Cold? What Cold?!

Cold? What Cold?!

As an MS patient, I’m always on the lookout for something that will help me stay healthy. Though doctors say flu shots are OK for us, they’re not for me.

I’ve had better luck with essential oils. Though they can’t replace all medicines, adding them to my daily routine has been helpful. For instance, whenever I get a headache, I use a mix of lavender and peppermint oils. I put the oil on my temples, the back of my neck, and right under my nose. It’s nice to be able to have another option because it keeps me from having to take so many pills, which can be detrimental to my health in other ways.

A few years ago when we were on vacation in Charleston, South Carolina, my husband got sunburned and developed something known as “hell’s itch,” a terrible burning sensation that, according to him, felt like fire ants trying to claw their way out of his skin. After some frantic Googling, I figured out the remedy: aspirin, oral Benadryl, and seven to 10 drops of peppermint oil in a cup of warm water daubed on the burnt skin. It stopped the itch almost immediately. (I think peppermint oil is like Windex is to the father in “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” — it seems to fix everything!)

I’ve used essential oils on my hair, my skin, and even to help with an upset stomach. Again, while I haven’t given up on traditional medicine for wellness, I’ve found that the oils are surprisingly versatile and effective. Last year I bought a diffuser to use while we sleep. The oil of choice is a blend known as thieves oil, a combination of rosemary, lemon, clove, cinnamon bark, and eucalyptus. You can buy it premade or buy all five oils and make a bottle for yourself. (Note: They aren’t mixed 1:1, so make sure you look up a recipe online!)

The story behind its creation is interesting. According to lore, four merchants who were down on their luck because of the bubonic plague were entering houses where people had died and stealing their worldly possessions. But despite their proximity to the plague victims, none of the four men ever got sick. Why? Because they were using a blend of spices to protect themselves from illness — hence the name “thieves oil.” Some companies call it “germ fighter” or “wellness blend,” but I much prefer the original moniker.

Last year, neither my husband nor I caught a cold, and while I can’t say definitively that the diffused oil was the direct cause, I do believe it helped. I’m using it again this year, and I’ve bought diffusers for each of my sons’ rooms as well. That will be the true test of the oil’s effectiveness, because one of the little germ bags gets sick every winter and tries to share what he’s caught with the rest of the family. So far so good, but winter (and all the illnesses it brings) is coming.

So in addition to doing “all the things” to keep ourselves well — washing hands, taking vitamin C, avoiding people who are sick, and keeping things sanitized around the house — we’re also making use of thieves oil. Anything that supposedly warded off a plague that killed 50 million people seems to be a good weapon against the sniffles. And I’m going to wield it for all it’s worth.


Note: Multiple Sclerosis News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Multiple Sclerosis News Today or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to multiple sclerosis.

Jamie A. Hughes was diagnosed with MS in 2004 at the age of 25. But she’s so much more than those two letters. A wife, adoptive mother, daughter, sister, friend, teacher, and writer/editor, she lives life the only way she knows how — one day at a time. An Arkansan by birth and Floridian by choice, she now lives in the Atlanta, Georgia area. You can read more of her writing at and follow her on Twitter @tousledapostle.
Jamie A. Hughes was diagnosed with MS in 2004 at the age of 25. But she’s so much more than those two letters. A wife, adoptive mother, daughter, sister, friend, teacher, and writer/editor, she lives life the only way she knows how — one day at a time. An Arkansan by birth and Floridian by choice, she now lives in the Atlanta, Georgia area. You can read more of her writing at and follow her on Twitter @tousledapostle.

How useful was this post?

Click on a star to rate it!

Average rating 0 / 5. Vote count: 0

No votes so far! Be the first to rate this post.

As you found this post useful...

Follow us on social media!

We are sorry that this post was not useful for you!

Let us improve this post!

Tell us how we can improve this post?


  1. J. Lamar Freed says:

    Magical thinking and terrible advice. Do you know how incapacitating the flu is for people with MS? Take your flu shot! Life is miserable enough for some people with MS, no one needs to get the flu to make it worse.

    • Jamie Hughes says:

      Lamar, I’m only sharing from my own experience. I’ve gotten a flu shot on more than one occasion, and each time, I was the sickest I’ve ever been. I tend to do better with things like essential oils, vitamins, and good nutrition. I just wanted to give folks like me another option to try this cold and flu season.

    • Pat says:

      Kinda like when guys in Desert Storm the soldiers were taking tablets given them but the officers were not. My son noticed this after taking one. His buddies who took them all either had lifelong severe respiratory problems, miscarriage of pregnancies of their wives or babies born with severe respiratory illnesses, my son would be talking and grab his chest lose his breath, when he was treated, they were only looking ?kidneys. I contacted so many, but only one physician even listened and was working with the guys we know of, anyway.

  2. Peggy says:

    I agree with you on the flu shot deal. Haven’t tried essential oils 0r thieves oil. Have too check into it

    Thanks for sharing

  3. Nancy Gregory says:

    My daughter swears by Essential Oils. She cleans the house with Thieves and uses Purification in the large diffuser in the main room of the house.

    • Jamie Hughes says:

      I live with two kids, so anything that can keep the house relatively free of germs is good in my book. I always tell people I don’t use them in lieu of medicine, but in addition to. I wouldn’t have been a believer had I not seen them work to relieve my husband’s sunburn pain. It was amazing. Saved our vacation!

  4. Caroline Borduin says:

    This bums me out too as it’s bad advice. While not getting the flu shot might make sense for you, essential oils do not prevent flu or colds.

    • Jamie Hughes says:

      I never said they prevented them, Caroline. Only that it was one tool that has helped during the season. The oils contain antimicrobial properties, which helps clean the air. Fewer germs to breathe = less of a chance I’ll get sick.

  5. Susan says:

    I understand that some people with MS have terrible reactions to flu shots and some medications. It’s great that you have found an alternative to keep yourself healthy, and thanks for passing it on to those who would like to try it.
    I’m not surprised, however, at the reaction in these comments. It’s the same judgmental feedback I heard when I decided that DMTs made my MS so much worse that I decided not to take any DMT. I tried eight different ones because the doctor said “You have to be on something! Just pick one”. I listened and suffered for several years! I felt so bad I could barely function from the side effects. And I feel it actually made my MS symptoms worse. I feel much better without them, just dealing with the MS symptoms instead of putting all that poison in my body, in the hopes that it might be doing some good. And some think I’m stupid and have told me so. Well, that’s only their opinion! Everyone thinks they know best.
    To each his own I say. If it works for you, great. I don’t think you should be brow-beaten for passing it along. Thanks, Jamie

    • Jamie Hughes says:

      Susan, that’s terrible! I’ve never heard of DMTs making people that sick before. I’m glad you’ve found things that are working for you and helping you control the MS. I wish I could go without them sometimes! Thanks for the encouragement and kind words. They mean a lot. 🙂

  6. Cyn Doyle says:

    I haven’t had the flu shot in 18 years….the last time I got it , I was soooooo sick that I thought I was dying ….and wished I was !! Since then , I have taken a homeopathic called ”Influenzinum”.My whole family took it , too…and none of us got the flu. I know that ”they” say that homeopathics don,t work….but I believe it works for me. I also use a diffuser…but without anything but water. It does help you breathe easier and sleep more soundly. I also have a salt lamp in my bedroom , and believe it clears the air.Maybe this is ”all in my head” , but , hey… works for me.

    • Jamie Hughes says:

      I would love to try a salt lamp, but it too has drawbacks for kitty owners. (Apparently, the cats can lick the salt and get sick?) I’ve heard good things about them and might try one in my office. Thanks for the reminder!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *