Using Eucalyptus Oil for a Cold or Flu

For centuries, eucalyptus oil has been used for medicinal purposes. Australian Aboriginals use infusions of eucalyptus leaves to treat colds, sinus congestion, and fever. In the late 1700s, the oil of eucalyptus leaves was used to treat marines and convicts. Later, it would be advertised as an antiseptic. The properties of eucalyptus oil are well-known and researched.  While not a cure-all, using eucalyptus oil for a cold or flu can help relieve symptoms. 

How Does Eucalyptus Oil Work Against Colds and the Flu?

There are many essential oils that can be used to help with colds and the flu and boost the immune system, but eucalyptus oil stands out from the crowd.

A review from 2010 found that eucalyptus oil has both antimicrobial and antiviral properties. Eucalyptol, or 1,8-cineole, is the main active component in this oil that gives it its cold-fighting properties.

Eucalyptus oil has been shown to be effective in treating non-bacterial sinus infections and respiratory problems. It may not be ideal for treating fevers; however, for stuffy noses and coughs, eucalyptus can be effective.

How to Use Eucalyptus Oil for a Cold and Flu

There are several ways to use eucalyptus oil for flu or cold. However, this essential oil should never be ingested. The oil itself is highly poisonous and can be fatal. It can be used as an inhalant or for topical purposes, but should never be consumed.

Throat and Chest Rub

Eucalyptus oil can be used in the same way as over-the-counter chest rubs you find in drug stores. You can make your own rub at home with two simple ingredients:

  • A few drops of eucalyptus essential oil
  • One ounce of carrier oil

It’s important to remember that essential oils are potent. They should never be applied directly to your skin because they can cause irritation. The carrier oil helps dilute the essential oil, making it safe to apply to your chest and throat.

There are several carrier oils to choose from:

  • Coconut
  • Olive
  • Jojoba
  • Rosehip
  • Apricot
  • Argan
  • Sweet almond
  • Avocado
  • Sunflower
  • Grapeseed
  • Black seed

Once combined, the solution of carrier oil and eucalyptus oil can be applied directly to the chest and throat to help with congestion and coughs.  

Using Eucalyptus Oil for a Cold or Flu Flu Bomb roller bottle on granite and wood cutting board with decorative succulents in the background

For maximum benefits, we recommend Flu Bomb; a premium blend that can be used at the first sign of cold or flu symptoms or used daily to help boost the immune system. Flu Bomb contains eucalyptus and 8 other essential oils as well as vitamins and minerals that are meant to help combat a range of cold and flu symptoms, including cough and congestion all in one easy-to-use oil or cream. 

Steam Inhalation

To combat congestion and coughs, eucalyptus oil can be added to a steam bath for inhalation. The oil will interact with mucous membranes to loosen and reduce mucous build-up.

  • Add a few drops of eucalyptus oil to a pot of steaming water.
  • Drape a clean towel over your head and around the pot to create a steam “tent.”
  • Inhale and allow the oil to do its work.

It’s important to be safe and use common sense when practicing steam inhalation. 

  • Don’t place your face too close to the water. There’s no need to get close to the pot. The towel will trap the steam inside, so you shouldn’t have an issue inhaling it. 
  • Wait until the water cools a little to avoid burning your face. 
  • If you feel any discomfort, stop.

For colds and flu, many people prefer the steam inhalation method because inhaling the diluted oil helps break up the mucous where it resides.

Shower Steam

Steam inhalation is an effective way to use eucalyptus oil for a cold, but if you prefer not to hover over a pot of steaming water, there is another option: shower steam.

The steam from a hot shower can also be an effective diffuser. Place a few drops of eucalyptus oil onto a warm, wet washcloth and place it in the shower. The steam from the shower will vaporize the oil, allowing you to inhale it and reap its benefits.

Along with the oil, the steam from the warm water will also bring some soothing relief while helping alleviate stress and promote relaxation.


Using Eucalyptus Oil for a Cold or Flu woman in grey shirt putting essential oil into an essential oil diffuser

An essential oil diffuser is another way to use eucalyptus oil for cold and flu. Diffusers work similarly to the steam inhalation and shower steam methods. The unit is filled with water, and a few drops of oil are added. Mist is emitted from the diffuser, which contains some of the oily particles of the oil.

The mist will fill the air, allowing you to inhale it and enjoy the cough-fighting benefits of Eucalyptus oil.

Diffusers must be used properly to be safe and effective.

  • Do not inhale the mist directly from the diffuser. Make sure the unit is sitting far enough away from your bedside or desk.
  • Because the device emits water and oil, it’s important to keep the unit away from electronics, books, and other things that may be damaged by water or oil.

Keep pets and children out of the room when using a diffuser, and only use it for short periods of time. If you want, you can add a carrier oil to the diffuser to further dilute this potent oil.

Eucalyptus oil can be used as an inhalant or topical rub to help with cold and flu symptoms, including coughs and congestion.

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