We’ve officially entered the time of year where colds are common and the sound of sniffles, sneezes, and coughs are a regular part of our daily soundtrack. If you’ve been struck down by some of these symptoms, you likely know that a lot of times, there’s nothing more to do than to wait it out.
Rest, if you can get it, is one of the best remedies. You can also incorporate some natural approaches, including the use of essential oils and herbs and spices, to relief. Here are two that you might consider trying.
Eucalyptus Oil (Eucalyptus globulus)
Eucalyptus has held a place in herbal medicine for centuries. Native to Australia, there are more than 680 species of eucalyptus, ranging from scrappy shrubs to towering trees. The bark and leaves provide a rich source of the pungent, heady fragrance that has become popular in modern aromatherapy. Specifically, Eucalyptus essential oil (EO) has attracted research attention for easing symptoms of respiratory illness.
The medicinal properties of Eucalyptus EO include anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antispasmodic, antibacterial, antiseptic and expectorant. The primary active component, cineole, loosens phlegm so the body can expel it more easily, easing symptoms such as cough, runny nose, sore throat, and congestion. Eucalyptus EO is found in many over-the-counter remedies including throat lozenges, inhalants, decongestant syrups, and chest rubs. However, it’s unsafe to ingest eucalyptus oil or to apply undiluted oil directly on the skin.
As an aromatherapy remedy for respiratory symptoms, you can buy eucalyptus prepared as a tea, chest rub, or vaporizer. You can also purchase organic Eucalyptus EO for use in bath water, to add to a vaporizer, or a room diffuser. The oil distributes in the steam, which helps open the nasal and respiratory pathways as you inhale. In a bath, add 1 tbsp of milk (almond, cashew or rice) with the oil to enhance dispersal of the oil.
Before preparing a home remedy, consult with a holistic physician about the proper dilution of the oil as it can interact with other medication, create an allergic reaction for some people, and requires different preparation for children than for adults.
When you’re battling a cold or other respiratory condition, your lungs often get congested with mucous that’s difficult to cough up. Forceful coughing can irritate the sensitive lining of your respiratory passages; your chest and stomach hurt with the effort, it’s hard to breathe, impossible to relax, and all at a time when your body is working hard to recover good health.
Still, you have to expel that trapped mucous in order to prevent infection from developing in the lungs, causing more serious illness such as bronchitis or bacterial pneumonia. A mustard chest pack may be just the trick. Mustard stimulates blood circulation by dilating the capillaries. Applying a mustard seed pack, also known as a mustard plaster on the chest over the lungs to help open the airways and make it easier to cough and release phlegm. Next time you’re down with a cold, give it a try.
How to Prepare a Mustard Pack
1 T. Mustard Seed Powder
4 T. flour
A drizzle of olive or coconut oil
Cotton Cloth (muslin cloth)
Warm, wet wash cloth
The mustard seed powder must be finely ground. If yours is lumpy, place in a mortar and pestle and grind until fine.
- Add flour to the mustard powder and drizzle in a little water to make a paste. The paste should not be thick or watery.
- Sterilize the cloth by boiling it in water. Squeeze out excess water and place on a clean cutting board.
- Spread a thin layer of the mustard paste on the cloth.
- Apply a thick coat of the oil and then place the mustard pack on the chest. Cover with a warm wet cloth.
- Leave in place for 15 minutes, then remove the pack and wash the area with warm water.
You can read more about cold prevention and treatment here.
If you prefer, you can purchase a mustard pack here.