You’re way too busy to be sick but your nose is stuffed and runny, your throat is sore, and you feel achy and chilled. Another miserable cold. There is no cure for the common cold but Aromatherapy will make you feel better and will speed your recovery. It’s easy to use and worth the effort.

If you do not have a cold now, you will get one. It’s just a matter of time. The common cold is called that because it is the most prevalent illness in humankind afflicting billions of people worldwide every year and causing billions of dollars in lost productivity. And there is no cure. Fortunately after contracting a cold, your body’s immune system will dispense with the viral infection in about 7 to 10 days. In the meantime, you will feel miserable and will probably spread your cold because living in quarantine is usually not an option.

What should you do? A few simple Aromatherapy treatments can make you feel more comfortable, reduce the chance of your cold developing into a more serious illness, and shorten the time to recovery.

What is a cold?

We all know what a cold is, right? It’s a viral infection of the upper respiratory system most commonly affecting the nose and throat. Your body’s response to the infection produces all the nasty symptoms; coughing, sneezing, runny nose, nasal congestion, sore throat, headaches, chills and sometimes fever. More than 200 different viruses can cause a cold and these can mutate, so only partial immunity is possible.

In case you’re wondering, cold viruses only live in the noses of humans and other primates so your dog or cat can not catch your cold. That’s good because no one else will spend time with you when you’re really sick.

Can I prevent a cold?

You can’t, unless you want to live like a hermit. Cold viruses are highly contagious and are spread through the air by sneezing and coughing and also by touch. They can survive for several hours on inanimate objects like a telephone receiver or a door knob, waiting to be transferred to the next hapless victim. If you spend time in close proximity with someone that has a cold, you are quite likely to contract the cold yourself. Frequently washing your hands is the most effective preventive measure that you can take, but even this is difficult in most social settings without looking germ phobic and it won’t protect you from airborne viruses.

Are colds a serious illness?

For normally healthy individuals, colds are generally not serious. Since everyone gets them, it’s difficult to solicit any sympathy when it’s your turn to be sick but they can take you out of commission for a day or two.

Colds should not be ignored. They can make you more susceptible to bacterial infections that can develop into serious conditions such as sinusitis, middle ear infections, bronchitis, and pneumonia. Colds will also present a serious risk to anyone suffering from asthma or emphysema as they will aggravate the illness.

Treat your cold with Aromatherapy

Aromatherapy is a good alternative to over the counter cold remedies which contain pain medication, decongestants and cough suppressants. These “remedies” control symptoms without treating the underlying cause and carry the risk of side effects. Many people take cold remedies to enable them to keep on going and work through the cold but in doing so, they can make it harder for their body to recover.

The holistic approach of Aromatherapy is perfectly suited to the treatment of colds. There is no mechanistic medical treatment for a cold. You can’t take a pill and make it go away. Your body has to heal itself. Certain essential oils can provide relief from the cold symptoms, reduce the chance of secondary infection, by killing bacteria and also shorten the duration of the cold by boosting the body’s immune system. Full recovery means a more competent immune system, better health and less chance of contracting a cold in the future.

Simple cold treatments

The best Aromatherapy cold treatments are the simplest to use; inhalation and hot baths.

Inhalation clears congested nasal passages, soothes inflamed membranes, and kills bacteria. There are several essential oils that are effective in treating colds or the flu. Eucalyptus and Tea Tree are powerful antiviral agents but Rosemary, Pine and Frankincense are also good choices. Lavender is preferred for a late evening treatment as it will help to relax you for a good night’s rest. Thyme is particularly effective in relieving sore throats and is well known to be one of the most effective natural immune boosters.

Pour boiling water from a kettle into a bowl. Add 5 drops of essential oil. Place your head over the steam and drape a towel over your head to contain the vapor. Breathe deeply through your nose. Use this treatment at the first sign of your cold symptoms and you may be able to prevent the cold from developing.

Inhalation can also be achieved by diffusing essential oils into the air where you are resting. The vapor will help you recover and will also help to contain the infection so that others in your family do not catch it. Remember to use Lavender at night.

A personal inhaler is a handy, portable way to treat your cold symptoms but in a pinch you can put one or two drops of essential oil on a tissue to inhale the vapor.

Perhaps the most popular Aromatherapy treatment for colds is a hot bath with 10 drops of essential oil added to the bath water. The oil is absorbed through the skin and by inhalation. The hot, steamy bath will ease your aches and chills and prepare you for restful sleep while you breathe in the healing vapors. Marjoram is a good essential oil to add to your bath water blend as it is very effective in relieving the aches and chills of a cold and will also treat headaches that sometimes accompany a cold.

Use these simple Aromatherapy treatments and don’t forget to drink plenty of fluids, get a good night’s rest and of course, enjoy a delicious, hot bowl of chicken soup. Before you know it you will be back in business and ready to take on the world.

Author's Bio: 

Marilyn Flook manages the Forever Fragrant website which promotes aromatherapy and natural products. Does your child have a cold? Read about safe, drug-free treatments in Children and the Common Cold.