Thymeessential oil has antiviral and antibacterial properties and works effectively to kill off bacteria and viruses. The antibacterial activity of thyme oil was tested against clinical bacterial strains of Staphylococcus, Enterococcus, Escherichia and Pseudomonas genera. The results of experiments showed that the oil from T. vulgaris exhibited extremely strong activity against all of the clinical strains (1). Thyme oil must be diluted before use. The safest way to use it is via inhalation. Add 1 or 2 drops to steaming water and inhale. It can also be added with honey and diluted with water for gargling. It is not suitable for pregnant and lactating women and children under 6 years old.
Tea tree oil, is composed of terpene hydrocarbons, sesquiterpenes and their associated alcohols. The antibacterial activity of tea tree oil has been reported in literature appearing from as far back as 1940. Add up to 4 drops of tea tree essential oil to 2 cups of boiling water; cover your head with a towel, and inhale the steam through your nose. Keep your eyes closed to prevent eye irritation.
Peppermint essential oil contains menthol that causes a cooling sensation and can soothe the scratchiest of throats. This essential oil has also shown to help relax the throat muscles of the throat (bronchial muscles) and this alone can aid in breathing and swallowing (2). Add 3-4 drops in hot water and inhale the steam or use it in a diffuser. not suitable for pregnant and lactating women and children under 6 years old.
Eucalyptus oil is my go to oil for treating sinus congestions and the common cold. This leafy scented oil contains many natural components. The key compound in eucalyptus oil is 1,8-cineole which gives the oils its medicinal smell and is known to reduce nasal congestion and headaches. Cineole may help speed the healing of acute sinusitis, which often starts as a cold and then turns into a bacterial infection. In a 2004 double-blind study of 150 people with acute sinusitis that did not require treatment with antibiotics, those given 200 milligrams of cineole orally three times a day recovered significantly faster than those given a placebo (2). Steam inhalation and chest rubs are the most common methods of using this potent essential oil.
The next time you’re feeling under the weather, get your inhaler going with one or a combination of these amazing bug blitzers!
1. Antibacterial Activity of Thyme and Lavender Essential Oils
2. Kehrl W, Sonnemann U, Dethlefsen U. Therapy for acute nonpurulent rhinosinusitis with cineole: results of a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial. Laryngoscope. 2004;114(4):738-42. doi:10.1097/00005537-200404000-00027
Article by: Dr. Carolyn Goh
Integrated Health Consultant,
BEng., MSc., PhD (DIC)., MBBS