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The Best Essential Oils for Common Winter Ailments

Because ibuprofen and cough syrup don't always work.

Let’s get right to it: Old Man Winter isn’t always such a nice guy. Although we might enjoy that crisp, cold air and the occasional snowfall (followed by a subsequent snow day), the side effects of cooler weather usually lead to a set of symptoms that keep us from flourishing through the New Year.

Most resort to the medicine cabinet for a cure, but sometimes, those pills and potions lead to more side effects that take even longer to wear off, or just plain don’t work. So what’s the alternative when you don’t want to rely on DayQuil and Advil PM?

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Essential oils are known for their hair and skin benefits, but we tend to overlook the fact that they also tote the same powers for our internal systems. According to the team at Saje Natural Wellness, the company behind some of today’s top-selling plant-derived wellness products, the holistic and synergistic nature of oils lead the body to experience side benefits, instead of side effects.

“Anything you apply to the skin—our largest organ—gets absorbed into the bloodstream,” the brainiacs at Saje told us. “That’s why we feel passionately about relying on nature as medicine and offering 100 percent natural essential oil remedies that help the body and mind heal instead of putting a ‘band-aid’ on the issue.”

Ahead, we break down which ones you’ll need to combat the most common ailments this season.

The Common Cold

Coughing, sneezing, congestion, and a runny nose are all a part of the common cold, which means you’ll want a set of oils that can combat every symptom simultaneously. The Saje Wellness team recommends leaning on soothing ones like lavender and chamomile to calm the breath and more potent ones like peppermint, rosemary, frankincense. and tea tree to combat congestion and coughing. Rub any of these onto your skin the same way you would a more mainstream mentholated remedy, like Vicks VapoRub.

Alternatively, Saje makes a Pocket Farmacy that includes five natural blends for all of these issues, if you’re just not into DIY-ing it. “In addition to using our topical essential oil blends, our essential oil diffuser blends bring the healing power of plants to the air you breathe. The whole effect also creates a rapid transit to nature within the four walls of your home,” they say. “By adding moisture the healing power of plants to your indoor environment, you can say hello to a refreshed air space: perfect for the transition into the colder winter months.”

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Dry Skin

Dry skin isn’t unique to winter, but you have to admit that the cooler temps make it a little harder to lock in moisture. To diminish flaky layers, the Saje Wellness team especially recommends avocado oil, since it delivers rich hydration fast. Additionally, lavender and rosemary, which you can find in products like this Skin Soother Lotion, calm the skin and senses. It’s also important to keep in mind that since essential oils are super-concentrated and powerful, skin often responds best to ones diluted with a gentler carrier oil, such as grapeseed or almond.

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Stiff Joints and Headaches

Pain is the body’s way of telling us something is wrong. Headaches in particular can be triggered by a myriad of internal and external forces, such as stress, muscle tension and even posture. According to the Saje Wellness team, “Headaches caused by muscle tension are a often a byproduct of strain to your neck and shoulders caused by sitting at your desk all day long—a perfect recipe for that throbbing, base-of-the-skull kind of headache. When your neck muscles have been overworked, it can cause tenderness and discomfort in and around your head.”

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Again, calming oils such as lavender, rosemary, peppermint and eucalyptus are the healthier alternative to ibuprofen and other pain meds. Instead, apply any of these to sensitive pulse points (temples, shoulders, neck) for relief; the cooling sensation you’ll feel is unmatched. Premade blends like Saje’s Topical Analgesic Massage Oil and Peppermint Halo Cooling & Soothing Oil Blend contain all of these if you can’t decide on just one. And when you want to take even more precaution, a oil-infused mist is good to keep at places where germs run amuck, like work or a classroom.

All in all, converting to a plant-based lifestyle takes time and major commitment, but trading in your Advil for an oil blend might be an easy way to get started.

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