Inhale when you have a cold

Inhale when you have a cold

Winter time − cold season. Hardly anyone is spared from the annoying cold and cough . Especially at the first sign of a cold; inhalations with herbs or essential oils can relieve the symptoms without side effects. However, inhaling cannot replace the doctor: in the case of prolonged symptoms with a high fever and poor general condition, he must decide whether a particular medication needs to be given.

Coughs and sneezes are essential.

A cold, at least that’s what the saying goes, lasts seven days or a week with medication. The common cold, also known as the flu, usually occurs with a runny nose, cough and hoarseness, sometimes accompanied by a slight fever and joint pain.

In the wet and cold seasons, it is, above all, the viruses that multiply at lightning speed – the doctors’ offices are full of coughing and sneezing patients.

Around 200 different viruses trigger the common cold. Coughing and a “runny” nose are healthy and reasonable defences of the body that should not be suppressed: 

  • For example, viruses in the nose colonize the mucous membranes, which swell and produce more excreted fluid.
  • When coughing, annoying foreign bodies are also “disposed of” together with the mucus. This so-called productive cough must not be suppressed under any circumstances.


What does inhaling do?

Luckily, many herbs have been found to treat some of the symptoms of the common cold and many chronic respiratory tract diseases.

In the steam, the volatile substances of the medicinal herbs can be easily inhaled through the mouth and nose. Above all, they eliminate the accumulation of secretions in the nose, the sinuses and the bronchi. The water vapour and the effect of added medicinal substances or medicinal plants complement each other.

Therefore, inhalation can often provide relief for coughs and colds.

Inhale with what? These funds help!

For inhalation, either an essential oil (peppermint oil, eucalyptus oil, menthol crystals) is used, which is added drop by drop to the hot water, or you take a few spoonfuls of the dried herb (e.g. mint leaves, thyme herb) and pour the hot water over it.

The most important remedies that help with colds as an inhalant include:

  • Anise: in bronchitis, expectorant
  • Eucalyptus: for all colds, loosens mucus, promotes expectoration, kills germs
  • Fennel: for bronchitis and coughs, expectorant
  • Chamomile: has an anti-inflammatory and germicidal effect on many complaints
  • Peppermint: for colds and headaches, as a tea for stomach problems
  • Sage: for laryngeal catarrh and tonsillitis, germicidal
  • Thyme: for bronchitis, whooping and spasmodic cough, loosens mucus and disinfects

Caution with infants and young children

Infants and young children often react to the use of inhalants containing menthol with dangerous breathing difficulties. For these tiny patients, there are special mild preparations without menthol.

How to inhale

In the classic method, hot water is poured onto the herb, or the essential oil is dripped. Now bend your head over the vessel and breathe alternately through your nose and mouth.

This method works more intensively if the head and bowl are covered with a towel.

Disadvantages of inhalation

A disadvantage of inhaling is that the container falls over, and the hot water could cause severe scalding. Therefore, children should never be allowed to inhale in this way.

Another disadvantage is that the eyes are also exposed to the essential oil. This can irritate the mucous membranes of the eyes, especially when inhaling eucalyptus or peppermint.


Inhale correctly – help from the pharmacy.

If you use a stable steam inhaler from the pharmacy, the substances can be inhaled in a targeted manner via the mouth and nose through a mouth-nose mask. Almost none of the effective essential oils get into the eyes.

Steam inhalers are not suitable for inhaling solid medicinal substances or salts. This requires an electric inhaler that finely atomizes the saline solution or inhalation drug to inhale the droplets through a mouthpiece.

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