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essential oils for cold flu
Wellness
Published Wednesday Oct 30, 2019 by Jasmine Smith

The Best Essential Oils for Cold and Flu Season

Personal Growth
Expert Advice

The common cold is annoying. It can stop us from living our best lives and leave us feeling depleted, depressed, and laid out for days. If we do come down with the common cold, doctors tell us the best treatment is to rest, hydrate, and let the virus run its course. Here’s how essential oils can help.


 
What causes the common cold?

The common cold is caused by a virus. Unlike bacterial infections, viruses cannot be treated with antibiotics, because they need your cells to ‘host’ them. They penetrate our cells, duplicating more viruses and breaking through barriers. This is something bacteria, fungi, parasites, and almost all other elements cannot do. 
 
Viruses grow and reproduce only after they’ve invaded our living cells. The body’s immune system can fight off some viruses before they cause illness, but others (colds, for example) are typically said to “run their course.”
 

How do we stop it? 

Many of our modern medicines are simply synthetic versions of nature’s oldest medicine - essential oils. With the power of plants in the form of essential oils, we can help strengthen our immune system during a viral attack, and/or shorten the length and severity of the common cold or flu. Every time we place something synthetic or processed into our body, we create more work for our systems. When we take synthetics, our bodies have to do more work, filtering the ingredients through our kidneys and liver to make sure none of them are harmful.

When we are sick, our bodies are spending so much energy fighting those icky viruses; we don’t have any extra energy to expend. Our bodies recognize plant-based treatments like essential oils as natural and don’t need to take extra precautionary action.

Unlike antibiotics and synthetic medicines, essential oils are small enough to pass through our cells’ membranes. This means essential oils are the only defense that can enter the cell to fight off the virus for you. Pretty amazing! 
 
 

For a stuffy nose...
Eucalyptus 

Eucalyptus oil can be an effective remedy in easing congestion, chesty coughs, and thinning mucus. It helps to relieve stuffy noses and may safely fight viruses and respiratory problems such as bronchitis.”

Thyme 

Thyme was commonly used by the Egyptians and ancient Greeks to help fight against infectious illnesses. “Thyme oil is thought to have antispasmodic properties and has been shown to be effective at reducing coughs and reducing the duration of respiratory tract infections, such as the common cold.”

Douglas Fir

Respected for its ability to help support the respiratory system, this oil is effective in antibacterial activity against the respiratory tract and was found to demonstrate an antioxidant effect in the body.
 

1
For a stuffy nose...
Eucalyptus 

Eucalyptus oil can be an effective remedy in easing congestion, chesty coughs, and thinning mucus. It helps to relieve stuffy noses and may safely fight viruses and respiratory problems such as bronchitis.”

Thyme 

Thyme was commonly used by the Egyptians and ancient Greeks to help fight against infectious illnesses. “Thyme oil is thought to have antispasmodic properties and has been shown to be effective at reducing coughs and reducing the duration of respiratory tract infections, such as the common cold.”

Douglas Fir

Respected for its ability to help support the respiratory system, this oil is effective in antibacterial activity against the respiratory tract and was found to demonstrate an antioxidant effect in the body.
 

For a sore throat...
Melaleuca

Melaleuca, also known as Tea Tree oil, has been researched extensively and shown to have antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral properties. Use this essential oil for coughs, bronchial congestion, and sore throats. Studies show Melaleuca essential oil may inhibit influenza virus entry into the host cell. Tea Tree essential oils can also be used as a natural disinfectant, use it to kill germs on surfaces and in the air.

Rosemary 

Rosemary essential oil was found to have analgesic (pain-blocking) and anti-inflammatory activity. As a warming oil, Rosemary is good for relieving aches and pains, a sore throat, and any symptoms due to inflammation. 

Lemon 

Lemon essential oil is antifungal, antioxidizing, and aids rhinitis. A natural disinfectant, Lemon oil is ideal for fighting viruses as well as reducing the most common cold and flu symptoms. It’s no surprise Lemon has long been considered a cure-all. 
 

2
For a sore throat...
Melaleuca

Melaleuca, also known as Tea Tree oil, has been researched extensively and shown to have antibacterial, antifungal, and antiviral properties. Use this essential oil for coughs, bronchial congestion, and sore throats. Studies show Melaleuca essential oil may inhibit influenza virus entry into the host cell. Tea Tree essential oils can also be used as a natural disinfectant, use it to kill germs on surfaces and in the air.

Rosemary 

Rosemary essential oil was found to have analgesic (pain-blocking) and anti-inflammatory activity. As a warming oil, Rosemary is good for relieving aches and pains, a sore throat, and any symptoms due to inflammation. 

Lemon 

Lemon essential oil is antifungal, antioxidizing, and aids rhinitis. A natural disinfectant, Lemon oil is ideal for fighting viruses as well as reducing the most common cold and flu symptoms. It’s no surprise Lemon has long been considered a cure-all. 
 

For a cough...
Cardamom 

Cardamom essential oil is a powerful antispasmodic, decongestant, and expectorant that helps the respiratory system relieve cough symptoms. It also has anti-inflammatory properties to aid the reduction of muscle aches and pains.

Marjoram 

Marjoram comes from the mint botanical family and has been shown to have antifungal properties. It serves as an expectorant; aiding to expel loose mucus from the system. It can also be relaxing and serve as a sedative to the muscles that constrict sometimes contributing headaches.

Basil

Basil essential oil was used anciently for respiratory problems and is shown to have antibacterial properties that strongly inhibit drug-resistant bacteria. Basil oil also has powerful antispasmodic properties helping to reduce cough symptoms.
 

3
For a cough...
Cardamom 

Cardamom essential oil is a powerful antispasmodic, decongestant, and expectorant that helps the respiratory system relieve cough symptoms. It also has anti-inflammatory properties to aid the reduction of muscle aches and pains.

Marjoram 

Marjoram comes from the mint botanical family and has been shown to have antifungal properties. It serves as an expectorant; aiding to expel loose mucus from the system. It can also be relaxing and serve as a sedative to the muscles that constrict sometimes contributing headaches.

Basil

Basil essential oil was used anciently for respiratory problems and is shown to have antibacterial properties that strongly inhibit drug-resistant bacteria. Basil oil also has powerful antispasmodic properties helping to reduce cough symptoms.
 

For nausea...
Peppermint

For centuries, peppermint has been used to aid digestive difficulties and freshen breath. Peppermint oil has even been shown to reduce the intensity of nausea to cancer patients during chemotherapy.

Ginger

Ginger, an ancient esteemed spice known for its support of the digestive system, can lower nausea, fever, and decrease vomiting.
 

4
For nausea...
Peppermint

For centuries, peppermint has been used to aid digestive difficulties and freshen breath. Peppermint oil has even been shown to reduce the intensity of nausea to cancer patients during chemotherapy.

Ginger

Ginger, an ancient esteemed spice known for its support of the digestive system, can lower nausea, fever, and decrease vomiting.
 

For inflammation…
Copaiba

Copaiba is a flowering plant, and Copaiba oil is simply the steam distilled from its resin. Copaiba essential oil has been shown to increase antioxidative properties in the body, reducing inflammation.

Roman Chamomile 

Known for its calming and relaxing properties, Roman Chamomile can block the signaling chemical involved in inflammation.

Frankincense 

Frankincense has been considered a holy oil in the East for centuries and is studied as an anticancer remedy. Not only can it reduce inflammation caused by cold and flu viruses, but it has shown to produce cellular death in infected human cancer cells.


If you’re a science nerd like me and love to geek out on essential oils, check out my video, The Hype on Essential Oils! Jump to 15:15 to see the breakdown of the cellular membrane and viruses or visit SoulPerspective365 to learn more about essential oils.

5
For inflammation…
Copaiba

Copaiba is a flowering plant, and Copaiba oil is simply the steam distilled from its resin. Copaiba essential oil has been shown to increase antioxidative properties in the body, reducing inflammation.

Roman Chamomile 

Known for its calming and relaxing properties, Roman Chamomile can block the signaling chemical involved in inflammation.

Frankincense 

Frankincense has been considered a holy oil in the East for centuries and is studied as an anticancer remedy. Not only can it reduce inflammation caused by cold and flu viruses, but it has shown to produce cellular death in infected human cancer cells.


If you’re a science nerd like me and love to geek out on essential oils, check out my video, The Hype on Essential Oils! Jump to 15:15 to see the breakdown of the cellular membrane and viruses or visit SoulPerspective365 to learn more about essential oils.

Jasmine Smith MINDBODY
Written by
Jasmine Smith
Yogi | Meditation Teacher
About the author
Jasmine Smith is a spiritual development coach, yogi, meditation teacher, science nerd, essential oil junkie, hypnotherapist, and a former medical assistant. Not one for labels, you may find it difficult to categorize her and she's okay with that. An international teacher and innovative thought leader, Jasmine brings a depth of experience, a fresh perspective, and a new way of being 365 days a year.
people in upward dog practicing yoga on mats
Fitness
Published Wednesday Jul 28, 2021 by Bree Lewis

Sweat Redemption: 5 Tips for Getting Back Into Your Hot Yoga Practice

Yoga
Fitness
Expert Advice

If you’ve ever taken a hot yoga class, you know it’s always going to be one thing—outrageously hot. Not the “let’s hang by the pool and get that sun-kissed glow” kind of hot either. I’m talking that “I can't believe I have this much sweat in my body” and “I may or may not pass out” kind of hot. It’s nothing to mess around with, and after a year or so of not being able to go, it’s easy to forget just how serious that heat can be.

To get the maximum enjoyment and benefits out of your heated yoga classes, you need to prepare yourself before and take care of yourself afterward. Luckily, I’ve been taking some classes (sweating enough for the both of us) and I’ve listed my five favorite must-dos to help you readjust to your heated classes and get back to the hot yoga summer that we all want.

1. Go at your own pace

Heated classes are difficult in nature. The normal difficulty of regular poses is mixed in with the added challenges of sweating and dealing with the humidity and the heat (at times, I’ve seen the thermostat climb to 108 degrees—yikes!). Depending on what type of yoga class you’re taking (sculpt, Bikram, power vinyasa), the difficulty level and temperature are going to vary. It’s also important to remember that each person in the room is going to practice in a way that’s unique to them. Hours slept, hydration levels, food intake, and different lifestyles are all contributing factors that make our practices different. What you practice on your mat is your own––trust your body and only do what feels right to you.  And remember, it’s okay to take breaks!

2. Hydrate like your life depends on it (honestly, it might)

The rise in temperature mixed in with the humidity that we all know and love creates the perfect recipe for sweating—like A LOT. You go into a heated class dry and come out feeling like you just took a dip in the pool. Before heated classes, I had no idea it was physically possible to sweat that much. If you’re going to a heated class, especially after a long break, it’s easy to forget just how much you might sweat. Is it possible to lose that much water if you haven’t consumed it first? Trust me, going into your heated class super hydrated is going to make a world of difference and help you feel good throughout your practice. And don’t forget to take some sips of H2O while you’re practicing!  

3. Nourish your body

Heated classes are challenging, but I can’t stop going. Nothing quite compares to overcoming the challenge— and experiencing the cleanse my body feels after I’m done. It’s the perfect blend of hard and rewarding, but I couldn’t do it if my body wasn’t properly nourished. On the days I know I have a heated class booked; I like to make sure I am eating right. I make sure to take my vitamins and fuel my body with fruits, vegetables, and my favorite superfood shake. I hold off on food about an hour before my practice, so I feel comfortable. After the class, I like to replenish with a big protein shake (boosted with collagen to aid with muscle recovery and skin elasticity). There is no one-way path for properly nourishing your body but making sure you’re fueled for the challenge of a heated class is essential for getting the most out of your practice and feeling good on and off your mat.

4. Replenish those electrolytes

Increasing and maintaining your water intake on the days you take a heated class is important, but sometimes you need something a little extra. If you’re sweating that much, you’re basically an athlete (at least in my book) and if you’re performing like a rockstar yogi, you need to hydrate like one as well. That means replenishing those lost electrolytes. Reward yourself and your body for the hard work and treat yourself to your favorite drink. I switch off between electrolyte-boosting drinks and coconut water depending on what I’m in the mood for that day. Adding these to my post-practice self-care routine has helped me feel more hydrated after and ready to take on the world again after especially sweaty classes.

5. Bring the right equipment

Usually, a yoga mat is all you need for your practice––but heated classes are a different ballgame. I’ve gone with just a mat, and I’ve slipped all over the place. Let me tell you, there’s nothing worse than having sweat drip all over the place while you’re trying to hold a pose that makes you grip your mat for dear life (never again). Make sure you bring a towel to place over your mat, this will help with support and grip. Bringing a smaller towel is also a good idea. You can use the smaller towel to dry yourself off during water breaks or whenever you’re feeling just a bit too sweaty. This is a small step that makes a world of difference during those super-hot classes.

So, there you have it. Five of my favorite tips (more like lifesavers) that have helped me readjust to those heated classes I love so much. Getting back into it is a challenge for us all, so know you’re not alone. No matter where you’re at in your practice, remember to be kind and gentle to yourself––celebrating your health and your body’s ability to do what you love. We’re all just getting back out there, together.

Ready to jump back into your hot yoga routine? Browse Mindbody to find the perfect class for you

While you’re at it, check out some Intro Offers near you that can help you get back to your cadence of hot yoga classes.

bree lewis headshot
Written by
Bree Lewis
Marketing Content Associate
About the author
Born and raised in a small mountain town just south of Yosemite National Park, Bree is an avid lover of health, wellness, and connecting to the outside world around us. As a Cal Poly English major alumn, she has a knack for books, writing, and all things words. In her free time, she enjoys being outside, drinking craft beers, and keeping life jazzy!