10 Essential Oil Diffuser Recipes for Cough, Congestion, Colds/Flu (+PDF chart you can print)

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10 Diffuser Recipes for Cough, congestion, cold, & flu

If you have a cold, cough, congestion, or (noooo!) the flu, or you’re experiencing any of those symptoms due to Covid, you want to feel better ASAP! Essential oils are a wonderful, natural, and holistic resource because: 

Why use essential oils for cold and cough
  • Many essential oils are antimicrobial, antiviral, or antibacterial and have immune-boosting properties (ie, they can help prevent illness and/or help you recover faster) 
  • Essential oils directly impact the limbic system, which impacts how we react to stress (ie, essential oils help us sleep better, feel less pain, calm anxiety, etc.)     
  • Essential oils are easy to use, and can usually be used along with professional healthcare advice 

But, when you’re not feeling good, the last thing you need is to scour the internet trying to figure out the right oils to use. 

That’s why we made this handy printable chart for you. Print it, and use it to prep a few dropper bottles or roller bottles with your favorite recipes, and you’ll be ready to go whenever a cough, congestion, or a cold strike! 

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Essential Oils for Cough & Congestion (chart and PDF)

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Symptom(s)Essential oils 
Cough, congestion, and mucous Eucalyptus 
Tea tree oil 
Cold or flu Lavender 
Tea tree oil 
Immune support Oregano 
Ylang Ylang 
Soreness, body aches, and/or headachesPeppermint 
Children Lavender 
Eucalyptus (if your child is over age six) 

The Top 14 Essential Oils for Cold, Cough, and Congestion  

14 Essential oils for Cold, Cough, and congestion

1. Eucalyptus 

Eucalyptus is actually an ingredient in Vick’s Vapor Rub! It’s a powerful decongestant, and can help clear sinus congestion or chest congestion so you can breathe more easily. 

The eucalyptus tree is native to Australia, where Aboriginal peoples used the oil from the tree to treat wounds; today, we know the oil has natural disinfectant and anti-inflammation properties.  

2. Tea Tree Oil 

Tea tree oil is another oil from an Australian plant; it has a very similar profile to eucalyptus. You can diffuse it or rub in on your chest or the bottom of your feet to help you breathe more easily. 

3. Peppermint 

Peppermint is another great option for helping you breathe more easily. It contains menthol, a common ingredient used to treat coughs, congestion, and sore throat. 

Peppermint has been well-studied by modern science, and is a powerful analgesic that’s all natural and free from toxins. 

Peppermint also pairs well with eucalyptus or tea tree oil, and may also help relieve nausea, headaches, or soreness, if you’re also experiencing those along with a cough/congestion. 

4. Lavender 

Lavender is extremely soothing and calming, and also very gentle. Most people like the smell, and consider it soothing. But! It may also help with asthma-induced congestion or coughing. A recent study found that lavender suppressed inflammation in asthmatics. 

5. Cypress

Like tea tree and lavender, cypress is another tree oil known for its medicinal properties. It works as an antispasmodic, helping to calm the muscles involved in asthma, inflammation, coughing, and congestion. 

Cypress oil is also antibacterial, which means it can help recover from a bacterial infection or cold. Cypress can also help lift the mood and calm anxiety, and promote sleep, making it a great oil to reach for when coughing and congestion are keeping you from being able to sleep. 

6. Thyme 

This 2007 study found that thyme oil (as well as cinnamon and clove oil) could be used to treat respiratory tract infections. This finding was backed up by a more recent 2016 study.  

It’s not surprising that thyme is effective against coughs, congestion, colds, and the flu; it’s a relative of oregano and peppermint, both of which have powerful immunity-boosting and antibacterial properties. Thyme has been used for thousands of years by Medieval Europeans as well as ancient Egyptians and the ancient Romans. 

7. Geranium 

You might be familiar with tea tree oil or eucalyptus, but you may not be familiar with geranium oil (at least, as an oil; you’re probably familiar with the flower!). In a systematic review of thyme and geranium, geranium was found to be significantly superior to a placebo in lessening study participants’ cough symptoms. Some people don’t like the smell of geranium, but you may be able to mask it by diffusing it alongside strong oils like thyme or tee tree oil. 

8. Helichrysum 

Like lavender, geranium, and thyme, helichrysum is a Mediterranean plant with medicinal properties that are extremely helpful for colds, coughs, and congestion. 

It has natural antibacterial, antifungal, and antimicrobial properties, and can help with the prevent or treatment of a cough or cold caused by a bacterial infection. 

Finally, helichrysum has been found to lower inflammation, which means it’s an excellent oil to reach for any time you’re feeling sick.  

9. Lemon 

Lemon (like most citrus oils) is a mood-lifter, and can help hugely with anxiety and stress… especially if they’re illness-related! Mood and wellness can be linked, so helping your body stay positive naturally may help with everything from immunity to getting over colds or the flu faster. 

Lemon may also help relieve pain, which can be extremely helpful if body aches, soreness, or headaches accompany your cold or cough.  

10. Frankincense 

Frankincense is an ancient oil and a master healer. It’s known to boost immunity, and it also has powerful antiviral, antimicrobial, and possibly anti-cancer properties! It does have a spicy aroma that not everybody loves, but it pairs well with lighter oils like lavender or lemon. 

Frankincense also has very powerful calming and anxiety-busting properties. 

11. Rosemary

Many of the plants on this list–eucalyptus, rosemary, thyme–grow naturally in hot, intense climates, and they develop qualities to protect themselves and heal from pests and the elements. 

That may be what makes the essential oils from these plants so powerful; turns out, they help protect ourselves and heal, too!  

Scientists have identified 29 chemical compounds in rosemary essential oil; three of those compounds have been found to have an analgesic (pain-relieving) effect. 

Rosemary is also excellent for relieving inflammation; all of which makes it a fantastic choice for relieving pain from coughs, colds, flu, or other sickness, and boosting immunity. 

12. Ginger 

In Ayurvedic traditions and Traditional Chines Medicine, ginger is seen as warming. This means it will increase energy and blood flow and speed up healing. It can also help with nausea. 

13. Oregano 

Oregano is an absolute powerhouse of an oil! 

It’s been shown to be effective against staph, e. Coli, and other harmful bacteria, including those that cause upper respiratory infections (and resulting coughs, congestion, and runny noses). In fact, oregano is so capable, many call it nature’s antibiotic. 

14. Chamomile 

Chamomile is extremely gentle and perfect for children–but it’s still highly effective. It can help calm and soothe, especially when kids aren’t feeling good and having trouble sleeping well. 

What Can I Diffuse for Cough and Congestion? 

For a cough and congestion, reach for: 

  • Eucalyptus 
  • Tea tree oil 
  • Peppermint 
  • Lavender 
  • Cypress 
  • Thyme 
  • Geranium 
  • Cinnamon 
  • Clove

Jump to the Ultimate Cough & Congestion diffuser blend or our Breathing is Lovely Congestion & Runny Nose diffuser blend.

What Essential Oils Are Good for Cough and Mucous? 

Top Essential Oils for cough and Mucous

These are the best essential oils for cough and mucous: 

  • Eucalyptus 
  • Tea tree oil 
  • Peppermint 
  • Lavender 
  • Cypress 
  • Thyme 
  • Geranium 
  • Cinnamon 
  • Clove

Jump to the Ultimate Cough & Congestion diffuser blend or our Breathing is Lovely Congestion & Runny Nose diffuser blend.

What Essential Oils Should I Diffuse for a Cold? 

Top Essential Oils for Colds

Here are the best essential oils to diffuse for a cold: 

  • Lavender 
  • Frankincense 
  • Eucalyptus 
  • Lemon 
  • Tea tree oil 
  • Peppermint 
  • Cypress 
  • Oregano 
  • Cinnamon 
  • Ginger 

Jump straight to the Ultimate Cough & Congestion Recipe diffuser blend, our Get These Germs Outta Here Air Purifying blend, or Soothing Pain Relief for Body Aches diffuser blend.

The Best Essential Oils for Immune System Diffuser 

Top essential oils to Diffuse for Immune System

The best essential oils to diffuse for an immune system boost are:

  • Oregano 
  • Frankincense 
  • Ylang Ylang 
  • Cinnamon 
  • Cloves 
  • Ginger 
  • Eucalyptus 
  • Lemon  
  • Rosemary 

Jump straight to the No Time for Germs immunity blend, Moms Don’t Get Sick immunity boosting diffuser blend, or the Inflammation Buster diffuser blend. 

The Best Essential Oils for a Runny Nose (Child Version) 

The best essential oils to diffuse for a child’s runny nose are: 

  • Lavender 
  • Chamomile 
  • Eucalyptus (if your child is over age six) 
  • Lemon 

Jump straight to the Gentle Immunity for Little Ones diffuser blend, or the Get These Germs Outta Here air purifying diffuser blend. 

