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6 min read / 15 April 2022 / Laura Garvin Gomez

The best essential oils for boosting the immune system

These oils can support our natural defence system and keep us healthy.

Essential oils can provide a helpful boost to our immune response.

Whether you choose to use them in cleaning sprays, massage blends, or simply in your diffuser, the right essential oils can strengthen our body’s natural defences and offer an extra layer of protection to our health.

We’ve collected some of our top picks for immune-boosting essential oils that you can use in your day-to-day to guard your wellness.

What is the immune system?

The immune system is our body’s natural defence system against harmful microorganisms, pathogens, viruses, and other diseases.

It is made up of a complex system of cells that constantly track unknown visitors to the body, ensuring they do not cause us harm or weaken our functioning.

If something harmful is detected, the immune system will automatically react to try and clear the damaging organism from our bodies.

While our immune systems are largely effective, they tend to weaken as we grow older and thus make us more susceptible to frequent illnesses. They can also take a hit during the colder months of the year.

To keep our bodies in proper working order, we must ensure that our immune systems are well looked after and in perfect balance.

Assortment of amber glass bottles with dried botanicals around them

Which essential oils can help your immune system?

While all essential oils play a role in the general maintenance of our bodies, certain oils in particular can be extremely efficient towards ensuring the best for our wellness.

Some of the best immune-boosting oils include:

Tangerines and bergamots cut open on a cloth

How do these essential oils protect my health?

1. Bergamot oil

Research has suggested that encourages the production of white blood cells in the body.

White blood cells are a key part of the immune system and play an important role in neutralising infections, so bergamot’s ability to boost our white blood cell count can speed up recovery overall.

As well as stimulating the immune system, bergamot can protect it against factors that may weaken its defences over time. A highly relaxing, de-stressing oil, it can prevent the lowered immune activity that serious stress can cause.

Bergamot also has strong cleaning properties, allowing it to prevent harmful microorganisms infecting us in the first place and reducing the strain on the immune system.

Learn more about the benefits of bergamot essential oil.

2. Eucalyptus oil

Immune cells play a pivotal role in our body's defence mechanism by 'ingesting' harmful cells through a process known as phagocytosis. 

Among the essential oils for immune support, eucalyptus stands out. It not only enhances phagocytosis, enabling immune cells to work more efficiently in eradicating infections but also accelerates recovery times. Additonally, eucalyptus serves as a potent anti-inflammatory oil. 

It effectively reduces inflammatory cytokines, alleviating the swelling and discomfort often associated with the immune system's initial response to invaders.

Learn more about the benefits of eucalyptus essential oil.

3. Lemon oil

powerful antioxidant abilities are highly beneficial to the immune system, helping to reduce the destructive work of free radicals.

Lemon oil can also encourage the production of white blood cells, an effect which is thought to be due to the presence of the component d-limonene.

It has even been suggested that lemon oil plays a role in protecting the health of the liver, which is an important part of the immune system.

Learn more about the benefits of lemon essential oil.

4. Tea tree oil

Tea tree oil is often hailed as a potent essential oil immune booster and possesses powerful cleaning properties that complement the immune system's efforts to protect our health. By minimising our exposure to detrimental microorganisms, it acts as a frontline defence. 

Beyond its antimicrobial attributes, tea tree oil also offers anti-inflammatory benefits. It effectively mitigates inflammation triggered by cytokines, thereby alleviating undue stress and strain on the body, making it a valuable ally in maintaining optimal health.

Learn more about the benefits of tea tree essential oil.

Essential oil aromatherapy diffuser on bedside table

You can put a few drops of immune-boosting essential oil into a diffuser.

5. Lavender oil

The powerful stress-relieving properties of can help to ensure that severe stress does not have an immunosuppressant response on our defence system, and remove obstacles to our quick recovery.

Lavender oil has also been found to enhance phagocytosis and reduce bacterial growth, and exposure to this floral oil has even caused increased levels of IgA in saliva – a marker of immune response.

Learn more about the benefits of lavender essential oil.

6. Clove bud oil

Research has found that can boost the immune response of antibodies and proteins, speeding up the process by which hostile entities are discovered and neutralised.

An anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial oil, clove also has the ability to reduce inflammation in the body and protect us from infections.

Learn more about the benefits of clove bud essential oil.

7. Frankincense oil

Frankincense essential oil, often revered in ancient traditions, has emerged as a prominent essential oil immune booster in modern wellness practices. 

Its potent immuno-stimulant properties play a pivotal role in bolstering the body's natural defences, making it one of the go-to essential oils for immunity. This oil not only promotes a swift recovery from a myriad of conditions but has also piqued scientific interest for its potential in battling ailments like gingivitis. 

Its multifaceted benefits underscore the importance of incorporating such oils into holistic health regimens.

Learn more about the benefits of frankincense essential oil.

8. Niaouli oil

Niaouli oil, a lesser-known yet powerful essential oil immune booster, offers a plethora of benefits that fortify the body's natural defences. 

By stimulating blood circulation, metabolic processes, and the secretion of vital hormones and enzymes, it lays a robust foundation for a heightened immune response, making it a valuable addition to the list of essential oils for immunity. Niaouli oil also plays a significant role in cellular immunity. 

It actively encourages T-cells, the body's specialised immune cells, to target and neutralise infected cells, ensuring a comprehensive defence mechanism against potential threats.

Learn more about the benefits of niaouli essential oil.

A selection of healthy foods.

How do I use essential oils to boost my immunity?

Classic inhalation is a popular and effective way to experience the benefits of these immune-boosting essential oils.

Simply add a few drops of your chosen oil to a diffuser or oil burner and let the aromas awaken your senses and recharge your body.

You can also add these oils to a tissue and use on the go if you find yourself feeling a bit under the weather.

Another popular method is topical application of these oils with a carrier oil, like or

You can massage these oils into different parts of the body or place the mixture onto your pulse points to soak in as the day goes on.

Are there other practices that could help boost my immunity?

Alongside aromatherapy, there are a number of additional wellness practices that you can employ in your daily routine to help keep your health in top form.

Basic steps like a healthy, balanced diet can impact your immunity in a really positive way, while other elements like exercising regularly and getting enough sleep ultimately create the strongest tools for your body to work with.

Try using some essential oils, like to help improve these little steps.

Black and white illustration of a lavender sprig

Many of these oils may do their best immuno-stimulant work when paired with other immune-boosting scents.

Not sure where to start? Try an expertly-formulated combination of and in our

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Medical Disclaimer

The content in this article is for informational and educational purposes only and is not intended to take the place of medical advice. Please consult your personal physician for any advice or treatment regarding specific health questions. Neither the article editor, writer, nor the organisation of Nikura takes any responsibility for possible health consequences following the information given in any article. All readers should consult their physician before taking any advice given within these articles.

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