucalyptus Australiana is a good all-rounder. However, for use with small children and fragile elders, Eucalyptus Blue Gum is the gentler choice.

Lavender Always useful for family care, lavender's relaxing, calming properties can really aid the nightcare of snuffly kids. Lavender Spike is the choice for more respiratory-focused aid (a higher camphor composition) and a mild choice for small children and elderly people.

Manuka oil Yes, like the honey. Manuka is the name of the plant that the bees populate. So here is a concentrated source of all those renowned health-enforcing, healing properties. In low dosage it is fine for children too. A great immunity staple with added cleansing properties for general respiratory health.

Tea Tree oil Another very well known oil and you probably already have it on hand. Tea tree is a good general immune tonic and it's also cleansing to the respiratory system. However, stick with its gentler cousin Manuka for small children.

Lemon oil I may be stating the obvious here but pure lemon essential oil is a serious immune, vitamin boosting oil. A drop or two in hot water with honey is a great family-safe remedy. And it makes a wonderful vitalizing air freshener when diffused. Not for sensitive skin though so use with care in bath or body blends.

Fir Balsam A pine cleansing aroma with deep tonic effect on respiration. Safe in low doses for children and elders and one I would specifically recommend for chesty conditions (and asthmatics).

Spruce Black Another pine species with powerful cleansing properties for breathing and immune protection. And again, a great family choice because it is safe for children and elders. One I recommend for bronchial support and adrenal cleansing (low energy, stress).

Hand Sanitiser Gel A combination of 60% ethanol (made to hospital specified standards), essential oils and Aloe Vera to effectively kill germs and viral invasions.

If you just want something that says what it does on the bottle, then you might be happier with a trusted ready-blend of pure essential oils. The above ingredients all feature in clinical blends based on time-tested prescriptions from our natural health care clinics:

Child Care: Immune Plus, Immune Plus, Baby Care: Nose & Chest, Chest Care Cream, Breathe Easy, Sinus Clear

Instant protection against coughs, colds and flu with pure essential oils

Sometimes, raising a family can seem like an endless line-up of snotty noses and horrible, hacking coughs.

Children are much more susceptible to coughs and colds. One child may get 5-10 bouts a year (while they are building their immunity), grown-ups probably only 2-4.

Working with pure essential oils, I have seen that those numbers can drop significantly. One child of 18 months who had previously done 8 rounds of fever and congestion the winter before, was given prescription blends for immunity (Child Care Immune Plus - used at home and in day care), and respiratory care (Child Care Nose & Chest - used every night). The parents were very happy to report back only one bout of sickness that season.

I remember also a teacher who simply grew accustomed to having symptoms all through the winter, used an immunity blend (Immune Plus) every night as part of a conscious health routine and, for the first time ever, got through an entire winter without any symptoms.

The thing about pure essential oils is that they are volatile liquids. Put simply, it means that their liquid composition is very easily converted into vapors that float free, into the air.

What we recognize as aroma can include active plant molecules that fill the air with a whole range of anti-germ defenses.

Even though these anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties are strong and effective against airborne germs, if you choose oils from milder plant species, you can still create synergies that are gentle enough for small children (see above).

As well as helping to reduce the activity of potential cold and flu germs in the air your family is breathing, you are also boosting their intake of natural immune-supporting molecules.

If you have some good essential oils (or a ready-made blend) and a diffuser in your home, it really only takes a few seconds a day to turn a shared space into a shielding, fortifying environment.

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When the sneezing and sniffing starts, you can still help the body fight it off quickly. It is good to remember that most symptoms are just visible signs that the immune system is doing its job well.

Pure essential oil remedies are good because they do not suppress the processes involved but rather help them to be more efficient.

Anti-inflammatory, decongestant, expectorant, anti-spasmodic, analgesic and relaxing properties are all available with the right combination of pure essential oils, as well as important vitamins and detoxifying compounds.

We can use pure essential oils in a variety of ways to maximize the impact for the patient. Here are some ideas:

Therapeutic baths - hot steam sends the vapors straight to the respiratory system. Hot baths also allow for fast absorption through the body’s open pores into the blood stream (optimum time is 15 minutes, before toxins released from the body are reabsorbed).

Steam inhalation: towel-covered head over hot water and essential oil drops for fast, direct vapour inhalation.

Neck/chest/foot rub: essential oil drops in a carrier oil or body lotion. Great for night-time breathing and immune support.

Nasal: a quick nasal blast of direct inhalation from the bottle or a drop on fingers to the inside of the nose (adults only).

Gentle night inhalation: a drop on pajamas or pillows.

Oral: a drop of Manuka in a teaspoon of honey for sore, tickly throats.

Safe essential oil dosage for family cold and flu care

Use single essential oils or combine them to the appropriate dosage total.

Diffusion: Adults 5-10 drops. Children (6 months+) 5 drops. Babies 3-5 drops

Bath: Adults 5-10 drops. Children (6 months+) 3-5 drops. Babies 1-3 drops, (only child-safe choices) first diluted in milk, then add to temperature-ready water.

Steam/Inhalation: Adults 2-3 drops.  Children (6 months+) 2-3 drops on pillow or cotton hanky only.  Babies 1-2 drops, (only baby-safe choices) on pillow or jumpsuit collar only.

Chest/neck/foot rub: Adults 5 drops direct (in 1 tsp carrier oil if sensitive). Children (6 months+) 3 drops in 1/2 tsp carrier oil. Babies 1 drop in 1/2 tsp carrier oil, (only baby-safe choices).


Medicinal-grade Therapeutic Plant Oils must be 100% pure. At Absolute Essential we use certified organic or wild grown (sustainable) plants to produce our oils and all extraction processes are strictly controlled to produce the best quality oil with maximum purity and therapeutic value. See more at Absolute Essential.