Many essential oils are antiviral and can help to fight the flu virus. If you take a bath with antiviral essential oils at the very start of the flu, you can sometimes reduce the length of your illness. After taking a bath, it is best to get some sleep. If you start to sweat profusely, you know that the treatment is working; this is your body’s natural healing response.
Many of these oils stimulate the immune system and provide natural flu prevention. The following bath blends are for adults. Add the essential oils into the bath water just before you step into the tub, and mix well into the water.
Two Relaxing Anti-Flu Evening Baths
These bath blends are more relaxing and better for an evening bath. Ideally, you can go straight to bed after your bath!
- 3 drops Lavender
- 3 drops Ravensara
Ravensara (Ravensara aromatica) is one of the best essential oils for the flu season: it is immunostimulant, anti-viral and anti-microbial, and also expectorant – good for relieving coughs. It is non-toxic and non-sensitizing. Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia/officinalis/vera) is antiviral, antibacterial and sedative, and it relieves aches and pains. A good sleep is often the best medicine, anyway.
This blend is great for the start of the flu, when you feel achy and chilled:
- 2 drops Lavender
- 2 drops Ravensara
- 2 drops Marjoram
Marjoram (Origanum majorana) is a warming, relaxing oil that can reduce the chills and the joint aches at the beginning of the flu. Like Lavender, it will also help you to sleep better.
Two Morning or Daytime Anti-Flu Bath Blends
These oils are more stimulating, and better for a morning or daytime bath.
- 2 drops Eucalyptus
- 3 drops Tea-tree
- 1 drop Pine
This blend is good for sinus congestion. Tea tree (Melaleuca alternifolia) is antiviral and antibacterial, and one of the best natural flu remedies. Eucalyptus (globulus or radiata) is antibacterial, antiviral and decongestant, good for clearing a stuffy nose and fighting sinus infections. Pine (Pinus sylvestris) is a refreshing, antibacterial, decongestant oil that also relieves muscle aches and pains and opens the nasal passages.
Here’s another morning or daytime blend that is also good if you have a sore throat:
- 1 drop Pine
- 2 drops Thyme
- 3 drops Tea-tree
Thyme (Thymus vulgaris) is especially good for sore throats and for coughs and other respiratory infections.
A Bath to Bring Down Fever
- Use Bergamot (Citrus bergamia) and/or Peppermint (Mentha piperita)
Both oils can help to bring down fever. Peppermint is a skin irritant and strongly stimulating, so use only 1-2 drops (try blending into carrier oil if it irritates your skin in the bath). Use alone or combine with 4-5 drops of Bergamot. Bergamot on its own works, too: add up to 6 drops to a bath. Don’t make the bath hot when you have fever.
If you are too ill to take a bath, make cold compresses: add 1-2 drops of Peppermint and/or 4-6 drops of Bergamot oil into a bowl of cold water, and soak a small towel (such as a face towel) or a few small towels in the water. Wring the towel(s) and place on your forehead and your body. When the compress gets hot from your body heat, soak again in cold water and repeat the whole process several times. I have successfully used Peppermint compresses on myself to bring down a very high fever.
Disclaimer: I’m not telling you to ignore medical advice or stop taking medication if you are severely ill. You can use this method for bringing down fever even if you take medicines.
A Bath for Kids
Add 1-2 drops of Lavender or Ravensara essential oil into 1-2 teaspoons of base oil or full-fat milk, and add to the bath. The base oil can make the tub slippery, so make sure your child does not slip.
In addition to taking baths, add any of these oils to your vaporizer or oil burner: Eucalyptus, (try the lemon-scented Eucalyptus citriodora), Tea Tree, Ravensara, Lavender, Lemon, Niaouli, Cajeput, Thyme, Pine, Peppermint, Bergamot, Lemongrass.
Sources: Patricia Davis: Aromatherapy, an A-Z (Random House, UK, 2004)