If you're one of those unfortunate souls who carries around an awful cough for most of winter, then you're constantly on the lookout for new tricks to deal with your cold. There's the teas you chug throughout the day, the steaming hot shower you hope will open up your lungs, and the over-the-counter medication you slurp down before bedtime as you pray it'll keep you asleep. But sometimes you have to think outside of the box in order to take on such a formidable foe, which requires you to ask out-of-the-box questions like this one: Does eucalyptus help with colds?
Herbal remedies have been used for centuries as a way to alleviate pain, treat wounds, and cope with ailments far more severe than the common cold. Eucalyptus in particular has a history as an antiseptic, and it was even used to prevent the spread of meningitis in World War I.
In 2017, we're lucky enough to have a variety of options in regards to how we can reap the medicinal benefits of plants. The easiest, and in my opinion, most delightful option is to purchase the plant's essential oil.
Eucalyptus essential oil holds all of the medicinal properties of the plant itself, and it's an excellent way to ward off colds.
To be clear, a cold will usually resolve itself without medical attention, but it's the symptoms of the cold that you have to live with, and that a product like eucalyptus oil can help to alleviate.
Eucalyptus oil has been proven to be effective in treating non-bacterial sinus infections (aka ones that don't require antibiotics), and works primarily in treating respiratory problems. So, unfortunately, if you have a fever, eucalyptus oil probably won't be the best way to treat the symptoms. But if you're dealing with a stuffy nose, mucus-filled lungs, and a wet, hacking cough, this essential oil is a great, all-natural way to make your days a little less miserable while you work through your cold.
To take full advantage of your new anti-sniffle strategy, there's more than one way to use eucalyptus oil.
One option is to drip a few drops into a pot of boiling water, and inhale the steam. Eucalyptus oil will work to clear up a blocked nose, and honestly, it'll probably also trick you into thinking you're at a day spa, which is always a fun game to play with yourself, especially when you're sick and not totally tuned into reality anyway.
If a sore throat is the symptom that's really bumming you out with your cold, you can fashion a homemade eucalyptus spray, such as this one by One Good Thing, to alleviate the pain and inflammation at the back of your throat. To do so, combine three-quarters of a cup of water, two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar, two teaspoons of raw honey, one teaspoon of sea salt, eight drops each of lemon and shield essential oil, then four drops each of eucalyptus and peppermint essential oil. This DIY spray is sure to decrease the misery of living with a sore throat, as well as alleviate any side effects you might endure as a result of taking too much OTC medication, like drowsiness and a foggy mind.
If you don't have time to make the spray, you can always gargle warm water mixed with eucalyptus oil to reap the same benefits.
If you're having trouble breathing through the night, using a diffuser to circulate the eucalyptus aroma through your bedroom might help you sleep more soundly. One of the best things you can do for yourself when you're sick is to ensure you're getting good, quality sleep so your body has the strength to fight off infections.
Of course, if your symptoms start to become more severe, or you experience any sort of substantial pain, you should probably speak to a doctor and save the eucalyptus oil for a home spa day.