And now for some recipes…

The Ultimate Cough & Congestion Recipe | Diffuser Blend

Cough and congestions diffuser blend recipe

All of our favorite essential oils for cough and congestion, in one diffuser blend! 

  • 3 drops eucalyptus 
  • 3 drops oregano 
  • 3 drops peppermint 
  • 3 drops lavender  

Pair it with: clear quartz

Get These Germs Outta Here | Air Purifying Diffuser Blend 

air purifying diffuser blend recipe

Clear the air naturally, without any nasty toxins, so you can get back to living your life! Eucalyptus, lemongrass, and pine are all extremely purifying, and have antibacterial properties. 

Plus, their smell is cleansing and clarifying. Bye, germs…

  • 5 drops eucalyptus 
  • 5 drops lemongrass 
  • 5 drops pine (or siberian fir)

Pair it with: selenite 

Moms Don’t Get Sick | Immunity Boosting Diffuser Blend 

Moms immunity boosting diffuser blend recipe

This recipe first appeared as a roller ball recipe in Beyond Lavender, and it’s a crowd favorite! 

Here, we’ve adapted it for your diffuser. Use it whenever you feel you might be getting sick…because heaven knows moms don’t have time for that! 

  • 7 drops frankincense 
  • 5 drops lemon 
  • 2 drops oregano 

Pair it with: bloodstone 

No Time for Germs | Immune Support Diffuser Blend 

Immune support diffuser blend recipe

Cinnamon and frankincense are both warming oils, and in both Traditional Chinese Medicine and Ayurvedic traditions, warming = health and wellbeing. We’ve added a touch of lemon, too, to add a little sunshine to your day. Happy diffusing! 

  • 5 drops cinnamon
  • 5 drops frankincense
  • 5 drops lemon  

Pair it with: clear quartz or hematite 

Breathing is Lovely | Congestion and Runny Nose Diffuser Blend  

Congestions diffuser blend recipe

Tea tree oil and peppermint are instant congestion-clearers, while lemon helps to brighten and revive. A perfect combination for when congestion is making it tough to breathe! 

Note: to adapt for little ones, just reduce each oil to two drops. 

  • 5 drops tea tree oil 
  • 5 drops peppermint  
  • 5 drops lemon 

Pair it with: amazonite 

Gentle Immunity for Little Ones | Kids’ Immunity Diffuser Blend 

kids immunity diffuser recipe

These oils are gentle, yet supportive, and we’ve adjusted the oil:water diffuser ratio already so your little ones feel comfortable (but feel free to adjust further as needed). This is a great daily blend to promote health and wellness (and it smells lovely, too!). 

  • 3 drops lavender 
  • 3 drops chamomile 
  • 3 drops frankincense 

Pair with: amethyst 

Soothing Pain Relief | Body Aches Diffuser Blend 

Body aches diffuser blend recipe

Cough and congestion are one thing when you have a cold, but if you also have aches and pains, headaches or migraines, or any other kind of body soreness when you’re sick, it’s the worst! 

These oils have been used for thousands of years to reduce pain, soothe, comfort, and help ease soreness and aching. Diffuse them as needed! 

  • 5 drops marjoram 
  • 5 drops rosemary 
  • 5 drops helichrysum (optional) 

Pair it with: chrysocolla  

I Can Feel My Head and I Don’t Like It | Headache or Migraine Pain Relief Diffuser Blend 

headache relief diffuser bland recipe

We first published this recipe as a roller bottle blend in this article about pain relief. But it also works really well as a diffuser blend. All three oils are powerful pain relievers and especially potent when it comes to migraines. 

Once you’ve added your oils to the diffuser, inhale deeply for several minutes.  

  • 5 drops frankincense 
  • 5 drops helichrysum 
  • 5 drops peppermint 

Pair it with: amethyst 

Inflammation Buster | Anti-inflammatory Diffuser Blend 

anti-inflammatory diffuser blend recpie

Sometimes inflammation leads to colds or the flu, and sometimes it’s the other way around. Either way, this diffuser blend contains oils that have been proven to reduce inflammation, helping you feel better, and helping you stay well. 

  • 6 drops frankincense 
  • 3 drops tea tree oil 
  • 3 drops lemon 
  • 3 drops lavender  

Pair it with: selenite 

Sore Throat Relief | Diffuser Blend 

Sore Throat Diffuser Blend Recpie

If your cold has settled in your throat, try this diffuser blend to soothe and comfort you, and also provide immune protection. 

  • 4 drops oregano 
  • 4 drops cinnamon
  • 4 drops ginger  

Pair it with: clear quartz

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