Essential Oils have been used for centuries to support the immune system and to treat a variety of health related conditions. Documented use goes back to the bible, and there are practitioners who only use the biblical oils in their practices.
There are a number of individual oils and blends that are wonderful for the lungs. Some are able to loosen phlegm and open the airways when we have colds with congestion, bronchitis, and even pneumonia (though we don’t mean to suggest that you would forgo medical treatment with pneumonia!). There are a number of ways that oils can be used in these situations, and I will discuss 2.
The first is called Cupping, where you put 2-3 drops of the oil or blend into the palm of the hand, rub your hands together and hold them over the mouth and nose in a cupped fashion while breathing deeply in and out for 1-2 minutes. This can actually cause some coughing which is a good sign as it means it is opening up the bronchioles and allowing for the phlegm to be moved out.
The second is Steaming. First you will bring a small pot of water to a boil, remove it from the heat and add 3-5 drops of either peppermint or eucalyptus essential oil (please be sure they are therapeutic grade and not perfume grade). Place a kitchen towel over your head and breathe in the steam for a few minutes. This is a preferable method when there is a lot of sinus congestion as the steam helps to break it up and the oils allow for drainage.
These are just a couple of ways to help yourself in the thick of a cold or flu, and there are many others. Essential oils can be a terrific way to support kids as well. There is nothing bad to taste, you can use a diffuser in their rooms or put some oils into a hot tub while they soak to help break up congestion and allow for drainage. When done before bed this will help them to get a better night sleep, which is very important for recovery from any illness!
It is also important to mention that essential oils do not provide relief on their own. However, when coupled with a healthy lifestyle, including changes to your diet — which involve nixing processed foods, and sticking to a whole foods diet with a focus on anti-inflammatory foods — getting regular exercise appropriate for your condition, and getting plenty of sleep, they may just help a lot.